I’m traveling on a road trip with my husband, leaving Wednesday evening, so I’ve scheduled this post in advance. I like the quote, and although (being honest) there isn’t much chance I’ll wake at dawn, it should be good enough to schedule the post for dawn, anyway.

Word-art that says, "Wake at dawn with a joyful heart and give thanks for another day of loving." -Kahlil Gibran

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

My next-door neighbor has been putting down mulch this week, and she offered to give me whatever was left over from the pile in her driveway. That might have been a roundabout comment on the less-than-perfect condition of my front yard. Although I took good care of the roses behind the house this year, and they look great, I can’t say the same of the neglected shrubs in front.

I spent some time cutting them back this evening, however, and they’re starting to look better—not perfect, but that is okay. It’s just what happens in real life.

Word-art that says, "You were born to be real, not to be perfect."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

My daughter sent me a text message on Monday with a photo of an incomplete Sudoku puzzle. She told me she’d gotten stumped, and she asked if I could see anything more to put in.

Photo of a Sudoku puzzle in progress.

I looked at it for a few minutes and replied that the fourth number in the first column had to be a 7 because the other open spaces in the fourth row couldn’t be.

Although this was a very simple conversation, it left me feeling much more cheerful. At first, I wasn’t sure why. She lives close enough to visit often, and she had sent several other texts over the past week, so it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

Then I started thinking about conversations I’d had with my parents. I generally didn’t ask for help with simple things because I felt they might judge me for not being self-reliant enough. Perhaps they weren’t overly critical by the standards of their time; but I got the distinct message that I was expected to do for myself, muddling through as best I could. Asking for a hint with a puzzle, however stumped I might have been, wouldn’t even have occurred to me.

By contrast, my daughter was perfectly comfortable about sharing her Sudoku and saying she hadn’t been able to solve it, without feeling at all self-conscious—and that was what made me smile.

Instead of writing this post early in the day, I went out to get my hair done and left it for later. When I came home, I just sat down at my desk and got back to my work. Then I started chatting with my husband, and we went down to the river to do our rowing workout. By the time we got back to the house, it was past sunset, and I still had to take a shower and cook dinner, so this post didn’t get written until the end of the day.

When I thought about what to write, leaving things for later seemed like just the right topic!

Word-art that says, "Don't leave anything for later. Later, the coffee gets cold. Later, you lose interest. Later, the day turns into night. Later, people grow up. Later, people grow old. Later, life goes by. Later, you regret not doing something when you had the chance."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

In addition to posting Nurturing Thursday entries on this blog, which I’ve done for the past 10 years, I now send weekly emails to my coworkers (with different Nurturing Thursday messages, though they are similar) to bring more peace and self-nurturing into the workplace after the pandemic. My workgroup had a tradition of motivational emails long before that, but those messages ended when the various contributors retired or changed jobs.

I’m taking vacation this afternoon and tomorrow, and I was just finishing up my work at 1 PM when I realized that I hadn’t sent a Nurturing Thursday email. I quickly composed and sent one, feeling relieved that it was still early enough in the day that my coworkers wouldn’t notice I almost forgot. Then I started thinking, what difference would it make anyway? We all forget things, or come close to forgetting, and the world still keeps on spinning regardless. No worries!

Word-art that says, "Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical person that you are." - Mandy Hale

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

This afternoon, with my husband away traveling until tomorrow, I felt unsettled in my quiet house. It was okay, though. I reminded myself that emotions come and go. I went down to the basement to do a rowing machine workout, which left me feeling better afterward.

Word-art that says, "Accepting the emotion you're feeling gives the power back to you. To avoid is to amplify, and to acknowledge is to release."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

This is the 12th story in a series. Click here to read all parts from the beginning.

My feet dangled like a small child’s from the oversized chair when I sat at the table to chop vegetables for Ira’s stewpot. He had given me an odd choice of knives: most were crudely made from bone or obsidian, but one looked like stainless steel, with a cracked and discolored plastic handle. I took a bone knife because it was the smallest.

Even more incongruous was the dainty floral-pattern teacup, complete with saucer, in which Ira had poured me some hot cider. Taller than a beer mug—and with a noticeable amount of alcohol in the contents—it sat on the table next to the rough wooden platter that held the veggies.

Teacup and saucer with a blue floral pattern.

I didn’t mind helping to get dinner started, especially since Ira had given himself the much nastier rat-butchering chore. He was sitting on the front steps—out of my sight, thankfully—and whistling like it didn’t bother him at all.

Another swig of the cider gave me enough courage, or perhaps foolishness, to start questioning him about what the heck was going on here.

“So, Ira,” I began, as cheerfully as I could manage under the circumstances, “how did you learn to be a sorcerer?”

