Stellar

It’s astounding how often I find myself in awe of the things that happen in my life. There are these magical moments that transpire and I can’t help but wonder if I’m not the subject of some magnificent, epic story.  I can’t possibly be the author, though, were that the case.  Still, that has been my feeling much of the day.  I feel like yesterday was some dreamed chapter of my life and I just keep flipping the page back to the experience because it felt so unreal.  Only, it definitely was real.  That really happened.

“Meet me in outer space”

I was in costume akin to a school girl from an anime, only I was Babydoll from Sucker Punch.  He requested I help him tidy up his place, so there I was, fresh from the anime convention.  Music streamed as we went to work, organizing things in piles and designating what was trash. It was when we were a few hours in; the vibrations flowing and our comfortable, effortless chemistry pulling the reigns, that we faced each other for our lips to meet.

Stellar is the name of the song that began to play.  It was a familiar tune, and the tugging of guitar strings sent the heart fluttering.  There I was, in front of him.  We were sitting in the middle of the room, gazing into one another’s eyes.  Stacks of papers surrounded us in the cozy apartment.  My outfit bore my lithe frame. There was gentle feeling of shoulders and hips and the face and neck. There was nuzzling and we were so close. We kissed for the entirety of the song, beginning to end. It was continuous and sweet. It wasn’t the kind of kissing that would demand anything more.  It was perfection, in all of its sweaty palm and lip-biting glory.

“How do you do it? Make me feel like I do”

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The Nicest Thing

Last night, I began to ache in every joint and muscle.  I thought little of it, but it grew within the hour to where I couldn’t shake the feeling.  I couldn’t shake how miserable I was suddenly feeling, in the physical sense.  I took a shower, and it was a beautiful respite.  I inhaled the steam and the warmth soothed my body in every portion.  I felt queasy, but it made the nausea calm within me.  Just as I felt maximum, fleeting relief, I heard the chiming of my phone.  That’s him, I thought.  Oh he’s on his way home.  He, after all, is the nicest thing I know, at least in the human sense.  He was due to return to Michigan that night.

Then, it was so unfortunate that leaving the shower didn’t make me feel better.  In fact, I felt wholly worse.  I was shaking from the cold of the ambient temperature, but the shaking never stopped.  I got dressed and groveled in pain on my bed.  Oh, he said he was showering and then coming to visit me.  I haven’t seen him in weeks, this nice thing of mine.  I wish I didn’t agree so readily to see him like this.  But it’s too late, he’s on his way.  I need this, I think.  I need something, or someone to make the awful go away.  I feel so unwell. My body starts cooking.  100 degrees.  101 degrees.  I’m covering myself in blankets, barely wanting to move.  I want to be well.  I was so well, just hours ago!  I could have seen him any other time of day, and it wouldn’t be this agony.  Oh well, he’s nearly here.

I had intended to wrap his gifts, which accumulated like the snow outside in the days he was gone.  I just kept thinking of him, and kept wanting nice things for him, because he’s so nice.  I couldn’t wrap them, no.  I put them in a recycled bag and threw a sheet of wrapping paper over top.  I meant for this to be so much more thoughtful, but it’s too late now.  Maybe he didn’t bring his gifts?  Maybe I wouldn’t have to give mine.  We missed Christmas and New Year, this year.  It was a sad time, all things considered.  Then I heard the car pull up, that little blue Ford Fiesta.  It’s him.  I gotta get to the door, it’s so cold out and I don’t want him to freeze.  I didn’t tell him I was sick.  Or that chills were wracking my body.  I didn’t have to.  I wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, and wobbled to the door.

