Soundtrack of My Life

July is Dressed Up and Playing Her Tune

There is nothing like an old song to bring the memories flooding back, is there?

Today's post really needs a soundtrack . . . but you'll have to click here to listen because I couldn't embed the video (any video). That is . . . if the title of this post didn't already conjure that song in your brain. Remember that song? Summer Breeze. Seals & Croft. It is just a major, major nostalgia tune for me . . . bringing back one of my best junior high school memories. C'mon back to 8th grade with me for just a minute, okay?

There I was. . . gawky in my Olive Oyl body, with braces on my teeth, and hair that was trying hard to be like Marcia Brady's (but not cutting it) (at all), quiet and concerned all.the.time about saying/doing/wearing something stupid . . . and wishing for so much more (like a teenage sitcom life). And then, one day after band class, Nick Mizell asked me to stop by one of the band practice rooms after school. What could he want with me? I mean . . . Nick was suuuuper cute. Very cool. A drummer with dreamy hair. So very far out of my league. But I went to meet him anyway, hoping it wasn't going to be some embarrassing prank. I played it really cool - just in case - and tried my best to look like I was just casually down by the band room, y'know . . . looking for some sheet music, after school (like one might do in a teenage sitcom life).

But, no. He did actually want me to meet him. He and a couple of other band guys (Steve and Jay) were all set up in this practice room with Nick's drum set. (Steve played an electric guitar, and Jay had his trumpet). They were practicing for the school talent show, and they wanted me to listen while they played (you guessed itSummer Breeze. And it was so awesome! I'd never seen a drum set up close. Or an electric guitar. And it sounded so good, so . . . exotic! (Not to mention how exotic these boys were to me.) And you know what they wanted? They wanted ME to play my flute in their group for the talent show. Seriously. I thought I had absolutely DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. Like I was freaking Grace Slick or something! This was one of the highlights of 8th grade for me. (Right up there with the night Alan Richardson asked me to couple skate at the skating rink . . . and then skated with me the whole night long.)

Anyway. Big nostalgia for me . . . that song.
(Oh. We didn't win the talent show, but we did get far enough along that we got to play in the school assembly.) (And, unsurprisingly, Nick was only interested in my flute playing and ignored me for the rest of time after that.)

That's a long story. . . and not really what I was planning to blog about today at all.
But I've always loved that song!
And I heard it on the radio just as I started to knit this summer tank top.

IMG_5151

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and wearing a tune

IMG_5159 2

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind

It's kind of nice . . . when your summer knitting project brings a welcome song and fun memories for each stitch!

I can't play it on my flute anymore, but . . . 
Eat your heart out, Nick.

==

For details and more photos, click here for my Ravelry project page.

==

And don't forget to visit Kat to check out more Unraveled posts today.


You're My Blue Sky

[Click here for accompanying soundtrack.]
(As if the song hasn't already started playing in your head. . . )

This time, I managed to hit the sweater/weather match right on the nose!

IMG_3754

I actually knit a wool sweater I can wear for the next couple of weeks (given the current local forecast). This is a looser gauge, kinda swing-y sweater that screams "spring" to me -- especially in this particular yarn colorway. (It's called "Mother Earth" and it's from Miss Babs.) It's perfect for cool, spring weather -- when you still want to ward off the chill, but want to feel breezy and . . . not like "winter carnival." (Y'know?)

IMG_3766

You're my blue sky,
you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high
when you turn your love my way.
Turn your love my way . . .

IMG_3759

You can find all the details here on Ravelry if you're interested.

And . . . here a little treat. You can watch the Allman Brothers perform Blue Sky (my favorite Allman Brothers song, by the way) for a little lift in your day!

 


Hear Me Roar

I turned 12 in 1971.

Shenanigans 1977

Here I am on my birthday . . . sporting a "me-made" flannel skirt and unfortunate bangs. (And I swear, our house was not as drab as that photo would indicate.) A lot of things were changing and happening in 1971, including my family's move from northern Illinois . . . to Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was an interesting time to be 12, and on the leading edge of adolescence.

