Archive for the ‘flat work’ Category

>Tucker Explains the Wizard of Oz

May 16, 2011 6 comments

>So, I get to the barn on Saturday afternoon, very much looking forward to a nice ride outside.  I hadn’t seen Tucker in a couple of days, and the rain was holding off.  Perfect recipe for a great Saturday.  Couldn’t wait for some quality time with the best horse in the world. 

Just one problem.  As we exited the barn after tacking up, Tucker morphed into full-on, high alert, neon-sign-flashing-DANGER, drama-llama mode.  Okay, no problem, I’ll lead him down to the outdoor ring and get on there.  There was some construction happening and apparently all the loud noises were blowing his mind.

Little did I know what was in store for me.

We get down to the outdoor ring and I found myself having to hand walk my now-possessed beast in circles, which, at the time, was a lot more like flying a kite than leading a horse.  In his defense, there was a little more going on than your basic construction.  They were delivering big, pre-fab sheds on the end of a flat bed truck, and they were unloading directly in Tucker’s line of vision.

Finally, sick of staring into the whites of Tucker’s eyes and listening to him snort above my head, I decide to climb aboard.  After a few minutes of dancing and prancing, he settled down into a somewhat normal walk, though he continued to arch his neck, twitch his lips around and stare wild-eyed into the distance.

I decide to try and communicate.  Get his mind off his, um, troubles.  I head to the point of the ring farthest away from the sheds that are clearly going to kill us, and we do some spiraling in and out circles, some leg yields, and he eventually starts to relax and even stretches down a little.  He takes a big deep breath and I finally feel him starting to bend around my inside leg and start tracking up.  His back was relaxing.  Phew.  He’s finally back to normal. 

So, I ease him up into a trot.  OH MY.  He responds by stomping his front feet, shaking his head from side to side, and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeling.  Uh… not exactly what I was expecting.  Okay, okay, okay.  Walk.  Just walk.  Calm down.  Please.

He walks and almost immediately settles back down.  I figure it’s a fluke.  We do a little more working walk and when I feel him getting bored to tears again, I cautiously ease him back into a trot.  Feet stomping!  Head shaking!  Squeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeee!  Oh dear lord.  Walk.  Please.  Walk.  Just… walk.

Me:  Um, Tucker?

Tucker:  Yeah?

M:  Mind explaining what the HECK is wrong with you?

T:  What’s wrong with ME?  What’s wrong with YOU?  It’s not safe out here you know.  We are in a very, very dangerous position.

M:  Didn’t realize that.  What exactly is unsafe about the outdoor ring?

T:  (He scoffs)  No, no, not the outdoor ring.

M:  Okay…. I’ll humor you.  Where is the danger, exactly?

T:  It’s the houses.  They are dropping houses.

M:  Oh, well, I really don’t think we need to worry about that.  They’re not going to drop any houses on you.

T:  You don’t know that! 

M:  Actually I kind of do.  There’s really no chance that one of those houses is going to fall on us.

T:  Not on my watch, that’s for sure!  But I can only do so many things at once. And I can’t watch for falling houses while we are trotting.  I mean what am I, a magician?

M:  I see.  So that’s why we can’t trot. 

T:  Now you’re catching on. 

M:  Since when do houses fall on horses or people?

T:  Haven’t you seen the Wizard of Oz?

M:  Tucker, there are no horses in the Wizard of Oz.

T:  MY POINT EXACTLY!  Horses are very intelligent creatures.  We don’t stick around when there are falling houses.  Dogs, lions, flying monkeys, that movie had everything except a horse.  And that’s because horses are way too smart to get distracted and wait around to have a house fall on their heads, so some filly can come along and steal our shoes.

M:  I see.  Let’s try trotting one more time okay?

T:  Squeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeee-eeee!

M:  *Sigh.*  Nevermind.

I don’t really think anyone would have believed me, except that when I got back up to the barn, I was explaining how the ride went to someone:  “Ugh, he was a NUTCASE today.  Every time I tried to trot, he’d shake his head and stomp his feet, and sq–” 

eeeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeee!”  He was then kind enough to demonstrate for us. 

Once again, my horse has valiantly saved me from the brink of danger.  Thank heavens I have him to protect me at times like these.  Quite sure I would be lying under a house somewhere otherwise.  And some strange girl would have stolen my shoes.

