Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What we do to our pets....

Click to enlarge the humiliation. 
My friend and colleague Bailey Joy-to-the-World Means is a Christmas fanatic. Since having her in class at UMaine some years ago, Ms. Bailey has gifted me, and now Bailey Tuckerman, a wide range of Christmas paraphernalia.  If you'd seen her in class as December appeared, you'd know I was not the only recipient of her Christmas cheer. Most of all I marvel at her organizational skills of getting gifts out to her wide range of friends and family. Knowing this effort, I do my best to dress up Bailey Tuckerman in the gift. This year, as with 2011's Santa Watch hat, my obliging pup was less than enthusiastic.      

However, at this point in his life Bailey probably knows that after the humiliation there's the Yuletide pay-off. This year, a humongous bone from Uncle Fred's stuffed with treats. And so it goes....

The Yuletide Bone

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Shaming...

I heard that when a farm dog kills a chicken that some farmers tie the dead chicken, or parts of it, around the dog's neck. I guess the act is a reminder and a shaming, and after a few days I'm sure the dead chicken has to be downright disgusting.

Click to expand photo.
This morning, Bailey swiped a  bag of holiday Chex Mix off my kitchen counter. He ate it all leaving the plastic bag in shreds on the floor. When I came back into the kitchen and saw the bag, well, I wasn't happy. The chicken farmer idea immediately came to my mind, so after several "Bad dogs," and I put the plastic bag over Bailey's head.

I headed back to my office and  left him standing in the corner of the kitchen when I snapped this picture. Eventually, Bailey came skulking in and lay down beneath my desk next to my feet.

After a minute or so, I looked down at the plastic bag and my devoted pup. He kept his chin on his paws and never looked up. At that moment I felt a wave of shame come over me. I lifted away the plastic bag and gave him a gentle pat on his head and a scratch behind his ears. Then, as always, his tail began to move. Forgiven again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Book: Writing the Dance (33/60)

One of the delights of the past sad year has been working with Josie Bray, a director and choreographer from Boston who teaches at Emerson College. She's also a former high school student who, at 14 years old, strode into my high school English classroom and ripped the place a part with her fine work. I wrote about Josie's work as a dancer in my class in Beyond Room 109. She undertook an ambitious independent study on dance and performed an original dance for us at the end of the quarter. Since then, Josie has worked at regional and Off-Broadway theatres, and as an assistant on several national tours and the recent Broadway Revival of Ragtime.  
Josie was the Co-Artistic director of the Animus Ensemble, a Boston-based theatre company, for five years and also served as the Executive Director of Green Street Studios, Center for Movement and Dance.  She currently teaches at Emerson College and is producing a new musical intended for Broadway.  Josie practices yoga and Pilates, experiments in the kitchen, and spends time with her hilarious husband, Jack, and their energetic preschooler, Redd.


Thanksgiving in Florida

For many of the past 40 Thanksgivings, I've celebrated with my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara & Ken. We've shared the holiday at our camp in Weld during snowstorms, at my home in Rumford, and in their various homes in Boston, Bar Harbor, Los Angeles, and Florida. Once, we went to the Concord Inn in Massachusetts and sat in a narrow hallway of the venerable old inn. I think we've been to Copley Plaza and the Ritz Carlton in Boston, too. But then again, perhaps those celebrations were at Christmas.

This year, Ken and I celebrated in Florida. We power walked, played tennis, and hit our favorite haunt, Shrimpers. BKT would have been proud of most of our activities. Ken got me to try a Manhattan; we watched football; and on Thanksgiving we got all dressed up and headed over the Miles Grant Country Club for dinner.

That we were ignored for the first 15 minutes after being seated irked us. It was, after all, 4pm and we knew that our bottle of chardonnay stood in a refrigerator off in the bar. We also had a young server who hadn't been trained well. She smiled as she poured Ken a full glass of wine to sample and pushed the salad into the main course and the main course into dessert. It felt a bit like a diner at lunch time.

But none of that mattered. We two sat at our small table with an empty seat. We talked about what we would have talked about had Barbie been there. But she wasn't, and that was the plain sad fact of Thanksgiving 2013.

4000th Manhattan

1st and last Manhattan

My favorite sister. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Discovery... Black Mountain's Real Summit (32/60)

That I am discovering so many new vistas and mountain trails in and around Rumford goes to prove that western Maine and my hometown have much to offer. Yesterday, I climbed Black Mountain again for the 20th or 30th time. This time, however, I wandered down a road at what I've always thought was the top. Then, I connected to a second road that went up to a huge tower on the real summit of Black Mountain. As you'll see from the pictures below, I found unusual views of Whitecap Mountain, Sunday River, and the White Mountains plus partially obstructed views off toward Weld.

