Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cleanliness is ...

I've been spending more time lately cleaning my house than I used to. I'm happy that I am putting in the effort.

Ordinarily we have enough spider webs around here to have a haunted house in September. Ordinarily there is the detritus of children cluttering up at least one room. (I try not to have it overtake the whole house.) Ordinarily the house slips into entropy, requiring the expenditure of energy to put it back in order.

But I think that clean surfaces, neatness, and "a place for everything and everything in its place" are all very elegant.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chasing paper

They don't seem to have junk mail in old movies. Nor cell phone bills, catalogs, explanations of benefits, receipts, free address labels or toy instructions. There are papers, of course, but they are more important: hand written letters, telegrams, contracts. Even in old noir offices of the private detective, while there are papers, it seems to be less than the amount that shows up in my mailbox every week. So much more elegant not to be drowning in paper!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Shopping, as event

When Fred Astaire goes shopping for Judy Garland, he comes away with colorful boxes tied with satin ribbons and a supporting cast to carry them behind him.

When I go shopping, I have Target bags rolling around in the back of my car.

How to reconcile the two?

I have been to some stores where they take the time to carefully wrap up your purchases, because the exchange of money for goods is an event. This happens more frequently when you have purchased something special. For example, I have been to one chocolate store, in particular, where a white-gloved sales clerk handles the chocolates you select as if they were jewels. Likewise with a jewelry store I like--even the box is an event.

I think the sale clerk at Target would look at me crooked if I asked her to wrap up the diapers and get a porter for me, though. Oh well.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I went to a talk today on business etiquette. Most of it was what I already knew or should know (chew with your mouth closed, write thank yous, don't cut people off while driving or talking). But I picked up a few interesting phrases, the theory of each is that it makes the other person feel better, which is, of course, the whole point of etiquette.

One was to sign emails, "At your service,"

I think that's a rather gracious way of closing.

Another was to respond to "thank you" with "it's a pleasure" rather than "no problem," which avoids the implication that a client could be a problem.

A third idea was to say "thank you for your patience" instead of "I'm sorry I'm late." This is interesting--the theory is that a customer will just get grumpier if you don't compliment them.

A final idea was instead of saying "okay" all the time, say "certainly," or "very good" or "of course." This is to stand out from the unwashed masses who say "okay" all the time. Of course.

A hopeful sign was the large attendance. Very good.

As always, I am at your service.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Tasha Tudor, protector of everything circa 1830, said, "I don't believe in hurry."

There's some wisdom there, and some good advice. I need to take it. Lately, I have been too busy to see straight; to think straight; to write proper thank-yous; to tidy my house. There are a million to-dos and this doesn't include time for myself (whatever that is). I suppose this blog is that time. Although I am grateful for my business, I can't help but wish for less busyness at times.