Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bare Necessities

I like to believe that I'm fairly thrifty and that I don't shop without a purpose... I'm not usually one given to mindless purchases or overindulgent spending. That said, I have a lot of "stuff" and on occasion I do buy things that I don't need, and things that I didn't have any intention of getting. I almost always like what I buy, but I often don't need it and sometimes I feel a bit wasteful about it... but not enough to take a stand. Until now.
I have come across an idea so revolutionary, so simple, so easy and so difficult... so foreign and yet so close to my heart. It's called Compacting... you can read stories about it at In a nutshell, it is getting out of the consumeristic rut and finding mindful and resourceful alternatives to shopping. Even as the big consumer holiday season is just around the corner, I'm considering taking the plunge and getting back to the basics of life. Here are a few excerpts from the Compacting compact...
To aid us all in getting started and sticking to the regime, I've compiled the guidelines we set in stone at our great dinner a few weeks back.
As agreed, The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):
1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact
2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)
3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
So, here goes for the rules:<>
First principle - don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
Second principle - borrow or buy used.
A few exceptions - using the "fair and reasonable person" standard -- i.e., you'll know in your heart when you're rationalizing a violation:
food, drink, and necessary medicine (no elective treatments like Viagra or Botox)
necessary cleaning products, but not equipment (don't go out and buy the Dyson Animal, for example).
socks and underwear (utilitarian--non-couture or ornamental)
pajamas for the children
Utilitarian services (plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, veterinarians, dog/house-sitters, fire/paramedics, dry cleaners, house cleaners, etc.) -- Support local and encourage used parts (rebuilt transmission, salvaged headlight unit, etc.)
Recreational services (massage, etc.) & local artisanal items - Good sources for gifts, but should not be over-indulged in for personal gratification
Charitable contributions (
Seva, Heifer, and the like) - an even better source for gifts
Plants and cut flowers - Whenever possible, cultivate from free cuttings or seeds. Ok in extreme moderation (yo, incoming oxy) when purchased from local businesses (i.e., not the Target Garden Shop)--and again, within reason
Art supplies - First line of attack:
SCRAP. When absolutely necessary (for the professionals and talented amateurs in the group), from local businesses
Magazines, newspapers, Netflix - renewals only, no new subscriptions. Even better to consume online
Video rentals and downloadable music files (non-material) -- freely shared and legal, please
So, blog me your thoughts...
Oh, Bare Necessities is a waltz from Waltz Book Volume Two.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Church Street

Every fourth Wednesday of the month there's a jam session held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Augusta, ME. Folks gather from around the area, some driving an hour or more. Most of the jams we attend have a pretty regular core group of musicians, with a pretty regular cast of occasional players who make it whenever they can. It's quite possible to book every evening of our week with opportunities to play music... and there have been a few weeks that we've done just that! What happens though, is a breakdown in the structure of our personal life. It's so important to have balances... to identify what the priorities are and to create time to participate and enjoy each of them. It doesn't mean "Do it all, and do it all now" but it does mean to be mindful of how our time and resources are utilized. Sometimes it's as simple as coordinating a jam session with maintaining social connections... or playing music at a community event... or spending an evening at home playing duets after a walk in the woods. For me, the UU jam is a priority because it is close to home (only 25 minutes away), involves the contra style tunes that we've focused on right now, and offers a chance to keep in touch with some friends.
Church Street is a tune we've picked up along the way somewhere... one of the many pieces of sheet music that has been shared with us, possibly at a UU jam!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Honest Woman of Many Trades

There are many instruments in which I have interest... obviously the fiddle is my main focus these days. There are times though, when it is useful to speak fluently with other instruments. I can pretty easily provide enough guitar backup, and can pick along with the mandolin at a moderate pace. Tonight at our jam I got to play the mandolin, the fiddle, the bodhran... and a bit of banjo with the help and instruction of my friend Terry. I feel challenged and empowered to learn more strumming chords with the banjo and work into some picking, flailing, and maybe even some claw hammer if that style appeals to me. The fun thing about music is finding the group of people that you can let yourself try new things. Our Tuesday night jam this week offered just that sort of environment... safe and encouraging. We had a great time calling out tunes and playing.
We had a guitar, two fiddles, a banjo, an egg... and an assortment of other instruments that I got to play as the mood caught me. There can't be much more fun than that... other than the jokes, laughs, and camraderie that overtook us between tunes!
Honest Woman of Many Trades can be found in the Lighthouse Collection as well as Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes. I like to think that I'm an honest woman (I also like to think that those who disagree with me just don't know me well enough) of many trades (do you know that I've dipped leather, ran spinning machines, cared for the elderly, mowed cemeteries, sold groceries, dipped ice cream, and washed hair)... Ah, life offers so many opportunities when the mind is open to possibilities!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Queen of the Fair

The Common Ground Fair was held this weekend in Unity Maine... a celebration of rural living in Maine. Richard and SK attended yesterday, and today I went with SK, Toby and Bryan. Saturday brought rain all day... today we experienced a few light showers and some sunshine before the heavier rains set in. The exhibits, food, and demonstrations were all great.
We went to the new tradition of Fiddler's Showcase in the morning... a kinder and less stressful presentation of music than the older tradition of Fiddle Contest. The Showcase is presented in a style similar to that of Maine Fiddle Camp, and I'm sure other venues... those who wish to participate sign up and get to play their favorite tunes and medleys. There were a few other opportunities to listen to music... a Spotlight Stage featured different musicians throughout the day and there was at least one jam session going on that evolved into an impromptu contra and square dance. It was nice to get out and see the different colors, crafts, textures, and people who love farming and being close to the land in one way or another. Very inspirational. There are so many crafts and activities that I have tried over the years, some that I have loved, others that I'm glad I tried (and moved on from!).
These days I love fiddling. I'm also constantly drawn to colors and patterns that remind me how much I love piecing quilts together, so I'm hoping to create time to do that soon. Today's outing certainly gives me motivation to do just that!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