Click on this photo to see the full album. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hiking Whitecap Mt with Gayle (31/60)

What a terrific celebration to be able to hike Whitecap with my fiend Gayle. I'm so thrilled she has taken up hiking again.  The day was fairly warm and the sun filled the sky. Really, for November, a brilliant day.  For the full album on Facebook, go here.

Looking out toward New Hampshire's White Mountains. 

Mt Speck just off Gayle's shoulder. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back to Red Hill

We took our friend and neighbor Gayle up through Red Hill today. It was fun to share this hike with her. The views from this trail are fabulous; I love the 200-year old cellars and farmstead remnants.  

Throughout the day I've reading my graduate students' autobiographical multigenre papers... wowza! I just love this genre of writing.  Danielle created hers online: I Left My Heart in SF.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hiking Red Hill from Black Mountain to Rumford Center (30/60)

I've been wanting to do this hike for a long time. Starting near Black Mountain, I hiked a gravel road next to Austin Glover's home. A gradual up for about 30 minutes, the hike then settles in to a roll-polly hike that weaves through the mountains to the left of Black Mountain and White Cap. Red Hill road is parallel to the hike I took up Glass Face just beyond Joe Pond. I know there's a snow mobile trail that connects the Glass Face trail to the Red Hill road. Our area is awesome.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finding Little Concord Pond (29/60)

Ever since seeing Little Concord Pond from the summit of Mt. Zircon, I've wanted to find it. Today, we did. Wedged in between mountain ridges, Little Concord is just before Shagg Pond. The hike in is gentle and the hike around the pond itself is easy. In and out it takes about an hour. It's amazing what I'm finding my back yard! For the full photo album, go here.

That is Mt. Zircon in the background. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seven Photos, Seven Decades... 1950's to 2010's (28/60)

I've been thinking about creating a retrospective of "me" as one of my 60/60 for a few months. I gathered a slew of photos and then realized, as Henry David Thoreau would say, "Less is more." So, all morning long in between phone calls and Facebook posts, I kept trimming until I narrowed the selection to these seven. As always, click on the photo to enlarge.








Friday, October 11, 2013

'Finding' Concord Pond (27/60)

More backyard discoveries this week...  I drove out to Concord Pond in hopes of hiking around Little Concord, the pond I could see from the top of Mt. Zircon. Well, I couldn't find the entrance to Little Concord, but I'm sure glad I trucked off on a 4-wheeler path to see some of the sites. You can see the full album here.

Little Concord from the top of Mt. Zircon.
I'll find this later this week!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Right Sizing... (26/60)

For a number of years I've had a Smart Phone that has all the bells, apps, & whistles--most of which I did not use. Sixteen months ago I promised myself to dump the $75 per month phone for a TracPhone that delivers phone, text, and if necessary Web services. The cost? Maybe $120-150 per year. Finally, this fall, I went to the US Cell office and asked the young sales clerk to analyze my Smart Phone usage. The guy looked at the computer screen. Then at me. Back to screen.

"Says you wrote 8 texts last month."

"That many?"

"Looks like you use 1% of the data allowable per month."

"I only check the radar weather and sometimes download photos to Facebook when I'm on a hike."

"You don't need this phone," said the sales rep named Jason.

"I didn't think so."

And so, for the 26/60, I'm saving $750 by not having something I do not use.

What's next?

TracPhone (l) .... Not-so Smart Phone (r)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another Local Discovery: Mt Zircon Reservoir (25/60)

After four days of a lousy virus, I rallied to climb Mt. Zircon today. From the summit, I finally caught a glimpse of the Mt Zircon Reservoir and decided to find it. Who knew?! I'm sure many Rumford people especially those who are out on snow mobiles and four-wheelers may have found this reservoir because the trail goes right by it. But never me. What a great find, and as you'll see in the full album, Bailey got to take an early fall swim.   Finally, added years later, here's a picture of the Mt Zircon Reservoir from 1914

Mt Zircon Reservoir 

Mt Zircon Summit

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coming home to writing (24/60)

One of my goals over the past year has been to find a replacement for me as director of the Maine Writing Project and thereby give myself just a bit more time to work on my writing, teaching, and research. As you'll read in the letter below, I've been at this work with the Writing Project for the past decade. I've had fun with the job--even during the struggles--but I've also recognized that such a job is a convenient way to avoid writing.

"Oh, I've got to answer this email... Oh, I've got to work on that project..."

In truth, such an administrative job drags me away from my writer's life just like, as I've written earlier on, Lady Bugs and Cluster Flies. You may remember that I have a hand-held vacuum cleaner and I just love to run around the house sucking up bugs... it's just so sad.

