March 30, 2021 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Even though I wasn’t as fast in the virtual rowing regatta two weeks ago as I would have liked to be, my husband and I still got prizes for our double crew on the “dinosaurs.” The online racing software allowed us both to row a 1000-meter race at the same time as a virtual double by adding our distances together and automatically stopping when the combined total reached 2000 meters.

All of the other competitors in the double race were men, so although we weren’t the fastest crew, we were separately awarded a first prize as the only mixed crew. Instead of medals, we got Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards in the mail with a very cute donut rower cartoon and the race information, which we can keep as souvenirs even after cashing them in for donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts gift card prize decorated with a stick figure rowing on a machine that has a giant donut in place of the flywheel.

I haven’t yet decided what kinds of donuts I want to get, and it may be a while because the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is five miles from my house and a bit out of the way—but that pink cartoon donut with sprinkles is definitely making me hungry!

After I said something to my husband earlier this week about wishing that the world would hurry up and get back to normal so it wouldn’t feel like we’re living through the zombie apocalypse, he asked if that was a movie. I said no, it’s a genre of stories where a virus turns millions of people into zombies and the survivors hide indoors.

After thinking about that for a little while, he called me to come and look at something on the computer. He had made a list of the rowing regattas where we like to compete in the fall season. The list included the date for each, and he told me that most of them already have been scheduled.

That cheered me up a lot—I appreciated his kindness in putting together that list to show me, and I could tell that he felt happier too.

Word-art that says "Be kind, feel happy."

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.

March 25, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Like everyone else this year, I’ve been wanting to get away. Somewhere, anywhere. Back on the mother ship, maybe, on the way to another galaxy. As that isn’t a choice at present, I’ve been putting images on my digital art display from different parts of the world. This rail bridge shown in early spring crosses the River Wye, along the border of England and Wales.

Bridge over the River Wye in early spring.

(Image credit: Stewart Black)

But I can’t really complain too much about the lack of travel. Yesterday afternoon was lovely and warm here, and I was able to get out with my husband and row our double scull for the first time this season. It was a bit windy, but we were fine. I had almost no blisters, even though my hands are still very soft from being indoors all winter. Today it’s raining and the river is getting high, but I’m still happy that we got back out on our “mother ship.”

I woke up early this morning, probably because I hadn’t yet adjusted to Daylight Savings Time. It was still dark, and a steady rain made it seem even darker. The weather forecast predicted temperatures falling throughout the day. I got myself some coffee, changed the image on my art display to a landscape with cloudy skies, and sat down at my desk to start the workday.

Mountain landscape with cloudy skies.

(Image credit: Sheila Sund)

Outside my windows, the rain kept on falling. I started thinking about an midmorning appointment I had made, that the rain likely wouldn’t stop by that time, and that I would have to go out in it.

Before I could get too caught up in those mindless yucky-day thoughts, however, my perspective spontaneously shifted. All at once, I felt very cozy inside my nice warm house, sitting at a comfortable desk with a cup of coffee (butter toffee flavor, my favorite). The steady rhythm of the rain left me feeling connected to nature. I rather enjoyed listening to it.

I did have to go out in it after a while, of course. But that was just a simple matter of walking a few steps into my garage and getting in my car, wearing a warm coat with a hood to keep the rain off when I arrived at my destination. No problem!

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.

March 17, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I went downtown to get the Covid-19 vaccine. County Public Health had set up a mass vaccination clinic in the convention center, and I was impressed by how smoothly it went. We were directed along rows of chairs when we arrived, and after we had been sitting for a few minutes, people came by with carts to administer the shots. Although the vaccine requires a long needle because it has to go into the muscle, I did not feel it much. The clinic had good attendance and left me feeling hopeful that our country, and the world, will soon see calmer waters.

Still waters of a lake reflecting a snowy mountaintop.

(Image credit: Millie Walker)

This morning my arm felt a little stiff at the injection site, but that did not last long. It’s fine now. And to be honest, I didn’t notice it anyway because I was sore through the midsection from doing planks on Monday. Usually I row for exercise, but the power went out just as I was sitting down on the rowing machine, so I decided to do a “core strength” online workout on my phone. That might not have been the best idea when I hadn’t done planks in a long time.

It did, however, leave me thinking about the hardworking public servants who contribute so much to our society’s core strength, such as the public health workers who organized the vaccination clinic. I am thankful for their efforts and dedication.

The dinosaurs (aka vintage Concept2 rowing machines) have returned to the basement for one last online race on Saturday. Although I wrote in my post last week that borrowing them from the boathouse wouldn’t be an issue in the cold weather, one of them did get some use at the boathouse this week, when the weather warmed up. So we’ll be sure to return them promptly after we finish the race.

