I ran in a 5K road race with my husband on Tuesday. We like to see the runners in their Halloween costumes, although usually we don’t dress up ourselves. It’s just for fun, and we are not competing against anyone in particular; so I was surprised when I saw that my time was more than two minutes faster than any of my previous results. All the rowing I’ve done this year must have improved my fitness overall.

But, truth be told, my legs were still feeling achy today. I did an online yoga class to stretch them out, and then some easy rowing on the erg, but didn’t push myself. Fitness is good, but taking care to get enough rest is important too.

Word-art that says "Take care of yourself."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

On Saturday, my rowing club traveled to a nearby regatta. The 5K race course is on a reservoir, without much scenery, and in past years it often has been chilly and rainy. I rowed in the women’s double race because my husband, who recently became a referee, decided that he’d rather ref than row, so we didn’t compete in our mixed double this time.

The weather turned out to be gorgeous, so he missed out on a good row. Although there was a headwind, the water wasn’t too choppy, and it was sunny and warm.

Word-art that says "Fun in the sun."

My rowing partner, Deb, is pretty strong, and we were almost as fast as the guys from our club who were in the men’s double race. Needless to say, my husband didn’t miss the opportunity to razz them about how close they came to getting crushed by the ladies. It was all in good fun!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Even on bright mornings with sunlight streaming through my windows and a forecast calling for a clear, warm afternoon, I haven’t looked for summer landscapes recently when I’ve been choosing images for my digital art display. Maybe it’s the angle of the sun or the crisp blue of the sky that makes plain it is autumn, however unseasonably warm. So I’ve been picking autumn images with a little haze or fog, even if they don’t quite match the ambient light in my house.


This forest image wasn’t new; it was one that I had displayed about two years ago. When I pictured myself standing under the trees and breathing the cool, still air, I remembered how different the world had felt two years ago. Same image, but a very different strand of time.

Imaginary twigs crackled, disrupting the quiet scene. I glanced to the right and saw my future self Kass ambling up to me. She was dressed for a casual hike in faded jeans, a plain green V-neck top, and matching green cross-training shoes with thick soles.

“You called?” Kass stretched lazily, brushing a stray strand of moss from her jeans.

“Not that I’m aware of.” Taking a step down from the rock where I’d been standing, I heard another twig snap underfoot. “What I had in mind just now was the past, not the future. So I’m not sure how I could have been calling a future self.”

“Time isn’t always linear, as we both know. It’s full of unexpected twists and turns. Often when we think about the past, we’re really looking for insights on how to frame our experience of the world going forward.”

We walked companionably together under the trees until the bare, stony soil gave way to grass and brush. The canopy thinned, allowing glimpses of blue sky and high clouds. I stopped there, looking for a path, but I saw no signs of human passage. Cobwebs gleaming with dew stretched across tall brambles.

“You’ve been here before.” Kass spoke in a calm, reassuring tone as she walked on farther, through tiny white asters dotting the grass. “The landscape of imagination changes from one day to another, but it never becomes impassable.”

Just around a fallen tree, the sound of trickling water became louder. A stream came into view, with plenty of open space along its banks and a trail that looked familiar, although I couldn’t quite recall where I had seen it before. Kass took a step toward it and then turned back to smile at me.

“Paths are always a matter of perspective.”

I didn’t have much energy this morning, which was the result of traveling to a rowing regatta last weekend and training harder this year generally. I woke up late, felt exhausted anyway, and sat at my desk feeling blah most of the day, except when I took a break to do the grocery shopping. The training plan had a strenuous erg workout on the schedule, but I felt like there was no way I could do it, so I didn’t even try.

In the afternoon, my husband got on a Zoom conversation with our coach, who said that we should take into account the stress of traveling. Although we hadn’t felt as drained of energy after other road trips, last weekend we rowed pretty hard in our race and improved our time significantly. So, if it left us feeling like all we could do was muddle through the week, that wasn’t altogether a bad thing.

To de-stress in the evening, I did a mellow 20-minute online yoga session. Then, to further shake off the blahs, I decided to post an encouraging message for Nurturing Thursday telling myself that I appreciated my efforts. We all have days like this sometimes. Doing the hard workout tomorrow should work just as well.

