The End of Book One : Christmas Letter 2017

This has been a year of significant change, not just in location but in the way in which one approaches life.

That sounded like one of the transcendental meditation podcasts I listen to in the car, which means I have been spending entirely too much time in the car but duty calls.

Aside from my Tony Robbins-esque intro, something was profoundly different about this year but this is all I could muster:

I have positive feelings about this year, but I’m too tired to figure out what they are”

Maybe this 2017 in review will help put the pieces together…

December 2016

I began preparing for 2017 in 2016 so that is where our story begins.  One morning in early December I shot up like a bat out of hell, and exclaimed, “It’s time to move.”  For one cosmic reason or another I spent all of Thanksgiving break remodeling my basement.  The murderous dungeon look was getting old and I figured with a few more fixes it would be ready to rent out.

I was ready to rock and roll to RVA but life had other plans.  In early January I lost one of my favorite people and my family was missing a puzzle piece, Uncle Andy.  Cancer sucks so I spent January having a lot of gin in his honor.

Winter 2017

On January 21st my second cousins Tracey and Mary, and my friend MB and I, went to the Women’s March in DC.  I can say without a doubt it was the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of.  The atmosphere was so happy, supportive and peaceful.  The sheer volume of people was overwhelming.  Cell service died the second you crossed the DC line and women were climbing up lamp posts trying to see the edge of the crowd, only there was no edge in sight.  Once we decided it was time to go, we made it to the edge and found a bar, so no worries there.

February started out a little lackluster compared to January so naturally I had to fix that.  I was headed to see my friends in Richmond when my Dad called to ask if I was apartment hunting.  I simply replied, “No, I don’t think I’m ready yet.” The second the words came out of my mouth I felt they were wrong.  The next thing I knew my GPS took me to an apartment building in Downtown Richmond where they offered me a free month’s rent.  I signed the lease that day.  Holy Moly Batman!

My realtor was surprised to get my call but she came Sunday and took pictures anyway.  My house went on MLS at 8:00am and by 1:00pm I had two rental applications!  The hustle was on to get out!

Naturally the plan was to get settled and then examine the job market but right before the moving truck pulled out I got a call for a new job in Richmond…and then I got 3 more calls.  Life was hectic to say the least but I finally found the perfect fit and started my new job in May.

Spring/Summer 2017

Speaking of May, Mom decided to come down for my birthday.  She had come to help me move back in March but the first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club. We went to the beach for my birthday and promptly got pelted with hail and rain for 2 days.  In August, when I went to Northern Wisconsin, winter started early and I had to buy a new wardrobe.  I get that it’s a ‘cold’ state but 45 degrees in August is not expected.  Vacation was not on the itinerary for 2017 apparently.

Work really started to ramp up in mid June and I’ve been running at hyper speed ever since.  It has been both fulfilling and exhausting.  I love what I do now but I’ve made the executive decision to pre plan all 2018 vacations, in different times zones and with limited cell service.  My adventures from a Hut in Timbuktu will be the title of next year’s christmas letter, so be sure to stay tuned (I really am turning into my father).

Final Chapter 

I’m sure by now you’re wondering why I chose to call this letter The End of Book One.  You smarty pants always keep me on my toes!  Well, this year felt like an ending more than any other.  I love and miss all my friends in Fredericksburg but it was time to go.  Richmond was the right place at the right time and now I’ve got a new city that needs exploring, a new career that needs rocking and new zest for life.  Preparations for Book 2 are already underway and I have a sneaking suspicion that we’re all gonna like it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


That New York Magic


On a chilly Friday night in the heart of Brooklyn the laughter and dancing was drawing to a close.  The evening wound down and last call rang out from behind the bar.  Everyone sensed the end was near, then slowly out of the speakers came an old familiar melody.

Start spreadin’ the news,

I’m leaving today

I want to be a part of it

New York, New York

Friends and neighbors gathered around, arm in arm and like a scene straight out of a Broadway show they kicked in unison while singing along.

I want to wake up, in a city

That doesn’t sleep

And find I’m king of the hill

Top of the heap


I’ll make a brand new start

of it

In old New York

If I can make it there, Ill

make it anywhere

Its up to you, New York,

New York

If there was ever a thing called New York magic, this was it.  It would make even the grumpiest of people believe that New York had something special. I’ll have to admit, this was my third time to the big apple and I never found the magical city I’d seen and read about for so many years.  To be honest, I always deemed myself much more of a London person if forced to choose.

My first trip to New York was at 14 with my family and the first thought that came to mind stepping out of Penn Station onto the city streets was, “Man this place smells bad!”

Two days ago I once again stepped out of Penn Station onto 7th Avenue and thought,

“Man this place smells bad!  In fifteen years you couldn’t make it smell any better? Graffiti, garbage, rats… I see you’re still here too.”

As I headed toward Herald Square to catch the M train to Brooklyn, suitcase in hand, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people.  Black friday had hit NYC in a big way.  As I crossed onto 34th Street I looked up and saw the remnants of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade lingering in shop windows and atop buidings surrounding the square.  This is it, I thought.  This is the magic.

Every year since I was little I would watch the Macy’s parade in the living room with my Mom and sister while my Dad prepped Thanksgiving dinner. Every Christmas season we would watch movies like Miracle on 34th Street along with many other old Hollywood classics and get lost New York of another time.  Nowhere else in the world could bring back all those memories and feelings of joy except New York.

The magic really isn’t New York the city, the magic for me is in the feelings and memories that New York represents.  At it’s core New York is just a city with regular people.  Regular people who wake up, go to work and live everyday lives.  The magic happens when you’re walking down the street and stop to say “Wow, that means something.”  Not every city can do that.

We visit for the New York magic. The moment of magic is why we put up with the smell and the fact that breakfast in a shanty shack is $50 and they put cauliflower in omelettes, a place where cauliflower does not belong.  We ignore the fact that next to the fancy restaurant is a bag of poop and an abandoned cardboard house.  We put up with all of that because at the end of the day when you find that small piece of New York magic, you are awfully glad you came.


If you’re curious about New York life or interested in travelling there, check out these books: