Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cold Frosty Morning

We've had a few of those of late... Loyal blog-viewers have probably been wondering "Where is the Fiddler and what has she been doing?"... Take heart and know that we have not frozen off the face of the earth...
We've been fairly busy these cold days of January, but have still not resolved the computer issue. There has been some discussion on replacing the laptop I was using, but we're waiting for a sale. There's this laptop that I am using right now, and we were able to retrieve my old documents and photos, but I still haven't "settled in" at this new computer. Apparently I'm some type of creature of habit because I'm still mentally and emotionally attached to the old computer and am not letting go. But, I'm working on it, and this post is the first step in that direction! (Everyone say a little "Hooray" for me, haha)... So, what have we been doing, you wonder? Let me tell you!
Richard and I went to the North Whitefield contradance (held every fourth Friday) and had a fabulous time dancing and chatting with friends. On Saturday we ventured north to check out the Hampden fourth Saturday dance, with Jen & Avery (this after a wonderful dinner at Jen & Jason's)... Sunday and Monday we worked on tax stuff... Tuesday we hosted the jam here at home... I walked around the woods, following some of the better traveled deer trails in a search for the "Winter Yard"... I have an idea where they might be bedding down, but I didn't want to alarm or otherwise disturb them, I was only hoping for a glimpse of deer in the woods but that didn't happen... I'll continue to walk around that area and see what I can see... Working on new fiddle tunes, working on technique, working on putting together medleys of tunes, working on alternate variations of the tunes... all this as part of a group effort for me, Richard and our guitar friend Paul to form a band. We're pretty excited about the possibilities. And in addition to that, we're working toward playing at the DEFFA festival at the end of March, at the Oyster Dinner in Vienna early in March, and the Norlands when they start their season again. A trip to San Francisco is on my mind, browsing through seed catalogs, and countless other projects run through my mind at any given moment.
So, live is good, even if I'm not blogging... but I miss sharing what's going on, so I'll make a better attempt to do it... Amazing to realize that today is the last day of January 2007... The time flies by too quickly, and I am reminded that life is short and we owe it to ourselves and to those around us to live like all the little sayings recommend... "Live life as an exclamation, not an explanation!"... "You only go around once, go for the gusto"... Do you have any favorites? I like the ones that are positive, and encourage action...
Cold Frosty Morning can be found in the Fakebook (listed as Frosty Morning).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lost Everything

My computer died, big bummer! R has an extra lap-top that I'm using, but I don't have the files I use... I'm so lost! We've struggled through re-entering a lot of the business data that we thought we'd finally been caught up on for the accountant... that meant a lot of tense moments over the past couple of days, for me and for Richard. We've managed to stay on friendly terms though, and we got the preliminary information to the accountant today. The other good thing is that R has been able to retrieve most of the information from the old computer, he's pretty amazing :) So, the posts may be few and far between until I get my bearings.
Lost Everything is from the Portland Collection, Volume Two (I think, I don't have my database of tunes so I'm guessing!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Master of the Dance

We completed the second workshop in the caller's series. The first was held two weeks ago at the Somerset Grange in Norridgewock (you may remember the post)... today we met at the Victor Grange in Fairfield Center. The workshops were great~ a nice balance of instruction, dancing, and feet-to-the-floor practical application. After the first session, we were given a homework assignment to find a dance that we would actually call, live with real dancers! Admittedly neither Richard or I prepared before this morning, but we did each manage to come up with a couple of dances that we might be able to do. We got to try them out this afternoon with our fellow students... and we got to hear their impressions and suggestions. This was SO helpful. When it came time to call the dance, it was still fairly nerve-wracking but we were also very prepared. Everyone did a great job, including Richard and me! I called Haste to the Wedding and Richard called Jenny Goes to Camp.
So, for anyone out there who is looking for a caller or band to put on a contradance for your organization, we're your contact! We have opportunities for more instruction coming up, and feel like we could put a short program together successfully. In addition to feeling more confident about calling and playing for contradances, we met some wonderful people through this workshop... some individuals... and especially one family that is learning to dance and call and carry on the tradition of New England contradancing.
Master of the Dance can be found in Along the River.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This is the time of year when my skin gets dry and my lips get chapped. Staying hydrated and moisturized is a challenge... using moisturizers, lotions, and lip gloss help to soften dry skin and protect against dryness... it's just as important to drink plenty of water to hydrate internally.

Instruments need to be tended to as well. Using Damp-Its is an easy way to introduce moisture into fiddles, guitars and stand up bass... keeping a water pot on the stove and having healthy houseplants also helps maintain a comfortable humidity level. We recently had a humidifier installed on our piano... it is silent and uses very little electricity.

