Thursday, January 29, 2009

Signs of the Times

On Facebook, I've been tagged three times in 24 hours for the "25 Things" meme. I feel like there aren't 25 interesting things about me that aren't already out there but one of the 18 I came up with was that I adore magazines. And now two of my very favorites, Domino and Wondertime, are ending their runs with their March issues.

Of course I just gave a back stash to the hospital and now I want to go to the emergency room lobby and take them back. That is downright unChristian of me but dang. I always figured there would always be another issue, another day. I signed up for the Wondertime on the Web feature so I wouldn't be pulling articles from the magazine and trying to figure out where to stash them. I saved about 8 articles from the last issue, ranging from How to Have Fun in the Snow with your Kids (most valuable tips: put potty-trainers in pull-ups; push 'em out the door the second they are all dressed, before mittens start coming off--most of you probably figured this out intuitively but for me, they were lifesavers in the snowstorm this week) to the one with magic tricks kids can master. My five year old is desperate to do magic. Well, really, he's desperate to BE magic, because he wants to make his brother disappear. Subtle but important difference. We are trying to help him get the idea of doing some tricks but he isn't quite there; he wants it to be actually magic, not a trick. But the suggested ones in the article were so cute and clever, I was thinking he might be ready for them this summer...and he still may be, if I can find the info by summer. Sigh.

And then Domino! It was such a tease, like Violet in It's A Wonderful Life, teasing, "Why this old thing? I only put it on when I don't care how I look!" You know--"oh, this perfectly distressed table? We found it in the shed of the house when we bought it. In fact, it was the shed. But it was such a pretty color that when it fell down, we thought, how can we keep this incorporated in our lives? And so, you know, it's a table." It was all robins-egg-blue ceilings and over-the-top decor in otherwise unremarkable little New York apartments and low-VOC paint swatches. Even with all that attitude, it seemed more accessible than House Beautiful and less niche oriented than, say, Cottage Living...oh, wait...Cottage Living is gone too.

In these times, these are, as Gwyneth Paltrow would say, very first-world problems. But I love magazines for their portability, their possibilities, and for getting me through the kids' naps in the car or train rides to the city with so much work in my bag, there was no room for a book. And to watch my favorites disappear one by makes me feel out of step with the culture, first of all, that these publications I loved weren't safe in these times, gives me one last little pleasure to look forward to each month, and makes me worry for all those folks who worked there and who are now part of the growing statistics of this latest "downturn." And there are more and more of them; our soft pretzel place; the sporting-goods store where I bought all our sneakers and sports gear since my gym suit in 9th grade, with the sales guy who could just look at your feet and pull down the sneaker that would fit and correct your pronation or heel spurs or whatever else he saw in your walk; the store that sold useful and decorative arts, like stained glass sconces or hand-turned wood bowls or my mobile of the moon and the stars, little pieces of my community, places that the kids and I enjoyed...gone.

But, in the midst of all that, some good news: The Lily Ledbetter Act was passed today. Last year, the Supreme Court was supremely illogical when they ruled for Goodyear and against Lily Ledbetter, who, upon retiring, found that she had been earning far less than male colleagues for the same job. Lower courts found for her; the Supreme Court said that yes, she had been discriminated against but that current law said she could only sue for unfair wages up to 180 days after she was hired, even if she didn't find out about the discrimination until after. That is a decision by a bunch of people who work on government pay scales. In the real world of work, favortism shows through in all kinds of ways in salaries, and I am delighted that there is now an opportunity to address wrongs whenever they are discovered...not just in the 90 days between when your probation ends and when the court thinks you should find out what everyone else in your office makes.

Progress. Hope. And a life with less glossy paper. At least it's better for the environment. Right?


Anjali said...

I'm sad to say that I never heard of Domino. But I do miss Cottage Living.

brandy101 said...

I also love home mags; I got a $5 subscription to House Beautiful even though I know it will frustrate me to no end!

You think the magazine downfall is bad? My local weekly newspaper ended last week. We had been reading it faithfully for 11 years. It had our school news, police blotter, local school sports, local restaurant reviews and event listings. What a bummer.

Mine is a town of over 75,000 people - you would think we could have our own weekly paper! Well, we sort-of do; there is a good regional paper but its a daily and daily is too much for me; plus it covers to large of an area.

Of course there are the Trib and Sun-Times - but both are also in BAD shape and one might go away inthe near future. Scary.