Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hiking Mt. Zircon in Rumford

White Mountains, NH. Click picture to enlarge. 
Bailey and I hiked Mt. Zircon on Memorial Day. What a day... blue skies, cooling winds, and near one-hundred mile views. As you can see, the White Mountains were snow covered.

Most of the woodlands around Mt. Zircon are now owned by the Poland Springs Co. In the 1800s, the Mt Zircon water company was known as Moontide Springs. The so-called medicinal waters attracted people "from away"--folks we Mainers like to call flatlanders.

Back in the 1960s when I was a boy, Mt. Zircon bottled soda made all of us local kids smile. In my neighborhood, we bought our sodas at Potvin's Store just a 100 yards from my home. This little penny candy store had a red Coca Cola ice water cooler; that ice water kept those sodas chilled perfectly... Mt Zircon Grape, Birch Beer, and Orange were my favorite flavors.

Concord Pond, Peru ME
The old Moontide Springs spring house, now wrapped in barbed wire to keep out people and wild things, is still at the base of the hiking trail. The 50-room hotel is long gone. Up on top of the mountain, the fire watch tower has been toppled so hikers won't scale it and put themselves in danger. It'd be great if the forest service would take apart the metal structure and remove it.  

The last time I hiked Mt Zircon was 10-15 years ago. Back then, I mountain biked from the Rumford Point side of the mountain and then tried to ride up the hiking trail. That was not happening. I pushed the bike as far as I could and then hiked the last 15 minutes up to the summit.

Mt Zircon is 2 miles outside of downtown Rumford just off the South Rumford road. The round trip hike is about 2 hours.
Rumford and the Androscoggin River

Mt. Blue in Weld ME

"Take the picture and give me a treat, Human... please.

Western Maine mountains

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Making commitments

Committing to a book project is daunting. Usually, projects like Writing on the Bus or A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers take about a year to draft, working with my editor-friends Anne and Gayle. Then, I spend about 3-6 months in the revision process with the editorial staff of a publishing house. These ballpark figures focus on the writing (i.e., note taking, drafting, author revisions, publishing house revision). The hemming and hawing of choosing a project can take from one to five years. Why? Living with a book project is kind of like getting engaged or for 21st century teenagers it's like asking someone if, in Facebook lingo, they should simultaneously post "In a relationship with..." Heck, that's big stuff.

Maine Team 1984... after a stunning loss in the mud. Note:
The only boy smiling is Mark #12--he's now an undertaker. 
Right now, I have two projects on my mind. First, I've wanted to write a book about taking the Maine State Team to England during the 1980s and 1990s. Over those two decades, 500 Maine athletes on 30 Maine Teams played soccer in and around London. And imagine, only 7 kids got arrested, no one died, and only one player went home because of homesickness. Oh, and we always won (!). I have a ton of data connected to these trips; I asked kids to write me about their experiences on the way home on the plane. I wrote follow-up trip letters to the kids' families--these were 8-10 page single spaced accounts of our days. And now I'm connected to quite a few of the guys through Facebook.

I'm afraid of starting this project for several reasons. One is that it's probably going to end up having to be a memoir. Tying together 500 kids, 30 teams, and 13 years of trips probably means the focus will have to be me. I don't like the sound of that. I suspect there's another way beyond memoir to write this book, but I'm not enough of a writer to know what that is and I don't know that I want to go and learn (I hate saying that). Second, I'm thinking this project could take 3-5 years to write. Can I make that kind of commitment of energy? That's a lot of living time--which is to day, I'll spend every day, every vacation, and every weekend writing.

The second project I've known I'll write might be called One Dog's Writer: Living a Writer's Life as a Teacher. I know from my days as a National Writing Project site director that a lot of teachers, especially English/language arts teachers, really want to write. I've done that fairly well, and so have many of my friends, so I thought I'd write an encouraging and helpful book on establishing and maintaining a writing practice.  This project is a one year deal. I know who I'd interview; I have notes; I even have a rough outline. Not that the book would be easy, but I do know that it's doable and I do know that my editor at Peter Lang would be interested.

Thing is, I'd really like to write the soccer book.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Birthday Boy!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Bailey Tuckerman Kent. 

Happy Birthday, Bailey! The BIG 3!

Yup, the little guy hit three today and wouldn't you know that our friend Jane Cicala from Slovakia, a veterinarian, remembered to send greetings and so did Simon, Bailey's brother from Denmark. Very kind. Man, he was a little guy when I first met him in June of 2010. I think what a friend of mine said holds true, "We never know how much love we have to give until we get a dog."

June 2010

June 2010

Bailey's mom Maggie. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

New book for soccer players out soon!

Click on picture to enlarge. 
Amy Edwards of Gonzaga University and I have just about completed a new notebook/journal  for soccer players. Smaller than Soccer Team Notebook, Pitch Notes Soccer Journal still has journal prompts and Match Analysis pages. Thanks once again to Gayle Sirois for her editorial expertise. We were to have finished up the book today with a conference call, but Amy fell ill and we'll get to it over the next few days.

Back at it

After several weeks of having my leg elevated and a week on antibiotics and one short but painful visit to the doctor's, I am on the mend. Talk about a depressing few weeks.... Anyway, we started with short  walks and then headed off into the mountains for four hikes in a row followed by a 40-minute run just last week. I love getting out into the woods with Bailey. He nearly exploded the first time I took him on a walk, off leash, out behind the house after our internment at home.

Guarding the yard from inside
Here's what Bailey looked like when I wasn't able to take him for our regular jaunts.

Later, we started hiking Black Mountain and visited camp for the first swim of the season. Yahoo!

First swim

Last snow

Mountain stream swim