Friday, December 16, 2011

To stash or trash? What to do with journals.

I have a lot of journals. I love to write, and have loved writing since I was very young. I have filled journals since I was a child. These journals were the expression of my soul, the eyes through which I processed the world. I figured out who I was by writing about it. ALLLLLLLL about it. I am very attached to my journals, in a sense I feel like they are the living breathing proof that I live. They hold my past, and without my past, who am I?

But they are not the living breathing proof that I live. They do not live, they do not breathe, they are empty books I scribbled in as I grew up. I defined myself, they did not define me. And now, hundreds perhaps thousands of pages later they are taking up a lot of space. Too much space. I've stared at this collection of writings and asked myself, "What would happen if a fire suddenly swept through our house and destroyed all of my journals, would I really be so devastated? Would it really feel like I'd lost my past?" Of course not. Who am I without that past? I'm still me. The past is really gone anyway. These journals are just little glimpses of thoughts I had at one time. The richness of the memories and experience lies in my mind, and has created me into the woman I am, so in a sense the past is always with me. It made me who I am right now. The idea that we can hold onto it in any sense, is truly an illusion. Even journals do not fully hold our past experience, no matter how detailed we tried to be when writing it.

I will never forget the first journal I threw away.

 I wrote it in seventh grade. This was me, in seventh grade. Tall, gangly, and awkward. I was already 5'6 and still had three more inches of growing ahead of me. I was giggly, hopelessly romantic, in love with everything vintage and feminine, adored Anne of Green Gables, and I was boy crazy. Absolutely boy crazy. Especially over the boy that lived down the street. For a year, I filled up a little red spiral notebook with a careful record of the number of times he looked at me on the bus, (to my great frustration that number was often zero) whether or not he came upstairs when I brought cookies to his house, (to my even greater frustration he usually hid out in the basement and called for his dad to bring him a cookie so he didn't have to come upstairs) and the general laments of a typical 12 year old..."Oh my gosh, a zit, a ZIT! My life is over." One day as I was perusing the old pages, noting the tally marks I'd once kept as I counted how many times I'd written this boy's name throughout the book (It was well over 365 times proving then and there my parents are the most patient people on the planet because you know I was rehearsing all of this to them as well) I realized something. I didn't have to keep this anymore. I mean, I could, but it was also okay to let it go. To simply throw it away. Scan it? Nope. Just toss it. The idea kind of hurt me at first.

 "But, but, buuuuuuut...."

There was no reason to keep it. My mind searched, came up with some weak argument that it could be amusing to my children one day, or possibly help me get into my son's head a little when he's thirteen, help me understand him better, but the arguments seemed so flawed.

First of all, I don't really know that my children will be interested in reading my boy crazy thoughts, and second of all I don't really want them to. It's not who I am anymore. And while it may offer them some laughs, I don't really love people laughing at my expense. How I relate to my son when he's thirteen will have a lot more to do with who I am the day he's thirteen, than who I was the day I was thirteen. And the only way to get into a thirteen year old's head is to be invited there, by talking. My son is nothing like I was at age three, he will be nothing like I was at age thirteen. He is his own person. What I really need to remember from that time of my life, is apart of who I am forever. Yes, I learned valuable lessons in those adolescent years, but I wasn't writing about those things. Those lessons came later, when I looked back. And I don't need the proof any more. The proof, lies in who I am today. That's what's real.

So in the trash it flew.

"Clunk" it hit the bottom of the enormous dumpster in our apartment complex. No going back. No climbing over those eight foot high walls. Though, the thought momentarily danced around in my head.

But then it happened. A sense of relief. A sense of liberation. The knowledge that there was one less journal taking up space, asking me what I should do with it, scan it, stash it or trash it?

Am I going to trash all of my journals, no. Probably not.  Journals, like any other thing in our life isn't clutter as long as it has a purpose, or fills us with feelings of joy and delight. Quite frankly, that journal was serving no purpose and filled me with nothing but embarrassment. So I chose to let it go. And the fact that if felt so good, assured me that was the right choice.

My grandpa, an avid historian, once shared with me that he'd long ago thrown away all his journals from his youth. My first response was horror, and shock.

"I might have wanted to read those!" I cried.

 "But I didn't want you to read those" He told me gently "That is not who I am anymore, and I want you to think about me as you know me, as I am to you."

