The Bored and Brilliant Challenge

One of the many things I like about sabbatical is that it allows for some mental clarity, time to figure things out, to get organized, to think. It is no coincidence that I went vegan on my first sabbatical. I think I’d been moving in that direction for a while, but having the time to think about it, plan for it, learn to cook from vegan cookbooks, etc. certainly helped the process along!

I’m hoping that the mental space that sabbatical provides will also help me develop some better habits. On that note, I’ve signed up for the “Bored and Brilliant” challenge this week. Essentially, this challenge asks participants to think about how much time we spend on our smartphones each day, how automatic it has become to whip out our phones at the first sign of a lull. Standing in line at the grocery store? Check your phone! Commercial on TV? Pull out that phone! Waiting for a friend to show up? Squeeze in a game of Two Dots. The organizers of this challenge argue that by rushing to fill any downtime with whatever app catches our fancy, we are forgetting how to daydream, we aren’t taking advantage of the imaginative potential of those duller moments in life.

This challenge has certainly helped me to think about my daily habits, and in just a few short days I’m quite a bit more mindful about my screen time. Will these habits last? Only time will tell!

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1) Opened my email this morning to discover an ARTstor newsletter telling me that images from Cook’s voyages to the South Seas are now available through this wonderful image database. So cool!

2) Read about a very interesting-sounding photo exhibit in Toronto. Must go see this!

3) Found out about The Working Proof, an organization that sells art prints and helps charities. Love it!

4) Donkey Sanctuary! Need I say more?

Kew in June

Now that spring is here and the term is winding down, my thoughts are starting to turn to the research and writing I want to get done this summer. I was away quite a bit last summer and, although it was wonderful, I want to try and be a little closer to home this year so I can spend more time writing. I do, however, plan to head to the UK in June. There are a number of things on my list of things to do while in London, but at the top of the list is the soon-to-be-opened Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens. This will be right next to the Marianne North gallery, one of my favourite galleries of all time! Katherine Tyrrell over at Making a Mark has a wonderful post about these two spaces as well as the two remarkable women behind them, and reading that post got me even more excited about going back to Kew this June.