Sunday, November 30, 2014


Oh the drama. I feel like I am live bogging a reality show. Normally my trips here are very quiet and restful: family dinners with the Musgroves and occasional guests, walks in the woods, time with the nephew (not so restful), and lots of time to read and work. This year, it is very different.

So Rietta has this guy she has been sort-of dating - Hal. It’s not clear to me if they were officially dating or casually dating, or just hanging out. Anyway - she has this guy that she has some kind of relationship with. He’s been away working and she hasn’t seen him for three weeks. He came by last night for the first time since returning and it was… awkward. He found Wentworth also at the Lodge and found everyone smitten with Wentworth, including Rietta.

Wentworth is guilty of working his charms on both Louisa and Rietta and it’s not clear to anyone who he prefers. Rietta is prettier and closer in age, but Louisa is more outgoing, and I don’t know Wentworth well enough now to guess which is more likely to attract him. Charles and Mary like to debate the issue. Mary likes to speculate he prefers Rietta, but I suspect that is because she doesn’t want to see Rietta with Hal (his family doesn’t pass Mary’s test for social standing). Charles puts his money on Louisa, despite the age difference between her and Wentworth.

It was very painful watching Hal try to rekindle Rietta’s interest while Rietta was constantly distracted by something Wentworth did or said. I tried my best to converse with Hal and cover for Rietta’s lapses in the conversation, but Hal was clearly aware of the shift in attention. Wentworth, to be fair, knew nothing of Hal and Rietta, and as far as I know there is nothing official to know about Hal and Rietta.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Last night after dinner Rietta, Louisa and I made the drive to the local pub with Wentworth.

I tried to get out of it but Rietta was insistent and they needed a designated driver, so I went.  Thanks for the help with my poll about that yesterday, by the way. I got some sage wisdom through that, actually. My fave "Go out with them and show Wentworth that you're an interesting, self-confident person who does not need his company to have a good time. I believe in you, Anne!"   Wow. That actually made me think about my reasons for wanting to avoid going. Someone else pointed out that it's best to just get over the awkwardness with Wentworth. I totally agree, and I've been trying but he is so cold and just refuses any attempts on my part to even be normal-level friendly. How do you get past awkwardness when someone is throwing ice-daggers at you every time they look at you?

Anyway. I went with them. Harboured delusions that it might be fun, even.

Once there, she and Louisa were desperate for some dancing so they fed the retro jukebox to get a Madonna song and pulled Wentworth onto a dance floor while I held our table, watching them with a smile fixed on my face as Wentworth flirted with both of them.

At one point I was on the phone with Mary, who was trying to get me to come home and make her tea, and I thought I felt Wentworth staring at me - probably observing all the ways in which I have aged poorly. I heard him ask “does Anne dance?” to which Rietta replied “Anne? Oh no, she gave up dancing years ago.” It made me sound like an old grandma, but it’s true - Rietta and I used to hit the dance floor together a few years ago, but I've stopped. Clubs and dance floors have lost their appeal.

They didn't dance for long - Wentworth talked them into games of pool -Wentworth with one of the girls and me with the other, with Lousia and Rietta switching teams every game. Notably no one suggested I be on Wentworth’s team. I wonder if anyone notices how weird it is between him and I? Anyway, I’m a terrible pool player - except for the occasional very lucky shot that makes me look like a pool shark. Wentworth is quite good, so he tried to teach his teammate how to make a good shot. It was exactly what you are picturing - him leaning over Rietta/Lousia to adjust their grip on the cue - not in a skeevy way, not gratuitously, but in their personal space. Needless to say no one was fighting to be on my team.

I’m working hard during this to be agreeable, to have fun, but it was hard. His cold politeness is so hard to bear - I sometimes wish he were openly angry with me instead. With everyone else he is lively and charming, funny, witty, kind, and fully of interesting anecdotes, with me it is icy civility and nothing more. To have him be this way and pretend that it doesn't affect me, it’s exhausting. I slip away for occasional moments - to get a drink, to go to the bathroom, to vent on twitter, anything that will give me a few minutes where I don’t have to smile and pretend that I’m enjoying watching all this.