I spent my vacation day well. I had many options, but chose to play music as my main focus. I played in hour increments... and in the alternate hours I got smaller chores and tasks completed, like going to the transfer station, making cookies, taking a walk outside, shoveling the walkway, getting the mail, taking out the composty stuff, sorting through piles of sheet music. I'm glad I took the time off and that I used it for personal gain, it was a fun day.

Waterbound is a tune from the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Forked Deer

I went walking in the woods this afternoon. Even though the temperatures were in the teens here in Wayne, there was no wind and it felt warmer. I thought some of getting the snow shoes or cross country skis out, but since there's only a few inches of snow from the storm, I decided to just jump into my boots and walk... good choice! There are some paths off the front yard, not only for humans to use, but apparently for the deer... they are definitely making good use of the cleared trails where Richard and Toby drove the tractor when they were getting firewood. I mentioned this to David & Kathie, and they asked if we had any groves of small evergreens. We do indeed have a nice little grove just north of the back yard... David thinks that is where the deer are bedding down and living. No deer near their house, but obviously we've got a good population living right around ours!
Forked Deer can be found in several resources including the Fakebook, the Portland Collection (blue book), and the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Home Waltz

I've decided to use a vacation day and spend today here at home. There are quite a few things on my "Personal To-Do List"...

  • go through photographs and put some favorites into the frames I've been collecting...
  • play through the newly received, thanks to Eric, Cape Breton tunes in anticipation of the once-a-month fourth Sunday jam at his house... learn more about program & design of web sites...
  • settle on a course of study for the next few years in preparation for a new or altered career path in five years, and then taking the first step by enrolling at UMA today...
  • sit down with scrapbooks and geneology information
In addition to my "Personal To-Do-List" there are a few other things that seem to be chores or work but are enjoyable enough for me to consider doing today and those things are: cleaning a closet, putting away the Christmas stuff (yes, it's still not stored but it is behind a closed door!), or tending to our personal finances. I'm going to start with the first category, and use the second group as filler! Nice to have some relaxing time at home and the flexibility to choose!
Home Waltz is in the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Monday, January 15, 2007

King's Reel

I don't consider myself a political activist or a historian, and I have to admit I don't know a lot about this man. My impressions are that he believed in love, tolerance, awareness and compassion for all men and women. I did find the following excerpts from his speeches:
I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love, I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. And I have seen too much hate. I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.~Martin Luther King, Jr.
So, I'll take this opportunity to reflect, and ACT on my ability to be loving, tolerant, and forgiving... to have awareness and compassion for my fellow man and woman... regardless of race... regardless of social class, religion, gender... regardless of any label or classification.
King's Reel is from the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Reel des Onions

Mmmm... delicious and nutritious. This is the first evening I've actually cooked anything more than microwave nachos since last week! I pan browned pieces of boneless pork with freshly chopped garlic... added chunks of onions and peppers (yellow, red, and green) and seasoned with sage, parsley, pepper and garlic powder. A glass of Syrah rounds out the meal. The table setting is for the photo... I brought the meal into the den and watched the news rather than sit at the table :)
Ahhhh. The living room is finally back together! How nice to fill the wood pile, put the furniture back in place, put away the ladders, and watch it snow this afternoon. It's been a busy few days, but definitely worth it. I think it would have been difficult to get this much done if R was home... only because it takes time away from the project to fix meals, and even to sit down and eat.
In other news, the snowstorm came and went with some minimal accumulation, and some minimal amounts of sleet. I was prepared to hunker down here, light the oil lamps and cook on the wood stove, but no need. I did go out on a "Snow Emergency" ride. For anyone who is not familiar with a "Snow Emergency", it's a term I heard years ago on Prairie Home Companion. Essentially, it's when the weather is so bad that people are encouraged to STAY HOME and not go out on the roads... but instead of following that recommendation, you NEED to go out for MILK or something else... all in the guise of maneuvering on snow covered roads and byways. My "Snow Emergency" did not have anything to do with grocery purchases, but I did have a nice visit with Kathie & David, and with Mom & Dad. Now I'm safe at home, enjoying the evening.
Reel des Onions can be found in the Portland Collection.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Over the Waves

The waves are gone! They're totally covered now with paint that is called "Toasty Tan" but really looks like wet beach sand. This bookshelf holds home improvement reference books, biographies, and our nature & environment collection. This also seemed like a good place to display some of our many family photographs. We have a lot of books. This book case holds most of our paperback non-fiction collection. We each have some authors that we favor, and some topics of personal interest. Library book sales are one source of acquisition... the Cary Memorial Libray in Wayne and libraries in Topsham and Brunswick are ones we frequent.
Over the Waves is a lovely waltz.


