Saturday, August 22, 2009

My New Toy

Well, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a new mandolin. It's a Weber Bitterroot F-Style mandolin and I bought it at the Denver Folklore favorite acoustic instrument shop, and a Denver institution since 1962.

In 1998, when I moved to Alaska, I recognized the need for some new hobbies to keep me busy during the long, dark Alaskan winters. I started knitting, and, inspired by the multitude of bluegrass pickers in Fairbanks, decided that I wanted to start playing an acoustic instrument. I decided that a mandolin was just my size, and nice and portable to match my roving lifestyle at the time.
My dad bought me a great little Epiphone mandolin that I have been very happy with for over ten years. That mandolin served me well....and has been all over the country with me. One of my favorite memories with it was my last night in Alaska, just before crossing the Alaska/Canada border. Rachel, Alan, and I camped out in a beautiful, remote spot. We sat around a campfire in the cool fall air, and I played that mandolin as some of the most amazing northern lights I'd ever seen danced overhead, bidding us goodbye.
My mandolin playing has always been sporadic, at best. The problem for me is that mandolin playing is not the only hobby I love. So, when I have some spare time, it's hard for me to decide between picking, reading, and/or knitting. And I'll be honest, for most of the past decade, reading and knitting usually win.

But lately, things have changed a bit. Brian is a dedicated banjo picker and is always encouraging me to play more often. We've tried off and on to make music together, but until recently we just couldn't make it happen.

And then....we found what we've always needed...a guitar player!!! Right across the street! And we've known him all along, but he just didn't know he was a guitar player until about 9 months ago.

And now...the neighborhood band is in full swing!Since Brian, Ryan and I have started playing together, I've found a renewed sense of excitement about my musical ambitions. I've been having so much fun making music in my living room with our good friends. I love that Sadie is growing up, just like I did, surrounded by live acoustic music in her home.
And then a little voice inside me told me that I might be ready to upgrade my instrument. Well, once that voice spoke up, there was no ignoring it.

Over the past few months, I've visited every acoustic instrument dealer along the Front Range, and one in Durango, CO. I narrowed down the sound I was looking for in a new mandolin. And then I found the one. It all came down to look, and feel, and emotions. As Harry Tuft at the Folklore Center told's usually the one you find yourself thinking about. And boy, have I been thinking about this instrument.
This mandolin was an investment (ie: it wasn't cheap), but it's something I will have for the rest of my life, and will be able to pass down to Sadie. And in my opinion, there aren't many better things in life to spend money on than beautiful, handmade acoustic instruments.
Now I just have to name it....

Your World's About To Change, Sadie

Strange Folk

Another festival down, and it was a success!
However, with the late night campground drama, some loud lesbian lovemaking next door, a mountain rescue involving some new friends, and a suspected polygamist/cult leader, it was definitely one of the most interesting folks festivals yet.
Sadie was perfect yet again...I think she's officially a member of the festivarian nation. Dad joined us, as did Adam and Mari.

and how happy we were to have my dearest friend Rachel visit from Boston. She was feeling good and happy to spend some quality time with all three Petersons. We had what was definitely the best festival campsite to date, under a permanent shelter that Planet Bluegrass left in place.....which made the periodic rainstorms way easier to deal with.
And Brian even pulled a Number 4 for the tarp line one morning. Way to hussle Pete!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three Years

Three years ago today I picked up the hem of my dress, ducked under an umbrella, took one last deep breath, and walked through the pouring rain to marry this man.
Top Ten Things I Love About Brian Peterson
1. He plays the banjo beautifully and he brings the sound of live acoustic music into my home on a daily basis

2. We make each other laugh. When he laughs really hard, it makes everyone else around him laugh

3. He is a loyal, vocal, and unwavering sports fan

4. He supports, respects, and listens to me....and he allows me to be a crazy lady and still loves me when I come back down

5. He consistently thanks me for the everyday work I do around the house and tells me all day long how much he loves me, no matter who's listening.

