Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer's End

The future started yesterday.
~ John Legend
Grand Canyon, Arizona.
All good things must come to an end, and so did this wondrous summer.

But I sent it out with a bang. Last Wednesday morning, I boarded a Southwest jet, flew to Phoenix, rode the shuttle to my rental car, hopped in "my" Toyota Corolla, and drove to Sedona.

Bell Rock, Sedona, Arizona
As first sight of those famous red rock formations, I fell in love. I have always been drawn to the ocean and dreamed of living close to the water. But Sedona has its own special appeal. More than one person I met started out as a visitor there and ended up a permanent resident. I can see why.

A few miles down the road, I found the lovely Arabella Hotel, checked into my room, had a delicious meal at the nearby Elote Cafe, and got a good night's sleep. The next morning, I was greeted by this smiling face. 
Tim
 Tim is one of the dynamic tour guides who works for Grand Venture Tours. He took six other travelers and me on an fast-paced trip to the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas, sharing lots of history and local wisdom as we went. I actually took notes, as there are many things I want to learn more about, and it was way too much to remember.

Sunset Crater National Monument

Wapataki National Monument

Lunch and shopping at the Cameron Trading Post

The Grand Canyon. Pictures don't do it justice.
 All too soon, Tim dropped us off at our hotels. I spent one more night at the Arabella and had another delicious dinner, this one at The Hudson. Then it was time to check out and make way to my final destination, Piano Haven,

Piano Haven, Sedona, Arizona
where I spent the next two days recording and editing all the songs that will go on my soon-to-be-released solo piano album, Seashells in My Pocket

Shigeru Kawai, the king of pianos
It was a delightful experience. The piano was amazing, hands-down my all-time favorite, and Joe was kind, patient and encouraging. I can hardly wait to get that finished CD in my hands.

* * *

I arrived back home late Sunday evening, just in time for back-to-school here in Gwinnett County, Georgia, and back to full-time piano teaching for me. But I couldn't have asked more from the summer of 2017. I forged new friendships, checked a few things off my bucket list, and turned some dreams into plans. 

The way I see it now, every day is a new adventure.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Adventures


Italy was everything I hoped it would be.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the privilege of attending the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Acqui Terme.
My travel companions Yoonsook, Soojung, Qin, Dr. Thomas, and I. 
The path to our hotel. Acqui Terme, Italy.
Leftover from Roman times. Acqui Terme, Italy.
Thermal Baths. Acqui Terme, Italy.
I walked six to eight miles every single day
These feet were made for walking.
and I ate and drank whatever I wanted.
Cappuccino every morning for breakfast.
A typical meal at our hotel. Served buffet style. 
My new favorite drink, Aperol Spritz.
Gelato was a refreshing reprieve from the relentless heat.
There was no air conditioning anywhere in Acqui Terme.
Inspired by both caring faculty and fellow students, I made music every single day.
My practice room.
Dana, Sandra and me performing our chamber piece, Ibert's "Deux Interludes." So much fun!
During the course of the festival, we enjoyed two days of sightseeing in Milan and Turin;
Duomo di Milano.
La Scala Opera House, Milano.
Egyptian Museum, Torino.
View from atop the National Museum of Cinema in Turin.
then, at the conclusion of the festival, we spent two days sightseeing in Rome, 
making wishes and tossing coins into Trevi Fountain,
Trevi Fountain, Rome
touring famous places I had always dreamed of seeing,
Coliseum, Rome.
Borghese Gallery, Rome.
Vatican Museum, Rome.
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (we saw the Sistine Chapel, too, but no photos are allowed in there!)
and eating and drinking some more.
Best pizza ever at Da Baffetto. Yes, that's an egg in the middle!
Red wine goes with everything.
I learned a lot and made many wonderful memories. 

