Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Feed Her Candy and Tell Her Lies

Happy Halloween! 'Tis the day for ghosts and goblins to cast their spells and reek havoc across the land... watch out for tricksters, and be ready with the treats... it'll get you through safely to November!
We've had some heavy rains and howling winds recently... bringing down the remaining leaves from the trees. Our yard is much more open, letting in light as the sun sits lower on the horizon and the days shorten. Solar gain is important here, the house soaks it up during the day to heat the living spaces... and then we augment that with a nice little fire in the evenings. Very comfy.
Feed Her Candy and Tell Her Lies comes from the first volume of the Portland Collection, which is affectionately known around these parts as PC1, the Blue Book, Purple Book, Indigo Book, the un-numbered volume, and the Book That's Not Green.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Garlic is Good For You

Really, there is a fiddle tune with this name! Garlic is Good for You comes from the Reckless Reel.
This afternoon I planted garlic in the garden. We've turned the garden in for the season... the only things left now are carrots (which are deliciously fresh, especially in the juicer), one plant with brussel sprouts, and some leeks. We've added more loam to build up the soil for next year.
It feels really good to look out over the yard and garden and see it all in order... leaves raked, garden cleaned out, newly planted tidy rows of garlic, and the asparagus plot staked out.
Richard has been closing in the new building, and has electrical service nearly installed... that will make working out there much easier now that the days are shorter (and darker). The firewood is in under cover and we're shortening up our fall 'to do' list. The season is here for more soups and roasts... anything that can simmer and cook for a good part of the day... nice aromas in the house makes it cheery, and the hearty meals are good for the body & soul... all made better with garlic!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Virginia Reel

Our youngest sister is hosting what looks to be a FABULOUS HALLOWEEN PARTY in Virginia Beach... and we sisters here in Maine were feeling bad about not being able to get there to join in the celebration. Not to be completely left out, we came up with the idea of 'Flat Sisters'... to dress in costume, print out lifesized posters, roll ourselves up and be mailed to the mid-Atlantic so that we too could attend, if only in spirit! What fun we had getting the costumes together (in spite of the technical glitches). The package arrived yesterday, and Joline was THRILLED to have her sisters arrive in time for the party... it was all a surprise for her! From left to right are Poison Ivy (Deb), Spider Man PEZ dispenser (Kathy), the Gay Cowboy (Wendi), and yours truly, Red Riding Hood (complete with wolf head in basket).
Joline throws a great bash, complete with decorations and delicious food... I can hardly wait to hear the stories and see the photos... Joline, we miss you, and love you bunches... have a great time tonight!
Virginia Reel comes from the Portland Collection.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Old Timers

When I was a little girl, I thought 50 was so old, and so far away... my perspective has changed quite a lot! Now, it seems like life is getting interesting all over again in new and exciting ways. One great thing about being 50-ish and having friends who are around 50 is that we have all these experiences, tales, and information to share and discuss... great fun. As Avery starts growing up I wonder what his perspective will be on his grammah and grampah and their musician friends... will he think we're old-timers? Maybe, and maybe not... much of what has drawn me and others into fiddling and contradancing is that the old-timers are surrounded by youngsters and everyone in between... and the differences in age are really not that important when it comes to sharing and connecting with music and dance. Today is the birthday of our guitar playing friend Paul and his twin brother Ron... they have a bit of gray hair to be sure, but if you closed your eyes and listened to them you'd never guess they turn 50 today! Happy Birthday guys!
Old Timers comes from Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to You...

Toby's birthday happened on Friday... we got to help him celebrate today! Cake and ice cream are always on the menu... Toby's favorite cake is Double Chocolate Cream Cheese. This year, to make it a bit more festive, I decorated with fall colors and leaf shaped sugar cookies. A big hit with everyone including Avery and Bryan's dogs! Toby enjoyed the treats and the gathering of family.

Mountain Top

Here we are sitting atop Mt Pisgah on Sunday afternoon after a nice picnic lunch.

Sunday was one of those perfect autumn days... crisp cool air, blue skies, and the last of the great splash of foliage colors for the season. The views from the top of Mt Pisgah are really quite beautiful... the photo here shows Androscoggin Lake. The climb is fairly short, but proved a bit of a challenge for Jen who had Avery in a Kelty pack. Good walk for all.
Mountain Top is a tune from Fiddler's Throne.

Missing Keys

Avery has a good handle on where the tractor key is supposed to be! One of his favorite things when he comes to visit is to sit on the John Deere and pretend to turn the key, bounce on the seat, touch all the buttons and move the steering wheel. Uncle Toby got this great photo!
Missing Keys comes from the Lighthouse Collection.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Anna Is My Darling

Miss Anna has been having some issues with incontinence recently... and it's been a topic of conversation between Bryan and
Megan, trying to figure out what the problem could be. After a visit to the veterinarian here in Maine, it's determined to be just what Megan thought... UTI and possibly an estrogen imbalance (a result of being a spayed female). Antibiotics will take care of the infection, and if there is still some incontinence Anna will then be taking estrogen to balance her hormones. Megan is concentrating her veterinary studies on large animals, but she sure knows her stuff no matter what size the animal. Thanks, and good job!