This morning I finished painting upstairs in the balcony. This allowed me to move the ladders downstairs into the living room. The first thing necessary here was to apply Kilz sealer over the blue wavy stripes. I experimented upstairs, trying to avoid using the Kilz but the stripe still showed through. After putting Kilz over the stripe up there, and then applying two coats of paint, the blue waves are finally gone up there... now to get them covered over in the vaulted area in the living room! While the Kilz dries, I'll get the books and furniture back in order upstairs... check in later for a photo of the upstairs balcony.
Kilz is a stain killer/sealer that has the consistency of Elmer's glue... really runny like white water. I wonder if it works like Elmer's... you know, like when we were kids and we'd cover our fingers with Elmer's, let it dry, and then peel it off in a plasticized layer? As long as it gets rid of the stripe, I guess I don't care too much.
Whitewater comes from the Lighthouse Collection.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Orange and Blue Jig

IMPORTANT UPDATE... this post title refers to the colors only... Avery is NOT a Gator fan! This family is NOLES all the way! Avery is sporting his mom's new winter hat while he counts pine cones!
Orange and Blue Jig comes from the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Far Away

Note the orderly appearance of the desk :) The prayer flags are a gentle reminder to be mindful of the air we breathe, the water and the land, the sunshine, and for life itself.

Some of Richard's "Marilyn Monroe" collection.

Richard may be physically far away, but he's close to my heart and in my thoughts. I finished painting the bedroom today and spent this afternoon putting the room back in order. I absolutely LOVE the color in this room... it's called "Peaceful Pines" and picks up the green in the linens we have.
Far Away is from the Waltz Book, Volume One.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mug and Brush Reel

Blue waves... like living in an aquarium... maybe cover this with sand color!

Our office space... no changes planned in here... just a "clean and organize" campaign. We have recently installed faux wood Levolor blinds on this window.

Purple stripes (what is it with all the stripes?) in the bedroom... we have our bedroom up on the stage area... it makes me feel like the Swiss Family Robinson being up higher than everything else. I think I'll use green in this area and keep all the linens fairly neutral.

Good morning! I woke up early... with lots of great energy for a weekend of focused house projects. These photos show the areas I am starting on the "Pine Needle Alley Make-over Project". There are a few other areas I may work into (powder room, dining room, kitchen, living room)... Sound ambitious? No problem! I've kept a clear schedule from now until Tuesday morning, with only a couple of trips out of the house. The scheduled breaks are good for me... I know I can have intense focus and allow all my creative energy to lead me without restriction... the breaks give me the opportunity to re-focus and get a reality check before diving in again. My goal is to have this project completed by the time Richard gets home next week. He seemed a little nervous that things would change a lot, but really it'll mainly be painting the walls... okay maybe a few little changes here and there... I'll keep you all posted!
And in case any of you are wondering about the "Mug" part of this post's title, I'm sure I'll be having a little mug of ale as a reward later on AFTER I've put the paint and ladders away for the day :)

Mug and Brush Reel comes from the Fiddle Music of PEI.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

(Not a) Broken Down Gambler

News from Richard... he and his mom reached Atlantic City in plenty of time to check into their hotel and make it to the casino! This was R's first experience at the slots (I've only been once, years ago)... sounds like it was everything he expected. His impression of gambling seems to be similar to mine... fun activity with friends/family that enjoy it but not something either of us would put on our "List of Things We Want to Do". He came out a little bit ahead though, a good evening out, and all part of the adventure!

Road to Lisdoonvarna

or somewhere along the way! Richard is heading out this morning on a road trip with his mom. His dad, Dick, had back surgery and isn't able to make the drive this year to Florida... he'll be flying out next week. In the meantime, Richard gets to spend some quality time with his mom... what adventures they'll have... and how I'll miss him!

