Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Week Ago...

Last Wednesday Richard, Bryan and I were in Key West looking out over the sea green waters, enjoying the warm sunshine... Quite a bit different than todays weather which is really best for cold weather ducks, haha...
I have to admit though, I am glad to be back home and getting back into my routines... The house is clean, I've cooked some good meals, am back at work, went to the gym today, played music at Jim's tonight... The weather is pretty incidental in the grand scheme of things... I'm feeling pretty fortunate to have been able to travel south for a few days, to see Bryan and the pups for some good relaxing time, to visit Joline & Danny, Greg & Lisa, and Tom & Kathy and all the family members in each of those households... I am happy to be planning to be at home for the Christmas holidays in Maine!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

... And More Music

To continue on from the previous post, a few more reflections for future travels...
More Music... We played some fiddle tunes a few mornings before getting on the road, a couple of tunes during the day if we thought of it... We got a little lap harp from Wal-Mart (this ought to generate a few comments, haha) that, although a cheap little thing that can hardly be properly tuned, did prove to be a convenient instrument while driving and has a nice soft sound so we may upgrade to an actual instrument... We brought our mandolin and that was really nice to play while being the passenger, again having a nice soft sound... We brought along our 'Rise Up Singing' song book and did do some things from that which was a little more interactive... Harmonicas are nice but my repertoire of songs is pretty small still... Remembering back on the Falcon Ridge/ Ashokan week we played a lot of music, we may build future road trips around those type of events and catch some sightseeing in those areas...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Too Much Tent, Not Enough Stove

In our reflections of the past ten days or so on the road, Richard and I have come up with a few observations that will help direct us on our next trip.
Too Much Tent... Our 'Taj Mahal' two room tent is great for long term car camping ventures. It was great for the Patriot's Day Acadia Event, and for our Falcon Ridge/ Ashokan summer vacation. Not so great for on-the-road overnight tenting. Even though it doesn't really take too long to set up, it has a few disadvantages... a) cumbersome and requires quite a bit of space in the trunk , b) leads to bringing too much stuff since 'we've got the big tent' and c) not so easy to set up after dark...
Not Enough Stove... We brought the little single burner back packing stove thinking it would save us a little bit of space rather than bring the two burner Coleman. What we found is that it's hard to fix a decent breakfast on one burner AND keep it all hot at the same time. Have to almost eat in stages... that's AFTER you've fixed the coffee of course, which you can't make more of once you're engaged in breakfast preparations...
More Through Driving... We spent a lot of money, and time, staying in hotels because it was too late to stop and set up the tent. Not that a hotel now and then isn't a fun treat, but because we did it so often it didn't really seem as special, to me at least. With two drivers, I think it's better to choose your destination and just DRIVE. That gives more time for...
More Days in One Place... The only time we had any TIME to relax was when we stayed two nights at Fiesta Key. This was the one day we had to hang out without breaking camp or setting up again somewhere else. We did take a little drive (5 minutes) but otherwise had the day to ourselves to read, blog, converse etc... More of this would be nice :)
Perfect Road Companion... This is a must. Lucky for me I have a wonderful husband to share my love of traveling. Our vision is to get ourselves situated in a living situation that could be supported on part-time or contractual/ seasonal employment and being able to be on the road for a few months at a time. We're still working out our plan and considering whether we might want a motor home, van, tent, or other set up. These 'short' road trips are just practice runs for what we KNOW we want to be doing in the future which is seeing the country, playing music, going to dances and musical events across the country, and sharing it all with each other and those whom we encounter along the way.
I'm sure there will be more conversation in the next few days. We'll be reminiscing on the good and the bad, what worked well and what needed more work. But I'm happy that after a good rest this afternoon we are laughing, talking, loving, and planning for the next big adventure.

Devil's Churn!

