Saratogaversary – and a flurry of firsts

Hello Friends!

(Posting delayed one week)

One year ago today, February 16, 2018 we became Saratogians! We signed on the dotted lines and became the happy owners of 123 Madison Street. It’s all so vivid in my memory, and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. What a wonderful, whirlwind first year it’s been. We are so grateful for all that led us here, and all the many ways in which we’ve been so warmly welcomed to our new home, our new town, and our new lives.

As a sort of amazing way to start this anniversary day, I had the great fun of joining Rick Thompson for my second time on the “Talk Saratoga” radio show (8-9am on Saturday, 91.1 WSPN). Rick has made me feel so welcome, and I am grateful for my dad, auntie and the Maven for listening at 8am!

Tonight (well, actually 4:30, because… Happy Hour!), we’re meeting our friends Joanne and John at Chianti for a toast to our first “Saratogaversary” – excited to celebrate with this wonderful pair, as it was Joanne who made it all happen for us. Not only will I forever be grateful to Joanne as my first friend here in town, but before that, she was our awesome real estate agent… guiding and supporting us through the whole of 2017… our search, our purchase, the tree and the close. Phew! We are so thankful for Joanne! And John, her awesome hubby, will forever be loved for his positively perfect words at our post-close toast at the Brook Tavern last year. After I had spent most of our first day of new homeownership crying over the unexpected timing of our first offer on 301 Henry St, and had said that I’d just realized that “now that we had moved to the place we always went on vacation, I guess we need to find a new place to go on vacation.” He replied, without missing a beat with this perfectly calm, cool and understated comment –

“No you don’t. Living here really is like being on vacation all the time.”

John Towers

And, he nailed it. It’s true!

So now we get to start our series our firsts all over again! (Can you hear the Maven rolling his eyes?) First anniversaries, that is! And, while I love these made-up-milestones, it’s also a wonderful time to reflect on all that we’ve done over these first 12 months, and what we’ve learned, observed and are gradually feeling – as our new life seeps into our bones and our new environment starts to work it’s magic on us. We know that much of what had worn us out in Washington was the pace, the pressure, the lack of “white space” in each day. Here we have found a completely different pace, a complete lack of pressure, no traffic and so much more unstructured time… it’s amazing. As the wonder slowly fades, I’m hoping that both the Maven and I can dedicate ourselves to making the most of this gift of time. I find it strikes me in unexpected ways, for which I want to try very hard to be forever & daily grateful.

(Finishing this one week later) While I didn’t quite get this anniversary post launched on the day of the anniversary, we dove right into a bunch of moments that marked the occasion. Lovely drinks with Joanne and John, at Chianti – with the fun bonus of running into Molly & Ron, having a pre-theater bite, and also one of my treasured friends of the TRF, Eloise, having dinner with her hubby while visiting from the city. Such fun! Maven and I then moved on to the Kraverie for a bite of Korean yumminess… and besides the tasty food and great acoustic guitar (Zak Young, love him!), we ran into our friends Bob & Viviana (owners of the home we so happily rented on East Ave all those years). More fun! And then, on to the Valentine’s Dance at the Principessa Elena Club to say hi to Fran & Karianne. Fun! Fun! And, yes, it really feels like we live here.

Finishing this post with a few more firsts that we added to the list this week:

  • First excursion to Argyle Brewing Company.  Our farthest trip East from town, thru Schulerville, past the Washington County Fairgrounds, past the Hand Melon Stand – yay, found it!!, through Greenwich, and on to Cambridge). We started with a yummy brunch at Roundhouse Cafe, and then a fun visit with the best-smile-in-upstate-New York, Dave at the brewery!
  • First cold (for me). Ugh. It was looming throughout the day on Sunday… but despite a really yummy hot toddy defense, it took over and knocked me out all day on Monday & Tuesday. Bleck.
  • First visit to the office of Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, with her team at their cozy & cool office right on Spring Street. Chelsea and I had a great time introducing Carrie, Jeremy and Mark to the powerful impact of our TRF Second Chances program – and updating them on our plans for expansion in her district, with a new program in Washington County, this year! I’ll be spending the day with Carrie at the Capitol in Albany on Tuesday, and I can’t wait!
  • First Horsemen’s Social at Longfellows – memories of the first event I went to just less than a year ago, for Shelters of Saratoga. Fun to turn up and see a few familiar faces, and Maven’s first time to Longfellows. Surely won’t be his last!
  • First visit to Leon’s in Ballston Spa.. we’d been fans of the original, which was located one block from our home at 123 Madison (before we moved here). We’d place it at the top of our list of local Mexican options – it’s not a super competitive field of 4, but my chicken burrito made me happy.
  • And now, with a whole list of other things I want to write about next… I’m off to my first Saratoga Beer Summit! Volunteering with the Kiwanians, thanks to a kind invite from Rick Thompson, and looking forward to seeing all the people & the hubbub at the City Center!

