And on this day…

Socially distant walk through Saratoga Spa State Park (April 11, 2020)

Vivid Memories

Despite the frosty early morning temperatures, the birds remained committed to informing us that Spring is here with their enthusiastic singing starting about 6am. Their gentle, but insistent chirping was soon followed by the playful pouncing of our early-bird Mookie, punctuated by her trademark velvet-paw poke to encourage us to start to stir. Thanks to daylight savings time the sun herself joined in the parade as she rose over the Saratoga racecourse (6:17am) to our east and painted the walls of our bedroom with dapples. The universe was making itself heard, loud and clear, it was time to get up and see what the world had in store.

With a profound sense of gratitude to be waking up in our safe & cozy home, healthy, safe, with our beloved furry children, and all of the creature comforts we’ve accumulated over so many years. Slowly it sunk in that we were in Saratoga Springs, the very town we’d dreamed of living in for so many years. Our good fortune was, and remains, bewildering.

As we shook off the last gauzy layers of sleep, the butterflies began. We began to remember that the day ahead was one rife with uncharted waters, uncertainty and a myriad of unknowns. While we felt much like the people we’d been the day before, the world around us had shifted and our day’s challenge would be to find our purpose, our plan, our true north to navigate whatever the unstructured hours and days and months ahead might hold. We had taken a leap and now it was up to us to make something of the new day, the first day of the rest of our lives. Everything was possible, nothing was promised and the choices were ours to make.

The question is… what day was it?

An Anniversary

Two years ago today, April 11, 2018, the Maven and I woke up for the very first time, together, in our new home in Saratoga to begin this new chapter in our lives. We were grateful to be in our new home, with our cats, our possessions and to be here together. Our leap was complete. Our house in Alexandria was sold, our previous careers had concluded, our friends and family were supportive, but far away. It was up to us to chart our path, to make choices, to find our way and to realize the potential of this new life. It would be the first day, of many, that would test our sense of self, our resilience, our patience, our vision, and our faith.

By now, I trust you see where I’m going with this little game. The passage above describes that date, and today. Deja vu!

Looking Back and Looking Forward

So much has changed, and yet, so much seems so similar. We arrived here in our new life with a total of 3 friends (our beloved realtor + our amazing former landlords from our summer rental) and with one part-time job between the two of us. We were excited, we were hopeful, but we were absolutely putting on a brave face and marching forward into an unfamiliar new world.

The gifts we have found in Saratoga are simply countless. It was the horses who brought us here, and it is to the horses to whom we owe our endless thanks for the people – the friends and colleagues – who have made our life here such a joy.

Professionally, we marvel at where we’ve landed.

  • The Maven has found his place amidst a group of individuals who have tapped into his unique talents, who appreciate his gifts, and who challenge him to apply these gifts to the sport he loves so very much.
  • For me, to speak for the magical and majestic animals who have made me who I am (the good parts) is a calling that I know to be my highest purpose. On behalf of these creatures, and the good they bring to our world, I bound out of bed every day – eager to do as much as I possibly can to carry their message and engage those willing to hear it. I believe they deserve no less.

Over the course of these two years, we put one foot in front of the other and created the life we’d dreamed of. Truly, we shake our heads in amazement every day.

What comes next?

So, now, the cycle begins again. As we start year 3, we take stock of who we are, we give thanks, and we “make the leap” once again into whatever this new world – changing by the day – may hold in store. This time we have our home, our friends, our careers in place to support us, but the world has shifted beneath our feet. Nothing can be taken for granted. Each of us around the globe, must face the same question: “What will I do with the day I’ve been given?

As we’ve done before, the Maven and I will put on a brave face and go face the world outside our door. For all the uncertainty that lies ahead, we can rest assured that the future will test our patience, our resilience and our sense of purpose. It is up to each of us to look inward to find our vision, take the gulp of air and jump. Heck, practice makes perfect. Right?

Look out world, here we come!


In January 2020, the Maven started his first paid handicapper gig for Sportsline
With super amazing TRF Second Chances Instructor, Heidi Richards, at Pleasant Valley State Prison in CA (Oct 2019)

Spring 2020

Springtime morning at Saratoga Spa State Park (March 26, 2020)

musing on Mornings

My favorite moments of the day are early, but not too early, before the demands of the day require me to rise and shine. I just love it when the sun comes through our eastward facing bedroom window, dappling the walls and bedspread, and our early-bird kitty, Mookie, is bouncing around the bed sharing a hopeful chirp and an encouraging velvet-paw poke to encourage us to shake off the sleeps and get on with our morning routines. This time is such a gift. On normal days (what do we call this now – the past?), I savored such mornings as a treat when I had the option of moving slowly and not shortening this gentle time of awakening.

Nowadays, there are no rushed mornings, no places to go. My-oh-my do I savor these moments, even more so, because now they are the moments when I can pretend that the world hasn’t changed.

And then, the fog clears and I see that we are waking to this new world – a very hard and changed world. As I accept that this new world is not the nightmare I hoped would be chased away by the dawn, I say a prayer of gratitude for the sameness of my gentle mornings. And then I say a prayer for the world and all of those who are waking up to face its hardship in so many challenging ways.

A Season of New Beginnings

Hello Friends!

It’s been quite a while. My last post was dated June 2019, and while I see a few drafts that I’d begun in July and December, today is the day I have chosen to restart this project: The Maven and Magpie Blog. Thanks for joining me!

Since we last left off so much has changed. How’s that for an understatement? Truly, a lot had changed in the world of the Maven and Magpie even before the virus turned the world upside down… but, as we all know, one of the most profound and immediate impacts of the virus has been the creation of abundant time in our days. Pre-virus, time was the resource we were always running short and now, in a blink, we’re all but drowning in it.

With that, like all unexpected gifts, we have a choice in our response. What is the role we are meant to play? What is the role we choose to play in the face of this new reality?

For so many heroic individuals, the choices are among fewer and much harder options than mine. The doctors, nurses, hospital staff, ambulance drivers, homeless shelter staff, correctional facility staff, community organizations, and so many, many others who are bravely doing their work in the teeth of this disaster simply do not have the luxury of wondering what to do with their unstructured time. These heroes among us have only the choices of how to keep themselves going, and what attitude and level of grace they can bring to each moment of their perilous days.

