I know I’ve been seriously silent over the past months, and there sure has been a lot going on.  I am intending to share some thoughts over the holiday. In the meantime, I am letting the domain expire and so future posts will be at

Just FYI.


Happy, happy happy

I started my new job this week.  A couple of reflections…

Over my career, I’ve had offices in NYC, San Francisco, Paris, and now Seattle. Wow am I happy to be back working in an urban environment.  I didn’t know how much I missed it! The neighborhood I am in has lots of galleries, places to eat, places to get great coffee (and proper Seattle religious wars on which is the best).  My boss dropped by my office yesterday and invited me out for a bite.  He then showed me around the neighborhood and took me to the soup nazi equivalent sandwich shop.  Awesome roast turkey (from an actual turkey, not a cellophane package).  I don’t remember any boss ever doing that for me before.

And then today, after yet another session where he is introducing me to the company, products, challenges and we brainstorm on where I will focus, he ends our discussion with, “There are 3 reactions you have with new hires at the end of the first week – disappointed that you made a bad hire, feeling ok that you got what you expected, and excited that you got way more than you expected. You’re in the latter bucket.” Talk about building employee loyalty and the impact of kindness.

The commute has proven to be totally acceptable and proving once again the waste of time it is to stew on stuff rather than wait and figure it out.  I’m getting my workout schedule sorted and even managed to get to the stable at 5am twice to spend time with the sleepy head horses (thanks Mike for that suggestion). Watching dawn come up with happy horses is one heck of a great way to start a day.

So as I get ready to wrap up this week, feeling overwhelmed with all I have to learn and want to do, the biggest feeling in my heart is happiness that I joined this team.

The Smoothing of the Feathers

As I have been transitioning out of my former company over the past month and a half, there has been a bit of stress and emotion that I have been experiencing. While some suggested that I plan 4-8 weeks between the old position and the new position, that wasn’t what I felt I wanted or needed.  But I did need a wee bit of time to catch my breath, to think, and to smooth down my ruffled feathers.

So I returned to Triple Creek in Montana for 4 nights.  This time I went alone and planned to eat cleanly, get some cardio gym workouts, return to hiking (Doc said stress fracture healing perfectly and now just 1 more week away from returning to running, very slowly and carefully), horseback riding, reading, and just being.  I’m happy to report that this mission was fully accomplished. A few highlights:

Time to just be still with myself gave me moments that felt very Thoreau like… watching the insanely cute chipmunks and ground squirrels, the 4 month old baby horses play and sleep, the trees move in the wind.

Really enjoyed digging into 4 books – from finishing the memory book I mentioned in the last post, to a pure airport read thriller and a horse story book.  The 4th was an excellent but very disturbing novel that gave me much food for thought.

Hiking the Boulder Creek Waterfall trail – simply gorgeous and an incredible treat for me to be back in the woods hiking again.

Riding: CB Ranch is about 10 min away from Triple Creek is 26,000 acres and 4 of us went out with Jesse for a 4-5 hour ride. I was on Trigger, one of Jesse’s horses, and boy was he a PLEASURE to ride.  Jesse is an Iditarod competitor, a SUPER interesting person and was a delight to spend time with.  Over our lunch break, she recited from memory a rather long and wonderful Cowboy poem about the importance of having time by yourself.  Magical moments.

