Never a Dull Moment

Since getting this new phone, photo sharing has been such a streamlined process for me.  It is a far cry from the days when I would hook up my digital camera to my computer for uploads or use the SD card slot in my laptop.  It’s surprisingly fast and I’m learning more of how to use the technology.  It seems silly, and I’ve heard the remark “Welcome to 2008.”  Ah yes, behind the times I am.  That’s okay, it bothers me not.  However, the world of sharing photos of my menagerie has opened up quite substantially.   I’m as curious as a cat.  Speaking of which….

kronos face

Ah yes, that’s what I’m talking about.  There is another problem I encounter, though.  If I can share photos this easily, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.  This house is full of animals that fill my life with little moments.  And each moment is precious to me.  Each moment we interact, I would love to beam it on a satellite for all to see if they so please.  I think the truth of my life is I’m actually burdened by having TOO MANY marvelous life forms surrounding me.  I actually have too much good on a daily basis.  I didn’t think it possible, but every time I turn around I have something new and touching to share.  Baby rats yawning in unison.  The tilt of a hungry steppe runner’s face as I prepare to bombard him with waxworms.  The baby cichlids that run up and down the side of the tank in begging formation.  I see so much that endears me to them and it happens so long as I am home to witness it.  I fear, because I never have a dull moment, I will strip my friends of interest in me.  They will grow tired of acknowledging my spastic enthusiasm, perhaps.  Oh no, that will be the day.  I would blame the technology but this is my natural state.

rat face

Here have a picture of more of my lovely rats.  Another cat and rat post, if you will.  But I promise there is so much more.  Are you ready??



If You Ever Need to Find Me, just Follow the Plush Plecostomus

plush plecoI had a real fun idea at work today, to brighten my day and bring about the best start possible at 8 AM.  I had the idea of bringing this plush Pecostomus toy I ordered online to my pet store gig, and just sticking it to some surface with its suction cup mouth. It’s simply too fun, and when I arrived for my quarantine duties, I found the perfect opportunity- the windowed door.  I wet the suction disk and stuck the plush where it was in obvious view and just let it amuse people who came and went for the duration of my shift.  This is exactly the kind of little thing I support, and I think everyone should find tidbits to keep the mood in high places.  This pleco was just the beginning for me.

The flow of business was smooth and not too strenuous at the pet store.  When I finished quarantine work (finding minimal dead fish to inspect and remove), I moved to the sales floor where I assisted customers.  The same goby I have bred at home bred at the store many months ago, and today marked the first store-bred gobies being offered for sale.  It was a small victory in seeing the expansion of the breeding projects to include the desert goby.  We also have young Apistogramma cacatuoides coming along nicely in back and these, too, I anticipate highly.  The man who works to breed these animals is Cuban and a very nice man.  He is always genuinely excited for fish, and I relate to him on a very fundamental level.  I always seek to please Antonio and deeply regret times when I haven’t.  That said, he was in a good mood this morning and it transferred to me as well.  I brought him some fine Koi angelfish stock and found them to have pleased him.  The best thing, of course, is the sensation that I’m making or influencing positive change in the store.  I am humble and I do not take credit for much, but I like to think I’m a driving force or at least a persistent reminder of the hobbyist’s wants.  Any way you view this situation, I’m absolutely stoked to be where I am and simply hope I continue to deliver on my promises.  For example, I have spoken of making daphnia and water lettuce grown indoors a real staple and I hope to see it sold to our customer base in the near future.  Call it more determination on my part.  I have grand intentions, overall, and that rarely changes (rain or shine).

I had some pleasing interactions today too, and I like it when I’m in a good mood.  There were a pair of Thorichthys ellioti that spawned in a sales tank and made a great show of their parenting.  There was just this huge pile of babies in the corner and both male and female fish were bright, colorful, and on guard.  I pointed this out to people at the nearest opportunity and that opportunity fell in my lap when I saw a regular customer with a real beginner’s knack for breeding fish.  I knew he would fall for this fish as I did in just instants even though I would have not noticed them if the fry were absent.  The man most interested in the baby desert gobies was also at the store today and that, too, was impeccable timing.


After work, I was so wiped out from sleep deprivation I simply could not avoid napping.  I napped for several hours undisturbed and when I woke up, I found it prime time to do a couple water changes, feed the rodents, and set out on a mini-adventure.  I met up with a new acquaintance and sipped a pricey (but delicious) mocha as we chatted for an hour and some change.  We had to venture to East Lansing to find a coffee place open at midnight.  This led me to the territory of my good, sick friend whom I sought to cheer up some before returning home at 3 AM.  It has been a sprawling day, but I have much to look forward to as always.  This is the Heather I like, and if you need to find her, just follow the plush Plecostomus.

