Monday, September 29, 2008


We've had a whirlwind couple of weeks leading up to the wedding... and managing things throughout the weekend took a lot of energy for everyone involved! All of us parents are ready to relax and take a deep breath, as are the newlyweds :) Here's a photo of Jen and I discussing something of importance - she was one of my "rocks" throughout the festivities, keeping me grounded and guided! My friend Robin was another anchor for me in the hour before the ceremony. The most consistant and constant suppoorter has been Richard. He has been patient beyond measure, encouraging and supportive, and willing to take on just about anything that I said I needed done. Today I started the process of de-stressing, and ended up coming home from class early - exhausted and having what seems to be an ear migraine (I know, sounds weird... oh yeah, that's part of it, one ear is completely plugged making everything sound weird). When I got up from a nap (right, me? taking a nap? in the middle of the day? now you know how serious this is!) I came back down to my computer to catch up on studying and found beautiful fall leaves displayed across my keyboard and work space... made me want to cry (right, me? cry? now you know I'm really tired because I'm not usually that emotional).
So, I'm a little more rested, smiling, and waiting for Richard to come back from the grocery store with some salad fixings that my body is craving... hearing much better after a little rest, feeling blessed and balanced, happy to have spent time with all of my kids - Jen, Jason, Toby, SK, Bryan and Erin - happy to be home, happy for quietness, feeling pretty special.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Congratulations Erin & Bryan!

Congratulations Erin & Bryan!
Bryan and Erin got married on Saturday at the Bethel Inn here in Maine, in the company of family and friends from California to Florida to Maine and many places in between. The festivities started on Friday with a reception dinner, continued on through Saturday with the wedding and reception, and finished up this morning with a lovely brunch.
You can measure the distance between Maine and California in miles, but this weekend it became even more clear that you measure the closeness of families and friends by the spirit of love that's shared.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Geothermal Heat

I'm excited to be working on campus this year, through the Work Initiative Program, with Professor Grace Eason. Another student, Steph, and I are conducting tours of the LEED certified Education Building at UMF in an effort to spread the word about sustainable building materials and practices. This is an opportunity for me to learn in more detail about resource conservation from a very hands-on perspective.One of the things I'm learning about is geothermal heating and cooling. As with many green technologies, there are many aspects to consider. Simply put, geothermal heat uses the constant 51'F earth temperature (at 357'feet beneath the earth's surface) to moderate the fluctuations in air temperature from one season to the next. Our first tour takes place later today, and this is one of the topics I'll be presenting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Bog Behind Our House

We live in a really beautiful area. Only a short walk out the old roads behind our house, there is a bog - a nice change in habitat from the woods. The colors haven't changed much... yet... but they will very shortly. Other than the pretty mushrooms I posted earlier, the main colors at the bog are from goldenrod and fall asters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Colors from the Forest Floor

I've been working with the camera again, after a little summer hiatus of sketching with water colors. I'm still sketching and journaling, but got inspired over the summer to try my hand with the camera. One of my friends from the MCC team, Karla, was using a macro setting that enabled her to get great close-up photos. Here are a couple of my recent favorites! It's the time of year when everyone looks to the trees for color, but there's more than you might imagine down on the ground!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Grandparents Day!

Today, apparently, is Grandparents Day, a fact unknown to us until we were surprised with a lovely visit from the grandchildren! Though it isn't a well publicized holiday, it's a nice time to acknowledge one's roots and celebrate the genetic traits that have been passed down from generation to generation... you know, those things that you love/hate and recognize in your sister/mother/aunt/grandmother? I hope Avery and Paige grow up with a strong sense of connection to their grandparents - all of them!
There are quite a number of personality and behavioral traits that I attribute to my heritage. The "Davis Girls" would not be nearly as special without them.

  • From my dad's mom, Lillian, I get my sense of family connection and wanting to "be there" for everyone and anyone. This doesn't mean I have the time or energy to do it, but I remember my grandmother having lots of friends, lots of activity going on around her house, and some chaotic interconnetions between family members. Lill also taught me to wrap presents at Christmas, although my dad once told me it was only to get me to do the work for her :) Even that perspective makes me smile and remember her every time I put a gift together. Lill also made wonderful spaghetti sauce that had absolutely everything in there... I can remember being surprised to find chicken and pork as well as the expected ground beef, and wondering if she saved a little bit of everything she made all week just to make this sauce super special. When I keep bits of leftovers in small sacks and packages in the freezer, I think of her.
  • From my mom's dad, Merrit, I get a sense of connection to the natural world around me... and a keen desire for order and purposefulness. Merritt worked hard all his life to provide for his family, and he also maintained strong connections within the community. He was opinionated to be sure, and I can guess that I inherited some of that from him! A friend once described him as a wizard in the woods, because you'd never know when he'd appear from behind a tree or a bend in a trail. I like to think my curiosity of nature is a gift from him.
  • My mom's mom, Irene, also maintained a strict sense of order but with considerable respect to the finer things in life. Although they were not rich by any means, Irene had some lovely pieces of furniture and jewelry, and everything in her home and yard was "just so." Although I don't actually exhibit these qualities in my own life - I always seem to have some project in the works, or am too overly involved in some idea to actually KEEP my house clean- I do appreciate having things in their proper place, especially when I go to get them! So, while my floors are not spotless and there is usually dust on the furniture, I occasionally "catch up" on my inside chores and outside gardens to some degree of what she might accept as nice!
  • My great grandmother, Helen, was very artistic as I remember. She sketched and drew, and had a way of keeping house that looked tidy but in reality was simply not used much. I remember hearing that she would wipe her dinner plate clean with bread and turn it over until the next meal, eliminating the need to do a lot of dishes. This was done in part so she could spend her time reading and attending to the pursuit of mental activities and it is to this that I most often aspire.