The next day I got the chance to return to moving cows.  It was as much fun as the first time.  Here’s what I learned: it is VITAL to have a good deal of energy when you’re moving cattle.  People who sit on their horses and observe, or walk slowly softly intoning “move cow” in a repetitive monotone voice, simply do NOT move any dang cows.  A couple of us, plus the wranglers finished the day practically hoarse to make up the slack! The first group of about 300 cows we moved a couple of miles including across a road and that went pretty smoothly.  After lunch we had about 150 head or so to move from a flat pasture up the hillside quite far to the upper pasture.  Them doggies wanted nothing to do with moving up hill.  They were ornery and needed a lot of convincing to keep them pointed in the right direction and moving.  Well it was a lot of work for a few of us while a few of the others either watched or softly said “move cow”.  Luckily I’m riding Riley.  Riley is a COW HORSE.  He loves to move cattle.  If you get close to a cow butt, and say “sic ’em Riley” he’ll reach down and give that cow a little nip.  Seriously fun stuff.  So back to the objective – get the cows to the top pasture.  We finally did.  They poured through the open gate.  Then they turned left… and much to our dismay they immediately discovered the OTHER open gate that led right back down the hill.  That 2nd gate was NOT supposed to be open. This was when I was reminded of that so awesome cuss word “peckerheads” which the wranglers used to describe how difficult the cows were being in getting up the hill and the fact that we were not going to repeat that effort to get em back there. So we rode back to the barn, informed the rancher what happened and headed back to Triple Creek.  Awesome ride for sure.

Now I’m back home, enjoying time with hubby and my herd and getting the last few things sorted before starting my new role at the new company on Monday.  I feel ready, strong, excited, nervous and like a little kid getting ready for the first day of school.  I am happy to be pushed into new routines and adventures on this scale every 10 years or so!


Reflecting on Transitions

Friday was my last day in my old office, job and company.  In about a week I start in my new office, job and company.  Leaving was far harder than I had expected because the friends I have made over the past 10 years and the work that we’ve been doing over the past 4 years really matters to me.  Remembering that the friendships that are meant to survive will – those that I choose to invest in helps.  And talking to my new boss about what we are going to accomplish together, really helps.  One of the things that I seem to be saddest about is the change in my routine.  Morning 10 min drive to gym, 5 min drive to work, end of day 5 min drive to stable and later 15 min drive home is no longer.  My new office is in Seattle.  I’m currently planning to keep my morning gym routine in tact and hopeful that I’ll be able to get to the office by 8am.  I haven’t figure out yet how to have the time and energy to see the horses after work, but know how incredibly important that is.  So I’m making the decision to trust the universe that I will get that sorted in a way that works for me, the hubby and the herd.  Ok, well, to be honest, I am TRYING to trust the universe, but finding it a bit hard to let go of that particular worry.

I spent the last hour reading this blog.  And thoroughly enjoying reliving the past year’s musings.  I think this may have been one of the top gifts I’ve given to myself this year.

Transition stress has manifested in a couple of ways.  First, stress is a weight management no no.  And I have been proving out that particular rule unfortunately.  Over my max weight, clothes feeling snug, grrrr. Rereading the blog this morning though gave me a nice reminder that I’m on a journey and not looking at a destination.  In other words, this is merely a point in the journey and taking a moment to reflect and breathe helps to reset my brain.

I’m heading back out to Triple Creek today for 4 nights.  Not bringing my computer (really!) and planning to spend time hiking, riding, reading and thinking. And resetting my brain before I start the new role. And getting in 4 days of strong cardio, eating clean and skipping the wine.  And their tasty cookies!  I want to use this time as a mini boot camp for mind and body.

Nails – for the past month or so I’ve been getting my nails done.  I haven’t bothered with that ritual for at least 15 years.  I guess Mike telling me I look like a field hand (referring to my fingers) and noticing how crappy my toes looked compared to my friend inspired me to start again.  And I’m finding I simply love the ritual.  Last night, Li put Shellac on my fingers – and MAN I look like a proper professional woman! This stuff is supposed to last 2-4 weeks.  But here’s what’s really interesting.  I didn’t listen to a book, I didn’t try and read a book, I just relaxed and watched the process, people around me, activity on the street and chatted with Li.  Like a normal person instead of a stressed out mess whose nerves are so jangled that I have to escape from everyone.  That felt good. And I think was  direct result of starting to get the stresses of the past month or two out of my system.

Well it’s time to get the hubby up for a short coffee walk before I head to the airport and go off to move some cattle again (which is, by the way, the MOST FUN EVER).  Today’s book suggestion is (thank you Rene): Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer.

