Archives for posts with tag: freshwater planted aquarium

Another Monday in the Time of Pandemic. News headlines reflect the unease of the wealthy, concerned about loss of wealth over time, and the unease of the “essential workers”, concerned about surviving the pandemic, at all, at constant risk of exposure. Our individual perspective is informed by our individual circumstances, and manipulated by media coverage. I sip my coffee, grateful for all the at-risk workers still working, who made it possible to have it. Another Monday.

The day and week stretches out ahead of me. The weekend behind me dissipates, into memories. I reflect on life, lived between those future and past moments. I enjoy this cup of coffee. It’s enough.

Each pleasant moment has a quality of its own.

I notice the time and smile. I’ve still got time to enjoy this coffee. To meditate on details of the weekend. To consider the needs of future moments – and the woman in the mirror. I’ve got time for self-care (no commute). I feel fortunate. I start the day with gratitude, and this cup of coffee…

…Soon enough, it’ll be time to begin again.

Small changes add up to big changes, over time. Some of the small changes I made are a goodness, and result in improved quality of life. Some of the small changes I make are less so, and create potentially problematic circumstances – sometimes entirely foreseeable conflict results. Humans being human. Some of the small changes that are made around me manage to also improve my circumstances. Some, though, are a bother. It is what it is. Not all the small changes are mine to make, or made by me. Not all the small changes that occur are even about me.

I sip my coffee and think about changes.

This morning, there are three less aquarium fish in my tanks. The difficult thugs that were creating so much difficulty have found a new home. I hope it works out better for them. They were certainly too aggressive for my tanks, here. It was a poorly chosen small change to bring them here. I am feeling fairly confident that it is a beneficial small change that sees them on their way elsewhere.

Small changes involve verbs. This morning I broke down boxes for the recycling. Definitely a positive outcome as small changes go; boxes were piling up, and the clutter was an aggravation. This morning? Less clutter. Less aggravation. In the process, I got a paper cut, from a bit of discarded paperwork that was stuffed into a narrow box. Pulling it out, definitely a small change, resulted in blood loss (not much), and a very irritating sensation in the crook of my hand, between my thumb and fingers. Ouch. Annoying. Not a small change I’m super eager to embrace; I’ll have to keep my hands out of the aquarium water until it heals, for sure. I love my aquariums, but let’s be real; it’s not a great idea to immerse an open wound or cut in aquarium water. It’s definitely full of a variety of bacteria.

I remind myself to wash it, again; it bled more, and there’s dried blood all over my hand.

I look around at the many small changes that have resulted from prolonged staying-at-home over the past handful of weeks. There’s more I could do, particularly here in my studio, but wow – so much has already been done.

I finish my coffee, thinking about other small changes I could make to improve my quality of life. I think about spring. I think about the garden. I observe the morning sunshine illuminating the bedroom window, through the blinds. I pause to savor this quiet moment, before I begin again. πŸ™‚

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™‚

This headache I woke with is no joke. Ouch. Too real. I woke later than usual; sleeping in is one of my favorite “day off” experiences, and I’d taken today off. I woke gently, bumbled around haplessly a bit, made some coffee… felt a bit “off” somehow, but didn’t clearly identify the headache as the cause for some minutes. I wasn’t quite awake enough, yet.

…I definitely “get it” now. :-\

I sip my coffee, and plan my day. This is a relaxed, quiet morning, no work pressure. Feels good. I’m thinking I’ll spend the day tidying up the studio to be more work-ready (for painting – it’s plenty ready for working). Later, a delivery of livestock for my aquarium will arrive (lots more delivery options than there used to be; no one wants to shut their business down, no one wants people in the shops), and I’ll spend the afternoon getting them settled in, and enjoying them. πŸ˜€

I make a point of continuing to clearly distinguish between work hours (and days) and non-work hours (and days) – healthy boundary setting remains an important practice for long-term quality of life. I see how easily work could become a solution for boredom or confinement stress, but also recognize that succumbing to that short-cut would likely reset expectations long-term regarding my willingness to work through my leisure hours, or at the convenience of my employer without regard for my own needs. I think I won’t do that. πŸ˜‰ No, not even now. What I want and need from my own life, and leisure, for myself, remains of value to me.

Pulling my focus away from the morning news, to sit a few minutes and write, while sipping my morning coffee, seems to be a worthy endeavor; the headache seems to have lessened, and has begun to fade into the background. Looks like today is not the day to involve myself with the news. Less screen time, more aquarium time. Less “content” more housekeeping, perhaps. Be here, now. This is a relaxed, quiet morning, no work pressure. Why add media chaos to this chill vibe? Meditation, instead of news headlines – that sounds lovely. A second coffee, and some bird-watching, as spring unfolds in the strip of forest beyond the deck, perhaps. Confinement in the time of pandemic feels less confining, and more like a leisurely day at home, if I stay focused on these small delights, and refrain from involving myself in the concerns of the media (which, truly, are already very well-covered, and rather unchanging, at present).

I smile and finish off this first cup of coffee, eager to get on with the day, eager to see new fish swimming in the aquarium, and familiar squirrels on the deck. Eager to begin again – right here at home.

Well… literally a quarter of the way through this year, and possibly the one reliably positive outcome of this “social distancing” thing is the very firm limit it places on April foolery. I sip my coffee and appreciate that, for a moment, and listen to my Traveling Partner snore softly in the other room. I woke feeling rested, and contented. It’s a nice start to the morning. Yesterday seemed like a very good day, in this strange new “normal”.

Pandemic life. Groceries delivered. Supplies of this and that run low unexpectedly, sometimes turning out to be damn near irreplaceable. Stepping out onto the deck feels like “really getting out”. Things that have been online activities for a really long time blur with things that have never been online until recently. Food delivery services deliver from damned near every imaginable restaurant in the area, small, large, or exclusive. Hell, even the local pet store will deliver live animals, and anything to care for those. I mean, while delivery services last.

Seems to be a sad truth that some business that insist their employees continue to work, also persist in treating them poorly. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to turn out well…

I sip my coffee and scroll through the news, mostly without stopping; it’s all repeats of rephrasing of reshares of some distant original content. I try to hold myself to a personal commitment to read any given story only once, preferably the original. Doing so seriously cuts down on the repetition, and reduces my stress. πŸ™‚

…It’s still so early (in the morning, I mean). I nudge myself away from my work tools. Too soon. πŸ™‚

I take some time to watch fish swim.

 

The new aquarium next to my desk lights up slowly. I smile appreciatively, and enjoy the moment, watching the fish begin to “wake up”, thinking thoughts about “what do fish dream about?” and immersing myself in this “now” moment of morning “me time”. It is a precious routine, and I work to preserve it. I give myself over to consideration of the long-term plan for this tank. The aesthetic, the inhabitants, the purpose. The three tiny thugs who live in it now were not ideal choices for my notion of a happy tank, but I enjoy their antics in spite of lacking fondness for their bullying. I make notes on my “to do list” for aquarium maintenance (water testing, pruning, things like that) for this week, reminding myself “not today, though”; it’s going to be a busy one, and I know I’ll be tired at the end of it.

…Self-care still matters (matters more?) in this time of pandemic. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee and glance at the time… there’s a work day ahead of me, and it’s time to begin again.