I've been attempting to introduce names of fiddle tunes by using them as titles for most of our posts. This seemed fitting to me this afternoon as I unwind from our long drive. Surely this cold white stuff is not HEAVEN sent, haha...
Richard and I left Glen Echo, MD last night at 10:38 pm to start out northward journey after a great dance there... contras and squares with lots of great dancers. We drove straight through and arrived home a little after 9:00am Monday. I think after a little nap we will be ready to face the world again :)
More blogs to come of the Manassas battlefield and Joline's new home. For now, I sleep...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cold Feet

After a long day of driving and riding, Richard and I arrived in Virginia Beach in time for dinner at the Morgan's new home. We got to see the entire family throughout the course of the evening, and then went out to sit in the hot tub. Richard and Joline dared one another to jump into the swimming pool, which they both did with squeals and quick exits... and an equally quick re-entry into the hot tub. Okay, now it's my turn but I DO NOT want to do this. Joline says it is like jumping into ice cubes, Richard says it's not too bad, and as I stand on the diving board and my feet are GOING NUMB FROM THE COLD, I decide I do NOT need to do this. Richard continues to encourage me, saying 'I know you can do it' and of course, I finally agree to give it a try. I didn't give him enough time to prepare for my jumping in, but as you can see he did get me coming out of the pool. The steam you see is real, by the way. I made it back to the hot tub just as quickly as I possibly could. How did I feel afterward? GREAT... I was really glad I didn't miss out on the experience.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Another Bottle of Beer on the Wall...

Thanks to Bryan for the secret stash of Key West brew which we enjoyed at our hotel Friday night. That was a VERY NICE SURPRISE. He had stowed it in the bottom of our cooler after we had apparently packed it. We were pretty tired, just wanted to relax and turn in. It was very nice to be able to unwind with the taste of the Keys before turning in.
Once again, I am touched by B's thoughtfulness, and happy to have spent time with him this week.

Florida Blues...

... and pinks, and yellows... The evening sky was full of interesting colors and patterns. This shot was taken as we headed west from the Cape Canaveral area to get back onto I-95 north. We had made a slight detour to see Cocoa Beach and to stop at Ron Jon's Surf Shop.

We find ourselves tonight in the Jacksonville area, staying at AmeriSuites. This room is pretty nice. It has a little kitchenette, a sitting area and a separate sleeping area. Not too bad. We're using a coupon from a travel book we picked up during our Florida vacation. We will get back on the road early in the morning and continue our journey home. Oh, the temperatures are definitely cooling off as we head north.

Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part

It has been a Happy Thanksgiving for this mom... I look forward to the Christmas holiday to spend at home and have family gathered 'round, but it is a special time for me to meet up with Bryan. We get to see each other throughout the year at random times, and I hear of other families who only see their loved ones maybe once a year... hard for me to imagine. The three of us had easy conversations over the past couple of days and it was nice to share simple chores like making coffee, cooking breakfast, making the beer run...

We wish Bryan well over the next month or so, and hope plans hold true for him to come to Maine in December. Richard and I are already making tentative plans for gathering our family together around the holidays. For any of them out in blog land (Jen, Toby, Bryan, Bennett, or SK) let us know your availability and any ideas you might have!

I will note that this photo was taken using our new mono-pod to which our camera was attached, and the whole unit was carefully secured to our camp clothesline with clothes pins. The camera timer was set and we quickly assembled for this group shot. Nice, don't you think?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Gale (aka Wilma Was Here)

The huge pile of debris you see in the background is remnants of Wilma. All through the Keys we have seen various sized heaps of roadside clean up, home damage, appliances... and many places simply haven't started cleaning up. Large equipment works to clear these piles, and I'm guessing this is a staging area for collection until a better solution is found. The State Parks are closed to campers because of hurricane debris and I believe they'll be opening again December 1... they are letting people in for day use only.

Turkey in the Straw (I mean, in the dinner plate)

The KOA campground at Fiesta Key where we have been camping hosted a Thanksgiving Feast for all the campers. The campground cooked up 20 turkeys, mashed potato and gravy, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, corn and green beans. Campers were invited to bring a potluck or dessert as a contribution. It was a really nice meal, and fun to go and see other campers. Bryan contributed a nice bottle of Shiraz to our table, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

We missed the sunset while we were eating our turkey dinner, but we didn't miss the beautiful colors in the sky. Bryan took quite a few... this is the one that I liked the best, a tropical silhouette.

