Archives for posts with tag: experience

By now, you’ve probably found yours, right? Productive distractions that pass the time during pandemic “stay at home” orders, or worse yet, during actual quarantine. A productive distraction staves off boredom, and prevents looming chaos from overtaking everything. Mine has been my aquarium, generally, and books. My Traveling Partner has been focused on games and gaming, and tweaking the pc that drives that experience. For us, it’s been helpful that we each have our own “thing” to focus on, the result being we generally have something fun to talk about, any time.

Consideration matters so much right now, for those who are “sheltering in place” with or among other people. Tempers can fray so easily. Letting small shit stay small helps a lot. Mostly it’s all small shit. It’s the letting go that requires the verbs. lol

…My experience this morning “feels different”… I am typing on a different keyboard. My steady regular keyboard is badly in need of cleaning, and I disconnected it to do that. My Traveling Partner said “here, try this one“, and it remains in place, even this morning, loyal favorite forgotten over there, by the stack of things-yet-to-do. This one feels similar-but-different, softer, somehow. Tolerant of my heavy key-stroke, but quiet. Tactile, without being very “click-y”. The strike of each key is vaguely muffled. The “click” is more a “tap” than a click. The keys respond to my touch so fast that I feel as if I am typing “as fast as I think”. It’s nice. Also… the numbers on each key light up. (lol Why does that delight me so?) I enjoy the sensation of typing on the new keyboard. (How many millions of key strokes have I dropped on my old keyboard in the past 6 years of heavy use?) I decided yesterday to stick with this one, and programmed the keys to be illuminated in a lovely dark-ish lavender hue, which changes to a bright greenΒ  with each keystroke, quickly fading to teal as I continue to type. So fun. πŸ˜€

I am distracted by the novelty of typing on a new keyboard. It’s a pleasant distraction.

We meant to watch a movie together yesterday… we spent the day on our projects, and in between (and later on) watched tech videos of various sorts. It was a delightfully productive and fun day together. I mention it because, seriously, this “life in the time of pandemic” gets pretty fucking “real” sometimes, and it has made a lot of difference to my experience to find moments of joy and delight, and to savor those, rather than sit around staring into the maw of media talking heads regurgitating COVID-19 content. I’ve no idea whether we’ll watch that movie tonight… I know we’ll find something fun to share, whether or not it is a movie isn’t very relevant to the shared experience of joy and love. It’s just one way to get there.

What if I were alone, though, how would I “find moments of joy” then? Probably still in the pleasure of caring for my aquarium(s), and reading still more books, honestly. πŸ™‚ I don’t find myself all that complicated, generally, I suppose. Small things delight me (a new fish, a new keyboard, a favorite book), and I entertain myself pretty easily (books, writing, painting, gardening, aquarium keeping… it’s a long list). I fret for a moment, trying to imagine being truly bored right now, and what it would take to lift myself from that boredom. What would I do? I think I would still read books; I can’t really imagine what it would be like to be someone who “doesn’t read”. Lots of libraries are making audio books available for free, too… it is a great time to catch up on reading. lol Online learning? Plenty of that to be had, too. Online travel? There are some very interesting documentaries and streams of a variety of exotic locations. Museums have streamed walk-throughs of their collections, and those are available online, too. Not so interested in someone else’s words, thoughts, or perspective? Pen & ink, my friend – say what you’ve got to say. Self-publish on Amazon. Become the author of the narrative someone else will read. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, taking a moment to appreciate the grocery delivery service that keeps me supplied, the farm workers who harvested the beans, the shipper who transported them, the roaster who roasted them, the distributor who supplied them to the grocery store… How can any one of us not recognize how interconnected we all are? We are all in this together (even though we are each having our own experience). Even our own individual experience is built upon more than the mere sum of our own individual decision-making; there is, too, the matrix of coincidences and circumstances that is the combined force of what happens, and what is chosen, out of reach of our own consideration, in every moment. It’s not all “about us”, regardless who we are. This is a great cup of coffee. In a very real sense, I did not “make it all by myself” – all I did was grind the beans, and pour water over them. A rather small contribution to the outcome, frankly. lol

I find myself appreciating how fortunate I am in these challenging times. I miss my friends, though. I miss brunch on Saturdays. I miss shopping together over a lunch break and laughing about something silly. I miss dinners out. I miss strolling a crowded farmer’s market. I miss “community”. Yep. Even me. I do miss the presence of other people. Part of feeling fortunate right now, is about simply not being alone in this. Again, I find myself feeling fortunate. I remind myself to write letters, emails, and send texts to friends. We really are all in this together, and distance is not always about miles. πŸ™‚

Another day of living in the time of pandemic. Another opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

Sipping coffee on a Friday. Not thinking thoughts so much as relaxing and watching fish swim. I’ve somehow managed to start a second aquarium, on the work surface next to my desk, in my studio. lol I’m not unhappy with this, just sort of surprised that it a) happened and b) happened so fast.

