Thursday, May 28, 2009

Steel Pennies at the All Colorado Bluegrass Festival

Our band was fortunate enough to be asked to play at the first All Colorado Bluegrass Festival, in Castle Rock. Each of the bands were regional groups and got to perform two sets, one on the main stage and the other on the acoustic stage.

The main stage was pretty intimidating. The seating was for over 3,000 people and the bluegrass crowd did not begin to fill it up. Our friend, Dan, recorded a video for us of our performance on that stage, and we weren't too displeased with it when we watched it later as a group. Dave gave us a C+. I guess the thing is that it was our first time to a crowd this big and we didn't really screw things up. Yay!

Here's a few shots provided by our friend and my home boy, Tom Stuart.

I had some fun announcing Dave's original song, "Castle in the Cumberland" and dedicating it to some Kentuckians in the audience (the song name is the nickname for the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville).

A couple of hours later, we performed on the acoustic stage, which was really a small rudimentary stage set up in a classroom-like space. Dan took this shot of us; he and Gail sat in the front row, and Jim Fisher sat in the next-to-last row. It was great seeing their familiar faces.

We had a great time both performing and interacting with our friends and the other musicians!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Sharon and I rode up to the Little Schoolhouse in the Pines with Lindsay, Brookie, and Deb to see the Jayme Stone Tribute to John Hartford. We got there plenty early, cause the parking is a real challenge.

When we pulled in, the bottom of the car scraped and this made Brookie nervous, so she and Deb got busy and filled in the ditch to make getting out easier.

Sharon and I, on the other hand, stayed away from the work being done and entertained ourselves on the swings.

We had plenty of fun watching the show, too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Garden: So It Starts

Here are some shots from the start of my garden. Yeah!

A small potager.

Views of the vegetable garden.

C'mon--hurry up and sprout!

The geraniums remind me of Germany.

One of the perennial beds.

The grape arbor that Dave built.

Garlic and three pumpkin plants.

More geraniums.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Steel Pennies Westcliffe Retreat

This past weekend, three of the Steel Pennies (Dave, Rob & Kathy) trucked down the road to meet the 4th--Terry--in Westcliffe, where he lives part of the time. Logistics was the topic of intense discussion at practice on Thursday. It was finally settled that we would travel in Rob's truck.

Westcliffe is very beautiful. The mountain range view from Terry's front porch is spectacular. It's no wonder he and Peg decided to retire there.

Dave and Rob and I loaded up in Rob's truck on Friday and headed out for a weekend of two gigs. Overall, the weekend turned pretty much into a band retreat. We practiced on Friday and Saturday to nail things down for our shows. We had computers going nonstop: analyzing the set list, copying pictures, and staying in touch with our fan base.

Terry and his wife, Peg, showed us incredible hospitality. When we weren't playing music, it was like we were staying at a spa. There was a lot of good food involved.

After our arrival on Friday afternoon, we did a practice in preparation for the 3 set show in the evening. It felt a little hectic. We only played some of the songs once. Our previous show on Wednesday night in Superior was only one set, so there were suddenly a lot more songs on the agenda.

In the evening we headed to our first gig at Pizza Madness in Westcliffe. That one turned out to be a challenge. The sound system was a mess and caused a certain amount of stress when the owner of the restaurant and the sound man couldn't figure out how to make it work right. They never did, all night.

We persevered in spite of it. Those three sets were something; there was one song that we had never played together before. We got through it.

The next day, we were back at it, working to improve our set list and hone in on the songs to make the two set show in the evening run smoother.

We took a break in the afternoon for Terry to give a tour of his property on this "mule." The guys came across a rattlesnake. Luckily for the snake, Terry had forgotten to take his shotgun along with them.

By now, we were pretty skilled at loading and unloading the truck.

Terry had put out the word to his friends and they packed the place for our show on Saturday night. The proprietress, Marnie, treated us like we were stars!

