Day In, Day Out…


Every so often my routine begins to blur together and days become months and months become years. I usually try to stay positive and cheerful most of the time, but I am deathly allergic to routine. I don’t think that we as a species are hardwired for this type of life. We long for ways to escape its stagnant grasp in any form we can.

I recently installed a few motion cameras in the backyard just in case that racoon shows up again to dine upon my precious flock of hens. Better to be safe than sorry and these little cameras are relatively cheap and simple to install. No predators yet, but I’m watching.

What I didn’t expect them to capture was my sad sorry self heading off to work every morning. When I began to look at the images all together, it made me a little depressed. Maybe after a month or so I can make a nice little flip-book of the mundane. Something to enjoy after retirement.

I do enjoy my job, don’t get me wrong. Handling art and antiquities is a particularly amazing honor and I do it with great reverence and pride. There have been more than a few times when I’ve held in my hand a painting or sculpture that I wrote a paper on in college. The trust that my, and other, institutions place upon my shoulders to be a caretaker for these objects does not go unnoticed by this gentle writer.

But.

I feel like I need some sort of It’s a Wonderful Life type lesson to refresh my outlook on work in general. Perhaps a visit from three ghosts? Or a near death experience to get a new perspective.  I used to consider myself to be always in high spirits but lately these doldrums have been slowly scratching away at me.

That said, can someone facilitate a near death experience on my behalf without my knowledge? Perhaps an angry grizzly released into my backyard? I guess it’s all about perspective.

What do you do to break up the routine? I’m open to suggestions! My usual distraction is gardening of course but this years continued drought and the recent long lasting heatwave have stifled that. On top of that, my hard work of doing a winter cover crop has failed miserably with the discovery of root nematodes in my veggie garden!!

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I haven’t posted much on my veggie garden this season. On account of not really having one. It’s truly a sad and anticlimactic end to a long, hot and dry growing season.

I’ve ordered some predatory nematodes to have an epic hidden battle beneath my brown and wilted vegetables. There can be only one in the end but I fear it’s too late for this season for me to reap any rewards.


But all is not lost. And I refuse to leave this post on a sad note, so here are some highlights of the past week.

I spent all weekend in a 100°+ garage working away at Piper’s new mini coop. I’m almost finished and will keep you posted on those efforts in due time. Here it is as of this morning…

Piper's New Coop Pt II_Nearing CompletionI know she’s gonna love it! And she’ll finally get some peace and regrow all her fluffy feathers.

There was also an amazing change in the status quo regarding the chemical warfare against the bees!! A federal court overturned the EPA’s approval of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide linked to the mass die-off of honeybees that pollinate a third of the world’s food supply. Do I sense a change in the tide? Read more on that here!

Maybe things are looking up! Stay positive y’all and break up that routine!


0 Replies to “Day In, Day Out…”

  1. Constant routine activities can cause the doldrums but in your case Jim the every challenging climate in your life will always bring you back.
    Just keep an ever active mind and body as your doing.Stay in touch with yourself and keep busy.
    My biggest mistake was thinking I could go it alone and its proven a bigger problem then I expected.
    When I was younger I had aspirations to do many of the things that make up your life but never followed thru
    You know the old saying life gives you lemons make lemonade.
    Keep on keeping you absolutely make my day
    When you get old and crotchety like me the mundane will be well appreciated

  2. At least you change your clothes. I used to work in office where one bloke wore the same shirt everyday…and in summer it was mighty unpleasant. So at least be thankful your ‘alltagstrott’ (those Germans have a nifty word for everything) involves different fabrics.
    When I get into a bit of a rut, which funnily enough happens every autumn, I always try and get back into nature.
    Now if I lived in San Diego during a never-ending heat wave, I’d probably head up to the San Gabriel /San Bernadino mountains for a bit of cooler air and a look at the pretty conifers, and see if I could spot a patch of snow hanging on for dear life :-).

    1. Gotta love them Germans! Which is what I am.

      Some sound advice Matt. We were supposed to go camping for labor day weekend, but it fell through last minute.

      Snow sounds so divine right now! You’ll not often here a Buffalonian say that!! But it does. Plus, my husky has never seen snow and that breaks my heart.

  3. I can relate … it gets harder for me to drag myself to work every day, and I still have 1.5 years before I can retire. I don’t hate my job (I’m a tech writer), I just hate going to work all day. I think you answered your own question–take your dog someplace to see snow! It’ll be good for both of you.

    1. Thanks Derrick. It’s admittedly becoming way over designed, but I’ve been really enjoying the carpentry work so I’m going ahead with it anyways. Even if it will be covered in poop by the one I build it for. Critics.

