Friday, June 29, 2007

Going to Town

fiddlehedz & friendz head into Hallowell later this morning to play a lunch program at the Cohen Center. This is a fun music presentation to an appreciative audience... only an hour long. Playing music today will be a much needed diversion from work, which gets pretty hectic sometimes! Good to have some balance in life. In fact, I was going to head into the office for a couple of hours to catch up on a few things, but decided I'd have a better day if I stayed home this morning, posted a blog, and played some fiddle... I can tell already that is a good decision, and it's going to be a fabulous day!
I had an inspiration the other day (yeah, no kidding)... I've been using fiddle tunes as post titles for a long time. I was thinking of adding in some dances to expand my choices. As a new contradance caller, it would be a nice way to become more familiar with the names of the dances. I know that using the tune titles has increased my knowledge of where tunes are and sometimes even more information. So, watch for that, coming soon!
Going to Town can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Midnight on the Water

The moon tonight was beautiful... we were out around 9:30 or so, swimming at the dam about a mile from our house. Richard had gone to the first season's Pizza Jam at the Emporium (where they played fabulous tunes all evening) and I'd had dinner with my sister Deb at a new restaurant in Lewiston (called Fuel). On his way home from the jam, R called me and invited me to meet him at the dam to swim and cool off. It had been over 100'F during the day, and was still 90'F in Lewiston when I left there at 7:45... and a balmy 80'F here at home at 8:45. Now, I know that doesn't sound like much to some of you out there, but for us here in central Maine, THIS IS SUMMER and we must enjoy every ounce of it by basking or swimming :) When we got home from swimming, I noticed the moon... nice and hazy and peeking through the trees.
Midnight on the Water is a lovely waltz that you can find many places, including the Waltz Book and the Fakebook.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to You...

Happy 25th Birthday to Miss SK Green :)
Hope it has been especially memorable for you!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Indian Point

In August, we will be attending a traditional Indian wedding ceremony that will unite my niece and her fiancee... they'll have a traditional American ceremony the following week. My sister, the mom-of-the-bride, has ordered saris for herself and all of us sisters... this one shown here is not exactly the one I chose, but the color is close. We are looking forward to sharing in this blending of cultures! The mom of the groom-to-be has been very helpful in choosing the appropriate attire and what will be expected.
Indian Point is a nice jig that can be found in the Portland Collection, Volume II. It was written by Rick Mohr.

Jump at the Sun

Big bright beautiful sunshiny day!
We've been putting a lot of time into music practice and dance programming, with fabulous results... but it's time to now get out in the yard and catch up on some chores.
On the agenda today? Mowing the lawn, working in the vegetable garden, and burning some brush. I'm sure we'll venture into some other areas of the yard, but these are the top things on the "To-Do-List" for today. We'll put some recordings on and listen to them as we work, and if we remember, we'll listen to Prairie Home Companion this afternoon too. And, we'll listen for a time to the wind in the trees, the birds and sounds of the forest, and if we're really attentive, we'll listen to the songs in our souls as we give thanks for all that we have...
Jump at the Sun can be found in the Portland Collection.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Wow! We are still amazed by how much fun it can be to call and play at a contradance, all at the same time! We were invited to put on a contradance at a community center here in town and have been working pretty hard to come up with a dance program that would be fun, instructional, and oh, did we say FUN for beginners! We had a basic program of dances and tunes, and had a core group of our jam session available to play the tunes while we took turns calling. What worked is that we had the basic structure... what needed improvisation is tailoring the dances to the needs of the dancers, many of whom were brand new to this style of social dancing. We managed to adapt some dances to accommodate the evening, keep our basic list of tunes, and incorporate a lot of dialogue and interaction to keep the dancers, organizers, and band all happy. This was not our first experience with calling, but it was our first time programming an entire dance together, and also deciding on the tunes to go along with the dances... and we learned A LOT! We also had a lot of FUN which is the main reason we do this in the first place.
Thanks to our family who came out to support this endeavor... my mom who went out on the dance floor with Richard, and to Kathie and David who came after a LONG day of vehicle trouble, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! And to all the community members who came out and to Darlene for organizing the event, THANK YOU TOO... We really appreciate the support and encouragement.
Waynesboro can be found in the Portland Collection.

