I was born and raised in the Chicago area. I attended Swarthmore College, where I majored in philosophy. After college I stayed home with my two sons until they were school age, then went to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle, where I received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. I moved to North Carolina in 1982 to take a job as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
While I was at UNC I met my husband, Art Benavie, who teaches economics there. We were married in 1987.
In 1992, I left UNC to work on a currently unpublished memoir about dealing with my father’s Alzheimer’s.
In February, 2003, my husband pointed out a course at the local ArtsCenter, “Drawing for People Who Can’t Draw.” We decided to take the course together. Unexpectedly, I found myself spending delicious hours working on homework assignments, while Art stubbornly refused to do any homework at all. I followed up with several courses in drawing and painting and finally joined a continuing series of watercolor and acrylic classes with Luna Lee Ray. It is not an exaggeration to say that these courses have changed my life. I love painting and spend every moment I can at it. Working with images provides a kind of satisfaction I never experienced when I was working with words.