Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

27 September 2006

"The Best Things in Life Are Free"

. . . but that vet visit is going to be the equivalent of your student loan payment. That's really all I can think about this week. He's not even my dog, and I feel so ambivalent about him: he's perfect for our home and family in so many ways, but I don't love him. Everyone else does, though, so I'll deal. I'm really hoping he doesn't need eye surgery tomorrow, though, or else my student loan payments will be even further behind.

The song? Oh! Yes--this song will not stay long in my memory, but it was good to sing it today, mostly because it's just good to sing. I've been busy for the past few weeks cataloging a lot of music that I already have: I collected a lot of songbooks in this last six months or so, and I want to know what I have in the interests of sharing this music more appropriately (it's a happy anal thing, enabling me to at some point run a search, for example, for three-part Scottish lullabies, or two part Croatian drinking songs suitable for children). Unfortunately, it's been more of a browsing thing than a singing thing, and I do miss the singing. Are the best thing in life free? Now may not be the best time to ask. I'll meditate upon that one, but for now weigh in on the truth that not all the best things cost money. Some, at least, are indeed free, and those mostly around the people I care for, and that various communication options that I have that cost me nothing, or so close to nothing that I'm prepared to almost take them for granted. So American am I.

I had some very satisfying music time today. A few friends and I are attempting to start a band, and our get together after school today was incredibly fun, and encouraging. I have specific homework to practice on my mandolin, which is also very good, since I need the practice badly (different set up than my guitar, much less space to work in on that tiny finger board--and doubled strings!). At times, the three of us sounded almost together and pretty, and our brief performance for an impromptu audience was most gratifying. We admitted that we were in this purely for the money, and received requests for spandex costuming. He said it would boost ticket sales. How can we argue with that?

We're still working on a name. Inspired by a newly learned song, today we proposed 'Colicky Cabbages', but I'm not sure that would really sell, or work with the spandex idea at all.

24 September 2006

"Climb Ev'ry Mountain"

A very operatic number, but I think I can carry it off, as if I were, indeed, an old nun. Certainly it sounds like a lot of work, climbing every mountain, but I suspect that that's what I do sometimes, or attempt to do. Still hitting the ground running, still a blur to the naked eye, but I am working to take better care of myself.

I've been looking at a bunch of photos on my computer, thinking that I surely need to edit this huge batch, or at least back them all up on CDs. Printing some of them out for perusal in a non-digital fashion would also be fabulous.

I look at each photo, and it is so difficult to throw out any that have the least bit of merit. I'll toss the unfocused, the eyes-closed, but anything else always has some bit of humanity, of detail of form or figure that I'd like to remember. When the pictures are very pretty is it pleasurable, that view is no less of an accurate one, but it is the not-so-perfect shots that touch my heart so often.

This is my grand experienment of the day: Can I successfully upload a picture? This is my recent felting project--and don't get on me with the technicalities about how this is actually not felting, you know what I mean, I hope. I find felting so magical. Something is shapeless, and then you throw it in the wash, and it becomes something very different in texture and form. Just amazing. These are shots of a knitted market bag that I made, in a computer-savy fashion, with yarn bought off eBay and using a pattern from knitty.com. Very satisfying. I ran out of yarn towards the end, and couldn't get more (Rowan Magpie, no longer made, too much trouble to search for it), so I used a skein of Noro Kureyon in a coordinating colorway, and it worked. Yahoo!

Look, this actually works, too! Pictures on my blog! It sure doesn't take a lot to impress myself these days. My daughter could probably do this blindfolded, I suspect, even with no experience.

18 September 2006

"The Sound of Music"

I still love this movie, and its music. Another song from my childhood, in that I sung it all the time, reveling and, yea, wallowing in my love of music and singing. Recently rehearsals have begun again for my singing group, and it's very apparent to me that singing with a group is not so good for my solo singing. I'm all about the blending in a group, and when I'm not playing that part, I'm about singing a song in an absolutely clear tone, no vibrato, in order to teach it to the whole group. Singing vibrato-free is useful all around, yes, but the desire to blend with others makes my solo voice less full, less practiced, less brave. I would really love to develop some kick-ass impressive solo vocal qualities at some point. Or maybe I just watched too much 'Rockstar Supernova'.