Run Boy Run

Thanksgiving holds a special tradition for Richard, he has gone for a run every Thanksgiving since 1984! Not to break with traditions, we went out this afternoon to one of many small side bridges that run alongside US Route 1. Years ago, these were the railroad out to Key West. Now the Florida Department of Transportation maintains them for bicycle and foot traffic as well as for fishing.

It was a beautiful day, maybe a little warm for running, but definitely nicer than running in SNOW which is what we hear is going on in Maine!

This picture shows how HAPPY we are that the run is over... we're actually quite pleased with ourselves for getting out and doing this. Thanks to SK for calling and reminding R of this time honored tradition, it's possible he may not have remembered until dark and I wouldn't be back in time to post this (and certainly would not have gotten a photo, haha).
What are your traditions around the Thanksgiving holiday? Post a comment or email me at

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2005 finds us at Fiesta Key FL enjoying warm and sunny weather conditions. You may have read in an earlier post that Bryan joined us Tuesday evening~ well some of you may not know he is the TURKEY FRYING MAN in the family. This is the third Thanksgiving running that I have had turkey fried by B for Thanksgiving and I'm happy that Richard is with us this year to experience it.
We decided that last night would be a good time to fry the bird... it was delicious! B had brought along a nice bottle of Merlot, a 1997 Napa Ridge Reserve. We also had fresh tomatoes and avocado slices. For dessert we went over to the little cafe and had gingerbread. Not the old traditional Thanksgiving feast of years past, but it is fun to use this extended time off from work to travel and do something a little different.
We stayed last night (and will again tonight) at the KOA here on Fiesta Key. You can visit the web site at for more information. I spoke to my mom this morning, apparently she and my dad have stayed here before so it was easy for her to picture where we are and what we are doing.
Oscar and Anna (Bryan's pups) are well seasoned travelers and VERY well behaved dogs. They are a joy to have along.


My absolutely FAVORITE thing in the morning? Coffee, of course. We've been having freshly perked java made by Bryan. I was in charge of cooking breakfast today and the menu was scrambled eggs with cheese and garlic, bacon, and herb crusted toast with my mom's home made Crab Apple Jelly. Mmmm. Good reviews from both Richard and Bryan. (Thanks to Bryan for bringing the jelly along!) The mornings are cool but comfortable. I probably didn't really need the scarf and vest on, but I just like how cozy I feel all bundled up like this :) I did hold myself back from putting on the wool hat!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Last Chance...

... to see the sun as it sets. Wednesday evening we went out to Sunset Point here at the Fiesta Key KOA. It's a thatched pole shelter at a point overlooking the water where people gather in the evenings to view the sunset. This particular one was spectacular, lasting about 4 minutes from start to finish. The campground is fairly quiet with a lot of open sites, so it was pretty interesting to see 20 or more people emerge and gather for this event of such short duration.
This campground affords us a lot more room than our previous experience at Boyd's. Here we can park both vehicles and put our chairs in front of the tent. Since the campground is not too crowded, we are able to sprawl into the next site which is VERY nice :) This gives us two tables, ample grass for the dogs to laze around in, and still room for our clothesline.
Richard and I enjoy camping quite a bit. Our big tent is a bit cumbersome for overnight stops however, and we may opt for bringing our little backpacking tent on a traveling road trip. This one is nice though for multiple nights. Once it is fully set up it has the traditional sleeping room, a screened porch, and the back has a flap that, when raised and tied off, creates a little porch (we are not using that feature on this trip).
How many tenters/ campers are there in blog land? Any stories you'd like to share? Post them on this blog as a comment, or email them to me at I'd love to hear from you!

Mug of Brown Ale

Here we are at the bar of this really fun little Mexican restaurant on Duval Street in Key West. We shared a pitcher of beer (Dos Equis actually, not really brown ale) here with Bryan, basked in the warm sun after a morning of walking around town.

Near tragedy was averted later on. Richard, Bryan and I had moved over to one of the tables you may notice in the background to finish our pitcher of Dos Equis. I wanted Richard to get a picture of me and Bryan, so I started to scoot my chair backward and one of the legs went down into a hole in the floor. Yikes! Right beside me was a little pool with a fountain and a LOT of REALLY HARD, SHARP rocks. Not only would it have been embarassing to fall in, but I could have actually gotten hurt. Luckily, I was able to maintain enough balance as I was teetering halfway over backwards for the guys to rescue me. I am counting my blessings that I was able to finish the rest of my beer without further incidents ocurring!

