31 March 2017

The Tactful Queen

In the words of Winston Churchill: “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." The woman who emanates this quality cuts her opponents with a sharp tongue. The graceful delivery of her retort is unexpected and understated. She disarms her opponent of his pride and makes him grovel for forgiveness at her feet.  

I recall the scene between a tactful queen and her subject at the New York AFINGO conference in 2011. The rain fell unrelenting upon the concrete of Manhattan that April day. The seating in the Fashion Institute of Technology amphitheater filled as the stylish attendees claimed their seats. The center of the first row was prime territory, the royal box, and I stationed myself there.

The sixty-year-old woman, who wore sneakers and ill-fitting jeans, to my right had built a mountain of rain-related items in the chair between us. The queen of tact, dressed in powerful black, made her entrance from the staircase on the left.  The trench-clad woman in her twenties arrived at the foot of her throne to find it occupied by clutter. The royal wore her hair pulled up into a slick ponytail, and she approached her unruly subject with perfect posture and poise, requesting the items' removal from the blood-red upholstery. The bitter, old woman sighed and moaned incessantly at the decree's delivery. The young queen exuded maturity, attempting to rectify the situation by offering her hand in assistance. The witch's scowl lines deepened with dissatisfaction. "I don't like anybody touching my things," she hissed. 

The tactful ruler responded: "I don't appreciate being spoken to that way. I'm sorry I was only trying to help." The witch immediately hung her head, ashamed of her dreadful behavior, which seemed exponentially ridiculous when contrasted to the queen's regal manners. The royal took her rightful place in the auditorium, the diamonds in her invisible crown glittering as the immature woman pelted her with pleas for forgiveness.

The Rainy Day

M.J.C.

27 March 2017

Particular Pen, Part II

When the production of the Triumph 537R Roller Ball (.5mm) pen was halted, I was unamused. 
Dear BIC, 
I refuse to accept the new and "improved" retractable version of my favorite writing instrument. The ink refills you so kindly provided do not appease me. The barrel of the Triumph model cracks with wear rendering the replacement cartridges useless. 
I began my search again for the perfect pen at JetPens.com deciding on the uni-ball Vision Elite in .5mm and .8mm tips. The pen with the finer point skipped while in motion proving itself incapable of fulfilling its prime purpose. The pen with the bolder point conducted itself beautifully, and I highly recommend it in a blue-black shade of ink. I have declared it the pen of the moment.
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M.J.C

24 March 2017

Poppy-Colored Polish

As the pharmacy fills with families gathering weekend essentials, I seek solace in the midst of the nail polish displays. I evaluate my current mood and select a shade to match. The busy work-week seemed especially long, and today, Friday, is an opportunity to celebrate my survival. The snow is melting on account of the recently-reinstated sunshine. All of my responsibilities for the week were fulfilled. I briefly entertain the idea of skipping home. The red-orange shade of poppies personifies my intense excitement for the onset of the weekend, and that is the color I choose. My husband says that I should not feel pressured to paint my nails since our calendar does not contain any impending social obligations; no one will see them. I tell him that a woman who makes time for her nails makes time for herself; the color is for my own enjoyment, solely for me.
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M.J.C.

22 March 2017

Lettering with Lettermate

Every letter I write by hand receives a handwritten envelope to match. Employing the Lettermate, I pen the recipient’s name and address in straight lines. I imagine my contact will be semi-impressed with the precise alignment of the text. Charmed by the guide's sensibleness, I refuse to prepare outgoing mail without it. Before depositing the stamped envelope into the post box, I admire its uniform lettering. In this moment, I part with something beautiful that I have made for someone else. This is the essence of giving, and I vow to do more of it.  
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M.J.C.

15 March 2017

Lighting the Sage-Scented Candle

After a day of dealing with the unpleasantries of the world, I retreat home, lighting my sage-scented candle shortly after my arrival. The deep, sweet, herbal smell takes on a body of its own and circulates throughout the rooms. Leaving hints of wood and vanilla in its wake, the aroma demands the burden of my anxieties. I gladly turn them over. In exchange, I receive clarity. My muscles relax, my soul becomes centered, and I remember who I am.
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M.J.C.

11 March 2017

Capitalizing on Personal Time

I accomplish my personal goals by establishing what they are and fitting them into the time that I have. My free hours are extremely valuable. When I am not engaged in tasks related to my primary job, I dictate my own schedule. All of the items on my to-do list of endeavors cannot be undertaken at once. Thus, I prioritize and reprioritize my activities on a daily basis. One day my primary goal could be finishing the assigned reading for English class. The next day my focus could be walking around Penn's campus in the unseasonably warm weather. The following day could be devoted to taking photographs for this blog. By rotating my pursuits, I allow for the many things I deem important. 

"If you are working a full-time job, so 40 hours a week, sleeping eight hours a night, so 56 hours a week — that leaves 72 hours for other things," time management expert Laura Vanderkam concludes of our 168 hour week. "You say you're working 50 hours a week, maybe a main job and a side hustle. Well, that leaves 62 hours for other things. You say you're working 60 hours. Well, that leaves 52 hours for other things...We don't even need that much time to do amazing things."

Instead of squandering my time, I seek to maximize it. I view technological inventions such as the internet, television, and smartphone as black holes into which lifetimes disappear. I limit my interactions with these devices, alternatively connecting to the delights of real life. As long as I make myself a priority, I have time to live. 




I am Very Busy
Essentials for Being Essentially Busy
M.J.C.

07 March 2017

The Flower Fund

I am entitled to flowers year-round but especially at the onset of spring. The decline of winter, evident in the rising temperature and lengthened hours of sunlight, is a time of renewal. I celebrate my survival of the year’s coldest months by replenishing the household flower fund. The budget sustains my weekly expeditions to tulip distributors, from which I acquire a sufficient quantity of my favorite flower to brighten the property's most-utilized spaces. My efforts ensure the presence of color and scent wherever I am present. Spring will not officially begin for another two weeks, but I pretend the new season is already upon us. I overlook threats of snow and focus on horticultural endeavors throughout the house.
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M.J.C.

04 March 2017

The Traveling Library

I am always in the company of something to read. My ever-expanding home library is the nucleus from which my satellite collections spring. I keep a small selection of books piled on my desk and nestled in drawers at work to consult during lunch hours. If a colleague forgets his book at home, he is welcome to borrow one from my store. When I go abroad, my collection travels too. The number of books I bring depends on the duration of my trip. If I am going away for less than a month, two is the maximum quantity of books (not including notebooks) that I will allow myself to pack. My rationale: the book I am currently reading and one to follow is plenty of material to devour on a short excursion. If I plan to be away for more than one month, my book allowance increases by two. I bring one of my favorite books to christen the new residence and a book related to my destination city. I acquaint myself with my new location by surveying the local bookshops. Naturally, I acquire souvenirs from each.
The Traveling Library

M.J.C.

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