Archives for posts with tag: from here to there

Well, I must say, I’m already a bit “over” the continuous 24/7, all-channels, all-topics, doorbell-to-deck, coverage of COVID-19, pandemic or not. Seriously. There still remains so much else to also observe, discuss, and yes, enjoy. Having said that, I am staying home, working from home on work days, and doing only those things that can be done in that context. I’m fortunate to enjoy a comfortably merry, loving, and emotionally connected relationship (this partnership certainly reduces the potential loneliness of “social distancing”). I am reaching out to friends over text message (I gave up most social media some while ago, and kept only Instagram). Friends I haven’t heard from in a while are regularly surprising me with text messages, too. It’s fine. Limiting, but generally not a big deal.

I went to the grocery store, yesterday. The aisle that usually has paper products such as facial tissue, toilet paper, and paper towels looks like an old photo of soviet era shortages in iron curtain countries. The parking lot of the grocery store was nearly full, but the store was weirdly empty; people who do go out seem to be doing so alone. The streets are quiet. No “traffic”, even during “rush hour”, which no longer seems to exist (here). The trip to the store felt almost exciting – an “outing”! I got the staples I needed, stayed well back from the cashier as I paid, used hand sanitizer frequently, and did not converse with passers-by. Mostly fairly typical for me, except the additional distance, and the hand sanitizer.

I filled the gas tank of the car, while I was out, and chuckled to myself about “how long will this tank last?” knowing I am not going out much. Then I felt a bit of anxiety and a re-thinking on that; how long will gas stations be able to stay open, and resupplied? I took a breath, and exhaled with care. It’s not helpful to borrow panic from future such concerns, presently. I think about the panic-buying of toilet paper, and the impact on people who did not succumb to panic in that moment, who now struggle just to buy what they actually do need, while others sit on vast hoards of toilet paper that will likely last them into next year. I frown, to myself, aware that there is already identifiable profiteering going on, for products such as toilet paper, on eBay. We could do better, as a society, and as human beings.

…So… Do better.

It’s a complicated time. I am grateful for, and appreciative of, those that are still on the job, still interacting with the public, still providing critical services. I am also, admittedly, harshly critical of those businesses not willing to maximize the safety net for their employees, preferring to maximize profit instead. It’s also an election year; the posturing, the spin, and the insider trading are galling in times like this. I’m grateful for honest news, where it exists, and so glad that comedy continues. Art. Science. Music. These things are still real, still going on. Creators still create. The world continues to turn.

…I think about spending time in the studio, myself…

I read, this morning, that ISPs and streaming service providers are beginning to make decisions to limit bandwidth. I cynically wonder how they will turn that to their profit when the pandemic wanes? I hit my vape. I sip my coffee. I type some words and plan the day ahead. Saturday on a (for me) long weekend. The vernal equinox, something I generally celebrate “out loud”, passed by sort of without notice this year. Fairly certain I never mentioned it, myself. I commit to enjoying the time I am sharing with my Traveling Partner, and doing what I can to make that time merry, and even productive. Bills get paid, and great care given to the budget; there are still a lot of unknowns, for all of us. It is what it is.

Today, my project is both a bit of work, and a bit of entertainment – a lot of bother; I’ll be setting the aquascaping of my aquarium right, after living with the chaotic, rather haphazard and sloppy outcome of moving the tank here, almost 3 years ago.

The day the tank arrived at the new place. This shot was taken before the water even had time to completely clear up.

The tl;dr is that the moving team that moved the tank was at the end of their work day when they finally arrived at my place with my tank. They had one more job yet to go to, and were feeling rushed… so… they rushed the work. The large river rocks that decorate my tank were not placed with care, nor were the paperweights that function as the ornaments. The plants were sort of just dropped in, without being correctly anchored at all, and where they were anchored, they were not where I wanted them. (I’d have to re-do all of it, myself, and I knew it at the time.) I settled for “good enough, now just go, please” and went on with things, expecting to have plenty of time for restoring order to that bit of chaos… once I finished getting moved in and settled.

