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Thursday, September 29, 2011

update: a little brown around the edges

People keep asking us how it is going.

I never know what sort of answer they are looking for so I try to gauge my audience before I launch into too explicit an answer.

"We are managing."
"It is hard but we are adjusting."
"I'm mostly overwhelmed."
Or, if you look like you have the time and a hint of interest:

"Maya wakes me up at 4:54 in the morning insisting she's  hungry. I placate her until just before 6 in my bed but she wakes me every five minutes to touch my face and tell me 'I love EVERYBODY.'  What I thought were hearty fruit  flies appear to be drain flys flies and they are all over my bathroom and sitting in our toothbrushs.  Now I need to find time to boil the toothbrushes many times a day.   Pour bleach down the drain and splash it all over a favorite shirt.  I drive around in circles picking up, dropping off, getting to gymnastics and swim lessons, the farm share and bank, Target and the grocery store.  Try to make time to call our new health insurance to find out how to get more than 1 bottle of insulin at a time since I have to pay $25 for each co-pay.  Continue to work through the totes of clothes (a part-time job in and of itself) to pack away clothes that no longer fit and aren't for the impending cold.  Work to remember which clothes the girls will freak about if I pack them away and keep them out, even though later they will not find their way to the appropriate tote in the eves and will end up in a pile of miscellaneous clothes in my closet.  Oh yes, and try to work with the current miscellaneous clothes in my closet.  Empty the dishwasher, open the curtains for the day, make lunches and breakfast and then clean it all up again.  Move laundry from clean to wet to dry to folded to put away and then begin again.  Feed everyone again, then clean up, clothes the curtains, take out the dog, go through the mail. Don't forget to feed the fish or they will die.  Work in stints to chop down the now deceased perennial garden and pray the lawn can get through till next spring with that last mowing.  Try not to obsess about the back deck and remainder of playset that didn't get painted this summer.  Worry if the snow blower will actually start since it had issues last year. Shuffle the kids here and there so I can go to work. Remember to bring the shriveled sunflowers to the kindergarten teacher who wants her students to pluck the seeds out with tweezers. Report to volunteer lunch duty.  Walk from room to room being chased by yelling kids and muttering 'I. Need. Some. Space.' Remain overwhelmed about how to get my six-year-old to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day when she likes only celery, potatoes, nectarines and grapes.  Worry about how we will take a summer vacation next year when Sandi won't get a lick of time off.  Dread Ella's next big emotional blow up.  Obsess that these stints of single parenthood are going to permanently damage my children and pray that it is all worth it."

And then people run screaming from me. Who can blame them?

In short, I feel like we are overgrown like the morning glories on our mailbox choking "Carver" so you can't even see it.

I'm pretty sure these are the sorts of things most moms deal with everyday.  It just feels like it is all on my plate right now.  This week Sandi is in Portland from 6 am Tuesday until 7 pm on Saturday.  Perhaps it is a bad week to gauge how I am coping.

People keep offering to help and I so appreciate it.  But honestly I'm not sure how they can.  It is nice to make plans and have company but I still have to perform all the mechanical details of our lives each and everyday.  And, on top of it all, I just viscerally miss Sandi.  We never spend this much time apart.

I am trying to take my life in chunks and by the day, not by the week or the whole span of Sandi's schooling.  She sent me a message yesterday saying "26 months to go!" and I wanted to find the nearest tree and climb up into it and not come down.

I can only really say that I feel like I am somewhere between handling this really well and feeling like my heart is breaking.  How's that for definitive?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

being right in the far left

In case anyone is fearful that I will not be toting a clipboard in the school parking lot this year, you can rest easy.

Now that I have warmed up with chocolate milk, I have moved on to a more emotionally laden issue: gay marriage.  Let me tell you, if you think people get ruffled about chocolate milk (trust me, they do) you should try talking to them about letting the gays get hitched.

As one woman I asked said, "Oh... that's a tough one."

Tough for who?

For those of you who don't live in Maine, here is the scoop.  Two years ago our governor signed a bill legalizing gay marriage.  Signatures were collected and it was taken to referendum where it was repealed in a heartbreaking loss for all the fair-minded people in our state.  It was a collossal embarrasement with the nation watching as we moved in the wrong direction. We considered a move to Vermont or possibly Norway. 

