That’s Three. Have a Seat.

Strike one.  95-100 language arts 8th grade students will be mine this year.  That’s a lot (TOO MANY) essays to grade, comments to write, relationships to manage, parents to keep in the loop,  and IEPs to attend.  Each student deserves my full attention and, to the best of my ability, will get it.

Strike two.  There’s a young man named Son Phan on his way from Vietnam to live with us for the school year.  He will be discombobulated.  He will need parenting.  He will need a family.  He will need my full attention, at times, and to the best of my ability, he will get it.

Strike three.  Graduate school demands between 20-30 hours per week of my time and effort. For the next two years.  There are things inside me that need to be written, and I need help in writing them.  They need my attention, and, when possible, will get it.

Therefore, this blog will not.  Get my attention that is.

For these reasons I will not be writing very much (as if I do now), if at all, until further notice.  I’m guessing I’ll pop on if there’s something I feel I must record here for some reason.  Otherwise, I’m hanging it up.  I’m not shutting it down.  I’ll use it to let you all know where my writing is headed, and whether there’s anything to get excited about.  Thank you all for your support in this endeavor, for reading and commenting and letting me know you care. XO  -v

Different Year, Different Girl


Maeve and Natalie with Oley.

DSC_0517 DSC_0519 DSC_0522 DSC_0553 DSC_0554Natalie decided to try horseback riding camp again this year, at the stunning Tabasco Stables in Belmont, Maine. It only took a modicum of convincing, which surprised and delighted me.

Her instructor, Megan Winchester Boerner, was the original lure.  Natalie admires Megan, who is kind, firm, calm – because she gives Natalie the impression, and in turn the confidence, that she can trust the horses, and herself around them. She expects Natalie to jump in and do the work, doesn’t question her potential or falter in her assurances.  In essence, Natalie rises to meet the bar Megan sets.  Never one to need coddling, Natalie finds that Megan’s style is a perfect fit.

This year, Natalie was paired with Oley, a majestic, strong horse with a white patch of hair on his forehead between his eyes. He quickly became the second lure.  Natalie greeted and groomed Oley daily, and worked to learn how to direct him while walking and trotting. Every day, Natalie talked about ‘her’ horse, whether he responded well to her, or she felt he was stubborn;  if she felt he was tired, or worried about his friend who is set to have a colt this fall.  She said her favorite was just being near him.

Nat also had a friend attend camp this year – third lure – a sweet girl named Maeve, who was a great model for Natalie for her grace and surety in being around the horses.  She showed Natalie how to best be near them.  That is to say – with poise and self-reliance.

I can’t say enough how happy I am to watch Natalie bloom with something she enjoys.  And I can’t repeat enough how wonderful I think Tabasco Stables (and Megan!) is.  It is a haven not even 8 minutes from our house.  I am grateful for the experience Natalie is gaining – and for the spirit of the stables.  Being there instills in Natalie a bit of aplomb, I must say.  And they seem to be luring Natalie back…already…

Camp ended 2 weeks ago, but Natalie has asked if we can go say hello to the horses and bring them carrots and apples.  This is a huge development in her comfort level at the stables.  We are in Island Falls, now, but I’ll give Megan a call when we get back to town – see if there’s a stall that needs cleaning or a horse that needs a little Natalie love.

Scrumptious Reuben


This Reuben will go great with a side of love.

Yes, Reuben is a sandwich.

Reuben is also our new little puppy we’ve welcomed into our home. This one has plenty of meat, but a lot less Russian dressing.

Natalie wanted a dachshund or a small terrier, but I overrode her desires and chose a mutt rescue dog who (the rescuers think) has some golden retriever in him.  I made the decision without really consulting the kids, because I wanted to be more sure we got a friendly, non-yapping, sweet and trainable breed.  Because I did so, I let them name him.  Quid pro quo.

It took awhile.  They all liked “Felix,” but Guy said it reminded him of a cat.  Garrett liked “Axel” but Luke simply didn’t take to it. Luke liked “Amos” but Garrett said it sounded like “anus,” which, yes.  I see his point.

The moniker “Reuben” sounded soft to the kids, and kind somehow.  They thought a “Reuben” might be aristocratic.  “Dude, he’s so majestic, you don’t even know,” I overheard Garrett telling his friend Zack.

Majestic?  Well, you can see him – what do you think?  I think he looks more beer and pizza than duck rillettes and champagne.  More I think I might eat my own poop than pardon me, do you have any grey poupon?

But so far so good.  I mean, he’s a puppy. His cuteness goes a long way.  We’ve had him in our house for 14 hours.  He slept a solid 7.5 hours in his crate last night, so today I’m awake and willing able to be vigilant with housetraining.  We wore the poor little guy out this morning with our walking and playing and constant quick exits to the lawn ‘just in case.’  God, wouldn’t it be great to know what he’s thinking?  These people seem nice, and some of them smell very good, but they gotta give me a break, I’m ten weeks old for crying out loud.  Throw me a bone here you mega-humans!

I admit, he’s got a pretty energetic family to keep up with.  Tomorrow I’m taking him to Camden to meet a friend I haven’t seen in 6 years for lunch (HI CARRIE-ANNE, you sexy beast!), and on Sunday to a Babe Ruth game.  I want a dog I can trust to be around lots of people in lots of different situations.  They say the way to get that is to put him in those situations with those people.

Let the fun begin!




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