I didn’t have much energy on Tuesday after the regatta on Sunday and the long trip home from Sarasota, but I got on the rowing machine for 25 minutes anyway, going slow and steady. Although it’s not easy to stick with a training plan, the effort needed for racing now seems much easier to produce than it once was.

Word-art that says, "Strangely, life gets harder when you try to make it easy. Exercising might be hard, but never moving makes life harder. Uncomfortable conversations are hard, but avoiding every conflict is harder. Mastering your craft is hard, but having no skills is harder. Easy has a cost." -James Clear

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.”

February 28, 2024 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

My spring break vacation last week, which ended with a rowing regatta on Sunday, was a lot of fun. My husband towed the club’s boat trailer with his SUV, as he often does, and we also carried boats for two other Ohio clubs that had members rowing with us.

When we arrived at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota on the previous Sunday, it was chilly and wet, and the parking area for boat trailers was very muddy. It dried out pretty well by Monday afternoon, though, and we had a good week to practice rowing in the park’s buoyed sprint lanes.

On Friday there were high winds, and the middle school races were cancelled. The high school and college crews raced on Saturday, which was still windy, but manageable. By Sunday, the weather was perfect for the masters crews. My early morning single race, in which I placed third, was comfortably cool and had very little wind. Conditions stayed pretty good for the double and quad races later, although it got warmer and the wind picked up a little.

I raced with a composite crew from three different rowing clubs in the women’s quad. Although we hadn’t practiced together, we had a good race and took first place.

Photo of Meg with women's quad mates in Sarasota.

I’m the one on the left wearing a bright pink “Barbie” unisuit because, well, masters rowing is all for fun, and who needs to be a mature adult anyway?

I’ve been enjoying time in the fresh air and sunshine this week, letting winter’s indoor routine fall away. Although I wouldn’t necessarily say that being in the house during the cold months leaves me feeling deprived, rediscovering the natural world can feel like coming back to myself.

Word-art that says, "I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees." -Henry David Thoreau

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.”

I’m packing tonight for a spring break vacation. A road trip to the South is always fun, and this time of year I enjoy seeing the trees along the roadside change from bare, leafless northern varieties to flourishing tropical greenery. I take it as a reminder that there are always more views of the world to enjoy.

Word-art that says, "Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing." -Joanne Raptis

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.”

February 13, 2024 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Coming out of the pandemic, I set my ringtone to “Way Less Sad” because that song suited my mood at the time. I still had some anxiety from all the disruptions, and I couldn’t always say that I felt happy; but I was, as the song put it, way less sad.

When my husband mentioned recently that he had some Amazon credits for music or other digital products, I thought it was about time to change my ringtone, and I asked him to buy “Yes I’m A Mess.”

He seemed surprised and asked me why I wanted a goofy song about being a mess. I told him that it’s because the lyrics say, “I like myself like this.” To me, it’s a good reminder that on days when I might, for one reason or another, feel like a mess, it’s OK anyway.

Having been married for almost all of my adult life, I sometimes wonder (as I would guess many people do) what might have become of us if we’d never met each other. I can’t imagine that we would have accomplished as much separately as we’ve done together. We keep each other going in so many ways. Even though our ordinary conversations may not always seem inspiring in the moment, they go a long way toward building perspective and a coherent vision of the future.

Word-art that says, "Be with someone who motivates you to do better in life because relationships are more than just falling in love. It's about inspiring each other to become better versions of yourselves day in and day out."

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.”

This is the ninth story in a series. Click here to read all parts from the beginning.

While Ira washed the dishes, I took off my shoes and folded my dragon-protective suit into a neat rectangle. It made a reasonably comfortable pillow on the rug in front of the fireplace. I stretched, yawned, and listened to the cozy sound of the flames crackling as I watched Ira put the dishes away.

My self-preservation instincts nagged me again that I’d better stay on my guard. After all, this cabin wasn’t a vacation resort; it was an oddly oversized building on a strange planet, currently occupied by my Sasquatch host and whatever small creatures were squeaking in the rafters. For all I knew, they might be vampire bats, just waiting for me to doze off before they pounced.

I couldn’t muster enough energy to do more than turn my head, following Ira with my gaze as he opened another box. He carefully removed a book that looked ancient, with discolored pages. On top of the book, a bright pink flower had a weirdly lifelike appearance, as if it had just been picked.

Image of an old book with a pink flower on top.

(Image credit: The Graphics Fairy)

Setting the flower back down in the box, Ira carried the book toward the firelight. He thumbed slowly through the pages, holding the book wide enough that I could see it wasn’t in any alphabet I recognized. Neat vertical columns filled the pages.

When he found his place, Ira began reciting the words in a slow, measured tone, moving a thick finger beside the letters as if he wasn’t much in the habit of reading. His voice felt soothing to me, although I couldn’t understand the words. After a minute or so, though, I started to pick up a few flickers of meaning. One word that he repeated three times sounded as if it meant “stranger,” and I understood another word as meaning “magic.”

At that point, the warnings at the back of my mind turned into clanging alarm bells. I had come to this world through what I’d been told was a sorcerers’ portal, which meant it was a reasonable assumption that there were sorcerers in the vicinity. And, of course, sorcerers had spellbooks. Ergo, Ira was casting a spell on me.

Before I could collect my muddled wits enough to decide what to do about it, the spell took effect, and I fell soundly asleep by the fireplace.

I never did get around to taking down the Christmas tree in January. Whenever I thought about doing it, we had another dark morning that made me feel sunlight and spring were very far away, and I just wanted to leave the tree and its lights for a bit of brightness and cheer.

There were still a few presents under the tree because our daughter hadn’t yet come by. I also bought a small gift for a friend of hers. Our daughter stopped by yesterday and collected the presents, along with some clothes she had left here. Later, she told us that her friend hadn’t expected a gift from us and was happily surprised. I was glad to have brightened her day!

Word-art that says, "If everything around seems dark, look again. You may be the light." -Rumi

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.”

Last week, I scheduled my time off for a February spring break trip to Sarasota, Florida. My husband and I enjoyed taking a winter road trip to Sarasota the past two years, and by now it feels like it’s turning into a regular event for us.

Work has been going well for both of us, and we’re not looking to escape from it. In fact, my husband, who has less vacation time than I do, plans to work remotely in the mornings. I thought about doing the same, but then decided against it. Even though I can’t picture myself being retired and spending many long, lazy days on the beach without much to keep my mind busy, I still need to allow myself enough unscheduled time outside the usual routine to enjoy quiet days and let myself unwind.

Word-art that says, "I want days without a schedule to keep. Hours left open for unplanned adventure. Moments of true stillness. I want a life outside of our busy schedule—a life with time to live." -Brooke Hampton

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.”

I like my new Garmin tracker, which allows me to customize activities much more than my old Fitbit did. In addition to pre-set activities such as walking and running, it has a menu with other options. I added rowing, indoor rowing, and yoga.

Photo of Garmin tracker showing activities: yoga, meditation, row, row indoor.

Meditation is one of the pre-sets, but I have not used it because I never track the length of time I meditate. Although I know that many people do, for me it seems to go against the purpose of meditation, which—in large part—is to free the mind from its cluttered thoughts of plans and schedules. When meditation becomes just another scheduled task on the to-do list, with every minute precisely tracked, that feels like a counterproductive approach.

So, after taking a photo for this post, I decided to delete meditation from the list of tracked activities. If, after meditating on any particular day, I feel that my mind has not been suitably refreshed by whatever amount of time I put into it, I probably would do better to take a walk outdoors or do some yoga, rather than fixating on the tracker and judging my meditation time as inadequate.