Soundtrack of My Life

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.

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. 



(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)


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


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


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.*)


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.


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.




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.)


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!


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


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


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.


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!  


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.)




(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


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


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


(Raverly details here.)


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




One Week . . .

I'm not a fast knitter.  

I guess that's not it, exactly.  I just don't finish things quickly.  I am not one of those always-knitting people, y'know?  I like to knit a little every day.  But it's often just that . . . a little.

I don't think I've ever knit anything in just (cue soundtrack) . . . One Week

Until last week.


Chickity China the Chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'


Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy


One week!

(Ravelry details here.)


Hop over to Kat's to read other Unraveled posts today.


Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things

(Click here for today's soundtrack -- and a throwback video.)


Way back in June, I cast on for Kirsten Kapur's 2017 Mystery Shawl . . .

a shawl with no name


Knitting just hasn't been much of a priority for me this summer. This was the only project I worked on all summer,* finally finishing about a month ago -- and blocking just this week.

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain


I kind of love it!  And . . . just in time, too.  Because it is suddenly feeling very fall-ish here.


In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
La, la, la la la la, la la la, la la...

(Ravelry details here.)


*  Except for that disaster-wedding-shawl.  But we're just going to let that one go.