There he was, the nicest thing.  He had a pot of white roses, flecked with shimmery glitter and a frozen pizza.  Oh, he really did mean for me to heat the oven to 375 degrees, I thought.  I fell into his arms, headbutting his chest affectionately.  Then I began to quiver.  I’m so happy you’re here, I’m thinking.  I’m so happy, but I’m so sick.  And he handed me the sweetest little card, handmade, with money to fund my fish habit in the form of a gift card to the pet store.  After preheating the oven, I realized I would hand him my gifts.  They’re not wrapped…but neither were his.  Thoughtfully, he inspected everything, and we spoke.  I sat on the floor, shrouded in blanket.  I smiled and explained the thought behind every gift.  I said I just kept adding to the pile because he was gone so long.  We chuckled.  Candles that smelled of hot cider like the kind we enjoyed at the Irish pub, Christmas cheer and so forth.  He’s a man who likes his candles.  Poker chips, because I know you and you like to play poker sometimes.  When you win, we get to eat out, wherever I choose and it’s a new adventure every time.  Chocolate from the gift shop in the museum, like two years ago when we drove on a snowy February to Ann Arbor.  A pin from your favorite show, which we watched an episode or two of together, because I knew you were itching to.  I had included his favorite candies, way back from Halloween, because he likes the Child’s play mix the best.  Stress-relieving lotion, also, not for him to use on me but for me to use on him as we trade turns giving massages.  I was so happy.

I had a really rough night, after he left.  We cuddled for maybe an hour, and then he decided I needed to rest.  I threw up at 5 AM.  I was struggling to fight the sickness, which must have been a bad flu attack.  It’s making the rounds, and nearly everyone I’m employed with had a similar night.  But not everyone had this wonderful encounter with a boy who cares so deeply.  He told me, before he took off, that if I needed anything at all, he would retrieve it for me.  I told him, after some thought, come back at 1 pm tomorrow when I am scheduled to be working.  I’ll call in, because I need to do that anyways.  I’m somewhat of a workaholic, I admit.  I survived the night, though.  At 1 pm, his Ford Fiesta appeared once more.  I happily jumped out of bed, my fever broken and my body beginning to heal.  My throat is still sore and I’ve been hacking and coughing.  But I’m so much better, especially since he is here.

We cuddled and ate Chinese food and cuddled some more.  My cold heart warmed.  This is the nicest thing, I’ve decided.  My animals are in the periphery at all times.  My cat, Kronos, tries to cause mischief but we both watch him with admiration.  The puffer fish in one of my display tanks begin to swim up and down the corner of the tank.  Look, I tell him.  He looks.  There is a book, too, that I’ve been reading on the history of the hobby.  He flips through that, and greedily listens to every word.  I show him fish vocalizations.  Isn’t that crazy, how that darter sounds underwater?  There’s so much to show and so much to tell.  He’s a quiet one, but he never needs to say much.  I’ve learned over the years to pay attention to his actions.  He never says what he needs to say, most of the time, but he always does what he needs to do every time.

A fish geek girl can scarcely ask for more than this understanding.  A fish geek girl can scarcely have a nicer thing.

No Car- Will Adventure

I woke up with the mentality that I would tackle any challenge.  Exams for school are done for the semester, and my only need was to make it to work today.  I knew my transportation was to be compromised, as the car I share with my sister was in her possession.  She had exams yet; I was done.  There was not a complaint on my end, because I know that the added challenge can result in some phenomenal experiences.  I know that the struggle to get from point A to point B can actually be a cheery affair with the right attitude.  So today I woke up assured it was going to go well for me.  I was first going to pick up my paycheck, because the pet shop doesn’t do direct deposit.  Then I would manage to make my way to campus another city away to fulfill duties at the library.