I especially love this example set by Dr. Elvis Francois at the Mayo Clinic... taking a page from the Italians on their balconies, and inspiring so many others to bring joy to the frontline of these terrible times. Please share your favorite example in the comments (we’ll see if they work). Whether it be the #518rainbows, the Colorado Symphony’s Ode to Joy on Zoom, #HamAtHome or one of so many so many other minor miracles. They each make an impact. #SpreadJoy

But for the Maven and me, our choices look much different. We are incredibly fortunate in more ways that I can count. We are safe. We are healthy. We live in a comfortable home in a quiet, peaceful, prosperous and caring town. We have no immediate responsibilities for lives other than our own and our two beloved cats. Our loved ones, thus far, are safe and healthy. And we have work to do – which we can do from home. While we fully understand that each of our respective professional roles have uncertain futures, in the world that awaits us after this crisis, for now our work gives our days purpose, structure and connection to others. Above all, we truly have the gift of time. We are here and we are able, together, in our happy home. Able to do what? That, my friends, is truly the million dollar question.

It is on our shoulders to determine what this gift is intended to teach us, and how to make the most of it. And I guess that’s what I’m going to write about over the coming days.

I’d be honored to have you follow along and share your own path into the forest that we are waking to this memorable Spring 2020.


Sharing A Few Ideas

With each post, I’m going to intend to share a few of the resources, words, ideas or other tools that I’m finding helpful… nothing new under the sun, but these are things that are keeping me going. And, as a new twist, I’m also going to try to “squeeze” a few nuggets from the Maven into this section. He’s doing an amazing job exploring the possibilities of this new era… and lucky for me, much of this exploration happens in the kitchen. Stay tuned!

Magpie Pick: Oprah + Chopra 21 Day Meditation Experiences – I love these! And I thank my Suzanne for introducing me to them years ago. Together Oprah and Deepak Chopra offers a series of these each year, the first offering is free (but you have to keep up) and then the recorded version is available for purchase (I’ve purchased two so far). In timely fashion, they launched a new one this past week “Hope in Uncertain Times”. In a word, perfect.

Maven’s Magic: The Maven’s Frozen Bagel Secret

  1. Start with a fresh bagel, individually wrapped in foil and frozen.
  2. Place in toaster over, still wrapped in foil, 15 min at 400 degrees.
  3. Open it, then lightly toast.
  4. Perfect!

Closing Quote: “Be the rainbow in someone’s cloud” – Maya Angelou

And so it begins, again! Embracing the adventure of year 2, summer 2.

Winding down Iris season… bring on the Peonies!

Hello Friends! Remember me?

Time to start anew

Yes, it’s been a while since I settled into a blog post and it’s nice to be back. Reflecting on where I was – physically, mentally, professionally – when I launched my first post (December 2017), it really does seem like a lifetime ago. And yet, as I have been gathering my thoughts about this post… and perhaps those that follow, it’s a little bit like groundhog’s day in that all I really have to offer is an intent to chronicle the journey. Today, June 9th, just another day at the beginning of a chapter – the eve of our second full summer in Saratoga, one month into my second year at the TRF, and on the cusp of marking the close of my fourth decade circling the sun… and the dawn of a new digit in front of my age. A season to begin, again!

But first, a quick look at where we’ve been

All through the Spring, I’ve been pondering how to best commemorate the 1st anniversaries that we’ve noted, celebrated and given thanks for over the course of February through May. Three months chock-full of milestones in my ledger as we found ourselves one year since: closing on the house at 123 Madison (Feb 16), my last TechBUZZ, buying the Subaru & making my first solo trip to Saratoga (with my mattress & laptop), saying farewell to the house at 301 S. Henry (March 19), driving the cats to Saratoga, the movers arriving with our furniture in Saratoga, Bobby’s last day with SAIC, my last day with MAVA, our first day waking up together “all in” to our Saratoga live (April 11th) – and, my first day with TRF (May 1). Phew! Alot to process, alot of ground covered, and above all, a great sense of relief and satisfaction that we have made it through that first big year of transition – reinventing our lives, our careers, our home, and our routines. We did it! Wow.

The anniversary game

As B and I went to Happy Hour on April 11th (at Mexican Connection), I inflicted one of my somewhat infamous “games” on him. The rules were simple. We’d make & build 3 lists, in 3 rounds, consisting of the following: 5 things B is proud of himself for accomplishing in our first year; 5 things I am proud of myself for accomplishing; and 5 things we have accomplished together. The goal was to take stock and celebrate how far we’ve come. This is something I’m always something I’m quick to suggest everyone I love do more often…. and occasionally admonish myself to do so too, when we all know how much easier it is to work on the list of “still need to do” – whether this be at the end of a workday, a workweek, a season, a year. I truly believe we recharge our batteries by looking (at least briefly, and very intentionally) in the rearview at these milestone moments to note, respect and appreciate how far we’ve come… before, the inevitable looking up, ahead, and over the horizon at all that lies ahead.

In case you might be inspired to give this little game a try, I’ll tell you – it’s not easy, but it’s quite satisfying. I’ll caution that I’d originally thought we’d try to think of 10 things for each list (B’s, mine, ours) and I’m glad that I revised to 5. 🙂 Also, I found it easier to give ourselves a little “assist” by starting each other’s list with my by adding one to B’s list with something that I’m proud of him for accomplishing, and him doing the same for me. Food for thought!

So now, where do we go from here?

Indeed, that is the question. With my mind very focused on the process of reinvention these days (more on that in a bit), I think the pause in my writing throughout this season of anniversaries has been due to my strong sense of, really, now what? After all the effort, energy and upheaval we initiated and powered through in 2017 – extracting ourselves from our wonderful old lives, believing we were ready for a new adventure; then after all the firsts of 2018 – arriving in our long-beloved dream place, dream jobs, fresh start and blank slate; we find ourselves in year two… with no excuses. No more rookie status, we’re year-round, we’ve seen (and loved) our first winter, our first Spring… and now?

