My Latest Snag: The Box Spring Cover.
The following ranks highly among the “random, very weird, possibly too eccentric things I like” category: a box spring cover. As you know, I take disproportionate pride in my bed. I mean, I spend half my life in it, and it’s maybe the one part of our entire petite apartment that is truly mine (well, and Mr. Magpie’s — but it is not a space where you’ll often find mini’s Little People, or crumbs from mini’s snacks, or a bottle cap. We usually keep it tidy and taut, just for us.) A reader not long ago wrote something along the lines of: “Life is not all about ironed sheets.” She meant it in a friendly context, i.e., “I enjoy your more serious writing — or its balance with the more frivolous,” but I saw in it a glimpse of what I must look like to many of you: a thoughtful, empathic woman, but one who is occasionally overfussy about unimportant things. I wrote earlier this week that, at the age of twelve, I “hadn’t the faintest idea where the stress accents belonged in the day-to-day living of my life,” and the reader’s comment made me wonder whether I still grapple with — to pursue the musical analogy — the articulation of notes. And so the comment yielded more self-reflection than it intended to warrant, but I landed not far from where I started in the sense that: yes, ironed sheets matter to me. My bed matters to me. Maybe more than it should — or maybe not. Mr. Magpie has a funny quirk when evaluating a new restaurant: if the bathrooms are filthy, he’s generally turned off. “If they can’t get the easy stuff right — keeping a small bathroom tidy — what’s going on where you can’t see, in the kitchen and larder?” It’s enough to make our stomachs turn. The same principle applies elsewhere. If I can’t get the small stuff right, the big stuff feels all out of wack, too.
And so you may or may not scoff at my latest obsession: a box spring cover. It had always lightly bothered me that when my bed was made, you could see, at the very head, where the duvet was folded back, a little bit of the unattractive box spring at the base. It wasn’t a big deal and I let it fall out of my mind. But I was thrilled to find a solution. I have no idea how or where I came across this, but it really does lend a more finished look to our bedroom. The bed now looks like an inviting, frosted seven layer cake and I can’t wait to crawl into it, my frivolity bedamned.
You’re Sooooo Popular: Pearl Earrings.
The most popular items on the blog this week:
+This dress is ready for a party. (Also: major Saloni vibes for less.)
+Fun and inexpensive Halloween decor. (<<Mini loved when we surprised her with these all over our dining room last year!)
What do you sing to your babies at night? What did your parents sing to you?
My father often — rather curiously — sang me Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky” at bedtime. I think about that strange choice often. I am confident he sang it simply because he liked it, and nothing more — but there was a rousing narrative and strong visual imagery and I’ve internalized it all and tied it back to my father in many complex ways.
And so I don’t think I’m being overprecious in saying that I often find myself musing over the two lullabies I sing to my children close to every night: “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio and “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music.
I am not convinced I agree with the ethic behind “When You Wish Upon a Star,” as I tend to subscribe more to the Edison quote:
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
In short: wishing is not enough. Wishing won’t get you where you need to go. Good things don’t happen to good people without good effort. And I think I’d rather instill in my children the notion that they should never grow a wishbone where a tailbone ought to be.
At the same time: they are children. I wish for them unbridled ambition and outsized dreams. One of the most beautiful gifts my parents gave me was the latitude to explore, to tinker, to pursue my interests without judgment. “You want to write? Great! Let’s sign you up for a writing class.” “You want to design clothes? Fantastic. Let’s buy you a sewing machine.” They were endlessly supportive, especially of our artistic ambitions.
And so I return to the song, whose lyrics and melody leave me inexplicably farklempt more often than not despite the frequency with which I sing it, and I think: “Maybe this is OK. Maybe it’s best to send them out into the world starry-eyed and wishful.”
What do you think?
Post-Scripts: My Next Thriller.
+Probably my next thriller read pick.
+Our new kitchen has enough space for one of these and mini would die over it. She loves cooking — probably because of how much time Mr. Magpie and I invested in it.
+Aflare, electric — musings on writing to you.
+Another really good sweatshirt from RM.
+Love the cinched waist of this blazer.