…It started with my own “eagerness to please”, and my Traveling Partner’s purely observational comments about the peaceful community aquarium in the living room. I got the impression he wanted some specific change in type/color/size of fish in that tank, and I added a couple new residents with that in mind. It ended with the bullying that ensued; those new fish were not good neighbors/roommates for my peaceful community tank, and they were hassling the shrimp and the betta on the regular.

Tiny thug.

My partner and I started talking about “what to do about” those rude little bullies. Over a couple of days and several conversations, we settled on getting a small aquarium, and setting it up in my studio (where there is a place one could be set up fairly easily). The conversation had much of it’s basis, good-idea-wise, in the low cost; I had a spare heater, filter & pump, and light, left from upgrading the equipment on my peaceful community tank in the living room over the past couple weeks. Easy. Cheap. Why not? πŸ™‚

Getting a new tank started, and preparing the water for livestock.

Yes, well… as it turns out, the small tank was easily set up, and the water prepared and ready to go quite soon… but it was so bare! So… I got some plants…

…And some shrimp…

…And a piece of driftwood…

…And a couple snails…

The view this morning is rather more like an aquarium, and less like a tank full of water. It’s a process.

…You know… that light I’m using isn’t really ideal for a planted tank (that’s why I replaced it)… so… (after some careful online shopping) the new light is on the way…

…and, um, damn, that filter/pump is pretty noisy… and takes up a ton of space in the small tank… and the heater hanging there is not all that aesthetically pleasing… so, I also found myself shopping for suitably small external canister filter-heaters. lol Oh, my.

…Looks like I have two aquariums! Each quite different, with unique characteristics (and residents), and individual charm.

Having this particular project going, while restricted mostly to life on the social-distancing-stay-at-home plan, has kept me from being “under foot” while my partner also explores his hobbies, projects, and long-term interests, himself. We each need that “bit of space”, even while enjoying the additional closeness and opportunity to connect more often, more continuously, and more deeply. We still need our “me time”. We still have our own lives. πŸ™‚ It’s a challenging balance to strike, sometimes, but so far this feels pretty good. πŸ™‚

I glance at the time, and at the aquarium, and then into the cold dregs of my nearly empty coffee mug. It looks like time to begin again. πŸ˜€

So… maybe you’re “stuck at home” practicing “social distancing” during this pandemic, and potentially feeling a bit bored or restless or feeling cut off? That seems entirely within the norms of human experience, doesn’t it? Are you there, yet?

Not me. I mostly don’t expect to be. Succumbing to boredom isn’t a major concern for me. I could say “because I have an internet connection”, and while that’s definitely helpful (games, news, entertainment, and even shopping… all right there), it’s not actually what my contentment rests upon, where avoiding boredom is concerned. For me, that’s about something so “old school” that it rather amusingly escapes many people’s attention as an option. I’m talking about the humble book.

You heard me right, People. I said it. Read a book. Read several. Become immersed in worlds you never previously imagined. Tackle those “hard” books you’ve dodged for years. Slog through something you’ve always felt you “should” read, but just… haven’t. Read out loud to each other, if you are “stuck at home” with a loved one, or a room-mate. Seriously, though? If that’s not enough – write one. You heard me right, People. Reading doesn’t interest you? How about writing your story? Yes, you, Human. Why not? Got a story in your head? Head over to the computer, sit down, and begin typing it out to share with the world. Self-publish on Amazon. How quickly can you call yourself an author while you’re socially distancing yourself during this pandemic?

No, I’m not joking. I’m just pointing out how silly boredom actually is, ifΒ  you haven’t read all the books, if you haven’t taken time to write your memoirs, or a story you made up in your head that you just keep coming back to, or even a cookbook of those family recipes you cherish. Seriously.