Now I'm making music back home. I've played in two formal concerts
I played "Forest Solitude" by Zdenek Fibich. Steinway Galleries, Alpharetta, GA, July 23, 2017.
I played two of my original compositions. University of North Georgia, Gainesville, July 30, 2017.
and enjoyed an evening with friends playing the fifteen solo piano pieces I composed this spring and sharing the stories behind them.
Dave & Julia, dear friends and gracious hosts.
Tomorrow I'm headed to Sedona, Arizona where I will spend two days with Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven recording my music. And that's just the beginning. But if all goes well, my first solo piano CD will be ready to release on October 13th. I have already booked the recital hall for the next day for a celebration concert.
https://www.facebook.com/pamasberrymusic/
I will return home late Sunday evening; on Monday, school starts and I will resume full-time teaching.

But for once, I'm not asking myself, "Where did the summer go?"

I know EXACTLY where it went.

😀

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Italy Bound

By the time you see this post, I will be in Italy.

That's right. ITALY! The one in EUROPE!


As I write these words, I am in the final stages of preparation for the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Acqui Terme, Italy. Click HERE for details.

For the next couple of weeks, I will be completely immersed in music - practice, lessons, chamber music coaching, concerts - and enjoying a bit of sightseeing, in Milan and Turin. Then, at the conclusion of the festival, a colleague and I will take a high speed train to Rome and see the sights there.

During my practice time and private lessons, I will focus on my festival chamber music assignment, solos/duets/duos that I plan to perform in future concerts, and getting my solo piano pieces ready to record the first weekend in August. Which reminds me: I have come up with a new title for my CD. Ocean Views wasn't bad. But Seashells in My Pocket is PERFECT! I am so excited about the way this project is shaping up.

There are moments when I can hardly believe all this is actually happening.

* * * 

A couple of thoughts:

(1) Continue to learn. What you know will never be enough.
~ Sonya Teclai

Last week, when I shared my plans with a very young student, she crossed her arms and said, "Wait a minute! I thought you were a piano TEACHER, not a piano STUDENT." I explained to her that I am BOTH, as no one can ever know everything there is to know.

(2) Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.
~ Michael Jordan

Last year (and the year before that, and the year before THAT), when my festival teacher invited me to be a part of the summer event, I politely declined, saying there was NO WAY I could ever afford to do such a thing. Well, last August I fired my housekeeping service, put the money I had been spending into savings, and over the academic year it covered my festival tuition in full. All I had to purchase on top of that was an airline ticket (and order some euros to cover incidental expenses). Mission accomplished!

* * *

I look forward to sharing my experiences and impressions after I get back. In the meantime, I encourage you to challenge yourself to learn new things and dream your biggest dream. You have absolutely nothing to lose and so many joyous, amazing things to gain!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Transcriptions FINISHED!

My last two solo piano pieces are finished, transcribed, and added to the collection!

 Here is a screen shot of the working titles in what might be album order.


That's fifteen songs and fifty-seven pages of sheet music! *

Of course, the music needs a lot of editing. Playing through a couple of the pieces this afternoon, I found several errors; I suspect there are many more. And, as I mentioned in my blog post last week, I need to go back and add in musical details: tempo markings, dynamics, articulations, etc. But what I have right now is enough to get me started with the hard work of polishing everything up and getting all the pieces ready to record. 

Here are a few things I have found to be true during my time as a composer:

1. Composing is alternately challenging, satisfying, frustrating, and exhilarating.
2. Hours go by like minutes when I am working on a new solo piano piece.
3. Transcribing the music from my scribbles on staff paper is time consuming and tedious.
4. Like everything, transcription gets easier with experience.
5. I am already looking forward to writing music for my next album.

But first things first! 

For now, I must set my pencil aside. In addition to a couple of handfuls of private students, I will be teaching all next week at a music camp. Then I will have just a few days to pack and make ready for my European adventure - details in my next post! After returning home, I will have just a couple of weeks - filled with teaching, performing, and preparing for the 2017-2018 academic - before I fly out to Sedona, Arizona to record my album on August 4th and 5th. 