To paraphrase a Buffy episode I watched recently: The hills have not been alive, of late. I had been hoping that the freedom of my daughter being back in school would have me emerging from my cave of crankiness, singing to the sky.

It hasn't been all bad, certainly, but I've been having trouble keeping the ball rolling, getting things done, even fun just-for-me things. The worst thing, though, is the increasing certainty that I just can't see myself clearly enough to know how I'm doing so far with this life thing. I so want to believe that I'm a better person today than I was, say, fifteen years ago, but I'm just not so sure. I'm a little more mature, whatever that means. I've developed some better coping skills. My daughter probably won't turn out to be an axe murderer. I have many useful and useless small skills. Why do I wake up and just want to cry? That's not a rhetorical question, people.

All this, and more incoherence, is why I haven't written of late. My thoughts don't have method, just madness. Maybe I just need to get started, and see where it takes me.

08 September 2006

"Put On A Happy Face"

This song was hard to play, I felt like I needed to channel my piano teacher (that would be Jackie, the famous Jackie Dempsey, of Squonk Opera) to play it well. I did better the second time around, but still, not something I'm good at. Singing it was more satisfying, mostly because I still haven't gotten over the thrill of being able to hit all those notes around my break without crashing. It's those little things that make one's day.

No bonus folk song today, not enough time, with the working and such. I'd better get a move on, though, since my brand new all-girl folk band has its first rehearsal on Sunday, and I need to practice like you wouldn't believe. I am grateful that someone else is setting the agenda for this one, though. Right now I am more content to follow, than to lead.

I just want to knit. I want to listen to my iPod and knit knit knit.

I went to a local yarn store today that was having a sale (while my daughter was at school!), as a treat for myself. Alas, none of the yarns that they had, and I needed for various projects, were on sale. I did fall in love with another Noro yarn (Blossom: wool and silk and mohair oh my!), though. Ah! Those colors! I think I might have to go back tomorrow and buy what I need to make a sweater. It still won't be cheap, and it's very hard to justify, since I have way too much yarn right now, and I should be making Xmas presents, and not even thinking about more stuff for me.

But I am. Me, me, me. It was a long summer. I turned forty. Life is short. Buy Noro.

(This message was brought to you by Noro yarns.

Don't even think about getting to that sale and snatching it all up before I get there tomorrow.)

07 September 2006

"Day By Day"

A relatively contemporary song for this book, I don't know more than the simple version that they have here, not enough to know whether there is more to this song somewhere. I hope there is, it is pretty catchy, though in this simple form the repetitiveness--in different metres, oooo!--is seductive in its own way. Too low in my range, for today at least, but I did my best.

Bonus folk song: ''I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago", otherwise known, to me at least, as 'Polly Wolly Doodle all the Day' with totally different words. A goofy little song, that really demands some contemporary filky verses. Go to it, y'all.

I've been working most of the last week, it seems, on the Dungeons and Dragons game that I've been involved in. It seems that my life of late is filled with all sorts of interests that have a definite niche-market: no one outside of the people playing this game with me can have any interest in its workings (hey! I'm now playing *both* my current character, and his mother, who's the character that I played in high school--she just gave her son her longbow! They're all going off to rebuild the city!). Knitting is not much better, or the book I'm reading about Confederate reenactors, or Pennsic. I would think and hope that motherhood would give me someone to talk to, but as I've said, most of my close friends aren't even parents, much less parents dressing up in Medieval garb and camping while taking classes about Period Islamic Cooking.