Cherish the Ladies

These are two ladies whom I cherish dearly... neither is directly related to me, but each have had a lasting impact on my life, and I want to take a moment to recognize them.
You are a wonderful, loving, and authentic human being... and I love that you share so much with me about self-awareness and relationships. Your style and caring are only matched by your masterful and thoughtul manipulation tactics, and yes, I'm very grateful that you share those too!
You are so purely compassionate and giving in everything that you do, without any forethought or planning. Your passion for fun is contagious! Little Sam is lucky to have such loving and fun parents to guide him through life.
My life is rich and blessed by the people with whom I associate (family and friends alike), and I like to think they are a reflection of me in some ways. Justine & Tonya bring out the best in me simply by encouraging my potential and overlooking my shortfalls.
Who are the people in your life that encourage you to your fullest potential?
Cherish the Ladies is a tune from the Fiddler's Fakebook... Cherish the Ladies is also a great Irish band with a lot of energy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Far From Home

My niece Libbie and her fiance Raupyea are in Maine visiting this week... Lib has graduated from college and also done some special schools before going to Korea. She and Raupyea are spending time together getting to know one another's families better, as they plan their wedding and their future together. They'll both be stationed in Texas soon.
My nephew Sam and his wife Jess will be in Texas as well. Sam is in Iraq right now, and we'll be quite happy when he's back 'home' in the States. Jess is getting their new home ready for Sam's arrival.
Sam's brother Ryan will soon be 'home' with his wife Natsch in Germany... Ryan is also in the middle east right now, and has taken his wife's native land as his adopted 'home'.
When I think about home, sometimes it's an image of the house I live in, or the yard I tend. Sometimes, it's the people I share space with daily... a husband, children, friends depending on what space of time I'm referencing. And, sometimes 'home' is a place in my heart where I hold loved ones close... where I create nurturing and safety.
Sam, Ryan and Libbie have been really far from a physical home with their birth families... and even far from their loved ones emotionally at times. But, when it comes right down to it, they have a home in their hearts that is connected to all of us back here in Maine. My children... Jen, Toby and Bryan... have all experienced this being away physically but still being spiritually connected to those of us at the home fires. And there are times when, although I've always called Maine 'home' I have actually felt somewhat disconnected from things around me.
Today however, I feel very much Close to Home with my family, and I wish all the best to Lib and Raupyea as they travel back to New York and beyond... that they each take with them a small piece of 'home' here in Maine.
Far From Home is a really nice tune you can find in the Portland Collection Volume One.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Double Chocolate Insomnia Rag

We didn't do much shopping in Cape Breton, though we did stop a few places for coffee or a Coke. As we were coming into St Stephen, I saw a sign for chocolates, and thought that a nice box of chocolates would be a great thank you for Bryan, since he had come to feed Kitty while we were away. Most of the stores were closed, but as we rounded the last corner toward Customs, I spied Ganong's and knew we had found THE place to get special dark treats! I've heard such rave reviews (and sampled a few chocolates in real life) from Kathie and Amy Jean's escapades in the Meddybemps region... these girls have been known to make special trips across the border JUST for the chocolates at Ganong! Bryan was quite appreciative of our show of thanks.
The Double Chocolate Insomnia Rag comes from Along the River.

Wake Up to Cape Breton

Richard and I traveled to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia this weekend. A friend of ours rented a house overlooking Mabou Harbor for the week, she's there for the annual Celtic Colors Festival. Though we didn't have tickets to the big concerts (because of our late decision to go up there), we did make plans to drive up the Cabot Trail through Cheticamp and into the Highlands National Park... a beautiful day as you can see by the photo.
Cape Breton Island is known for its beauty, isolated villages, and especially (for me) its music. Some of the finest fiddlers have come from Cape Breton, and as we toured around the island saw sign after sign that reminded us of fiddle tunes we play... Cheticamp, Little Judique, West Mabou Reel, Margaree Reel, Neil Beaton's, Dave MacIsaac's Jig, Jerry Holland's Strathspey, MacDonald Sisters, St Anne's Reel and more. We didn't hear any music but I'm still inspired by what is possible.
Wake Up to Cape Breton is a tune we've played from the Portland Collection, Volume Two.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mountain House

Saturday afternoon was a lovely day for a ride in the country. Our destination was the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine to join in celebrating the wedding of friends Dean and Kristen. I have been interested in seeing the SMAC for some time now, after reading about how this performing arts center evolved, and I was greatly rewarded... it is everything it presents itself as. A very rural setting, there is a feeling of peace and nature. The drive through the western Maine mountains gets you prepared, but then when we turned onto the dirt road and drove up to the cozy farmhouse and red barn I truly felt like I'd left most of the worries of the world behind.
The barn itself is absolutely beautiful, timber framed and open with light pouring in through floor to ceiling windows. Beer and wine are available, the dinner served was absolutely delicious, and the decor was simple yet very classy... rich colors and lots of wood. The fall leaves added their own splash of color.
The wedding was beautiful and emotional... there were family and friends of the bride and groom as well as friends from the contradance world. Music and entertainment from Jay Unger & Molly Mason, Carol Noonan as well as presentations from family and friends.
It was a bit of a drive, but not much more than some of the dances and jams we attend around Maine... and definitely worth the drive!
Mountain House is a waltz written by Jay Unger, and can be found in the Waltz Book Volume Two.