Category: thoughts


Happiness…is a two part equation, achieved when we find the right balance of meaning and pleasure, and when we are engaged in an activity that has both present and future benefit. These are the pursuits that both adsorb us and require us to contribute to the world beyond ourselves….

[Happiness is] the ultimate currency in life – more than wealth, achievements, or material possessions….

Tal Ben-Shahar as paraphrased in Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons

When I feel happy, this is where I am. Meaning & pleasure. Present & future. Pursuits that absorb & require me…to the world beyond myself.
All of this. 

This is how I’ll be measuring my wealth.
Here’s to hoping I find myself surrounded by the truly rich. May we all be fully absorbed and required in some bit of the world, beyond ourselves.


51 years, 51 miles, and so many teachers

Jason and I have a birthday tradition.  We ride bikes together.  1 mile for each revolution around the sun.

And while we ride, we share milestones and memories from the year that we’ve just completed (when we remember).

On my 51 mile birthday ride, I realized how each of my earliest years were distinguished by my teachers.

Kindergarten: Mrs Livingston, we played “Giants & Fairies” to her piano playing (we had a piano in our classroom)
1st grade: Mrs. Frazer, we practiced counting to 100, as a class, standing up. (always a long 9 before the next 10s group)
2nd grade: Ms. Donovan, she had red hair and was so nice. and then we moved and I had Mrs. Ross… Her first name was Alice, we listened to Alice’s Restaurant a lot. She loved birds and each of us cut balsa wood airplanes with exacto knives (7 years old!)
3rd grade: Mrs. Barger, she loved teaching us Spanish, called me Alejandra, and drove 2 of us to the store to pick out candy for our class piñata
4th grade: Mr Shephard-Blue, he taught us Russian, played the piano in class, and introduced us to Shakespeare. I was Dromio in The Comedy of Errors (I wore pantyhose on my head to look bald, so embarrasing!)
5th & 6th grade: Mrs. Rotondi, I adored Mrs. Rotondi, she was so smart and so kind. My paper mache grand canyon was a terrible mess.

And I remembered all of my subject teachers through junior high and high school. (too many to list here) And with each of them, specific classes and lessons come rushing back into my consciousness. I thought about how amazing it was that these teachers became my reference for specific points in time and really for how I understood my own experience.

Logging on to my computer this morning, I saw the Happy Teacher Appreciation week google doodle.

Decades later I can recall so many lessons and fine details from grade school schedules.  If you’re a teacher, thank you. You make an indelible impression on the lives you touch. Perhaps not every lesson is remembered by every student, but you live on forever in some of us.


It was a very good year

Here I am. The last evening of 50.

Approaching 50 felt like moving to the end of something, of what I’m not sure.  Of my youth? Maybe.
Although some might suggest that my youth was left further back in history.
And I would argue that I still don’t feel like a grown up.

It’s been a mix of letting go… Our home of 23 years and dumpsters full of stuff we’d collected and saved for years. Our old town and community and favorite restaurants. The running and cycling routes I’d traveled too many times to count. The quick trip to our closest friends’ houses, the ones who had come to know our stories, as we muddled through whatever, together.

And a flurry of beginnings… New (and significant) triathlon PRs. New sports: mountain biking and rowing. New home. New town. New roads to ride. New business ventures. New colleagues. New friends. New traditions.

Plus some things that are both, like weekend long sleepovers with friends. And riding bikes on new roads with old friends.

Throw in ‘more fun with perimenopause’ and really nothing feels normal anymore. Maybe being unsettled is a gift for growth when you become an uncertain woman of age, dunno.

What I do know is that if, as 50 ends, you’re sitting barefoot on the deck, thinking back on the year, you’re doing all right.

In Frank’s words, it was a very good year.