With this year’s unusually wet spring in most of the United States, there hasn’t been much sun in what seems like ages. Looking out the window at yet another chilly, dark afternoon with a steady drizzle, I decided that a sunny word-art would be just the thing to brighten up my blog. Enjoy!

Word-art that says "I thought I'd send some sunshine your way."

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.

June 20, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

One of the things I enjoy about the rowing club is that we always have plenty of wildlife to see along the river. This spring there was a nesting killdeer (a small bird in the plover family) near the boathouse. She laid eggs in the grass, but they got run over by the park district’s lawn tractor. Then she tried again, carefully building a nest with tiny pebbles at the edge of the gravel path between the boathouse and the dock. One of our club members noticed the nest and put traffic cones around it. My husband took a photo.

Nesting killdeer on a gravel path between two traffic cones.

Because of the cones, the eggs (there were two) survived a large weekend Learn-to-Row class when several boats were carried to and from the dock multiple times. The story does not have a happy ending, though, because on the Tuesday after the class, early morning rowers found that both the eggs and the bird had disappeared. A predator evidently got to the eggs overnight, and possibly ate the bird too, although I think it’s more likely she just flew away because there were no bones or feathers anywhere nearby.

The ways of nature can be hard. Small birds that lay eggs on the ground generally have a high failure rate for the nesting season. Perhaps the killdeer will have better luck next year; but I was left feeling glad to be a human in a safe, comfortable house.

It’s actually Friday rather than Thursday, but oh well, stuff happens. This week, the stuff included computer problems both at work and at home, along with other assorted disruptions to my usual schedule.

I’m not going to complain, though. After seeing all the damage caused by recent tornadoes in this area, my little annoyances look totally trivial. And of course, just about everything has useful learning experiences in it somewhere, even if they are not obvious right away.

Word-art that says "Sometimes you win, sometimes you (lose, crossed out) learn."

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.

This morning I mentioned to my husband that it was about time to sign up for a rowing sprint race in Indianapolis, which we attend every summer. The course is always windy, and we’re not the best at rowing in windy and choppy conditions; but every time we try it, we do better than before. Last year we got third place in our mixed double race.

We regularly finish ahead of another couple who are less experienced, but also improving each year. Their goal, for now, is to catch up to us. It’s kind of nice being someone’s inspiration!

Word-art that says "Try and fail, don't fail to try."

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 Monday night there were multiple tornadoes here in the Dayton, Ohio area. One of them came very close to my house. My next-door neighbors lost their flagpole. My house and yard had no damage, which was very lucky. We didn’t even lose power.

It took my husband (who usually has a short commute) about two hours to get to work Tuesday morning because there were fallen trees and other damage all over the area. Meanwhile, I was sitting at my desk working from home. There was no water because Dayton’s pumps had lost power. I had a plastic water bottle on my desk, next to a bowl of first-of-the-season cherries, and I was counting my blessings.

A bowl of cherries and a plastic water bottle on a desk with a computer.

Water was restored to my area Wednesday afternoon but was still under a boil advisory today. My husband mowed the lawn this afternoon when he got home from work, and he told me that he had to pick up several pieces of debris from other people’s wrecked houses that had blown into our yard. Some residents of ruined apartments were standing outside in the rain with all their belongings, which they couldn’t even move because there was such a long wait for rental trucks. Meanwhile, some of our not-so-thankful neighbors were complaining about how long it took before they got back their water.

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.

Earlier today I spent a few minutes looking at my rosebushes. They are not in bloom yet, so I wasn’t literally taking time to smell the roses; but they do have healthy-looking buds and appear to be flourishing in the damp and cool spring weather, which was good to see.

I had to replace some rosebushes three years ago, as I mentioned here. The replacements are still rather small, probably because the past few summers have been hot and dry. They’re making good efforts, though, so I gave them an impromptu pep talk.

“You’re doing just fine, roses, keep on going,” I said.

Maybe that was silly—but then again, maybe we can all benefit from getting more words of encouragement. So I decided to share some this week:

Word-art that says "You ARE going to be GREAT! KEEP GOING."

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.

May 18, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

One of the suggestions that financial advisors often make, for purposes of motivating people to save for retirement, is to imagine how an older self would view today’s decisions. That is to say, at 80 or 90 years old, will we feel confident about our finances and believe that we planned well in our younger years?

I haven’t actually done anything that resembles conventional retirement planning because I look at saving in more general terms, as being about future flexibility to make choices. Trying to construct a detailed list of everything that I might need or want, many years from now, doesn’t strike me as useful in such a fast-moving world. The future could—and likely will—turn out to be very different from whatever we envision now.

It’s a pretty safe bet, though, that having more money will improve just about any potential scenario set in this century. Even if the future turns out to be a sci-fi utopia in which robots cater to our every whim for free, it’s going to be a long time before we get there. That being so, I decided to go ahead and try the older self exercise, given the fact that I already have an imaginary 119-year-old self—known as Fannie on this blog—with whom I’ve had several creative conversations.

