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The Bliss of Small Moments

The highlight of my holiday was organizing my underwear drawers. Don’t get me wrong—I had an incredible experience at a dear friends home on Christmas Day, and I spent a very special evening with my brother and his fiancé on Thursday. But the task of arranging and coordinating my lingerie was deeply rewarding in both tangible and intangible ways.

I didn’t start out with an intention to do this: the bureau that contains my intimate apparel, socks and stockings was not particularly unorganized. I had a couple of baskets cuddled inside the drawers—one piled high with socks, one with panties, and so forth. It was fairly manageable, though when I wanted to find a particular pair of stockings or my strapless bra it became a rather daunting effort to locate exactly what I was looking for without half the drawer spilling all over the floor. But when perusing the aisles looking for a housewarming gift at The Container Store a few days ago, I came across something that set my heart aflutter: blue and brown silk drawer organizers. It not only felt serendipitous given those particular colors are the palette of my bedroom, but the boxes looked like they were handmade for my bureau. I bought six and spent the remainder of the day organizing the La Perla there, the Wolford there and stuff I no longer wore out there. It was deeply fulfilling on so many levels—and every time I open the drawers (which is at least once a day) I can’t help but feel a tiny thrill. I can’t help but smile.

I think it is these little things that mean the most. The joy of holding a special mug to house my morning coffee, the touch of old, soft linens, putting flowers in a treasured vase—these things underscore the wonderfully quiet, utterly personal small moments that weave together life and love.

I have been lucky. I have spent the last two weeks amidst moments like these. Work was over for the year on December 13th and as the days passed and the email slowed and the stress and commitments and deadlines floated away, something else took hold: a quietness, a certain kind of calm—even a little bit of bliss. I have tried to steer clear of much of the forced hilarity of the season and give thanks for all the small moments, the big friendships, the deep love and all of the profound kindness around me. And now, with the New Year upon us, I wish all the Speak Up family a wonderful 2006. I hope it is filled with everything you want, nothing you don’t, and lots of supremely treasured small moments.

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ARCHIVE ID 2505 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Dec.31.2005 BY debbie millman
Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s comment is:

Thank you Debbie.

Yes little things means the most and beautiful too.

Wishing you and all SpeakUp members a woderful year ahead.

On Jan.01.2006 at 04:01 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Thanks, Debbie

And thank you Bryony & Armin, along with all the other authors, for Speak Up. The design world (& my world) would be a poorer place without it.

Happy New Year.

On Jan.01.2006 at 08:18 AM
Bryony’s comment is:

And a happy new year to you all.

Debbie, as usual you sent me on a memory avalanche last night that kept me up for too long a time. This has been another incredible year. A few things that come to mind (in no particular order):

- Sheepies II and III

- Our Speak Up branded living room (unintentionally sharing the same color)

- Long dinners with friends

- Armin and his snow shovel

- The birth of my nephew/godson Juan


- Learning how to be a homeowner

- Seeing everyone in Boston

- Having many of you locals over for a holiday/housewarming party

- Spending the holidays with our families in Mexico

- Having Armin's support and love

- Sharing moments with those whom I love

On Jan.01.2006 at 09:35 AM
ps’s comment is:

happy new year to you all. for 2006, i hope you'll all enjoy looking at your organized underwear as much as debbie does. and if your's is not as organized -- it's not too late.

On Jan.01.2006 at 12:03 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

May I share a moment of saving grace with you all?

My wife and I were only days out from evacuating New Orleans. It took 18 hours before we finally stopped in Atlanta, several states away from home. Shaken that the levees broke and as the bad situation got worse, we saw TV news footage of our city that could not have been more discouraging: New Orleans was under water. These were our people there suffering - both black and white. It was painful, to say the least. While in Atlanta, after a few days, we went to get our first lunch out. More or less just to get a meal in a restaurant again - like other people. There's a sense of dislocation that makes these things hard to do. In the fairly average restaurant we overheard some yuppies at the next table mocking the sight of overweight black people being airlifted off roofs, over the flood water. Laughing! Well, I just couldn't stop myself as I went over and blasted these shallow people for their cruel insensitivity. I told them they should be ashamed of themselves. I was loud enough to make the whole restaurant stop. Being a normally quiet guy this was definitely out of character for me. When I said my piece and the yuppies were mortified, the restaurant owner came over and mentioned that our meal was on him and then he thanked us. And when we returned to our vehicle we found a note under the windshield saying this:

Dear fellow Louisianian,

We saw your license plate and wanted to hope that everybody you know is safe. We want you to know that we all pray for the best for you. Me and my friends are in the same boat as you all - fleeing from the city. Hope for the best out of a really hard situation.

~ three Louisiana girls

We both burst out crying in a flood of tears.

So, yes, Debbie, little things mean a lot when you need them. There's good and bad everywhere. Heaven help the Good. To all of you here in this virtual place called SpeakUp: Thank you. The messages of hope sustained me under difficult times. May 2006 be a better year for all of us.

On Jan.01.2006 at 09:08 PM
marian bantjes’s comment is:

I have had the pleasure of seeing Debbie's underwear drawer for myself, and I have to say that it is a delightful reminder of what it is to be a girl. To most guys, the underwear thing is just you-know: have a look and rip it off. But oh, men, you miss so much with your boxers, your briefs and even your mini briefs. Debbie's underwear drawer is a place of treasure: lace and colours, silk and textures, glittering with options and the luxury of promise ... and now it is an organized underwear drawer, and that, my friends, is no small thing, but something to envy, imagine, and miss.

And a happy, lacy 2006 to you all.

On Jan.02.2006 at 01:05 AM
Ravenone’s comment is:

One of the small moments that gets me are those unexpected kindness things. Like DM responding to some vapid email I wrote, finding my coffee mug after my grandparents had exiled it on accident to the far shelf away from all the other mugs, and being greeted warmly by my ki-...

Kitten who just removed my socks and underwear from their shelf so she could cuddle up and sleep there...

On Jan.02.2006 at 02:29 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Thanks Marian, for a more detailed description of Debbie's special drawer. Simply a mention of her strapless bra was already enough to make my ears red.

I'm hoping that 2006 will be more of a steady ride than the roller coaster I took in 2005. I hope to be able to spend more time with my family and dear friends — including my SU family.

Happy 2006 everyone — and "May the best of your past be the worst of your future!"

On Jan.02.2006 at 03:42 PM
jo’s comment is:

Thanks to Debbie and to Pesky Illustrator for sharing such wonderful and touching moments. May many more grace your life in 2006.

On Jan.03.2006 at 09:06 AM
BlueStreak’s comment is:

What did Marian Bantjes say to Jonathan Baldwin regarding

his SU article a few weeks ago?

"This is a great post—it just needed some more imagery."

Some well crafted pix here with Marian Bantjes style pixel lace

would have been really sweet.

On Jan.03.2006 at 10:01 AM