Why? Because learning about memory is simply interesting, and learning about how to strengthen my memory muscles is critical for my age group, and for my new role as I meet new people and take on a bigger/different scope.  And Mr. Foer is a good writer, so the book is actually interesting.  Here’s the thing that got me when I was reading yesterday – we make a life more meaningful, we make time slow down in our perception, and more lasting when we make new memories.  The day to day repetitive stuff doesn’t stick in our heads (so what DID you have for lunch a week ago Wednesday?) and makes time feel incredibly fleeting (is it really September ALREADY???).  I will pay attention to my day to day life and continue to look for ways to make memories (like writing a blog :)).

Happy trails cowboys and cowgirls! And have a great Labor Day today.


I’m not what I’ve been in the past

A couple of weeks ago, during a Q&A session at work, I was asked: “Do you do any deep insightful thinking when you are walking long distances?”. Yikes, gosh, hated having to say well no, not really, just mostly focused on walking and enjoying the scenery and company and planning the next enjoyable food/beverage stop. So I pointed to a friend who is an amazing Ultra runner in the audience and said, gee, do you have inspirational insightful thoughts on your 50 and 100 mile runs?  He said yes he does. Which left me having to fess up that I really don’t and fortunately we moved on quickly to the next question.

Later I asked my ultra friend what kind of insights he has had. “Mostly about how many times my wife has been right and I’ve been wrong”. Ok, that was funny, but not really sure that this was particularly insightful.

Anyway, I was running a long steep hill this morning (um running may not be terribly accurate as I’m practicing increasing my footfall cadence so it feels like I’m working hard and going slow, but that’s for another post).  After getting to the top and allowing my heart to recover from hitting a  172 high, I started down.  And I had an actual INSIGHT!

The story that is in my head about who I am is based on who I’ve been and really mostly based on what I’ve done.  That is important and surely should inform my future but it shouldn’t constrain it.  And the insight is… drum roll please… that I can and do rely on the love and willingness of the people around me to push me to be more than what I’ve been before.  I can’t rely on myself alone to see what more I can be and what more I can do.

The revelation is how important it is to have people help me realize a greater ambition for myself, and support me to actually make it happen. This applies to my fitness life, my work life, my family life and certainly to my horse life.

Feeling grateful today for the people in my life.

Extremely Funny

Go through all the pages. It is literally laugh out loud funny. And incredibly accurate describing why I work out.


Grow or Decay

Over the 4th of July, I had the opportunity to spend several nights with a friend at Triple Creek in Montana (awesome place, awesome trip). I met a fly fishing guide who epitomized choosing to live a life of growth and learning and being optimistic … and health.  He is 64, retired high school teacher who moved to Montana and is working doing things he loves most, with a family he cares deeply about and a dog who is one of the most awesome labs I’ve ever met.  Throughout the 6 hours we were together he could only talk about how great everything is, while acknowledging honestly what is hard, and how much he appreciated his life and his lifestyle.  Oh yea, he is a horse guy too, so we KNOW he’s gotta be a good person.

The next night I had dinner and met 2 fellow guests.  74 and 84 years old.  She had significant mobility challenges from being over weight.  He developed diabetes 4 years earlier.  They are very wealthy, have traveled extensively, are passionate about the arts and their family.  They didn’t exercise, they didn’t eat with care and they talked about all the things that were wrong – at the place we were staying, with the people around them, the weather, etc etc etc.

I left that dinner feeling restless and out of sorts and was reminded the cost of being around people who are negative.  And reflecting back on the week, I was struck with the reality of choice in our lives – we choose the reaction we have to what comes at us.  I love the concept from Younger Next Year (one of my all time favorite motivation books) of “grow or decay” because every day, this is a choice we get to make in everything we do.

Below is a picture of me during the cattle drive. SO MUCH FUN!!! Horseback riding with a real purpose – awesome!!! Might consider doing search and rescue with Lily when she grows up… which for that kind of work is about 4-5 years…