a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jan, 2022

Surface tension

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

On one hand, I can’t believe it’s already January 16. On the other hand, I am STILL writing 2021 when I have to jot down the date somewhere.

I looked at the last time I posted here and it was NOVEMBER. How is that even possible? Perhaps it’s because I haven’t felt like I have very much to share lately.

The holidays seem like a distant memory although I will say that was a very welcome break and it was so lovely to see my little fam.

Time is somehow folding in upon itself. How does that happen? I feel very much like I’m in a holding pattern, even though I am keenly aware that Things Are Actually Happening Around Me.

We’re approaching the second anniversary of the pandemic. I catch myself wondering how it’s possible we’ve been living with this for two years. TWO. YEARS! And although I’m loath to talk much about Covid and the health of my family in a public space, I will say that we have been personally affected. I had hoped we could remain untouched by Covid, but sadly, that was not to be. We are all ok now. I mention this only in case there is someone reading who thinks this virus is something other people catch. We all mask, we are all vaccinated, we are all cautious, but we still got it.

Stress is a funny thing. Sometimes I feel like I’m a glass of water that is absolutely full to the brim. The surface tension is such that if you look closely, the surface of the water is actually above the rim of the glass. It’s all right now – doing fine, holding tight – but the tiniest of drops will be enough to displace the unbroken and calm layer of water in the glass and cause it to overflow.

It seems to me that my news is old news. I am unenthused about most of it. There’s a major deep freeze happening across the region and we are pretty much shut-ins right now. Yesterday I vacuumed, rearranged some houseplants, gave a few things away on my local Buy Nothing Facebook group (EXTREMELY CATHARTIC. HIGHLY RECOMMEND), dropped off some groceries for someone who is in quarantine, read my book, and watched avian-related antics in the backyard. I will say once again for the record that expanding our bird feeder set up was one of the best pandemic purchases we made. (Thank you M, for your kind email about that!) We also installed a plug-in water warmer for our ground-level bird bath. Mark just shouted from the living room that a crow was availing himself of a long drink. I wonder if it’s the same one who dropped by yesterday, the fellow with the shiny feathers.


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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