Struggling Heart

CPR recertification class was held after work today... we gathered at Club-E for instruction, practice, and finally THE TEST. Everyone passed, of course. The guidelines have changed, as they do from time to time, and it's good to stay well practiced. Bottom line though is, any attempt to deliver rescue breaths and chest compressions in an emergency situation is better than doing nothing... so whether or not you do the exact number or ration, while important, is not as critical as JUST DOING IT to your best ability. I'm in high hopes to never need to use it, but if the need did arise, I can honestly and proudly say "I know CPR, I can help".
Struggling Heart comes from the Portland Collection Volume Two.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Box

Club-E has gone digital... x-ray that is! We got our first "real time" training today. There are a couple different areas of learning. First, positioning of the sensors is very similar but slightly different than using standard film... plus there's this "tail" attached to the sensor that has to be allowed for. The other part of the process is the computer. Setting up templates to receive the images, getting the timing sequence just right, and then manipulating the images once they've been acquired... this is all new as well.
The training went great. As with anything new, the next few weeks will bring many questions and suggestions. We have a dozen or so team members who will be taking these x-ray images so I anticipate lots of input! We have another training session scheduled in February, this time with a professional from another office... she will come and answer our questions, and point out tips and techniques to enhance the basics we are learning right now.
This "new box" means lower radiation for the patient, faster diagnosis "in the chair", and the ability to instantly critique and improve the images we take.
New Box can be found in Along the River.

Head to Head

I had an interesting experience on Monday afternoon... an ocular migraine! It didn't last long, but it was activity stopping. I spent a few hours taking it easy with the lights low, took a couple of Ibuprofen and felt much better. Seems to have been a "classic case" that matched up with several on-line descriptions. I wouldn't have had any idea what was going on, though I did think of brain tumors, strokes, and other random scary thoughts. Richard had heard of ocular migraines, and when he looked it up, we both felt certain we'd found the correct home diagnosis!
Head to Head is from the Lighthouse Collection.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ways of the World

Jen, Avery and I spent part of the day browsing at World Over Imports in Bangor. This is one of our favorite places to look for interesting gifts and special bargains. We were not disappointed today... we each found a few things to purchase... some for our own homes, and some to put away as gifts during the year. The nice thing about finding interesting gifts at a good price and putting them away is that when an occasion comes up (planned or unexpected), having a stash of potential gift items in the closet comes in pretty handy... much more economical than running out to purchase something the day before (or the day that) you need it! I like the idea of making gifts, and I like to put some of those away too, but truth be told, time is a commodity these days and home made gifts are not easy to come by on short notice. Also, to be honest, it's fun to find some little thing to brighten up our own home now and then, something to add a little "special" to our world. Today I found some pretty candle rings for the dining room table... an arrangement with little leaves, and some clear beads that remind me of glistening ice crystals on the evergreens outside this time of year.

Even better than the good deals we found was the time we spent together. Jen and I have a nice relationship, one where we can discuss important things like colors we want to use to decorate our homes, and even more important, the unspoken bond between mom and daughter that now goes beyond to include grammah and grandson. We share a lot of common personality traits and also share a certain way of looking at the world that not everyone can appreciate. Whether it is a reality check or not is up for debate, but it sure is nice to spend time with someone who "gets you" in ways that are non-verbal. These are the ways of the world I think... that we all seek some kind of understanding with someone.

Ways of the World can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Chinese Breakdown

We spent the afternoon at a workshop, learning to call contradances. My motivation is to learn which tunes go best with certain dances... and to be able to fill in as a caller when necessary. Richard's reasons for attending are similar. I actually got to call a dance by the end of the afternoon... it was challenging and fun, and a lot of work! After the workshop finished, Richard and I decided, with our friend Maggie, to go to the highly recommended Chinese restaurant in town. Now, you should know that we were in Norridgewock, so expectations were not all that high to begin with. We ordered our food, said hi to a couple of other people we knew from the workshop, and then proceeded to re-arrange the tables so we could sit together. More workshop folk came in and ordered, we added another table to form a long line and sat down for what turned out to be quite a dining experience. The food came one or two dishes at a time, and even the rice didn't come at the same time as the entree. The vegetarian dish had pork in it, one person kept getting the new dishes of food brought to her, she'd eat some and then realize it wasn't what she ordered so the dish would get passed down the table. And some meals were served in bags because there weren't enough dishes to serve everyone. A mixture of stainless steel flatware intermingled with plastic cutlery... a pint of lemon sauce for one serving of chicken... and the only meal served steaming hot was the last one brought to the table! The only thing missing were the Chinese cooks and wait people... it's possible there was actually only one employee in the establishment, and he was Caucasian! We had to wonder, where did the rave revue of the restaurant get started!?!?
The conversation was priceless though, and it made the entire meal a positive experience. Stories about how each of us first came to contradancing... other dining stories... lots of laughter. We couldn't have had a better day if we'd planned it out. Our homework between now and the next class is to prepare a dance and be ready to call it at the Fairfield Contradance.
Chinese Breakdown can be found in the Fakebook as well as other resources.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tartar Frigate

We spent our evening at the Belfast contradance with a core group of musicians surrounded by as many drop-in players as show up... tonight there were about 15 people (including Richard and me) playing tunes to about 100 people... all this at the community dance! There were a lot of children and families, and it appears they've been paying attention at previous dances because they looked GOOD out there on the floor!