Come Dance and Sing

The fiddlehedz & friendz are playing at the Norlands this afternoon, and then continue on to do a contradance in Wayne at the Ladd Recreation Center... Come on out and listen to some tunes, dance a bit, and join in some nice community activities!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Walking in my Sleep

Wednesday... means... low......
I feel like the opposite of the Energizer bunny by the time I get home most Wednesdays... it seems to be the evening that I need to nap right after dinner, and then go to be shortly after that :) It's usually a high energy day at work and it's also the day the radio station is low stimulation (nice songs but really easy listening)... I used to feel bad about it, but not so much anymore, I just take it for what it is, and be the best low-energy-napper-do-nothing-too-productive-sweet-person I can be :) Today, it worked for me!
That's all folks, I'm off to bed... yawn...
Walking in My Sleep comes from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This afternoon found me at the Yacht Club, taking a dip in the lake after a long day of work. Last week, SK was visiting and suggested we go swimming at her mom's family camp on David Pond, which we did. It felt so good that I made a little pact with myself to stop and swim on the way home whenever possible. I have managed to do that a time or two, and it is really refreshing. Today I forgot to bring my swimsuit along with me so I came home first... which could have resulted in "Well, maybe not today since I'm already home" but I actually managed to inspire myself to change up and head off to the lake. The Yacht Club is only a couple miles away so it's a quick trip. There's another swimming spot about one mile from our house, and that's a fun place to swim too though the water is usually colder. Anyway, it was nice to jump in the water this nice, hot, (almost) summer afternoon.
Waterbound is from the Portland Collection.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Waltz of the Floating Bridge

This photo was taken sometime around 1965, at Baxter State Park. There I am in the forefront with two of my sisters, Deb and Kathy, on either side of me. Behind us is one of the Wight boys. The Wights lived nearby, and our families frequently took summer vacations together. It was kind of like having brothers that didn't really live with us!
This particular bridge, a rope suspension bridge with a boardwalk, played a huge part of my growing up and younger adult life. What you don't see in this photo is me crossing the the bridge over the river, and having the bridge being swung by the Wight's father! Even though I know he thought it was funny, I was scared... truly scared, the way that fear grabs your soul and imprints itself, lying just beneath the surface of all the fun & games of life, ready to rear its ugly head and suck the breath out of you... which is what happened whenever I encountered being up high. I could just imagine what it would be like to drive off a bridge, or fall off a cliff, or step off a ladder... very disconcerting. I don't know really how I managed to get past most of that. I suppose it happened over a long period of time, of just going a little further or a little higher... pushing myself to the limit and a little beyond. There are still times when I choose not to go higher, or venture further toward the edge. But there are just as many times that I allow myself to try a little more, and I'm always rewarded with a sense of accomplishment along with the more tangible goal of reaching a new place.
Waltz of the Floating Bridge can be found in the 2nd Waltz Book.

Music in the Glen

We spent the weekend at Maine Fiddle Camp in Montville ME... at camp NEOFA in the glen beside True's Pond. The weather was near perfect this year... lots of sunshine, a hot afternoon, cool evenings, and bright mornings. Music filled the air, tunes carried throughout the campground into the wee hours of the morning and starting up again first thing in the morning.

I spent the weekend as a Merganser. Each class is given a distinctive bird name, and they have a home nest to which they go for all their classes. We had a home instructor both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and then had visiting instructors for a couple of other classes. Saturday late afternoon offered a variety of specialty workshops that were available to anyone.

Mergansers learned a few new tunes, and more importantly to me, some technique to work on to make the tunes come alive! I spent the weekend learning by ear without sheet music... but just to be sure I could still play the tunes at home, I did record them!

Richard spent the weekend learning tips and techniques for playing the double bass. His bass mates traveled throughout camp, offering their services to many different classes... it was a great weekend for both of us.