Word-art that says "I know you're tired + stressed + juggling and muddling through. Doing the best you can. I think you're amazing and I appreciate you. Keep going." -Stacie Swift

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

October 5, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

The recent grocery shortages have disrupted my husband’s routine. He likes to drink Coke in the evening, preferably from cans because they are less likely than plastic bottles to tip over when placed on the desk, and caffeine-free Coke Zero to avoid getting too much unhealthy sugar and being kept awake. Unfortunately, caffeine-free Coke Zero in aluminum cans disappeared sometime last year. It was available in bottles for a few months, but soon the bottles vanished too, and he substituted Diet Coke in cans. Then the aluminum can shortage got to them also. Diet Coke in small bottles usually could be found until last month, when it was only available in 2-liter bottles, and those were in short supply and dwindling fast.

So, the last time I bought groceries, when I saw there were a dozen cartons of caffeine-free Coke Zero in aluminum cans, I put them all in my cart. But then they didn’t ring up properly at the checkout. The cashier had no idea what the problem was. Another employee arrived on the scene and told me that there was a limit of six cartons and that I had to leave some for other customers. Of course, there hadn’t been any signs in the aisle about a limit on purchases. I paid for the six cartons, brought them home, put them in the pantry, and told my husband I’d been caught hoarding.

Six cartons of Coke Zero caffeine free

The six cartons should last for a while, and this incident was really more laughable than annoying. To put it in perspective, when I said something about grocery shortages to my mom last year, she started telling me about butter rationing in World War Two. Even with all the disruptions from the pandemic, we are very lucky to be living in modern times.

This whole year I’ve felt displaced, as if I need to do more to orient myself in both time and the world, but don’t know where to start. I expect most people are feeling the same way, after so much disruption everywhere. But, for now, it’s enough to start where we are.

Word-art that says "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." -Arthur Ashe

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

When I woke up this morning, I had been in a dream where I was two different people in different places, but both parts of me were communicating somehow and seemed perfectly happy with that arrangement. Although I don’t remember the details clearly—as is the way of dreams—what I do recall is that in both of my separate lives, I was happy and surrounded by beautiful things. So, I would say it’s a good sign!

Word-art that says "Believe in the beauty of your dreams."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My family has gotten scattered around the country over the years. We stay in touch by phone and mail, but it’s not the same as seeing each other in person. I like to think of friends as being part of a larger circle of family. That helps with feeling connected—which, of course, is something we all need.

Word-art that says "Friends are the family you choose."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

In addition to my regular work, I’ve been putting together a PowerPoint presentation entitled Resilience, Stress Tolerance, and Flexibility as part of a group that presents online sessions for employees about digital transformation and related issues. I haven’t used PowerPoint much before, and it’s interesting to see what can be done with design and images. I like this Lego juggler image to illustrate the flexibility needed in a work environment where the pace of automation keeps increasing.

A Lego person juggling Lego pieces.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Meanwhile, after a short break when the sprint season ended, my husband and I are training for the rowing regattas again. During the fall season the races are 5K, which is about the same length as one lap on our usual course on the river. Usually we row two laps, but we are now rowing three laps most days to build up our endurance. With the shorter days this time of year, we’re in a bit of a hurry to row that much before it gets dark, and sometimes we still have work to do when we get home. We’re also doing some online yoga and mobility exercises in the evenings.

Finding time to write blog posts has seemed like a bit of a challenge, but as I’ve built up more mental and physical flexibility, I’m finding that creative ideas come a bit quicker. The self-improvement advice that I’m putting into the presentation seems to be doing me some good in real life!

My employer has been training the managers this year on Psychological Safety, which involves creating a supportive environment where workers feel that they can express their concerns and will not be punished for asking questions or making mistakes. I believe that it is more important than ever in today’s circumstances, after people got totally stressed out last year and are still struggling to recover. More kindness and understanding are needed now, rather than unrealistic pressure to be perfect.

Word-art that says "Making mistakes is better than faking perfections."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.