My job has been hectic recently because of a big push for AI development, as is happening at many companies this year. Many people in my workgroup have been assigned to testing. As a result, the backlog of our regular work is piling up. I did some overtime work both this week and last week.

Of course, there also have been times when I wasn’t so busy and one week felt much the same as another. Some days, it seemed like I was lost and drifting through my life without a sense of direction. I wanted to do something more, but I couldn’t figure out what, and it got frustrating. Now, if I ever have a day when I feel like that, I just remind myself it’s all going to change soon enough.

Word-art that says, "There will be many chapters in your life. Don't get lost in the one you're in now."

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.”

Purple bunny or blue penguin?

A package arrived at my door today with beginner crochet kits, which my daughter had ordered as gifts for a friend’s children. She also bought one for me, just because she thought I might like doing some kind of crafts over the Fourth of July weekend. I’m still trying to decide whether I would rather have the bunny kit or the penguin, but I’m smiling either way!

Word-art that says, "I am surrounded by love. All is well."

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 22, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags: , ,

Although the training plan that my husband and I got from our online rowing coach provides for a rest day every Sunday, we haven’t been taking it regularly. Sometimes we practice with our quad mates on Sunday afternoon, and sometimes we go for an easy row when the weather is nice. If we travel to a Saturday regatta towing the boat trailer and get home late, then we have to take the boats back to the boathouse on Sunday, so it’s not the most restful day whether or not we do any rowing.

My husband always has plenty of energy, but it takes me longer to feel fully recovered after a long road trip. To make sure I get enough rest, for both the mind and body, I’ve decided not to do any rowing most Thursdays. That is an easy day on the training plan, in a low heart rate zone, allowing for cross-training if desired. Today I did 20 minutes of yoga and then took a quiet, peaceful walk.

Photo of concrete steps with hostas and other plants on both sides.

(Photo credit: Sergei Gussev)

Although I enjoy rowing, it does get a bit hectic sometimes when I hurry to get my work done so that we have time to go down to the river and finish whatever we have on the training plan before it’s late in the evening. Too many days of that can get overwhelming. Blocking out Thursdays as a day when there’s no rush to do anything should help to give my weekly schedule a more restful flow.

My daughter, who is married and lives in Cleveland, came for a visit yesterday. She crammed all kinds of random food into the refrigerator and cabinets, she almost ran the icemaker out of ice, and one of her dogs spat up something nasty on the kitchen floor. Rather than being annoyed about that, I’m just being mellow and feeling grateful that she visits regularly, which puts all the small stuff in perspective.

Word-art that says, "Gratitude changes everything."

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.”

All parts of this story are consolidated on one page here.

Birdsong, the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle, and a cool breeze came through the spacious windows of the infirmary. The hazy morning light and humid air spoke of an approaching storm. Ina tried to clear her mind, focusing only on the rhythm of her breath and the healing energy that was supposed to be coursing through her hands, but was nowhere to be found. Her gaze drifted up to the window again.

Photo of honeysuckle in bloom.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Ina sat in a wooden chair beside a cot where Phoenix rested in a comfortable nest of pillows and blankets, with the broken left leg neatly splinted. Rowan bustled about at a nearby table, assembling ingredients for herbal medicines. Bright flashes of red from the healer’s long dress danced at the edge of Ina’s vision, and the hem swished softly over the stone floor.

Breathe, Ina told herself again, closing her eyes and trying to block out all thoughts of how Phoenix had been injured two days ago, chased by a mob of ignorant, murderous villagers. Phoenix had done nothing to deserve such hate; she was a gentle soul, whose fragmented memories of long-ago abuse made the villagers’ cruelty even more unforgivable. No, stop thinking about it, and just breathe.

“Your anger is blocking the flow of life energy.” Rowan’s voice came from directly behind Ina’s chair. Opening her eyes, Ina looked down at her hands, hovering uselessly above the injured leg she had been trying to heal. She felt no energy at all flowing through them. This had been a complete waste of time. She could never be an intuitive healer like Rowan.

“Let it go.” Rowan spoke softly, and Ina felt a surge of warming energy as her shoulders relaxed under Rowan’s gentle touch. She hadn’t even realized how tight they had been.