College Hornpipe

Saturday night found us at the Norlands, playing a barn dance for a "live-in" experience. The Norlands is a living history center located in Livermore Maine, not far from where we live. This is the second barn dance we've been invited to play and we anticipate another invitation in the near future! The Norlands depicts rural farm life in the 18th and 19th century as it chronicles the lives of the Washburn family. The group we played for were in a college credit course through University of Maine Farmington, and they were thoroughly enjoying learning the basics of contras, circles and squares.

Stir the Soup

Fall weather is here... perfect for hearty soups. This culinary creation was made by Bryan, and shared at our house for dinner last night. Lots of vegetables, a variety of beans, a tasty herb broth, and my personal favorite, SPAM... absolutely delicious! Avery was not crazy about it, but you can never really tell from day to day what he'll want to eat... this report comes from his mom so we weren't too surprised when he opted for a peanut butter sandwich instead. We also had salad and biscuits to round out the meal... and then apple crisp later on for dessert. It was nice having Avery and Bryan here to share dinner with us!
Stir the Soup is from the Reckless Reel.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Almost Equinox

The autumnal equinox is nearly upon us, marking on the calendar the change from summer to fall. The leaves have started changing color, and night time temperatures have begun to drop... though our days continue to be sunny and warm for the most part right now. This is my favorite time of year!
Almost Equinox comes from the Reckless Reel.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary To You...

Not a traditional fiddle tune, I think it could still be contra-danceable! Happy Anniversary to Jen & Jason... congratulations... and best wishes for another wonderful year of magic!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Waltz of the Little Girls

Not so little anymore, the Davis girls are all grown up with families of their own. This photo was taken on Sunday morning after picking apples. The photo is a wonderful reminder of how much fun we have when we get together... and that we're passing that passion for living on to the next generation! Waltz of the Little Girls can be found in Waltz Book Volume One.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tom Trainor

I have the privilege and the challenge of presenting our annual OSHA safety training update and review to the team at Club-E. I have done extensive research and reading on the recommended guidelines of OSHA, CDC, and OSAP... and love putting the presentation together for the team each year.
There are different viewpoints on rules and regulations, and though my first instinct is often to rebel and question them, I almost always can see the reasoning... the madness behind the method in most instances.
In my opinion, rules are not instituted until people exhibit irrresponsible behavior to the point that they inflict real or potential harm upon themselves or others. In other words, if people were reasonable and considerate of themselves and those around them, there would be very little if any need for rules or regulations.
That said, I'm ready to present the safety rules as they apply to our practice.
Tom Trainor comes from the Portland Collection Volume Two.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's An Orchard You Need...

... to get photos like these. Click fiddlehedz fotos' photosets on Flickr to see more photos of our fun day picking apples.

Hungry Rocks

Hungry Rocks is a tune from the first volume of the Portland Collection. The rocks along our coastline have historically been hungry for ships passing through between the islands... that's why the coast of Maine has many, many lighthouses on its shores and islands... to warn sea captains of the dangerous ledges and outcroppings that lie just beneath the water. Today however, the only thing hungry on the rocks were the fiddlers... hungry for the delicious foods that were brought and shared, and hungry to play tunes together in a relaxed and beautiful setting.

Red Apple Rag

Kents Hill Orchard in Readfield was the place to be this morning... a sisters event picking apples! This is my first time picking apples, although we have several orchards in our area. Richard picked last year for the first time, he went with SK one day while I was at work so I missed out on the fun. No matter, I made up for it today! Deb, Kathie, Wendi, Courtney, and Kathy (German exchange student) all met at the orchard. Deb and I arrived first, and were announced as "It's the Davis girls!" by the owner Terry, a friend from high school days... that made us feel oh so special :)
We walked out through the trails and picked macintosh apples... and a few occasional raspberries too. I wasn't sure what to expect before we reached the orchard, whether we would need to climb trees and how we would manage to reach the red globes. The trees we picked from had branches quite close to the ground, so we could just reach up and pluck the apples from their perch.
After paying for our bounty, Terry asked if we would like a hayride, to which we all answered a hearty "Well, yeah!" We boarded the trailer being towed behind a farm tractor and had a leisurely ride around the property... this gave us more time to visit with one another without being engaged in the picking. We'll have a surprise package sent to Virginia Beach for the sister unable to attend, this will make our sister event as complete as possible given the circumstances!
Red Apple Rag can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shoot Two Bits

We had some fun this afternoon when Richard's cousin Scott came to visit Fiddle Ridge. Scott had spent the morning at a shooting competition... so he had a nice assortment of firearms with him. This was his first visit out our way, and the first time we have shot any guns here. Richard and I both have some experience with firearms but it's been a while since we've handled guns of any kind. Scott was great... he was informative and patient with us, and if I learned anything from his visit today it is SAFETY FIRST. We used our wood road, shooting north and away from any possible traffic. The road dips down before forming another knoll... it made a perfect place to shoot at targets, a nice straight clear path with the knoll behind as the back stop. We used these targets for a while, then turned them around... and finally just took them off and used the cardboard figures. I can't even remember all the different guns we used... rifles and hand guns... but it was a good experience for us. Richard is planning to hunt this fall, he has his license already. Today was a good refresher course in hunter safety that we hadn't planned on. We are hoping to see more of Scott, and his boys!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ice On the Road

