That commitment piece

With 2017 well underway at this point (hello February!), we’ve officially hit the mid-winter doldrums at school.  Still, I’m looking forward to a break coming up, and a short month will probably feel better too, especially as the days grow longer by small increments.

I’ve mentioned time and again that a full embrace of life in Colorado has come along a bit slower than I expected, and it’s challenged me, but that I need/want to bridge that gap this year.  One major piece that will give me more of a sense of stability and direction is now in place (at least for the next 12 months) – the job front!  Basically, I feel as though I’ve been looking for a future job for the past 15 months.  Even when I’ve had a job (last spring and throughout this academic year), the situation seemed uncertain and left me feeling unsatisfied.  I haven’t had a full-time contract for this year, and I signed it fully aware of that situation, but it’s chaffed to not be truly invested in the community and in teaching. A large part of my sense of dissatisfaction stems from the fact that I’ve felt guilty about not contributing to our household finances (this is full disclosure here!), but it also goes deeper than that.  At my last school and even the Swiss gig, I felt over,-involved, which I loved.  People (teachers) often bitch and moan about that aspect of teaching, but it’s also something that most teachers enjoy – or they wouldn’t do it.  For me, being “all in” regarding the school community energizes me while taking a more laissez-faire attitude has the opposite effect, leaving me with a sense of inertia.  So, that’s a long explanation to say that I’ve had an offer that for the next 2 years.  It will, yes, keep me teaching middle school Spanish (sigh – that is another topic altogether!) but will also give me a sense of stability and focus. Continue reading “That commitment piece”

Looking at you, 2017!

Now that we are officially a week into 2017, methinks that I should truly reflect on 2016 in broad strokes and think about what that means or how it informs 2017.  I won’t moan and bitch yet again about 2016, but I will say that it was not my finest year.  I learned a LOT about myself which, at age 44, I suppose is something to celebrate, but I’ll be honest and say that I also wasn’t happy with what I learned.  I still get easily “stuck” in a fixed rather than a growth mindset which I find frustrating, and I question that I truly embraced all of the opportunities that came our way.  That said, I also felt limited this past year – financially and physically and emotionally – and it was hard to be present and also to look to the future with a positive attitude. Continue reading “Looking at you, 2017!”

2016: The annual year-in-review

I’ve read some great “16 in ’16” posts, and I like the format but can’t bring myself to motivate THAT much, but a look back is still in order.  Just a few thoughts about the year as a whole – I’m too lazy to burn the year in effigy, but I have already done so in my thoughts – many a time, believe me!  So, while there were some bright spots in 2016, I really feel like saying “Screw you” to the year and moving on.  How’s that for positive thinking? Continue reading “2016: The annual year-in-review”

Hitting the reset button

Seeing as I’ve fallen off the interweb ‘face of the earth’, it seems that a renewed commitment to blogging would be a good shift.  I have the time these days, but finding the energy, focus and, most important of all, the content has been elusive.  As Michael and I have shifted from a life of constant limbo and uncertainty to a more settled experience here in Colorado, I feel compelled and I finally WANT to reflect on where I’ve been over the past 16 months and to look towards the future without the anxiety that has been a constant companion for so many months.

I fear that I sound like a broken record as I keep going on and on about the past year, but it’s been a doozy!  While we knew that leaving California way back in June 2015 (seems like a lifetime ago) would present challenges, I never ever expected the ups and downs that came with the past year.  I’d say that, for 15 months or so, the highs and lows were both extreme.  Enjoying friends and family in CO, spending 3 months in Switzerland, traveling to Asia, and skiing all spring were just a few of those peaks, but the valleys felt more like deep ravines, and I questioned our decision to pick up and move to one of the MOST POPULAR PLACES IN THE US.  Or, if I didn’t doubt the decision, I questioned our timing.  As different fantasmal job opportunities appeared and, poof, disappeared, Michael and I were constantly stressed, and we wondered if Colorado would work out long-term.

Fortunately, after much teeth-gnashing and all of this uncertainty (Yes, I know), I think that we’re finally ‘nesting’.  While I don’t love my current teaching position and might review the what-do-I-want-to-do-with-life question, as a family, we are okay – good, even.  By mid-September, Michael’s job situation fell into place, and we both exhaled.  It felt as though a huge burden of stress just rolled off our backs.  With new jobs that took us both to Denver, it seemed absurd to continue to live in Boulder, so we began to shop around for a new place (to rent, at this point), thinking that we would move for a November 1st deadline. However, a place opened up October 1st and we scrambled to make that date.  To our surprise, we find ourselves living in Golden, Colorado – yes, Golden, the home of Coors Brewing!  I say “surprise” because I assumed that we would find a place in Denver, but Michael was somewhat opposed to returning to an urban living experience.  PLUS, living in Denver, depending on the area, wouldn’t have necessarily been an ‘easy’ commute for either of us.  Golden seemed, in many ways, like a good compromise – it’s still a bit of a commute for him, but he’s driving against traffic which helps, and we’re close to TONS of open space.  We feel that we are about 25 minutes from ‘everywhere’ – meaning Boulder and Denver – and it’s easy to get to the mountains.  I think that we’ll end up exploring Denver a bit more, and while I’m okay that we aren’t living there, I am definitely looking forward to venturing out and about in the city – going to museums, eating at a greater variety of restaurants, having more options in general.

