Housekeeping the DropBox

Good morning, World!

I woke up very early this morning — 3:45 to be exact — and finally got up just before 4am. For the past few days I’ve had a cold and have been taking medication to clear up my sinuses. Makes me sleepy in the daytime and I had a couple of long naps yesterday, so I guess it’s fair if I can’t sleep the whole night.

Of course as soon as I was awake, so were the cats, and Pookie wanted to go outside. Yesterday was a milder day, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt him to take a small jaunt outside. But when I opened the door I felt something you don’t want to feel here in February: rain. More like spitting than real rain, but enough to give the roads a nice coating of ice.

The rain has since turned to snow. Checking with Environment Canada I see the temp in Saskatoon is -1C or 30F right now and supposed to drop a couple of degrees during the day, so I’m very glad we don’t have any place we have to be early this morning.

I didn’t get up and start the vacuuming or the laundry, such as one might do. I’ve rather spent the last three hours doing housekeeping in my DropBox files. Over the past six years of blogging I’ve amassed this huge assortment of poems, stories, articles, etc. — and I’ve filed them all by name. Note to new writers and bloggers: this is a NO-NO — unless you don’t write that much or have a fantastic memory.

I’ve spent precious hours searching my thousands of files for a story or poem I once wrote, either to reblog it or to include it in Silver Morning Song — and never could find it. The fact that I have 300-400 haiku mixed in among all the other files hasn’t helped. Maybe a year later I open a file with an unfamiliar name, and here’s the thing I was looking for. Why did I name it that?

So for the past month or so I’ve been renaming all my files — with category first. That way I know if I’m looking for a poem I’ll find it in POEM, the stories I wrote are all in the STORY section, articles in the ART section, etc.

Oh, to have done this all along! As the old saying goes, “Little and often makes a heap in time.” Take a tip from one who’s learning her lesson late in life: when you don’t do that little bit of organizing every day you end up with a big heap to sort through.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” may be an old cliche, but the older I get the more I see the golden glow in this wise advice. I’m battling memory loss now as well as general clutter issues, which means I spend far too much time wandering around the house looking for something I need RIGHT NOW, trying hard to remember where I last used it.

So I consider the past three hours time well spent and I haven’t made a lot of racket to wake my husband up. My next organizing project is to redo our two main bookcases with books placed alphabetically by author’s name instead of loosely by topic. (Yesterday I resolved to get started with this project, as I was looking for a book by Francis Schaeffer and couldn’t spot it on the shelves.)

It’s 8am now and the sky has turned a pale blue. So nice to see our daylight hours getting longer! The snow is fine, but it’s really coming down. Now I’ll go have breakfast and then probably take a long nap before I tackle any more housekeeping. (I did. 🙂 )

Note:
When I went to post this, I discovered we had no internet. 😦 (Heavy clouds often block our internet access!) So, better late than never…

A Pocketful of Stones

Out for a walk along our graveled country road, I spotted a perfect “bug” stone. In the past I have done some painting on rocks and my grandson has been pestering me to paint some more bugs. So as I walked along I was keeping my eyes open for smooth stones that would paint up into neat little beetles.

I picked up the stone and slipped it into my pocket. Before long I spotted another … and another. Some stones were oblong, some oval, one perfectly round and flat. The perfect ladybug.

Tumbled centuries ago — maybe for years — in the water currents until they were nice and smooth, these stones came to rest in an underground pit. Men came along with big machines load all this gravel onto trucks and spread it on our road bed. Many stones have come through this process intact.

After I’d pocketed half a dozen stones of various sizes I began to feel the weight of them. They weren’t rough or disturbing, just gently heavy. That side of my jacket pulled a bit as I walked. And I was seeing more “perfect bug” specimens that I could take along with me. I had to start saying “No more. Nice shape or not, it stays right there!”

I have this tendency to look down at the road as I walk, but I soon realized that if I didn’t want a pocketful of rocks weighing down my every step, I’d need to keep my eyes fixed on the horizon until I was home.

Funny how such small things can teach a big lesson. Those stones really aren’t a valuable commodity of themselves. If I use them profitably — paint them up and please the grandson — well and good. But if I set them aside when I get home, saying, “Someday I will,” they become just one more clutter, another item on my to-do list, another weight on my mind.

In our electronic world we can lose focus, too. There are so many interesting social sites to suck up our hours, we can lose sight of our important life-goals. I haven’t picked up Facebook, Twitter, etc, but was involved in Linked In for a time. So much to learn, so many groups to connect with! And now I have a book to promote, so two weeks ago I picked up a weighty stone when I signed up for Goodreads. So many interesting books to read and review, friends to make! I can see how this site alone could consume a lot of time.

I have my blog and read or follow many others. Some days dozens of e-mails and notifications flood my Inbox; I find myself checking my e-mail twenty times a day and spending hours responding. Lately I have definitely been feeling the weight!

NaNoWriMo has been sending out notices lately, too, reminding me to sign up for the November novel-writing adventure. I plan to participate this year; yesterday I filled in the synopsis for the children’s story I hope to write.

My walk-about the other day reminded me that I’ve let many small things distract my long-range goal: the books I want to write/finish. Someday there will be an end to what I can accomplish in this world. If I don’t stop frittering away my time and weighing myself down by picking up appealing, but trivial, stuff along the way, I’ll have little to show for my time here.

Amateur Poet

by Robert W Service

You see that sheaf of slender books
Upon the topmost shelf,
At which no browser ever looks,
Because they’re by . . . myself;
They’re neatly bound in navy blue,
But no one ever heeds;
Their print is clear and candid too,
Yet no one ever reads.

Poor wistful books! How much they cost
To me in time and gold!
I count them now as labour lost,
For none I ever sold;
No copy could I give away,
For all my friends would shrink,
And look at me as if to say:
“What waste of printer’s ink!”

And as I gaze at them on high,
Although my eyes are sad,
I cannot help but breathe a sigh
To think what joy I had –
What ecstasy as I would seek
To make my rhyme come right,
And find at last the phrase unique
Flash fulgent in my sight.

Maybe that rapture was my gain
Far more than cheap success;
So I’ll forget my striving vain,
And blot out bitterness.
Oh records of my radiant youth,
No broken heart I’ll rue,
For all my best of love and truth
Is there, alive in you

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh, how wonderful that we now have the internet
where we can share our poems with the world
and it doesn’t cost us a mint!