Not the way you might envision if it were mid-winter here in Maine... no, this ice on the road is in the form of an upright food freezer that we went to get Friday evening. We have made the decision to get a freezer, and have discussed the options. We've visited some appliance stores to see what the latest features are, capacity of upright and chest styles, and the energy star ratings of the various brands and models. In the meantime, R's cousin has an extra freezer that he wants to get rid of... an upright model. We found that the upright models are not as energy efficient, but they do take up less floor space and have easier visibility and access. The chest freezers are more energy efficient and don't have much else going for them. So, we're getting the free upright... our limited floor space in the utility room is one deciding factor. The extra cost of energy will be more than outweighed by the purchase price of $0.00. The new acquisition is in large part in anticipation of R getting a deer this fall.

Lost Everything

What would you do if you lost everything? And what does everything mean to you?
A good friend of my sister and brother-in-law was lost at sea this week by a rogue wave that washed over the boat, sweeping the crew overboard and demolishing the boat. The weather was good and there was no indication that anything was wrong... he happened to look up and see the wave, called out for the others to hang on, and then he was gone.
What would you do if you lost everything? And what does it mean to you? How would you spend your day if you knew it was the last time you had a chance to make a difference, even a small one? How would you treat those you love if you knew you wouldn't see them tomorrow?

Lost Everything is in the Portland Collection Volume Two.

Prayers and thoughts go out to the family of the missing man, to my sister and brother-in-law, and all those whose lives are impacted by this tragedy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Woodshed (again)

By popular request, more photos of the workshop! The front porch will have a roof, and can serve as a stage for outdoor concerts. The main floor has two rooms, one larger front room which will probably house our tools and shop equipment and a smaller back room to store firewood. The second floor has one large room... it could be a music studio or accommodations for long-term guests... there is also a small storage area. The third story windows will quite likely be loft space. There may be another porch wrapping around this side of the building . The building is framed with hemlock sawn at a local mill. The wall sheathing is pine shiplap, from the same local saw mill.
Inside the wood room (that's the room I'm standing in, above), we laid pine shiplap flooring, nailed randomly. It has a nice look to it. We joked that we could now get a horse because it sort of looks like a stall :) No horse for us though... we have a nice cat named Little, and she's enough company for two rambling travelers like ourselves. She happily tolerates our coming and going for the most part. We still have a ways to go before we are able to start moving into this new space... roof shingles, windows and doors, and Ty-Vek to keep the wind out~ that'll probably be it for this year. Next year we'll work on siding, insulating, and finishing things off more. What started out as a simple woodshed has taken on a life of its own and just kept growing... it will serve us well here when it's done.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Off to California

Richard and I had date night tonight... we went to Waterville to Railroad Square to see Little Miss Sunshine. We LOVED the movie. It was everything the trailer promised and more... an almost true to life way that families should and could be toward each other. This was our first trip to RR2 together, though we've both been their in our previous lives... I've hardly ever been disappointed in the films I've seen there. I get the current showings and nicely accurate descriptions on my email weekly... until now we've just been too busy to get there. Thanks to Richard for suggesting that we make the trip tonight! Railroad Square has three theaters, and the offerings are always interesting and thought provoking... not your run-of-the-mill movie theater! Check them out at
Off to California can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook... and California was the destination of the family in this movie.


Richard's been working on this building since the spring... incorporating ideas from conversations we have, and also making it practical for the things we need~ like storing our firewood, setting up our tools, and maybe even extra lodging accommodations when the house is full.
I really like building things, and have had great experiences in the past. We have tried unsuccessfully for months to work together, because we both have our own ideas of "how it is supposed to be" and somehow have a breakdown in communication. Today was different though. We had a great day working together and we got a lot accomplished. Building without using plywood takes longer, but the reward of using natural materials is invaluable.
The primary goal was to get the back room ready to store our firewood. That meant getting a wall covered over in boards, putting a floor down, and installing windows. We got the wall and the floor done... the windows will get done tomorrow if all goes well. The really great thing about today was that we managed to keep our focus, do what we knew we needed to do, and were patient with one another. We have such fun contradancing and playing music, and being with our families that it's been a real shame not to share in the day-to-day chores and projects together. Working together today gives us another way "to be" in the relationship... another way to be partnered. It's been a long time coming, but probably more appreciated for the wait.
The woodshed will be getting filled in the next few weeks with firewood Richard cut, and that we split together (we did have fun that day with the wood splitter). Wood is our primary source of heat here at Fiddle Ridge. My family has heated with wood, either primarily or as a backup, since I can remember. The smell of a wood fire, keeping a pot of soup going throughout the day, watching the flames leap and dance in the evening... all a source of comfort in the cold of winter.
Woodshed is a tune from Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sheebeg (Chebeague) and Sheemore

Saturday was an absolutely perfect day from start to finish. Richard and I started out early to do a site evaluation. The property is steep and challenging but the owner is going to love waking up to this beautiful view (above), and that will make the process worth it in the end.