I came home and went to bed and was finally free of having to put on a happy face for everyone, and then I lay in bed and am confronted with the images of Wentworth with Louisa or Rietta, his hand on theirs, his smile at something they say. All these images.

(Special thanks to @EstherJoybelle, @mayusteapot, @RoxiOnti who helped distract me via twitter last night!)

Friday, November 28, 2014



Rietta and Louisa are trying to talk me into going to the pub in town with them tonight. 

There is a 97% chance that Wentworth will be there also. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Wentworth has been at the lodge a lot - several dinners and evenings, a few afternoon outings. He doesn't speak to me except to say the most basic civilities. We are strangely together a lot and yet still worlds apart. I found myself sitting next to him one evening as a few of us were going to play cards. I tried to chat with him - not about anything serious, just something beyond ‘hello’, but he made an excuse to get up and change seats. I took the hint that he wanted our relationship to start and end with ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and I didn't push it.

There was one evening, early on, when Louisa or Rietta asked him to recount his career, starting with where he went to university. He mentioned the year of our engagement while doing this and didn't falter at all but it must trigger reminders for him, even if all the old feelings are gone, right?

It hurts, that someone I was so close to, someone who is so good, is perpetually estranged. We are worse than strangers - since the possibility of ever being friends has been removed.

I find it so hard to meet people I connect with, who I can have interesting conversations with, be understood by - I can’t help but be sad that I have lost that. I am reduced to making comments about the weather and anything more is expertly avoided by him. I hear his conversations, they are always the most interesting ones in the room, and it kind of kills me that I can’t participate. He and I used to have great debates, I miss that. Now he gets gushing enthusiasm from Lousia, occasional thoughtful questions from Rietta, but no one really challenges him; I wonder if he likes that. Maybe. Maybe he has changed.

I need to stop thinking about this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bandit Tuesday

Bandit now reliably comes to me when called. (Except in cases of squirrels, understandably.)

She doesn't behave that well with Charles even, so I consider this quite a good character reference for me. Or possibly it is commentary on the reliability of me having the good treats in my pocket.

It reminds me a bit of Mary's approach to parenting except my nephew knows how to get the treats/toys out of her without obeying (spoiler: lay on floor, have very loud tantrum).  Charles complains to me about this pretty regularly, hoping I can get Mary to spoil their son less, but Mary is not a disciplinarian, especially not if it causes anyone discomfort. My little nephew is growing up in an environment with a diversity of parenting approaches, it will be very interesting to see how he turns out!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger, I know. Q&A and photo posts don’t a proper blog make.

I wanted to run away. I admit it. Wouldn't you? If Wentworth is staying here and hanging out with Rietta and Louisa and Charles… wouldn't it just be better for me to be somewhere else?

I thought so and I still think so but I also don’t want to be chased away. I’m a grown-up and I can handle a little social discomfort. I'm not going to be chased away from my own family and friends. I’m sucking it up and sticking it out for now. 

I'm going to focus on making progress on my literacy program proposal and not get caught up in distractions. I need to use this time to get my business plan done so I can start applying for funding.  I know I’ll have a harder time getting work done in Bath – being immersed in Dad and Elizabeth’s world always hampers my productivity. Here, all I have to do is skip out on the activities and work instead. Like Sunday - Rietta invited me to go for a hike with her and Louisa and Wentworth. (Mary was upset not to be invited too and I had to remind her that she was taking her son to a friend's birthday party.) I turned down Rietta's invitation and spent the afternoon doing some good, solid work following up on the advice of my old professor who reviewed my proposal. Easy, right?

But I reserve the right to run away later.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Time to Move On?

I've been wondering if I should move to Bath earlier than planned.

I've visited Mary up here before, but usually just for a week or two. I've been here a month already and have another month to go, according to the original plan. I could easily drive myself to Bath at any point. 

I’m sure Mary and Charles are sick of having me around. I know Dad and Elizabeth would be surprised and put out if I showed up a month ahead of schedule, but they'd come around to the idea.

