Debra Darvickenhance your now in word and image
Head to Toe
I finally got around to doing something I’ve wanted to do for ages. It has nothing to do with a bucket list. I didn’t even have to leave my house. In fact, getting the house in order was the whole point. First I cleaned out the linen closet. No matter how hard I try to keep it neat, it quickly descends into a percale jungle. Why was I holding on to sheets and pillowcases from college? They were in very good condition; surely someone else could use them. And why not store the sheets for the guest room bed in the guest room? Voila! Those two moves gave me the space to fold and store the remainder.
Next up, the shallow closet that despite the labeled bins, had once again devolved into total disorder. The extension cord, heating pad, and chandelier bulbs irked me with their perennial falling off their shelf. The arnica cream (for sore muscles) had migrated into the bin labeled “tummy and toes.” Face wash definitely didn’t belong in the basket with contact lenses and eye drops. I rehoused toilet paper, the heating pad, and the lightbulbs on a linen closet shelf and fashioned from an oatmeal box a nifty holder for the extension cord.
Next up was a kit for touch-up paint. Earlier in the month I’d spent a few hours repairing the nicks in the wood trim throughout the house. It was a cumbersome task with a near disaster or two with a paint can. But when it was all done I was quite happy with the job. Gone was the shallow gouge in a door. When I come up the stairs I am no longer met with a nicked newel post niggling me for a spot of paint.
The world is steeped in disorder and chaos. There is so much I cannot repair. But I can bring order to my own little corner. I can smooth and fold, scrub and fix. What a gift that is, isn’t it?
The Head to Toe drawer in the curio cabinet encompasses a broad range of offerings. This time around I’m sharing my new/old tool box.
I needed a(nother!) something to hold my burgeoning collection of art supplies. Paints! Brushes! Tape! Gloss medium! Gesso! I had an old tool box… the rust could be sanded off but wouldn’t it be more fun to DECORATE IT???? Yes. Absolutely. Off to Target for colorful duct tape and huzzah! A fun carrier for my overflow supplies.
I’m sure they are much happier in this colorful case than they would have been in a plain grey metal box. Don’t you agree?
Why am I writing about a movie in this drawer of the curio cabinet? Because Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris will delight you from head to toe, de la tete aux pieds, from your chapeau to your chausures. The film has it all: a determined protagonist, ingenuity, thrills, set backs, despair, friendship, joy. And then there is salon show in which all but three of the dresses are exact replicas of Dior originals.
Mrs. Harris was the first movie I’d seen in a theater since January 2020. The theater was close to empty; my spirit, however, was full of delight.
At left: My mother in Paris, 1955
This drawer in the curio cabinet is devoted to products, ideas and tips to make your life a bit easier.
We had a few too many sugar ants visiting late spring and well into June. So tiny, nearly cute, but I still didn’t want them tiptoeing around my appliance garage. Peppermint oil to the rescue. I wiped the counter down with a mixture of soapy water and a few drops of peppermint oil. I soaked a few cotton balls with full strength oil and tucked them at the back edges of the garage. For a few days, I left the bottle uncorked in there as well. The house smelled delicious and within a day or two no more ants.
It seems everyone has their secret trick for perfectly made and peeled hard-boiled eggs. Here’s mine:
Fill a pot with water and set it to boil. When it’s good and roiling, gently settle your eggs into the pot, allow the water to return to a boil and set your timer for 12 mintues. When the time is up, turn off the flame and let the eggs sit in the water for a minute or two more. Rinse them in cool water, tap the bottom of the egg to crack the shell, and peel away. Voila! Perfectly hard-boiled eggs.
I’ve belonged to a study, discussion, meditation group for two years now. Every so often our teacher encourages us to meditate upon the miracle of our body. “Consider thanking your body for all it enables you to do,” Reb Sally suggests. She is so right.Whether it’s a small loss — muscle tone, energy, flexibility — or something more dire, we tend to ignore how much our body does for us until it doesn’t.
In Jewish morning liturgy, there is what is colloquially called “the bathroom blessing.” These words of praise and gratitude to God acknowledge the mircle that all our “openings and closings” perform in concert with one another, just as they were designed to do day after day, year after year, decade after decade. When they don’t, we suffer.
With two weddings coming up, I am eager to be on the dance floor once again. I thank my feet in advance.
I’ve begun my morning pages again. Followers of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way will recognize the phrase. Morning pages are a kind of journaling with three rules: the must be written in the morning upon awakening or very soon after, they must be done for 20 minutes’ duration, they must be written in longhand three sheets of 8 x 11 paper (one side only.) Like many wonderful personal practices, this one fell by the wayside. I would journal in the evening, or sometimes jot down sudden thoughts. But nothing compares to writing one’s morning pages.
I began again when I found myself waking up teeming with thoughts, my mind noisier than usual. Although I participate in an online prayer and meditation group five mornings a week, morning pages offer a different path to calm. You sit down, you set a timer, put pen to page and write. No lifting of the pen. No mulling over the phrase you just wrote down. No self-editing. No crossing out. The goal is forward movement and getting stuff out and down. Whatever it is. You can even write, I do not like this I do not like this I do not like this if you can’t come up with anything else. Eventually you will.
When my morning pages are complete, I feel clearer. They are the muggle’s answer to Harry Potter’s pensieve. They require more work than a pensieve, but the outcome is just as magical.