Next we met Jeff, Eric and Val (members of Wescustago Ramblers), Sandy (fellow fiddler), Sandy's husband Ken and Jeff's friend Evelyn for a boat ride across the water to Chebeague Island. This was the first time I'd been out of the water for quite a long time and I LOVED the fresh air, sunshine, and the smells of the ocean. There is a ferry available, but the schedule wouldn't have allowed me to get off the island in time... the only way I could make this trip was through Sandy and Ken's generous offer to take us all out, and pick us up when we were finished. THANKS!

So, the Wescustago Ramblers are on tour, assembling our gear and realizing we don't have a limo to get us to our gig. I've never been on Chebeague, but word was that we were NOT walking all the way to the Community Building... and we were not able to reach our friend to come pick us up. No matter, island communities in Maine are known to be friendly and accomodating and we were able to make other arrangements... Good thing we got the ride, because it really would have been a LOOOOONG walk hauling instruments and gear!
Our Limo

This event was a fundraiser and involved our playing for a contradance demonstration... there was also an olive oil tasting table, baked goods auction, various tables with things for sale, a woodturning exhibit, and activities for children. When we were finished playing music, we had a bite to eat before returning to the docks for departure.

Richard and I drove to Augusta... I attended a baby shower for my friend Justine, and Richard spent time at the library. Then we drove south again to play at the Family Dance at Wescustago Hall... the first of the season... had potluck supper and stayed for the first half of the regular Contradance. We got home around midnight, tired but happy that we'd had such a fun day together.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ships Are Sailing

This photo comes from the Chebeague Island web site... Richard and I will be cruising out to the island today to play music with some friends at the FISHERMEN'S COUNTRY FAIR. We have a full day of activities before and after our trip to the island... including a baby shower for Justine, Forrest and baby Sam... and playing for the Family Dance at the Wescustago Hall in North Yarmouth this evening. If I'm really on my game today, there will be photos added to this post tomorrow!

Ships Are Sailing can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook and the New England Fiddler's Repertoire... it's one of the tunes we practice for the dance.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Deer Walk

Deer walk all over and all around this property of ours. My sisters and I are planning on picking apples soon. The combination of apples and venison bring me to the topic of the day... mincemeat.
My grandmother, and my mom, have made mincemeat since I can remember. When I was younger I didn't care much for it, but like many other foods I have a much more discriminating palate for the finer foods... these days I LOVE a good mincemeat pie. This evening Richard and I had dinner with his mom and dad (shrimp casserole that I MUST get the recipe for) ... and for dessert, I was offered a piece of mincemeat pie made with green tomatoes. May I say, it was delicious! I've always had the venison version, but this was right up there with the best of the best, meat or no meat. Now, I've never made mincemeat myself, I've always taken advantage of the fact that others (thanks mom) know their way around a kitchen and a have a love of sharing what they bake. But, I'm seriously thinking that when Richard gets his deer this fall, I'll make mincemeat. I'm sure mom will be happy to share her recipe and also her tips for making it just so.
For today though, I'm happy to have sampled the 'vegetarian' version... and also happy to know I have a couple more pieces to enjoy over the next day or so! And yes Tonya, I will share some of my mincemeat pie with you at Club-E tomorrow :)
You can find Deer Walk in the Portland Collection.

Pam's Tune(s)

A challenge has been set forth! Our Tuesday night jam has evolved into a practice session for fiddlehedz & company... fellow musicians Jim (on fiddle) and Paul (on guitar) have been coming regularly and we've collectively decided that we want to play more in public... family and community events. So, we've come up with a nice list of tunes that we feel comfortable with... and started exploring others. Last night, Paul issued a challenge in the form of a "homework assignment" that each of us will come up with a set of tunes that we'll practice next week. This is very exciting for me because not only is it choosing a series of tunes, it means figuring out how they'll transition from one to another, what the introduction could be, where there could be individual showcase areas while the others in the group do backup, and anything else we can think of to make the set interesting to listen to AND fun to play! Richard and I have a few sets we've put together already, and we have a few put together years ago by Kathy and me... so we have some experience with the basics. I can hardly wait to get started... ideas are already playing in my mind!
Pam's Tune can be found in the Curvy Road to Corinth as well as in the Portland Collection (first volume).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Marble Halls of Learning

Whether it is taking a class for credit or picking up a "How-To" book at home, learning new information or skills is as important for adults as it is for children. A lot of the things I've learned to do over the years have been self-taught, or picked up from watching someone else... and I've also taken a lot of classes and courses over my adult life. Learning something new keeps our minds sharp and our attitudes open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
Sometimes I get lost in the thinking of what I want to do when I grow up, and I don't actually engage in the act of learning something new. Sometimes I get started but am not really interested enough to keep up the momentum.
I read recently that wherever it is you find enthusiasm, when you feel your heart soar with excitement over something that inspires you, those are the things you need to do more of. I think it's a good idea, to follow your passions... and see what new places and ideas open up to you!
Anytime is a good time to pick up a new hobby, join a group or class to learn, or to pursue a new aspect of an activity about which you are enthusiastic... fall offers opportunities to START NOW by taking an adult education class at the local schools, or a college class at a university... why not consider it today?