Wind That Shakes the Barley

The wind we experienced in Key West on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning would have been enough to shake the barley and anything near it, which is why we are bundled up for this picture. The tent site where we stayed on Tuesday night was nice and tidy but on the small side. No kidding. I am 5 ft tall, so I laid on the ground end to end and measure, probably only about 14 feet across at the most on these sites. There was barely any room for us to walk once we got our monstrosity of a tent set up... we ended up using the sites on either side of us which worked out fine because they were empty.
It was fun to have Bryan and his pups meet up with us for a day or two of tenting and touring around. Sometimes I feel a little left out when there's 'boy talk' going around, but it's also fun to be the only girl and have these two guys looking out for me. Oh, and in case you're wondering about my hat, Robin gave me this for my birthday and it is just about my favorite thing to be wearing when the wind picks up... Bryan and Richard both wanted to know this morning if I was going to take it off for the day, haha, which I did (reluctantly) but donned it again in the evening after the sunset.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Key West

Bryan met us in Key West last night. We are staying in what may be the smallest tent site I've ever seen. The good news is the campground is virtually empty of tenters and the RV's are set up a little further down. No matter, we're here and Wednesday morning finds our camping gear safely stored in the car and we are driving into Key West to spend the day. More updates and hopefully some photos later.
Richard has gotten the photo issue solved for the most part so we are able to put some pictures onto these stories. Text seems to go much quicker so when time is short I'm updating that part with plans to add photos a little later when we have some leisure time... YES, I STILL DREAM OF LEISURE TIME WHERE WE'RE JUST HANGING OUT IN THE SUN DOING THIS BLOG, PLAYING TUNES, WRITING AND READING, HAHA...
The weather here is fairly cool, 67 degrees and overcast this morning. Much nicer than the rain we had on the way down here or the colder temperatures in Maine but still not the blazing hot sun we had hoped for.
We are having fun on the road though, playing our fiddles when we stop somewhere and playing the mandolin and singing in the car.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Wright Stuff

This morning, R and I woke up in Kill Devil Hills to a cloudy, wet, slightly rainy day. The surf was pretty strong, and the air smelled strongly of the sea. We stopped in at Kill Devil Hill, the site of the Wright Brothers first engine powered flight tests, visiting the museum and the other exhibits as well as driving around Kill Devil Hill itself. I'm reading a book called 'The Flyers' written by Noah Adams that I'm enjoying quite a bit. There is insight into the private lives of the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, and their family. Very interesting.

After leaving this historic place, we ventured west along Rt 64 toward I-95 which we picked up outside Rocky Mt, NC. An uneventful trip down the highway finds us just off the highway exit 109 at a Holiday Inn Express, compliments of Bryan... THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! What a treat to have this room reserved and ready for us tonight. We went to dinner at a sports bar just up the road, and are now settling in for the evening. Tomorrow morning, we are anticipating an early start on a long travel day down through Georgia and Florida to the Keys. Bryan is packing up in the morning as well with the pups, and is planning to meet up with us somewhere in southern Florida. We will be traveling down I-95 and he will be going down I-75, I'm sure we'll be talking via cell phones, coordinating our meeting place.

Stay tuned for more details of the great Thanksgiving Trek of 2005...

Surf and Turf

Monday morning greeted us with gray skies and a pounding surf along the coastline of the outer banks. The old Atlantic was pretty overcast. This was taken from our hotel room just before we got on the road.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Boys of Burry Road

Left to right you can see Jake and Jackson with their canine pal Zoe. We went for a short walk up the street this morning with the boys and the dog. Weather is sunny and mild today, good for running around outdoors in the yard before settling in to watch the football games.

Football Sunday

The Patriot's are playing this afternoon, and even though we are in Virginia, you can be sure that the Green Boys will be watching their favorite team! Even the young boys, Jackson and Jacob, are big fans. Richard and his brother Greg are planning a run this morning, the same route that R and I did last night. Me? I'll sit this one out! I will however, be watching the game with everyone else.

