I woke abruptly from an unpleasant dream, this morning. It was much earlier than I needed to be awake, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. After a few minutes, ruminating over my dream, I got up. My Traveling Partner and I shared coffee. The day began.

Now I’m sitting contentedly in my studio once again (no, the repairs have not yet been done, and the wall and closet are still “torn out”, waiting on those repairs). I was inspired to get moved back in by my unpleasant dream. The details are not critical here, the fundamentals were what got my attention, and I woke motivated to act on what was “suddenly so clear”; I needed to have my studio back, like, immediately. Having my workstation (and conducting my day-to-day work) in the dining room was an acceptable short-term solution while the water damage in my studio was being addressed. (The big air movers that were shoved in to the smallish space were reason enough; it was way too loud for work.) That’s all over with, though. Right now, it’s just a room waiting for some dry wall to be replaced, and some finish work. I’d cluttered up the opposite side of the room, making haste to move paintings to safety, and bookcases out of harm’s way, and the big deal at this point was that I couldn’t get to my desk! I woke from my troubling dream with a clear plan how best to regain the lost space and move forward.

…And it’s not as if I have any expectation of the repair crew coming this week…

It feels particularly good to be seated at my desk. I smile, and gaze out the window, content with the small view of pear-laden trees on the other side the fence, and a wedge of sky beyond my neighbor’s house. My desk is clean, tidy, and looking around the room with some satisfaction, I note that things are as well-managed and neat as before we noticed the leak that caused me to be temporarily kicked out of my studio. In some ways, it is tidier, simply because most of the canvases were moved into another space in the house (permanent solution still tbd).

My Traveling Partner was also inspired to begin “putting things right once again”, and between coffees tidied up his workshop, and rehung the sun shade “sails” that make the deck so pleasant on sunny summer days. They had been taken down during a wind storm, and we didn’t bother putting them back up while the air outside was indexed at “hazardous” – we weren’t spending time outside!

We each (both) remarked how much difference it made to our general feeling of emotional wellness to have the dining room restored to it’s ideal function (as a dining room), and my workstation back on my desk where it belongs. Reclaiming that living space was a big deal for both of us. Reclaiming this space (my studio) was critical for me, and probably pretty fucking helpful for my partner, too. It was getting beyond annoying to have business calls going on all day, in the shared living space where one might expect to be able to just relax and watch a damned video, or read the news. I know it was messing with my partner’s morning routine. It was challenging for me to deal graciously with life and love being so intimately present in the midst of work – my attention was unavoidably divided, and however much I might prefer to turn my full attention to matters of home life and love and my lover every minute, every time, I also felt the tug of the paycheck; my time is not my own during those working hours. It was hard on us both. I had started to feel pretty trapped. My partner made it explicitly clear he was having some feelings about it, himself. It was not a sustainable arrangement.

…I’m almost eager to face Monday’s calendar, from this seat, in this room, looking across my monitors to this window, and those trees beyond. Once again, I feel “at home” – which is much nicer than feeling chronically uneasy and displaced, for sure.

The morning was fairly merry. I find myself ready to begin again. 🙂

My coffee was some time ago. I’ll have a second, “soon”. I took a few minutes to run an early errand, before returning to work. Something like a “lunch break” I suppose, since the rest of my day is locked up with back to back meetings. I’m not bitching, I’m just observing that it is the state of things, today.

Hints of autumn begin to appear.

I had noticed, a day or two ago, that it seemed some leaves were beginning to yellow in the trees here and there. I wondered if it was the dry weather? This morning, hints of amber, orange, russet, and red are turning up, too. Fall? Already? It feels as if there was barely a summer, although the few days of summer were quite hot… but pandemic life being what it is, the days (and yes, seasons) blend together a bit.

I pulled the car over, while I was out, adjacent to a nearby farm property that presents a lovely view, itself, the barn and house a bit distant, with the more distant foothills fading into the morning fog. Pretty picture. I sat a moment looking out across the landscape, before continuing on my way. Time well-spent, frankly.

…When was the last time you just “took a minute” for some small thing, a view, a flower, a bit of music that brings back memories…? I found I was overdue for it, and enjoyed it immensely to take that time for me. 🙂

I thought of a lovely compliment paid to me last night by a friend who reads my work (thank you!), “I like your writing, and the everyday-ness of what you share…”. I’m still smiling. I mean, I’ve said before that I write for me, as much as for anyone, but it moves me to be appreciated for the very thing that sometimes causes me doubt; I write about what is so ordinary. 🙂 Thanks for reading. ❤

…So…fall creeping up on us already? Well, then. Seasons still change. 🙂

I take a moment to make a second coffee for myself, and for my Traveling Partner. We exchange gentle teasing words, enjoy some merriment. I make raisin toast – apparently a childhood favorite for both of us, and oddly, that’s new information for me (at least where he is concerned)! We’ve been together a decade, and we still learn new things about each other. It’s lovely. 🙂 We share coffee, enjoy our toast, and resume the forward momentum of the day. Chances are good that this gentle loving moment will be the one we remember… not the work we did later on. I’m just pointing that out – invest your precious limited lifetime wisely (it’s definitely not “about” the money).