Marble Halls of Learning
comes from Along the River.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Phone Call

Can you stand it? This little guy is the highlight of my life... well, next to Richard of course... oh, and when talking boys I have to also include Toby and B... and Dad... oh the list goes ON and ON... but you get the idea... Avery is the leader of the pack these days.
We got this kitchen set FREE at one of the neighbor's houses this weekend... they had bicycles, a portable closet, a bouncy horse and other items. I picked up the kitchen set-up and a Little Tikes plastic picnic table that Avery LOVED! He kept picking up the telephone and having little conversations :)

Avery carries on conversations even without a telephone... he knows a good amount of ASL (American Sign Language) for an 18 month old child... thanks to the constant input from his mom! (GOOD WORK JEN!) He also has some 'home signs' which are signs he learns by doing... not necessarily ASL... my favorite of these is 'bug' which he signs with a swatting motion as though a fly were trying to land on his face! Jen would brush away mosquitos/gnats/etc and say "bug, bug, bug" and Avery learned that swatting his cheeks meant "bug" hahaha... The funny thing is ASL sign may indeed be something very similar to swatting a bug off the cheek :)
Avery thought the lobsters at Gram and Gramps 50th anniversary party were 'bugs' and he'd scrunch up his nose and say "eeyuuuwwhhhhh"... and then he'd sign/say "bug, bug, bug" while swatting at his cheek... very funny!!! He even thought the stitches on my thumb was a bug!
Good news is that even though the end of my thumb is still numb/tingly I am much more comfortable, going without the bandage, scheduled for suture removal, and ABLE TO PLAY A BIT OF FIDDLE FOR ONE OR TWO TUNES... yahooo... I can't even describe how good it feels to pick up the stick and scratch out a couple of tunes that are in my head!
The good thing about this glass splinter and its surgical removal? My priorities are gaining perspective... The family weekend has been a huge success and I realize more than ever how important my mom and dad, my sisters, my daughter and grandson, my boys... and my wonderful HUSBAND are to me... and I also realize how MUCH I MISS FIDDLING when I can't do it! The fiddling I especially miss is the 'pick-up-and-play-at-home' tunes and looking forward to the jams... I want to do more barn dances, farmers markets, and community stuff. I wanted so bad to play at mom and dad's this weekend with Kathy and Richard... just could not be. Another time.
Oh yeah, Auntie Jo is so impressed with Avery's knowledge of ASL that she is on her way home to Virginia to introduce it to her daughter Tasha and grandson Bailey! Great demonstration Avery!
Phone Call is from Larry Unger's Reckless Reel.

Just Cook Enough For Yourself

I stepped out of my comfort zone this morning... on a subject about which I struggle personally... and with someone very close to me.
The subject is accountability and integrity when rules for safe work practices are not adhered to by a team of co-workers... and one person assumes responsibility for "making sure it all gets done".
Here's the story, names changed to protect the innocent/guilty/unassuming.....
Carol, Denise, Mary and Claire all work in a healthcare practice that is owned and operated by a licensed professional. They've all been told that over-time is no longer allowed and that their work must be completed without putting in more than 40 hours per week. Carol, Mary and Claire have no problem with that... they are happy to show up at the required time, take their hour lunch, and to leave at the end of the day. Denise is having a problem getting all her work done in the allotted amount of time. There are supplies and instruments to sterilize and put away, charts to write notes in, treatment areas to clean, disinfect and prepare for the next work day, and the schedule to review. All four women have a treatment room and a specific area of the practice for which they are responsible, but if the end of the day comes, and Carol's, Mary's or Claire's work is not done they leave... so they don't go over the 40 hour limit. Denise stays and finishes so that the next day will go smoothly for everyone... and she typically puts in more than 40 hours because of this. The licensed professional has requested that the phones be answered through the lunch hour, that all work be completed, and that the practice be ready for operation every day... but he refuses to acknowledge that Carol, Mary or Claire are neglecting to complete key tasks and that Denise is picking up the slack. When Denise came back from vacation, she opened the office on Monday morning to find the alarm had not been set, the computers had not been shut down, dirty instruments left uncleaned, and treatment rooms unprepared for clinical procedures. This only confirmed in Denise's mind that she was the only one who was being responsible for getting these things done.
That's the scenario... in a nutshell. Denise feels her time is being taken for granted, that no one else cares, and that she is the only one who can get the job done and done right. HIPAA and OSHA rules have been compromised... rules that the entire team has been trained to uphold. Ultimately the licensed professional is responsible for that, but Denise has taken the responsibility of it all upon herself.
What would you recommend to Denise?

Golden Legs

The famous Davis sisters "leg"-acy lives on...
Golden Legs comes from the Portland Collection, Volume Two.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Come Dance and Sing

This has been a great weekend ... our home has been filled with laughter, stories, food and love. Jen and Avery spent a couple days and an overnight with us... Joline & Danny have been with us for the weekend too. Avery had such a good time with his cousin Gavin... and all his aunts and uncles... it has been a wonderful opportunity for him to get to experience the wonder of our family gatherings... plenty of hoop-hoop-hoop-lah.
We spent Sunday afternoon and evening at my mom and dad's helping them pre-celebrate their 50th anniversay (which happens in November) with a lobster feed... lobsters, clams, corn on the cob, potato salad, broccoli salad, beans... homemade ice cream and blueberry cake... munchies and plenty of beverages! We all donated photos for Wendy to compile into a slide show (great job!); put together a CD of songs from 1956 (with a few 'current' songs at Joline's recommendation!); made a lottery ticket bouquet and generally just had a good old time remembering things from the past 50 years... how fun! The best part of all? Now we have another memory to add to the list.
We all got to talk to Sam as the phone got passed around. Sam is in the Army, currently stationed in Iraq... his brother Ryan is also serving our country overseas... we miss them and the other family members not able to be present today. The slide show included photos of everyone which helped me feel some connection with those who are away.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.
More celebrations as November gets closer... but this early anniversary bash was special because all five of us girls were able to be together with mom and dad.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Old Time

Learning how to do things 'the old way' has been a huge part of the past fifty years. My mom and dad fostered an interest in researching and preserving time-honored traditions in and around the home... and that interest is carried on today in a lot of the activities my sisters and I are involved in. Home gardening, canning, freezing and preserving foods... game hunting to put meat in the freezer for winter. Cutting, splitting and stacking firewood. Quilting, knitting, and sewing. Painting with oils and acrylics, sketching with charcoal. Fiddling, playing guitar, singing. Storytelling.