Well, the answer is simple – if kind of daunting. I believe that now we simply must…. make it awesome. Make it worth it. Make this our best moment, be our best selves, make our greatest impact… carpe diem, with no excuses. How fortunate we are that we are here, that we were able to recreate our lives, to do it on our own terms, to land so comfortably (if not entirely comfortable), to find our callings (both of us, it’s amazing), and to have all the support of friends, family, colleagues and, at least so far, no interruptions from making this our best year ever. That is the challenge. When nothing is stopping you from being your best, truest you, you simply have no where to hide – you just have to go, do, be, shine, give, act, express, and make the world a better place. GO! (Gulp!)

Some sources of inspiration – fuel for the journey

I’m excited to share what happens next, and I think my plan is to deliberately focus on sharing my personal approach to making this next year – starting with the summer – my best ever. I’ll share the highs and lows and doldrums of how I’m going to try to make the most of all of it, and to make my greatest impact. This means I’ll be writing alot more about my work, my approach to my work, my activities/tactics and hopefully some of my successes (as well as, inevitably, my failures), but also how I want to incorporate my work life, which feels so much less like work now that I’m doing what I believe I was absolutely meant to do, into my whole life – integrating home life, health life, spiritual life, community life… all of it into one fabric with many interrelated threads. So stay tuned – it’s going to get really horsie, and race-tracky, among other things!

But, before I start sharing all that, I thought I’d mention a couple of really terrific resources that I’ve been leaning on throughout my reflection on “what next”.

Podcast: Oprah’s Master Class My faves so far have been – Ellen DeGeneres, Condoleesa Rice, Stevie Nicks, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah’s (two part) story, and really, all of them I’ve listened to have been great and left me thinking. What would I teach as my personal Master Class?

Quote from website: “Oprah’s Master Class tells the stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best. Hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey for their unique impact on the world, true modern masters from Academy Award-winning actors, to Grammy-winning musicians, to ground-breaking athletes, share the greatest lessons they’ve learned along the way. In an intimate setting, they share their successes, their failures, their triumphs, disappointments and heartbreaks.”

New Book: Reinventing Greatness- Leading Yourself & Others Through Change with Confidence by Shari Goodwin. You’ll be hearing more about Shari and her charming retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Lemon Squeezy from me over the coming days – as Shari and I are hosting an event at her beautiful farm in Marshall, VA on June 22nd. For now, take a look at my review of her book on Amazon (link above), consider buying the book for yourself – and any/all friends going through a chapter of reinvention! It’s terrific!

I’d also encourage you to invest the time (1:20) in watching Shari and Lemon Squeezy’s “Reinvention in the Round” workshop on YouTube. It profoundly impacted me, as I experienced it in February this year, right as my season of anniversaries began and as I started asking myself… “after all this change, now what?”

More soon, and a promise to keep in touch

Time’s up for this writing session, as the Maven’s bus is arriving in Albany in 30 minutes, but I’m intent to get this posted tonight (almost!) and to make a habit of sharing my story as it unfolds over the months of June, July and August (for starters). Writing will be a way to hold myself accountable for some guiding principals, and to hopefully encourage my friends out there in blog-land to share their own journeys. I think we’re all in the process of reinvention all the time, it’s just a matter of paying attention to the process and trying to set some intentions for where the journey may take us. We’ll find out!



P.S. Lots of pics of the past few months on instagram #mavenandmagpie

My daily walk thru Congress Park – ducklings!!
Peonies – so brief, but so pretty!

Brain on Fire – Sharing a few of my Current Influences & “Go To” Resources

Hi Friends!

So many thoughts to share these days… I should probably check my zodiac to find out what the heck is going on that my brain is in such a frenzy of writing, thinking, creating. I’m very grateful for the energy that seems to be flowing through me of late, and I want to make the most of it. And, to share it with you!

Today’s post is just a chance to share a bunch of resources that I’m finding very helpful and inspiring lately. I would love to talk more about any one of these things (My awesome tech support team seems to have unlocked the comment feature. Yay!)


  • Optimal Living Daily – perfect to listen to while making the bed in the AM!
  • In the Money: Players Podcast – the Maven and I have listened to Pete Fornatale for years and find his show really helpful for staying up to speed on the big races in the Thoroughbred world that we’re both now a part of. Plus I made my personal debut earlier this month (episode #21) – more on this soon!
  • Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation – the next FREE 21 day experience starts on March 25th (each episode available for 5 days), I highly recommend. I’ve purchased two of the earlier programs and relisten to them regulary (Manifesting Grace through Gratitude and Desire & Destiny)
  • Oprah’s Masterclass – I started this by just listening to the two episodes about her own life story, and that was simply amazing. Then, she really lets her guests just tell their story. Totally inspiring.

Videos/ Shows to Watch:

  • PBS Equus: The Story of the Horse (2 part documentary) – an absolute MUST watch for anyone with any interest in horses, horse-racing or the impact of horses on humans. Sadly, it’s no longer available for free on the PBS website, but it is so very, very worth hunting down. I plan to buy a copy (to inflict on all guests at Casa Weir, especially episode #1)
  • Reinvention, the story of Lemon Squeezy – this 1 hour and 20 minute video, is well worth the watch for all of us as we each continually “reinvent” ourselves. My friend Shari Goodwin is the teacher of this seminar, with her amazing and inspiring assistant, the adorable Lemon Squeezy – her retired Thoroughbred racehorse, who shares his own reinvention process with all of us. Much more to be shared about Shari and “Squeezy” – and a beautiful partnership that we’re building for Lemon Squeezy to help us speak for the horses of the TRF!

Apps that I rely on:

  • Headspace – every day meditation, I just love Andy, his voice, his techniques and all the different themes & packs. Have really committed to my “daily 10” since our move to Saratoga, and look forward to deepening my practice over the year ahead.
  • Red Cross Blood Donor App – if every person in the US who could donate blood did so, once a year, our country would have a surplus
  • Wunderlist – this is the app that organizes my life, and facilitates communication between the Maven and I (and minimizes the “honey dos” & “nagging”)
  • Google Drive – it took me a while, but I am totally ALL IN on having my key documents saved as Sheets, Docs and Forms on my Google Drive so I can access things (RSVP trackers, perfect!) from anywhere – and especially from my phone.
  • Paperless Post – I’ve always been a big fan, but now they have an adorable new FREE invite format called “flier” which you can send via text, and I love it!