Anyway, I found just the person for Director in Ken Martin, the Writing Project's associate director. The letter I sent out to my friends and colleagues pretty much sums up what I feel about Ken. Not everyone is as lucky as me to name his replacement and to know that that replacement will be superb. Now, it's time for me to write... Here's the letter I sent to my friends and colleagues:

Dear friends and colleagues

I am so very pleased to announce that associate director Ken Martin '99 is now Director of the Maine Writing Project. Ken's longstanding commitment to MWP makes him ideal to assume the leadership role of MWP at the University of Maine.

Over the years Ken has spearheaded projects such as "Our Maine: The Way Life Is," MWP's version of the National Writing Project's "Rural Voices Radio" programs. He and Debra Butterfield were terrific organizers and leaders of this state-wide project that involved Maine students and teachers. With Dave Boardman, Ken played a critical role in developing NWP's Digital Is resource website as well as helping us create the MWP Graduate Program in Writing and the Teaching of Writing. He's also reinvented the Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) by creating an Annual Institute comprised of an online spring semester and an on-campus summer institute.

Over the past decade in the Maine Writing Project, Ken has led a wide range of professional development activities, presented nationally, chaired conferences, and served as an ISI Mentor, ISI Co-Director and Director, Technology Liaison, Professional Development Director, Co-Director, and Associate Director. And somewhere in the midst of all of this work, he became Dr. Ken Martin!

As for me, I'll be helping Ken with the transition and then plan to dig deeper into my own writing, research, and teaching. I've been honored to serve as MWP's director over the past 10 years. I've loved the friendships and the laughter. Most of all, I've enjoyed the work accomplished by all of us on behalf of the students, teachers, and communities in Maine and beyond. We've made a difference... and there's so much more to come. 

I know you'll understand when I say that there's nothing more fulfilling than handing off this directorship to someone like Ken Martin, a man of grace and intelligence.

Warmest wishes ... keep writing!

Ken Martin, Director, Maine Writing Project
Rich Kent, former Director, Maine Writing Project

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Poor Boy... :'-(

Bailey injured his foot horsing around. The bone might have a crack in it, but it is not dislocated, according to Dr. Uncle Freddie. So now, watchful waiting... no hiking, no big walks, limited activity... Poor Boy. Poor Dad, too!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Giving back (23/60)

Since late June I've been researching and writing a small book to celebrate skiing in the River Valley and to raise money for our small-town ski area, Black Mountain of Maine. I'm happy to announce that Words for a Mountain came out yesterday with a stunning foreword by Mexico native and friend, Monica Wood.

The back story of the book is that Black Mountain lost its funding in the spring of 2013. Faced with closure, people from town and across the skiing world rallied to begin fundraising to save the mountain. The story was featured in Powder Magazine titled, "We're In This Together."

As I wrote in the acknowledgements, "Books, like small-town ski areas, are community affairs." This little book owes a great debt to many behind-the-scenes contributors like my friend and primary reader, Gayle Sirois; my dear friend and editor extraordinaire Anne Wood (we've been working together for 35 years...whoa!); Paul Jones, Chisholm Ski Club's historian and archivist, researcher and writer; Monnie, for saying "You bet"; Chummy Broomhall, Muriel Arsenault, my ski coach Herb Adams, and my dear-dear friend Joe Sassi for serving on the 2004 Museum Committee along with Paul and me  doing the leg work for the writing at the museum plus part of the historical section in this book; photographers John Bernard, Kate Clough, and Jill Bartash plus those photographers of years gone by; and of course the hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers from the past 50+ years who have given their time, expertise, and money to nurture this community treasure.

Not to sound mystical or other-worldly (or like I'm slipping into the  black hole that could be turning 60 years old), I wrote this book because the mountain--my family, friends, and experiences--called me to write it.

Plus, writing is fun. Ya, write! ;-)

Here's a website with photos from the book.

My XC coach, ChummyBroomhall... back in the day... c. 1940

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Red Hill (22/60)

OK, so this is remarkable... About 7 miles from my home is Kimball Road. It's signed as dead-end road. I've road skied Kimball with my team back in the day. But at the "end" of the asphalt road is a gravel road that heads out to an area known as Red Hill. Walt Abbott, a UMaine colleague of mine and a Rumford native, has a cabin way out on the road on Red Hill. This area has rolling pastures and awesome views of Whitecap Mountain. It's beautiful. My full album may be found here.

White Cap from Red Hill... Click to enlarge

Walt's cabin

Views toward Sunday River and Presidential Range.