If I can find a way to do it without Mary getting offended, I think it might be the best thing to do. I'm distracted here, not getting much work done. Time to move on, right?

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Sometimes it's best to start the day with blueberry pancakes.

That's what my nephew said and I'm obliging. I think it was a fine idea.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alone in Public

Tonight everyone (Rietta, Lousia, Mary, Charles, Wentworth) is going to a local distillery for a tour and tasting.

I was supposed to go but I made excuses - said I had a friend in town I was meeting.

So I drove into the little village centre, found a cafe and am enjoying some solid people watching for a bit.

I just wanted to get away from everyone without being alone. Coffee shops are great for that - being by yourself without being alone. Solitary walks in the woods are nice, but sometimes you want to be around humanity without having to put in the effort of conversation or smoothing over aggravations or pretending to be unperturbed by what’s going on around you.

Also, there are lots of brownies here.

And look at the adorable mug my tea came in. Way better than whatever whisky is served in, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Q&A #3

It’s been a while and I don't really have the heart for a proper blog post....

Q1: What does Wentworth do? How does he have so much free time?

Wentworth is an entrepreneur, although that word seems inadequate for what he really does. He has great ideas and makes profitable companies out of them. I can’t get specific without giving away identities - but he’s started a few small companies, all very different, all filling an unmet need. But it’s more than that - they are companies that do things differently…. he manages to be successful without appealing to the lowest common denominator - the usual path to success. His companies all have a social enterprise or community building aspect to them as well - creating training opportunities for under-skilled workers, or employing chronically unemployed people. His companies prove that a business can be successful while contributing to the community rather than just being a black hole of resource sucking.

The free time thing is because he’s taken time off to recharge. He’s basically been working like a maniac since he and I parted ways eight years ago and he was about to burn out, so he handed over the reins of his latest venture to a partner and is spending time enjoying life (and, one assumes, getting his next great idea). He sold his first company for enough money to set him up for a long time, so a year off is easily done financially. Based on conversations I've overheard - I think he’s having a hard time relaxing and getting into the slow pace of normal life; being a workaholic. He seems happy here because he can go hiking or biking every morning, which I guess makes it easier to be idle and socialize in the afternoons and evenings.

Q2: Why do you call Wentworth by his surname?

Like the others I blog about, I've made up a name for him to preserve anonymity, so Wentworth isn't actually his name. It is paralleling what people call him in a way though - he got a nickname in university that sounds like a surname and it stuck. It's actually really weird to hear people call him by his real first name. (Everyone here has switched to his nickname already.)  So 'Wentworth' is a pseudonym for a nickname really.

Q3: Can I post I picture of Wentworth?

I really can't, sorry! This is an anonymous blog, remember and Wentworth is kind of well known.

Q4: What does Wentworth look like?

What can I say that isn't too much of a giveaway? He is tall and commands attention when he enters a room, but somehow does so modestly. When you talk, he focuses on you and really listens – that is the secret to his charm, he listens so intently and genuinely cares about what you're saying. He’s friendly but not a pushover. He has dark hair that he lets get too long so that it’s always causing him grief. When he smiles, which is often, he gets one set of very obvious dimples and when he is trying to suppress a smile he gets an entirely different set.

Q5: How long have I played piano for?

As long as I can remember. My mom put each of us in lessons of various sorts and music stuck for me. (Elizabeth quit piano a few years in and moved on to dance for a while, then riding lessons, then tennis and so on until Mom died and she was free to focus on her real passion: shopping. Mary quit piano quickly, tried dance for a year, and I remember one hilarious day when Mom suggested she join Girl Scouts. She did not join Girl Scouts.)

I love piano. I had to be bribed to practice as a kid, like all kids, but around, oh, twelve or so, I embraced it. When I’m at the piano puzzling out a piece or playing something I know well, my mind clears and it is just music. I can’t play piano and think about other things. It’s kind of meditative that way – an escape from the hamster-wheel chatter of my brain. When I need to escape something my brain is doing, I sit down and work on a complicated piano piece. Sometimes I don’t have the patience for the complicated or technical stuff and I will sit and play whatever matches my mood – which can be dangerous, the piano can amplify what you are feeling very powerfully.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cut in Two

The Musgroves have people over for dinner constantly. We probably have half of our family dinners over there, and usually there is another guest or two to help keep the conversation fresh and lively.