Music in the Glen comes from the Portland Collection.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

High Dad in the Morning

Happy Father's Day! My dad is the best dad in the entire world. He's taught some valuable lessons in life over the years, and though he's somewhat more reserved in how he presents his opinions :) he still shares his thoughts and ideas on the order of things! He has always been supportive and encouraging, and been ready to lend a helping hand no matter the task.
My dad has also been adventurous and fun. As children, we took many a vacation to what seemed like far-away-lands. Our summers were filled with travels and experiences that have enriched our lives, and served as a model for raising our own children.
I know I speak for all your girls dad, when I say, "Thank you!"
High Dad in the Morning comes from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Off She Goes

... and He goes along with her! That's right, it's time for Maine Fiddle Camp :) We're heading out for a fun weekend of music, friends, dance, and delicious food, all in the great outdoors at Camp NEOFA.
Eight years ago, Richard and I were both at Fiddle Camp, and that began our friendship. We'd known each other from the contradances, and had brief conversations up to that point, but Fiddle Camp gave us the opportunity to spend a little more time together playing tunes and talking. Who would have thought back then that we'd be attending Camp together?
Off She Goes is a nice jig that can be found in the New England Fiddler's Repertoire and the Fiddler's Fakebook.
You can hear us playing this jig, along with other jigs and reels, at upcoming events such as:
June 23 as part of the Heritage Days festivities at the Norlands in Livermore
June 23 Contradance in Wayne at the Ladd Center
July 4 Contradance in Winthrop at the Town Office Parking Lot
July 20 Contradance in Manchester NH

Monday, June 11, 2007

Great Northern Bands

We're hoping to be one of the many Great Northern Bands by the end of the summer. We've got a pretty heavy schedule ahead of us, including some community contradances, some dinner & lunch concerts and some calling. Our spare time is spent practicing tunes, putting sets together, reading and re-reading books about calling contradances, and oh, did I mention practicing? It's a lot of work, but it's also becoming a huge, joyous focus in our lives. It is helping us to formulate a vision of where we want to be in five years, what we want to be doing... the picture we're formulating has us organizing and presenting community contradances in and around the area where we live. We've been collaborating with Paul (guitar) and Sandy (flute & whistle) and developing a great sound with lots of energy. We don't expect to hit the big time overnight, but we are living into the vision of being a lively contradance band with a distinctive sound!
Great Northern Bands is a tune we collected, probably from Fiddle Camp which we will be attending next weekend!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cat on a Leash

Avery came to visit this afternoon, intent on seeing the new kittens~ so intent that he had absolutely no interest in his new little fiddle! No matter, there will be plenty of time to play music together :) Since the kittens were HIS focus, it became ours too!
This is one of the favorite lounging spots. For actual sleeping and napping, the kittens choose to be under the bed or up underneath the living room chairs where they're well hidden.
The photo above gives some scale to how tiny Jeff and Libby really are (yeah, we've already got them nick-named)... They are quite comfortable around the instruments, and people. On Friday, we had band practice, and Sandy brought her dogs Barley and Beezie... the kittens were totally at ease with being sniffed and followed by canines.
We showed Avery how to shake the cat string so the kittens would engage and play with him. He did a good job shaking the string, but also thought the kittens should be able to "play" with a specific piece of the string. The kittens were not quite as cooperative as A would have liked :) They're definitely on their own program!
Jen loved the new kittens too :)

The kittens have been at ease with dogs and people, but were not quite as gregarious with Avery. This seemed strange until I realized they'd grown up with two little girls in the house who were probably running around chasing them and picking them up... and they might have formed an opinion about that! It was still fun to watch them running around, and having Avery pat them and say in his little I'm-so-amazed-voice "They so soft!".
Cat on a Leash comes from the Portland Collection.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Moving Violations