And as a footnote and preview –

I started this post more than 3 weeks ago, and it’s been a busy & fun month which has kept me from the finishing up (adding all the links)… so two closing thoughts that reflect updates on the crazy brain as well as a look ahead.

Footnote: Tylenol PM – simple but effective, and thanks to my bestie in Bend and my Auntie in Atlanta, as messengers of the universe – I’m taking this direct approach to calming the frenzy that has settled in as my nightly challenge at 3am. So far so good! NOTE: I have simultaneously proven that I cannot ever have a double espresso at 8:30pm again… ACK, Saturday night disaster!

Preview: I’m going to dedicate my next post, or posts, to some “deep-dive” into my work world. Now that I’m embarking on my first full year in the role, with the ability to make my own plan, execute a plan and be measured by the results of my plan… I’m dedicating all of my available energy to making sure I make the most of this important, foundation year in my work for the horses of the TRF. I’d love to share this plan with my friends, to get feedback and to educate everyone I care about, about the world I now work in. Also, in preparing for the year ahead – and a number of exciting opportunities to make myself more visible and familiar to my new ecosystem – I’ve been reworking my bio, my LinkedIn summary, my Facebook Bio, and really…creating my horsie-CV. As a bit of a soft-launch/ focus group, I’d like to share it with my Maven and Magpie readers, to see how it sounds and what reactions you all may have.

And.. one more thing! When I first launched the Maven and Magpie blog & website in Dec 2017, I created a bunch of pages where I planned to capture and all sorts of things I enjoy & projects I hoped to pursue… admittedly, most of these have been woefully unattended for some time. However, as the Maven and I “buckle down” into exploring our new home, the NY Capital Region, I am going to get serious about documenting all the places we’ve been spending time – eating, absorbing and enjoying our new home. It is also where I park all our faves (especially eats) from our travels.

Here’s the page where most of this will live, so you can take a peek from time to time: Sharing the Love!

With the days getting longer, the birds chirping louder and the 1st Day of Spring around the corner… I hope you’re enjoying the new energy of this time of renewal. As the earth wakes up and the shoots appear on the trees, we each have a chance to begin anew. I’m awfully excited about all that lies ahead and to sharing it with you!




The Power of Places and the People they bring you – A love letter to Oldfields School

Oldfields School 150th Reunion (April 2017)

Hello Friends!

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I’m newly afflicted with the “wake up in the middle of the night with my brain on fire” syndrome – and yes, I get that this is part of the “magic” of my age which I’m totally game to embrace. However, while I’m still trying a myriad of techniques to get through the “hour(s) of awake” so that I don’t turn into a total zombie during daylight hours – I’m also trying to not lose all the vivid images that fill my brain in those weird, wee hours of the night. If only I could figure out how to get/let folks comment on my blog, I feel certain everyone reading has a suggestion of what to do or not do. I can feel them! (Sign up for wordpress Reader app and read me there?)

So, this past week, I had one of these dreams… but since I wasn’t asleep it wasn’t actually a dream, it was really just a technicolor clear flashback to a special series of days in the Spring of 1991. I remember the day (and series of days) in bright detail because they were “moments that changed my life forever” kind of moments. I’m forever grateful for the magic of that time which opened the door for me to meet to an incredibly special handful of the most important people in my life – all at once. They, in turn, brought me to a place where I grew up and became much who I am now and where I met a flock of the most amazing people who I hold most dear in my life to this day. It was such a big day. It was 28 years ago. And, I feel like I just went back in time to watch it again… and I’m reliving it, reflecting on it, and of course, sharing it with you!

Here’s the flashblack as a thumbnail (I apparently have big thumbs) –

March 1991: The magpie is in her 4th year at UVA, applying for jobs that will scratch her “make the world a better place” itch, while reflecting her post-Spain epiphany that working in development in another country is not as compelling as she thought it was (because from overseas, our country looked like it needed plenty of help). These included Teach for America, US P.I.R.G. (is that even around anymore?), one random marketing job with the tiny startup on Capitol Hill that became the Advisory Board (and would’ve paid 10 times the rest), and a number of independent school teaching jobs. The private school idea really came of my belief that Teach for America would never select me due to all the incredible good fortune, excellent education and every imaginable advantage I had enjoyed over my first 20 years of life – what could I possible offer to them? So, I answered the call of the independent school placement agencies (Carney Sandoe etc), and decided to go to the annual conference of the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) where they ran their annual cattle-call of hiring in the Spring.

In 1991 the conference was held in NYC, so I took a field trip from C’ville to the Big Apple! I am a bit blurry on how I got there, I have to guess it was the train because I know I flew from Newark to meet my parents for Spring Break in Steamboat, the only time we’d ever gone there together and the first time I’d skied in March (so warm & sunny!). The super-fun part of that trip was that I stayed with my SUPER AWESOME Kappa Delta Sorority Sister, “Big Kim” and her roomie (another awesome KD) Colette. I have very fond, if fuzzy, memories of going out with them near their apartment the night I got there… thinking it was a Friday. Then, on Saturday I went to NAIS which was hosted in some big hotel (would be fun to figure out where). As I recall, there was a very low-tech sort of communication system where you looked for your name on a sort of bulletin board, covered with little envelopes and schools would put their names in your timeslots if they wanted to meet you – in sort of a speed dating setup. I recall sitting in a big ballroom with lots of tables and people having quick conversations (this part is fuzzy), and I THINK I met Nancy Maslack at one of those tables. What I KNOW happened next, is that I was invited for a 2nd conversation with the team from Oldfields School. I had never heard of this place, ever. The 2nd meeting must’ve happened the following day, sort of like “call-backs”.

