Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meet Mary Brown...

Marking, perhaps, I hope, I hope, a new stage in the ongoing battle with TIME.
Way way back, oh, ten years, maybe, a very savvy senior laywoman (with whom I served on a volunteer board) gave me advice about the creative and caring use of the daytimer, daily planner, write-on calendar, whatever YOU use to keep track of appointments and so forth.
I knew all about the 2/3 rule: “Don’t fill your schedule more than 2/3 full, you have to allow for the unforeseen that will come plucking at the hem of your garments while you are on your way to do something else.”
But my friend Phyllis taught me something else. “You take that daytimer,” she said, “and you look ahead a week or so to the first day when nothing is scheduled, and you draw diagonal pencil strokes all across it. Then at the top you write ‘Mary Brown.’ And Mary Brown is YOU. That is YOUR day. And don’t you dare encroach upon it when you’re getting calls and requests and invitations and so forth. And if anybody looks over your shoulder, and says ‘But what about Thursday?’ you can just say, ‘Oh no, that day is completely booked for Mary Brown, see?’”
Well, the Rambler knows good advice when she hears it, but she usually has to ADMIRE it for a while before putting it into effect. So yesterday was the first of what I hope will be a long happy series of Mary Brown Days.
The weekend was a full one. Exhilarating, and happy, and gratifying. But FULL. So it was good to take Monday as a day to follow my own behests, at my own pace.
What did I do? Well. I did everything in twenty-minute bursts, carrying my little twist-timer around with me. Everything, that is, INCLUDING looking at the computer (that’s part of the secret).
After her morning prayers, Mary Brown likes a high-protein breakfast – bacon’n’eggs, yup. Contemplated the ‘heel’ of my last pound of bacon and decided the two thin slices would be breakfast, the thick off-kilter last piece would go into spaghetti carbonara one night this week. So THAT is all accounted for, no waste.
Then Mary got all the laundry done, all but a set of sheets and pillow-cases that will need some extended soaking. Mary fetched indoors the super-giant empty vinyl paint-bucket (from last summer’s house-painting job) and has commenced scouring it clean for service as a washtub/soaking tub. Laundry all finished, another twenty minutes accounted for all the ironing.
Mary likes a nice tidy restful looking bedroom too, with no books and/or magazines among the sheets; that took another couple of twenty-minute blitzes.
We answered the e-mails that had been hanging out there. We responded to our phone messages. We went to the bank. We went to the dry cleaner. We went to the bakery outlet and bought ten loaves assorted, and scored on our frequent-buyer card.
Then we got all tidy and decently dressed and went to the university women’s club first dinner meeting of the season, and caught up with old friends and met some nice new ones. Watched a fascinating presentation on late 19th century, early 20th century, Tea Gowns from the University Collection. Worth and Poiret, oh my, oh my.
We came home at half-time; Mary doesn’t do late nights. So we wrapped up the day with a mug of tea and a little reading: the first lecture in Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Vindication of Tradition.
Mary is dropping by again on Friday. Stay tuned.


revkjarla said...

ooooh, two days with Mary Brown in one week? She is one special person!

I will admire this concept for a bit, as well.

You and MB got a lot done yesterday, but it sounded so pleasant!

Tim Chesterton said...

Hmm. Might have to nick that one. Better think of a man's name, though; if Marci got into my iPhone she might be a bit suspicious of me spending a day with Mary Brown...

Towanda said...

ah, we just did that yesterday, to block off our next free saturday.

sadly, it's not until 10/22...sigh...

Jo Royal said...

I soooo need to do this! I have tried the 2/3rd rule - but it never seems to be that 1/3 is kept free!
Right - open up ical - search for the next free day - and insert Mary Brown - and click on 'all day'! Sorted!!
Now to decide what to do!

Thanks for this post :)


Anonymous said...

Mary and I spent a lovely day in Seattle on Tuesday. If she hadn't insisted on walking everywhere it would have felt much more restful!


I love this!! Mary Brown may just become my new best friend!!! What a gal--and she does seem to get around doesn't she?