And in a blink…it’s been 6 months!

TRF horses at Front Royal Sanctuary Farm
Super Saturday night with Rebecca in Richmond @ Shagbark!

Hi Friends!

Funny how time passes, eh?

Yawn! I know, this is a topic more people have ruminated & kibitzed about (yep, had to look up the spelling of that word – thank you Urban Dictionary for the modern use of the yiddish word) than one can count, and I certainty don’t think I have anything novel to add – but, really, it is amazing – isn’t it?   All days simply aren’t created equal, nor are weeks, months or years… and while we seem to have sort of lived a lifetime since the Spring, it’s really just been 6 very, very technicolor months since we landed in the “new life”.  While the 425,600 minutes is consistently our measure of a year, they just feel so different depending on your perspective.

Highly recommend a quick listen to “Seasons of Love” from RENT soundtrack... I’m listening to it right now.

So, one more statement of the timeline for those scoring at home.  While many key steps transpired in Feb & March, the FIRST, REAL & OFFICIAL first day of our new life took place on April 11,2018. The historical plaque will read: on that day the Maven & Magie woke up in their bed at 123 Madison Street – a new house, a new town, and pretty minimal employment to start their new life. (Thank goodness for the Figs!) The Maven signed his final “check out” papers on Monday the 9th, we drove up on Tuesday the 10th, and we woke up on Wednesday the 11th to our brand new world.  It was a big day in the #YearofWeir.  (Might have to resurface the article in which that term was first coined for a future post).

While this funny, imaginary 1/2 anniversary is a topic on my mind this week because I want to recognize it, think about it, and appreciate it – I also want to move on – to the what comes next.

For me, the Fall has really kind of taken me by surprise. I knew that the gears would shift, but I didn’t know in which direction. Very, very happily for the first time in a very long time I discovered that September is kind of awesome.  It looks and feels much like Summer, but everyone is getting back to the business at hand… and my new “business at hand” is horses.  Pinch me!!!  For the record, I’m making a public apology to the month of September for all the many years I openly loathed everything about it.  As with so many things one resents and struggles with – it wasn’t you, it was me – and my perspective!

Trying to sort out why I’ve found the frenzy of the Fall such a surprise, I think I was so focused on making the utmost of the Summer, and since we’d never been here for the Fall, I just didn’t think about it all.  It was clear only in that it would be absolutely, positively not like it used to be in our old life.  And, very, very happily that is totally true. However, now that we’re in it – I definitely imagined it would be longer, slower, quieter and that we’d have a lot more time to do stuff… road trips, apple picking, pumpkins, porch time.. .maybe even a little hike!

Let’s face it, the reason that the Fall we’re living is more frenzied than the Fall I vaguely imagined is… me and my work, and the plans I’ve made to accomplish my goals for the horses.  It’s literally all good (and totally of my own design, for which I’m profoundly grateful), but it’s definitely “a thing”.  Continuing with my mission to meet as many people in my new work community as possible while I can still claim to be the new kid at the TRF, I planned my first trip to kick off pretty shortly after the racing season ended.   I started with an interest in reaching out to our donors in VA and MD, and a goal of seeing more of our farms and meeting more of my colleagues who are caring for the horses in our herd, and it evolved into a 1900 mile, 13 day roadtrip which was filled to the brim with nonstop people – an amazing number of my besties from Philly to Chapel Hill (photos in my last post, continued below) and an incredible array of individuals who are totally dedicated to the horses of the TRF caring for them and supporting the work we do to care for them.  I was totally impressed and inspired – and I learned so much!

At this point in my post, I feel sure I’m droning on.. and not sure which way to go.  I really want to break the “online diary” approach that has become my blogging mainstay, and I aspire to be more reflective with a glimmer of hope that something I’ve experienced may resonate and be helpful in some way to one of my peeps out there patiently following this little experiment.

