Taming the mess, and a few found things

by Jennifer on March 30, 2008

The first found thing is this candle that I bought at Target yesterday. I burned it in my office last night and all day today. The scent is Tuscan Cypress & Olive Leaf. Which doesn’t sound like it would smell very good, but it does. Love it.


Though it smelled good, my office was a mess, and so was my desk. For most of the afternoon, I camped out in here, trying to organize and sort through mystery piles of stuff. So far, on my desk alone, I’ve found:

  • books
  • a stack of printed-out chapters of my book, marked up in red and dog-eared
  • artwork by the kids
  • DVDs (Little Children; The Great Gatsby; The Painted Veil; America’s Castles: The Coal Barons from A& E (book research); and My Little Pony: Princess Promenade (Unfortunately, the Ponies watched Little Children, and now they’re not quite so innocent anymore. Why do they keep asking if they can do some laundry?)
  • Christmas cards, unreciprocated this year (sorry, everyone)
  • school papers (which reproduce at a maddening rate)
  • bills (ditto)
  • my leatherbound book full of poetry and quotes (there it is!)
  • poker chips (some of them from my own set, for idle shuffling at my desk; some from the casino where my husband and I like to play)
  • my parents’ engagement announcement from 1966, tucked inside a birthday card they sent to my grandfather that year (This item is definitely a straggler from whatever safe place I should keep it. On the other hand, its wandering nature lines up perfectly with the nature of my parents’ history. It might just stay on my desk. Or wherever.)
  • a map of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. (Best drive ever.)
  • assorted index cards with notes scribbled on them. Things to remember. Notes for my book. Grocery lists.

And an index card with the names of three songs and the word iTunes written on it. Two of the three songs I have downloaded already, but I had forgotten all about the one I’m sharing here, “Boston” by Augustana. It’s three years old, but that’s about how long it takes me to hear new music unless I go looking for it on iTunes.

My desk is tidy now (Mr. H won’t believe it unless he sees it for himself), and it won’t take me long to finish the rest of the office. As for the rest of the house? Let’s not talk about it.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

flutter March 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm

ever tried ambiance by aroma naturals? i think you would love it….


Nicole P March 31, 2008 at 4:19 am

Oh jeez, messy desks must be a woman thing.
I don’t have an office, but I have a scrapbook room with a desk, which I am in the process of trying to clean and organize.
You know that stage where everything gets even messier before it starts looking better? That’s where I am right now.


cce March 31, 2008 at 4:58 am

I’m a huge Votivo candle fan which is to say that once a year I scrape together the down payment required to walk out of some snotty boutique with the Red Currant version of celebrity aromatherapy and then burn it selfishly, in solitary moments, so that I can stretch out it’s existence long enough to pay the damn thing off before having to buy another.

Little Children-the book, though not perfect, is soooo much better than the movie. Have you read it? Oh I hope you read it before seeing the movie. There’s no official washing machine scene but it’s a lot more subtle and suggestive and thought provoking than the film with all its voice overs telling the viewer how to feel an think about the characters and their actions.


Mad Madge March 31, 2008 at 5:54 am

i want that candle. i’m listening to the song after my mom leaves….


Jenn @ Juggling Life March 31, 2008 at 6:30 am

It is such a satisfying feeling to get something set to rights.

If you have time, stop by my place today–you inspired me.


Akelamalu March 31, 2008 at 7:24 am

Tidying the office is a nightmare I don’t even want to dream about! 🙁


Mrs. G. March 31, 2008 at 7:36 am

Way to dig in-look at all the cool stuff you found. Happy Monday!


Kelley March 31, 2008 at 8:34 am

I am beginning to suspect we might be long-lost sisters. I have been cleaning my desk of late too. Sadly, I insist on taking notes (about anything and everything) on tiny scraps of paper, so half the battle is figuring out what I’ve done, what I haven’t, and what I still give two bits about.

Incidentally, I fully believe that you can name a candle anything fancy and it would sell. Maybe I will develop one called Hawaiian Sunrise Over Lavarocks.


Melissa March 31, 2008 at 8:39 am

What an accomplishment to get that desk cleaned! I always feel so good when I pull that off.


Kellan March 31, 2008 at 9:01 am

I love a good smelling candle! I also love when my desk is all nice a clean and tidy. It’s not right now!