Tonight the guest was Wentworth.

I tried to quietly find out in advance if he would be there, like I've done with every dinner invite over the past week, but I couldn't get a clear answer from Mary or Charles. Just in case, I put a bit of extra effort into looking nice, though I know it’s pointless.

We were late - Mary had an issue at the last minute where she felt unwell and had to be talked into coming anyway, with much flattery about her fortitude in persevering through hardship and how the party would be pointless without her.  In any case, we eventually coaxed her into going to the party.

We entered the living room and found everyone gathered around the fireplace, with Wentworth, Louisa, and Rietta at the card table. Mary launched into a description of her stomach ache to which some perfunctory soothing things were said and then a change in topic was artfully introduced by Mr. Musgrove by asking Charles a business question.

Rietta: Anne, come join me! You’re so good at this game, come be my teammate. Wentworth is ruthless.

Wentworth laughing: Well the game is called ‘Asshole’.

I approached the table and was about to sit next to Rietta when Wentworth got up suddenly. 

Wentworth: Please, take my hand; I need to discuss something with Charles.

The words “take my hand” nearly gave me a heart attack and I’m sure I turned bright red. I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the face. Wentworth also seemed to be flustered by the words that had come out of his mouth; he stood for a moment before going to sit by Charles and Mr. Musgrove.

Louisa - general protesting at Wentworth leaving.

Rietta: That’s too bad; he’s fun to play with. Will you take over his hand, Anne, or do you want to start over?

Me, still flustered: Oh, uh, I’ll take his hand.[more flustered] He was winning after all, wasn't he?

Rietta: This isn’t going to go well for me. You and Wentworth are both sharks at this game. We’ll have to get him to play again later - I’d love to see what happens when you two play each other!

Despite my excellent hand, I managed to lose the game.

It normally would have been the kind of evening I really enjoy - conversation and some games with friends, lots of laughs. But I was constantly on edge because of Wentworth. I couldn't help but strain to overhear all his conversations, such that I struggled to hold up my own. I spent every moment wondering if he would say something to me, look at me, anything. After dinner when the board games came out, he contrived to never be on my team. In fact, he so artfully managed to avoid interacting with me, I began to remember when we dated how he was so expert at avoiding his brother who wanted him to help at the market. We would laugh at the lengths he went to.

I thought about cornering him somewhere and just saying what I wanted to say. I wasn't sure what that was though. I wanted to clear the air somehow. But what could I say? I had broken off our engagement, that was a fact. What could I say that would make that any better, eight years later? But at some point in the evening, I resolved to speak to him. If we were going to be hanging out together over the next week or two or longer, it was silly to play this game of pretending we didn't have history.

Late in the evening he was pouring himself and Charles some whiskey by the sideboard. I went over. In my head I had decided to say “Wentworth, I wanted to say how sorry I am for what happened all those years ago; I hope you can forgive me and be friends.”

I approached him, quietly, apparently, because he started and splashed whisky on the table when I said his name. He turned and I got as far as ‘wanted to’ before my voice completely failed me. He was staring at me with such intensity - was it hatred? It was the first time we had made eye contact - really looked at each other in eight years. I was swimming in so many emotions that I couldn't say anything. It didn't matter anyway, the moment lasted only a few seconds and he frowned and walked away without a word.

I felt like someone had taken a sword and sliced me in half. I didn't think I could return to company and carry on a conversation so I quietly slipped out to the vestibule.

It was so strange - staring into those eyes again after all these years. The hours I used to spend studying his face. But that expression, it was ice and it was aimed at me.

Piano Practice

No words for today. Here is some piano instead - another practice session clip.

Click here if the video doesn't show up below.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Answers - My History With Wentworth

I was hoping I would get to skip out on this part of my history, but it appears determined to come up. 