Life happens, and change happens, and within a couple weeks of moving in, my Traveling Partner relocated for work. Then I began an almost weekly “commute” back and forth to see him each weekend (almost), which meant my only leisure time for big projects was on weekends that I did not travel (and often those were selected based on exhaustion, or illness), and in the evenings (when I could generally count on being “too tired”). The chaos got worse, and after a prolonged power outage, most of the fish died. The tank sat quietly, being little more than an aquatic garden of sorts. Over time, after the last fish finally died, I began to ignore it, and after awhile, even became rather embarrassed by it.

Yeah, it got this bad. Inadequate filtration. Lack of routine maintenance. Heater failed.

After my Traveling Partner moved back in with me last year, I started considering taking it down to reclaim the space for something else… Then, I spotted something unexpected. One solitary surviving resident.

Shy clown pleco spotted hiding behind a glass paperweight. One of my original fish, purchased in 2013.

Well, that certainly changed things for me. I got excited about my “universe in a box” all over again (and a bit peeved at myself for being such a poor care-provider). I cleaned the tank. I upgraded the filter, the heater, and the lighting. I began restocking. Today it is a vibrant little planted freshwater community, populated by shrimp, tetras, snails, a betta, and of course, my wee clown pleco, now almost 7 years old.

This morning, after so much work (over the past couple weeks), with much still left to do. 🙂

It still needs some pruning, some tidying up, and I’ve certainly got the time at home this weekend to tackle the aquascaping more seriously. So. With some trepidation, I think I shall. Part of the plan, and the timing, and the “order of operations” is also to do with moving the tank to the other side of the fireplace to make better use of the space. (And, finally, there won’t be two light switches in every photo of the tank!) The needs are different for two people living here, than for one. 🙂 So much work. So much fun. So much love. Plenty to challenge me, and stave off any potential for boredom.

My perspective on my circumstances changes when I understand how other lives may be affected by my choices. (Pictured: a much happier, still shy, clown pleco.)

This is my life in the time of pandemic. It’s not perfect. There are challenges. There are opportunities. There is “room to grow”. There is this strange moment in my lifetime that holds so much potential to become “that time when we all reconnected”, and I hope to take advantage of it. What about you? What will you do with your time at home? How will you deepen your relationships? Where are your opportunities to grow as a person? Will you make use of the time well and wisely… or… not?

It is another time to begin again. 🙂 (However bad things may become, I know I can begin again.)

I was not up to taking my new backpack for a test hike yesterday, when I started my day. I was also not really up to it a bit later in the morning, after yoga, and when I walked – without my pack – to the neighborhood farmer’s market, either.  Afternoon came around, and a partner asked me what I thought of the hike at Cooper Mountain, and handed me a map.  I looked it over pretty fearlessly; I wasn’t even considering it as a ‘right now’ option, just looking at a map. Could I do the distances involved? It looked like it. Could I handle the terrain? That looked okay, too, with the possible exception of some steeper bits, that I felt sure I could work  up to pretty quickly…

Oh - hello right now!

Oh – hello right now!

In moments we were off, headed down the road toward adventure.  According to the hiking app I installed on my smart device, by day’s end we’d managed more than 3 miles of varied terrain (3.4 for me, 3.8 for my partners who took on one more loop of trail than I did). It was good fun, and my pack fit well, felt comfortable, and delivered on the utterly necessary hydration piece I was concerned about.  I felt far more capable in practice than I had convinced myself I was.  It felt extraordinary to knock down that damaging notion and replace it with a sense of strength and capability.  Old skills and knowledge were at the ready, and I found being open to learning new technologies far less stress-inducing than hanging on to ideas that are now out-of-date (good-bye cotton, hello modern wicking fabrics!). It was fantastically fun and I am already eagerly exploring maps of the area for hikes that are easily within reach. It felt fantastic to be outside, with my partners, walking through the lovely countryside.