Photos are not being uploaded onto blogger right now, there seems to be a problem with that. We're taking lots of pictures though, and will continue to try to get them up for you. Worst case scenario is that we add them after we get back to Maine. Stay tuned though, you never know how it will turn out. Last night I was able to load one photo though I did attempt to do several. We'll see.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Three Mile Run (Saturday Evening)

We've arrived in Chesterfield, Virginia after a long, arduous journey. Today was a really nice travel day, we have once again been blessed with clear, blue skies. Our journey has still taken some interesting turns. After leaving the Wilmington area this morning, we got on I-95 south and planned to stay on the highway until we got south of Richmond. There were, however, traffic alerts on the overhead traffic signs and on the radio warning of a 3 hour traffic delay in D.C. due to road construction. We left I-95 at exit 7 in Maryland to get on Rt 5 south to Rt 301. This turned out to be a pretty nice drive through southwestern Maryland and north central Virginia past a lot of plantations and very few towns. Once at Greg and Lisa's, and after unloading our essential luggage (why do we think we need SO MUCH stuff?), Richard and I go on what is billed as a 3.5 mile run through the development and also through a nature trail. It is getting dark but we're determined to get some exercise after riding in the car for a couple of days. The run turns out to be quite a bit longer, and it's quite a bit colder and darker when we get back to the house! Still, it felt good to be out running (and admittedly walking for the last couple of miles).
We brought some frogs for Jackson and Jake. These are not just ordinary frogs. Well, first of all they're not REAL frogs, they are made of some gooey green material. The cool thing is that when you squeeze these frogs, they have red and blue LIGHTS shining from their insides! A big hit with the boys! We also brought along a nice coffee table style book about frogs and their natural habitats. The BEST thing about the frogs was soon to be demonstrated... they STICK to the CEILINGS! How fun to see these little boys running around this BRAND NEW house, tossing their frogs up to the ceiling to see them stick, and then eventually fall to the floor. It was worth carting these creatures around for the past month and a half or so just to see how much fun the boys were having with them :)
We are still not sure what our next destination might be. We'll check the weather situation tomorrow morning and make our decision then. We have a few different options in mind if the Keys don't work out. The ultimate goal is to have a couple days or so to just 'BE' without any distractions or commitments. For now? We're enjoying being here with the Green Family of Chesterfield Virginia.

Crossing the Potomac

We took a short break from our car travel to stop on the northern shore of Virginia on Rt 301. It's been nice to have a break from the highway AND maintain a steady speed of more than 3 mph. There's a picnic area where you can see the river and the bridge spanning it. We stopped here to stretch, play our 'Cold Frosty' set which includes Cold Frosty Morning, Abe's Retreat, Caribou Reel, Grumbling and Growling, and Bus Stop. It has been a while since I've played these tunes, especially in succession so it was a bit of work in addition to just plain fun. There was only one other vehicle at this picnic area, and one police car that made his rounds through this afternoon... otherwise very quiet.

See Ya Latte...

We had to stop and get fuel on I-95 south in Maryland. Richard wanted to go in for a coffee, and offered to get me one but I wasn't really in the mood for coffee, so I say 'No thanks'. Then he asked if I wanted to at least go inside with him, which I did. Once inside, he made his way over to the Starbucks counter. 'Oh' I say to myself... 'Self, you've made a bad choice here in saying no to the coffee, but I think you still have time to change your mind'. I say to Richard, 'I didn't know there was a STARBUCK'S here, I might really like to have a coffee!'. The holiday flavors are out now, so I chose to get a Soy Gingerbread Latte... mmmm... what a good treat!
Back on the road, more news to come...

Cold Frosty Morning (Saturday)

I just went out to the car to get a couple of things and there's FROST on the car! It is sunny though, and the skies are clear... I think it's going to be a great travel day for us.
We've played a few tunes, had some coffee, showered, and I've updated the blog. No photos right now though, those will get posted when we get a better internet connection, or may even have to wait until we get home.
We've heard there's a hurricane in or headed for the Florida Keys so we may change our vacation plans and destination. Bummer. I was really looking forward to the fun in the sun. Flip side? Anywhere is a good place with Richard. We have our fiddles, we have some maps, and we have each other. And it's possible the weather will blow over and we'll end up there, guess we'll have to wait and see. This hotel does not have the weather channel so there's no way for us to check out what's really going on until we get to Greg and Lisa's tonight.
Stay tuned...