There have been several emails asking for the full story of my history with Wentworth, invoking Rule 3 of the blog: complete honesty. Given how unsettled I have been by running into him again, it’s probably clear that saying ‘we dated’ doesn't sum it up properly.

So here it is.

Wentworth came into my neighbourhood to stay with his brother for a summer and we met by chance at the produce market his brother owned. Our connection was instant. 

This was eight years ago. I was 19, he was 23. I was about to go off to university, he had just finished.

Without getting all misty-eyed and silly, I will just say that I loved him, and he loved me. We spent every free moment together and talked about everything. Nothing could have been a greater contrast with the fitful high school relationships I had. Wentworth and I were honest and open and real with each other from the very first second. There were no games. It was comfortable and electric at the same time.

We would spend our free days finding places to be alone. He took me to a provincial park and we kayaked out to an island, had a picnic on the beach and pretended the rest of the world didn’t exist. We spent hours walking around the city, talking. If we weren't together, time dragged until we were. 

After a summer together - 4 amazing months - he proposed and I accepted. I knew that being with him was the right thing and marrying him seemed perfect.

I was persuaded by my family to retract my acceptance. They were convinced that at 19 I wasn't ready for marriage. Besides me being too young, they had other objections. From their point of view he was a young man fresh out of university with no way to support himself, no industry connections to speed his success along; he just had some crazy ideas and grand notions about his ability to realize his dreams. Dad would add that he came from a family name of no importance and was of insufficient social status to be marrying one of his daughters.

All this I could have withstood except Lacy’s argument that I would hold him back as he strove for a breakthrough in a tough industry. Wentworth was an entrepreneur and had beautiful dreams of changing the world by demonstrating that ethical businesses could be successful. He had just come out of the ‘cesspit of greed’ that was business school (his words) and believed even more strongly that he needed to prove he was right, to change the way the world did business. To realize his dreams, he would need to have years of late nights and intense focus on work. I didn't want to hold him back. He had great ideas and vision and ambition; he was going to change the world and I believed in him. I thought it was my duty to free him from the burden of me and I did it with great difficulty, out of love, and – in hindsight – out of stupidity.

I believe Wentworth thought I didn't love him. He certainly felt wronged and left town angry without giving us time to work through it or me a chance to properly explain. 

I never heard from him again. 

It took me a long time to recover from the loss; and my single status at 27 may hint at whether or not I ever found someone I liked better. I haven’t been sitting around pining after him, I've just never connected with anyone the way I did with him and I’m not interested in a relationship that lacks that.

Now, after all these years of silently following his success online (he was right - all his crazy ideas panned out and every company he started turned to gold), he is here again. Not for me, certainly, just coincidentally socializing with people I know which puts us in company together.

He has charmed everyone - they all see in him now what I saw eight years ago. He has apparently also found some of the Musgroves charming, because I’m told that he will be staying in the nearby resort town for a few weeks. He has an open invitation at the Lodge and we anticipate him to be there frequently.

I simultaneously live for and dread our first conversation in eight years.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hard Truths

Louisa and Rietta came by today and happened to mention something that has been very helpful.

Lousia: Anne, you know we asked Wentworth what he thought of seeing you again, because Mary mentioned that you met him years ago, and, you know, he wasn't very nice!
Not Me! Photo by kroszka, filter by me

Me: oh really?

Rietta: That’s right! He said you had changed to so much he wouldn't have recognized you. Not a very polite thing to say.

Me: <mortification>

But really, I think it’s good to hear this.

Partly because it is true - I’m not the blooming youth I was when he and I met. While the years have added to his looks, they have only taken away from mine - I admit this; it’s how it generally is for men and women. I’m glad to hear this report, hearing his words sobers me up. All that wondering - is he thinking about me, is his being here reminding him of that time eight years ago - clearly the answer is that he has moved on, no warm feelings remain. And I have moved on too, really. I went on and lived my life, I hadn't really thought about him in years until all this. Now I feel like every blog entry I write is that of a gushing 16 year old. I’ll have to stop being silly and act like a grown up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


My nephew is fine. He seems to be enjoying his turn at playing the invalid, and we’re all enjoying the unusual quiet around the house as a result of his containment.