A flurry of pics below from the week’s adventures. Back to more reflective topics – looking forward & looking back – as soon as I can find my next window to write! (preview – Oldfields & Lemon Squeezy on my brain!!)


Saturday AM at the Oklahoma 2.16.19
M & M with John & Joanne
Our toast a year ago 2.16.18 – as newly minted Saratogians!
Anniversary Toast #2 – Kraverie!
Argyle Brewing Company, Cambridge, NY
Hi, Dave!
My last stand…
The best buddy of a bed-ridden Magpie, the Mook.

Growing pains – when the novelty wears off.

Chowderfest fun with the Maven, Rebecca and Sack!

Hi Friends!

I’m doing my best to enjoy a snowy Tuesday here in my home office, but isn’t it amazing how quickly a slow internet connection can turn your most cheerful mood into a funk? Ah, technology – you do try to control us, don’t you?

Well, while I struggle and fuss with my TRF website, it seems my Maven & Magpie server is feeling much more cooperative (and, it’s after 5, so I’m not really cheating). I’ve been wanting to write for several weeks, but alas, the days have been a bit too full to do so. It’s a funny conundrum, as my year’s intention is to focus… but the short-term impact of focus is, frustratingly, doing fewer things. Hopefully I’m doing them better, deeper, more fully… but my-oh-my the itch to do it all is deep-seated and hard to resist. I can’t say I’ve won the internal battle, but for now, the blog, the knitting, and the reading have been getting very little love.

So, what have I been doing? Well, here’s what I’m telling myself:

  • Focusing fully on work – really trying to get my first full year in my dream job launched well, successfully, pro-actively and with no excuses. My zeal for this work knows no bounds. My annual target has been set. It has been approved by the board, and our TRF 2019 budget has been built around it. Most importantly, I set the number which reflects a +20% increase over what was counted in my tally last year. I have alot to do and I’m absolutely frothing at the mouth to get it done! (More on this and the title of this post in a bit…)
  • Being present – basically, trying to single task. Especially when that comes to being with people (husband, friends, family). I am sincerely trying to give them my all when I am with them. With my trip to NoLa and then MD/VA/DC in January, that was alot of “being there” time. And, ever so luckily for me, I’ve had visits from two of my very besties over the last two weekends. Awesome, wonderful, cherished time with my BFFs. XXOO Plus, I’m trying to be good about frequent communication with my circle of loved ones… and dedicating myself to keeping my special peeps close via texts & other communication. My prayer list is very long right now and I’m doing what I can to send sparkling, joyful, energetic, positive love to everyone in my heart.
  • Keeping my goals list in mind. The goals list is something that my friend Ellen and I have decided to do together in order to hold one another accountable over the course of the year with calls & updates every other week. These goals all flow from my 2019 intentions for my big year of fabulous 50, but the calls (like the one coming up this Sunday) sure do help in making me “do the stuff” that will give me a good update on Sunday. Speaking of which… anyone else having gremlins in the iphone voicemail?
  • Not being on Facebook. This is kind of interesting – I just can’t get myself to go back on. I haven’t turned on it (you know me!), I just don’t feel I have time for it. I may not be doing a zillion other things, but I totally don’t feel like I have time to “scroll”. I’m finding myself using “the Book” to check on individual people, get birthdays, etc… but without the notifications on and having moved the app to a 3rd or 4th screen on my phone, it’s been not only really easy to stay off… but weirdly challenging to go back. I feel like I should, mostly so that I get back in the swing of our TRF page, but wow…. it’s amazing how little I miss it. And – as many have noted, I’m not really, really off because I have continued posting on Insta and I do a bit of scrolling there. Food for thought!