So here I sit, geek in so many ways. It's okay, I think. At least my daughter's in school. And now that Charissa's given Aricin the longbow, she can go back to the woods and learn the names of leaves, keeping in touch with the quest through her sorcerer daughter, Sirith, who's the son of the Elven sorcerer, Braum, who helped the party all those years ago with that thing they did, what was that, let me check my notes and the official timeline, hold on. . .

06 September 2006

"Look For the Silver Lining"

Have I sung this song before? Wow, there it is, way back in February, and I wrote about Mom and her gun. Times certainly do change, and I feel very old and absent-minded to not have immediately realized that this was a repeat. Ah well. It still doesn't grab me, it feels very utilitarian for a song, does its job, and that's that.

Bonus folk song: I like the fact that I'm starting to realize that folk songs have their own types, very recognizable types. This one, 'Springfield Mountain', has basically two lines to each verse. You sing line one, then some nonsense syllables, sing line one again, different nonsense, sing it a third time with a more far reaching melody and then go right into line two, finish with some more nonsense. It doesn't always have to be nonsense in the middle bits, but it is the repeated part of the song, the chorus spread out within the verse.

Today was still not a stellar day. I know a great, or even a good day is possible, it will occur, but today didn't go so well either. It did start better, with a large mocha that I walked out to get. It will end with red wine, and some down time, so it wasn't all bad. There were even some good bits in the middle. Here's to appreciating what's there.

Kathryn's rules for the road:

Be polite to everyone.
Use your turn signal.
Give the right of way to anyone smaller than you, this includes pedestrians, bikes, etc.
Don't tie up traffic unnecessarily.
Do what you can as an individual to keep things friendly and flowing.

Be warned. Don't honk at me when I'm letting pedestrians through, don't wait and hold up an entire line of traffic while you wait for someone to get groceries in their car and leave. Let people merge, take turns. Unless you're bleeding or dying, or going to someone who is, an extra thirty seconds will not hurt you. Use your turn signal, or I will mow you down with my uzi. Just kidding. Only because I don't have an uzi, actually.

05 September 2006

"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'"

This morning when I sang, like last week at my voice lesson, my jaw ached from the lack of use. It's a little sad, but I'll be doing my best to get back in the singing saddle, as it were. This song is a good start, and like so many other blog songs this summer, I actually sang it several days, over a week or so, until I finally managed to also find the time to blog. This was an okay song to repeat. I have fond memories of singing it at camping events. Along with the classic, 'Good Morning!' from 'Singing in the Rain', this is a great song to wake up folks. Ah--getting up early, the quiet of the woods, singing loudly, taking pictures of people as they first come out of their tents in the morning--I was so popular, then.

Today's bonus folk song is 'Country Life', which my family learned from 'A Revels Garland of Song'. I highly recommend this, and the other Revels songbooks, as well as their CDs, for some great folk music to sing with friends. This particular piece is my husband's favorite singing-in-the-shower song.

Today my daughter went back to school, finally. I've been planning for this day for weeks. I told everyone I saw that this whole week would be devoted to 'me time': I would sit and read, or knit, or sew, or sing, letting the dishes and laundry pile up as they would. We had folks over for a little get-together on Sunday, which meant that much cleaning up occurred that day. I thought to myself, Yes! This will make it even easier for me to sit and do good things for myself this week.

Of course, as I realized last night, and this morning, none of this is really going to happen as I planned it. When I told a friend of mine about my grand plan last week he said, "You know, none of this will happen unless you get out of Dodge." This is too true, alas. But I did get out for a run this morning, and I am writing my blog, and if the laundry and dishes still got done, and I worked and made a little money, well, these are not horrible things in themselves, at least.

Life is all about making priorities, and I am continually struggling with my choices, and learning to focus my will in the best direction. Even when I know the right thing that I should be doing, this isn't simple, especially with the small, non-urgent, non-critical tasks that must still be done. I am very likely to let myself be distracted with these things, rather than focusing on things that have long term importance, the projects that need to be started, or continued. I've gotten slightly better this last year at this, but I still see the road to mastery stretching out long before me.

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