So, I’m going to just say no to the temptation to share my first TRF Road Trip itinerary, and I will include a bunch of my horsie photos below so you can take your own tour. And, trying to take the less boring fork in the road, I’m going to end with something that at least hints at being thoughtful…

As I met with so many friends along the way of my travels, I caught up with a bunch who didn’t quite know how the whole magical story had come together, since only a rather edited version of the whole process appeared on Facebook.  On the highly curated FB it looked like: A. we put our house on the market, B. we bought a house, C. we sold our house, and D. I landed in my dream job.  So simple! Ha! You know the duck, looking so calm above the water with those little webbed feet madly paddling below the surface? Yea, that was us. While all of those things happened, more or less in that order, there was also a whole lot of “leaping and the net will appear” going on… not to mention the emotional growing pains of uprooting ourselves and extracting ourselves from a life we loved and were very, very entrenched in.

Anyhow, here’s the thoughtful bit... as I found myself telling the “whole story” to a bunch of friends during my trip, I heard this exchange happen a couple times :

  • Friend asks “but really, how did you do it?  how did this all happen?”
  • Magpie answers “we just listened to what we knew.”  (Honestly, I was as surprised as anyone to hear that come out of my mouth.)

And yes, I think that’s really it.  We simply, totally and absolutely knew we were no longer where we were supposed to be. We knew a change – a big change – was what we needed.  There were absolutely a zillion things we didn’t know, but we focused on what we did… and I guess that made all the difference.

For now, I’ll sign off at the end of this very long rambling post (Game of Thrones beckons.. .and yes, Winter IS Coming) to say this:

Listen to what you know.  Don’t try to un-know what you know.

Them’s my 2 cents.

Happy Pumpkin Season – next post will likely to be coming at you from the Bluegrass State!



TRF Front Royal – the amazing Aimee & Ellie (and Pat from NY, too!)
The girls with Bond Vigilante – our NYTHA baby
Lunch in Tyson’s with Chrissy
The beloved Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church with E!
Love this woman!
Bobo – the CS welcoming hound!
Such fun to see Shannon, Monise and the amazing CS team – in their new home!
Grinning with the Rock Star of CS – Monise!
On to Ashland – my girl, Doodles!
Good gracious, my godson, Cal!
TRF team at Montpelier – an awesome tour, two thumbs up!
Happy with the TRF horses at Montpelier

Doodles & Paul – and their lovely new home!
Super Doppler – happy TRF Horse, the Lap horse, living the dream!
TRF James River Second Chances – spectacular!
A lovely visit Chez Grossman!
Final shot before rolling up the road – at Casa Friday!

Settling in – real life starts now

Saratoga Backstretch 10.8.18

Hi Friends!

It’s a Monday that feels like a Sunday here in Saratoga, thanks to the unexpected gift of the Columbus Day Holiday day off from the office. Grey, misty, in the 50s and my first day wearing the Uggs & turning on the fireplace – surely a few things I’ll lose count of soon.

While I know you must be thinking “no, really, girl puh-leeze – not another first!”… and so am I, but still, there is a subtle and strong sense of something new in the air since I returned from my terrific TRF road trip to VA & MD. (Photos Part 1 below)  Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that this felt like  the first time I came home to the new life – especially coming back to routine, real life with work and the house in place (Hawaii was fabulous, but after 3 weeks of work, and just over a month in the new house – it had a distinctly different feeling).  It just sort of suddenly, feels normal to be here – and this, in its own way, is new.

It strike me that this is when I really need to make some commitments to the things I so dreamed of when we envisioned this new life, because even with the much calmer, quieter pace of life – it’s still powerfully easy to not do things.  All Spring and Summer there were happy distractions to use as excuses, and then my road trip – the schedule was different from day to day, friends & family to spend time with, the intense FOMO of the racing season in my new role.  No regrets, in fact, I’m weirdly proud of sticking to the priority of being in the moment and making the most of it all.  However, we are distinctly shifting gears now – with Fall upon us, and Winter is Coming (and yes, I’m going to start watching Game of Thrones… so I’ll eventually understand the second meaning of that phrase).  So, it’s time to set some intentions and remember that great quote given to me by the Maven:

“Discipline is remembering what you really want”