Equality Maine has seen to it that the issue be revived.  I personally thought it was a bit too soon but they are drumming up support and a lot of it, in fact.  In order to get the issue on the ballot as a referendum again, they need 58,000 signatures.  They have set their goal at an overkill 80,000 to account for some unverifiable signatures.  So far they have about 40,000 and the deadline is in early January to get on the ballot next November.

The same women who told me it was a tough one also said, "Didn't we already vote on that?"

Yes, we did honey.  Clearly this is not an important issue to you that you think it is repetative to do it again.

If you ask me the smartest thing they've done is put a stipulation in the referendum protecting "religious freedom" which means a church can refuse to marry whoever they want.  This was a major sticking point and had a lot to do with the loss on election day.

I learned my lesson with the chocolate milk thing.  I get my heart on the line and I become easily hurt by critcism when something is important to me.  For this reason, I have only asked people I'm fairly certain will say yes to sign this petition.  I am proud to say I only wanted to cry once (my only rejection by the woman who felt it was hard) and I have obtained over 30 signatures!

Beth, who is doing a kick ass job heading up the Equality Maine office in our area, said she is noticing that when people decline to sign they almost seem a bit ashamed.  I can't help but think this is a step in the right direction.

When we took the girls rollarskating the other day (there is free rollarskating for kids her age from 12-1 on Saturdays so they can learn)  and I looked out on the not so crowded rink to see a mix of caucasian, asian, indian and african american children out there.  This shouldn't be a notable occurance but in our homogenous area it is.  I was so proud to see diversity in our community.   Having different cultures and ethnic heritages come together always feels like it makes space for the full spectrum of people that exist and creates, not so much tolerance, but maybe even appreciation of the texture that differences among people provides.

There was an article in our local paper the other day about potatoes being a leading cause of obesity and how there is a push to limit them in school lunches.  Under the comment section someone wrote:

"Hey in Hampden the do-gooder liberals got rid of the chocolate milk at the elementary school..now the kids drink more sugary juice drinks. Stuck on stupid is a way of life with these people."

My friend Katie sent is to me to inform me I was famous.  Then she told me that she would get me a t-shirt (made of organic cotton, of course) that says "liberal do-gooder." 

At first I wanted to cry and then I thought, but wait, I so AM a liberal do-gooder.  So I told her I would take the shirt in a medium.

Sandi's sister Tricia just got engaged (yay Trish and Brock!).  I know Brock asked for her "hand" so to speak from her parents before proposing. I was talking to their dad about this the other day and what his thoughts were.  I told him I was feeling him out to see if, when the time came, I should "ask" for the right to marry Sandi.  He's had 11 years to think about my worthiness.  He laughed hard. 

I couldn't help but think this is a joke made somewhat within the realm of possibility now.  A year from now will marriage really be on the table for us?  This liberal do-gooder is going to fight hard to see that it is.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

seeking common ground

We made our annual trip to the Common Ground Fair in Unity, ME over the weekend. We love this super crunchy, eco-friendly, back-to-the-earth, liberal, pestiside-despising, barefoot-wearing, falafel-loving fair put on by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmer's and Gardner's Association.) It is sort of like a three day utopia where peace on earth exists for three days between the hours of 9:30-6.

Our kids always get geared up for a fair of any sort and Ella seemed not to notice the absence of refined sugar in any of the food. Phew. One less thing for her to complain about.

Since the start of school Ella has had a slight attitude problem. It is like she went to sleep a six-year-old and woke up a hormone riddled thirteen-year-old. She is angry and bossy and mouthy and I'm kind of at a loss. I'm guessing (hoping) all the massive transition this fall is to blame and I'm trying to be firmly compassionate while she rolls her eyes, harrumphs and screams at me and Maya.

Despite the emotional tyranny going on in our house, we attempted to enjoy our Sunday afternoon. After a 4 1/2 hour morning study session, Sandi was all ours from 11 on and it was such a flippin relief.  To have her in the car!  To have her company!  To have her help with the kids!  I went from marooned on a deserted island to the bow of a cruise ship sipping mojitos.  Who knew a partner could be so happy with a measly 7 hours?

