Marinating in January

Hello Friends!

My, it seems like a lifetime ago that I last settled in for a Maven and Magpie sort of reflection. Indeed, the year went by in a flash. My last post was on 1.31.21 “And even as we grieved we grew”. Makes me think, it’s time to listen to that amazing poem and inspiring delivery once again. Amanda Gorman is a gift and her words might be just what I need to coax me out of my winter doldrums into the brighter day ahead.

Not that I’m in any big hurry. I have to admit I’m luxuriating in these calmer, quieter, colder, slower and simpler days of winter. The phrase I’m using to describe my mood has been “marinating in January”. As if I’m soaking & stewing in one of the yummy simmer sauces that the Maven uses for one of our “go to” dinners… I’m just bubbling along in the cozy blanket of a month without deadlines, without gatherings, without logistics or really many expectations. Letting all of this just soak in. My only goal is to begin. To begin what? Ah, that’s why we need this quiet time. To ponder, to reflect, to consider… to take a little time to think before launching headlong into the joy of the doing (admittedly my favorite lane).

It’s a bit odd, really. Usually I fly out of the gate on Jan 1 with a brain bursting with intentions, goals, plans, mantras, mottos and a good dash of early momentum. Not this year. I think it’s just that last year was ALOT. I regularly described it as living 3 years in one. It was, in my corner of the world, an extraordinary year. Set against the backdrop of some painfully difficult times for many, 2021 was overwhelmingly and undeniably positive for the horses of the TRF, for the TRF organization and our programs, and because of this and many other things, for me & the Maven too. I am profoundly grateful, but I think the pace really took a bit of a toll. My full-tilt frenzy finished in early November (celebrated poolside, imitating a potted plant at my dear amiga’s home in Tijuana). I gave my all and I left it all on the field, but the recovery has taken a while. Following my two week trip to California and I was thankfully able to downshift my velocity through the last 6 weeks of the year, but there were still a lot of things to do to catch up and to make the most of the holidays. The holidays were very happy and full of highlights, but not a lot of downtime.

And so, January. Looking out my home-office window at the snow covered backyard of my neighbor, I spend a lot of time looking at a bunch of trees. Those trees are in winter mode. They are still, they are in power-saving mode, they are waiting for Spring – and I think I know how they feel. My beloved bestie, Megerly, and I just finished reading a book together – a book she gave me for Christmas called The Overstory by Richard Powers. We both recommend it. It is intense. It is beautifully written and it is really dark, and it absolutely makes you look at trees (and furniture and paper and a whole lot of things) from a radically new perspective. Of the many things I learned about trees from this book, two that I know will stick with me are: they are not in a hurry and they are all much more connected than we might think. What’s not to love about that?

As the Maven and are hunkering down for the arrival of Saskatchewan Screamer, we’re also about to begin a 3 day Juice Cleanse tomorrow as the next step in our New Year’s re-set. We’re mid way through “dry January”. We’re both back into our regular house-bound exercise routines (a gift of being and staying home). I’m especially thankful for an amazing twice-weekly yoga class with friends on zoom by the fireplace and our decision to invest in our awesome Concept2 rowing machine #loveit. We’ve been embracing a simple, stripped down “eat healthy & shed a few pounds” approach to this month. We’re making the most of our new air fryer (by we, I mean he, Chef Maven). We’ve given ourselves a bunch of guidelines, but the key focus is to cut out guilty pleasures (cheese, crackers, cookies, chips) and reduce all dairy, bread/pasta, meat and sugar. We’re leaning on our favorite healthy cookbook guy, Chef Michael Symon, for our plant based meals. We love his Fix It with Food (10 day reset) and now there’s a second book Fix It with Food: Every Meal Easy. In the “old life” in Alexandria we’d made a somewhat regular habit of the every-so-often Juice Cleanse, but this will be our first since the move to Saratoga. I picked up our juices today from Thorn and Roots, and look forward to starting in the AM. Yum!

Looking ahead, yes, it’s tempting… but for now, for tonight, I’m going to just keep on simmering. Savoring this time at home, on the couch, with the Maven and the kitties. Reading, rowing, a puzzle or two, a bit of knitting, a bit of decluttering, a bit of baking and even a blog post. I’ve been listening to podcasts more than usual at home (thanks to the rowing). In fact, I am completely obsessed with the Next Big Idea podcast. Highly recommend! Start with these two and let me know what you think: FRIENDSHIP and CODE BREAKER.

I’d love to hear from any of my friends who happen to come across this blog post (or the email version of it, if that still works) . I’d love to hear how your January is going, what you’re feeling, thinking about and what you’re marinating in.

Stay safe & be well.