February 14, 2014

Brothers and Martha Stewart

I subscribe to Martha Stewart magazine. I love it. Justin is sure that me liking Martha Stewart Living is an early sign of insanity. He is looking forward to an old age with me obsessively making flowers out of coffee filters and organizing his socks by material content. Hie-ho!

Most of the time, Martha Stewart Living, has good recipies, home articles, crafty stuff, which lulls you into thinking that Marthat Stewart is normal. Except for the calendar at the beginning of "Martha's month" in which she harvests strawberries and makes enough jam to supply a small African nation in one afternoon, following an appearance on the Today show. And then, every once in awhile, there are sentences like this.... "I love to re-create these meals [elaborate meals her mother served] using bowls hand turned by my brother Eric with wood from a copper beech tree that was recently cut down on Abraham Lincoln's cottage lawn."

I feel there should be a pause there to fully process this. She has bowls, elegantly, rustic homemade bowls from the tree growing outside Abraham Lincoln's cottage. Of course she does. Because who doesn't? It may have been my late night silliness, but this struck me as hilarious. And then I started thinking about Martha Stewart having a brother. Which is surprising. Because brothers are such... untidy things. I am imagining my brothers as Martha's brother--Owen would be monumentally embarrassed for her "She knows no one really cares about flower arranging doesn't she?"; Cody would have a lot to say on her shallowness in worrying about nit-picking details; and Tyler would put his feet on the sofa, drink coffee, and tell her she is taking herself waaaaay too seriously.

I googled to see a picture of her brothers, and I found these interesting tidbits about Martha--she and her brothers trapped animals and sold the pelts to Sears Roebuck as kids, was a model for lifebuoy soap in the 50's, was named one of Glamour magazine's Best Dressed College Girls in 1961, has a BA in European and Architectural History, and became one of the first female stockbrokers on the floor of the New York Stock exchange in the late 60's. And then of course, spent a few months in jail and was named one of Time's 100 most influential people.

As a rule, you shouldn't read about Martha Stewart on days you wore pajama pants, accomplished nothing more than dishes and laundry, and are going to bed without picking up the kids toys or otherwise being a good housekeeper. It does bad things to your morale.

And yet, despite Martha's attention to detail, she didn't speak to one of her brother's for several years, due to thinking he had sold her out to a tabloid. He retaliated by selling lots of Martha memorabilia on eBay, including her childhood traps, the suburban she started her catering company with, and the Singer sewing machine she used to sew her wedding dress.

I think I would rather have my brother's talking to me. Even if they don't eventually give me hand hewn bowls from Abraham Lincoln's lawn. Because who else would tell me when I am taking myself too seriously? Or tell me not to be shallow by caring about whether or not Justin's tie coordinates with Elsie's dress? Or be embarrassed for me when I write a blog?

And who else would come and tow me out of the middle of a field on an icy day when I was "only going the speed limit!" Or rescue me from an angry bull, spend hours sorting out my various vehicles, or be great uncles to my kids?

Yesterday morning, I had a dentist appointment (which has rendered my teeth dreadfully sensitive. I will talk through closed lips for a few days) and this is the last day on Justin's current remodel, so he was pretty busy. Since Tyler is home, he, Cody, and Owen said they could watch Elsie and Gilbert. Cody told me to take his truck, so he could use the van if he needed too. There is something about a farm truck that always smells the same. Hay, fuel, grease, with an undertone of manure. Comforting reminders of my childhood. When I came home, Cody and Owen had loaded up the van with Elsie, Gilbert, and Hoyt and headed off for parts for the tractor. Gilbert came home, radiating importance at having gone with his uncles.

While I have never had all my brothers babysit for me (Owen has done it by himself) this isn't unusual. My brothers are pretty nice uncles to my kids. They tease them, buy them things, tell them they are nice, jolly them out of bad moods, take them fishing, give them four wheeler rides, and listen to their nonsense. (Just to clarify, this is not to diminish the other great uncles my kids have because those one are pretty great too. I was just thinking about brothers.)

Watching the frog Owen caught them

Four wheeler cow watching

Terrorizing the delighted children

Buying things from the kids roadside stand in Oregon

Tyler and Hoyt just waking up.


LJ said...

I agree...brothers are cool. Yours as well as mine!

Jolene Crites said...

This is just so sweet! Love the Martha reflections, as well as the brother reflections. I'm pretty sure your kids have the most lively, interesting uncles around. ;)

Virginia said...

You've got some pretty swell brothers, there! And for some reason, Martha Stewart annoys me. It might be those hand turned bowls from Abraham Lincoln's tree that does it, though. It's so obnoxious. But I do like her aesthetics and her line of home goods and paper goods at various stores. In the end, though, your life and brothers > her life and brothers.

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

I like how you encapsulated each brother's predictable reaction to Martha! They are purty decent uncles, aren't they.