Everyone reported that the dinner and evening party were fabulous. Wentworth has been described to me in glowing terms. He is charming, I’m told, very easy to talk to, no shyness, funny. Full of interesting stories. Handsome, of course. 

Mary gave me this intel:

Mary: he asked about you, Anne.

Me, heart stopped: really?

Mary: yes, nothing particular, just generally. He probably made a point of familiarizing himself with Father’s family tree before coming so he could be sure to pay proper respects to all of us. He is so thoughtful!”

Charles left a while ago for the Lodge. He and Wentworth arranged to go look at some trails in the woods today before we all head to town for a Remembrance Day ceremony. They thought it best to avoid the cottage because of my ill nephew (or is there something else at the cottage Wentworth is keen to avoid?).

. . . . . .

My hands are shaking.

The front door opened, just as I typed the text above, and it was Charles and Wentworth. Charles had forgotten his gloves so they stopped here on their way to the woods. I was in the living room with Mary and Wentworth walked in and time stopped while every feeling in the known universe rushed over me.

He said hello to Mary and glanced at me. Said something general and pleasing to Mary which I couldn't pay attention to because I was trying not to explode into a thousand pieces. And then he was gone and it was done - our first meeting was over. Mary talked at me for a while after that, but I don’t think I heard a word. I've been sitting at my laptop for twenty minutes trying to compose this, trying to calm myself. 

We stood in the same room - he saw me and I saw him! It’s absurd that after 8 years I should be this agitated. I need to go for a walk and clear my head. 

He is still as good looking as he ever was.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Get A Grip

I am a horrible person - I've been made happy by the injury of my nephew.

We were all scheduled to have dinner at the Lodge tonight with Wentworth as the special guest. The Musgroves met him last week in town and invited him over for tonight’s dinner. I was to go tonight too, of course.

I dreaded the dinner all day long. I thought up a thousand excuses to avoid going, but in the end I decided I should just get it over with. If Wentworth is going to be in the area for a while, then I will have to see him, I will have to learn how to be unaffected by his being around.

About two hours before dinner my nephew got into some mayhem outside while Charles wasn't looking and managed to fracture his arm! He went to the hospital and has been bandaged up and will be fine. Mary was in hysterics when it happened but recovered enough to want to still go to the dinner.

It was arranged that I would stay with my nephew while Mary and Charles went to dinner. I was surprised they both would choose a party over nursing their injured son, but I may have encouraged them to go since it allowed me to delay the meeting with Wentworth a bit longer.

The coward in me triumphed tonight.

They've left for the dinner and my nephew is asleep, leaving me awake to wonder what Wentworth must be feeling at the prospect of meeting me again. I assume he is indifferent. He is probably totally unaffected by my name. He could have reached out to me at any time during the past eight years and he didn't. Obviously he has moved on. He must have some small curiosity, though, right?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Walk in the Woods

In the rush of productivity I had after getting feedback on my program proposal, I forgot to post the link to the short video I made a few days ago! Nothing fancy, just some snippets from one of my walks in the woods (without Bandit). We had a sunny day - which can be a rare thing in November - and I wanted to share how peaceful the woods are here with you.

I'm pretty bad at filming video footage, but I think it gets the setting across.  Maybe helps you understand how lovely it is here, and how my daily walks help me keep my sanity.

On the social front - the Musgroves have met Wentworth and invited him to dinner. Am trying not to think about that.

Click here if the video doesn't show up below.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I got the feedback from my old professor and her colleague and both of them were overwhelmingly positive about what I have proposed!!!

They provided some critical analysis too, suggestions, advice for additional people I can contact for more information and possible resources.

I'm practically buzzing right now - both from the positive feedback and the critical. I've been working on this alone in isolation for months now (how has that much time passed already??), it is amazing to have knowledgeable outside input and encouragement.

I have excused myself from all of Mary's plans for today and am driving into town to work at the library. I want to make progress while I'm so energized!

