Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Discovering Glassface

We missed the Mahoosuc Land Trust's ribbon cutting this morning, but arrived at the mountain by 2:00pm to take our inaugural hike. I parked at Hastings Landing boat launch just across Route 2 from the Rumford Center Cemetery. Created by the Mahoosuc Land Trust (MLT) and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, Hastings Landing celebrates the life of our community friend Ann Hastings Morton.

To get to the trailhead, walk through the cemetery to an MLT sign. The first section of the trail is gradual uphill through a thin forest. The trail enters deeper woods and turns to switchbacks. Where needed, the Mahoosuc Land Trust trail builders and stewards created sturdy rock steps and drainage outlets. It's so well done.

At certain sports, the trail offers glimpses of the Androscoggin River, but at trail end, the open ledge greets you with the full Monty. Though the ledge is not quite at the summit of Glassface, those of you who are peak grabbers  won’t be disappointed.

We hiked the trail in about 60 minutes round-trip. It’s a bit like sections of Mt. Zircon or Whitecap before the open top. I leashed Bailey just before the ledge because I had visions of him sailing off the edge like Wonder Dog. (Squirrel!?)

Get up to the Glassface Trail. You’ll love it. And thanks a lot Mahoosuc Land Trust.

Photos from the trail summit.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Visiting Maggie... Bailey's Mom at 11 years old

After climbing Sunday River, we stopped by to visit his Mom, Maggie. At 11 years old, she has slowed down a bit so says her mom, but she's still a loving pup. She and Bailey roamed the yard a bit and I worked to get photos. In America, the average Bernese Mountain Dogs lives to the age of 6.5 to 7 years old. It's usually cancer or hip dysplasia that brings about their demise. Not much fun to think about, but I was heartened to see Maggie doing so well.

Mother Maggie 
"Where's Mom?" 
Bailey (l) and Maggie (r) 

Exploring the yard

Mother and son. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Life with Bailey

This afternoon, I took Bailey to the ski area for a hike. We go there several times a week during the spring, summer, and fall. There's a trail race at Black Mountain tomorrow, so I figured the 15 or 20 cars in the parking lot belonged to race volunteers. Because Bailey's somewhat clumsy with his greetings, I led him away from the lodge and up through the cross-country ski stadium to the alpine slopes. As always, I put my head down and started motoring up the mountain. Within seconds I heard "HEY!" I looked up and then to the right. A wedding party… the bride in a white flowing dress, her attendants in a subtle color I can’t quite name, the groomsmen in their shiny tuxedoes, and, romping amongst them all, a big smiling mountain dog welcoming everyone to his mountain.

My mother raised five kids, and she used the word “mortified” a good deal with us. Now, I know the word’s true meaning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sabbatical Hiking

Over the first 2 weeks of my sabbatical, I've enjoyed sustained writing time in the morning and hikes on most afternoons. I've even done a bit of painting and mowed the lawn; I also dropped out of a couple of speeches and travel opportunities in hopes that I can find my writer self again. I'm still a bit jittery about time and keep waiting for some outside assignment from the University.  So far, my friends at UMaine have respected my time away.

Recently, I hiked Black Mountain to take pictures of the new trails. These photos and the link to my complete Facebook page album will give an idea of the mountain's expansion.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Aunt Connie & her Luke

This morning my friend and neighbor Connie came by with her grandson, Luke. Talk about a cute couple. I picture the years ahead when Luke calls out, "We're going to Memere's!" Such things to be. 

Connie & Luke

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Seminar in Poetry Writing

How lucky am I to spend time with dedicated poet-teachers? That's right: very. We read and wrote, revised and revised some more. What's most fun about teaching a seminar such as this one? The variety of themes and ideas that surface from the poets involved.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My 25th Anniversary of Bread Loaf, Dixie Goswami, and James Britton

In some ways it's like yesterday, sitting in the barn classroom at Middleburg College's Bread Loaf School of English. I remember starting grad school in 1991 and being assigned The Word for Teaching is Learning: Essays for James Britton (Lightfoot & Martin, Eds.). I sat on the side porch of my Rumford home reading this dense academic text. The introduction by Nancy Martin, Mr. Britton's long-time colleague, had me feeling both scholarly and profoundly uninformed. Vygotsky, Courtney Cazden, Peter Medway... "teacher as listener," "the learner's view of the real world matters," "being told is the opposite of finding out": these people and ideas got my mind whirling. It hasn't stopped.

At 83 years old, Mr. Britton taught our class "Coming to Know Your Classroom" with Dixie Goswami, a Clemson University writing teacher and public school advocate. This would be Mr. Britton's last class in America. He died two years later.

I'm sure I'll write more about Mr. Britton and Dixie. For now, I'm sharing a chapter from "The Word" written by Courtney Cazden, a Harvard professor who spoke to us on The Mountain. This chapter goes to a colleague here at UMaine who's working on a similar project connected with Vygotsy's ZPD. From her talk, Cazden made me think in new ways about revision; in this chapter, "Social Interaction as Scaffold," she asks us to think about learning and teaching, students and teachers. 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Using a Matrix for Large Writing Projects

One of the battles I face with larger projects like books or research articles is managing the mass amount of data that I collect. I've always kept handwritten lists, and as I go through the stages of
the project, I check off items from the list. Not very high tech, I'll admit, but the system worked for me.

This past year I've been writing a second edition to my book, A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Grades 6-12 (Peter Lang/USA, 2006). So much has changed in the high school writing center field over the past decade that revising felt a lot more like composing a new book. In actuality, and in hindsight, a full rewrite would have been the way to go. We live and learn even after 35+ years of writing.

The Writer's Matrix: For ideas I pondered for the book, I made an entry on the matrix. Yes, it's just a list, of course, but because I put the material in Word, I could search it. Again, simple enough, but a new way for me to stay organized. Below, I'll paste a few shots of the matrix I developed.

My advice? When you begin planning a project, create a matrix and list ideas. You may revise the ideas or add to them, but keep them handy. When the entire project is drafted, go back through each idea listed and search your full manuscript to make sure you at least considered or wrote about the idea. Reviewing the matrix and searching your final manuscript also helps you avoid duplicating information in your project. Again, all quite obvious, but an organizational tool that I'll use from now on. Old Dog Redux & Remix.