So, growing pains. Yep. It happens.

We all know that for whatever reason, life reverts to the norm, no matter how much of a “pinch-me-we-still-live-here” situation we find ourselves in. This is not to say the bloom is off the rose, but just that even in our very, very happy place – it’s still real life. On the one hand I’m resisting this on every front, but on the other, I think I just need to accept that it’s going to happen and just not let it settle in too deep.

A few examples –

Well, besides the Maven’s obvious two-elbowed example that even when you reinvent your lives, move to the town of your dreams to pursue the jobs you were made for… S*** still happens. There’s that, and there’s no escaping it.

But, for me, the two examples I’m chalking up to “growing pains” today are these:

  • Pain #1: All days can not be super spectacular unicorn days. Even when every day at work is 1000% better than it’s ever been, because the work is so profoundly meaningful, inspiring and fun… there will still be some days that are not as great as others. There will be so so days, there will be blah days, and there will probably even be “bad days”… normative curve, it has to happen. My heartfelt intent is to remember that much like that old saying about golf… “a bad day in your dream job, is so much better than your best day in your old life”. It takes practice and an active defense against the creep of “taking it for granted”.
  • Pain #2: I am still me – and perhaps even more so… and that’s alot to take. (for all of us, including me). So, if you’ve ever worked with me, you’ll probably chuckle when I tell my friends here on the blog my little secret. News flash: I’m kind of intense. It took me a while to come to grips with this word, but I now fully own it. It is me. I am a frenzied ball of impatient, fast-paced, quick-typing, rapid-talking, task-making, email-sending, list-attackin, action-oriented, shoot-first-apologize later type. I am a do-er. I am not a great waiter, ponderer, or weigher of all the options. I am not a devil’s advocate appreciator. I have epiphanies regularly and once I visualize the plan I just want to GET IT DONE. In a word – intense. (Hopefully in a nice & positively intended way.) And, yes, I absolutely appreciate that I can and will drive alot of people crazy. My intolerance of slow, ponderous, timid or let’s-make-it-perfect-before-we launch-it can be (and often is) super annoying. I feel you out there my friends it’s OK, I know it’s true. For what it’s worth, I can sense it, I can feel it and I can see the annoyed-ness in people’s eyes. But, alas, it only makes me MORE insistent as I find myself reciprocating the annoyed-ness in the face of what looks slow or inefficient to me (and which I know, deep down, is really just thoughtful). Anyway, without belaboring all of this. One day, you wake up and you’re no longer the “endearing new girl with alot of energy”, but you’re really just a P.I.T.A because you seem to steamroll over everyone in every meeting, you’re exhausting with all your ideas, lists and requests for meetings, and perhaps worst of all, it seems like you’re trying to stick your nose in everyone else’s business. Ack. I must accept that I am by nature a bossy betty and it’s not my best trait. For now, I’m just trying to sit with the growing pains. It stings a bit to see that my enthusiastic charms have somewhat faded around the office, and folks are starting to take me for what I am. It’s a process – for them and for me. It’s not bad, but it’s not super fun either.

“You will be too much for some people. Those are not your people.”


As Oprah says in my beloved “Oprah+Chopra” mediation series... and now, we meditate.

In fact, I think that’s exactly what I’m going to go do. As a parting shot, I really can’t recommend Headspace enough… I’m finally getting to the place where I do my quick “take a brain break” exercises a few times a day to pause, reset and perhaps, over time this will calm that edge of frenzy that is causing a look of … “eek” in my dear colleagues’ eyes.

Signing off for now – with a few snaps from our recent adventures: our house at 1:30pm as the snow began, recent visits with Sack, Rebecca & KC, and a few fun photos with new friends here in Saratoga too.



Feb 12th 1:30pm
Women’s networking event with my new crew!
Bday fun with the TRF gang – Happy Bday Jenn!
Kicking off the ‘fest with a first stop at Five Points – Lucia & Addison, rocking the chowder on the corner!
Chowderfest 2019 – here we come, killing it with our cuteness!
Ice Bar at Lake George… really, too bad we weren’t having any fun!
One more… standing on the frozen lake, with ice-fishermen photobombing. YAY!