Burning down the house

(To fellow WP bloggers, this is the weirdest thing. Apparently this post did not publish, or it published in a draft format that was not at all what my final result looked like to me, and that’s why I’ve reposted it. Strange limbo zone!!)

Do you smell the smoke?

It’s a rainy SoCal day and I was in a state of cleaning bliss, dusting and polishing and organizing.

I lit dried sage from the garden to smudge in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on my bedside table to bring a little pungent sagey/outdoorsy fragrance.

It seemed safe, right? Metal bowl placed not directly on wood, but on a mirror to protect it.

Apparently NOT safe.

I continued cleaning the other rooms, enjoying the sagey perfume. After a while, I thought that it seemed to be smoking for much much longer than the amount of leaves in the bowl and as I walked toward my bedroom, I was engulfed in smoke!

A MAJOR smudge haha.

I ran over to the window which was closed ‘cos of the rain, and slid it completely open, then to my beside table where I could see the mirror had cracked and the metal bowl had fused to the wood and was too hot to touch.


The table was literally seconds away from going up in flames!

The smoke was no longer from the sage; the antique and very dry wood was burning.

Oh, and somehow the carpet had a few burn holes too.

Now there’s a nasty burn mark on my mom’s antique bedside table,img_6903

It took about an hour for the smoke to dissipate. There’s not a smoke alarm in my bedroom and it hadn’t yet reached the dining room area where there are TWO smoke alarms, so that’s why I was oblivious.

Well, one reason why I was oblivious.

The other reason is that cleaning puts me into a Zen-like trance and I was lost in my own little world.

Moral of the story? DO NOT put sage in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on top of a wooden surface. EVER.

I repainted this room recently, and noticed that it no longer reeks of fresh paint, so there’s a sort of silver lining???




Don’t hate me, but I love to clean house

vintage_cleaning_ad-300x201March means spring cleaning, right?

  • Vacuuming
  • Polishing furniture
  • Laundering curtains, drapes, bedspreads
  • Ironing
  • Bleaching grout
  • Shampoo carpets

Nothing compares to a job well done–the satisfaction of sparkly tile and a well ordered linen closet…the sweet perfume of bleach, Pine-Sol, and vinegar.

And it’s great exercise, too.

I don’t understand why housecleaning is the victim of such visceral loathing. I’ve always found it to be a source of –well, not quite mindless activity– but rather a Zen-like state.

I’ve come up with some of my best ideas while vacuuming.

UNKNOWN_CleaningDishesMotherAndDaughter_WIt’s ‘cos of my mom. When I was growing up, she made chores fun— not drudgery to be avoided. Whether it was washing the crystal in the china cabinet or ironing scarves and handkerchiefs, we always had a great time. A time to joke and chat, working on a project together.

“Good morning, Rosebud, guess what we’re going to do today?”

“What, mommy. what?”

“We’re going to take ALL the books out of the bookcase, wash the shelves, and dust the books! Do you think we should put them back by size, or subject, or alphabetically? Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“Oh, mommy, that sounds like so much fun!

If a job has to be done, why not enjoy doing it?

I think that’s a wonderful gift for a mother to bestow upon her child.

men-housework1- travelerstipsnpicsI’m all for equality; equal pay and all that, but cleaning and organizing is deeply satisfying.

Even my tugboat man enjoys the virtues of a clean garage and he’s a great window washer, so it’s not a gender thing.




When I’m cleaning, I love  Cow Cow Boogie by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.

Do you have a favorite song list for cleaning?


This would be “during”, more than “before”messybedroomAfter…much nicer, don’t you agree? I’ll sleep good tonight.After...