Friday, April 25, 2008

Wizard's Walk

Ignore my scowling face, I'm reading without my glasses on and I'm afraid I present a rather fierce expression... I think I was fairly entertaining to Avery and Paige, keeping their interest throughout most of the story.
A beautiful spring day was made even more special by a visit from the grandchildren and their mom! Sunshine and warm temperatures made for a perfect walk around the property through many a mud puddle and over some remaining patches of snow. Temperatures here were in the low 70s! We also had a nice picnic lunch outside and worked in the front perennial garden, gathering flowers to be transplanted in Jen's yard.
My grandfather loved working in, and walking around, the woods not far from here. On occasion he worked in area paper mills and businesses, but his heart was in the woods and he was happiest running his saw mill and being outdoors. Someone I knew years ago remembered seeing my grandfather in those surroundings, happening upon him without forewarning and thinking that this old wizened man was some kind of wizard! Although we didn't see anyone like that today, the thought runs through my mind and maybe that's close enough!
Wizard's Walk comes from the Portland Collection.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meeting of the Waters

Here's another photo from our trip.

Meeting of the Waters comes from the New England Fiddler's Repertoire.

Been to the East, Been to the West

We're home after a nice little trip toward the west! After dancing in Nelson NH and staying at the Latchis Hotel in Brattleboro VT, we drove through New York to Niagara Falls with plenty of time to walk and view both waterfalls during the daylight hours. Absolutely breathtaking. I still can't get over how much water is pouring down through into the river below... and the top river doesn't get empty and the bottom gorge doesn't fill up! I lost count of how many rainbows we saw. Once the sun goes down, the falls are aglow with colored lights that change every 10 minutes or so (that time frame is totally a guess.)

This morning we drove back toward New England with one stop in the afternoon at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY. For anyone who hasn't been there, I highly recommend it. I like watching baseball, but admit I'm not a hard core fan. Still, this museum had lots of interesting memorabilia and displays. It was a great get-away, but it sure was nice to drive in to our own house in the woods.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008!

Today is Earth Day!
We are celebrating by being observant and mindful even as we travel. More details once we get to Niagara Falls!
Love the Earth You're In!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chorus Jig

We got to dance Chorus Jig for our anniversary! After a full morning of yardwork, and some inside chores and packing, we finally hit the road a little after 3:00pm. We stopped to have coffee in Portland with SK before heading west to Nelson NH for their regular Monday contradance. We only had time to do three dances, one of which was Chorus Jig, a great old chestnut (though we did it as a regular proper contra set.) We got to the Latchis Hotel in Brattleboro where we'll spend the night thanks to Jen, Toby and Bryan's gift certificate from a couple years ago... no expiration date! We'll have breakfast here in the morning and maybe a walk before heading for Niagara Falls which is about 6 1/2 hours from here according to Map Quest.
The Latchis Hotel is really old, and very charming... right downtown in Brattleboro. It's been a lovely anniversary!

Happy Anniversary... To Us!

Taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia in 2005.
Acadia National Park 2005.

Three years ago we got married and forever joined our lives together. It's been a wild, fun, crazy, enlightening time and as much as I sometimes like to think "we don't every do anything FUN," the truth is we've done a lot of really fun, cool stuff.

Things we've done: Ashokan, Maine Fiddle Camp, Falcon Ridge, San Francisco, become grandparents twice :), Virginia, Cape Breton, bought a house, dance-dance-dance, learned to call dances, played for community dances, and learned all kinds of cool things about each other!

This year we'll take a quick trip to Niagara Falls to sightsee, to stop on the way to dance in Nelson NH, to practice calling in the car, take some photos, and generally hang out with each other without distractions of spring chores (which we have been madly getting done so we can take a quick break!)

