The Difference Between Me and Martha

I don’t hate Martha Stewart.

I have an aunt who does Martha Stewart better than Martha does. My Aunt Kathy is badass. Her gardens could easily provide both catering and decorations for formal brunch. She creates a very welcoming atmosphere seemingly without effort, she sends valentines and advent calendars when I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays, and to my knowledge she has no disgruntled staff, nor has she ever done time. When my cousin Jen got married at their home a couple years ago, it felt better than a fairy tale. Aunt Kathy claimed to have pretty much nothing to do with the planning of the wedding and lays all credit to Jen. But there’s a knock-you-out kind of beauty everywhere you look at their house. It makes you feel like you just got punched in the gut, in a good way– I suppose that’s what people mean when they say something takes your breath away. Aunt Kathy and Jen both make that beauty real, and it makes me feel honored and special just to be in the same family as someone who can do things like that.

I’m grateful they’ve taken care of being better than Martha, because if it were up to me, we’d all be doomed.

Through no fault of my parents, none of my chromosomes contain a single homemaking gene. Also, I don’t craft, and I don’t know Snoop Dog.

I do, however, have an unhealthy obsession with Martha Stewart’s calendar.

A recent online purchase resulted in my gaining free digital access to Martha’s magazine, in which she prints her monthly calendar. It gives me something to strive for, and I think I’m starting to measure up pretty well.

I’m perhaps most envious of her well-balanced exercise regime. Two days of weight training, one yoga class, one day of cardio and core, and an outdoor hike or horseback ride every single week. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty good at bending at the waist. Particularly if I’m already sitting down. I’m also getting better at tripping teenagers and Puggles with my cane, a skill I’ve only been practicing since my most-recent-and-hopefully-last foot surgery on Thursday. I don’t see any cane tricks listed in Martha’s calendar. At this rate, I’ll be doing some real Fred-Astaire-worthy shit by April. Look out, Martha.


March 6: Order gladiolas and dahlias. This is such a beautiful line. I’m going to work it into a story. It’s going to have something to do with murder.

March 7: Prune tearoses to remove winterkill. This is my favorite entry for the whole month. Beautiful, yet deadly. Kinda like poison dart frogs, or the mantis shrimp. I’m detecting some sort of theme here.

March 9: Wash dog beds. I prefer to be more organic regarding the washing of the dog bed. I leave it until they throw up on it. I’m confident that will happen at least twice in March.

March 13: Have cars cleaned, waxed, and serviced. Heheheh. Heheheheheh. Heheheheheh. I’m undecided whether this, or March 10’s Have stables cleaned is a better euphemism.

March 14: Rotate house plants to ensure even sun exposure. No direct sunlight enters my home. This is a blessing for all houseplants, as any that I receive as gifts are immediately given to good homes (i.e., not mine), thereby saving them from a sure, slow, and painful death at my hands. I’m going to substitute, Allow chipmunks to eat the flower bulbs.

Hello, friend.

March 16: Bake Irish Soda Bread. Meaning, of course, Eat Irish Soda Bread that someone’s actual Irish mother has made. Irish Soda Bread Day was one of my favorites at my old show. Rest in peace, Ma Kelly and Ma Fedigan. You are missed.

March 17: Have friends over for dinner. Perfect timing, right in the middle of technical rehearsals for the new show. Eating leftovers alone under my desk at work is pretty much exactly the same thing.

March 20: Have curtains steam cleaned. There are at least three words I don’t understand in this sentence. I’ll replace this with Eat more chocolate.

March 21: Photograph early spring flowers for blog. Meaning, Look through pictures from several years ago for anything that could possibly be blog-relevant. Done.

March 22: Bring fresh eggs to office. Canned sardines and leftover broccoli- check!

March 26: Deep-clean area rugs. Does a hyphenated word count as one word, or two? There are up to four words in this sentence I don’t understand. Do something with chocolate again.

March 27: Take outdoor furniture out of storage. Is this even English?

March 28: Bake sweet oat-walnut crisps. This, I can totally get behind. Particularly if it’s on someone else’s calendar. Hey, Aunt Kathy- what does your March 28 look like?


Happy March.






Black Thumb.

In an entirely unwarranted fit of optimism, I planted some stuff this year.

You must know that I have killed every plant I’ve ever tried to own. My mom is a master gardner.

I’m not.

But hey, some of my best friends have green thumbs, I can respect that.

We don’t have much flat ground at our house to begin with, and even less that gets any sunlight. I had my eye on a space behind the shed, thinking that since we lost so many trees there would be enough sunlight to plant pumpkins there– because how cool would that be? Having our own pumpkins to carve at Halloween and all. Then all the leaves on the remaining trees came in, blocked out the sun, and it was not to be.

So I picked another spot, and I planted, from seed: peas, arugula, spinach, and mesclun lettuce. I transplanted hostas in order to make this happen. The hostas survived, surprising me, CC and themselves. I believed that in our terraced “back yard” the particular terrace that I had cleared and planted in was inaccessible to the few millions of deer in our neighborhood.

Turns out this was an erroneous belief.

The deer loved my peas, spinach, and mesclun lettuce. They had no love for the arugula. They also refuse to eat dandelions, which are currently the only thing truly thriving in my garden. I wish I ate dandelions, or at least could find someone to sell them to, cause you pay like twenty bucks in New York for a frickin’ dandelion salad. Because, you know, they’re like, microgreens.

I don’t eat dandelion anything because my sister made me suck the milk out of a dandelion stem one time while our mother was picking strawberries and not properly supervising us. I can’t remember if this was before or after I tried to kill her by slipping the paperclip into her milk (My sister’s milk, not my mother’s. My mother doesn’t drink milk. And I would never attempt physical harm against the Bringer of Strawberries.)

From the dietary preferences of the deer, I draw the conclusion that deer are nothing but sugar-sucking whores who won’t touch anything that is bitter (it was baby spinach).

I watched a deer the other night while I was walking Casey. Casey was doing her I-really-have-to-go-but-I-can’t-until-I-find-the-exact-right-place-because-I-am-a-girl-dog-and-also-neurotic dance and did not notice the deer standing ten feet from her. Hell, I could smell the deer from there. She’d been eating my roses, then went across the street to have some of their roses, and then continued on with her moveable feast to each house in order,  sampling all the flowers.

Then she tired of that and crossed back into my yard. The steep rake and the rocky incline didn’t bother her at all. It was at this moment that I discovered the extent to which my property is the main drag that the deer take between the cemetery and the neighborhood behind us. It is both their freeway and their promenade. And, apparently, their personal snack basket.

Sometimes they also drop a baby back there.

I wish we’d gotten more pictures of this guy before it stumbled back off to its hiding place. This little one was maybe two days old, probably less. Very shaky. It was about Casey’s size, just with longer legs. Pretty damn adorable. . . for a sugar-sucking whore.

Thanks for eating my peas, Bambi.