Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Sahlin's are sailin'! Port Townsend fiddle fest and Steve's birthday!

We had plenty to celebrate in the past couple of weeks: Steve was born 47 years ago, and then he married me 11 years ago. I am so glad he was born and married me!
In order to properly celebrate his birthday and our wedding anniversary, we ferried over to the northeast tip of the Olympic peninsula to a beautiful place called Port Townsend, a town that prides itself on its historic charm, many Victorian buildings, and stunning natural setting. Stunning is right. There are many beaches and parks and places to admire, and it also happens to be the place our dear friends Cedar and Joy call their home. We parked our RV in their yard, surrounded by flowers. We couldn't have found a more pittoresque place to stay for a week. Our friends have an adorable little daughter who's a year younger than Eva, and they had a lot of fun playing (and squabbling about sharing toys).  The place attracted a lot of kids in the course of the week due to the trampoline and sand box in the yard, and probably all the love vibes floating around.

On the ferry, with Mount Baker peeking out on the horizon.

Who says a sand box can't be crammed with kids?
These were the kinds of views from our RV.

The annual fiddle fest was part of the reason we went to Port Townsend. It's a week long total immersion experience, where hundreds of players of traditional American music congregate at Fort Worden State Park for workshops, classes, band labs, tutorials, dances, concerts, open jams, parties, and many informal and spontaneous gatherings.
We signed Kai up for the kids program in the morning. So after breakfast every day, Kai biked with either Steve or me 15 minutes to Fort Worden, with his fiddle strapped to our back. Kai loved the experience of getting together with dozens of kids, practicing fiddle, and learning new songs for three hours every day. They learned by the oral tradition – listen, imitate, listen, practice, and listen again. There was no sheet music at all, which is great because Kai never learned how to read music. His teacher (our friend and neighbor called B.C.) has taught him to play by ear from the beginning.
Fort Warden had a great feel during this week.  Everyone walked or bicycled to their classes, the feeling of community was thick in the air, which was filled with music floating out of every building.  Small groups of people were jamming in the shade of trees, and laughter and dancing ran rampant.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the classes, but I kind of feel weird about taking pictures of other people's kids.  
A high school and college buddy of Steve's named Jim met up with us for a couple of days, and his two kids and ours bonded immediately.  Steve and Jim hadn't seen each other in ten years, so they got to catch up while we hiked, sailed and relaxed at the beach.
We all went to Dungeness Spit, where Steve proposed to me many years ago.  He loves telling the story of seeing an eagle soaring, and considering this a good omen, so he asked me to marry me.  He also likes to make fun of my response, which was very loud yelling.  Since it was a positive response, he didn't mind the yelling very much, but I think it did upset some hikers nearby.

I don't know how much longer his back is going to last for this kind of nonsense. He's 47 now, for Chrissakes!

One of the highlights was when B.C. took us and Jim's family out on his sailboat, which involved being rowed out to the boat in a dingy first.  Now, I have to admit that I am a little bit afraid absolutely terrified of deep water, so when the sails went billowing out, and the sailboat tipped precariously to one side, I didn't feel particularly comfortable.  I didn't mind exaggerating my terror a little for the kids' entertainment, since they loved watching me holding on to the side of the boat for dear life, hollering with fright.  Yes, really, I only did it for the kids' entertainment.  Honestly.  

B.C. showing the kids his newest gadget.
What a fun vacation!  Thanks to B.C. for getting Kai into fiddle camp, for taking us sailing!  Thanks to Joy and Cedar for hosting a birthday party for Steve, and for offering us their loving hospitality.  And thanks for Jim for bringing his kids along for our kids to play with!
Here are some random shots of the week.  Hope you are all having a marvelous summer!

"Swimming" in the cold ocean.
Lukas climbing on the sand cliffs.
View from Fort Warden.
Lukas and Eva eating cherries.
We came home to blooming hollyhocks and clematis.
My highly productive garden!


  1. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary. Steve looks young and very happy! The children also thriving and engaged with the world. How beautiful! And your garden looks luscious. What blessings! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, dear Tuyet! Yep, isn't he a handsome fella? I love that you are following our lives in this way! Hope you are doing well, and sending much love your way!

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