Challenging Perspective, Optimism, and the Human Mind

I was having a glorious night to myself, I thought.  I put on some music that made me feel pumped up.  I’m surrounded by all these wonderful things and animals, and I can dance this party all night.  I need no partner and I will tell you repeatedly there is always wonder to be found.  There is also a treacherous pitfall around those wonders.  Because in a split second, I tumbled when my perspective flipped on me.  It’s so strange to see this take place, as you sit and in mere moments the shade and tint to your body scales down and inverts on itself.  I think I just felt the slightest element push me from feeling elated in my solitude to depressed in my loneliness.  It was the fastest shift, like a chameleon blending to it’s surroundings.  I was fed a new perspective without realizing; I told myself in someone else’s words that I was ignorant to parade around my home in happiness for my freedom.  I felt sudden loss as to why I could possibly accept anything less than the company of friends and other humans on a Friday night.  Why am I like this?  What is wrong with you, Heather?

This is an absurd transition, no doubt, but one that compels me to write because I analyze it in real time.  Despite knowing why I’m feeling or thinking these things, it doesn’t stop me from doing it.  What does this knowledge do but trample on my self-esteem and well-being?  So strange.  I find it so strange that one can be a dual optimist and pessimist.  I change as the moment suits, but this did not suit me.  Perhaps it suited my survival.  Perhaps I’m built to care what others think or that others are not with me.  I can scarcely think of any other explanation at this hour.  However, I quickly shut off the music and set myself to brood.  Maybe it’s hormones, but something trashed my mood.

What is perhaps worse about the human mind here, or more specifically my mind, is that I know it is all preventable grief.  I know it is my actions that put me here, unhappily.  My cat begins to chatter.  He wants me to get over it and give him attention, no doubt.  And why don’t I?  Why don’t I stop being ridiculous and anti-social.  There is not a person on the planet who wouldn’t care to be in my company if I understood the wants and needs of someone not plagued in thought.  I can be a real downer if I allow it, and I can see from all perspectives at once; his, hers, and mine.  Perhaps I will turn on  the music again and enjoy the company that is me.  If I could muster it once with glee, it can happen again.  It simply must be.

Pilling Cats and African Soft Fur Rats

Throughout the day, I have an assortment of tasks to perform.  Almost all are pet-oriented.  My cat was diagnosed with a heart condition at a young age and if I can get the pills down, it is beneficial for him.  That’s always an if, because he is prone to fighting me on them and when I’m frantically trying to tackle my own crazy agenda, I don’t have all the time in the world to fight back.  Today, I decided to coax him and resume the more rigid pilling schedule we once upheld.  I have always tamed my animals with love, and as I cradle him I shower his face with kisses and hold him firmer as the pill sticks to the roof of his mouth.  I know that it is unpleasant and I know the struggle with forcing your body to take the medication.  It took me most of my life to learn to take pills and even today I still slip up, so I decided to keep that in mind and held him tight.  Pilling a cat is not an easy task, but today it went rather smoothly, with no foaming at the mouth to speak of.  One pill, two pill and he was done.  I rewarded him with wet food and rewarded myself with the notion that “hey, doing these things and following through is worth every bit of allowable time.”  I think that is a primary reason why I’m always late- that deep understanding of proper time use.  It’s hard to know what in your life is worth the extra few minutes, but my cat’s health is assuredly one of those things.  I would do anything for a best friend of mine.

kronos pill

Speaking of best friend, my human friend of three years has become ill recently.  It’s just seasonal sickness, but it’s still concerning and just as equally “no good.”  I made it a point to cheer him up- “What could I get for you to help with the symptoms?” I asked.  “I have no money” he replied.  This is a ridiculous thing, to think he needed to pay me, I would help and I adopted a fierce determination to do so.  I braved a mild blizzard to gather items any sick patient would endorse- pain killers, cough drops, soup, crackers, water, tea.  It began immediately to brighten my day at the thought of the possibilities.  Working two jobs, I’m more prone to having pocket change, though not the hefty kind.  I can make a lot happen with a little, and it has always been my gift to give.