Our kids are struggling to find common ground right now.  They fight a lot (partially due to Ella's emotional storm) and I find myself whispering to myself in the depths of the pantry "Don't scream. Don't scream." There was no lack of irony that we were at the Common Ground Fair.  Where, I must confess, no common ground was actually achieved between our girls and we had to leave early as the level of whining and discontent grew within and between them.

But here are some snapshots before it went south.

The best part of the $20 admission?  Riding down the hillside on pieces of cardboard.

(Can I just brag for a minute and tell you that Sandi MADE that dress for Ella?  She made it over a year ago and it finally fits her.  I swear there is no end to that woman's talents.)

There is so much to see at the fair:







including some things you'd never have thought of....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

celebrating Mindy

On Saturday, Charissa through a really fun party for Mindy's 33rd birthday. It had a mexican/hawaiian theme, I guess, since we had delicious food from Margarita's and we wore leis around our necks. I love when the best of cultures collide (although I do think belly dancers maybe for next year).

The lady of the hour:


Mindy, like me, has always been more of the caretaker of the house and their family's everyday needs.  But the process of getting pregnant, and now being pregnant with twins, has at times put Mindy out of commission and Charissa has been rising fully and compently to the occassion, sometimes surprising herself in the process. Good job Charissa pulling it all together!
























Emerson, decked out in lei, bike helmet and sidewalk chalk.  He was going native.
Laurie, who apparently does not like to have things hidden in her food and prefers the you-see-what--you-get approach to eating, was kept in the dark by Charissa about the fact that the chocolate cake I made had zucchini in it.  When we told her with one bite to go she said, "I knew it!  I knew you would sneak something in there!"

(I think I'm getting a reputation.)
















(Laurie's partner, Jen, took most of  these pictures with our camera.  Thank you Jen.  The ones I took were awful. And I particularly like this one you took of Jen.)

Jen and Laurie gave Mindy a bell- yes, a tinkling bell to ring for Charissa's service.  I saw Charissa put it up high, allegedely away from the reach of the kids, shortly after Mindy opened it.
She had to pratice ringing it a few times first, though.

Maya helped me place the candles on the cake.  I was going for two groups of three for 33 but we groups of 2 and 4.  I told Mindy she was either 24 or 42.  That's what you get when you let a three-year-old help.
Happy Birthday Mindy! We love you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Team Beth- walking inspiration

The girls were in their first road race yesterday!

It was the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Race for the Cure and I cannot think of a better venue for them.

They were swathed in pink.

This past winter, Emilie's mom Beth was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was the epitome of grace and ease and she went through the tests, treatments, surgery and waiting.  A few months after it started, the cleanest bill of health you can hope for in the world of cancer came- no lymph node involvement- and she has been cancer free since, having been spared the strain of chemotherapy.

Beth had started running just before she was diagnosed with cancer.  While undergoing treatment, she had inquired, "When can I run again?" 

This was her first road race and I, believe, the first time she ran on the road instead of a track. 

How can this not inspire?

I love this family like my own and it was such an honor to stand as a proud member of Team Beth.
My mom, also a fan of Beth (the two of them have so much in common- politics and a love of opera are but a few) came up for the race.  This was her first ever road race too and she planned to walk it and, ideally, help me with the kids.
Fashionista runner:
I offered to take Skyler with me and the girls so Emilie could run with her mom.  Since it is a 5K race (3.2 miles) I brought my 2 seater buggy with me for rest breaks.  I had a multitude of snacks and Ella and Skyler were wearing Emilie's and my hydration packs.  My thought was the kids could run a little, walk a little, ride a little.

I got incredibly lucky and met up with Lindsay and Andrew Harmon and their adorable daughter Leah (pictured below) also of Team Beth and they made the difference between it being a tolerable experience managing three kids on foot in a wall of moving people, to being really fun.  Thank you Harmons!
When the race started we were mid to back of the pack on purpose because of the stroller. Hoping the kids could have that race start experience, we had planned to run a bit.  I guess if we want to achieve this next year, we are going to have to elbow in with the real contenders.  We seriously couldn't run AT ALL. There was a wall of walkers around us and short of weaving in and out and causing ankle injuries to others with my massive buggy and yelling "'scuse us! Runners coming through!" we were destined to walk. (I know, because I tried.)

Finally, nearing mile 2 the girls could stretch their legs on the sidewalk.