That fateful next meeting was upstairs in the hotel, in what felt like a suite, and that’s where and when I met and spent time with 3 people who changed my life: Hawley Rogers, Nancy Maslack and Jan Scott – the leadership team of Oldfields School in 1991. This is the moment that my life changed. It’s clear as could be now, looking back. But, I wonder, did I realize it then? I remember that I felt so at home with them, so honored to be meeting with them (in their fancy suite!) and it just seemed so clear that I’d found where I was supposed to be. It might have even seemed a little too good to be true. Of course, like all big days… you rarely know it’s big until it’s over. And, as a 21 year old child, I was as enamored by the whole “big city” experience of interviewing in NYC as anything else – so I don’t know whether I knew I’d found my home, but I certainly had.

April 1991: As I recall, the next step job-wise was that I scheduled to go to Oldfields and drove there for the next round of interviews. With some lingering version of walking pneumonia (I think), I drove there on April 1st. I remember that date and that drive so clearly, in the original CALIHOO (1985 White Grand Cherokee). It was a grey & rainy morning, driving up from Arlington, taking exit 24 – Belfast Road- off of 83 north and loving the mist, the green, the rolling hills, the horsie-ness. It was literally a drive into the next chapter of my life. While I don’t recall that much about the day of interviews as I do about the drive, I do everso vividly remember sitting in the Papa-san chair of my now dear, dear sister-friend, Wawa, in her apartment above the Admissions Office (later my dear friend TAG’s apartment)… and thinking I’d just me someone who I hoped would be in my life forever. And she has been! Love you Wa!!

Thankful beyond measure. All of this just leads me to offer this post as a “love letter” and a prayer of heartfelt gratitude for the Place that is Oldfields and the People who both brought me there and found me there. Thank you Hawley! Thank you Nancy!

And thanks beyond thanks to the amazing woman, Jan Scott, who invested so much of herself in helping me become the best me I could be. One day I’ll just write an entire post in her honor, with my love and gratitude for her extraordinary mentorship. It is her beaming smile that I most miss. I still feel the warmth of her. Such a teeny little person, packing such a huge punch in the world … like a great big ball of super-charged sunshine, bursting with energy, light, ideas, enthusiasm and life. All these many years since she left us to watch over us like an angel above. Reminding us to “breathe” to “dance” and, always, to “go for it”.

The five years I spent in that amazing community were powerfully transformational. I am really just in awe of how deep the relationships are that I formed there – such that I can wake up in the middle of the night feeling the connection to each of you like a physical bear hug. I am profoundly thankful to each and everyone one of you.

While a big part of me wants to just start typing a huge long list of all the people who fill my brain with the memories of those 5 years (teachers, students, parents, colleagues…fellow travelers, prospective students…), I’m going to forego the exercise and instead, bury you in photos I dug up and took in celebration of the 150th Anniversary at OS in 2017. Enjoy! (And beware, I’m seriously in tears of love & joy & nostaglia as I’m posting them.)

Closing with a shameless PSA – I’d really love to start getting some comments on my posts, but it seems the only way to do this is for folks to install the WordPress App, log in and read & comment there. Click here to read how to do this. I’d love to hear from you – especially if you are one of the many, many gifts that Oldfields gave to me.

Looking ahead to future reflections, I’m starting a list of the places that have helped me become who I am – and if you find a way to reply to this post, I’d love to hear your lists!

  • The Barn at the Brumfields, Carmel Valley, CA
  • Bishop’s School, La Jolla, CA
  • Camp Strawderman, Woodstock, VA
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • Semester Abroad in Valencia, Spain
  • Oldfields School, Glencoe, MD
  • Riggs Bank, Washington, DC
  • Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  • 301 S Henry Street, Alexandria, VA
  • MAVA
  • ….. now, Saratoga Springs, NY!

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!

Brass Tacks – a flurry of things to share

Hello Friends!

Well, as I settled in for this wintery wonderful 3 day weekend I knew I felt a familiar feeling – the anticipation of a long airplane flight, one of my favorite treats. I have always loved the long flights, the longer the better, for all that uninterrupted “me” time (guiltily says she with no kids, 2 easy cats and the most low maintenance hubby on earth). Yes, I love those flights and I always, always, always put way too many things in the “to do” bag (yes, KC & Lisa & Diane… you remember!). Totally unrealistically making lists of all the indulgent pass-times possible of a flight to Mumbai or Sydney: reading, writing, napping, movies, knitting, and a 100 other things that have been lingering on the to do list forever (not to mention the eating), that will surely feel like the most fun thing ever once buckled in for 14 hours. Alas, as with every one of those flights, for all the activities engaged, there were always more left wanting upon arrival. Sigh.

And here we are, coming in for our landing at the end of a wonderful 3 day weekend. Same feeling – both the good and the bittersweet. The most wonderful thing about this time is that we’ve just begun, at last, this much anticipated season of long flights (aka homebound-ish weekends). The unprogramed time may really have been one of the top 3 reasons I’ve been so excited about this move. As much as I loved the bustle of DC, it’s just so wonderful to not have 12 things scheduled every non-working hour. I know it’s still novel to me, but I gotta say, it’s pretty awesome.

So, on the list of “not quite done” is the blog each of the 3 days. Oh well. But, wait, here I am – 2 out of 3 ain’t too bad, right? 🙂 So, as I race the clock to get to bed by 11 and I thought I’d dedicate this post to a flurry of tactical, practical things I’m trying in service of my New Year’s intentions shared in the last post. I’d so very much like to know what anyone reading this may think of any of my ideas.

Technical Note: To comment, I think you have to go ahead and sign up for a WordPress account (there’s a free app) and then follow this blog there. I promise it makes reading it lovely, format-wise, and you should be able to comment. If you are relying on the simple “sign up to get an email” feature that I rigged to let folks know when I’d written something, you’re stuck just emailing me your thoughts – which I warmly welcome!

