Page two of Martha Stewart Living is always “Martha’s Month”–a day-by-day window into the life of The Great Martha. She weight trains on Mondays and Fridays. Thursdays is cardio and core. Yoga? Tuesdays. She celebrates birthdays, crafts with her grandchildren, mulches her verdant acres, and polishes her silver. This month, I decided to live like Martha. Sort of.
Martha: Have chimneys cleaned.
Me: I looked at the bricked-up fireplace in our living room and wondered, once again, “is it bricked up because the landlord doesn’t want anyone to use it, or because there are dead things hidden in there.” Either way, it’s nice to have a place to hang stockings.
Martha: Go for a long walk. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown.
Me: I walked along the Arroyo from the Rose Bowl to South Pasadena and back. There were many happy dogs.
Martha: Dig and divide hostas. Weight training.
Me: I meant to google “hostas,” but forgot. I pumped a small amount of iron. I drove home from the Westside in record time (thanks Rosh Hashanah).
Martha: Move tropical plants to the greenhouse for winter. Yoga.
Me: I did a sun salutation in the morning. How long have my joints been this creaky? I bought my wife a cactus from Trader Joes on a whim. This was months ago. She named him Carlos, and sometimes she’ll mention “Carlos” and I have no idea who she’s talking about, and then I remember “Carlos” is the cactus and I’m so charmed by the way my wife is. Carlos summered on our patio, but I brought him inside.
Martha: Have horses reshoed.
Me: Got a haircut.
Martha: Harvest tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Cardio and core.
Me: I walked a bit more than usual. I did some sit-ups. I read an article about how sick many in Aleppo are of eggplant, because it’s a quick growing crop that a lot of people planted just so they’d have something, anything to eat.
Martha: Clean and store summer clothes in canvas bags. Weight training.
Me: When I was 12, I visited my friend’s grandparents in Connecticut. She showed me their huge basement, which was already a foreign concept to this Californian, and then she pointed out racks of garment bags–their winter clothes. Winter? Clothes? How curious.
Martha: Get seasonal flu shot.
Me: I meant to do this. I really did.
Martha: Bathe dogs and cats.
Me: I’ve never had a pet. My dad always said we couldn’t, because he’s allergic. Two years ago, my mom and dad adopted a Mini-Aussie named Lily. I think my dad was lying.
Martha: Go for a hike. Columbus Day.
Me: I flew to San Francisco for work. It was like a hike in the sky.
Martha: Clean and refill bird feeders. Yom Kippur begins at sundown. Yoga.
Me: I made scrambled eggs for my niece. How much does Martha care about Yom Kippur? *joke about atoning, because Martha was in prison*
Martha: Cut back perennials
Me: I just don’t really like San Francisco.
Martha: Sharpen knives; clean stainless steel appliances with white vinegar. Cardio and core.
Me: My hotel was a block from my brother and his family, so they had me over to dinner. As my brother set out ingredients he said, “oh hey, do you wanna make this?” Nice try. I did stem and chop a whole bunch of kale, though. His knives were beautifully sharp.
Martha: Pick apples and make a Dutch baby. Weight training.
Me: The hotel had a “continental breakfast”. I squeezed myself between two indecisive foreign children and their flailing tongs to pick a small croissant from a bowl with my bare fingers. There was no weight training.
Martha: Prepare chicken coops for winter; install heat lamps.
Me: I came back from my trip, and since my wife had a family function, I was home alone. I took a long nap, ordered eggrolls and watched three hours of Halt and Catch Fire.
October 16. Half way.
Martha: Sukkot begins at sundown. Plant garlic.
Me: I planted my own mother fucking garlic. I used to live in the Fairfax District and my neighbors were Hasidic. They built a sukkah right next to the fence that separated us, and the men stayed out there late into the night singing and talking. It was charming. The first night. But Sukkot lasts a week. A year later when I saw the sukkah going up, I bought earplugs.