I will come home on Sunday, August 6th; school, and full-time teaching, will resume here the very next day.

Summer vacation? What summer vacation?

It doesn't matter. For me, the gap between work and play grows narrower and narrower. 

I am having the time of my life.

*FOR MUSIC NERDS ONLY
The key signatures and time signatures of my pieces are as follows:
A minor - 4 pieces
E minor - 1 piece
G major - 2 pieces
D major - 2 pieces
B major - 1 piece
F major - 2 pieces
E-flat major - 1 piece
G-flat major - 2 pieces
* * * 
4/4 time - 8 pieces
3/4 time - 4 pieces
 6/8 time - 3 pieces
And now you know!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Progress Report


The past three weeks have been a frenzied blur of piano teaching, ensemble rehearsals, and student piano recitals - THREE of them. The last one took place on June 10th; the following Monday and Tuesday, I taught my last day of regular lessons and an exhausting day of make-up lessons. By the time all that was over, I was ready for a long winter's nap. Except it isn't winter, and my to-do list is about ninety miles long.

Although I have always had low blood pressure, about six months ago it started creeping up. Stress seems to be the culprit behind that and, since stress is my constant companion, my then-primary care physician put me on blood pressure medication. A couple of weeks ago, concerned with the numbers still being a bit higher than they should be, a new doctor switched me to a different prescription. For whatever reason - additional stress? the change in medication? - by Tuesday evening, my blood pressure topped out at 186/112, and I made a return visit to the physician's office Wednesday morning. She tweaked my prescription and sent me home under orders to get some rest.

I didn't do much that afternoon, alternately sleeping and reading and knitting and, thankfully, the numbers started coming down on Thursday. The past three days I have had nothing but normal and high-normal readings and I am feeling much better. This is a very good thing. Because I have a CD to finish!

Since I last posted, I have finished five more solo piano compositions, for a total of thirteen, and have transcribed them all into MuseScore (music notation software). Three more pieces are "well begun," although I think the last one will go on my next album. 15 pieces seems like a good number for a CD, I think.

I printed out all the scores (48 pages of music so far!), hole punched them and put them in a binder, and used my rudimentary graphics skills to design a cover (of sorts - see the photo above) to slip into the clear sleeve on the front of the binder. It ALMOST looks like a real songbook! For now, I am content to have all the notes down on paper; I will go back and add details, tempo markings and dynamics and slurs and such later. My intention is to finish the last two pieces and get them transcribed and added to the collection this week. That will give me just a little more than a month to polish up all the pieces and get them ready for my recording session the first weekend of August.

And that's just the beginning. There is a LOT of work that goes into the production of a CD, still more that goes into sales and promotion, but worrying about all that remains to be done creates nothing but stress and stress wreaks havoc on my blood pressure. So instead I am trying to remain focused simply on what needs to be done NEXT. So far, so good!

Summer lessons start tomorrow but with only twelve students on my summer schedule (compared with sixty during the regular school year) I should be able to find time to make steady progress with my solo piano music - AND make preparations for a long-anticipated trip to Europe in July. But more about that later! Right now I'm headed downstairs to finish another solo piano piece!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Briskly Venturing


Keep not standing fixed and rooted. Briskly venture, briskly roam.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I chose "venture" as my word for 2017 although I had no idea at the time what it might come to mean. Sure, I love to travel and hoped to add an "adventure" or two to my list. But on January 1st, 2017 was a completely blank slate.

Not any more.

One day in early March, I was out walking in my neighborhood, soaking up the sights of spring flowers, the sounds of bird calls, and the sweet, fresh scents that are a part of springtime in my little corner of the world. Happy to my core, I began to hum, rather tunelessly at first - but then the tune became a real melody, one that I found myself repeating, over and over. "I actually like this," I thought (with surprise); I longed to take it to the piano. But I keep a busy schedule; I had allowed myself a margin of less than thirty minutes between the end of my walk and the beginning of my teaching day, barely enough time to take a shower and get dressed. I knew there wouldn't be time to jot down the notes, and knew just as well that there was no way they would still be in my head by the time my last student left for home. So I pulled out my phone, found the voice memo app, sang the short melody into it, and went about the rest of my day.