Huh. Look at the time – already time to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday, rather unexpectedly (entirely unexpectedly), my Traveling Partner called gently to me from inside the house “…can you come into the house quickly?” So, of course, I made my way into the house with some haste. I stepped into the living room, and first saw him, standing in front of the aquarium, looking at it, perplexed and concerned. As he pointed, my eye followed… to water flowing from the aquarium… the water on the floor… back to the “leak” (which appeared to be coming from nowhere, just sort of “seeping, aggressively” from the lower rim. What the hell? (And, also… 29 gallons of water is a lot more water than it seems like it would be, when it is flowing down the front of furniture, pooling on the floor, and expanding in all directions. Just saying. “Astonished” just about describes my experience.)

A lot went on from that moment of recognition, until the completed resolution some hours later. My Traveling Partner stayed cool and calm. I did pretty well in that department, too. I obtained a new aquarium was quickly obtained from the local fish store (a genuine stroke of good fortune on that – it’s a strange size, and not commonly carried everywhere). While I was doing that, my partner siphoned the remaining water into buckets, rescued plants and livestock, and cleaned up literally every sign that there ever was a leak, anywhere. (Call me impressed – I got home seriously worried about “all of the things”, and committed to doing my part… which was, after all that, simply to set up the new aquarium. Wow. So much love.)

I spent a relatively relaxed evening setting up the new aquarium, and enjoyed having the help of my Traveling Partner. We worked together on it, and the outcome was a good one; not one fish fatality, a thorough water change (that was due), significant pruning and algae removal, and some tidying up and re-scaping the substrate and object placement. This morning, clear water and happy creatures were waiting for me.

The point of relating all of this is mostly to point out how fucking cursed I felt in that moment of discovery; yet another “aquarium-related” mishap. Another leak/water damage concern. Another moment of chaos. I could have just fucking lost it… and I didn’t. Not this time. Neither did my partner. Fish could have died. I knew that, then. I even contemplated, briefly, just … not. Meaning just give up on the aquarium (the eternal cry “this is too hard!” so readily within reach). I chose differently. Not because I felt obligated, or cornered, or expected to – I chose to “do the needful”, because I really enjoy my aquarium. It matters to me.

We each practiced good emotional health practices last night. We supported each other. We “played to our strengths”. We took immediate action, but without panic. Hell, my partner even made sure I specifically took breaks – we worked on this together for hours. With his help, we didn’t end up exhausted or cross with each other. It was simply the adventure we shared that evening.

Then we began again. 🙂

I’m in pain this morning. Routine morning in most respects, in spite of the pain. Maybe the pain itself has become fairly routine after all this time? I’ve lived with the arthritis pain in my spine for a pretty long time… about… 30 years. 30 years? Wow. It has been a long time. This morning I manage it as well as I know how to do with the tools available. Yoga and stretching, first. Meditation (it does help). An OTC pain reliever (it doesn’t help much, but it’s a “next step” that sits somewhere between the yoga and the Rx relief on the path of escalating steps).

My first cup of coffee is long gone. I drink water for some while before I move to make the second cup. My Traveling Partner joined me for coffee a little while ago. That moment is behind us, already, and the work day begins to unfold. The sky is a bit less horrifically altered by smoke, and the air a bit less foul. Progress. Still… the day manages to feel entirely routine, in general.

I drag my mind away from the physical pain I am in, and back to the work in front of me. I do that two or three times before I finally just take a break to deal with it properly. Probably a day of it ahead of me. I sigh out loud in the quiet room, reminding myself to be patient with people, and kind; we can’t see what that other person is going through, and often make fairly poor assumptions from a casual glance. I resolve to be “the nicest person in the room”, if I can…

…Sounds like a lot of new beginnings ahead of me today.

Fog is weird stuff. We pass through it easily, still, it blinds us and alters what we see of the world around us. Try to shine a bright light directly into fog, and it becomes more difficult to see, rather than easier. So weird. So… metaphorical.

Sure is foggy… am I really so certain I know what’s hidden out there?

How many times have I driven a familiar road, blinded by fog? Or walked some foggy trail listening to muffled steps through the mist, with only my thoughts for company? Or just sat quietly, in the dense damp of morning fog, imagining whimsically that the fog held more meaning than mere droplets of water densely dispersed in the air?

Fog is a pretty good metaphor for the various thinking errors I find myself prone to, and even the “obscuring mist” of misleading assumptions that can so easily crowd out any perception of my reality in the moment. I think about that, on and off, from that first moment standing outside, early this morning, wondering if the mist were properly fog, or more likely the smoke of distant wildfires. Both, maybe. The stench of it suggested at least a considerable portion was – is – smoke. Blech.

…Maybe rain tomorrow? The weather hints at the potential. So does my arthritic back. Fingers crossed! We could use some rain. We could use a way out of the fog.

Yes, of course, it’s a metaphor. 😉

Begin again.