Saturday, September 15, 2018

Luxury Linens

Victoria Magazine September 2018
I am sitting at my old desk, in its new place, waiting for Angel to arrive to repair the drywall in the ceiling of the room that I intend to arrange just as you see in the photograph. 

I have embarked on a new adventure ... having lived in the city, alone ... well, except for the couple of years that I lived with my sister, I have moved out to the suburbs to live with Mamasita, my mom. It is time to keep an eye on her and this is just of the ways of doing so in coordination with my other sister, who lives nearby. 

When considering the move, I thought to myself, as one would, I need to buy new bedding. And I want luxurious, soft, comforting, entangling things so as to create an oasis of calm for moments when I can be quiet and pretend that I still live alone in the old apartment on a somewhat quiet street in the thick of it all. The comforter that I had been using was nearly 30 years old. Thirty years old, you may wonder. In a former life, when I worked at Marshall Field's and at the beginning of the Super Sunday era. Traditionally, the store on State Street was closed on Sundays and opened late, until 7 p.m., twice a week. When the doors opened on Sunday, the sales were phenomenal and the crowds were insane. When this started, I managed several home store departments. I would place sale merchandise on tables down the aisles and some customers would come by and buy everything on the table. We would clear out our stockrooms not so much with merchandise that was damaged or poor sellers, but one of a kinds and often luxury goods ... in the beginning. It was on one of these early Sundays when I found my first luxury comforter set. It was from an Australian vendor that the department didn't stock ... sometimes buyers, who still worked in the building, would sell off samples on Super Sunday. As the years went on, the comforter became softer and finer than when I first put it on my bed. I was tempted many times to replace it because it was so old and a few times, a duvet covered it. But I created a story for it ... a great textile in a great house would lie on a bed for a century. What would possess me to replace this one. Of course, in reality, mine was just an old bedspread in a worn vintage apartment in an American city, not a great estate in the Cotswolds.

Sadly, Marshall Field's is gone. But I committed myself to finding the most luxurious bedding that money could buy, which, I might add, is no easy feat in the age of Amazon. But I found it ... in reality, I found layers of it ... sheets, blanket, pillows ... even a new mattress pad. And in going to paint, to layer the look even more, I found where the roof leak snuck in ... my bedroom ceiling. And so in warped speed, I have been quickly brought up to speed of what it means to be a homeowner. I'm not sure about it, but I've no other choice. It is insane how complicated it is to find someone to do the work. Angel came to me via a family connection. He's in there now cutting out the drywall and doing what he does. My linens, I imagine, are peeking out of their bags around the corner wondering if they are every going to get out of their plastic and on to the mattress. 

Soon, luxury, soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Serena Williams ... again

People Magazine

Serena is bringing me back to tennis. As a kid, I did have the chance to take tennis lessons with the park district. I was lucky enough to have a great coach, who really taught me the game. I can remember when I was beginning to be successful that I started to watch tennis on television. Born into a sports loving family, I was encouraged to watch ... and play. I bothered my mom to no end to help me out in buying a Chris Evert tennis racket. Ooooh, I wanted that racket. I can't even remember what kind of racket that I was playing with before I put my hands on that racket. It was probably bought at the local Value Village and was made of tin and fishing line. I know that my play elevated as soon as I put my hand around a grip that was sized for my hand. And I played with it through junior high and high school when I played for the school team. I brought it to college and took tennis as my PE requirement. And then, I sort of lost track of it.

I picked up a racket again many years later and graduated to a titanium delight that weighs nearly nothing and allows me to block the power shots that my niece drives at me across the net. She's a power house and were it not for the tennis elbow that plagues me, I would continue to play more than during our asphalt pick up games when she's in town. Perhaps because I have gotten the racket back in my hand, I have kept an eye on what is going on in professional tennis. In the past, I watched mostly men's tennis ... Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase ... all of the old guys. I wanted the Evert  racket, but I watched the boyfriend (Jimmy Connors).

Well, we've come a long way baby. And little girls know that they need to take the gaze off of the men and find power in their own sex. And I'm reminded of this as I am fascinated by Serena Williams', not Roger Federer's, play. And with that, I have to wonder why tennis hasn't kept up with the movement that has picked me up. Becoming a mother aside, Serena has locked heads with the old tennis guard with what she wears to play. Wearing a compression catsuit to protect against blood clots, the French Tennis Federation President, Bernard Giudicelli, banned her from wearing them. He said that her appearance must "respect the game." I don't have much to say about that idiotic statement and belief, especially as athletes across the seasons have gone to more streamlined uniforms to enhance their performance. But Serena?  Girl, she figured it out. And what she did is pure sport.

For the 2018 US Open, Serena worked with Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh and Nike to give the French guy what he wants ... a tutu. In her first appearance at the tournament, she wore black. She came out of the tunnel in a leather coat and compression fish net stockings. Her shoes were bedazzled. And for each match she has twirled her way on to the court ... actually, she twirls at the end of winning each match so far ... but she arrives with her game face on and a fabulous defense, actually offensive, against the outdated, misogynistic malarkey that, apparently, tennis officials still hold dear.

They need to watch it ... cause girls run the world, and Serena is likely going to run them out of town ... or out to pasture, where they belong.