When we were growing up we raised sheep for the wool and spun it into yarn... my grandparents demonstrated this at the Norlands. We got fresh milk from a local farm and churned the cream into butter. We learned to sew by hand and made most of our doll clothes (old shower curtains make fabulous rain coats) and furniture (open tuna fish cans carefully to leave about an inch of lid still attached, bend lid up, stuff the can with fabric or stuffing and then 'upholster' as desired). We made up games like "pick"and "other girls". We drew, we sketched, we wrote poems and stories. We took part in 4-H and hung out in the exhibition halls at the fair. We dried beans and apples in the top of the garage.
Our world these days is pretty fast paced, and we make choices and compromises in the name of being practical with our time and resources... but the lifestyle of the old days is never far away.
Thanks mom and dad for encouraging us to experience the old-fashioned ways of life!


My sisters and I grew up appreciating nature. We spent much of our childhood outdoors playing and exploring our world whether it was in our own back yard or on one of our vacations.
Making trails in the "little woods"... the little woods were directly behind our house and were really just a tree covered knoll. Beyond that was a field, and even further back were the "big woods" with tall, dense trees. The big woods were off limits to us, we thought we could get lost forever. But, the little woods were ours and we spent many hours of our summer vacation pretending to live there. One early morning, Debby and I decided we would run away and see how long it was before anyone noticed our absence. We climbed out the downstairs bedroom windown onto the bulkhead with our little bag of food and high-tailed it into the little woods, down one of our trails to a spot near the sandpit. We hung out there for a little while, who really knows how long... and then climbed back up over the bulkhead into the house... certain that no one had even missed us... oh well, back to life in big family!
Those days playing out in the little woods, or sifting through sand at the ocean, or watching the water tumble down the stream at Baxter... all these experiences have molded my sisters and me.
Thanks mom and dad for instilling a love and appreciation of nature in your daughters.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Family & Friends

All of us have our personal friends, those individuals with whom we connect and stay energized for creative projects... and that's great.
I have Robin, my very best, longest known friend... I met her under the lilac trees between my grandparents' (grammie and grampa down) house and her grandparents' house... I also have my children, three very important people who know me the VERY BEST of anyone in the whole wide world because, as Toby says, "have known me for thirty years or more".
My mom and dad are each other's best friend. They are what I aspire to in my relationships, whether with my children, co-workers, sisters, or my husband. My mom and dad have always been 'there' for one another. Whether it has been career growth or change, personal interest, family responsibilities... my mom and dad have supported each other 100%+ ALL THE TIME. I admire them for their commitment to family and friends, and mostly to each other... they have always come across as a united ENTITY no matter what the issue, situation, or opinion. That isn't to say that they don't have their own ideas on any given topic, but when it comes right down to it, they are TOGETHER... and that is an unbeatable force.
Thank you mom and dad for the ideal of what a true partnership can be.
I know that for me, I have friends at work... but my true (I can count on these people no matter what) friends are my family... mom and dad, sisters, and children... they are my biggest cheering section, and I want to be theirs in return.


I have different memories of my grandparents, grammie and grampa down (remember? they lived down the road) and grammie up (she lived up-town).
Grammie and Grampa down were fairly stoic and utilitarian in their lifestyle and their communication styles with us grandkids. I mean, they were solid and their values are very close to the ones I hold today... but they weren't all 'huggy' and 'cuddly'. They set up tv trays in the living room for us to use while the adults sat at the big table talking French... they worked hard gardening, woodworking, cooking and their house was IMMACULATELY clean and tidy... that's where I learned to play Hi-Q and that rocks had different guts and names... that's where I first learned about plucking eyebrows... and that's where I met my first 'best friend' who maintains that title to this day. Grammie and Grampa down were solid.
Grammie up had a different sort of lifestyle, and I recognized it as one that (though I loved her dearly and she influenced my adult life in special ways) I didn't really want for myself. I love remembering that we went over there on Sundays for dinner after work. And when I make a great, hearty, meaty spaghetti sauce I love thinking that I'm following her example of throwing in EVERYTHING possible... when I bring leftovers to work I tell them it's her recipe :) She taught me how to wrap Christmas gifts ( I think she might have just been having me do her 'dirty' work, but I still remember her everytime I fold wrapping paper or place a piece of tape), and how to have a room ready for company (there was a twin bed ready for whenever uncle Buster came to visit). She also introduced me to her circle of 'alternate' family connections, and I loved how she always had someone to visit (taking me along) or someone who would come to call while I was there.
My mom and dad have been wonderful grandparents... I'm sure they've learned from their parents and probably from generations before that. My great-grandfather (my mom's grandpa) suffered a stroke when I was VERY young, and for so many years I thought he'd been struck by lightening... so it is with children and their limited understanding... they make things be whatever it is that they know...
I love being a grammah, I love that little Avery is a part of my daughter, and really, a part of me... I love that the energy from my mom and dad and their parents is carrying through him to future generations... I anticipate the day that I have more grandchildren, but I've also learned to 'live in the moment' and enjoy A for all that he is...
Thanks mom and dad for being an inspiration as grandparents!

