"Me Magazine." I'm still waiting.



When my kids were little, I used to subscribe to several parenting magazines, and few if any of my problems were ever featured anywhere in there. Maybe on the joke page, but never in an article with advice and solutions. Where were the articles about snakes, albino rats, a garden full of rotten tomatoes and little boys, cats trapped in attics or crawlspaces, babies that had to be diapered while crawling like mad spiders, toddlers dancing in the yard to "Yes, We Have No Bananas" played on a Victrola on 78rpm records and stripping, floating catalpa blossoms in cereal bowls, sewing denim patches on the couch so the springs can't poke through, how to hang a swing on a tree when the branches are all taller than a four-story house, how to fix the upper bunk with a bikini top, how to tell a good yard sale from a bad yard sale just by reading the ad, how a handful of chocolate chips won't hurt your child in the long run, and how to pack a school lunch when neither of your kids like sandwiches. . . . Etc.

It's still that way. Magazines don't talk to me. I'm not sure who they are talking to, but it's somebody way richer and more normal than me.

Don't get me wrong - I love to read magazines.  It's the highlight of any doctor's waiting room if I can find a trashy childish "People" or a "Newsweek" or "Time," even if they ARE written at a fifth grade reading level.  I like to read magazines about Beautiful Homes, and Cooking, and childrearing advice even though most of it is silly - sillier even than my own trials and tribulations.  Much of it is as unreal to me as anything in the fiction section of the library, but it's not the universe's fault that we're weird, here.  My own admittedly unique problems are NEVER in any of those magazines, although I must be honest and admit that "Mad" isn't usually on the waiting room table.

Today I walked into the big bathroom and saw three slices of pepperoni on the sink. Where did they come from? Why are they there? Nobody in the publishing world can tell me. Nobody in the house seems to know, either.  Nobody seems to know why there is a yellow plastic Easter egg and four tennis balls on the coffee table, either.  Where did all that string on the kitchen counter come from?  There is also a biggish red stain on the gray carpet that no one in this house knows the origin of.  It's dry, so it's been there a while, but what is it?  (Note:  it's not blood.) 

As for the cooking magazines, well, most of those are not for the likes of me, either.

See, when I read an article called "Quick and Easy Summer Meals Your Whole Family Will Love, Using Ingredients You Already Have In Your Pantry," I do NOT expect the first recipe to start out with "Sprinkle 2 tsp. of saffron and 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice over two pounds of octopus, let marinate for an hour, and grill, grill, grill!"

Whose family, and whose pantry, are they talking about? I love to cook and bake and I keep a pretty good inventory of spices and herbs, but SAFFRON? Who can afford saffron?

Lemons. I have no limes, but I always have lemons. The octopus I don't have either, but maybe I could substitute the frozen catfish that's been in the freezer since. . . . well, for a while.

I guess I can make this dish anyway, by substituting lemon for lime, paprika for saffron, and catfish for octopus. Do you think anyone will notice?

Not in this house they won't.

(By the way, if you haven't already discovered "Stone Soup" by Jan Eliot, you're missing out on a really wonderful comic strip. It's one of my favorites.)  (Actually, it's my absolute #1 favorite.  I LOVE IT!)

 Need any string?  I have yards of it.  It seems clean, but in this house, there's no guarantee.

 "Don't be content with being average. Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top."

Jane blogs as "Mamacita" at Scheiss Weekly, hitting the fan like nobody can.


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