This dance started a little over a year ago, and has grown stronger with each passing month... amazing to see what can happen with good planning, publicity, and a community of support. The community dance is followed by a dessert potluck & social time and then that is followed by the regular contradance, which is also well attended. Tonight's regular dance band was Frigate with Glen Loper, Fred White, and Steve Muise... they're amazing... and the caller was Adina Gordon, who we also heard at the New Year's dance. Great fun. Quite a few dances give tickets at the door... numbers are drawn at the breaks and prizes are given out. Often times the prizes are CD's, and I think tonight they were giving out tickets to get into the dance.

Tartar Frigate comes from the Portland Collection Volume Two.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Smoke Above the Clouds

For anyone out there in cyber land who has made a resolution to quit smoking, I challenge you to DO IT NOW. It's one of the hardest, and the best, things you can do for yourself, for your immediate family, and for those with whom you spend your life. We all know the downs of smoking... it smells bad, affects your senses of taste and smell... makes you cough and hack... gives a less than positive impression to those around you. It's become increasingly unpopular to smoke, and most public places and businesses ban smoking on their premises. If you need any other reasons to consider quitting, check out this blog. Smoking isn't just about personal gratification. Smoking stays with you long past when you can care for yourself on your own. Residual affects of smoking last until you need serious medical care. Think about it. I know I did. I used to smoke. Somewhere in the mid-1990's I got a nasty cold, and I had a hard time breathing... and still I smoked... and the cold got worse and I found myself gasping for air... and I got scared. Scared enough to realize that I didn't want to live my life gasping for air... and I didn't want to die like that either. It'll be a long time (I hope) before I know if I quit soon enough. But I know that it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself, and my family. So, if you haven't quit, do it now.
Smoke Above the Clouds is from the Phillips Collection.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sleepy Eyed Joe

Back to work today... and tired tonight. Not the kind of tired where I'm falling asleep, but the kind of tired where I am restless and irritable for no reason. I've wandered through the past few hours since getting home without accomplishing much... and realize all I want to do is settle in to do something to occupy my mind. Television isn't really satisfying me, and I'm not feeling conversational... so I'm going to try Logic Problems! Richard got me a nice new book of problems for Christmas, and I think that's just what I feel like doing for a little while before turning in for some sleep.
Sleepy Eyed Joe is from the Phillips Collection.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Portland Fancy Reel (Real)

For real, we dropped Bryan off at the Portland International Jetport to finally begin his journey back to San Francisco. We'd not even gotten out of Portland when the cell phone rang, and even though B cannot believe I DARED to answer, I did... he was calling to let us know that his flight was again over-booked and he didn't have a ticketed seat... and he was waiting on stand-by. We offered to turn around, but he said there was NO WAY he was heading north again, and he'd wait to get a seat on a flight out :) We've had a fabulous holiday season, having good visiting time with the kids at various times... and in spite of last night's joking about "12 hours of getting this kid on a plane and he's STILL HERE" we truly have loved the house being full of laughter and conversation with these children of ours.
This afternoon it's quiet... sunshine streaming in and warming the house... trees swaying in the wind... and I relax and reflect... and plan because I love to plan things... planning helps me feel grounded and focused, helps me direct my activiites in positive direction with some expected outcomes that give me a sense of achievement.
Portland Fancy Reel comes from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ice House

Ice on the greenhouse windows...
...and on the trees in the yard.
Our first adventure of the New Year was to attempt driving to the Portland Jetport. Bryan was scheduled to fly back to San Francisco early this morning. The weather forecast called for freezing rain mixing to sleet and then rain . An early check of the thermometer at 5:00am gave a reading of 22'F, and went up to about 29'F by 6:00am. We packed up the car, scraped ice off the windowshield, and headed out. We got a little more than a mile from home when we made the decision to go back home, having to abandon the car on the side of the road and walk because the roads were covered with ice! We got almost all the way back home when a town sand/plow truck went by, giving us hope that we'd be safe in heading out a bit later. Bryan arranged a different flight, so we're having some breakfast and another round of coffee before making another venture out. What a way to start the new year!

Ice House comes from the Portland Collection, Volume Two.

Happy New Year

Best wishes for a great start to a new year filled with joy, peace, love & laughter...