  4. I was also once in the world of antiques and professional artist now in my decline,knees, joints etc Having to have sold the best antiques that I kept in order to pay stupid bills like heat and light and car and now with dodgy eyesight totally thwarting any attempt to do the fine detailed work I used to do, I also find it gets me down at times.
    Years of wondering how to face the bank manager and the tax man didn’t help which resulted in insomnia that I can’t get out of now even though I have squared things with them. But cheer up mate you could have had the summer we didn”t have in England this year.
    I always used to have some project at work ahead of me to keep my mind on in the past but now I am almost retired 74 (Still selling prints and the rights of my past work) I find it hard to have those aims and new targets to keep me going but at least I have got my few bonsais to keep me wondering what next year will bring.
    And the mini coop is pretty impressive by the way.

    1. Thanks for your words Michael! I think we got the summer of all nations this year. Intense heat and dryness.

      Feeding The Man does become taxing on the spirit doesn’t it. Normally, I don’t let it get to me. But every once in a while it creeps up on me.

      What kind of work do you do?

      1. Hi James glad to see you are feeling better now that you have shared your doubts on life and had a few others shares theirs with you as well, as the song says Always Look on the bright side of Life.
        What sort of work do I do? Well when I was painting up to a year or so back it was very detailed watercolours of old tractors, cattle and farming life. I had my own gallery studio for over thirty years after a career that went from working in The London Silver Vaults selling antique silver to writing and illustrating kids books and working on a farm making the original Somerset Cheddar Cheese, all in all a financially very precarious existence, which I should not perhaps have inflicted on my family. I kept telling the kids most well known artists died in poverty and Van Gogh didn’t actually sell as many paintings as their father did. See the story and work on my blog mcoopersstudio.wordpress.com.

        1. Sounds like a happy existence to me! Money cannot buy that, as they say.

          There’s another line of that song. “life’s a piece of sh*t, when you look at it.” But that’s because you forgot to laugh and dance and sing… etc.

          I too had a five year stint as an illustrator. Loved the work! I’ve done some books, but mostly political cartooning for some newspapers. I miss that work often.

          I’ll take a look at your blog whilst I lunch! Cheers!

  5. Won’t be much or any snow in the Sierra’s right now, but it will be crisp and beautiful. I’d love to put in at Bishop and backpack for a week or three..
    Coop is fab, as usual for your work.
    There’s some interesting anthropology writing saying that the hunter-gatherers did NOT work their tails off to survive, but more likely spent a few hours a day. I’m reading Stone Age Economics by Sahlin. Have read Roadmap to Sustainablility: Interpreting Daniel Quinn. Having been away from the corporate live for a few years, I have developed an aversion..

    1. I once worked in a cubical for about a year and a half. Never again. It all became too dystopian for my gentle soul. Some mornings I would wake up weeping! Thank god that’s over.

      My work at the museum is truly amazing and diverse, so I didn’t want to give the wrong message. I do enjoy it. It’s just the schedule that beats me down. I like to keep my doings light and breezy and have been unable to since I began working at the age of 11. That was 30 years ago and I’m ready to clock out for good.

    1. I think the key is random acts of pants off dance offs! Breaks it all up nicely. It’s just hard to do that at work. Not impossible though.

      I work at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. I’m the Senior Mountmaker and Associate Registrar in the exhibitions department. So I get to handle and care for the objects as well as protect them from any seismic activity.

  6. I am depressed just looking at your daily walk! Maybe walk backwards, skip, dance-
    Sorry, don’t mean to be silly. Your camera shows how we don’t realize what our routines really look like.

    1. Please be silly. It helps a great deal. I like the walking backwards idea, that’ll make seem like I’ve come home from work! Genius.

      It’s true, seeing these images is what prompted this complaining post.

  7. Really impressive job on that mini coop James! I remember feeling exactly like you do, having a job that I basically could love (audio editing for video), but feeling like the days sometimes ran together into oblivion. That all suddenly stopped when I retired (not exactly by choice, but the best thing I’ve ever done). Hang in, and something will pop up to make that feeling disappear.

    1. Thank you Dan! I’m sure you’re right. I really think the intense heat had a lot to do with it. Yesterday it poured rain on and off finally. I found my mood flipped like a light switch! I guess I was just too hot and dry for too long. Watching my plants dry out and fighting the nematodes in a losing battle was getting to me. Yesterday carried some hope with each drop of rain.

      Thanks again for your kind words of encouragement! And I’m glad you like the condo coop! Hopefully I get some time this week to finish it. It also brings me peace. Cheers!

  8. Wow, brilliant writing James, enjoyed! You have a very humorous attitude really. To break monotonous routine, I guess you could do something that is unusual for your good self, surprise yourself, break out of your comfort zone perhaps.
    I did like your handiwork so much, neat and beautiful.
    Wishing you a good weekend.

    1. Cheers Agnes! Thank you much. I’ve finished the coop, but I’m worried that it’s too small for Piper. It’s back to the drawing board for some room additions! She looked a bit cramped in there.

      As for daily routines, that got flipped upside-down with the resignation of a fellow registrar at the museum. The other registrar is on vacation for three weeks and my whole world has been turned upside down. An insane amount of work should help me focus on other things. *gulp*

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