  • The 26th Amendment was passed in 1971, lowering the voting age in the U.S. to 18.
  • The Apollo space missions were still landing on the moon.
  • Nixon was the president.
  • The New York Times began publishing The Pentagon Papers.
  • China was admitted to the UN.
  • Disney World opened in Florida. Greenpeace was formed. NPR broadcast for the first time.
  • Jim Morrison died. Lance Armstrong was born.
  • The pocket calculator was invented by the Sharp Company.
  • We all gathered around our TVs to watch Mary Tyler Moore.

And this song was released . . . 

I actually remember the first time I heard the song. I was at a 4-H meeting (my 4-H club was called Flour Power) and we had the TV on while we all sewed together. Helen Reddy had just been thrust into the spotlight with the release of "I Am Woman" -- a song so earth-shattering that it made the national news! Anyway, I - along with all the other Flour Power girls - stopped our stitching to watch and listen. We were entranced! We'd never heard such a powerful song before, and it spoke to us immediately.

It became an anthem, of course. A Power Song for women -- and especially for a 12-year-old on the cusp of growing up in a world that was changing fast. I still hum the song to myself whenever I feel empowered . . . or feel like I need to draw on my own strength.

So.
Thanks, Helen Reddy.
For singing out in 1971.
And for giving a 12-year-old with bad bangs and sad knee socks a theme song.

I am woman.
Hear me roar!


Sentimental Gentle Winds: A Riff on Time

(Here's a soundtrack for you.)
(Because you'll likely be singing it in your head by the end of this post anyway.)

This morning, in my laundry room, I turned over a new month in the calendar I keep there. 

September.

IMG_0634

(Big sigh.)

Usually, in normal times . . . the Before Times . . . September always felt like the start of things; a more real "new year" for me than January ever tends to be. 

I'm sure it's that starting-school-again, academic kind of mind set that has never left me. September always feels like a fresh start to me (a "clean slate," as Gretchen Rubin calls it). After a summer break (because doesn't summer always feel like a break?), September is always that month where activities begin again and "structure" returns. It's when the more casual rhythm of summer is replaced by the steady drumbeat of fall.

And as much as I love summer, I'm usually very ready for the routine of fall to kick into gear again.

Except . . . Nothing feels quite the same this year.

'Cause we live in a time
When meaning falls in splinters from our lives . . . 

Sure. There will still be some structure. My watercolor class will reconvene next week (via Zoom), for example. But most of the other things I would ordinarily be building into my calendar are . . . well. They are gone. And because we can (with wide-open calendars and the reality that Tom can do his work from anywhere now), we'll be holding the cabin open and the boats in the water a little longer up north this year. Which will further blur the lines between summer-casual and fall-routine for me.

So. September is lacking its usual punchy freshness this year. And that made me a little bit sad last week when I allowed myself to accept how much I was missing that very fresh-start kind of feeling. And that led to a lot of reflecting about . . . Time. Which has really taken on a weirdness for me since the pandemic started. All the days are so similar now. They all seem so . . . alike. Even the weekends don't have much to set them apart from the rest of the week anymore. And, somehow, inexplicably, time seems to be going both really fast and super slow. At the same time.

'Cause we live in a time
When paintings have no color, words don't rhyme. . . 

I got to thinking that . . . maybe I should just give up on thinking about time. Not altogether, of course. Not time as in the clock or the days of the week. I'm not talking about chucking my planner or schedule here and ignoring time altogether. But, well. Maybe it's time I stop thinking about months, chunks of time. . . as discrete. Or meaningful. Time is a circle after all, and it's not like everything changes just because you turn over a new page on the calendar (even though we might like to think it does).

This year, as part of my one-little-word explorations, I've already been paying a lot more attention to the flow of time; trying to tune into rhythms instead of calendar pages. 
I've been marking the moon phases.
Celebrating the seasons.
Embracing Mother Nature.

I'm expanding the ways I'm thinking about time.
The rhythms are there. 
The framework is just different.

And I think it's time I just . . . go with that.
A little bit more; a little more freely.
September? Hello. Goodbye!