Categories: flat work, freshness, humor, Tucker

>My Horse’s Conditioning Program for Returning to Work

May 5, 2011 2 comments

>Tucker got his chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture on Tuesday morning and his pelvis and lumbar area needed several adjustments, particularly on the right side, so that explains why he was relunctant to stretch his back and why I was having such a hard time keeping him straight (he was traveling with his haunches to the right).  Man am I glad that Dr. L came to see him!  She is a miracle worker.  He felt so great last night, forward, but not tense, so much straigher, and he wanted to stretch down at the trot, which was a great feeling.  He is still weak behind and has trouble staying engaged for any length of time.  He really pushes for a few strides, then he overdoes it and wants to get this big huge trot, and then a few strides later falls behind my leg because it’s too hard, so we still have a lot to work on. 

Apparently, after Dr. L treated him on Tuesday, he took himself for a little gallop in the field (feeling a little too good, birthday boy?), so evidently he doesn’t realize that there is an actual rehab plan in place.  I thought maybe it would be a good idea, then, to set one down.  Tucker is an avid blog reader (he even comments sometimes).  Hopefully he’ll read this and understand that I’d rather him not gallop around like his tail’s on fire for at least a few more weeks.

Grey Horse Matters offered me a link to a very helpful post that she did, where she outlines her program for bringing her horses back into work in the Spring after being in inconsistent work all winter — go read it!  She uses the British Horse Society as her guide, but modifies it to suit her needs, and I think I’m going to do the same.  Below is my modified plan.  The BHS standard is in in black, and my modified plan is in in green

1st WEEK
Walking exercise on the level. Half an hour on the first day, increasing to one hour by the end of the first week.

My plan:
30- 45 minutes total walking undersaddle in the ring, alternating between working walk and loose rein, increasing to 45 minutes by the end of the week.

2nd WEEK
Increase walking up to 1 hour by the end of the week.

My plan:
30-40 minutes total walking, alternating between working walk and loose rein, with 2-3 brief intervals of trotting, begin walking over poles, start doing easy lateral work at the walk, and by the end of the week add in walking over cavaletti and small cross rails and cooling out outside walking up and down hills.

3rd WEEK
Slow trotting, starting on the level, together with walking up and down hills.

My plan:
30 minutes – 1 hour of riding total, increase the number and duration of trot sets (as Tucker allows), with as much long-and-low trotting as possible, continue easy lateral work, cavaletti, and small cross rails at the walk, and by the end of the week start trotting over poles on the ground.  Cool out outside up and down hills, as weather permits.  If horse’s brain allows, begin riding outside on weekend. 🙂

4th WEEK
As third week.

My plan:
Same as above, maintaining whatever number and duration of trot sets achieved by the end of the week, and start asking for brief periods of working trot in between long-and-low trot during a couple of rides.

5th WEEK
1 ½ hours exercise a day, to include some trotting up hills and short, slow cantering on good, level ground.

My plan:
40 minutes – 1 hour of work, begin trotting raised cavaletti and cross rails, start asking for a little longer periods of working trot between long-and-low trot, start asking for easy lateral work at the trot, add in some brief intervals of cantering in each direction.

6th-8th WEEKS
1 ½ hours exercise a day, to include trotting up hills and longer cantering periods. School work may include jumping and canter circles.

My plan:
6th week:  40 minutes – 1 hour of work, increasing duration of canter intervals.  Add in a couple of days with slightly more demanding working trot sessions, including a little more lateral work and some collection and baby extended trot.  On the other days, long-and-low trot and canter only. Continue cavaletti and cross rail work at the walk and trot.

7th week:  Same as above.  By the end of the week, canter cavaletti and cross rails.

8th week:  Same as above, continue cantering cavaletti and cross rails during the week, and take a jumping lesson at the end of the week.

It feels good to have a plan, doesn’t it?  Now Tucker, let’s get with the program please.  Galloping is more like Week 6 or 7.
Please note:  In case you’ve found this post through a search engine, Tucker is not coming back from a soft tissue injury, but rather a wound that was stitched and required 2 months of stall rest.  I think it is best to consult with your vet if you’re bringing your horse back from any kind of soft tissue injury, to prevent any further damage.  (Just trying to be a responsible blogger!)