I tried to be understanding but I still thought I would have liked to read those old journals and know more about HOW he became who he was that day, that perhaps knowing how my grandpa became such a great man would teach me how to become a great woman. But it doesn't really work like that. I didn't understand until the day I threw away my red boy crazy notebook, that much of what I'd written was nothing more than mental chatter.

My grandpa still has thousands of pages he's written and wants to leave for his children and grand children. He even made videos called "Grandpa's talks" where he shares his insights, life lessons, and passions in a very organized and clear way, easily understood by the listener. He had to write out a lot of mental chatter before he got to the place where he could truly share what he was discovering along the way. But he doesn't need to share the chatter. We all have enough of that in our own heads.

There are different kinds of journals, they all serve a purpose of their own, some are worth keeping, some are not. You get to choose which you feel is worth the space in your closet. But if you choose it's not worth the time to scan, or the space to store and it no longer brings you joy to read through, you are not obligated to keep it forever. It will not take anything away from your past.  And if it held any insight that you might need in the future, you already have, it will always be with you. You wrote it. Besides, the truly inspiring life lessons have a way of getting told and retold so that they live forever. Of course you can keep THOSE!

Good luck in this great clutter conundrum!
And remember, blogging takes up virtually no physical space at all.....


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cleaning Hard Water Deposits Off Your Shower Hardware

As I have made abundantly clear on this blog, I love bubble baths, but nothing irritates me more than a dirty bathtub. It just will not do. Among my many pet cleaning peeves is the ever persistent hard water stain. Caused by the minerals naturally occurring in most water sources, as the water droplets dry on your bath hardware, or glass doors the water leaves behind a white mineral deposit. Over time this can build up to become quite the unsightly mess, and can not be removed with just soap and water. 

I recently searched online for a method, free of harsh chemicals, to take care of the water stains on my bath tub faucet and handle. I found white vinegar a popular natural alternative but most recommended an over night treatment involving removing the hardware and soaking it in vinegar for 24 hours. Or, filling a bag with vinegar and securing it to the shower head or faucet and letting it sit over night, or soaking paper towels in the vinegar and draping it over the fixtures for the 24 hours. I wanted faster, easier results.

I read that one professional house cleaner wipes down the affected area with oil and then scrapes the deposits  off with a razor blade, so I gave that a try. Here are my results.



I was quite pleased with the outcome. The oil really shines up the fixture and the mineral deposits are gone, it feels as smooth as a new fixture. Sadly, there are some permanent stains because I live in an apartment and it appears that past tenants tried cleaning the fixtures with steel wool, which gets a temporary result but scratches the surface of the metal so much that it creates a nice foot hold for future deposits to linger upon. The quality of the fixtures is also very cheap, so it stains easily. Despite all of this, I feel that the oil makes a big difference, even more noticeable in real life, the pictures don't really do it as much justice as I would have liked. 

Hopefully in the future, we can avoid hard water stains by wiping down the metal surfaces with a towel after a shower, or spritzing it with some white vinegar which I feel would make a great maintenance option. In the case of glass doors, keep a squeegee hung in the shower and just squeegee the door before getting out of the shower. Even doing this once in a while will help lessen the mineral build up. 

I understand that this approach is time consuming when you are dealing with a large glass surface, but when properly maintained it shouldn't require your attention as often.  When you do have to tackle the big glass doors, add a little lemon essential oil to your mix and enjoy the lovely scent, (lemon is also naturally acidic and will help dissolve the mineral buildup, as well as kill germs) turn on some music and take the time to contemplate the universe. Also, pat yourself on the back  for keeping your cleaning habits healthy for you and the environment. Your hands will be so soft and lovely after all oil you use, your mood will be lifted from the lemon oil, and your bath will be sparkling clean! I use my favorite body oil, which happens to be apricot but any oil will do nicely.

If  you'd like to remove the oil residue from your glass door, wash down with a scrub brush using a mixture of water and white vinegar,  then squeegee off. In the case of fixtures you can buff off access oil with a clean towel.

Now, reward your hard work with a bubble bath! 

Happy cleaning!
-Domestic Diva 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bubble Bath Book.