Here goes, a few of the things I’m trying/doing this year in order to achieve my intentions:

  1. The Facebook Fast – this is something I’ve done a bunch of years (probably not last year), and I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s just signing off and NOT LOOKING, SCROLLING, CHECKING and worst of all COUNTING (likes, comments etc). Usually I un-install the app for a month, which makes this easier but now I have a role to play on the TRF facebook account so I’ve kept it on my phone and buried on page 4 of my apps (yes, I have a lot of apps, and yes, one of my goals is to prune!). Here’s the fine print – which some of you have noticed – I’m still posting, but not directly thru FB because that would be too tempting, and (hopefully) not as often as usual. Instead, I allow myself to indulge in small doses of insta scrolling and I only post on insta, which links to FB and Twitter. Somehow, for some reason, I think folks will still want to know what we’re up to… but the really liberating part is to post and then NOT CHECK to see who liked, loved or commented – because I think that’s the most insidious part of “the book”, it’s like looking in the mirror every 5 minutes. Gross! For what it’s worth one of my more annoying apps “Moment” which tracks my screen time, told me my screen time was down 5 hours last week. That sounds like 5 more hours to FOCUS on the things I’m trying to accomplish this year. Food for thought!

2. The Journal – since it is my BIG year, I thought it might be a good time to try the journal that every productivity approach known to man seems to recommend. From Tim Ferriss to Oprah, it seems like people find this helpful, so I’m giving it a shot. For my die-hard blog readers, I’m really hoping this will save you from hearing the day by day of my life (which I seem to be pouring into the journal) and hopefully by parking all of my jumble of ideas there, I’ll be a bit more organized about what I share here. It’s a work in progress, but I think it’s going to help me focus – because at least I’m doing it for 30 min minimum at a time and because I like having an escape hatch for the running dialogue/commentary in my head.

3. Yoga at Home – I’ve mentioned to a bunch of you that one of the bigger changes for me in our new life is giving up the “in studio” approach to yoga, which has been such a beloved part of my old life in Alexandria at Pure Prana. It’s a new scene, and I have a great basement and it’s really quite wonderful to not have to rush to go to yoga, but to know I can start whenever I’m ready – for free! So, the two programs I’m using so far are:

  • Free on YouTube: Yoga with Adriene (and Benji). I really like her, the classes are pretty short, but I love her voice, her approach and the spiritual element she includes with the physical practice. I honestly look forward to taking her classes, and I’ve probably taken a dozen or so to date.
  • Purchased due to a FB promo: Yoga Burn. Yes, I did it, I got sucked into one of those ads, I listened to the whole video, and I went for it – I bought the CDs for the 12 week program and I’m going to go for it. 3 days a week, 45 min a session, designed to trip, tone, lighten and strengthen… all things on my list for 2019. I’d love to have a buddy join me, and I have an extra CD, so let me know!
  • And, once it’s warm (April?), I’ll be back to my trusty Couch Potato to 10K App, but also planning to try the running meditations on Headspace, which I hear are great!

4. Meditation – I’ve been pretty dedicated to Headspace since we moved, doing 10 min every AM. I’m going to try to extend to 15 min on the weekends. I’m also replaying one of the Oprah + Deepak Chopra series I purchased last year called Manifesting Grace through Gratitude. It’s awesome, and even thought I always fall asleep when Deepak is speaking, I’m finding it a great way to go to sleep.

5. Scheduling – trying something new to work with the winter schedule. I am quite intent in my belief that like the earth, the plants, the stars and the weather, we each are impacted by the seasons and the length of days. I believe it’s just unnecessarily exhausting to fight this with a commitment to the same schedule every day, all year long. I’m a fan of seasonal schedules, but I must admit that the winter here is hard to resist, combined with my much easier AM schedule (9am start time and no commuting = easy to rationalize sleeping in, many days). So, this month I’m trying a 3/2 plan – 3 days a week (MWF), I’m getting up early and heading into work by 8:15/8:30 (8 is actually the goal) and 2 days a week, I’m enjoying the more relaxed schedule to get in by 9 – this is the day to go for a walk, when I rally or have a call scheduled with my friend Rebecca. I’m also trying to go to be earlier, heading upstairs by 10… knowing my bedtime prep process, and my nightime “to dos” always take a while to complete.

OK, I’m drooping, and I’m sure this isn’t exactly the most riveting read – but I’m glad to share a few things I’ve found helpful so far this year as I work toward: FOCUS + Strong & Lean + DeCluttered (more on that tomorrow). More to share, another day!

Two final notes:

  1. After” photos of the snow below. I think we got about 18+ inches, it looks like more once the roads are cleared and driveway shoveled. It is beautiful, and now it is CHILLY which means the snow will stay. Yay! More expected on Wed & Thurs.
  2. A MUST WATCH TV PROGRAM really, seriously, absolutely AWESOME PBS show “Equus – the Story of the Horse”. Whole episode is available online, it aired on Wednesday 1/16. If you love horses, you will love this. If you know someone who loves horses, or are interested in why I, and so many people who know horses, love horses – you will find this fascinating. It is simply amazingly well done. I can’t recommend enough and I think you’ll find some insight into our love affair with horses, racing and the whole crazy world of horses in this beautifully produced first episode. I can’t wait for next week!

OK, that’s it for now. Signing off from 2 degrees!


Jan 21, 2019 – after the snow
Sunshine on the snow
Good morning – here’s a forecast to make you pull the covers over your head. Thankful for a holiday!
Just had to share… love this!

And now… laissez le New Year rouler!

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello Friends!

My, what a whirlwind these first few weeks of 2019 have been! And throughout it all, I’ve been brewing & stewing about my Big Plans for a Big Year ahead… with nary a moment to write any of this down in the blog. But, at last, here I am. Really and truly, oh so ready for this New Year to begin – with intention. Much like each of my beloved yoga classes, I find myself taking a few incredibly transformational deep breaths and setting an intention for the practice, in this case the practice of writing. I suppose there’s an awful lot of value in starting each new activity and each new day with this same approach. Let’s write that down to repeat & remember-

A humble suggestion, to properly begin any meaningful endeavor:

  • Take a deep breath or two – let go of what you are carrying & be present.
  • Set an intention and or dedication
  • Repeat a meaningful mantra (or inspirational song)
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Begin, with enthusiasm (remember “Jingle all the way, because no one likes a half-assed Jingler”) 🙂

The Deep Breath: I’m sitting here so very happily on a Saturday afternoon in my upstairs perch, in my comfy slippers, Louisville Flea Market Leggins’ and favorite fuzzy hoody from Paris, with a cup of tea, my infuser bubbling and the Piano Guys in the background. The house is battened, the supplies are in place, and we are ready for our First Big Snow of 2019… and really, our first of our new lives here in NY. Having come up here solo in March last year, I was here for a few good snows (14 inches was the most, I think), but once Bobby arrived in April the snow dwindled. Today, sometime this afternoon, Winter is Coming. Yay! Yay! Yay!