>On Our Way Back

May 3, 2011 3 comments

>Tucker and I are slowly but surely working on getting him back to show ring fitness, with the hopes that we will be showing again by mid-June, if all goes well.  He got a bath on Saturday because the weather was so nice, and I pulled his mane and clipped his legs and his jawline/muzzle, so he is looking a little more like a show horse instead of a backyard pet. Now we just need to work on helping him regain a topline, get some strength and stamina back, and put on some weight.  Here’s how he looks right now:  nice and clean, but otherwise definitely not at his best! 

We’ve upped his grain slightly to assist with his weight gain and muscle building. He is now getting 4 quarts per day of Omeline 500 (split over two meals — he was previously getting 3 quarts), plus plenty of forage: 5 quarts of beet pulp (with his grain), 4 quarts of alfalfa, soaked (at night check), and I’d guess about 8-10 flakes of hay throughout the course of the day. He’s also out on grass, weather permitting, for about 5 hours per day. As for supplements, you can read all about what’s in his SmartPak here.  He’s also getting SmartCalm right now, just until he’s back to full work.

As for exercise, based on what I’ve read and conversations with fellow horsewomen, the general rule of thumb is that if your horse has had extended time off, then it should take the same amount of time he’s been resting to re-condition him.  So, since Tucker has had two months off, I’m estimating it will take two months to get him fit.  I haven’t found any particular exercise program that I thought sounded really good (though if you have suggestions, please post them in the comments).  I’ve just been trying to let Tucker tell me how much he can handle — maybe that’s best anyway.
The first week, we just walked undersaddle for 30-40 minutes.  This past week, I started trotting again.  At first, I could only do 2 sets of about 2 minutes of trotting before he’d be winded and breaking a sweat.  By this weekend, I was able to do 3 sets of about 4-5 minutes of trotting.  In between, we walk over lots of cavaletti and little cross rails, do some bending exercises, and work on straightness with lateral work.  At the trot, I just want him to loosen up and stretch his back out, which he has been a little relunctant to do.  He is also flipping his nose up and walking with his head in the air after several minutes of work at the walk, which is either a sign that he thinks the working walk is stupid (possible) or that his back is sore, or even just allergies/post-nasal stuff.

To see how his back is feeling and help him loosen up, Dr. L is coming out to adjust him and do some acupuncture this morning, and then he’ll get turned out for the afternoon.  We texted back and forth when the stall rest was ending, and she said she’d rather work on him after I had done some trotting work so that he had a chance to stretch a little on his own before she worked on him.  Makes perfect sense.  I have to say, I feel so lucky to have such wonderful professionals helping me with Tucker’s recovery.  Everyone — from my barn managers, to my vet, to my chiropractor, to my trainer — has been completely accessible, communicative, and helpful.  Tucker and I have a great support team!

It’s hard to tell if it’s freshness or tightness that is making him feel a little tense, my guess is a combination. If he still feels like he doesn’t want to stretch on Wednesday night, even after his acupuncture, I may try giving him a tiny bit of Ace on Thursday, in case the stiffness is just because he’s fresh. Even though he’s been an angel and hasn’t done anything more than a head shake, I want to give him the opportunity to work in a relaxed way without making himself sore. I have a feeling that containing his energy and excitement because he’s trying to behave could be making his job harder than it needs to be at the moment.

Again, if anyone has suggestions for good ways to recondition your horse, we are all ears (literally, Tucker is pretty much all ears):

>Happy Horses

April 27, 2011 5 comments

>Sorry about the lack of posts last week by the way, busy week at work.  So now for the updates:

Tucker has been turned out for a week now, and is definitely starting to feel like himself again.  He’s been a much more pleasant horse to be around.  The first few times he went out, we gave him some Ace just to make sure he wouldn’t go bananas and hurt himself, but after that he was content to graze and visit with the other horses across the fence line.

I’ve ridden him four times now, and that is going well too.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back on my horse again.  It was like my whole body breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I swung my leg over and looked down to see my favorite view:

I can’t explain it really, but this horse just feels like home to me.

The first three rides were at the walk, and I did my best to make it interesting for him.  The first two times, I gave him a 1/2 cc of Ace just to take the edge off, and realized the second time that I didn’t really need it, but I just wanted to be sure — again to avoid injury (either to him or to me).  During our walking rides I alternated between working walk and moseying along on a long rein, extended walk, collected walk, leg yields, serpentines, spiraling in and out circles, etc., just to try to keep his mind busy and get his parts moving.  He pretty much thought this was a complete snooze-fest, but complied nonetheless.  I thought I would be bored too, but surprisingly 30-40 minutes went by in a blink.  Amazing how much I missed riding my horse — it’s been two months since he’s done much more than walk, and almost three weeks since I’ve sat on his back.

