This was a somewhat rushed Thursday — nothing major, but I’d had to reschedule a hair appointment, which ended up being close enough to a work meeting that there wasn’t time to do the grocery shopping. So, I defrosted some ground beef, assembled a lasagna, and put it in the refrigerator to cook later. After I got finished with my work at 7 PM, it was time to go down to the river with my husband and do the workout that our coach had assigned; it had 200-meter intervals.

Once I got outdoors and breathed in some fresh air, the hectic feeling went away. The heat of the afternoon was mostly gone by the time we started the workout, and we did pretty well. Then we rowed a little more to cool down, and we returned to the dock just as the sun was going down. Back home, we did an online post-row stretching exercise for five minutes while the oven was preheating, and the lasagna was done by the time we took our showers. I’m sitting here at 11:59 finishing this post, but it’s all good.

Word-art that says, "Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude." -Joseph Wood Krutch

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.”

It is Sunday afternoon, so this is certainly the most belated Nurturing Thursday entry I’ve ever written. I worked later than usual on Thursday, and we had dinner late because my husband was at the boathouse, teaching a Learn-to-Row student who couldn’t make the usual class time. He is always very flexible and helpful. So, I thought I would write a blog post after dinner, but then I got a database error message. I told my husband, who maintains my blog on a virtual private server; but I also said that because he’d had a long day, I was not asking him to fix it right away. The post could be written just as easily on Friday, after all.

After he restarted the database program, my blog seemed to be back to normal; it got some comments on Friday. We went rowing after work. It was windy, but we thought that was good practice because we planned on racing Saturday morning in the Indianapolis regatta, which is held on windswept Eagle Creek and known to rowers (not so affectionately) as the Windy Indy regatta. We needed to get enough sleep to be well rested, so I thought I’d write my blog post after dinner and then go to bed. The database error showed up again, however—and once again, there was no post.

We woke up early on Saturday and gave my women’s double partner, Deb, a ride to the regatta. My husband also towed the boat trailer with his SUV; he is the club’s usual trailer driver. Our race results weren’t the best because the water was choppy, as usual for Indy, and we were struggling. After we finished rowing, my husband took some time to help rowers on another team, who did not have much experience traveling, to secure their boats properly on their trailer. Then we took our club’s boats back to the boathouse and, with our other teammates, put everything away where it belonged.

When we got home, I cooked dinner while my husband updated the database program; upon investigating, he had discovered that the version he’d been using was buggy, and that was what had crashed my blog. He also updated WordPress after dinner, although of course he was tired from the long day. By then, I was pretty tired myself, and just fell into bed after cleaning up the kitchen.

I am better rested today. Now that I’m finally sitting down to write this post, I feel gratitude for having a kind and helpful husband and, as well, for being privileged to know so many friendly and generous people. Even in times like these, when it often seems like the world’s ties have frayed, our communities are stronger in many ways than we know.

Image of hands holding a seedling.

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.”

June 15, 2022 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Although it may seem foolish in today’s overly hot world, I am still stubbornly trying to maintain the row of willows along the back line of my yard. They were lovely 15-foot trees before climate change started getting to them in 2016, and since then I’ve had to cut them back so far that the survivors are not much more than bushes. Most of them are staying alive, though, and I recently planted a cutting next to a dead stump.

Photo of newly planted willow cutting.

It looks healthy, though small, and the rabbits haven’t eaten it yet, so there is room for optimism. I’ve been reminding myself, whenever I look at the willows, that almost anything has the potential to change for the better as time passes. Just because they’ve had a few bad years, that doesn’t necessarily prevent them from coming back strong and tall after some good years.

This week I’ve been reminding myself to frame everyday situations in terms of allowing for improvement, rather than fixing problems. The latter wording implies a binary state, in which things are either fixed or broken. While that may be accurate if we are talking about machine parts, most of life’s issues are more complicated and do not have quick fixes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however. When we regularly leave room for improvement, we can find ourselves in much better places—often unexpected—than if we simply tried to fix things to get them back the way they were.

Word-art that says, "Room for improvement."

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.”

Although I’ve enjoyed going on road trips this spring, I do need to balance that with time to relax and unwind. My coach says that a travel day puts enough stress on the body that it should be treated like a hard workout, with some rest needed the next day.

Sometimes it’s not immediately obvious when I’ve had too much going on. I didn’t have much energy on Saturday night after traveling to a rowing regatta, however, and it has been slower than usual to come back. A peaceful week with no rush to do anything—just living in today—has been good for me.

Word-art that says "Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live today." -Richard Bach

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.”

June 1, 2022 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a rather unsettling experience on Monday night when I tried to meditate before going to sleep. I have a favorite meditation that I’ve written about here before, in which I imagine myself turning to the four directions and asking what advice they have for me. I’ll usually see interesting scenes and picture myself walking through them while kindly voices offer guidance.

On Monday, though, I felt like I was rooted to the spot and hearing only my internal dialogue, which sounded tired and frazzled. As far as I knew, nothing in particular was causing me to feel stressed at that moment. I had been traveling more than usual this spring, a long weekend was over, and something had been irritating my sinuses, but I felt that none of those events should have bothered me much.

When I imagined myself looking to the East, where I wanted to see a refreshing springtime scene, nothing came clear. I heard myself saying “Just breathe,” as if trying to calm myself down. After another minute passed without any images coming to mind, I turned to the South; but rather than its usual comforting warmth, it felt stifling. My inner voice whined, “It’s so hot!” Then I tried to visualize birch trees with autumn foliage in the West, with a little more success, but I still couldn’t picture myself moving toward them.

Photo of birch trees with yellow leaves.

(Photo credit: Rachel Kramer)

I finally tried to create a mental picture of a cool northern landscape to complete the meditation, but nothing happened there either. I tried to tell myself that I was half asleep and shouldn’t worry about it, but I felt that it had all gone wrong.

After giving myself a couple of days to reflect, however, I came to the conclusion that the “failed” meditation was a perfectly valid message from my subconscious mind. It was simple enough—too much time in motion, without enough rest, had left me needing to stand still and just breathe.