Throughout this process, it’s been interesting to think about what makes a place feel like home or my life feel ‘settled’.  We still see our current situation as a 12-month gig, and after that, we probably will look to buy a house and fully commit to the area.  Even so, compared to where and how we were living in Boulder, I feel more like an adult (at age 44!), and our place, while still small and not what we want long-term, gives me a sense that we’re creating a home.  I’m not overly attached to material possessions, but it is nice to have moved all of our crap out of storage and to find items that we’ve missed for the past 12 months – pictures, books, paintings…   We miss certain aspects of living in Boulder, no doubt, but it is nice to feel that we are no longer in transition.

Another shift is that we’re back to cooking more- real recipes, not just grilling everything. At the moment we’re on a Vietnamese kick thanks to Charles Phan’s (from The Slanted Door in San Francisco) Vietnamese Home Cooking.  I find it funny  that we came from LA with FOUR bottles of fish sauce  and several types of soy sauce  (I’m sure that they have fish sauce and soy sauce in Colorado, but…), but apparently we are now putting all of this to good use, especially since we rediscovered our wok which had been in storage since June of last year.  I’m not sure if my current read, The Sympathizer, which I highly recommend, has influenced our current cooking kick. But, back to cooking in general – there is something so comforting and grounding in looking through a cookbook, trying out a new recipe or returning to an old favorite.  It’s one of those activities that settles me in more ways than one.

Along the same line of renewal and returns, I’m back to a training schedule.  The summer months really got away from me, although I felt quite inspired when I spectated/crewed (sort of crewed; our main contribution was dinner for the “main” crew experts and pacers) at the Leadville Trail 100 which my cousin ran for the TENTH time.  He barely made one of the cutoffs, so it was something of a nail-biter for the spectators/crew (oh, and also for him), but, in the end, he pulled through.  It was an amazing experience, and it definitely makes me think harder about the ultra-running/trail running community and the opportunities to connect with people and places.

My cousin with his 1,000 mile buckle!  His second of the summer because he also earned one for the 100 mile bike race!  He has a wall of bibs in his house – and he might have to start a new wall soon.  The other photos are of his trusty crew.

While that served as inspiration, it still took a while for me to seriously think about returning to some sort of training routine, but as a new month (November) grew closer and closer, I began to seriously think about a new coach and a renewed commitment to training.  It’s been a while, and I cannot deny that I’m out of shape (I am!).  While I’ve kept up my running fitness, to a certain degree, I’ve spent months without swimming or biking once.  So, this will be a long, slow and challenging process, especially as I compare “where I was” to “where I am”.  Obviously I can’t use my old fitness as a yardstick, and it’s okay that I’ve taken a prolonged break.  I might feel even *more* excited to start over again.  We shall see…  But the fun is beginning as I’ve already spent time in the pool and on the trainer this week.  2017 triathlon season – here we go!

Fall awakening

I know, I know!  I am one of those people who abandoned my blog for, quite literally, months.  I have something of a defense for the “blog” inertia.  I associate the summer months with road trips, biking, hiking, hanging out with family and friends, reading good books, drinking (probably too much), the occasional sunburn, and, in general, a different pace.  While this summer did present a some of the above, in many ways, “twas the summer of our discontent”.  Michael’s bike accident and the fall-out from that left me (well, both of us, really) feeling deeply uncertain, frightened and frustrated about our life, and I had zero desire to touch on those issues via the interwebs.  And, while we did enjoy aspects of our summer, I just couldn’t stomach presenting a polly-anna version of our life, because, to be frank, so much of it sucked.  Yes, we both looked at the bright side (“You only have a fractured pelvis and a bad concussion.  So lucky!”), but we also stressed and worried about the recovery process and our future. Continue reading “Fall awakening”

Boulder 70.3: Highs and lows

Just a note: I wrote this ages ago and then waited and waited for the race photos.  Yes, I’m one of those people who purchases the race photos, depending on the race!  And, yes, Boulder 70.3 actually happened – a few weeks ago now, which, in racing time is like “years ago”.

In some ways, it doesn’t feel *right* to spend 500 or 5,000 words on a navel-gazing ‘race report’.  Additionally, now that 7-8 days since last Saturday have passed, so many details that seemed oh-so important at the time have faded.  That, however, might be a good thing as maybe I’ll be somewhat more brief.

Continue reading “Boulder 70.3: Highs and lows”

Taking the measurement of time

Time is a funny thing.  There are so many famous quotes and contemplations on the fleeting nature of time, one of the great themes in art and literature.   You know, carpe diem and “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”and all of that.  However, in my quotidian life (since we’re talking poetics, might as well throw in an SAT word), I rarely stop and contemplate time with a capital “T”.  There are, however, those moments when suddenly we do stop, take notice, examine or suddenly feel the impact of time’s passing.   Continue reading “Taking the measurement of time”