Last night we trotted for the first time.  We did about ten minutes at a working walk, then trotted two or three times around, with a couple of circles thrown in,  then back to the walk for ten minutes, then trotted the other way, and then cooled out.  Believe it or not, he was huffing and puffing after just this little bit of work, but it was really warm last night so I’m sure that had something to do with it. 

He feels great.  Nice and relaxed, forward, not too stiff (though he was pretty stiff the first couple of rides at the walk), and very, very happy to have a job again.  I had a crazy moment right before I started trotting where I got worried about whether or not he was sound… but of course he is, and I was just being paranoid.

I have never met a horse that looks more pleased with himself after he works. I hope I captured it well enough in these photos, but my horse was downright cheerful after our ride last night. He absolutely loves having a job.

(Does this expression remind you of another photo?)

He’s getting nice and shiny too, which I love.  Guess that’s what happens when all you can do is groom for two months!  He looks so darn skinny though, I hate that.  He definitely lost muscle in his neck and his topline, and probably dropped a little weight just from the stress of stall rest.  He is a hard keeper and drops weight really fast.  All this nice spring grass will hopefully help take care of that though.

His leg is looking really good, it’s healing a little more every day and doesn’t seem to bother him at all.  Here’s the progress:

Much better than the way it was before, huh?

And Miss Julie is doing well too.  We wanted to quarantine her since she came from so far away, just to make sure she wasn’t sick and wouldn’t be bringing any foreign bugs to the other horses.  So, she’s been a little cranky about being stuck in a stall, but she’s starting to go out now, so that should settle her right down.  She’s been very well behaved about hand-walking and grazing so my guess is she just doesn’t like the idea of being stall bound (can’t say I blame her).  I helped Allison groom her last night and she seemed to enjoy it, although she needed some gentle encouragement that the show sheen bottle was not going to hurt her.  She got over it quickly with some patting though, and appears to be very smart.  She is very affectionate and likes to groom you back when you scratch an itch for her, which is very sweet.  Here she is greeting me when I pulled into the barn last night:

Sorry about the bad photo quality and the glowing eyes, but I thought her expression was too cute not to share.  I have some better ones on my camera from the night we shipped her in, so I’ll post those soon. 

All in all, two very happy horses… I must be doing something right!

>Another Lovely Ride, and Big News for You Julie Fans

March 28, 2011 10 comments

>First things first, let’s talk about Tucker (it’s his blog, after all).  We had a lovely, fabulous, beautiful ride yesterday.  There were moments where I was overwhelmed by how special and awesome he is, like when he stayed round through his back and stepped lightly up into his right lead canter, or during the five minutes of actual working trot we did, when he got lighter, and more engaged, and stayed soft in my hand.  I love those moments.  Even though I can tell that he’s out of shape and we are taking breaks a lot more frequently, physically Tucker feels fabulous.  His canter feels better than ever, for some reason.  I’m not questioning, just enjoying.  I’ve never felt a horse so happy to be back to work.  I guess there’s no question that he loves his job.

And now, onto the big news.  I’ve been struggling recently with what the next step for Julie should be.  She is still in training down at Stones Throw and doing well, but I do want to sell her and it’s been difficult coordinating those efforts with a horse that’s 1,000 miles away.  Boarding is expensive in New Jersey though, and I can’t afford to put her into full training with Alicia, and don’t have time to keep a second horse working myself.  So I’ve been, understandably, at a total loss for what to do. 

As luck would have it, Allison, the assitant manager where I’m boarding Tucker, is retiring her mare and in need of a project horse. She and I had discussed this fact before, but we hadn’t really gotten into the details.  So, yesterday I approached her about the possibility of taking Julie on as her project for the year, or until she sells, and happily, she agreed!  I won’t bore you with all the little details of this arrangement, but suffice it to say that it looks like it will be mutually beneficial and financially very doable, for both of us. And of course, the most important part:  we are on the same page as far as Julie’s training, what she should be doing, what the expectations are, etc.  We both agree that, since she’s only just turning three this summer, the goal should be to work on her brain, keep the little lessons short and sweet, lots of ground work, trail rides, tagging along at horse shows to hang out and take in the sights, etc.  If she can hack around quietly at home, go for a walk in the woods, and generally behave herself away from home, sounds like a perfectly well-rounded three year old to me.

