My Book!!

One opportunity that the blog has brought me is the co-authoring of a guidebook, Paddling Southern Maine! It is something in which I take a lot of pride! My writing partner, Sandy Moore, and I have created a book with 54 amazing trips that are within about an hour of Portland! Our motto as we wrote the book was wanting to 'get people to spend the day on the water and not in their cars!'

If you want more information on our book please visit www.paddlingsouthernmaine.com. Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at mainekayakgirl@gmail.com for more information!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Blog 'Spin - Off'...



So.. when television shows take some of the 'smaller' characters and start a new show about them... it is called a spin off... with that in mind I decided to do a 'spin-off' blog... Over the years I have shared some 'non- paddling' posts here... and will probably continue to do so, but... there are times where I feel like this blog should maintain the focus of kayaking/paddling... 

But... I am working to be active in other ways... and one thing this blog has taught me is that we all have things that we love and things we want to love... I have met people who had never paddled and have met people with more paddling experience than me... and they are all, you are all, amazing people!  Sharing my love of paddling with you has been very fulfilling for me, in many ways.  It has led to a lot of opportunities.  I also have listened a lot... to what other people have shared with me about paddling...and about other sports/activities.  I also know that the things I experience are not unique to me.  Other people struggle with body image and weight.. and often say no to things they have always wanted to do because of those self doubts... I appreciate that people have shared that the style of the blog, of my writing, comes across as welcoming and that people have felt that my paddling adventures are 'do-able' because of the way I have described them.  I am humbled by that.  

So... I want to share some of my other adventures... selfishly- writing is something that has always been therapeutic for me.  It is a way for me to get thoughts out of my head and make sense of them.  As I am getting healthier I am finding my mindset is the key... approaching life with a motto of 'adventure awaits' vs. adventure awaits for those fit enough, strong enough, good enough, brave enough... has been empowering for me.  Saying YES to adventures is something that has helped me experience more things and has given me more courage to keep saying yes.  
And... I hope that maybe some of what I will share will resonate with other people and maybe empower other people to take care of themselves, say yes to adventures, and believe in themselves a bit more... without sounding too egotistical... maybe people will say 'if MaineKayakGirl can do it, so can I.'    While I have lost a lot of weight I still have a long way to go to consider myself as a 'fit' person.  I am still a 'big girl' and while I am the healthiest I have been in years... I still have goals... along with some self doubt and reservations!  

So if you want to join me on my non-paddling adventures, check out my new blog: 



I would love to have you follow my adventures, give feedback (always with kindness of course!), share your own stories, and suggest places to go or activities to do. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Not exactly kayak related...

Hello Blog friends! 





Whoa... what a day I had..  This isn't kayak related, but it is about me... one of the non-paddling parts of my life... Today I was named the  2019 Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year for the state of Maine!  The entire state of Maine!  HOLY MOLY!  (Click Here for the article from the Portland Press. )

This fall I learned I had been nominated for this award... and I cried, to be honest.  The last few years have had some challenges for me.  While I love the work I do with kids sometimes the other 'stuff' can be really hard.  In telling the story I suppose I should go back to my first teaching job... I was young... so young... just out of college and got my first teaching gig.  There were a lot of good things in that job...and things that were really frustrating.  I had taken a concern, a big concern, to my administrators...and at the time they were mostly new to the district and while they thought my concern was...well concerning... they felt powerless to take any action.  Colleagues told me to let things lie... to let it be.... or else the person about whom I had concerns would 'make my life hell.' 

Well... I have never been someone to look the other way when things need to be examined... and as things unfolded this person...who at the time had been appointed my mentor...made my life hell... and no administrator did anything about it.  I was so bewildered...and became very disenchanted with teaching... it was not what I had expected... I loved my students and their families...and adored many of my colleagues... but after two years... I quit.  I quit without another job to go to... my parents were... concerned!  I ended up leaving the state for a year to work with a family I had worked with for a few summers... and missed having a classroom, missed working with multiple kids... so I returned to Maine... and got a job... I spent 12 years in that position... and during that time I examined my role and the role other people played... at times, like most teachers, I was frustrated with the way things were done.  Instead of just bitching about it.. I decided to start taking some classes...to see if my complaints were bitch-worthy or if they were in fact the way things were 'supposed' to be done...
I took on more leadership roles within my school... started an advisory program... and eventually knew I was ready to change roles.

Seven years ago I became an assistant principal... Those seven years have been interesting... again, as always, my favorite part has been working with the kids...even the tough kids... maybe mostly the tough kids... I have worked with a lot of other administrators and learned something from each of them... from some I learned more than others... not always what to do... sometimes what NOT to do... Politics are always involved... and there were some politics that were very difficult...some situations that made it difficult at times to go to work... but the kids... the kids pulled me into work, even on days where I didn't want to be there... I have worked hard... under difficult circumstances at times... always staying student focused... Last year - after learning a lot about a lot... I was hurt, felt unvalued, and seriously considered leaving... but this time, before leaving I found my voice... about some of the things that had happened... I had A LOT to say... and decided to see how some things would play out... I am so glad I stayed around... I have learned even more through this process and am motivated to do more work to empower my students AND my colleagues... there is so much work to be done - work I want to do!!

As I told my students and staff today... to me this award does not mean I am the best assistant principal in the state.. it means that the work I do, the relationships I build do make differences...and that my work is recognized... and for that I am very proud. 

Oh.. and the kayak part of this post... this morning as I was finalizing my outfit, knowing about the assembly and award... I was deciding which earrings to wear... and I needed something grounding...something that reminded me that I am me... despite being the center of attention today (which you may not believe is difficult for me!)  So... I wore my kayak earrings and told myself 'just keep paddling!'