Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Lite Reading

via holy taco


I don’t know if this is a tacky subject matter but hey, it’s my blog (oops, I mean our blog) and I’m going to tackle it. The idea came to me just yesterday when I was cleaning my bathroom. I was home alone (a luxury) and had my playlists blasting in loud rotation from the other room. As I scrubbed and washed the one small bathroom that our family of five (plus the two cats) all share, I was writing a mental dissertation on what music is best background noise for this tedious task. Bjork = bad (too intense and brooding),Vampire Weekend =good (just upbeat enough to make one forget their domestic servitude).

I emptied the wastepaper basket and then came to the “reading basket”. This is the vessel which sits next to the commode with all the, well you know, reading material. I usually use cleaning day as a chance to purge through this collection, getting rid of all the old magazines etc. As I looked through our current stack I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because the eclectic mix was somehow such a picture of our family life; our interests, the articles we really want to get to even if in just the briefest snatches of time, the brain candy we reach for before the next family member starts pounding urgently on the door.

 Like a miniature time-capsule, this little basket seemed to me to capture this era in the life of our family so perfectly that I thought I would share it with you all. So in case you are looking of updating your own bathroom library, here’s my list (in order of appearance):

“American Lifestyle” (March/April 2012) This magazine arrives periodically in our mailbox with “Compliments of Colleen Todd” imprinted on it. Colleen was the realtor that helped us buy this home. She was a sweet lady and there is a beaming image of her superimposed  on the glossy front cover so my kids think they’ve met a super star, “I know her!”. I guess this is a marketing mechanism to keep her name, number and real estate office info fresh in our minds but I don’t mind it so much. The tag line says it’s the “magazine celebrating life in America” (whatever that means) but the quality is good, the photos are nice and honestly, it’s got some interesting articles. I’ve kept this issue around because I’m reading an article on the art of beekeeping, an interview with apiculturist Ted Dennard who turned his bee hobby into asuccessful business  the Savannah Bee Company. It’s a fascinating four-page article which has taken me so far about two weeks to read in, ahem, short increments.

On the way to the recycling bin, but preserved for posterity.

Another free periodical that rules the realm of the bathroom and which I find myself perversely looking forward to reading is the AAA magazine, Via (March& April 2012) . I happen to know that I’m not the only one of my friend’s who secretly enjoys Via (maybe it’s a sign of aging? ) but I have to say almost every issue there are some really useful information and tips that we actually use. This month I came across a piece on good places to eat in Oakland, a little glossified for my liking but with a useful “if you’re going” list of  handy numbers and deets on essential restaurants. I’ll cut it out and stick in the glove-box for our next trip to the Bay. More importantly though there was a short blurb about the wildflower bloom on the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve. Located an hour north of Sacramento, I read (as I sat on the loo), the wildflowers are at their peak bloom usually in March and April. That’s it! I realized right then and there in my moment of repose that I wanted to take some friends and do a wildflower hike at Table Mountain to celebrate my birthday at the end of March. Perfect plan. Thanks Via Magazine!

Let’s see…what else is in the basket? There’s California Educator, courtesy of the California Teacher’s Association and a perk of my husband’s profession as a math teacher. So too are the newsletters of the math department at his alma mater UC Davis. Dry reading material for me, but I try to keep them around for a while so he can get caught up during his “office” hours.

This brings me to a very good point. When poking around the web with “toilet reading material” in your search engine you’re bound to get some rather interesting results to say the least but I did come across a couple of reports that I wanted to show you. From the UK, a study about whether “reading on the loo” is bad for you in this blog, and this news that men are replacing newspapers with smartphones  as toilet reading material. I admit, I’ve facebooked in there at times but somehow the hygiene of this habit weirds me out. But… if you do happen to be reading this from the comfort of your throne, enjoy!

And also (just because I can’t resist)  check out this classic ad for toilet paper I came across. This one goes out to all you Waldorf mamas out there…


Sometimes our goofy woven basket becomes the home for those important paper materials that don’t have a place anywhere else in the house, but that I simply cannot throw away… because I really DO want to read the article at some point. Currently in this category and still in my reading basket, unread since I last time I purged it, are:

Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and The Healing Arts (vol. 7, no. 4) from the Weston A. Price  Foundation, for that article on raw milk and cow-sharing  that I’ve been meaning to read, of course.

The Herb Quarterly (the name sounds shady, I know) for the  piece on gardening with native plants, and the recipes for herbal remedies for digestion.

The Costco Connection (a lifestyle magazine for Costco Members) with Jane Pauly in pleather boots on the cover. Chock-a-block with ads and retail suggestions,  ironically enough there on page 14 in a two-page spread in their “informed debate” section was the question, ‘should marijuana be legal?’. Can anyone else see 3-packs of bulk joints on the horizon?

A current copy of Sacramento’s own free weekly SN&R is always in the reading basket of course, as are a couple of articles on child development and positive discipline that I often return to again and again when I’ve locked myself in the bathroom and sat in parental defeat on a Mommy’s time-out.

And at the very bottom, there because I probably keep it with good intentions to read it’s daily reminders, is one of those pocket-sized books of affirmations. The entry for today, March 11th, included this quote from Ecclesiastes:

“Woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up”

To which I would add,

“…in the toilet.”


8 Responses to “Lite Reading”

  1. Alicia

    Though not on my throne reading your post, and in agreement about the tech/hygene issue, giggled excessively. Cosco bit my fave. Thank you!

  2. Norman Ross Powers

    My thought is that the reading cache in bathrooms is really a reserve in case the TP runs out. Do you ever save anything next to the toilet which you aren’t willing to use and flush? That’s why checking email on your phone feels so WEIRD. It’s like studying scripture on the pot or reading poetry. What page of the bible or leaf of Leaves of Grass are ya gonna clean up with?

    • ruchapowers

      I did hang out with some kids once when I was younger who rolled a joint out of a page of an old bible, and I have kept Leaves of Grass in my bathroom, but only for reading in the bath.

  3. oami powers

    Now I feel odd, but I’ve never kept a stack of reading material in the loo. Maybe I would actually get some done via this method: currently I have three books gathering dust in a stack next to my bed.

    • ruchapowers

      I think it might be primarily a male habit (keeping reading material next to the toilet) so don’t feel odd. Along with football, poop jokes, and refereeing spontaneous wrestling matches, it’s one of those “when in Rome” things I’ve picked up since living in a male-dominated household!


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