I’m thrilled.  I’ve gone from having no clue what to do with this little girl to being very excited about the next phase for her.  Of course, things could go wrong… Allison and Julie might not get along, it might take longer than a year to sell her, situations could change, so we are still working on some contingency plans, but overall, I think this is going to work out well.  So, for the moment I am staying positive and hoping that this will help me find the best possible home for Jules.  I’ll keep you all posted once she has a move-in date!

Categories: babies, flat work, Julie, Tucker

>Back to Work

March 27, 2011 5 comments

>”You’re going to ride it right?  Please tell me you’re going to ride it?” 

Uh oh.  This was the question that met me when I walked into the barn. 

I wandered down the aisle and found Tucker, who just came in from turnout, covered in mud and walking in circles around his stall.  He paused for a nanosecond to sniff me:  “Hi mom!  Sorry!  Can’t stop!  Busy busy busy!”  He was like a kid on too much sugar (or, more accurately, me on too much sugar).  Apparently the spring grass has gone to his head? 

Tucker is clearly feeling all better and has been finding all kinds of ways to amuse himself (and drive the barn managers nuts) this week. Unfortunately, as you could probably tell from the lack of posts, I had a really busy week at work and didn’t get to ride him at all this week…. Something tells me I better remedy that for the coming week, or Tucker may find himself equus non grata.

My endlessly patient and mildly exasperated barn manager proceeded to tell me that Tucker has torn the mats up in his stall every night, pulled all the blankets off his blanket rack every day, and has been generally disruptive, noisy, and annoying all week.  Lovely, buddy, just lovely. 
Her best story?  When she came back from teaching a lesson to find him wrestling with his blanket in turnout.  He had managed to yank it half way up his neck and his face was completely hidden from view inside the neck hole (are you picturing this?).  He was leaping through the air and striking out at it.  Fearing the worst, she ran out to the field, convinced he was stuck and panicking.  But no, oh no, he pulled his head out and looked at her, totally amused, and then went back to his game, grabbing the chest buckles in his teeth, then burying his face up to his eyeballs and boucing around the field like a wild 1200-pound puppy with a new toy. 

Only my horse.  Only. My. Horse.
Given his current state, I quickly booted him up and led him down to the indoor to run around while the ring was empty.  The second I unclipped the leadrope, he squealed and spun and took off at a full gallop, gobbling up the length of the arena in about ten strides.  He lept, he spun, he bronced, he bucked, he tossed his head, he struck out with his front feet, he kicked out behind, he squealed, he grunted, he whinnied.  I just stood at the gate and watched.  Uh… at least he’s sound?  Even if… slightly deranged?  Then he trotted for a bit, and walked around snorting at things, and then went back to galloping a few more laps, and then when he was done, just turned and walked toward me, calm as could be.  “Ok mom, all better.  Man I needed thatPhew!”  I handwalked him for a minute or two and then got tacked up.
Despite the theatrics, I’m happy to say he was a dream to ride.  He was soft, and relaxed, and listening, albeit completely unfit and out of shape, so we took a lot of walk breaks.  He got some nice foam on both sides of his mouth, did everything I asked, and seemed to enjoy the work, which made me very happy.  When we were done, he stood on the cross ties with his ears up and his eyes half shut, licking his lips.  Much nicer horse than when I arrived.  That’s more like it.  At least I know he misses me when I’m not around, right?
I actually forgot how lovely he is to ride.  Well, maybe I didn’t forget, but I did get a new appreciation for what a fabulous horse he is, after not working him for so long.  So nice to have my boy back.

>A Post About Tucker

February 7, 2011 7 comments

>Tucker has informed me that if I do one more blog post that has nothing to do with him, and if I don’t get my act together and write something about him soon, he’s going to make a formal request that his name and likeness be removed from the banner.  Seeing as though I’m his legal counsel, I don’t think he’s going to get very far with that one, but I’m humoring him nonetheless.