And who can resist a finish line picture of four little girls sprinting to the end?
A little post-race refueling.  I was so proud of my girls.  They did such a great job!  No complaining or whining or fighting.  They sacrificed for the cause.
My mom, who was concerned her walking legs couldn't keep up if we ran a bit, matched up with another member of Team Beth and left us in her dust.  She power walked her way to her first 5K finish with a big thumbs up to show for it.

Over 5000 people attended the Komen Race this year and it has raised over $300,000.  They gave pink carnations to the survivors when they finished.  While the majority of participants are walkers, the overall male runner finished in 15:35 and the female in 17:36.  We finished in a respectable 1 hour and 3 minutes.

If you've never done it, the Komen Race is the coolest event about celebrating women and embracing the fight. Plus I think I just the love the idea of an event centered around the importance of women's breasts.

Favorite quotes of the day:

My mom, pre-race, driving down to the waterfront an hour and 10 minutes prior to the start: "I could have worn those pants that woman has on.  I have the same ones with the pink stripe down the side.  But I would be too hot in those.  Why are people wearing shorts and tanks tops?  It is so cold.  Are we late?  Why are all those people walking?  Has it started yet?  I didn't know I was supposed to wear pink.  No one told me."
(Remind me I can never do a real running race with my mom.)

From Emilie: "Suzanne, don't leave without me finding you after the race. You have my keys."
Me: "Don't I also have your CHILD?"

Ella, post-race: "I want to do that race every year. I'm going to keep this bib forever. It was my first race."

My mom, post-race at 11:30 am: "I'm not hungry at all.  Is that normal?  Does running make you not hungry?"
Me:  "Did you run that race, Mom?"
(I couldn't help it.  Clearly the whole race idea had gone to her head.)

MDI Half Marathon: an exercise in restraint

After much back and forth in the torment of my own mind, I decided I would run the MDI half on Saturday.

Fearful about the state of my leg and the prospect of being unable to finish, I was extraordinarily nervous between waking up and getting to the starting line. In some ways this isn't an unusual feeling for me, being unable to predict how my body will perform on any given run- if I will feel strong or plodding- but the leg was an unknown factor that made me more anxious than the uncertainty of how fast I would run.'

Emilie drove me down and kept me calm.  I knew I would likely run alone since I planned to start intentionally slow so I said goodbye to her just before mile 1 and tried to settle in.

The MDI course is as beautiful as promised with three massive hills (2 of which are a mile each) and lots of ups and downs in between.  My favorite part?  Seeing a little boy holding a carboard sign that said, "GO SUZANNE!"  I ran up to him and gave him a high five and told him my name was Suzanne and he beamed.

My goals for this race were, in order: stay calm, keep running (if I walked I knew how it would make my leg feel and I could kiss running goodbye), work just to finish and strive for mediocrity.

Striving for mediocrity is a motto that has treated me well over the years. In college when my perfectionism had driven me to points of stress I could not manage, I adopted this saying to allow myself to get a B instead of an A, to let something give so I would not break. Often I still was able to get the A, or write a kick ass paper, but without feeling like my head was in a pressure cooker.

It was a very interesting experience to be running a race, look down at my watch and say, "Whoa there girl.  You are going too fast.  Slow it down.  Save the leg." 

My leg started to bug at about mile 7.  Then it grew to discomfort and at the end surely there was pain.  I was somewhere in between relieved that I could still run on it and frightened of hurting it worse. On those gorgeous carriage trails of Acadia National Park I decided I love the half marathon distance and wasn't really sure I wanted to do another full marathon.

Emilie, finishing strong and setting a new PR for this course:
(and yes, I stole these 4 pictures right off her blog)

I was so proud to be finishing that somehow I couldn't bother to care that I was the last person in my group to cross the finish line.  I couldn't bother to care that I was 12 minutes slower than my best half marathon pace. (I finished in 2:24.)  It was like recapturing the joy of completion without the internal push pull of competition.  I was proud of myself just for being easier on myself and celebrating a goal even if it wasn't an improvement.

(Then I found out that the top female WALKER finished the race in 1:57 and I thought that was just insulting to us runners who didn't walk once, even up those monstrously long hills. I admit my pride in my humble goal of completion wavered when I heard this news.)