In conclusion: yay!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Literacy Program - Info and Inspiration

I'm expecting to get feedback from my old professor and her colleague on my program brief tomorrow, and I'm feeling rather nervous about it. I'm not sure what I'll do if they tear the idea to shreds.

While I wait, I continue to troll the internet looking for more information, more inspiration for my program - there is some amazing stuff going on out there to improve literacy in kids, it's wonderful and inspiring.

Here are some of the things I've found lately, in case anyone is as interested in this as I am:

An interesting article this morning about research showing the dramatic results one ipad-based learn-to-read app had on early literacy test scores. Fodder for the debate about screen time for kids, something I don't know much about. (Although Mary lets my nephew have as much time with the tablet as he wants.) 

An interesting, easy to understand summary of where kids typically are with reading by various ages - I find this fascinating:
by age 5-6:
by age 7-8:

This example of a journalism writing/editing program for kids that gets them exciting about reading and writing in a way normal classroom activities don't - partly because they are doing it in the office of a real newspaper:

That last one is really inspiring to me - that's what I get excited about. Those kids are not stigmatized by getting to participate in that program, probably the opposite - getting picked to participate makes you the lucky one. That's the kind of program I want to run.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


One of the things I both love and hate about being at the Lodge is seeing Rietta and Louisa together. They are like the sisters you see in movies – they share interests and get excited about the same stuff, they enjoy each other’s company, they support and encourage each other. They understand each other. It’s lovely to see two people who have such a great relationship. It also serves to highlight what is missing in my own family relationships.

Family is such a funny thing, isn't it? A collection of people you have a bond with that is so strong you may depend on them when you are in trouble, while at the same time, they may not really know you at all. In fact, family has this special 'right' of treating each other far worse than they would ever dare treat strangers. Why is that? 

I often fall into the habit of dismissing my sisters' concerns as being trivial, as they do mine. I'm trying to be better about it lately - to remember that while I might disagree with the level of importance they assign things, it's not all about me. I try to see things from their perspective, to listen, to withhold judgement. It's really hard! And then I see Rietta and Louisa together and I get so jealous because they are so easy with each other; it's not work for them. How wonderful that must be!

Am I the only one that struggles to connect with siblings? Is it me?

Monday, November 3, 2014


Whenever I don't feel like blogging, I resort to a photo of Bandit in the woods.  I feel like I should apologize, but really, wasn't the internet created for posting photos of animals?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Impending Visitor

I sent off my program summary to my old professor on Friday. While I wait for feedback on it I am being kept busy entertaining my nephew (and Mary) and many visits with the Musgroves and their various guests.

On the home front? The Crofts met the Musgroves when they were up here and the meeting prompted the Musgroves to realize that their late son, Richard, briefly worked for Mrs. Croft's brother, Wentworth, several years ago. So they have been speaking of Wentworth rather a lot.

I blushed at first when his name was mentioned and would find myself distracted - flubbing a board game or piano piece, but I’ve grown somewhat used to it and now it hardly bothers me. We’re told Wentworth will be visiting Mrs. Croft soon and then plans to come up here to do some hiking. The Musgroves are determined that he visit them when he is here so they can thank them for their kindness to 'poor Richard'.

I must be able to act like a normal person around the mention of his name. Usually I’m quite good at swallowing my true feelings and showing a calm exterior. The fact that Wentworth can unnerve me after all these years is…. alarming. It’s been eight years, how much has changed in eight years? Everything, right?

Mary has little patience for all this talk of ‘poor Richard’. Richard was not what you would call a success - he tended to spend his family’s money faster than they provided it, and switched jobs every year or so – always off on some new scheme for overnight success. He worked for one of Wentworth’s start-ups for a few months, but it happened to be one of those spells when Richard called his parents regularly and stayed out of trouble, and it seems his parents are attributing that improved behaviour to Wentworth’s influence. Since Richard’s death a few years ago, his faults have been softened and his virtues magnified; a treatment we all probably hope for when we pass on.

The Musgroves are adamant about meeting Wentworth, now that they know of his connection with their Richard.

I wonder what it will be like when we meet again?