So, where did I leave off?  Ah yes, The Move.  The move coincided with more snow than anyone should ever have to deal with.  Especially during a move.  Below is an illustration of why one should never choose February 1st as a move-out date:

On Day 3 of my 5-day moving extravaganza, Sterling finally caught on to the fact that something was up.  I came back to the old apartment after moving all the furniture I could without the help of the three guys who were coming the following day, and Sterling just backed away from me slowly.  “You made the furniture disappear and now I can’t trust you and something is horribly wrong and I don’t understand and I want the furniture to come back and are you going to make me disappear too???”  That’s when I realized that Sterling is the simple cat, and Lilly is, by default, his helper cat.  [Please, please, please click on those links.  Funniest blog on the internet.  You won’t be sorry.  Just shut your office door first, because you’re going to cackle.]  Here she is, trying to console him on Day 4:

There’s a lot more funny stories to be told about the cats, but there’s a big brown horse who will be very upset if I spend anymore time talking about them.  I’ll save those stories for a rainy day.

Speaking of rain, right after the moving extravaganza, we were hit with more snow, and then some freezing rain.  Not exactly ideal weather to go ride the horse that’s had a week off.  Also, I was completely and utterly broken.  I had a knot so big on my back that I made my roommate feel it and tell me whether she thought it was a tumor.  No way was I going to be able to ride, since walking up and down stairs, operating the remote, and lifting a martini glass were proving to be painful.  I treated myself like a sore hoof, and soaked a lot in epsom salts all week.  I’m starting to feel better now, but I’m definitely in need of some chiro and massage. 

Speaking of chiro, I had an adjustment and acupuncture scheduled for Tucker at the beginning of last week to get everything lined up in the right place before he went back to work.  So, so, so glad I did.  He feels a million times better than he did before the time off.  Swingy, and loose, and forward, and soft, right from the start of each ride.  Even on the really cold nights.  I definitely think he had tweaked something and was a little uncomfortable somewhere, possibly because of walking through all the deep snow, or maybe he slipped a little on some ice.  Either way, although he wasn’t off, he wasn’t quite right, but now he feels back to his old lovely self.

Of course, not sure you want your horse feeling in tip-top shape right before you hop on for the first time in two weeks, in the middle of February.  Possible recipe for disaster?  So the first day back, I put him on the lunge line first, and wow did he have some beautiful bucks in there.  So glad I let him get that out before hopping on.  Once I convinced him to settle down and trot for a bit (so his eyes could return to their rightful place in his head), he looked really good, much more suspension behind than I’ve seen in a while.  So I got on and did some long-and-low trot work the first night, and we quit with that.  The second night, we added in a few canter circles, but couldn’t do much more because someone was threatening to go vvvvvvvvvvvvery ffffffffffffast every time he saw the longside of the arena opening up in front of him like the back stretch.  Silly horse.  Let’s try trotting, hmmm?  So we don’t kill the nice little girl on her new horse at the other end of the ring?  Hmm?

So, in an effort to regain some control, I went back to our old friend the Instant Gag for the last two rides.  Day One went brilliantly.  He tried to pull like a freight train when we hit the top of the long side the first time, realized I had some control, bounced up and down for a stride or two, and then was absolutely perfect.  What I love about the Instant Gag is that I can stay completely light and soft with my hands, and when he tries to lean, he feels some pressure from the gag rein and self-corrects, and then I can just close my leg and send him forward and he stays light in my hands.  Much better than me trying to have a tug-of-war with him, which is (a) useless; and (b) painful.  On Day Two in the gag, there was a lot going on in the arena, and he had a minor melt down and ran backwards at one point, but then steadily improved from there and ended more or less very relaxed.  Which, for all the commotion (lots of riders and lungers, ice sliding off the roof, horses misbehaving, etc.), was pretty impressive. 

Today he gets a day off, and then weather permitting, we’re headed to Alicia’s for a lesson (which we haven’t done since Christmas!) so this should be a good week. 

Oh… and one last thing… I have a new job!  I start a week from today, and I’m very excited about it.  It’s a smaller firm, but the work will be a lot more interesting and it feels like a great atmosphere.  One of the partners there has known me since law school and has been a mentor of mine for several years now, so that factor alone I think will make it a good fit.  I know it’s technically not Tucker-related, but since he depends on my income to keep him in the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed, I’d stay it still belongs in this post.  Plus, during the transition time, I don’t have to be at work all day every day, so I’m hoping to get in some good quality time with Tucker all week.  Figure it will do my brain lots of good and get me refreshed and ready for the next step. 

Glad to be back, bloggers.  I have lots of catching up to do on your blogs!