Weather Update: Here’s our “before” photo (a dusting each of the past couple days… ) taken this AM on the way to 5 Points for final supplies.

Saturday Jan 19, 2019 (11am)

Deep breaths taken, it’s time for that intention/ dedication. Because I always choose both when given a choice, I’m going to set one intention and also make a dedication. Perhaps something I’ll continue going forward.

Intention: To be focused, not scattered, and to convey more than a running online diary of activities and to endeavor to share some thought of theme that I’ve found helpful (and would love to discuss with anyone reading, if only I could get the comments section of this blog to work – one day!).

Dedication: This post is dedicated to these dear individuals who are very much in my mind today: Teresa G, Cathy R, Kim C, Lisa W, my auntie Sue and my dear first mentor, Jan Scott. You are each beloved to me, you have each given much to me over many years, and I am sending my strength, cheer and gratitude to you with this post.

Mantra: Stumbled across the quote above this week, and simply don’t know where it’s been all my life. It is definitely one of those “this is me” lines, that I completely connect with – and I’m so very glad Mr. Emerson is the man who coined it to make it sound profound.

Begin: Let’s just get this out there: I turn 50 this year. Gulp! It sure sounded like a bigger number when I was 12, 22, 32… and less so at 42, and of course, now that I’m right on top of it… it certainly doesn’t feel like as big deal as it sounds. Meanwhile, I’m really and truly super excited about it. It just feels like such a milestone – and quite honestly, it feels like the beginning of Chapter 2. And I’m so ready!! Bring it on!

“To whom much is given, much is expected” (attribution is questionable, claimed in some form by many). This quote has been my personal motto for as long as I can remember…. and honestly, it’s somewhat haunted me, driven me and tormented me because I have such an acute appreciation for how much I’ve been given, through no special merit – and entirely through the good fortune of my birth, my parents, my family, my lucky stars and my life events to date. This sense of being given much, has left me feeling that I simply MUST do something great… and that to come short would be to squander all the gifts that I have been so generously given over my many years on earth.

So now, this year – 2019 – the year I hit my half-century mark, I feel like I’ve arrived in the place (Physically, Professionally, Emotionally) to Do Something Great. As my very dear and amazing friend Dr. Ana (fabulous acupuncturist and healer at the Heavenly Bodies Clinic in Arlington, VA) says… I’ve arrived in my “ideal scene”. For any of you who’ve read this little website of rambles from the early days of 2018, the process of arriving here was certainly an “all hands” exercise – the plans, the extraction, the communication, the “leap”, the pursuit, the prayers… and then, the start, the settling, the learning, the meeting people, and the occasional bought of blues and the many, amazing signs of validation that we were meant to be here. Phew!

2018 was a biggie… but at the end of that journey, we find ourselves at the very beginning of a new one. The “what happens next” is upon us – and I am just bursting with excitement to dive in.

And so, my New Years intentions are all wrapped up – quite selfishly – in how to make the most of all I’ve been given, and all the obstacles I’ve cleared, to GET ON WITH IT and start making the world a much, much better place as impactfully as I possibly can. In sum, this is my year to stop becoming (although I know we are always a work in progress), and to simply start manifesting. Who’s with me?

In an effort to not exhaust any of my patient readers, I’m going to wind this missive down shortly -with the intention of writing a bit more each day of this 3 Day Snow Weekend, to share a few more of my thoughts and get in a bit of a pattern of writing for the month ahead.

I’ll conclude this post with a somewhat belated sharing of my 2019 New Years Intentions, and then a quick update on the Maven, for those inquiring minds eager to know how he’s doing.

New Year 2019: The Magpie’s Intentions

  • Improve my focus – learn/ re-learn to spend quality time on one task at a time in order to do it well, enjoy it and fully experience it.
  • Get stronger & leaner – dedicate serious effort to my physical body, to prepare it for the heavier lifting of the years ahead, the inevitable challenges that await me, and – let’s face it, to make sure I really like the way I look on my birthday!
  • Reduce time/focus/energy-sapping clutter – while the move helped us do this with our “things”, there’s still (always) more to do. Moreover, my specific focus for this year is going to be on digital clutter which I find to the be enemy of intention #1.

Not that any of these are remotely original, but perhaps precisely because they aren’t, I’ll plan to share my progress toward “becoming my best me” along these lines over the days ahead. Happy to share things that may help me get there, and setbacks encountered. Stay tuned for a little ramble about the “accountability partner” process that my dear friend E and I are going to start on Sunday – setting goals and checking in once a week to keep each other on track… toward Great Things!

Final Note: The Maven (and his broken wings). It’s been a slow start to 2019 for the dear Maven… we’re really looking at Feb 1st as his New Year’s day, as he gradually comes back into the world of the functional. After the “limbo” of waiting for surgery from 12/24 to 1/3, we found the surgery was more of a setback than a step forward – and much more difficult and painful for him than we’d anticipated. It’s taken a lot out of him, and he’s been exhausted by the post-op recovery. On a brighter note, this past Monday was a very positive milestone, as his splint and stitches were removed and the surgeon took a follow up X-ray which indicated that things are healing well with the plate & screws holding the bone in place. Equally importantly, Bobby is finding great joy in having both arms – especially his dominant arm – back… even if he can’t do much with it. Much to our shared chagrin, he drove back from the Train Station on Wednesday after dropping off his mom who had stayed here while I was in NoLa. And then, as a wonderful treat, he rallied for Friday Night Date night at 9 Mile East Farm @ Saratoga Apple last night. Our first in a really, really long time – and we brought home enough Momofuku-style pork & kimchi to eat our way through the winter! See photo below – yum! Next step, he’s to start physical therapy on Monday (we’ll see what the weather holds)… which should help alot too, at least toward feeling like we’re making progress back toward normal.

