August 26, 2020 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a dream on Tuesday that I found somewhat disturbing, so I decided to write it down and try to make some sense of it. In this dream, my husband and I were wealthy, and we lived on an estate with a lovely view and many large, majestic evergreen trees.

Tall conifers overlooking a valley.

Some of the trees had grown so large that they were starting to encroach on a concrete parking area for visitors. I said something to my husband about needing to get that taken care of, and then I left for the day. When I returned, two trees nearest the parking area had been totally cut to the ground. There was nothing left of them but logs waiting to be hauled away. I was furious that my husband had decided to have the trees cut down, without even discussing it with me, when I only wanted to hire someone to trim a few branches. Then I woke up, still feeling angry.

In real life, we don’t have any large trees in our yard, and my husband doesn’t do much landscaping beyond mowing the lawn. He hasn’t gotten rid of anything around the house that I wanted to keep, either. So I am interpreting the trees not as referring to actual trees or things, but more generally as symbols of stability, being grounded, having strong roots, and so forth.

Apparently, there are some worries lurking in my subconscious mind that if I am not constantly on my guard, I’ll be undercut, and whatever I rely on to be grounded and rooted in my life might suddenly be taken away. The villain of the story wouldn’t necessarily be my husband or anyone in particular; I’m guessing that this dream was mainly a reaction to all the instability in the world this year. Perhaps being wealthy in the dream was a reminder that we still have many reasons to be thankful.

I woke up early this morning, just as it was getting light. My first thought, before I was fully awake, was that something about the light was beautiful. Perhaps a more accurate word, rather than “thought,” would be “impression,” because I wasn’t yet lucid enough to have a clear thought. However it might best be described, it got my day off to a happy start, reminding me that the world is full of beauty. To find it, all we need to do is wake up and open our eyes!

Word-art that says "Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life." -Mark Twain

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.

August 19, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve mentioned in a few posts that my husband and I bought a Hydrow rowing machine last fall. We enjoy the online sessions, which they call “Live Outdoor Reality” because the instructors row on the river during most of the workouts (there are also a few indoor videos, for those who prefer a studio setting). The company is in Boston, so they’re usually on the Charles River, except when they travel to Miami Beach in the winter and to other destinations on occasion for more variety.

Both of us have been working out regularly and getting more fit. Also, we got a nice perk recently when Hydrow offered us a free coaching session (via Zoom) from an instructor. Our coach was James Dietz, who gave us both some helpful tips. We had met his father, who is also a coach, a few years ago at a rowing camp hosted by our club. Small world! This picture, which I received in an email afterward, shows me sitting sideways on the rowing machine during part of that conversation, with the instructor’s image on the right. #myhydrowcoach

Meg with the rowing machine

The rowing machine is in a basement room that was overflowing with random junk five years ago, as shown in this decluttering post. It’s all cleaned up now, and though it still could use a bit of decorating, it is certainly much improved. Good to have some fresh new energy in the house!

With no real-life rowing regattas this year, my husband and I have been taking part in a virtual “Row the Great Lakes” challenge hosted by USRowing. The participants row individually on an indoor rowing machine, on the water, or both, and enter their progress regularly on the challenge website. The goal is to row a distance that is equal to rowing all the way around the Great Lakes by December 1.

Although it’s certainly not the same as traveling to actual regattas and rowing with our friends, I am glad to see this challenge and so many other online events keeping people connected and doing fun things together. I stayed up way too late one night recently, watching parody music videos that reworked popular songs in light of how people are getting by this year. Goofy as they were, it left me in better spirits.

Word-art that says "We are all in this together."

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.

August 12, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

When my daughter and her husband come to visit, sometimes we cook out on our backyard grill. This summer, as people are traveling less, they haven’t visited recently. Maybe that had something to do with why I dreamed we had another young couple visiting our home for a backyard picnic. They weren’t real people, just dream characters. The most memorable part of the dream was that they had a pet miniature pig that was well trained and walked on a leash.

Miniature pig on a leash.

(Photo credit: Alan Levine)

While we sat in lounge chairs on the grass, the pig enjoyed exploring the backyard. It behaved very much like a dog, coming over to its owners and wanting to be petted and played with.

I don’t actually know anyone in real life who has a miniature pig, but I’m guessing that the reason I dreamed about a pet pig is because everyone’s social lives got so disrupted this year. Pets, in general, represent companionship and fun. My subconscious mind probably was telling me that it is okay to have different social experiences. We’ll get back to normal sometime.

Since my husband took over the grocery shopping chore in March, we’ve been eating more hamburgers for dinner because that’s what he likes. We’re having burgers again today. At first I expected that it would get boring after a while, but so far it’s okay. He also has been patting out the burgers and putting them in the skillet, and they are good burgers, so I’ve decided to count them as a blessing and enjoy the moment. There will be plenty of time to get back to a dinner rotation with more variety in the future.

A coworker sent an email recently with this word-art, which goes very well here, I’d say:

Word-art with cartoon condiments saying "Relish today, ketchup tomorrow."

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.