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately. Sad, every time I think of the fact that in just a few days I would have had an appointment to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time, devastated that this July will roll around and I will not be welcoming a baby into the world as I was so eagerly anticipating. I dreamed last night that the miscarriage was a big misunderstanding, something I'd dreamed up, and in my arms was a beautiful cherub faced blue eyed baby that looked suspiciously like Scotty when he was a newborn :) I was overjoyed, and crying to my husband, "Look, look, the baby is here it was all a dream that we'd lost him!" Almost as if in direct response to my deep sorrow I've had a sore throat for the last three days, which I find remarkably symbolic, because I am a singer and sing my joy into every day! But my heart is sad, and I have not felt the urge to sing lately. And so, my throat got sick. As I'm looking for ways to cope with my sadness I've found one thing to be truly distracting, and healing, bubble baths.

I once found a magazine advertisement when I was in middle school of this beautiful black and white image of a woman standing in front of a free standing bath tub, wearing a beautiful gown, and a hand full of bubbles. The caption read : "take a hot bath with bubbles, forget all your troubles." In my youthful excitement over the ad that seemed to speak the truth of my soul I cut up the perfectly designed, wonderfully photographed, ad and turned it into the collage you see above. I still have an affinity for making collages I'm afraid, and butcher many a graphic artist's master pieces. Here is a close up of the image that so profoundly struck me in my youth.

Oh how my little awkward tweeny self wanted to be that beautiful, tall, elegant woman. How I wanted my world to be that free standing (no doubt copper) bath tub, with claw feet, glowing candles in the back ground, the scent of  my perfume hanging in the air, a bottle of sparkling cider and grapes for a snack, a fabulous floor to ceiling window flanked on either side by two grand columns, whose view, once those blinds were drawn, would surely be a breathtaking display of a velvet night sky speckled with stars and illuminated by a full moon. Ah, bliss, and do I even need to mention the fact that Prince Charming would quietly slip into the scene after I'm ensconced in bubbles, kiss my neck, stroke my hair and be every definition of romantic there is? Angels would probably hover over us and play Puccini on their harps of gold, and in a most timely manner sprinkle rose petals over us as if to shower us in the physical manifestation of passion, which to an eleven year old is, of course, roses. Lots, and lots of roses.

When my young eyes fell upon this picture and read those words for the first time "Take a hot bath with bubbles, forget all your troubles" it seemed to ingrain itself into my soul as the answer to everything. At that moment I officially converted to the wonders of the bubble bath, and it has been a tried and true solution to any and all sorts of stress in my life. I have had the experience of the indulgent bliss of a magnificent bath tub on many occasions, there's no going back for me, bath tubs will always be the number one solution to any problem or sadness I face.

As you can imagine I've taken many baths as of late. Today while my sweet Prince Charming held our rambunctious three year old at bay (Just as romantic as my eleven year old version if you ask this mommy) I hid out in our not so copper, not so claw footed, very builder grade bath tub, turned on my music, opened a book and ahhhhhhh, bliss. Amazing how hot water and bubbles can transform even the most un-extraordinary place into a haven.

As I was lounging and reading, a sudden thought began to dance around in my head. "If I could write any book in the world, I would write a book about the wonders of a bubble bath...." The idea seemed intriguing, and suddenly I saw pages filled with my own favorite bath recipes, pictures of grand bathrooms, a history of the bath, home spa treatments, a section on creating ambiance, the health benefits of baths, different uses for essential oils in baths, and because I'm a touch OCD, how to clean a bathtub, naturally. Because who wants to bathe in bleach? Really. Suddenly, I felt like my life had a focus and purpose, a thrilling challenge to conquer, and joyous journey to explore, and an expression of a passion I've held since my youth.

And so, we shall see where this takes me. Perhaps the idea was nothing more than a moment of joyful anticipation and bliss over a new creative expression for myself. But if more is to come of it, I will surely share it here.

In the meantime, take a hot bath with bubbles, and forget all your troubles!


Thursday, December 1, 2011


"Little Heart"

My heart echos into stillness
There is no answer to its steady beat
It calls in vain to one who is not there
That faint cry of one so small,
Too small for me to see
Too small for me to hold
But not too small, for my heart to feel.

And now my heart is lonely
And cries, looking for that lost sound
That little heart that calls back to its mother
In its own quick beat of new life,
But it answers no more.

Such tremendous loss
For such a tiny heart
A heart that beats from heaven now
And knows that mine must stop,
Before we're united again.

-HD Nickerson Nov. 27, 2011

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