Trick or Treat

As we were growing up, we learned to use what was at hand and celebrate with our hearts. Halloween was no different. I remember raiding every closet and drawer in the house to find 'creative' things to use as costume. The five of us girls would help each other, working hard to find just the right thing... and almost always there would be a princess, a hobo, a pirate, a ghost, and goblin... the only thing that really changed much is who got to be which character!
We trick-or-treated for UNICEF with our church youth groups, raising money for children's projects. Mr Wentzel, who lived down the road and sold produce from a tv tray would not donate to UNICEF, he didn't think it was right to be begging for money like that. Still, we took part in that annual money raising campaign, we just didn't go to Mr Wentzel's house!
One year, I remember going trick-or-treating around the East Livermore circle where Grammie and Grampa lived, and the house across the street (the Nichols' homestead) became engulfed in flames later in the evening. Now, I'm not exactly sure if that was on Halloween night or not, but in my mind that's when it happened. The Nichols' didn't seem quite as well off as we were, maybe because they seemed a bit unkempt when we picked them up on the school bus or something... just an image in my mind. Seems most images of the past for me get categorized as something that was tidy or untidy... and so in my adult life I strive for tidy so I don't get put in someone else's category of untidy!
Trick-or-treat also brings on another special day, my dad's birthday which is November 1st. Somehow, bad or not so bad, it seems that trick-or-treat always seemed a bigger holiday (sorry dad, but I'm being honest here) as we were growing up... as adults I think we place great importance on celebrating his special day!
There were many Halloween's that I remember having snow, sometimes snowbanks. We'd put on all this costume stuff, scarfs and props to signify the characters we were representing, makeup on our faces and hair put up somehow... all to be covered with parkas, scarves, hats, and mittens... harumph... I think it's still fairly cool the end of October these days, but I haven't seen a significant amount of snow in years!
Thanks mom and dad for grand memories of Halloween.

Summer Trips

Every summer we'd take a family vacation, and they were a wonderful part of my memories of the past 50 years. We'd almost always go camping... an affordable and family centered activity that we perfected over time.
My dad built this amazing camper trailer for hauling all our tent-camping gear. It was made like a big box on a trailer axle, and had all these compartments for various things. The tent had its own space. The cots and folding lawn chairs were kept in another. The campstove was stored in a space that hinged in such a way that when open, it created a countertop of sorts with everything handy. Other compartments held things like lanterns, tarps, and cookware. We had various cars over the years, and we'd all just pile in with our clothes, sleeping bags, food and then haul this trailer along behind. When we arrived, in very short order all the doors would open, things would be taken out and set up, and there we'd be ready to camp.
Oftentimes we'd go for a weekend trip fairly closeby, leaving on Friday afternoon when dad got home from work. Mom would have spent all day keeping us on task with chores while she'd get all the gear together. But, in additon to those weekend jaunts, we had fabulous TRIPS that would last a week or two. The most memorable for me were year after year at Popham Beach... our two week trip to Prince Edward Island... the camping trip to Chain of Ponds with Grammie and Grampa when we got there without silverware, and Gramp and dad carved forks and spoons out of branches!... Campobello Island... the summer camping at Canton Lake was especially great because we only went home once a week to weed the garden and wash the laundry... Baxter State Park with the swinging bridge (that plagued me for years until I went abroad and got myself past the fear of being swung off!).
Campfires, hiking, swimming, the wax museum (dad actually started talking to the receptionist who turned out to be a wax figure), the beached dolphin, riding bikes through the campgrounds, five cots lined up side by side in the tent, eventually graduating to a pop-up-camper... how we loved family camping trips.
Thanks mom and dad for instilling a love of camping, a sense of adventure, and the skills needed for 'making do' when you find you've left things behind...


Chores have always been a regular part of any day. We grew up knowing from an early age that there were certain things that needed to be done, there didn't need to be any discussion about it, and that they needed to be done before we even THOUGHT of doing anything else.
The garden would be weeded before going to Bear Pond for an afternoon of swimming. The lawn would be mowed before we drove into town for ice cream. Dinner dishes would be washed, dried and put away before the television shows came on. Beds would be changed and rooms tidied before going to roller skate on Saturday mornings. It was just how things were done in our house. Even when we were camping, the chores were done before the day of fun and discovery began... sleeping bags neat and tidy, tent swept out, breakfast dishes taken care of and the campsite put in order.
It's made for an orderly lifestyle as an adult... an almost unconscious need to multi-task the chores early on so that we can relax and enjoy the 'play time' we set aside... it's like that for my sisters and even for our children... I know some of that is genetic, but I believe a lot of it is ingrained behavior through the generations. I wouldn't have it any other way!
The best thing I've found is that if the chores are too tedious and unpleasant, there's a way to eliminate them from my adult life... and the chores that remain have an element of joy in the doing that makes them a happy part of my life... and I get to choose which ones I want to keep or not! Obviously there are still a few things that are not high on my 'want-to-do' list', but they still are not that bad, mostly because of the early training. Even chores like collecting fiddle heads becomes fun when done in good company on a sunny day!
Thanks mom and dad for teaching us the value of keeping up with chores... and making the work fun whenever possible.