Emilie, Susan and I along with Susan's husband, Liam, who completed his first half marathon.
My leg hurt significantly on Sunday.  I'm fairly certain I didn't do any more damage but am soundly reminded that I have an injury.

But I have another problem now.

I know, well 90% of me knows, that I cannot run a full marathon in 4 weeks. I tell people I am not running it.  And yet, I cannot bring myself to email the race director and give up my $100 bib.

Is it frugality or quitting that is getting under my skin?

I think part of me is afraid that my body might not be able to withstand distance running in general.  I'm afraid I might never get the desire back to run 26 miles and without the desire, I can forget the goal. 

To be completely honest, I am both proud and ashamed to admit that I might not be able to live without the over-the-top elation and sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a grueling long run.

Sandi says to me, "You know, you wanted to run a marathon and you ran two.  That could be enough."

But this is where the crazy enters in.

I want it to be enough.  Hell, I'm not even sure I want another one.  Yet, I like being able to run far.  I like that badge of identity I can wave proudly in the air when domesticity threatens to overtake me.  I am a marathon runner.

But what if I'm not anymore.  Then what will I be?

So you get that this is not really about running but about the deeper seated issues with being a minivan driving stay-at-home mom (who sometimes works)?  And likely I need to go back to therapy instead of to vomit it all out on the blog.  

For now I am going to enjoy the fact that I can lift weights at the gym and work my legs and  not preserve them for any long runs.  I am going to ride my new bike in this breathtaking September weather. I am going to continue to work toward barefoot running so I don't keep injuring myself. 

I am NOT going to decide my running future in this very moment.

I AM going to try to remember what it was like to steam through the finish chute on Saturday feeling like it was enough and that distance running is only worth it if it is makes me feel good. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

stacking the deck

In that past few months running has gone from life-giving and spirit lifting (as well as bum toning) to injury riddled and disgruntled.

Most of the lost of my running mojo I blame on the very unfortunate ankle turn the night before the Sugarloaf marathon.  My right leg has since been plagued with discomfort when I run, moving up from the ankle toward the knee and just above it.

I have rested it, cross-trained with biking and sun bathing and hoped for the best.  Sometimes I run without issue but often running now feels like a lot of effort to me.  My last attempt at a long run had me walking in pain at mile 7 of 11 and it kind of shot down my confidence in my body.  Now when I lace up my shoes I'm never sure what to expect of my body and I feel like I can't rely on it. 

My body has become like a ditsy friend who says she's going to be there for you but bails when you need her most.

In addition to the ankle/leg issue, I'm also convinced there is something very off about my gait.  I get chaff marks only on one side of my hip and my sneakers wear unevenly. I'm surprised no one has pulled alongside me on the road to tell me I look like I'm about to fall over.

After having read (and LOVED) the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I became convinced that the cushioning of my running shoes were to blame on my poor form and injuries. (It is so comforting to blame something.) Sandi got me a pair of minimalist Nike Frees for my birthday to help me transition to "barefoot" running in the Vibram 5 Fingers.  McDougall makes a compelling argument for barefoot running as the way our bodies were made to run and how cushion and extra support undermine the structural integrity of foot leading to weakness and injury.

I have had a major fiasco getting my Vibrams and think, in the end, that I may have bought a counterfeit. There was no invoice with my shoes and they were mailed from China. When I emailed them and told them they were too big and I would like to return them,  I was told that would be too difficult and to wear them with socks. Hello...have you seen these shoes??



 
This all brings me to the point of my post.  Tomorrow is the MDI Half Marathon. I've considered not running it but I don't particularly care for that option.  I've never been comfortable giving up on something and I've already had to face not running the MDI full next month. It is going to be a GORGEOUS day in Bar Harbor tomorrow. September in Bar Harbor.  Running on the carriage roads.  And my MOM IS COMING TO BABYSIT.  Who would say no to this?
 
I've rallied my mental game here and I am ready for a race. I'm hoping to run and not have to walk at all , even if that means I go slow.  I've taken steps to ensure my success.  I've shaved my legs to help with speed.  I'm going to wear my cool arm bands my friend Amy gave me so I can feel tough. I'm drinking carrot juice today because it seems like a good idea.  I've got a playlist that included "The Club Can't Handle Me" because why not?  I might as well feel like a bad ass out there.
 
