Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

January 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm (aquaria, Eleanor, goings-on) (, , , , , )

Well, I know I had kind of neglected my blog, before Christmas. I was just so busy–the time got away from me. And, then there was the necessary and anticipated absence of Christmas vacation when Stephen and I took little Eleanor down to Atlanta and Charlotte to show her off to all her family. And, now that we’ve been back in Vancouver for two whole weeks, I have not taken the time to catch my readers up. What a bad blogger I am!

It’s not that I don’t make time to get online–I do!–but, to be honest, I found a new addiction right before Christmas. Mom, you may recall that one of the items on my Christmas wish list was a subscription to a magazine called Practical Fishkeeping. Well, it turns out, I don’t really need the magazine in print because, not only are all the articles available online, they have a very active forum that just keeps drawing me in. In a month of membership I’ve put up almost fifty posts! Granted, they’re not nearly as long as ranty as some I’ve written here, but still… 50! First thing every morning, I have to check my forum. Seven a.m. is still peace-and-quiet-coffee-break time (Eleanor doesn’t usually get up until until 8 or 9). And, at this time I have every intention of updating rainraingoaway (especially because we’re in the thick of the rainy season and the rain rain just will not go away), but because I’m 8 or 9 hours behind the majority of the members on the UK-based PFK forum, there are always multiple replies waiting for me, and of course I just have to reply to those and then I just have to check out all the new posts that magically appeared while I was sleeping. Is this crazy?! No, it’s just that fishkeeping is a darn addictive hobby. Ask anyone on the forum, having a single successful fish tank doesn’t last long–you want another one and then another… In fact, two is no longer enough for me. I added a pair of German Rams yesterday to my larger aquarium, bringing that one near completion as far as stocking goes, and already I’m planning on a third, much bigger one… and maybe a small brackish water tank–I’ve never kept a brackish tank before–and maybe also an extremely low-tech tank in which I follow all the “don’t’s” of the fishkeeping hobby (like don’t use soil for substrate and don’t use sun for light–sounds silly doesn’t it?) Well, there’s only one way to find out; I’ll just have to set up that tank…

Well, any plans for a much larger aquarium are on hold for now because we are waiting to hear back from a local housing co-op where we’ve applied for membership. If we get in, and I’m fairly confident we will–it’s just a matter of time–there may be a big move in store for us soon and I don’t want to have to move a really big fish tank in addition to everything else I own. If we can make this move, though, it’ll be good. We already know a couple people in the co-op because they have children the same age as Eleanor. There’s a daycare for 3-5 year-olds on site and a really good primary school right across the street. I’ve got my fingers crossed…

And, hey! if we get in–when we get in–maybe we’ll have a little more room to accommodate some of my “new” furniture! I’m the proud new owner of a worn-out, but still very classy Eames chair–the classic leather and bent-wood rocker. This Christmas was, in part, a sad one for me because I had to say goodbye to my childhood home. Plans have been made to store some of the more memorable pieces of furniture for me (and I am so grateful to those who made it possible to do so), but I will never go back to 1914 again.

One of the neatest things about an old house like that is the history that it comes with; unlike with new construction, an old house has a life of its own. That house was and always will be part of my life, but I was part of its life, too–and an old house always has a life beyond just “housing” its owners and their things. That house in particular had little pieces of history–little flourishes that were not built for me or for anyone else, but simply to give the house Quality–little things like the telephone shelf with a hide-away for the cords and phonebook. And, then, there are little touches that get added over the years that were never part of the builders plan but that, nevertheless, result in a certain irreplaceable Quality. (I’m capitalizing the word Quality here to emphasize that I do not just mean that it was quality; rather, I’m speaking in the vein of Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.) The house at 1914 was literally a diary that spanned close to forty years. A previous owner’s daughter started writing on the basement wall in the early 70’s when her family moved into the house; her first entry read “Hello House!” She didn’t flesh out the details of her life by any means, but she dropped by every so often to record her height, the day she got her braces off, and, twenty years later, the day her parents moved out. Her last entry was “Goodbye House.” Realizing that this was something special, my family renovated the entire house and left this one wall alone. I added a few entries to the diary wall over the years that I lived there and this Christmas when I was “home” for the last time, I added my own goodbye to the wall. My hope is that future owners will have the good sense to leave the wall alone.

That being said, Christmas was good. The most exciting part, the part that I most looked forward to, was showing Eleanor off to all of her adoring family. I guess every parent feels this way, but I am so proud of her. I think the world of her and I was excited to have everyone else see the Eleanor that I see everyday. I think she more than impressed everyone! And, of course, we are so appreciative to have all the new clothes and toys for her. She has been so much better than before about entertaining herself with her toys (I think she had out-grown all her old toys). She especially loves her new Duplo blocks. Personality-wise, I think all the cousin-exposure (for those on my side of the family that may not know, she is one of 12 grand-children on Stephen’s side) was good for her; she really matured a lot. It’s like she’s a two-year-old now! When her birthday comes around–on Valentine’s Day!–we’ll be taking her to Science World for a fun treat (as if her scientist father and my aquariums aren’t already fostering a regard for science in her). In a similar vein, we took her to the new Georgia Aquarium while we were in Atlanta. It was amazing! It made me want to resum e my volunteer work at the Vancouver Aquarium, if only I had the free time…

Getting back into the swing of things work-wise and Ellie-wise has been quite an adjustment. No one really wants to return to work after a holiday, but we were so spoiled over Christmas having so many other people around that we didn’t have to entertain Eleanor every second of the day, that the real adjustment has been getting back to the daily grind of child care. I know it’s worth it, though. Speaking of, it sounds like my peace-and-quiet-coffee-break is over. Eleanor beckons.

I hope to keep you all updated more regularly from now on. I’m not making any resolutions about it, but here’s hoping!

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Anyone know what this is?

October 19, 2007 at 6:03 am (aquaria) (, , , )


While admiring my beautiful aqua-garden today, I noticed this fleshy-looking thing under the driftwood. Upon closer inspection (no, this time I didn’t mince it up for fishfood), I realized it was a worm of some sort. Just as I was thinking what I could use to fish it out, one brave little White Cloud freed it (already dead by the way it was suspended), gnawed on the end of it, and deciding it wouldn’t make a very good lunch, left it to float to the surface. That’s when I snapped these shots.

The worm was about 1″ long with a clearly segmented, flesh-colored body. Several weeks ago, I found a smaller (about 1 cm.), greener worm in my other tank. It looked like a small underwater inch worm. I can’t be sure that the worm I found today was living in the tank, as there was no prior evidence of him. But, the other worm’s existence was suspected because it was obvious that something had been eating the leaves of the sword plant he was eventually found in.

I’ve kept aquaria for many years and have never encountered worms like these, at least not that live under water. Of course, the two tanks that I currently maintain are the most, and only, successful planted tanks I’ve had. If worms of this sort are a common pest or parasite to the planted tank, this is the first I’ve heard of them. Anyone?

Aqua-Worm Close-Up

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