Music has been a big part of the past 50 years for my mom and dad... and therefore for my sisters and me!
My mom played the autoharp and sang for Sunday school. My dad sang at the breakfast table on the weekends ("Good morning to you, Good morning to you, We're all in our places with bright shiny faces, Good morning to you..."). In the fourth grade my sisters and I each had the opportunity to try out a musical instrument through the program at school... I chose clarinet, then flute. School plays and choral concerts were ongoing for the five of us. I also had the opportunity to take piano lessons, that opened up another world of music to me... even though I did not continue with lessons in high school, I had somehow retained the love of playing and enough technical knowledge to pick it up again on my own... at least enough to pick out a tune and the chords! As an adult, my sister Kathie played guitar and taught me the basics. From there, it was quite a few years later when I found contradancing and really got hooked on the fiddle, which is now my main interest for music (though I still like to dabble in guitar, mandolin, bodhran, piano, harmonica and maybe even in the banjo)... it all started with Sunday school and 4th grade band instruments.

The other memory of music is my mom and dad waltzing in the kitchen to the Righteous Brothers... to this day whenever I hear Unchained Melody or You've Lost That Loving Feeling, all I see is my mom and dad in each others arms... very sweet!
Thanks mom and dad for supporting and encouraging all the music that has been introduced to us over the years.


Christmas was a very special season growing up in our household. We celebrated in many ways... the Christian elements as well as the commercial elements.
We grew up attending the East Livermore Methodist Church, as part of the Sunday School program and also as the mainstay of the junior choir! I remember all of us sitting in a row, taking up most of a pew with mom and dad at either end. Pageants and choral presentations were just a regular thing during the holiday season. We celebrated with the Advent wreath, hanging of the greens at home and at church, potluck suppers, making gifts for one another, baking all the special holiday treats and visiting relatives during the month of December.
Some of my favorite Christmas memories include going to Nana and Johnny's where we'd almost always get a FABULOUS game (like Mouse Trap or Operation) and often times clothes. We'd visit Grammie and Grampa Randall (aka Grammie and Grampa 'down' because they lived down the road) where we'd get our new mittens, and Grammie Davis (aka Grammie 'up' because she lived up-town) where we'd get to see the silver tree change colors as the wheel turned and play with things like the snow skiing Santa. Santa, by the way, was a real entity until I reached 6th grade and found the 'list' with all our names and various gifts... my first reality check into the world of "grown-up". We got Barbie's, Tammy's, Skipper's and Dodi's... we got Ballerina's, Chatty Cathy's, Susie's, and Thumbelina's... we got blankets and sweaters, mittens and skis, sleds and games... and we got lots of love.
Needhams and meat pies are still a favorite staple of our bigger family gatherings, reminding us of all the celebrations over the past 50 years. New traditions emerge with our own children these days, for my family it's "Eggs Benedict with Holiday Sauce" because when the kids were growing up they didn't quite get Hollandaise but they KNEW what a holiday was and that's when they'd get this treat! To this day, Hollandaise is synonymous with a special holiday (that includes the kids coming home to visit no matter what day it is!)
Paper chains, homemade ornaments out of tin cans, origami stars with glitter... all reminders of days gone by as we forge ahead with memories for the future.


Winters were such fun when we were growing up. One of our favorite activities was jumping in the snow. We had a big maple tree in the front yard that we could easily climb up into, especially in the winter because it was beside the road and the plow would mound up HUGE piles of snow... we could just about walk onto the bottom branches!
But, the absolute favorite jumping-in-the-snow-place was off the shed roof in the back yard. The snow would slide off the roof and make for easy access on the back side of the building, then we'd climb to the front (higher) side of the shed and JUMP off into the snow... and do it over, and over and over... all five of us! We felt so brave when we'd take that leap into the air. .
Other winter activities were tunneling in the snow, sliding down the little-woods-hill out back on flying saucers, building families of snowmen, and ice skating on our little frog pond. Our ski-doo trips were quite a scene... dad driving the machine with Joline riding behind him... a toboggan attached with mom and three more daughters riding in style, and a flying saucer with the fifth child acting as caboose. We rode through much of East Livermore for a few winters, laughing all the way!
Later years found us skiing at Spruce Mountain, still operating with its series of tow ropes. Ah, memories of winters past, mom and dad with matching ski sweaters, rows of rubber boots and heavy socks, red cheeks and runny noses. And always, when we came back in from the cold, there would be a wood fire going, fresh milk or cocoa, and something yummy from the oven to warm our bellies.
Winters today still bring back memories of growing up in a close family here in Maine... thanks mom and dad for the memories you built over the last 50 years.

The Virginia Reel

Joline and Danny are here for the weekend, hooray! They had a good trip from Virginia to Maine, arriving earlier this morning for a visit with mom and dad before coming to Wayne. They're finishing up some work projects... we're really lucky to have Richard's fully functional home office to receive faxes and get wireless high speed internet.
We're planning a bonfire for this evening for anyone who's able to come... and we'll repeat the bonfire tomorrow night. Continue to check back for ongoing reports of the days activities, gossip, and maybe even a story or two...

(half) Century Reel

This weekend is full of plans for festivities surrounding our celebration of mom and dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary... so posts over the next several days will have photos and thoughts of our family over the past half century.
All the famous Davis Sisters will be in attendance... Joline is arriving this morning from Virginia with her husband Danny... I'm so thrilled to have them staying with us! We'll be gathering off and on en masse and in small groups as we prepare for THE BIG EVENT which will be a lobster cookout at mom and dad's on Sunday afternoon.
As for this morning, I'm off to do a few errands before things get kicked off...
stay tuned as things happen and photos and stories get posted!