Saturday evening found this fiddler and bass player in North Yarmouth at the regular 2nd Saturday Contradance.
The evening begins at 6:00pm with the Family Dance, led and called by Kathryn Larson. The band, The Wescustogo Ramblers, are led by Jeff (guitar) and Maggie (fiddle)... other musicians (including us) join in playing the tunes (most of which have been played and practiced via the Thursday night Pownal jam session). It's a lot of fun, and the experience has helped us gain confidence over the past year. This Saturday night we had a guest piano player. One of the family dances is called Nine-Pin... it's kind of like musical chairs, in that when the music stops, everyone has to get to their place. What that means for the band is, when the caller gives us "the signal", we are to IMMEDIATELY stop playing, and then resume a few moments later. Well, the piano is facing AWAY from the band and the dance hall, so there's no way this guest piano player is going to see "the signal". We're all trying to let him in on what's going to happen, and offering suggestions on how we'll tip him off... and he finally just says, "Well, I'll just play like this..." and turns around on the piano bench so he's facing out to the dance hall and he's got one hand on the piano keyboard ready to play. I wasn't really sure if he was serious or not, but he seemed to be... and sure enough, that's exactly what he did!
The Family Dance is followed by a potluck dinner which is ALWAYS delicious. We brought cream cheese brownies (a new recipe) that were well received (I've been encouraged to make them again).
Contradance runs from 8:30-12:00, this month's band was Moving Violations and the caller was Lisa Sievert... a winning combination for a fabulous night of dancing. The dances were fun and well taught, and the tunes played by the band were great. It's fun for me as a dancer to try and recognize the name of the tune that's being played, and then to tell Richard... and just as often he's doing the same thing. It's great fun to be dancing in different areas of the hall with different people, and meet up in line with a hasty "That was Wild One followed by Indian Point in that last set!". Though the dance lasts until midnight, we generally leave after the intermission. This allows us to get home at a respectable 12:00-12:30 most of the time.
For anyone out there who has the opportunity to hear Moving Violations either live or on a recording, JUST DO IT... you'll be glad you did :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bumblebee in a Jug

Here's a photo of Avery's little fiddle next to mine. It does remind me of a bumblebee in a jug because it's just so little next to our full sized instruments. We are looking forward to seeing his face when he comes to visit, and realizes that he can now play the fiddle along with us. He's been wanting to play ours, but they're way too big. He has a child sized guitar at home that he enjoys playing... and a piano at his Grammie R's... and an assortment of things here now including his own Avery-sized-fiddle & bow!
He likes to have his "music" handy, and be seated appropriately when he plays any instrument, even shaking the egg!
Bumblebee in a Jug comes from the Portland Collection.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jefferson and Liberty

These are the latest addition to the household, two kittens about 9 weeks old. Jefferson is the one with the goatee, and Liberty is of course, the other one. We've been talking about getting kittens for a while now, but wanted to wait until after we got back from San Francisco. I've seen signs for kittens but still hadn't stopped to look at any. Today at work, Julie said she had five kittens that absolutely needed a good home and they were ready to GO! I called Richard with the news, and we'll get these little creatures tomorrow. Aren't they cute?
Jefferson and Liberty is a jig tune that you can find in the New England Fiddler's Repertoire.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Colored Aristocracy

We are still at work restoring computer files and reloading programs, but I'm very happy to say that I'm up and functional again. Richard should have his back in operation today!
The perennial bed is ready to become an explosion of color... yellow and purples. There are also yellow day lilies about to burst. Lilacs have been out, and columbine. Whoever put in this garden in front of the house did a fabulous job, it is a constant flow of colors from now til fall. This year there seem to be more buds than last year, perhaps due to different weather conditions and possibly from the time and attention it's gotten :)
The rainy weather gave opportunity to work on music. Tune sets are being worked out for upcoming gigs, including a nice schottische and a hambo for a dance our new group, Foxfire, is playing in New Hampshire next month. We are quite excited about that... it is a big leap for us, having a full three hour program of tunes, but it's a necessary part of our long term goal of organizing a community dance in the Wayne area. We also got to try out some dances, and put together a beginner's dance program.
The flowers in the front garden help to balance out the work we put into the music... I like that word balance, it's a big part of life and dancing!
Colored Aristocracy is from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I am sick of computers! I am frustrated with new operating systems that are so different we can't figure out how to print. I'm frustrated that once we find the secret place the new menu is living, we still aren't able to figure out the new formatting so it will print the way it looks. I'm frustrated because it is impacting the things I'm working on. I can't use the scanner with the new computer because I don't yet have Adobe loaded, which means I'm unable to scan tunes into documents, which has been a great way to try out sets without printing and using paper, cutting and taping and then finding out the set doesn't work. It means I can't print dance cards to use for calling. It means considering the old-fashioned way of actually hauling around multiple tune books instead of one notebook of tune sheets, and actually writing out all the dance cards. Or, horrors, actually memorizing and learning the tunes without having anything printed to refer to, and remembering how dances go without having a card in my hand.