The wild roses were in bloom, pretty much everywhere.

The wild roses were in bloom, pretty much everywhere.

There were endless vistas...

There were endless vistas…

...paths to points beyond...

…paths to points beyond…

...cool forests...

…cool forests…

...sun-dappled trails...

…sun-dappled trails…

...and lovely expanses of meadow filled with every possible wildflower.

…and lovely expanses of meadow filled with every possible wildflower.

It was an afternoon well-spent, savored, and enjoyed in good company.

It was an afternoon well-spent, savored, and enjoyed in good company.

I wasn’t sad to head for home when we reached our vehicle; I was beat! The drive home was punctuated with laughing comments about sleeping well that night. It was a lovely experience.

Strangely… I did not sleep well. Okay, to be fair, I slept well enough, but not for very long, and the remaining many hours of night were spent split between meditation, and wondering why meditation wasn’t resulting in sleepiness. Ever. lol. For now I am awake, alert, content, and facing the work week feeling good.  Perhaps I’d simply had enough rest? I guess it is possible, although 4 hours is rarely sufficient for me; I may notice the lack by day’s end.

Until then, though, and even after… today is a very good day. It’s a very good day just as it is, and that’s a nice way to begin it.

Strange night. I crashed pretty early, and pretty sleepy. I woke fairly frequently, returning to sleep with minimal effort. I experienced the night as alternating unpredictably between ‘frozen wasteland’ and ‘sweltering tropical swamp’, a common enough experience these days as I trudge the last mile of real estate in Hormone Hell.  It wasn’t ‘a bad night’, just strange.

I woke abominably early, especially for a day off, and figured I’d go ahead and get up; my first choice of activity was meditation, and I spent quite a while practicing Savasana; it’s exceptional for a deep down level of relaxed awareness. It’s also exceptional for returning to the land of dreams, and indeed I found myself ready and able to cash in that token for another hour or two of sleep, and dreams.  I woke later, made coffee, and settled in for some quiet study time in the twilight of dawn. Books and blogs, catching up on old favorites, and exploring new ones. I do love words.

I woke with plans to explore a local nature park on foot with my new hydration daypack, getting used to the weight, and encumbered movement; I prefer to travel light when I’m out and about, sometimes eschewing even a handbag, in favor of a lighter, smaller, card case or simple folding wallet (or my id and a handful of badly folded bills shoved into a pocket, let’s be honest).  My partners recent interest in outdoor fun got me excited, too. Yesterday I shopped for a pack, and eventually found what I was looking for to get started with.

It's purple!!

It’s purple!!

I am amused by how often one partner or another has to remind me I am not in the Army now. lol. I am delighted by this compact hydration pack and it’s very very purple color; it is not OD green. 🙂  It’s also not a man’s pack and fits me better than anything the Army ever issued me.  It’s not a big pack, and it isn’t intended for weeks of forward deployment. What it is, is large on water at 100 oz, and compact at 10 liters of volume. I was so excited that as soon as I got home I filled the reservoir, fitted it, packed the few odds and ends from my basic gear list that I’ve already got and wore it around the house for a while, like a kid with new super hero pajamas.  I eagerly planned, then, to spend much of today out and about, walking the trails of a nearby nature park, and getting acclimated to walking with weight on my busted up back; safety first.

There is so much to explore...

There is so much to explore…

Real life is not what our desires and expectations dictate, it is what it is. I woke this morning, early. I woke this morning content and serene. I also woke this morning with stiff knees and ankles and a noteworthy backache. So. Maybe not today; there are more days ahead on the calendar, and time for life and love. Today, perhaps, is a better day for reading, writing, laughing, and for laundry, and gardening, and a second cup of good coffee. Today is a good day to be patient with myself, and to enjoy life gently.

Today is a good day to change the world.