2 people, 2 cats, 2 cars, 2 houses, 2 states… and 21 years!

Well, here I am… the advance team, reporting live from the Spa.  Sipping a yummy tumeric latte at Uncommon Grounds and soaking in the comfy vibe of this great haunt – and the Springsteen soundtrack is a lovely touch (The River).

It’s T-minus 2 til our last night in our home sweet home in Alexandria on Friday and I’m starting to feel the slow, subtle shift in the gravity from the life we’re leaving to the one we’re starting. It’s sort of like the first little buds on the redbud… scarcely perceptible when you look close, but when you look from afar, there’s a distinctly pink glow that you sort of wonder if you’re imagining, but then….hopefully, you blink, and the blossoms are there.

I really am going to try to have a “lesson” or “theme” in mind when I post (and I guess that paragraph above counts for this time), but sometimes I think I’m just going to ramble about what I’ve been doing.  Stand by – this is one of those. Sorry!

Our last weekend at Casa Weir del Sur was just amazing – a spectacular parade of Exploit ! and Explore! (Photos below)

  • Our last fish & peppery broth at Hong Kong Palace on Friday,
  • Bobby and I doing all our pre-party provisioning in harmony,
  • Peaceful afternoon of enjoying the house,
  • Awesome Dream Team coming over early for Cremant and a good dose of Magpie bossy-betty to help me get ready for the party people. (Exploit!)
  • The soiree was so much fun. I’m so grateful to the wonderful flock of friends who shared their Saturday night with us to send us off in celebratory style – and extra thankful that our fabulous Hoos kindly won the ACC tourney so that all my Wahoos took home happy memories of our shindig. (Exploit!)
  • Absolutely loved having Diane and Will stay overnight… such fun to wake up for our final Sunday with my beloved sister in the house. (Exploit!)
  • Sunny Sunday AM on the sofa visiting with them and thanking Chef Bobby making breakfast sammies – just perfect.(Exploit!)
  • Then came the melancholy… but a good, quiet kind.  Just a big wave of “this is it, we’ve run our course here, it’s been wonderful, we’ve not taken it for granted, we’ve loved the bejesus out of this home and now it’s time to say goodbye”.  It was a quiet sad, and I just decided to sit with it… attached to my couch like a barnacle soaking in every last drop.  I’m not tired of it, but I know we’ve loved it as much as we could.
  • So as not to let the blues win, my dear Anne & Kendra came over for a “cremant in lieu of yoga” – such a treat! (Exploit!)
  • A lovely “a bientot” dinner with Julia and Kevin at  Convivial in Shaw… positively delightful company, conversation and super yummy food. (Explore + Exploit!)
  • One “last-ish” Monday at MAVA (in the office anyways, for a while). Totally treasured my drive to work along the GW parkway, and found myself a little teary as I said goodbye to the gang…but that was nice too. (Exploit!)
  • And then (just when you can’t bear another bullet point) I had the great fun of greeting Doodles & Paul after their big night on the town at the 9:30 club. Much fun hanging with them til 1am on a schoolnight, and waking up knowing they’d been our last houseguests.
  • Tuesday morning gave me a chance for a flurry of favorite Old Town scenes before heading to the airport for my flight to NY.
  • When I return on Friday the house will be in its early phases of upheaval with our movers in full prep & pack mode.   I am planning to resume my barnacle position on Friday night – boxes be damned – to soak up the last few minutes, for real.

So, after that extended exploit/explore farewell tour… I was positively thrilled to find that my mood was nothing short of giddy when I landed  here at the Albany airport. I just found it perfect that my plane was the first to land since they’d closed the airport (??!) and where the crazy white out weather was described by our pilot as “snowing sideways”.  It just all made me laugh – and feel super prepared with my new Joan of Arctic boots in my suitcase!

While the cab from the airport was a marathon due to traffic and sticky snow, I  had the most delightful conversation with Khyber – my driver.  Born in Afghanistan, moved to India when he was 3, and then to Albany when he was a teenager. He’s now 26 and  hopes to travel to Morocco soon. I got all kinds of great tips from him, including the names of 2 indian restaurants and 1 turkish one – plus he got me home safe & sound and I was so  happy to have left the Berry ‘Bu at home in her barn.

And best of all, walking in the door at Casa Weir del Norte last night it just felt a little bit more like my house… baby steps.  It was pretty and peaceful (and still a teeny bit light) which was nice. The driveway was perfectly clear thanks to Scott – my hero. It was awesome to see the progress of our painters and perhaps best of all to know that my great neighbors (met last week) – Frank and Brian – would see all the lights on and know I was back.  That probably made the biggest difference from last week to this week.

I decided to go hang out at Uncommon Grounds for the evening, which was perfect – and prevented the “poor me in an empty house with no friends” feeling from sneaking in. So far, so good!  I stayed up late talking to my mom & then made my way up to the Tuft & Needle.

Notably darker in the AM now with Daylight Saving Time in effect making it more than a little harder to rise & shine and head out for the winter walk… so I skipped it, made some coffee and got down to business while awaiting the painting crew – Jorge arrived at 7:30 (and yes, of course I spoke spanish with him- you KNOW I can’t help myself!). I launched into a couple power hours of phone calls & address changing… then took a wonderful break to catch up with Meg, before more calls & to dos, and a nice chat with my Auntie Sue.  Ran interference between my painter and my home inspector about a suspiciously damp ceiling… and then when I’d had enough sitting on this wooden stool… I bundled up to take my fab new boots for a spin around the ‘hood – and a first stop in the Five Points Deli (where the woman gave me a very hairy eyeball about my purchase – apparently frowning upon buying a 6 pack of Stella and a bottle opener at 3:30 on a Wednesday). As if!

My treat for the day was to head into town for my first yoga class of this new chapter at Yoga Mandali – and it was lovely. Pics below.  Followed up with the aforementioned tumeric latte, and then headed home for a “just like the old days” dinner of mac & cheese + a beer.

It was a good day – I felt like I had a purpose up here, and I like to think the list of “firsts” will slowly but surely start to grow, and one day surpass the long list of “lasts”.   So fitting to start this new chapter exactly as we start celebrate our 21st year of Maven & Magpie marriage… might be time to check the numerology around 22. Hopeful it will be an auspcious one for the Maven, the Magpie, the Mookie & the Maggie too!

Thanks for listening!

DeBerry Juice, Maggie & the Redbud!
These two… so cute! Who needs yoga? (sometimes)
Lucky me – last houseguest: Doodles – love in AOT!
Love that clown at Misha’s
Love those Fibre Space sheep.
Casa Weir del Sur
“Welcome to sunny Albany.. who am I kidding, it’s snowing sideways” – the pilot
Scott is my hero – look at the driveway! #gratitude
My new fave… the tumeric latte, hold the espresso.
Good morning… maybe I’ll stay in and have coffee.
Maybe just a little stir-crazy after a day in the house & on the phone.
Who needs ruby slippers.?.. I clicked my heels and I landed here!
First trip to Five Points – with fabulous bag from TAG
Yoga Mandali.. my new yoga home. I love these windows.
And look who’s here to greet me – Ganesh del Norte!
In some ways this view is not so different from Pure Prana at the corner of Patrick & King… just a little snowier!