I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just saying, you have options. Don’t want to read? How about tidying up? Work off some of the tasks on that to-do list that’s laying around. Fix that drawer that sticks. Clean the garage. Get the spring garden started. There is a lot to living life that doesn’t require constant companionship or crowds. πŸ˜‰

Well, damn, look at the time! Already time to begin again. πŸ˜€

I’m home sick with a head cold while the media feeding frenzy is feasting on COVID-19 stories. Grim. It is what it is. My Traveling Partner and I seem reasonably well-set-up to endure long stays at home. The pantry is well-stocked. Bills are paid. I’m fortunate to be easily able to work-from-home.

I woke early this morning, head stuffy and having difficulty breathing comfortably. It’s a head cold. Just a head cold. I sat down at my desk, with my coffee, and reluctant to work “too early” (which, when working from home, often leads to working “too long” as well), I put on a video, headphones on. It was strangely muted, which I attributed to being Macbook “gremlins”, in my pre-coffee state. I turned it up. Turned it up again. Finally gave up and just listened with greater care. After a couple of false starts, changes of video, and just giving up altogether after awhile, I noticed that my headphones were plugged into my personal laptop, not my Macbook Pro from work… First thought? “Huh, I wonder how it did that?”, thinking somehow my laptop was picking up the digital signal from the Macbook… O.m.g… definitely pre-coffee on a “working while sick” day. It took me a minute, but I finally got to that “you couldn’t hear it well because you were listening to it play into the room, through the muffling of your noise canceling headphones!” Shit. Embarrassing.

I hope I didn’t disturb my Traveling Partner’s sleep… or wake the neighbors. 😦

Like a lot of things that go a little bit wrong, I let it go and move on, ideally with new knowledge and deeper wisdom… often not so much. lol

Just keep swimming.

Here’s hoping my experience of the day improves from that moment, to the next, in a daisy chain of contentment and calm. πŸ™‚ Maybe it does… maybe it doesn’t… there will likely be verbs involved. Questions to ask – some even to answer. One step down the path, following another.

The house is quiet now. I’m reluctant to make a second cup of coffee, feeling a vague sense that I’ve “already made enough damned noise”, and not wishing to disturb the peaceful quiet that now envelopes the morning, I make an instant hot apple cider. I watch the fish swim, awhile, as the new lighting creates a “sunrise” progression in intensity. Beautiful.

Getting back to work feels natural enough. I’m sick and feel ineffective, and drained. I focus on the routine tasks that are least likely to go awry due to the cognitive effects of being sick. One at a time, I complete them. I move on to the next. Maybe I’ll get an entire shift out of this…?

Either way, or, perhaps, regardless… it’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Yesterday was… interesting. Yeah, but… not in that “wow, what a day!” sort of interesting day, filled with unexpected delight. Nope. Just… “interesting”. Human. It started delightfully enough, with shared coffee with my Traveling Partner. A chill, connected, contented, moment together is a wonderful start to a work day. The work itself was busy, and largely satisfying. Definitely within my abilities. The commute – either way – wasn’t particularly bad, but it is there, in those vehicular moments that I began to take note of how interesting this human experience so often is. It was in the peculiar, occasionally wholly inexplicable, decision-making of other drivers on the road… quite a few “wtf?” moments out there on the city streets. (Drive safely – surely someone would like you to arrive at your destination free of injury?)

So…work. Then home. I made dinner. It was good, satisfying, maybe a bit much… still. Dinner, made at home, enjoyed in the company of my Traveling Partner. It was a pleasant evening.

I found myself exceedingly drowsy after dinner, and figured I’d “lay down for a minute” – plenty of time, it was fairly early, and my partner was engaged in a game, and likely would be until a bit later. We had plans to share some favorite content, a couple hours later on, so… a nap? Sure, why not? Probably wouldn’t actually sleep

…My partner woke me in time for the show we had planned to watch. We watched it. I pretty much just went back to bed after it ended…

Painful stomach cramps woke me. Sometimes the awkward challenges and discomfort of this human form are worse than inconvenient. I got up after sweating a few restless uncomfortable minutes, expecting that tummy trouble might signal being sick. Yeah… symptoms at both ends kept me up awhile longer. Unpleasant. Fairly gross. Very human. I got back too sleep after the worst of it… um… “passed”. (lol) I even slept well. The morning, this morning, feels very routine in most respects… and rather less “interesting”, so far.

Ups. Downs. Twists. Changes. Success. Failure. Progress. Setbacks. Fair weather. Foul weather. Illness. Health. Romance. Heartbreak. So much human experience to cram into a single lifetime, that we routinely express such things as simple dichotomies – opposites on a gradient we generally ignore. Easier that way, isn’t it?

I smile and sip my coffee. It’s a good morning to begin again. πŸ™‚