So, these are small glimpses into the personas of my grandparents, on this Grandparents Day 2008. Because I'm sure their life energies have blended into the community and people nearest to me, including my parents and my siblings, I know that my appreciation for them and all they've passed on to me is recognized somehow.

To my sisters who are also grandparents, how fun is it to know our gifts (good and bad) are going to live on in another generation of 'Davis' boys and girls!?!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's Humid...

I spent the better (best) part of the day with Avery and Paige... have I ever mentioned how much I love being a grammah? I loved being a mom, don't get me wrong... every age or stage was my favorite 'til the new one came along and I feel like I'm reliving the best parts of those years. I am continually amazed at Avery's language skills as well as his social skills. He understands so much, and has such a wonderful sense of place and sense of humor for one so young.
While searching for more crackers this afternoon, we found some cinnamon graham crackers in the cupboard. One taste, and Avery remarked they weren't very crunchy. I had to agree, and tried to explain that they were possibly stale, and they might possibly have gotten damp... to which Avery replied that it was probably because it was humid out. Hmmm. Where did he hear this and how did he understand the concept of humidity at the tender age of three? When his mom got home, she explained they'd been discussing weather at daycare. I might also mention that when Avery's parents got home, he ran to greet them, asking his mom, "How was the wedding?" I wish I had as much sincere interest in everyone around me - I can learn a lesson from this little one.
Paige, while not yet conversing as is her brother, is absolutely adorable. She smiles and coos and is truly amazed by her fingers and toes, squealing with delight when she grabs hold of them. She is cuddly, and engaging, and has the most expressive facial expressions... and she clearly loves her big brother.
Sometimes when I relay these stories, I feel like I'm boasting a little bit, when in reality I suppose I am, but my main intent is to express my amazement at what supremely wonderful creatures these children are, and what a great job their parents are doing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I spent this afternoon in the University Arboretum as part of my Botany Lab. It was fun to go arond and see the trees that I'd been introduced to in May when taking the Nature Writing course. While today's exercise focused on noticing identifying features, rather than looking for an interesting color or pattern, I found myself still looking at the textures and colors of the different parts of the trees... and so this evening, after being completely tired of reading and studying, I took out a sketch book and started scratching out the flowers and leaves I'd noted earlier in the day. What fun! Although I'm a little too tired to write an essay about any of my pictures right now, I did remember that I'd scanned in a lovely maple leaf, and thought I'd write a quick little story for all of my faithful readers!

Fall is fast approaching, you can see it in the red maples standing in low-lying boggy areas. You can see it in the green landscape that is slowly becoming more olive than verdant. You can see it in the blue of the sky as the sun's angle lowers. You CAN'T tell by the temperatures, however! Today we reached 88'F here in Maine, a real scooorchah, and I know Richard is mighty happy that he had finished working on the roof!

Posts may be few and far between now that fall classes have started, but I suppose it won't be too much different than this summer when I was away so much. Such is life :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Chicken Reel

Fried Chicken for Labor Day! That's what we celebrated, as Richard's mom and dad hosted a family gathering that included the Davis clan in addition to Richard & me and SK... with fried chicken as the feature presentation. Now, I love fried chicken, and am quite a connoisseur, and I can tell you without a doubt, that this is the BEST fried chicken! There were lots of other fine things on the table - potato salad, deviled eggs, fruit salad, breads and more - as well as some delicious desserts... all served up with lots of conversation and perfect weather. A lovely day was had by all. Richard experimented with the video camera during all of this, and we viewed the result before leaving... amazing and artistic in content, it was a mix of time-lapse images and some candid short interviews. We also got to view some of the footage shot in Virginia, including football practice of Jackson and Jake and also the newest episode of Mayberry RFD, both of which are still being worked into a CD that can be shared with those cast members living in Chesterfield VA.
That's it from here, hope you all had a nice Labor Day. This is sort of the official/unofficial kick off for the fall season here in Maine, where all the summer visitors go back to their respective home states and we get a few weeks of respite before fall foliage season erupts in full force! Thanks to all the tourists who made this a good season for all who rely on tourism as income!
Chicken Reel comes from the Fiddler's Fakebook.