At first I thought about picturing Fannie at a bank, to be consistent with the topic; but she had her own ideas about that. I found her taking a leisurely walk along a well-kept path in a public park. It was a cool spring morning, and she wore jeans and a light sweater. New leaves and lush grass made everything around us look beautifully green and refreshing.

Path surrounded by greenery in a park.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

A black poodle trotted next to Fannie, with impeccable grooming and a remarkably even gait. It had no leash. A closer look revealed that there was no need for a leash because the poodle was, in fact, a robot. Fannie turned toward me and smiled, opening her hands as if to embrace the surrounding landscape.

“Seriously, a brick-and-mortar bank? I can’t remember when I last saw one of those. Decades ago, I’m sure. Don’t you think this is more pleasant? I was transferring funds with my phone just now, before you arrived.”

I took a breath of the fresh air, which was fragrant with spring blooms, and had to agree that managing bank accounts while taking a stroll in the park certainly was more pleasant than doing it the old-fashioned way.

“So, would you say that the money I saved was enough for you to be comfortable?” I asked.

“That question has both a simple and a complicated answer, as with most things.” Fannie grinned. “By now, you’ve had enough conversations with me that you probably already figured I was going to say something like that.”

A bird trilled cheerfully from somewhere in a nearby tree, as if to share in a little good-hearted amusement.

“The simple answer is yes, I live comfortably, and in part that’s because of your discipline in saving, which I do appreciate. As you know, I have a self-navigating flying car; they’re pricey even in 2083. And of course Maxie here,” and Fannie reached down to pat the dog, “wasn’t cheap, were you, sweetie?”

The robot dog gave a very realistic happy-sounding yip and wagged its tail.

“But the more complicated answer,” Fannie went on, “is that the culture of your time had tremendous uncertainty about the future, and nobody had a clue how to deal with it. Although people had started living much longer, they hadn’t yet created new stories to shape their expectations. So they tried to plan for everything imaginable, which of course stressed them out. Let me turn this conversation around for just a moment, if I may, and give you a question instead: Do you feel totally responsible for my comfort?”

“Well, yes, or at least mostly. Sort of. What I mean, I guess, is that I wouldn’t want to mess things up and leave a future me stuck in a bad situation. You know, this question is a lot harder than it seemed at first.” I made a frustrated gesture, which caused a squirrel in the grass nearby—though evidently unafraid of the robot dog—to hop back a few steps.

“That’s why I asked it,” Fannie calmly informed me. “Now, what would you say to past versions of yourself who felt afraid of making bad decisions about raising children, for instance, or finding the right job?”

“I’d tell them not to worry because the kids and the job turned out just fine.”

There was a comfortable-looking bench to our left, and Fannie took a few steps off the path and sat in it. She gave me a smile. “Sit down and take a load off your feet, both here and in real life. Just relax—you know it’s going to turn out fine, right? You’ve got this.”

Maxie, now sitting next to the bench, yipped again as if in emphasis. I sat down next to Fannie as the scene began to fade; and then, just a moment later, I found myself back in my own time.

The rowing club had a board meeting yesterday. My husband (who has been one of the trustees for the past two years) told me that the meeting might run long because there were several things to talk about, but that he’d like to meet me at the boathouse after the meeting and go rowing in our double anyway.

I wasn’t sure how realistic that was, considering the fact it would get dark before we could do much rowing. I was picturing a chilly, windy night on the river, with mosquitoes, skunks, and other undesirable nocturnal wildlife. But then I decided to change my mindset and imagine having a pleasant evening instead.

The meeting did indeed run long; but as it turned out, we had a good row. There was very little wind, it was still comfortably warm even after sunset, the water was calm, and there was plenty of moonlight. We had the river all to ourselves (though we made sure to put blinking lights on the boat anyway, just to be safe). A mosquito did get my husband once, but they left me alone, and we did not see any skunks.

It all goes to show that, even though negativity may seem like reality, there generally are many other ways to frame our experiences.

Word-art that says "I create my own reality."

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 husband mentioned today that one of the rowing camp members had said, in a recent conversation, that I seemed to be the kind of person who would be good at whatever I did.

It was quite a nice compliment, and somewhat unexpected because I see myself as someone who takes a while to feel confident when I do something new. I don’t often jump into something and find it super-easy from the start. Usually I do keep at it until I’ve given it a fair try, even if I feel anxious, because I know that it will get easier with practice. I suppose that’s a kind of confidence too.

Word-art that says "Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed."

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.

May 9, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Over the weekend I attended a rowing camp. The local rowing club arranged for a professional coach to visit and hold a three-day camp on our river, with morning and afternoon sessions each day. The forecast called for rain and high water on Friday, however, and that left us concerned that we might have to cancel the rowing camp if the river got too high.

The weather turned out all right, although the morning group spent part of their time on the indoor rowing machines on Friday because of heavy rain and debris in the river. The rain had mostly cleared up by the time my husband and I arrived for the afternoon session. Although the air was still a bit chilly and the river was flowing faster than usual, the water was very smooth and calm.


We learned some useful tips at the camp that should make us better rowers, and everyone had a good time. I was glad that we hadn’t let weather worries deprive us of the opportunity!