Happy Anniversary Richard!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hog Eye

We started something new this morning~ something not entirely random, something somewhat planned, something we both have an interest in doing.... WRITING. Not as easy as you might think! We have quite a few books on writing techniques, and some ideas of our own but one HUGE hurdle is committing to the act of writing. So, we decided to utilize some of the exercises designed to stimulate and motivate people to write and did this exercise together: we randomly selected 10 words from the dictionary and then spent 10 minutes where we each composed a paragraph using all 10 words. Finding connections that made sense was a challenge, but we did it and had fun in the process. I'm looking forward to doing this again next week! Here's my sentence (I'll put the dictionary words in bold print)
As the comet hurtled through space on its earthward path, its flaming tail was visible in the night sky in brilliant displays of saffron, russet, and gold. Robert Clive was on the hotel terrace conferring with a host of other statesmen from Cirebon, Bangkok and his home city of New Delhi. Clive had an eye for detail and as the statesmen discussed possible military alliances, tentative plans for a linkup of key leaders were formed. The front line of attack would engage troops from all three cities and would serve as a symbol of unity. The abradant demeanor of Clive did not deter discussions, as it was attributed to his recent diet of bananas that altered his aldosterone levels. While talks between the three leaders came to a close, the tail of the comet disappeared in the night sky over Indonesia.
Yeah, a pretty weird story line but remember, 10 random words and 10 minutes :)
Hog Eye is a tune from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Nice Combination

Sunshine + gentle breeze + daughter + grandchildren = a nice combination.
Friday afternoon offered a bit of warm sunshine and we took full advantage of it by sitting outside for as long as it lasted. Avery blew bubbles and mowed the snow while Paige slept peacefully. We had our first ice cream of the season, shivering as the clouds moved in, warmth and sunshine gone 'til another day. Back home, Jen and I read stories to Avery and took turns holding Paige.
As with most babies, there's a tendency to "compare" them to the parents and siblings... the baby has mama's scowl, daddy's chin, big brother's nose... Paige had "inherited" all these things. But, there were quite a few moments yesterday when I'd glance at Avery and I'd see him in a new light, sporting Paige's pout, her raised eyebrows, or her half smile. She hasn't been around very long, but already she's making her own impression on the world. The thing is, we're each of us so unique in appearance, character, and demeanor... and we're each such a nice combination of nature & nurture from the genetics of our parents and ancestors to the cultural norms of entire generations. So, when we say "Oh, you got that from your father/ mother" we're recognizing connections and creating identity. Avery and Paige have a lot in common already.
A Nice Combination is a contradance written by Gene Hubert... one we've used several times.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bluegrass in the Backwoods

As I look out the window facing the forest out back, there are, much to my delight, patches of earth emerging from beneath the snow. Though we forgot to bring our lunch outside yesterday, we did manage to take a few minutes to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the mild temperatures. Today is a little more overcast, but still relatively warm and I feel a definite sense of spring. I found two crocus poking up in front of the greenhouse, the driveway is nice and muddy, and the birds are abundantly present as I walk in the afternoons!
We've had some great music in our lives lately. The DownEast Country Dance Festival featured fabulous musicians. Music friends of ours hosted a jam session at their home on Sunday, including a delicious dinner. And our own Tuesday session has seen more folks stopping in, which injects a new and exciting variety of tunes called to play. While it isn't really 'bluegrass', I liked the title of this tune as a reference to the folk music we enjoy in our own back yard, literally and figuratively.
Bluegrass in the Backwoods comes from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Belfast Jig

Aha, spring is here at last! Though the snow is not melting much in the front yard, the driveway and road are showing promising signs of mud, and while that may not sound good to most folks, for us it means the inevitable disappearance of great chunks of ice and snow! The cold weather earlier this week allowed us to drive in but it's back to parking out near Walton Road and walking in for a little while.
In celebration of the warmer weather and bright sunshine we ate lunch outside today, nestled in a corner away from the wind on sun-warmed bricks. What did we have, you might ask? Lentil soup made with leftovers from a pork roast Richard had made~ delicious! Not to be satisfied with our leisurely lunch in the sun, we also managed to get in a nice walk (for me) and a run (for Richard). I noticed lots of birds singing and flitting about... another sure sign that we're in for some lovely weather very soon!
Tomorrow night, Friday, is the Dance Series in Belfast for those of you who want to get out and contradance.
Belfast Jig can be found in the Portland Collection, Volume Two.