The whistling stopped, and something landed in Ira’s bucket with an icky splat.

“My mother taught me to read the ancient runes. But we have no more sorcerers; they left our world long ago. My spellbook has simple household charms, such as for preserving flowers and vegetables.”

Just my luck, I thought, as I picked up another lumpy vegetable that did indeed seem to be unnaturally well preserved. I could’ve used a powerful sorcerer to send me home, but it looked like what I got instead was a Sasquatch script kiddie.

“Magically teaching me your language in my sleep was more than just ordinary household stuff,” I observed, not quite ready to give up on the possibility. “Does your book have any spells for traveling to other worlds?”

“No. Most of the spells are simple and practical, as I said. There are a few—such as the language spell, and the friendship charm that I spoke over yesterday’s dinner—that once were useful but now have little value. They came from a time when my people lived in great cities, speaking different languages and often going to war. Now, because of the curse, we are few, and the old languages have mostly been forgotten. I never had occasion to use the language spell before last night.”

I chewed on that answer for about a minute (along with a thick glob of fruit peel in the cider) and came to the conclusion I was lucky I hadn’t been turned into a frog by accident. Or an operatic winged rodent. Another of them had just started singing, not far from the door. I was glad Ira didn’t go for his slingshot this time.

“Okay. Can you tell me about the curse?”

“Very long ago, the cities were vast.” Ira’s voice deepened into a storytelling cadence. “The people fought over land and food. Their machines befouled the air and water. Their great boats stripped the seas bare of fish. Left hungry, the dragons destroyed fishing boats, snatched livestock from farms, and set forests ablaze. The people fought back with powerful weapons, but the Last War had no victors. The world was left in ruins, and the sorcerers created portals to escape it. Before they left, the sorcerers cursed us to diminish until we learned how people and dragons both could live in the world.”

Ira carried his bucket inside and dumped the contents into the stewpot, together with my chopped vegetables, some mushrooms, and a pailful of water. He hung the pot over the fireplace and went back outside for wood.

“But I don’t know what the sorcerers might have meant by that,” Ira continued, once he had a good blaze crackling. “The Last War ended long ago. People and dragons have left each other alone for many generations, yet we have not ceased to diminish. The cities still lie in ruins. We scavenge in the rubble like insects. When my mother settled here, she believed that there might be another spellbook hidden in the tunnel under the mountain and that she could learn from it how to break the curse—but she never found it.”

Scowling, Ira stirred the stew with his huge ladle before he turned toward me and spoke again.

“I think it doesn’t exist, and the sorcerers just left us here to die.”

Continuing my line of thought from last week’s Nurturing Thursday post about how to balance other activities with a demanding exercise plan, in which I compared it to learning how to pace a workout on the rowing machine, the solution became obvious once I looked at it in those terms. My pacing on the machine improved when I had collected enough statistics on my workouts to know when I was going too hard. So, I need to take a similar approach to my activities overall, creating a spreadsheet to track what I actually do and compare it to the workout plan, to make sure I’m not overexerting myself.

Running low on energy is no fun, either during a workout or feeling run down more generally; but sometimes it’s part of learning how to do better.

Word-art that says, "Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we're supposed to find."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

May 16, 2024 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I was designing a children’s game in which a character tried to avoid getting stuck in splotches of peanut butter. In the dream, I wrote a post on this blog describing the project, and then a manager at a game company saw the post and offered me a job.

Photo of peanut butter.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I am not a game designer in real life, and I am allergic to peanut butter and always avoid it. So, my guess is that the dream most likely was telling me to work on designing a life where I can do a better job of avoiding sticky and unpleasant situations!

This week I’ve been contemplating how to balance other activities with my training plan for rowing, which my husband and I do together. It includes strenuous exercises crafted (more or less fiendishly) by two national-level rowers. They balance the hard workouts with some easy days and Sundays off, so it’s a reasonable plan, consistent with the current wisdom in exercise physiology. They are younger than our kids, and I suspect they think it’s an interesting challenge to see how much they can do with geezers like us.

My fitness has been much improved since we started doing these workouts three years ago. At first, it felt overwhelming because I hadn’t previously done such demanding workouts and did not have a good sense of how to pace myself. There would be days when I started too fast on the rowing machine, then all my energy suddenly drained away, and I struggled to finish. Now that I understand pacing better, that generally does not happen, and the exercises don’t feel as daunting.

I still find myself getting low on energy sometimes, though, after traveling or other events that are outside my usual routine. That also seems to be a pacing issue, in that the training plan takes up more of my energy, restricting what else I can do. I need to discover where my limits are, letting some things go and taking others more slowly, so that I can find the right balance.

Word-art that says, "Life is a balance of holding on & letting go."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”