Later in the week, as I sat at the piano practicing music for an upcoming concert, I remembered my little melody. I played it back to myself, matched the sounds on the keyboard and came up with a pleasing chordal accompaniment. Crunched for time as always, I made a recording of these few measures, then went back to practicing. 

Finally, on March 15th, I dedicated a morning to finishing my composition. It took me just a couple of hours to come up with a contrasting middle section and a pleasing conclusion. I scribbled the music onto manuscript paper and made a recording of the entire piece. I decided to call it "Monterey Morning," as it reminded me of a pleasant day I spent in the coastal city of Monterey, California several years ago.

And just like that, a composer was born. A mere ten weeks later, I have finished eight more solo piano compositions, all inspired by memories from vacations, and have three more in various stages of completion. I have purchased music notation software and am learning how to transcribe my own work. And I have booked a recording session in Sedona, Arizona the first weekend of August with one of the best engineers the business. I have formed an LLC and chosen a name for my record label as well as my first album. If all goes according to plan, my first CD will be ready to release before the end of the year.

It's almost surreal.

Because I have always put such strict limits on myself, defined myself so narrowly. Over the years, I have been asked many times why I don't compose or record. "I don't have an original bone in my body," I have answered, believing it. When called upon to improvise, I have resisted. "Just give me the score and let me read it," I have said, preferring the safety of playing someone else's music to the risk of failure creating my own. Although I have been an enthusiastic supporter of many solo piano composing and performing friends, I never thought I would BE one. 

Maybe if you hang around with creative people long enough, it starts to rub off.

Of course there is a part of me that is worried about what others will think about my music, that I'm not "good enough" to record an album or play in a concert or publish my work. There is no doubt I will have critics. But I'm not going to let that stop me. Maybe, just maybe, I will have fans, too.

And the teacher in me is hoping this will inspire some of my students. I intend to publish simplified versions of each of my compositions in addition to the music as it will appear in my recordings. Maybe some of my students will want to play my pieces. Even better, maybe some of them will decide to create music of their own. As a result of my experience, I will be in a better position to facilitate that. I find that thought very exciting.

At the time when many of my peers are looking forward to retirement, I am embarking on an entirely new facet of my career. By letting go of who I thought I was, I'm becoming more the person I am capable of being. 

It's a grand venture, to be sure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TRADD STREET MYSTERIES by Karen White


Today I will be reviewing three volumes from Karen White's best selling Tradd Street Mysteries series. Read all the way to the end and find out how you can win the entire five-book series!

* * * * * * * 


Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Flight Patterns, The Sound of Glass, A Long Time Gone, and The Time Between, and the coauthor of The Forgotten Room with New York Times bestselling authors Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig.


I have read many of Karen's women's fiction novels, but her latest release, The Guests on South Battery, is the fifth installment of the Tradd Street Mysteries.

From the publisher:
The Guests on South Battery picks up on the picturesque streets of Charleston after Melanie has given birth to twins, and is married to the love of her life, Jack Trenholm. Melanie’s maternity leave has reached its end and she is less than thrilled to return to work, especially when she's awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end, and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for over a year are about to invade her life once more.

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more. 

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission. 

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street. 

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....

I don't typically read a lot of mysteries, much less paranormal mysteries, but I loved this book! Great setting, great characters, and a great story - this book has it all! I will admit that I wish I had read the books in order. As I made my way through The Guests on South Battery, there were several occasions in which I had to "fill in the blanks" because I was not aware of the past event being referred to in a specific situation. And as there is a cliffhanger or two at the end of the story, I decided I had best prepare myself for future installments.