Ina let her hands fell into her lap, inert and defeated. “I really did try. Being a healer just isn’t…”

“Enough of such talk.” Rowan reached down to pick up several rough cloth sacks from a basket under the table. “Here, take these and go out gathering. We have a few hours before the storm blows in.”

Ina stood up, taking the sacks by rote as she tried to make sense of this sudden change of instructions. “What do you want me to gather? Are we short of any herbs in particular?”

Rowan smiled as Ina put the folded sacks into the deep pockets of her dress. “Let Nature be your guide today, Ina. The forest is full of abundance, as is Mother Earth herself. Your task for now is to let yourself accept the truth of it.”

Leaving the compound through a small side gate, which was starting to get overgrown with thorny shoots of wild blackberries in flower, Ina had to admit she wasn’t in an accepting mood. One of the brambles caught her sleeve, and she stepped in a pile of rabbit dung while getting herself untangled. Whatever Nature might be showing her today, Ina wasn’t finding much of use in it.

She made her way aimlessly through the familiar paths of the forest, noticing a fallen tree here and a trickle of water over mossy rocks there, but feeling no sense of direction. After a while, the path narrowed, winding through dense trees and granite boulders that Ina thought she had seen before, although she wasn’t entirely sure when she had been here. Stepping between two huge pines, she found herself in a meadow overlooking a wide lake, with a log cabin on the far shore.

Yes, she recognized this place. The cabin belonged to Nellie, one of the leaders of the mob that had chased Phoenix, screaming of hate and killing—but who also had spoken kindly to Ina, long ago. How had that happened? Sifting through memories that felt fuzzy and jumbled, Ina plucked one clear thread: she had followed Nellie’s little girl, Mabel, around the lake to the cabin, early in the morning of the summer solstice. She had told Nellie she’d lost her way in the woods, but that hadn’t been true. Even now, almost a year later, the meadow still vibrated with the echoes of strong magic.

Ina heard her own voice, clear and certain, before she realized she had spoken aloud.

“This was where it happened.”

Last weekend I traveled with my rowing club teammates to a Saturday regatta in Tennessee, the Dogwood Masters. My husband and I had been competing in it for several years, racing our singles and our mixed double; both were in the morning, so it had been relatively quick and easy. We got more ambitious last year, also racing single-sex doubles and a mixed quad, for a total of four races each.

Ambitious would be an understatement for what we did this year. Because we had a large group of teammates, my husband and I competed in five races each, adding single-sex quads to our schedule in the sunny Southern heat. We did well, taking first place in our mixed double. My women’s double also came in first, and the mixed quad took second place at the end of the day. Then we took the trailer back to Ohio, getting home after midnight.

It was all fun, but definitely a bit much; I still don’t have all my energy back. That’s all right, though, because I feel stronger than in past years, and it’s great to travel together.

Word-art that says, "Travel brings power and love back into your life."

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 was growing up, I had a wooden bed with carved pineapples decorating the four posts. It used to be my mom’s bed when she was little. I read storybooks before going to sleep and imagined that the bed had magical powers to carry me away to fairyland.

Last night I tried to imagine myself as a child in that bed, flying away on an adventure as a fairy princess with a golden crown. Not surprisingly, all that happened was that I fell asleep; but I woke up much refreshed and felt that I was standing taller.

Word-art that says, "Be a pineapple: Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside."

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

…it doesn’t feel like a to-do.

This random bit of advice bubbled up from my subconscious mind early on Monday morning, after I went to bed feeling that the long weekend was almost over and I hadn’t done much. There wasn’t in fact anything that needed to be done right away, but I hadn’t been able to relax. I had in mind to answer an email, update my resume, and other non-urgent stuff. My blog was starting to feel neglected, too, but I didn’t feel creative enough to write anything. Even choosing an image for my art display seemed harder than usual on Sunday; I finally settled on this photo of the Columbia River Gorge.

Monday went better when I got my breakfast and simply asked myself what didn’t feel like a to-do. I had some thoughts about the email I wanted to write, so I started with that, and after a while the day started to feel more normal. Tuesday went reasonably well too, although I hadn’t quite sorted out what to say for this blog entry. Wednesday was busy, but not overwhelming.

Something felt different on Thursday morning, and then I realized that I’d gotten out of bed feeling much calmer. The big flock of to-dos had found somewhere else to roost. They won’t be missed!