6. I love the way he dances..and I love his beard!

7. He works hard for our family

8. His life is defined and explained by the music he listens to

9. My friends and family love him

10. He is an extraordinary father

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today we're celebrating the 6-month birthday of darling Sadie Caroline. What an amazing six months it has been. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have been graced with the presence of this beautiful child!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY (August 9 2009)
Outside my sky, a slight breeze
I am thinking...about the week ahead
I am thankful for...a baby that is sleeping through the night!
From the kitchen...fresh veggies from the Castle Rock farmer's market
I am wearing...Sunday duds
I am creating...socks, finally started a new knitting project!
I am have dinner with my cousin Ken Golding, and introduce him to baby Sadie for the first time!
I am reading...a lot of different things. Trying to catch up on newspapers, Mothering and Orion magazines, and Dr. Sears' Baby Book to learn about all the amazing changes going on with Sadie.
I am hoping...for a non-rainy Folks Fest next weekend!
I am hearing...Pete Wernick playing banjo on Brian's new DVD.
Around the house...piles of stuff to pack for the festival
One of my favorite things...going into a Sunday evening feeling productive, organized, and relaxed. Feeling like my weekend was the perfect combination of chores, fun, music, family, friends, and rest.
A few plans for the week: work, rest, Flight of the Conchords Season 2 with the neighbors, play some music, and then Folks Festival!!!
Here is picture thought I am sharing... Four generations!

Rockygrass 2009

What a great time we had at Sadie's first bluegrass festival! She was the PERFECT festival baby. I don't know how we got so lucky, but she was an angel. She literally didn't cry once the entire weekend.

Our friends and neighbors Amanda and Ryan joined us for their first festival on Planet Bluegrass. And Angela flew in from Boston and got to boogie with Baby Sadie.

We camped out Wed - Saturday nights and having Sadie in the tent worked out perfectly. (especially now that we have the giant family tent).

We stayed nice and cool in the river during the heat of the day on Friday. We weathered about 8 hours of on-and-off rainstorms on Saturday. We ate well, drank well, played some music, and pioneered a new technique to avoid setting up our sunshade every morning, only to take it down again at the end of the day.

Overall, an amazing success!! We're so happy that Sadie is adapting so well to our festival lifestyle. We can't wait for Folks Fest this coming weekend and another new folk festival over Labor Day weekend

I Still Knit Sometimes

...but not much.

Full-time mama duty doesn't leave a lot of time for knitting. And when I do finally collapse on the couch at night after putting Sadie to bed around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., I just don't seem to have the energy for starting a new knitting project.

But...I have finished a couple things since Sadie was born. This cute hat doesn't fit Sadie anymore, but I can't wait to pass it along to the next little girl in our midst.

(for you knitters....It's the Upside-Down Daisy hat from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson.)
Aside from the pure joy I get from creating something handmade, my favorite thing about knitting is giving knit items away. I rarely keep anything I knit...I probably own less than 5 items from a 10+ year knitting career. But one of the great pleasures in my life is knowing that the people I love own and (hopefully) wear the handknit pieces that I have lovingly made for them.

One of the most influential people in my life during the past year (and maybe my life) is the woman who was my doula during Sadie's birth. I've spoken before on my blog about what an amazing childbirth educator Brandy was and how important her support was during my very long labor. here and here
During my first few weeks at home post-partum I spent a lot of time trying to think of what I could give Brandy to try and express the amazing sense of gratitude I was feeling for her services and support. Nothing I thought of seemed to fit the bill. Socks, scarves, a hat, maybe a hat/mitten/scarf set? While these are gifts I love to give, none of them seemed suitable for Brandy's thank you gift.
I finally settled on a shawl. I had never knit a shawl, and my mom's shawl project had inspired to me try. A shawl can be a work of art, and an heirloom. It seemed like the perfect choice. I had been saving my Kauni Rainbow yarn for a special project. And I had my eye on the Revontuli pattern (Revontuli means Northern Lights in Finnish).
I was so happy with how this shawl turned out! It was every bit as beautiful as I'd hoped for. I showed it off to everyone that came to my house...I don't think I've ever been so proud of anything I've knit.

It was wonderful to be able to give this to Brandy as a small token of my appreciation for everything she has done for me as a woman and as a mother.

Thank you Brandy!!