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A brush with the Domestic Diva is a major disappointment

I'll admit it; I'm a Martha Stewart junkie. I marvel at her style, buy her Kmart products and dream of a place in the Hamptons.

I'm also fascinated by the attention paid her personality. Could Martha be that cold and superior, or is she just a driven gal handed a bad rap in a man's world?

Given my not-so-secret Martha addiction, I was thrilled when I received an e-mail invitation to be in the audience for her TV show's "very special" celebration of her magazine's 15th anniversary. I am a 15-year subscriber, so you can guess my leanings on the whole Martha debate.

I dutifully answered staff questions about my subscription and provided requested sentimental anecdotes about recipes and projects I've undertaken. I fantasized that Martha herself was reviewing my stories as a potential finalist for highlight on the show.

"Let's use this one; it's very good," I could hear her say.

Unfortunately, like most fantasies, the reality of attending the show fell far short. Actually, "fell" is too mild. Plummeted is better.

I can sum up the experience by recounting my answers to friends' and family's many questions:

Was there a little reception for you before or after the taping?

No.

Were you given a reprint of the first "Martha Stewart Living" issue since they specifically asked you which, if any, issues you were missing?

No.

Did you receive a tour of the studio or set so you could take pictures?

No.

Were you given a subscription to MSL as a thank you?

No.

Did you get to meet, shake hands with, talk to or take a photo with Martha Stewart?

No.

I was particularly appalled that as the doyenne of gracious living, Martha could not even be bothered to speak directly to this invited group of faithful supporters. Several guests, including myself, traveled a good distance at our own expense to attend, and a "Thank you for coming and being part of today's audience" that was not teleprompted and merely repeated into the camera was definitely in order.

My question is why would a person who is not comfortable with the public host a talk show in front of a live audience?

The clearest insight into Martha's psyche came at the end of her bulletin board project. Even though the segment was complete, Martha, who had been stymied by markings for the ribbons that she either misread or were in the wrong place, went back and repositioned the ribbons. Mind you, the segment was over and the bulletin board was to be whisked away by assistants, but Martha could clearly not move on until it was perfect. Can you say obsessive/compulsive?

And what lovely parting gift did I come away with from this "very special" show? I got my very own MSL magazine holder and a champagne glass.

Now I knew that this isn't the Oprah show and I wouldn't be coming home with a new car, but please, a cardboard box and one glass? They couldn't have splurged on two glasses so my husband and I could at least use them to toast?

So where does my Martha addiction stand? I'll still continue to subscribe to the magazine because I like the articles. I no longer obsess about Martha because unlike her and the bulletin board, now that I know the truth, I can let go.

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