I didn’t do as well in last weekend’s race as I would have liked, mainly because I did not pace myself well at the start and ran out of energy toward the end. But, every race is a learning experience. Along those same lines, here’s a fun dinosaur-themed graphic:

I’m not just a hatchling anymore, but haven’t yet reached my full powers! Whatever you may be working on at present, keep in mind that there is always space for improvement, and don’t be too hard on 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.

March 11, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

After a few days of pleasantly warm weather this week, I’ve been wanting to get out somewhere fun and play hooky, rather than sitting at a desk all day. I even dreamed that I was a high school kid in detention for skipping classes.

But of course, no spring break again this year, so instead I went to visit my younger selves in the imaginary village of Channelwood for a virtual vacation. I found the two youngest ones hanging out at the beach: Peter, who was me at five years old pretending to be Peter Pan, and my seven-year-old past self Ponch, so nicknamed because of the woven poncho that she wore over her dress on breezy days like this.

Rocky hill by a seashore.

(Image credit: Aimee Elise)

Ponch had a bag of sunflower seeds and was eating some of them, but Peter was throwing handfuls to a noisy crowd of seagulls. Peter also was carrying on a lively conversation of squawks and chirps with the closest birds.

“Okay, that’s enough. You can’t give the birds all our food,” Ponch declared, pulling the bag away when Peter reached for it again.

“Why not? There are plenty of seeds in the kitchen shed. Queenie grew more sunflowers than we could use, just like she always does with her crops. And if Sara tries to make the best of it again by feeding us another pumpkin and cauliflower casserole full of sunflower seeds, I might change my mind about wanting her to be my mother.”

“Sara is very creative, and she wants the best for everyone. You ought to be grateful that she takes such good care of you. And…”

Peter cut her off mid-lecture by squawking loudly at the nearest gull, which had turned its head sideways to regard both children with a beady eye.

“The gull was complaining that I hadn’t brought biscuit crumbs instead. See, Ponch, even the birds have had enough of Queenie’s sunflower seeds.”

“You’re just making that up. And if you really can talk with that gull, you should tell it to be grateful, too.” Ponch tossed her head in annoyance and only then noticed me standing there. Evidently looking for an ally, she turned to me and asked, “Don’t you think so?”

What I honestly thought, in fact, was that I hadn’t planned on spending my imaginary spring break mediating a squabble between young children. But, in the interest of kindness to my younger selves, I tried to come up with a diplomatic answer.

“When people help us, it’s always a good thing to be grateful,” I said. “But if there are plenty of sunflower seeds, then sharing a few with the birds won’t do any harm.”

“Barrels of sunflower seeds,” Peter informed me, illustrating the point with hands wide apart. “And barrels of turnips, rutabagas, and lots of other stuff besides. Queenie is already starting to plant more. We couldn’t possibly eat them all, even if we wanted to. And of course…”

Ponch interrupted the obvious next sentence about not wanting to. “Peter, you still ought to be glad that we never have to go hungry. You know, there are places in the world where children are starving. If all you can do is complain about having too much food, then you’re just being silly.”

“Don’t preach me a sermon, Ponch. I saw you last night feeding your rutabaga to Ella’s pet mouse under the table.”

“Well, the mouse was properly grateful. It ate the rutabaga and didn’t complain.”

“Huh.” Peter, having created an effective distraction, took the opportunity to grab the bag and toss out another handful of seeds. That prompted a screech from Ponch that was even louder than the gulls.

Feeling grateful on my own part that they were both just fictional characters and I didn’t have any parental responsibilities here, I decided it was about time to cut my virtual vacation short.

I’ll be rowing in an online race on Sunday, along with my husband. We can’t use our Hydrow rowing machine because everyone is required to use a Concept2 rower. So, this afternoon my husband borrowed two Concept2 machines from the rowing club’s boathouse, which didn’t inconvenience anyone because the boathouse is unheated and does not get much use over the winter. He set them up in our basement, on either side of the Hydrow.

Two old Concept2 rowing machines and a new Hydrow.

They are older models, and when he came home with them, he cheerfully announced, “Dinosaurs are roaming the earth.”

We practiced on the “dinosaurs” for awhile this evening and got them adjusted as best we could. Even though they are old and creaky compared to our nice new Hydrow, I can’t really complain because we are fortunate to be able to compete in this race. In a normal year, it would be held in Boston without any online racing. So, we are both grateful for the opportunity, even if our basement now feels a bit like Jurassic Park.

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.