I will drive down tomorrow with Emilie, armed with a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a whole lot of hope, happy for a chance to leave the entrenchment of domesticity behind for a few hours.
 
But right now, I'm going to go bake a cake.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

warning: morbitity follows

Sandi and I have been meaning to update our wills for a while.  There were some important things we wanted to change.  Last winter into spring it got tabled because of Sandi's biochem course.  Then summer exploded and it got pushed back again.

At some point I was overwhelmed with the thought that if we died, our wishes would not be known or carried out so I added "update will" to my list of things to do.  Yes, right this red hot minute when my life feels like it is overtaking me.

In gathering the documents for the lawyer and discussing the changes I have become slightly obsessed with the idea of my own death.

There is a section of the will where I can list any personal property I want to give to people (assuming Sandi and I die together which is the only situation that makes me break out in a cold sweat).  I am unable to stop thinking about this.  Should I give Ange AND Mindy my cookbooks since they both like to cook?  But they are both vegetarians and will want the same ones.  What if they fight over them?  Will Emilie want my jewelry or will Trish?  I will give my jewelry to Trish and Emilie can have my running clothes. Or should I save my jewelry for my kids?  Will they want it someday?

Oh dear god, my children.  If we both die who will care about my jewelry and my ipod and the book I've never finished?  What material object could ever be of comfort if their parents are gone?

Driving down the road today, aware of every flash of potential danger that could take me out, I thought how cruel and unfair to have children in a world where parents die.

So clearly I am in need of a little perspective and possibly an intervention. 

Perhaps this will all die down (pun intended) when the will is done and signed and returned to the dark safe.  Perhaps I can stop worrying about Sandi meeting a fateful end on her weekly commute.  Perhaps it is this feeling of being a single parent that has brought this all to the forefront.  Perhaps if I sit down and write the letters I am compelled to write to everyone I love and tuck them into my will to be given out in the event of my death I will feel relieved.  

Or perhaps I need a glass of wine and a night out and I need to remember that Sandi and I are so rarely together the occurance of our mutual death is highly improbable.

Meanwhile, I am going to work VERY hard not to die. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

when bravery dons a helmet and saddles up a horse (okay a pony)

Ella, our often fearful, apron-clutching child who was afraid the back-to-school barbecue would be fraught with dangerous unknowns, has stepped entirely out of character and requested to take riding lessons.

When your child shows such unprecedented bravery for a new endeavor you start making calls.  And asking people if they want to chip in. So certain was she that she even wanted it enough to receive it as her birthday gift from her family members. 

She has been counting down the days.
Maya, contemplating a horse:

I'm not at all surprised that Ella has a propensity toward horses.  She has such a gentle soul and feels things so deeply.  She connects both with horses and dolphins, both of which I would argue are sentient beings.
I was lightly questioned by concerned aunts about the reputation of her teacher and the safety of putting Ella in possible harms way on the top of a horse.  Sandi of course went right into "head injury" territory.  Luckily, this is not one of those areas that I practice excessive parental anxiety (I do have those areas though- I would say my kid's diet is one).
Well, have no fear aunties.  This pony was not much taller than Ella.  And her teacher is an older, wiser embodiment of Ella's tender heart.  It was like Ella forgot to be nervous with her. 
Lisa Kingsbury, of Horsefeathers Farm in Hampden, was exactly the person I would pick to work with Ella.  We met her years ago in our massage practice and I've heard amazing things about her over the years.  (And can I just say that when my kids are grown and gone like hers I can only pray to have the shapely runners legs she has?)


Maya...well, she wasn't so sure about the whole thing.
She did a lot of waiting around and looking at this horse who sneezed on her a couple of times causing her to say, "Oh, no! Snot!"
Otherwise, she could be heard shouting "I want Ella to come off that thing NOW!"  and "I want to get on a horse!!" Meanwhile I was trying to manage the camera, the video camera (all I've done all week is take video of the all the big things Sandi has had to miss) and my iphone so I could shoot a picture to send to San and the rest of our family right away.  All that with Maya on my shoulders bellowing at Ella to stop that nonsense in the corral. 

It was fun.

Maya thinking over her situation on a bed of lettuce.

I can see Ella as horse girl.  I really can. 
Her smile said it all.