The Long and Winding Road (Friday)

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD, that leads me to your door... In all my life's winding roads and mis-adventures, I'm thankful for every one of them that have brought me to this place in my life with this man I call my husband....
A crisp November morn complete with blue skies greeted us as we awoke on Friday morning in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We started our day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal and played some fiddle tunes before getting on the road. We had a pretty slow travel day though. It took a little while to maneuver on the back roads between Plymouth and I-95 in Providence, RI. Good cruising down the highway through Connecticut and into New York City where we hit a wall of traffic. Not totally unexpected to hit some traffic, but I thought by getting through early in the afternoon we'd avoid rush hour. Rush hour, what a crazy term that is. No one is rushing anywhere. Once through NYC, we managed to get ourselves on I-80 instead of staying on 95 or the New Jersey Turnpike (too much conversation and not enough paying attention to the signs, oops). We find a bunch of back roads that can get us south and back onto the highway, but that takes another few hours to go a few miles. Literally, we were not registering mph on the dash, not even 3! We had planned to reach Greg and Lisa's to spend the night south of Richmond which would have been a long travel day, but a distance I've attained many times in the past. It became clear we would NOT be getting there tonight! Around 6:00 we decide we'll look for a hotel, have a good dinner, good night's sleep and get on the road in the morning. No problem, it's vacation after all. The hotels in the Philadelphia area are all booked... Richard spent quite a bit of time on the computer trying to make a reservation, and then made a few calls to places, all to no avail. Plan B? US Route 1. Let me tell you, US Rt 1 from Philadelphia to north of Wilmington does not offer any hotel selections. We finally get outside Wilmington and get a room at Comfort Suites. Hmmm. NO COMFORT AND NO SUITE. No kidding. This room apparently was too small to use for the mechanical room (it was located next door). Once we brought our bags and fiddles into the room there was little room for walking around. Not even enough room for two nightstands... the alarm clock was set up on a little half wall and the wall lamp was across the room from the bed... not very convenient you say? Well the room is so small we can still reach these things from the bed. The mini-frig is over in the corner with the microwave perched up on top of it. No matter, we're just tired, so we turn up the heat (brrr, it's still cold here, in the 30's outside) and go to Denny's for dinner. When we get back the room is STILL COLD. Richard goes to the front desk to express his concern, and comes back with a key for the room across the hall which is much bigger, but still not what I'd consider a suite. There is a small sofa separated from the bed area by a little half wall... guess it's all about hotel downsizing... no super sizing in this industry! Heat though, that's a plus. Internet Connection? Non-existent. Shampoo? Not enough for two people. Conditioner? None offered. I will say that the girls at the front desk were very accomodating when I asked for these items though, so I will give the place high marks for courtesy.


We did get to the Cambridge dance with SK and had a GREAT time dancing! A perfect way to start out our vacation. Good music, familiar friendly faces, and really good energy going around. We left Cambridge and got almost all the way to Plymouth when we got a call... SK had left her bag at the dance, and her cell phone and keys were in it. We debated for a few minutes what would be the best course of action, and it was unanimous that we needed to turn around and go get the bag. So, as you can imagine, it was pretty late when we got to bed, but it was a good tired... you know, the kind where you've had a good day and you're sleeping with a smile on your face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sandy Girl

These footprints are mine, and they were imprinted into Virginia Beach last year on the way home from my Thanksgiving vacation in Asheville NC. Asheville was pretty cold (water froze overnight where we were camping) and I remember how WARM and SUNNY it was in Virginia Beach. Two years ago I went to Florida for turkey day and got to visit the Kennedy Space Center while in the area. Thanksgiving always used to mean the whole family getting together in one place, but as my children's lives have become more busy and distances become more difficult to bridge, this holiday has come to mean VACATION TRAVEL for me. This year, Richard and I will drive to the Florida Keys for some sun, fun and relaxation. Key West is our destination, and I have borrowed some biographies from the Maine State Library about Ernest Hemingway to get a sense of the man who is so associated with that community. We are hoping to catch internet connections along the way so that we can update our blog site and keep you all abreast of our adventures. Toby has graciously agreed to house-sit for us while we're away (THANK YOU TOBY!) So, while you're here in Maine enjoying a nice turkey dinner, think of us dining on the road and walking the beaches barefoot for a while.