When I write blog posts about my past or future selves, I generally don’t plot out a detailed structure first. Rather, I visualize myself in an imaginary setting, and then I look around to see what turns up there. It’s often a random, stream-of-consciousness narrative.

That was especially true when writing this post on a rainy Saturday. I pictured myself walking outdoors on a similarly dark and wet day, wearing jeans and a light jacket with a hood. An asphalt path, with puddles here and there, meandered through a public park. The rain had stopped for the moment (as it had in real life), and the path had started to dry.

On my right, I saw a wide expanse of neatly mowed grass and well-tended trees and shrubs. A stream ran along the left side of the path and soon broadened into a lagoon, with dune grass and a sandy beach. I could hear the ocean not far away.

Someone was fishing in the area where the stream met the lagoon. She wore a baseball-style cap with brown hair tumbling over the shoulders of an olive-green T-shirt, along with khaki shorts. When she turned her head toward me, I recognized her as Kass, my 76-year-old future self.

She hadn’t shown much concern for polite greetings in our previous encounter, so I didn’t feel at all guilty when I grimaced and said, “Fishing, ew. Don’t try to convince me I’m going to turn into someone who loves fishing when I get older.”

Kass didn’t take offense. She just laughed and said, “Depends on what you’re fishing for. Right now, I’m casting a net into the collective unconscious and seeing what kinds of interesting cultural symbols turn up.”

She reeled in her net, which contained just one lonely domino. Reaching into the net, she picked up the domino and tossed it into the sand at her feet.

Domino in sand with pebbles.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

“Okay,” she challenged me, “what would you say this means?”

Not much came to mind right away. “Well, I had Domino’s pizza for dinner on Wednesday.”

“Uh-huh.” Kass didn’t quite yawn, but she looked bored.

“Playing dominoes as a child.” I tried again. “Or with dominoes. Making them into pretend walls or into paths leading to a castle, that kind of stuff.”

Kass gave me an encouraging smile. “That was always fun.”

I considered it for another minute or so, glancing up into a sky that had started to brighten. A tiny patch of blue could be seen just across the lagoon.

“The domino effect,” I said finally. “Tip over the first one, and they all start falling. Right about now, it certainly feels that way, as if the world is on the brink of huge changes. But will the changes be for the better, or not?”

Kass chuckled again, in a good-natured way. “Oh, I’m sure you must already know the answer to that, don’t you? It all depends…”

Lifting up her fishing rod, she walked around from one spot to another on the sand, making a big production of finding just the right spot to cast her line back into the water. By the time she spoke again, I knew exactly what she was going to say, and we finished the sentence in unison.

“…on where you stand.”

I was having an email conversation with a friend recently about how some things have changed for the better this year, even though it still feels like being a character in a bad zombie movie sometimes. She wrote that her family has been calmer and more focused since staying home, and I replied that my husband and I also have been feeling much more relaxed.

Giving myself permission to let things develop at their natural pace, without pushing myself to do more or feeling inadequate if I don’t yet have a clear sense of what to do, has made so much difference. Before now, I hadn’t realized how far I had gotten away from the simple enjoyment of being.

Word-art that says "I simply am."

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.

July 30, 2020 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Res judicata is a Latin phrase that means “a thing adjudicated.” It refers to the legal doctrine that after the final judgment in a case, the parties are bound by that judgment and are not allowed to keep on arguing the same issue against the same opponent by filing a new case. If they try, the judge will promptly dismiss the new case on the opponent’s request.

I work in legal publishing, and although I don’t often dream about my work, last night I dreamed that I was using legal terminology to write about my personal life. The only thing I remember about what I wrote in that dream was “No res judicata.” While still in the dream, I took a moment to reflect on that observation about my life, and then—just before waking up—I said to myself “Hey, this is really good!” And I woke up feeling remarkably cheerful.

The meaning of that dream seemed plain enough—I am not bound by the past. No matter what problems might have stressed me before, today’s issues are different enough that it’s not the same case. I am free to grow and flourish in new and better circumstances.

My backyard willow hedge, bright and green in summer.

The photo illustrating this post isn’t new; it shows my backyard willow hedge five years ago, and it was posted on this blog then. I reposted it because the hedge started dying back the year after the photo was taken, stressed by hot and dry summers after two unusually cold winters. A casualty of climate change, perhaps. It had more dead branches this year, and I finally decided to cut off all the old growth and let the willows grow back from the base, giving the hedge a fresh start without the burden of its past stress. I am hopeful that in another five years, the hedge will be tall and healthy again. No res judicata.

We had rain most of the day—cool, steady showers that soothed the parched grass and perked up the drooping shrubs. I was glad to see it because we certainly needed some rain. But, at the same time, the dark clouds gave me a gloomy feeling. The lack of sunlight made it harder to distract myself with cheerful thoughts and get worries and doubts out of my head.

The storm had mostly passed over when I finished my workday, though, and the sun was coming out. The world looked bright and refreshed.

Word-art that says "When the dark clouds of doubt, anger or worry begin to move upon you, steady yourself in the knowledge that in time, the storm will pass." -Bryant McGill

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.