Habits and habitat


I am a creature of habit.  I get up at about the same time every morning - 5:40 am now - I do the same activities in the quiet of the early hours - checking social media, writing and drinking the day's first cup of coffee - and I arrive at work at The Redpoll Centre at about 7:10 am.  I love my routine.

It will be interesting as I move into my semi-retirement in November and start working in the studio on a full-time basis how this routine will evolve.  It will have to.  I won't be able to get into The Redpoll Centre after I turn in my keys.

As the summer winds down and we push on toward autumn, I'm feeling the need to revitalize and clean my study.  It is one of my favourite spots where much of my writing and online work happens.  However, it struck me as I reached up to the very top shelf to grab some lightly and rarely used leather portfolios that this space hasn't had a deep clean in probably a full decade.  Dust has accumulated in the unseen spaces and places and tidbits of stuff have landed in spots, never to be touched again.

The pile of leather satchels, notebooks and portfolios were taken to the Salvation Army thrift store, where the lovely ladies told me they would be scooped up quickly.  That made me happy, knowing that they will be useful to someone.

Underneath my working surface are a number of shelves chock-full of old magazines.  While I've begun to cull some of them and put them in the recycling bin, I need to take a discerning trip through them one more time. A few years ago, the number of magazines coming into the house was crazy.  We're now down to one, Macleans, which I'm almost ready to give up on, since it went from a weekly to a monthly.  I don't seem to enjoy it the way I did before.

Scattered about are scraps of memories:  old family photos, articles, greeting cards and various other things that connect to times long ago.  I need to work through these things, too.

So many of our memories these days are digital.  Photos and videos clog up available storage space on our various devices and cloud storage locations. We had quite a conversation around the dinner table last night about the pros and cons of Dropbox versus Google Drive and other technical topics.  All of us deal with issues like download speed, dwindling storage capacity, and connecting to the WiFi.  A family from 20 years ago listening to this particular conversation would have had no idea what we were even talking about.

I have two sets of files that are super precious to me.  One is a single file, a spreadsheet, that is the record of my paintings and prints - when they were produced, who they went to, etc.  Without that document I would be lost as to what I've created in the last three years.  I save copies of that file on my laptop, external hard drive and in the cloud.  Since the fire, I've taken to saving the high resolution archival photographs of my paintings exclusively in the cloud.  As I sit here writing, I'm thinking of adding an external storage device to the mix that exclusively contains those pics, something I could easily grab in the event of an emergency.

August always feels like a time of renewal and reflection for me.  When I was a child, the need to refresh was rooted in anticipation of returning to school.  As an adult, I know how incredibly busy it gets as we move into the fall.  August is the perfect preparation month.


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