As for the second half of this post subject, I have begun a secondary breeding project in my home, and it has been on-going for the last few months.  I’m raising a herd of African soft fur rats, focusing on selective breeding for high-white coloration.  I’m having a lot of fun with it, and in 2015 I plan to attend reptile shows to balance out the cost of raising them and also to justify their production via the feeder mouse market.  This is a different species than a rat or a mouse typically encountered in the pet trade.  It tends to be a bit more vicious and bitey than it’s kin, but then with the right amount of taming down, they really aren’t so bad.  And they are painfully adorable; a worse pain than any bite!!  It hurts the heart to see those bulgy eyes, but I suppose not in a bad way.  I’m interested to see how far this takes me, for breeding them came off a whim when I was told this rat was not easily handled- I think there is a real place for them to become an accepted pet like a hamster or gerbil or house mouse.  I had a little fun after I delivered my friend’s care package and picked up some clearance ceramic barns for hides for my rat colonies.  I think it compliments them well.


Ah yes, the story of my life- Pilling cats and African soft fur rats!!

The Things that Enrich You

The snow is falling more intensely today, piling the earth in winter dormancy.  I’ve already experienced many travels despite this, and despite not actually having a car to call my own.  I’ve begun to assume use of a loaner, and in a sense I still feel unstoppable.  Of course, that could be the loosened muscles in me speaking since a massage earlier restored elasticity.  I feel well, and it’s in proper order for this reboot.  I do not find this to be a false sense of security; I’m assured I am as on track as I could hope, at least for now.  That could also be the food in me speaking, as it nourishes my soul.  Whatever the source, it is from within that I strike forward.  Muscle, heart, cerebral cortex.  A stomach with less empty contents than the fish that I dissected the other day.

fish guts

It’s all here.  I’m all accounted for.

I’ve gathered plenty for this household of mine and so now that Mother Nature has beckoned for the cold, the work in the house beckons me and I feel ready.  This year I have a faithful pet rat to add cheer to my days.  It’s been years since I’ve had a rat of this sort; elephant-eared and human-pawed.  His name is Haku and he is in my home for the holidays.  It’s as if it was a missing piece, perhaps.  Honestly, I just feel so whole.  And for once, I am also confident another soul sits out there, isolated in another household yearning to be at my side as well.

haku rat

There are a million things to do inside, in my paradise.  If I continue to eat better and treat myself I think the positive attitude will linger longer and I will find much more dedication.  I am always apt to believe things will get better.  Perhaps better for me will be when the households are not separate and when my home is an absolute.  But for a temporary gig, I kinda like it so far.

This is the life.


I can see quite clearly now the closing of the year that is/was 2014.  I can almost declare it dead, though I know it still yields a month or so of entertainment.  That entertainment, however, is of the very cold sort this time of year.  It is November and Michigan has received it’s first major snowfall for the season.  Last summer and fall just blew past me, it seems, like the wind that now carries the icy debris.  I barely had a chance to breathe.  Now, things are starting anew.  The world is changing and the plants are dying.  I feel at home staying inside with my plethora of animal life.  I keep them warm and shed my layers of clothing to enter my tropical paradise.  It has all come at a price, but now that it is cold again I hardly care.  I’m here and I’ve survived and I’m determined to continue surviving and making meaning of this existence.

Lately I have been through an upheaval of circumstances.  For starters, I had the car I’ve used for the last 5 years fall apart and sold for scrap.  My transportation situation is dicey and this isn’t exactly biking weather, so my life consists of bartering for rides from friends and family and walking intrepidly to the nearest bus stop.  In another sense, I’ve upgraded my communication technology while downgrading my transportation so that is reason to be gleeful.  I have entered the world of smartphone use and hardly know where to begin with it.  I feel as though I’m relearning practically everything.  But the adventures with the fish never stop.

I’m renewing my dream for 2015 of becoming breeder of the year in my aquarium society.  I think I have a fighting chance as this year was competitive to a degree.  Before the crazy summer got the best of me.  This year, I close with 10 new spawns.  This includes:

  1. Pseudosphromenus dayi
  2. Tylomelania sp. Yellow Rabbit Snail
  3. Pseudotropheus acei “White-Tail”
  4. Neocaridinia davidi “Yellow shrimp”
  5. Limia perugiae
  6. Heterandria formosa
  7. Celestichthys choprae
  8. Celestichthys margaritatus
  9. Moenkhausia pittieri
  10. Alfaro cultratus

Next year, I plan to start strong.  Yesterday I got a spawn I’ve been anticipating out of a fish known as Chlamydogobius eremius, or commonly the Australian Desert Goby.  The eggs they laid fill the back of a little cave and I feel the joy from inside leaping up. Let the games begin once more!

desert goby