It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

2016-02-09-1455047224-9746753-IMG_3776.JPG 2016-02-09-1455047283-1572864-IMG_3780.JPG 2016-02-09-1455049507-322650-IMG_3795.JPG

Oh, to have the genius of Picasso!

What defines me to others? Where else do I want to go? What do I really need (as I reach for the same well-loved items of clothing each morning)? What does the path look like just around the corner? What will see me through growing older?

Hello 2016! A New Year is beginning and it breathes new life into me as surely as one turns the page of the calendar to reveal a world of possibilities.

As I write this on the last day of Christmas I am on a plane heading east, California dreaming of how holidays used to be. It will be a fond homecoming in New York City for a belated holiday, with my sister and other family members, as I grew up and was educated in New York. Far from the maddening crowds that besieged the City just days ago in Times Square, there's serene quiet as we wander city streets that are still too mild (temperature-wise) due to global warming. But New York City is just a stepping stone to Washington, D.C. where I'll attend the Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting and spread the word about ADA accessibility and Universal Design.

2016-02-09-1455049551-4024900-IMG_3820.JPG 2016-02-09-1455049595-1551656-IMG_3876.JPG 2016-02-09-1455050113-6634529-IMG_3886.JPG

There's a lot on my mind and this year finds me facing my mortality; one never really knows how many more years are available to shape as one pleases. In a contemplative mood I contrast the years of struggle against dealing with success and the vagaries of business (you know: boom or bust). But just as those creeping feelings of time running out peer out at me, so too are the even more powerful feelings of being blessed. There's a saying: happy wife; happy life. In every corner of my life, happiness defines it. At work, I truly look forward to greeting my staff each morning and closing out the day's work at night with them. Still, even in times of absolute bliss I question - everything. Will peace ever be mine? Does one deserve as much happiness that I experience?

At the same time, I am very present in the moment. The past year has been a year of plenty and I am redefining my goals to stay in even better health. Did you know that I follow the Weight Watchers plan? It is a wonderful forum and a mindful process that I thoroughly embrace. One in which I've learned important stuff about my eating habits and defined what food means to me. I now know that food offers me a comfort that I don't find elsewhere. For me, it's the perfect tool, yet so hard to master. So far I am able to talk to myself regularly to ensure that I am actually hungry and not just distracted and craving comfort at any particular moment. And, the point structure that is the backbone of Weight Watchers is a thoughtful system that I can relate to and rely on. Of course, in a year of plenty, I also added five pounds to my frame, so now must revisit my resolve and mastery; there's always a challenge.

So, in the overall realm of things that my mind is racing towards this New Year is what to hold on to and what I might let go of. How can I give back? I have a voice to share about how schools need to be designed. And, of course, spreading the word about Universal Design so that access is provided for all. To me it's always an uphill climb. And, the same goes for mental acuity. Keeping the mind sharp and nimble while I see certain of my peers slide into aging in a less than graceful or thoughtful manner. It's critical not to give up. Not now, after going it alone as a single parent, architect, entrepreneur and champion of Universal Design. Giving up is never an option; life is no Alamo.

2016-02-09-1455050149-1333363-IMG_3907.JPGWhat about my garden? Certainly the El Nino rains have provided the right nourishment, so what's needed next? Will the bulbs survive so much rain after a four-year drought? While at the office I prune away staff that isn't thriving, so that those that remain are on positive footing as others more disciplined and focused have a chance to join the team. The better to tackle our competition, poised to do so with an internal team that is on track; on message. Always, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) looms large, but I know I will integrate myself into that esteemed membership before too long. As well as the Bear Valley property which has yet to fulfill its promise.

Funny how the same things that made my world complete a decade or two ago, no longer hold the same significance as before. Win some; lose some.

Let me look at what surrounds me and astounds me each and every day. My life with the love of my life (my husband). A successful, loving daughter with a successful, loving marriage of her own. A beautiful and happy granddaughter.

And so, I am nothing but thankful. Grateful for every opportunity. Cherishing every family member. Recognizing that the fight to keep moving forward in business and keep the love burning at home is what keeps me alive, keeps me moving. What means the most to me keeps me California dreaming (but this time from my California home, for now).

2016-02-09-1455049853-1771585-IMG_3923.JPG 2016-02-09-1455049883-4621625-IMG_3924.JPG 2016-02-09-1455050185-3317136-IMG_3929.JPG