Before I started my workday on Wednesday morning, I noticed that my house was in need of vacuuming, and I also had some general thoughts rattling around in the back of my mind about how automation and artificial intelligence might impact jobs.

So, when I got this word-art image in an email soon afterward, I saw it as a timely reminder not to take job tasks and titles too seriously!

Word-art that says, "Deep Thoughts: When you clean a vacuum cleaner, you become a vacuum cleaner."

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.”

April 25, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I saw a family of mallard ducks a few days ago, with a dozen little ducklings, a mom duck watching them—and two adult male ducks. That left me wondering what was going on there. As far as I know, mallards are generally monogamous, so the mom wouldn’t have had two mates. But I watched them for a while, and they behaved like they were all part of the same family, with the mother duck looking after the little ones and the males guarding the perimeter.

Photo of mallard ducklings with three adult ducks.

The number of ducklings was more than usual, so I wondered if perhaps they didn’t all have the same mother. Maybe half the ducklings belonged to a single father whose mate had died, so he was staying close to a mated pair to improve his offspring’s survival chances?

Or maybe one of the adult males was an older sibling of the ducklings, and he hadn’t wanted to grow up and leave home in the previous year. We certainly see a lot of that with humans these days! Anyway, I’ll never know, but it was fun to imagine a bit of duck family drama.

I mentioned in a January post that I had applied for an open position with my current employer. Although I went through three rounds of interviews, ultimately one of the other finalist candidates was chosen. That led me to think about improving my coding skills; my current position is not a tech job, and why not have more options with the world changing so quickly?

So, I signed up for a tech mentoring program and mentioned it to my manager. Not long afterward, she assigned me to a technical writing project because she thought that would be a good fit, based to some extent on my participation in the mentoring program. I don’t have experience in technical writing, but it looks structured enough to be learned quickly, and I expect it will be an interesting adventure.

Word-art that says "Why" and "Not."

(Image credit: John Hain)

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.”

April 17, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Several times in the past week I’ve had dreams in which I am walking along a hallway or up a staircase. Sometimes it is dark, but there is light ahead. I wake up with a clear spatial memory of the area and some visual details, but I have no idea of my destination.

Black and white image of a dark staircase with light shining down.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I meant to write a dream-interpretation post over the weekend, about being on a journey with much to be discovered. That post never got written, though, because I wasn’t in the best mood on Sunday. I went to get groceries in the early afternoon, with a storm blowing in and the temperature rapidly dropping. I made it back to my car just as the rain was beginning to fall, which was all right, but the house felt kind of blah when I got home with howling winds outside. Soon afterward, past grudges and self-pitying thoughts crawled out of their subconscious lair, leaving me grumpy for the rest of the day.

On the way back from the supermarket, I had been listening to the old song “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe. Somehow it got into my sleep on Sunday night. I dreamed that I was a murderer who poisoned a young woman. Other people in the house hadn’t yet realized she was dead; they thought she was just sleeping later than usual. I was wondering if I ought to leave the house or if that would be too suspicious. Maybe it would be better to stay there and play innocent? I hadn’t yet decided when I woke up.

That one is harder to interpret, but I’m guessing that the murder victim is my poor pitiful younger self who disturbed me with memories of feeling like a powerless victim on Sunday. Rather than showing compassion for this past version of me, I probably had a subconscious wish to kill her off! As for wondering whether to leave the scene of the crime, maybe I felt conflicted about owning such feelings. Anyway, writing this all down might help me to sort through them.

The weather has been warm and sunny all week, just right for getting out on the river to row with my husband after work. Today I had a low intensity cross-training option on my workout plan. I took the opportunity to putter around in the yard (which, according to my Fitbit, put my heart rate into the proper easy training zone) and just enjoy being out in the sunshine. It’s time to bring the flip-flops up from the basement closet where they gathered dust all winter. Yay!

Word-art with a beach picture that says, "Life is better in flip flops."

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 came home for a long weekend with her two dogs, and the house feels happy and full of life. The dogs looked all around to make sure that every human in the “pack” was here. When they arrived, I happened to be in the shower after a workout, and one of them sat down outside my closed door and waited for me to come out. It’s nice to be so notable!

Word-art with "dog wisdom" advice.

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.”

When I wrote last Thursday that I had been struggling not to feel burdened by self-imposed tasks, something didn’t seem quite right in that wording, but I went ahead and posted it anyway because I couldn’t think of what might improve it.

After work yesterday, my husband and I went to row on the river. The weather was pleasant, with patchy sunshine, moderate temperatures, and little wind. Our coach had assigned a distance of 16K, which seemed a bit much for early-season rowing, although we couldn’t deny the fact that our long indoor workouts over the winter had been useful—we competed in three 1K sprint races on Saturday morning, in windy and choppy conditions, without feeling tired. The distance yesterday didn’t bother us because we were just glad to get outdoors and enjoy the river, instead of being on the rowing machine in the basement.

I changed the picture on my digital art display this morning, as usual. I noticed that I suddenly felt much calmer after replacing an animated image of fast-moving clouds with a photo showing a distant waterfall slowly trickling over large mossy rocks.

Waterfall photo with mossy rocks.

Then, after I got my coffee, I realized why the wording of last week’s Nurturing Thursday post hadn’t felt right. Framing the issue as “struggling” was the problem. By definition, struggling involves a significant amount of effort, and it implies the existence of a burden under which a person struggles. It reflects our culture’s impatient and judgmental attitude toward anything that hasn’t shown immediate results. So, by thinking in such terms, I was subconsciously causing myself to feel more burdened, rather than less. No wonder I hadn’t been getting anywhere with it!

With storms rolling through the area this afternoon, today’s workout (which was not as long as yesterday’s row, but more strenuous) had to be done indoors. Because I had a quiet, unhurried workday with no meetings, any time was okay. I randomly picked 11 AM and gave myself a pep talk about not being burdened at all, with so much flexibility in how to arrange my schedule. Although the workout was tiring, my energy level was good, and I had no feelings of being pushed or overwhelmed. From now on, I’ll keep in mind that those self-imposed tasks feel much better when they have enough space to flow easily and naturally, like the waterfall on the art display.