Because I Know You've Been Singing It Too

There is one song that just keeps playing in an endless loop in my head these days.  And I bet it's been playing in yours, too, maybe.

So let's all have a sing-along today . . . to celebrate my first pandemic knit!  
Because . . . it's finally done: my big, cozy, comfy, stay-at-home, pandemic sweater.  
Now with ALL NEW pandemic hair styling!

Sing along with me now!
Everybody. . . 

It's the end of the world as we know it
(time I had some time alone)

IMG_8497

It's the end of the world as we know it
(time I had some time alone)

IMG_8502

It's the end of the world as we know it
(time I had some time alone)

IMG_8496

And I feel fine!

==

The sweater is knit from this pattern, and you can find all the details here on Ravelry.

==

And, just to end on a fun note, check out this "unplugged" version of REM doing It's the End of the World As We Know It. . .

 


In Lieu of Fall Color

(For a soundtrack for today's post, click here.*)

Okay.

So . . . I've finished another sweater.

I can't really believe I've knit so many sweaters so quickly lately.  Because this is not how I usually operate.  (It helps that they've all been cropped and/or sleeveless and/or knit at a bigger-than-usual gauge.)  (Just sayin.)  

I had planned to do the backyard-photo-shoot for this sweater with a backdrop of fall color.  But that just isn't happening here yet (still very green).  So I decided to use a pumpkin as a prop . . . in lieu of fall color.

IMG_6213

But then I couldn't really figure out what to do with it.

So Tom said . . . Why don't you put it on your head?

And I did.

IMG_6219

IMG_6217

IMG_6220

There you have it!

A pumpkin on my head . . . in lieu of fall color.

(Ravelry details here.)

==========

* I linked to Eva Cassidy's version of Field of Gold.  This is one of my all-time favorite songs, and while I love Sting's original version, I find Eva Cassidy's cover to be just lovely.  And so beautifully haunting.  Enjoy.

 


Old Dog New Tricks

(For a soundtrack to accompany today's blog post, click here.)

Last month, I wrote about finding the sweet spot in my knitting.  That place . . . where knitting meets intention.  My attempt at trying to make things that I (or someone I love) will wear.  
And keep.  
And love.

And I'm here to report that I did it.  
(In the words of Alanis Morissette, sometimes . . . you learn.)

IMG_2129

A perfect little layering piece.  It's exactly my style.  In exactly my colors.  And since finishing it last week, I've already worn it 5 times. (In fact, I'm already plotting making another one.) (It's that perfect.)

Definitely in my sweet spot!

==========

(All the Ravelry details here.)

 


Winter Solstice

Happy Solstice!

IMG_1124

Our party last night was a great success.  Good food.  Good friends.  Plenty to drink.  Lots of laughter.

IMG_1134
IMG_1134
IMG_1134

(Plus . . . my cocktail napkin game was strong!)

IMG_1135
IMG_1135

Today, I'm happy to have it all (including the clean-up) behind me.  It's time to just sit back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

IMG_1127

And - by special request - click here for the Songs for Winter Solstice playlist Tom and I created for our annual party.  Remember, you won't find any Christmas songs on this playlist, but you will find an assortment of songs sharing the loose themes of light, dark, stars, the sun (including both the setting and the rising), and seasons.  (There is also one birthday-ish song in there, for obvious reasons).  Listen and enjoy!  

IMG_1138

I wish you all a lovely Solstice, and a happy weekend -- full of light!

==========

(Note:  After many annoying minutes of trying to get the actual playlist to embed correctly in this blog post, I have given up.  You have to click the link (in red, above) to get the playlist.  The "list" is just a photo and will not play directly.  Sorry.)

 

 


Synchronicity

(Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)  (Weren't those Police boys dreamy???) (Just sayin.)

syn - chro - nic - i - ty | noun

the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible  causal connection

IMG_5159

Shades of grey.  Plus white.  And a mustard-y yellow.  
Summer.  Linen.
Color blocks.  Grids.
Flowing all together.

IMG_5160

With one breath
With one flow
You will know . . . 

Synchronicity!

(Raverly details here.)

==========

Be sure to join other Unravelers over at Kat's today.