Overall, a great trip. It helped us to focus on our music and gel as a band. Yee Haw!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Steel Pennies 2.0

The new version 2.0 Steel Pennies played their debut last Wednesday at the Super Joe's Coffee Shop in Superior. It was a fun show. We had an audience of friendly faces; many of my friends were there. Our practices paid off because, as Dave said, we didn't suck. Next we are off on our world tour, starting in Westcliffe, Colorado. We'll be playing there tonight and tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Hair Cut

I decided to find another option for cutting my hair. My hairdresser, Veronica, trims the ends and charges me $30. She does a great job on the color, but I don't need her expertise for the trim.

I have really been wanting that trim. Almost two years ago, my thyroid medication got out of whack and a bunch of my hair fell out. So up until yesterday, I had some long hair that survived the thyroid disaster, and was longer than all the rest of my hair. I got tired of that clump hanging down there. I wanted the hair to be more even--it was going to take chopping three or four inches off to be where I was happy with it.

I did some research, found a coupon, and decided I could get it cut a block away from my house for $9.95. Okay--a savings of $21.05. That works.

Except when it came time to go, I was sitting in a meeting with Dave and our friend Dan, and I decided that maybe Dave could trim my hair just as well as the chain place down the street. After Dan left, I went and got some scissors and told Dave I wanted him to cut my hair.

I was surprised at his reaction. He got kind of stressed out and only did it under duress. He refused to use the scissors I gave him; said he wanted to use a better pair. As I knew he would, he did a great job. It was all even--about four inches lopped off. He was still stressed after it was over--asked me if I was sure I liked it. It turned out just how I wanted it to.

Monday, May 4, 2009

'Honey Don't' at the Rail

Dave and I went to The Rail on Saturday night to hear a band called 'Honey Don't.' The Rail is a private home; the homeowners, Paul and Holly Rennix, put on concerts/potlucks throughout the year. As they lean heavily toward bluegrass and acoustic, we have been there before and many of our musically inclined friends attend the shows also.

'Honey Don't' is a band made up of husband and wife Bill Powell and Shelley Gray from Paonia, along with local musicians Greg Shochet and Ryan Drickey. Bill is an extremely talented songwriter. He and Shelley sang his original work all evening.

We knew lots of folks at the show. Food was good; great music. What more could one ask for?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Birthday of David Okay

Yesterday, May 1 was Dave's birthday. I often tell him it is my favorite day of the year! He was downright pleased with the gifts I gave him: his favorite coffee from the Unseen Bean, a bottle of Van Winkle Bourbon (12 year old), an Eye-Fi card that will allow him to wirelessly download pictures from our camera to his computer, and an electronic picture frame for him to upload some of our many, many photos.

I think Dave really enjoyed that he got some gadgets for his birthday! And some bourbon!

We went out to dinner and then went by my friend, Janet's, art gallery. She was having an art opening--and she had a cake there for Dave. He was quite surprised. It was a fun time.

The Terrarium

I have had this terrarium for probably six or seven years. It is lovely; I think it came from a shop called the West End Gardener. Dave gave it to me for a birthday or Christmas. It sits in our sunroom but for all these years, it has never been home to a single plant. Until now.

This week we went to a greenhouse one day, to satisfy my longing for Spring to hurry itself along. While there, we decided to get some plants for the terrarium. We picked and pondered and finally came up with six little plants. When I got home, I cleaned out the terrarium of some junk it had somehow accumulated. David lined the bottom of it with a plastic bag that he cut up. Then I situated the plants--still in their pots. That was the way I had seen it done at the Botanical Gardens. The final touch was to surround the pots with Spanish Moss, which made the plants appear to be growing from it.

Well, I think it turned out right nice. We'll see how they do. The plant on the right side of the terrarium (looking at it) is a caladium. I love this plant, as it is grown so much in the south, and especially in my favorite city of Savannah.

I have been keeping track of things inside--watering and spraying. I wonder why it took me so long to plant this thing?