Before I even left the house, I came to realize there was a dilemma in my travel.  I didn’t have a bike accessible and though there was no snow on the ground, the air was quite cold.  I knew it would require great endurance to haul along a gift because I also planned to deliver a secret santa present at a food gathering arranged by library student staff that evening.  We were going to go get sushi as a last hurrah.  Many of these girls I’ve worked with for years now, and the time to graduate is nigh for them.  Not me yet, but that’s another story.  Anyways, I had this awkwardly packaged gift which was really many gifts.  So I came up with a solution to haul a wheeled cooler behind me like luggage at an airport.  I would walk the twenty minute walk and the bundle wouldn’t burden me.  I delighted in throwing many items into the box for my coworker.  It was mostly random, small things, but all held meaning.  I meant to brighten someone’s day.   There was a Subway sack featuring Guardians of the Galaxy images, stuffed with everything from body spray to a necklace and hair ties and a small plastic sea turtle.  She likes turtles, I mused.  I threw fake roaches and googly eyes and candies and toy lizards in the box as well.  Why not?  All fun things, of which I have ample supply.  I struck out for the day, then, with hope in my soul and less tedious baggage for the journey.  I rolled that cooler up the street and down many other streets. Men I passed would acknowledge this sight with a “Merry Christmas” gesture.  How kind.  How oblivious I am to the evils of others in the broad daylight, I thought.  Nobody seems inclined to hurt me.  But I understand it is wise to be wary as I travel solo and encumbered in the cold.  It was very cold.

By the time I made it to Old Town, the sweat under my coat stuck to my skin and I struggled to push my body further.  I was walking so quickly.  Oh how I wished I could walk faster.  I stopped for a mere minute to admire the river below the bridge on this chilly day and breathe a little better.  When I made it to the pet store, I retrieved my paycheck and before I could greet my friends who were on the clock, I spied a bag of snacks that seemed particularly appealing in my physically compromised state.  I snagged a bag of chocolate covered potato chips and told the lady at the front counter to put it on my house charge.  Then I sat and took a few bites and cracked open the envelope.  Because I spend so much here, I never know what I’ll bring home at the end of the week. I peeked inside and smiled to myself.  Better than I expected!  That’s always reason to celebrate.  Then I went to say hello to my fellow pet store staff who are practically my second family.  I shared with each I encountered the sinfully delightful snack.  I heard many compare it to the flavor of a french fry dipped in a frosty.  Ah, yes.  I was so happy to hang out for a bit, browse new saltwater fish, and joke with friends.  I couldn’t stay long, however.  I needed to make haste to my next destination.  I needed to brave the cold once more.

I thought up many ways I could make it to Michigan Avenue.  I really just needed to hop on the Number One bus to get a straight shot to campus.  However, I was a bit out of the way by now, and time was of the essence.  I quickly decided to roll my cooler down Cedar st. and many blocks away to reach downtown.  This decision was also a taxing one, and though I hustled as best I could, I still had to stop every now and then.  I still felt the strain of my demands.  I slumped onto the bench when I reached the site across from the Lugnuts Stadium.  Funny, I didn’t feel cold at all.  Perhaps it was getting warmer in the day.  Perhaps I worked up a good sweat.  My timing was good, and the bus arrived moments later.  I relished the warmth on-board and breathed in warm breaths.  There were a lot of people here, I could tell as I glanced.  I clutched my cooler and held on tight.

I wasn’t even late to work.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had time to indulge in a twenty-five cent water at the cafe before I rode the elevator up to my workplace.  It felt tremendously good to have gotten by on my quick scheme for the day.  I made it.

I passed around the bag of chocolate covered chips at work.  I just love giving.  I gifted my secret santa present prematurely, but the girl I was assigned would not attend our sushi dinner.  It was interesting to watch her open it, but at the same time, I felt ashamed for the amount of effort I intended to put into it to really make it stand out that just never happened.  It had to do.  I don’t have all the time in the world, after all, though I may convince myself sometimes.  I worked my four hours til close.  Then the sushi party commenced.  I was dropped off rather unexpectedly early for the event and was the first to show for our reservation.  So I took to chatting with the host.  It’s always interesting to talk to new people.  Everyone is so different, yet relies on key similarities to make connections.  A few minutes past 6 pm and a few minutes late, the party arrived.  The sushi was delicious.  The company impeccable.  I was given a gift card to Noodles and Company for a future meal, which was appreciated.  I also was driven home at the end of it all.  This entire day operated on a whim and no car.  So I like to think….

No car?  Will adventure!

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??

leporinus

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.

 thorichthys

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.