Thanks for coming by and leaving the kind well wishes – so nice to see you. I’ll see you soon – take care – Kellan


liv March 31, 2008 at 9:10 am

i do like that song! thanks for sharing~


Daryl E March 31, 2008 at 9:21 am

I want to thank you for being the time out I took today .. the insanity that is this office move is accelerating and I needed a breather .. while I swallowed my lunch whole I read your post .. gotta say I can smell that candle from here and its soothing ..


Hatchet March 31, 2008 at 9:25 am

I think we have the same desk. I tried cleaning mine off a month ago and got interrupted by the twins. Now it’s beyond messy and the bills are piling up.

I still haven’t paid the bills. Argh!

What’s up with schoolwork, anyway? That stuff multiplies like Tribbles and you can’t throw it out while the kids are around, either….


Lisa Milton March 31, 2008 at 10:46 am

Aha! I knew those ponies were up to no good.


ByJane March 31, 2008 at 10:50 am

please come clean my desk…i can’t find it.


suburbancorrespondent March 31, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I just realized – I don’t think I even know any music that is less than 10 years old.


Daryl E March 31, 2008 at 12:42 pm

You have now twice today made me smile and laugh .. thank you .. I really needed it ..


we_be_toys March 31, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Gack! I don’t even want to think of what a mess my desk is right now! Especially since I’m supposed to be looking for some stuff my mom gave me that I promptly lost in the pile of crap that is my desk. I’m glad ONE of us got things organized!

I also read yesterday’s post about the trek to Target and the sprucing up of the patio. Kudos! We love to be out on the patio this time of year, before the mosquitoes wake up and discover us there. Already this spring, we have frittered many Saturdays away there, starting with breakfast, and extending into afternoon, lolling in the sunshine, sipping beverages made with intoxication in mind.
So, when’s the party and what should we bring?


molly March 31, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Cleaning is on my agenda tomorrow. Blogging be damned, I HAVE to get a handle on my mess!


San March 31, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I have some piles of paperwork to tame too. Thanks for the reminder. I guess.

Those people that inevitably have a place for everything and everything in its place–they madden me with their shallowness.



Minnesota Matron March 31, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Lovely. This post actually inspired me to open the top right hand drawer to my old desk and root through some treasures. One of the things I found was a pack of letters John sent me before we were married. Wow! Sort of made my night. Thanks for your own inspiring cleaning out. . . .


Lisa March 31, 2008 at 6:40 pm

I love candles. They make almost every task pleasant.


HRH March 31, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Do those candles smell like Jesus?


Betsy Bird March 31, 2008 at 7:54 pm

I would love to clean my desk like that tomorrow. Instead I’ll probably just go to Target and buy the candle. That would be a lot less work.


JCK March 31, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Loved this music, Jennifer.

And the post. Felt very much like you were inviting us in your office for a cup of tea. I need to attack my office. Oh, the piles…


Carolyn March 31, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Awesome! AWESOME!! This is the first time I’ve heard this song. I’m already in love. THANKS THANKS THANKS for sharing. This especially means a lot coming from a woman who used to work in radio. I was always on the cutting edge of music and usually knew about stuff before it was on the radio or tv. It breaks my heart to be “the last to know” on a great song like this!!


ps – congrats on the desk. Feels good to breathe, eh?


Meg April 1, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Okay, you are going to think I am pulling your leg, but I was in Target yesterday trying to find some “neat” things for my last (THANK GOD) bathroom that I need to put together and bought that same candle! I haven’t lit it yet because I am waiting for the weekend when I have a house full of guest that will be “enjoying” it!

I am cleaning my office TODAY…you have just inspired me, thanks for the kick in the butt, lol!


Manic Mommy April 1, 2008 at 5:37 pm

If you do come to Boston, I’ll pick you up at the airport.


Brenda April 7, 2008 at 8:08 am

I’m happy you found some worthwhile things on your desk. When I go through that process (only because there is nothing else to be done at the moment), I find an odd assortment of things, some quite interesting, but usually never what I was looking for.

My desk has been “clean” for about 12 days. Mind you I’ve been out-of-town for the past 9-1/2 days. But 12 days is amazing nevertheless.

Good luck on the house!


Candy April 9, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I’m still trying to get over my self-imposed guilt over not sending out Christmas cards this year. I doubt anyone who was on the list and didn’t get one is still fuming about it, but I still worry…what will they think of me???


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