All of this will be figured out in a few days, I'm sure... once we load some more programs onto the computer, perhaps change the operating system, re-load drivers for scanners and printers, and then re-do the documents I've been working on this morning...

... for now, I think I'll just go play some tunes and re-focus my energies in a postive and happy way!

Arghhhh isn't any fiddle tune I know of, but, well, it conveys my current mood!

Oh, the sun just came out and I think it could be a lovely day... and Notorious is playing in Falmouth tonight so we're going to the dance... yeah, things are looking up already!

Friday, June 01, 2007

June Apple

Happy June 1st :)
You've probably noticed the lack of recent posts... Hopefully no one has removed the tag from their list of favorites from lack of anything new!
We have our garden planted! The seedlings that were started in the greenhouse have been set out, and the seeds were put in just this week. Today is overcast and showery, just right for the warm earth to moisten up and get things growing!
The work pace has been picking up steadily (it was already busy enough) but it seems to become difficult to manage at times. My energy level has been lower than I like, and my creative energies have felt stopped up. What to do? Many options are being discussed and explored, and a new five year plan is in the final stage of development... very exciting and also very scary... like getting ready for a big adventure without knowing where the plane is going to land!
We've been playing a lot of music, and developing some new directions for what we play, where we play it, and how it gets presented. We've had a lot of fun with the jam group, and are getting more opportunities all the time. It's been pretty informal up to now, open to anyone who wants to join us, but the impact of that is we never really know who will be showing up to play. So we're working with a smaller group with the intention of being a band with a name and a sound... we'll see how that goes over the summer!
We've screened in the back porch, and re-hung the door so it's "bug-tight". It is a lovely space to sit in the evenings, listening to the night sounds of the forest and feeling the cooler breezes after a hot day. It's also made a nice place for Avery to be able to play, getting some fresh air and benefit of the outdoors without being in the sun and getting bitten by black flies and mosquitos!
I've taken out the banjo with the commitment to learn two songs well enough to play in the band. I figure once I get the two songs learned, I'll be able to add to that repertoire. The two songs? "Old Joe Clark" and "The Judge". I've also had the mandolin out... and practiced some with the harmonica. Not presentable yet, but I can see/feel/hear the possibilities!
We made it to Jeff's jam last night in Pownal. We haven't been there in ... oh, maybe forever! I blame that on my lack of energy at the end of the work-week. Peter's on vacation this week, and I put in a short day at the office yesterday so when it came time to decide whether to head south or not, I was enthusiastic about going! We had a great time seeing friends and playing tunes.
I have a new computer. You might remember that my former PC went kaput quite a while ago... then R gave me a laptop to use which then went kaput... and then let me use his other laptop. Now R's PC has gone kaput and he needed to use that laptop for his work. He's ordered components to build a new PC for himself, and purchased another laptop for my personal use. This is really exciting, but will also take a little bit of transition time to get my old files moved over, and learn the new operating system.
I think that's about it for catching up. I've felt bad about not posting, but I also didn't have my thoughts together... the times I'd sit down to write I would come up with nothing interesting. So, I've allowed myself to take a break until the "creative-writing-juices" were un-dammed and ready to flow! Thanks to everyone who has continued to check for something new to read :)
June Apple comes from the Fiddler's Fakebook.