A Thursday Ramble

I just finished 50 pages of revision which is a pretty great work run for me. I’ve been having such a hard time sustaining the revision.  Once I’ve merged onto the internet super highway I can’t stop myself from checking out Facebook and the super good news everyone posts (hooray!) that often makes me feel like gum on the bottom of a shoe (aw!). (An interjection starts a sentence right.)

My usual course of action is to take the dog for a walk and come back refreshed which I have tried, but I’m so sick of the cold. Yesterday we got a hit of 37 wonderful degrees. People came out of their houses wearing their smiles and their short sleeves. Yes folks, 37 degrees is all it takes to make winter-weary Mainers strip. However, the heat wave was over before it really started. Today we are back in the 20’s and the wind whipped a string of curses from my lips.

Too, with all this snow pack, I know we are up for the longest mud season ever. I shouldn’t be cranky. I’ve enjoyed snow shoeing and skate skiing for lo these many months. I’m just ready to be warm and ready to take out the bike instead.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been hired to plan Maine Share’s annual event. If you aren’t familiar with the nonprofit organization, they are Maine’s statewide payroll donation program (similar to the United Way) for forty amazing groups that focus on economic development, education, the arts, and social justice. I’m excited to bring a creative concept to the event and up the fun-factor on what is often the obligatory rubber chicken dinner. More later about the exciting concept!

If you are a teacher who loves poetry, I urge you to register your classroom to participate in the March Poetry Madness contest at Think Kid Think. Your students will discuss and vote on regular poetry match ups between fabulous poets. Sadly, I will not be participating this year but there were a record number of applicants.

I have a lot to look forward to…a novel retreat weekend at VCFA, time with dear friends, and some time at Kripalu that I won in a United Way auction. Hooray, yoga and vegetarian gourmet cooked for me!

Spring (ha!) is also full of kid events. My older son is the lead in the local high school production of Legally Blonde and younger son is in it as well with a solo and some lines. Leave me a comment if you’d like to know more about tickets!

Baseball season will start the week after the show and older son is being called for pitcher’s week. I’m supper excited for him.

How does one end a ramble?

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With a cute dog of course. Lucy says, “Take me for a walk.”

More photos: The Lobster Ride!

 

 

On Sunday last… I rode in the Maine Bike Coalition Lobster Ride. The event allows riders to choose their poison: 15, 30, 50, or 100 miles. (I’m up to 30 although my husband would have much¬†preferred 50 or 100.)¬† The entry fees go to help lobby for improved bike infrastructure in Maine, and to build a positive relationship between bikers and car drivers. You might be surprised by how anti-bike some people can be.

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I did not ride this.

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Or any of these wonderful vintage bikes from the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum.

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Here’s me with my modern, light weight carbon fiber FELT bike.

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Which rides like a dream so that I could ham it up with the Lobster Queen at the end of  30 miles!

Five on Friday

1.This morning I braved our first frost and went on a bike ride. I came back with numb toes and fingers, but it was just beautiful. Perhaps it's time to move my bike riding inside. I'm amazed by the people who commute by bike all winter long.
2. My kids have a four day weekend. Today is a teacher furlough day, and while I'm happy to have my children home, I'm unhappy that our teachers are loosing pay.
3. With kiddos around there will be cleaning. Beware all you piles of dog fur in the corners! Stand back pile of laundry! We will defeat you.
4. I had a few wonderful writing days this week with high word counts, and dramatic scenes. I can really feel the forward movement of the manuscript (profluence, thank you Sarah Aronson). Very exciting to be climbing out of the muddy middle.
5. Monday, October 10th is my 18th Wedding Anniversary.

Happiness is a bike ride.

This morning has been a peaceful and relaxing end to a crazy week. I had the deadline for my 5th and final VCFA packet, a deadline for my workshop submission (15 pages out of 20 was all I could manage), and a deadline for my own student’s end of semester reports. My husband was gone for the third week on business, my sons had events each night, and son #1 sprained his ankle and ended up on crutches after a trip to the doctor. I said crazy, right.

Today, I woke at my weekday time (5:45) and hopped right out of bed. The sky was a beautiful cloudless blue and I wanted to bike. Leaving my husband in the bed, I dressed, pumped up the tires and started out of the house only to run back inside for a jacket. Blue, sunny, June skies do not especially mean warmth in Maine and when you are on the bike it is colder. The light breezes felt stiffer on the ride but the quiet roads and beautiful morning light was wonderfully worth it. Tiny yellow buttercups filled the fields along Flying Point road, and the occasional whiff of balsalm pine always gives me an energy boost. I passed a few other hardy Saturday morning riders but not many.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll bike the same roads in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s "Women’s Ride." I’m not sure if you can still sign up or do same-day registration but if you are interested, follow the link.   On the end of my loop I detoured to Mister Bagel, picked up a dozen and rode home. It was certainly not a training ride, I’m pretty slow these days covering about 13-15 miles in an hour, but the sense of freedom and release I feel when I’m alone on my bike is tremendous.

At home, I cut fresh chives from our garden, and served my hubby fresh, hot coffee, and bialy & chive cream cheese as he hustled out the door with son #2 for a baseball game. Now I’m sitting on my screen porch and enjoying the view of our neighbor’s field and listening to son #1 play the piano. Peace.

The Prouty

If you’ve read my blog recently you know that this spring I jumped into the sport of the triathlon, wetsuit and all. While really good triathletes are really good at all three sports: swimming, biking, and running, many triathletes have one sports that was the entry point. For me, it was cycling. I’m not a Time Trial expert. I don’t go cruising down mountains at break neck speeds. I don’t have a helmet shaped like an ice cream cone. For me, cycling brings me a sense of freedom. It takes me away from my domestic responsibilities, the deadlines of school, and the stress of work. No one calls me Mom. There is no email, no reading, just the sweat and strain of attacking the hills and the rush of going down the other side.

Now I’m using all my bike training to ride in honor of Norma Fox Mazer for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in their charity ride, The Prouty. If you are a member of the kidslitosphere, you probably have read Norma’s books. If you are a VCFA alum, you may have had Norma as an advisor. I hope you’ll consider donating $5, $10, or $20 to my efforts or the efforts of my team the "Bike Writers." We are a group of VCFA students and alum who write for children: Sarah Aronson, Tami Lewis Brown, Eric Pinder and myself.

If you donate, send me a message or leave a LJ or Facebook Comment with the name of a song that inspires you. I’ll put your song on my "Inspire" playlist and listen to it while I train. If you can’t donate, post a link to this blog or my donation page on your Facebook profile or twitter about our efforts. Thanks for helping us meet our fund raising goals!

Five on Friday

1. Today begins writer’s camp weekend. I get to read some work. I’m choosing the piece I feel most uncomfortable about and hoping for some direction or spark.

2. I finished a week of LL Bean orientation and feel confident about wearing the Bean Green shirt with pride.

3. Our garden looks beautiful because my wonderful husband bought seedlings and planted and weeded and watered while I was…

4. …finishing my final writing packet of my second VCFA semester! I still need to do my end of semester evals and polish my presentation but I am essential done and looking forward to…

5. Riding in the Prouty. Now, only my family donated to my triathlon efforts on behalf of our local YMCA and I totally understand that. But I’ll be riding with a group of children’s writers on the "Bike Writer" team in honor of the amazing Norma Fox Mazer. I hope some of you will find $5 or $10 that you could donate to cancer research. Thanks so much!