Last word, from the Maven himself (Thursday night) “I realize there is really one big lesson I’ve taken from this whole experience. As simple as it is, I really have learned to appreciate being healthy and how important it is to be physically well.” I’m so proud of him. These are words we all need to take to heart – to encourage him, and one another, to do what we need to do to take care of our bodies – for ourselves, and for those around us.

Closing Quote: “Dedication is remembering what you really want.” – unknown

That’s all for now – until the snow!



Momofuku Style Pork Shoulder at 9 Mile East @ Saratoga Apple – Jan 2019

HNY – catching up (before we get started)

Hello Friends!

Well, let’s just start with some “news you can use” before I start my New Year’s ramble.

First, the 4am experiment was not a success. It started off well, as I enjoyed a productive 1.5 or so hours emptying my busy brain of a bunch of thoughts, and then I did find it easier to go back to bed and sleep for a while. However, when it came time to get up… ugh. Best description is like having a hangover all day, without any of the fun the night before. It was a short-term fix to crazy brain, but not a winning strategy for the future. Not saying I won’t do it again, but only on a weekend – it would be a killer on a weekday. Sigh.

Second, inquiring minds want to know “how do you break both elbows”?  Quite simply (in my opinion), by having really strong wrists. So, here’s the whole story as I understand it (I wasn’t there). My mom volunteered the Maven to play tennis on Sunday before Christmas in San Diego with a few of her friends, who play from 7am to 8am every Sunday. As he got up and got ready at 6:30 on Sunday AM, I’d like to record to reflect that I specifically said “honey, you do NOT have to do this”. But, off he went, and I believe he did so because really & truly he has been looking forward to playing tennis again in our new world – with more time and many courts and lots of options for clubs. In his mind, I’m pretty sure this was meant to be an easy warm up with a few older guys, to lead into his return to tennis in 2019. Oh well! He returned home at just about exactly 8am that AM looking fine, but a little bewildered. He said, “it went well for about 30 min til I fell”… as he gingerly showed me both arms (no scrapes) and calmed into bed, telling me that the worst part was driving home… when he turned on our street he screamed out loud. So sad!

My understanding of the fall is as follows – he was playing doubles, close to the net, and he saw a ball coming that he new his partner wasn’t going to get – so he made a sort of dive for it to his left (he’s left handed). At that point, who knows… he didn’t have proper tennis shoes on, they may have given out or slipped, he may have tripped, but whatever happened, his feet went out from under him and he “free-fell” to land directly on both hands, more or less straight-armed… at PRECISELY the right/wrong angle. His left went down hardest and first, and then he rolled on to his left shoulder. Apparently the guys thought he’d hurt his shoulder. But, rather than breaking both wrists or landing on him head, he squarely jammed both arms… and yes, he fractured BOTH elbows. Ouch.

The left was the worse of the two, certainly in terms of pain… and ultimately in terms of the break. After coming home with this sad story, he took a nap (probably in shock) and despite the hopes that it would just “feel better” we went to lunch with friends, and then, directly afterward to Urgent Care for x-rays. The poor doctor felt really badly saying “Merry Christmas – you broke them both”. One much worse than the other, even to our inexperienced eyes. They gave him two splints, but only immobilized the left… which continued to be super painful, until today.

We were stuck in the Xmas limbo Sunday – Tuesday, when our primary care was closed, but called to put in the call for a referral request on Monday. They assured us we’d get a call on Wed AM. In fact, we called them on Wed before they called us, and they got us an appt with an ortho here in Saratoga on Friday. We managed through Christmas, called off Santa Anita, and then had a pretty smooth (but long) trip home on Thursday the 27th.

Saw the Dr on Friday the 28th, who took new x-rays and confirmed the diagnosis – 2 fractures, one much worse than the other (but not a messy break, just a distinct fracture of the radial head). He recommended surgery to fix the left, since it’s the Maven’s dominant arm and he still has hopes of a more active, sporty lifestyle .. golf, tennis etc. He scheduled us for surgery on Thursday (pretty quick turn around!) 1/3… today!

So, after about 10 long days of “limbo” – suffering with one really, really sore dominant arm… and making do with the limited motion of the right arm, today was our day to start the road to recovery.

The good news is that the surgery went well. I had a great chat with the surgeon after he finished, and he clearly couldn’t have been more happy with how things unfolded and the stability of the repair (a plate and screws to reattach the fragment to the bone). Bobby came through it all well, only bothered by the nerve block which made his entire arm feel “dead” utterly numb… and pretty freaky, but as we soon would learn, way better than the alternative. He had a peaceful afternoon on the couch, watching Swingers while I made phone calls. Then, I headed out to pick up pizza and his pain meds to have them on hand when – very suddenly- the nerve block expired at 5pm.. projected for 8-10pm. As I was waiting in the CVS I received an SOS… to tell me that the pain had come rushing in like a lion. So much for the warning signals… he felt some tingling, but had not idea the wave of pain would crash upon him so fast. Poor thing! It’s been rough sledding since then (writing at 9pm).

I dashed home as fast as I could with pain pills and pizza, and started the meds at 6pm to a very, very sad man. He can take 2 every 4 hours… and we have about 1 hour & 2o minutes to go. It’s been a difficult few hours. Chasing the pain is no fun at all. Hopeful well get him on the road to feeling better in time for bedtime. Good luck & good thoughts, very welcome!

So, that’s the story for now. As a happy silver lining to his tough couple weeks and really tough day, the news of his winning a crazy football contest went “live” today. So, here’s that fun tidbit: Weir wins inaugural Sportsline Super Contest

Sorry for the reversion back to an “online diary” approach, to share with friends far & wide. I actually started a real journal this year, so I’m hopeful that will help me be more focused… and allow the blog to be a place to capture (slightly more interesting) thoughts and observations more than “blow by blow” of our not-that-exciting-but-very-happy lives.

Big year ahead (hint… starts with a 5)!!