The Y Challenge

The Y has a holiday challenge going on from now through the end of the year. Members who get at least a 30 minute workout three times a week, and get their card punched a total of 21 times will go into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Y.
This is my second year at the Y here in the Augusta area. I usually go to the Manchester Campus, but there is a lot to offer here in Augusta as well. I have to admit that I've slacked off since hooking up with Richard, but I'll also say that we did do some running (he is MUCH more faithful to that than I am, although I DID enjoy the run across the bridges). If you're noticing the time this post is being made, and think 'WHY is she writing ag 4:33 am!' it's because we are going to the 5:15 aerobics class to start our day. I used to meet my friend Justine at the gym, but somehow it's easy to get out of the routine and we didn't pick it back up. I like going with Richard, we keep each other motivated to get there... and Richard is a good trainer for me, teaching me more about the machines and working out in general.
Who else out there is a member of a gym? How often do you go? How do you vary your workout routine?
I know some days it DOES feel like work, but once I get there, I really enjoy working out. And I like the after effects of my body just feeling good and healthy.
Oh, I got a little present from my husband yesterday on the way to the gym... an MP3 player which he pre-loaded with songs he thought I'd really like. First on the play list? Yep, he knows me... 'Wild Thing'... followed by a Led Zeppelin set. You can just imagine how fun my workout was listening to great music!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Nothing Could Be Finer...

... Than to Meet Up At the Diner in the Moooor-nin' Okay, again not a fiddle tune, but a great lead in for this post. The A-1 Diner is SK's favorite breakfast spot when she is in town. We made the trip with her early today to share the morning meal before she headed back to the Boston area where she is living these days. It was a good day to get photos, and we saw a lot of interesting sights on our drive but alas, I had forgotten to bring along more batteries and the trusty camera was inoperable. Bummer. Lucky I had this photo in the archives! Any stories about the picture that never was?

On another note, for those of you who check out the since11 blog site, you may have been wondering why no new posts have been made. Jen has had a terrible cold, and Avery has been sick, too. Both of them have been at home most of the week. This afternoon I spoke with Jen (I could actually hear her voice, she's been quite hoarse ) and she says that Avery is starting to feel a little better and she's going to try to get to work tomorrow. "GOOD LUCK" Jen, hope you both get through the day, I'll be thinking of you!

"Dance All Night"

'Fiddling Around' at the Family Dance is the house band 'Maggie and Friends'. You can see Richard in the white shirt toward the back on the right, and SK in the green shirt on the side. Richard and I are happy to play along with this group, gaining experience and expanding our repertoire. Dancers in the fore ground are doing a circle dance. Interested in trying this out? There's a Family Dance every second Saturday from 6:00-7:30 at the Westcustago Grange in North Yarmouth.

'Green Eyes'... Many members of the Green family assembled at the Westcustago Grange in North Yarmouth last night to join in the celebration of Richard's birthday. Left to right, front row is Derrick, SK, Don, Richard, Betty, and Richard. Back row is Pam, Kathy and Beulah. It was quite a surprise for Richard to see his family at this dance, and a lot of fun for the family to see what this contra dancing thing is all about. Also joining in the festivities were members of the Davis family (not pictured here), Ken and Janet, Kathy, Sam & Jessica, and Deb and Arnie.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Whiskey Before Breakfast...

...not recommended! But, did we get your attention? What I REALLY wanted to share is what we had for breakfast this morning. No, NOT whiskey! The seasons are changing and we've enjoyed yogurt with fruit and granola all summer and into the fall. But, this morning we dug out the oatmeal and dressed it up with a chopped up apple (red delicious picked fresh from the orchard), 1/2 a banana, 2 TBSP of chopped almonds and enough soy milk to make it mushy. Mmmmmm... GOOD! What does everyone else out there like for breakfast? I know some people have the exact same thing every day no matter what the season, and I also know others who want something different to start each day. No matter, personal preference is what makes us all interesting. We've been focusing more on our health lately. Richard and I are no strangers to bacon and eggs, but it just feels good to start the day with some good fuel to generate good positive energy for the body and the soul. Oatmeal, it's what's for breakfast!