So, I guess I better figure out what I really want. 🙂

One of the things that seemed so clear to me in the old life was the lack of “white space” in my life, by which I meant a combination of unstructured, unscheduled time and time to do things alone, quietly and thoughtfully.   From time to time I’d find a rare window – a delicious days when I could just stay in the house, all day, with the cats and a book and read it from cover to cover.  Those were wonderful days, but in 10 years at 301 S. Henry Street my guess is that there were less than 10 of them. More often, I’d find myself frittering a few hours away when I’d run up upon a free morning or afternoon caught between wanting to do nothing, and knowing I had so many things I should do, and then not really doing anything or nothing. It was a weird sort of paralysis because I was so wired to do, do, do, and always be doing… I couldn’t shift gears quickly.  I’ve heard people talk about that adrenal failure or exhaustion, and I think I kind of had my own version… I just couldn’t do nothing very well, and I missed it.

So now we’re here where the days are longer and the challenge is how to make the most of each of them. For the record it’s a fact, not just a feeling, that the days are longer here and the simple reason is: there is no traffic. Simple. Crazy. True.  When I think about the time spent in the car over the past 10+  years, it’s just staggering and kind of nauseating. Not that there’s anything remotely interesting about my writing about the impact on schedules & lifestyle of the traffic in/around DC. It’s mind-numbing and I’m 100% certain that you’ll hate me if I do. I bring it up more because I am aware of it, and the incredible gift of all that previously spent time getting places.  It’s a huge opportunity and responsibility – to repurpose all that “found time” and not squander it.

Perhaps there’s something in here for all of us, even without the massive change of town/house/job/life, to set those intentions and find and make time for the things that matter.  As the Maven always says (thanks to his chief all those years ago)… “you always have a choice.”.

In my case, I have a choice AND time, and that’s a big responsibility.  So, I’m thinking about it a lot and trying to remember all that I wished for when this reality was still a dream.  A few things, simple as they were included:

  • More time to read (just this weekend, I sat for my first full hour to read… in eons)
  • Meditating (happily, I think this one new habit has set – thank you Headspace)
  • More regular running &/or yoga
  • More time with B
  • More time at home
  • Keeping in better touch with family
  • Less scheduling – fewer nights out
  • Being more timely with thank yous
  • Be more engaged and participatory in policy (via politics0

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s one I want to pay attention to because now, as we quickly slip on the comfy pants and fleeces, it’s “go time” on setting up those new habits which I’ll be able to practice throughout the Fall and Winter. If not now….? And, if I practice them over the cold months, my guess is that they won’t be so easy to “let go” when Spring & Summer return.

For those of you kindly following along, the schoolteacher in me can’t help asking – what are those things you wish for in your current life?  what are you  missing? what do you want to prioritize?  Maybe make a list – and we can review them together from time to time.

Like that old annoying saying says “there is no lack of time, there is simply a lack of priorities” (or something like that).  We all have time, it’s just totally up to us what to do with it.

Wishing the best, most happy & healthy use of your days ahead!



Photos (part 1) of the VA & MD Road Trip:

sunrise in Old Town Alexandria – Sept 22
One of my fave snaps – at the 2nd Chances Graduation Event in MD.
Jon & Kathy joining me at the MD Second Chances Graduation 9.20.18
OS love! Having a beer with Win Lewis (and Smithwicks) at Manor Tavern
Solo tour of Sagamore Spirit in B’more – highly recommend!
(First?) solo trip to Laurel.. for work!
Friday night in Old Town, the 3 muskateers reunion!
Big fun Saturday – in DC, lunch at Gtown harbor. yay!
Saturday night with Niki at Majestic, what a treat!
Sunday AM at Misha’s – good to be back.
Brunch with my dear Dinks – sisters!
So happy to see Mohamed & meet Dear Dina!
Pulling cards – straight from the angels and the universe – with Lisa!
Pancake with Len – no trip to VA would be complete, such a dear friend!
Have I mentioned how much I love my Dentist! Especially my rockstar friend Rachel – we are SO cute!
And this woman, the amazing Dr. Ana. All I can say is Namaste and Thank you… XXOO
Pink Bubbles with Shana – such a treat!
Pink Bubble and uncontrollable laughter at Mon Ami Gabi… yes, we were That Table making all the noise, with glee!