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Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s Forty

In a little more than a week, I’ll be 40 years old. Generally, I have not been feeling dramatic about this milestone. My tendency to stew in cringey, birthday-induced self-reflection has abetted as the years have gone by… probably because I now indulge in bouts of introspection constantly: When I’m running, when I’m commuting, when I’m walking to pick up Little Boy from school, when I’m digging out weeds from the rose beds, when I’m standing in the kitchen at work waiting for the single-serve coffee to brew.

Aspects of my life exhaust and deplete me, yet these moments of meditation rouse me to the conclusion that: “I am fortunate.” Even on less optimistic days, I can still muster an assertion that: “It could be much worse.”

The local trails I get to run on, resplendently green this wet spring

The local trails I get to run on, resplendently green this wet spring

I have now lived in New England more than half my life. There is a joke told in New England, about New Englanders, usually to New Englanders: When it’s a nice Spring day, New Englanders will say: “Well, we waited long enough.” When it’s a nice Fall day, New Englanders will say “Not too many more of these left!” And it’s totally true — both the people and the weather.

I have been counting the number of “nice weather days” that Boston metro has had so far this year. My measure of a “nice weather day” is purposely objective: It must be 65-75 degrees, partly to fully sunny, nothing more than a breeze, zero humid, and nothing falling out of the sky. I’m excluding subjectively nice weather days, which are the New England days that feel good only because it’s been crappy, cold and sunless for the previous days on end. We have many of those. But we have only had two (2) objectively nice weather days in 2017. Both days were in the previous week.


Early Spring Raindrops falling in the meadows

In terms of subjectively nice weather days… it’s Day 140 of 2017, and I will estimate that we have had 130 days of subjectively nice weather. Unless there’s massive amounts of wind-driven precipation coming down, I will go outside and “enjoy” the weather, no matter how objectively crappy it is. I will even drag my family along.

Mother's Day "Anything Mom Wants to Do Hike" in chilly 45-degree steady rain

Mother’s Day “Anything Mom Wants to Do Hike” in chilly 45-degree steady rain

I am turning forty, and the cat has turned 4. According to Purina’s cat age calculator, this makes him 32 years old. And he’s still got this thing with the boxes. He will overtake me in age in 3 years, when I turn 43 and he turns 44.

Cat in Box in Box

Cat in Box in Box

Little Boy is turning 9 next month. There is not a day that goes by that I am not in awe of him.


Post soccer game, with our dogwood tree in blossom

I don’t have a lot of life advice that I can generalize for other people. For me, running long distances in the woods is beneficial. May is a wonderful time of year to do that. By 5am, full dawn is being heralded by the songbirds. The trails are empty and I can start my day knowing that, no matter how many meetings at work I have, no matter how many deadlines I am facing, no matter how much I stress over all the little details, that I have at least had these precious moments, gliding past the trees and paying homage to the strength within myself.

Early Spring on the Western Greenway

Early Spring on the Western Greenway

Today I ran a trail race called the Big Bear 30K. There was a 50K option too, but I opted for the 30K just to preserve my legs through the next big training block. It was a small race in Taunton, MA on idyllic and relatively smooth, flat trails. I told Mr. P that I wasn’t going to race, but after the first 10K loop, I assessed the labored breathing of the ladies around me and decided to take off. I didn’t know if there were any women ahead of me, but I felt confident no female behind me would be able to catch up. The last 3 miles were a bit tough — luckily, I have fresh memories of much tougher ordeals, like the Glass City Marathon. I finished in 2 hours 56 minutes and got a wooden medal (what a contradiction) for being the First Girl. I got to stand on a podium and smile at applauding strangers.

Wooden Medal

Wooden Medal

Last March, I decided to do an DNA test. I think the desire came from a thought I had during one of those long runs training for the Glass City Marathon along the Charles River. I wanted to find out for once and for all how “Irish” I am. It sounds ridiculous but since the Boston area is a bit of an enclave for the Irish, and having Irish heritage is a point of pride, and I love traveling in Ireland, I wanted to know for sure if I was genetically able to feel Irish.

It turns out, according to the saliva DNA test, I am a wee bit Irish. I’m mostly classic Anglo-Saxon mutt. The most interesting thing about the results was the “genetic community,” which correctly identified my American ancestors as Pennsylvanians. I already knew that, but seeing it borne out by my spit was pretty cool.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 4.51.51 AM

Finally, to wrap up… here is the cat during last weeks’s bizarre 95-degree heat wave. Because I said at the start of this post that turning 40 is not big deal, so ending the post with a screenshot of my DNA results just seemed to contradict that.








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