Friday, November 11, 2005

"Happy Birthday To You"

Okay, it's not a fiddle tune, but it's the song I'll be singing to Richard today. If anyone out there in blog cyber land happens to see him, give him a big
"Birthday Hello" and if you're so persuaded, a nice hug!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Grand Picnic

This photo was taken late this summer when Richard and I went to Little Deer Isle in search of a fiddle. We didn't find one this particular day, but we did have a great time playing tunes out in this field that was strewn with rocks. It was great fun to be playing outdoors, standing on rocks, playing into the breeze, looking out over the fields and pond, and smelling the ocean air. We had brought along a bit of food left over from a lunch at the Belfast Co-Op which made a Grand Picnic, a nice tune that can be found in The Portland Collection (first and un-numbered volume) . We make a good attempt to take our fiddles with us everywhere we go, on the off chance that we'll be inspired to stop and play some tunes. Oh, we did end up with a fine fiddle a couple of weeks later :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fiddler's Dream

For me, it is a dream come true to have my favorite fiddle and guitar players be my husband and my sister, my two best friends. I love playing the fiddle, I love learning new tunes and improving my technique, and I especially LOVE having these two special people in my life to share the music. A dream come true!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cowboys Dream

My sister Kathy's son Sam and his wife Jessica are visiting Maine this week, spending time with family here before Sam goes to Iraq. Sam grew up spending time here in Maine as well as in Wyoming. It's always great to see him here, but I've always felt that he has the heart and soul of a cowboy. We had a great evening with them at Kathy and David's. Tuesday has evolved into music night with Kathy... she plays a mean guitar and is willing to do any tunes we ask. Often times she comes to our house to play after work on Tuesdays but this week Richard and I went out to Fayette to share pizza and play tunes. We wish Sam and Jessica well in their marriage, and we pray Sam will be safe in his journey to Iraq and back.
The stars were out, even as the sky started to cloud over, not that you can really tell by this photo. After Richard and I left to head home, we stopped on a back road to view the stars with the binoculars, quite spectacular. 'Cowboys Dream' can be found in the Portland Collection Volume 2.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Flying Clouds

I thought the cloud patterns late this morning were quite interesting. There were different layers and colors, and the whole scene changed before my eyes as we were driving north. The sky itself was a beautiful shade of sky blue (hence the name of the color I guess) and then these clouds varied from really white and soft looking to dark gray and almost angry.
Richard and I had been in the Topsham and Bowdoinham area revising a soil test and also visiting with Richard's mom (we got to have fresh coffee and fabulous muffins, thank you!) and were driving up the highway when the sky scene caught my eye.
'Flying Clouds' is an old time standard that changes key from the A to the B part. For anyone not familiar with contra dance tunes, there is almost always at least an A part and a B part. Each is 16 measures long, and the dances are written and executed accordingly. Changing keys makes the tune really interesting to listen to, and seems to me to change the energy as the dance progresses.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Richard's Jig

Saturday was designated "Get out and rake the leaves" day on Murray Street. Richard is demonstrating our new method of leaf collection and transport to the landfill. By stomping the leaves down compactly, we were able to make just two trips in our little Ford Ranger.

'Richard's Jig' was written by David Kaynor (check out , a friend and fiddler with whom we got to play recently. David wrote it for Richard Blazej and you can find the tune in 'Along the River'.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Music Hall...

This was our final Fiddle-icious concert of the season, held at Corthell Hall on the USM Gorham campus. For the last number, the orchestra donned masks, hats, or costumes of choice while our leader, Don Roy, spoke to the audience. He had no idea what we were doing, or why the audience was giggling. Then Don was presented with a yellow fireman's hat, which he wore for the rest of the concert. As you can see, it's quite a good size group of us. Fiddle-icious is billed as a safe place for all levels of musicians, and it really is. No one is turned away, no instrument is turned away (we even had a tuba!), it is open to anyone who wants to participate.