So now I have I reread the first two books of the series, The House on Tradd Street and The Girl on Legare Street. The House on Tradd Street provides the set-up for the entire series. We meet Charleston realtor Melanie and best-selling writer Jack and discover how their relationship began and how Melanie became the owner of the decrepit mansion on Tradd Street. We also meet her best friend, Sophia, an expert in historic home preservation, as well as her father. Both she and her father were abandoned by her mother thirty-five years prior. While Melanie does't remember her mother well, one thing the two of them have in common is their ability to see dead people.

But in the second book, The Girl on Legare Street, Melanie's mother, Ginnette Prioleau Middleton, returns to Charleston wanting to protect her daughter after receiving an ominous premonition.
While Melanie never wanted to see her mother again, Jack convinces her otherwise and the two women take tentative steps towards rebuilding their relationship. Together, Melanie and Ginnette buy back their old home on Legare Street. With their combined psychic abilities of course they aren't surprised to unearth some ghosts. But what they find is a vengeful dark spirit whose strength has been growing for decades. Many long-buried secrets must be unearthed to beat this demon and save what's left of Melanie's family.

Next on my list is Book 3, The Strangers on Montagu Street, and Book 4, Return to Tradd Street. Then I might read The Guests on South Battery one more time, just to be certain I didn't miss anything. After that, I guess I'll just have to sit tight and wait patiently for Book 6.

* * * * * * * 

And now, about that giveaway! To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment at the end of this post. For additional entries, you can follow me on Twitter (click HERE), "like" my Facebook fan page (click HERE), friend me on Goodreads (click HERE), or follow me on Instagram (click HERE). Leave an additional comment for each additional entry. At midnight on Friday, one lucky winner will be chosen by a random number generator to receive the ENTIRE Tradd Street Mysteries series! Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so that I will know how to contact you should your name be selected. Good luck!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

TRAVELING LIGHT by Lynne Branard


From the publisher:

This novel was inspired by real-life events: when the author was working at a hospice agency, an unclaimed box of ashes—with her agency’s business card attached—was discovered in a storage facility. Branard became intrigued by how the remains of someone could get lost—and how the discovery could be the perfect catalyst for a life change.

In TRAVELING LIGHT, Alissa Wells is the one who becomes the surprise new owner of remains—Roger Hart’s, to be exact—after she bids on an abandoned storage unit. She decides that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life. So she packs up her three-legged dog and starts driving from North Carolina to New Mexico. 

But when a waitress named Blossom hitches a ride with her, Al has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Al’s eyes to the road in front of her—and how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming.

I started this book late on a Saturday night. When I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer, I stopped reading just long enough to get a few hours of sleep. As soon as I woke up, I made a pot of coffee, poured myself a cup, and didn't stop reading again until I reached the end.

Alissa's mother died when she was just five years old, and she has basically been living by a script ever since: first, as caregiver to her sister and her father, and then as a journalist, helping her dad run their small-town newspaper. But the discovery of the box of ashes prompts her to embark on her greatest adventure, a long and life-changing road trip. I absolutely fell in love with Alissa and all the friends she made on her journey. I lived vicariously through their many adventures; I laughed and I cried. And I was inspired by these words:

I realize that most people die exactly the same way they live. Angry people die angry. Broken people die broken. Lonely people die lonely. Burdened people die burdened...Don't forget, live how you want to die.

Now I can't stop pondering the meaning of "traveling light." And I am encouraged not only to begin letting go of some of the things in my own life that tend to weigh me down, but also to choose my traveling companions very wisely.

According to her website, the work of Lynne Branard (who also writes as Lynne Hinton and Jackie Lynn) has been compared to that of great writers like Eudora Welty, Rebecca Wells, and Jan Karon. And the journal Publishers Weekly says, "Hinton has a knack in her novels for tapping into a woman’s longings for lifelong, authentic, messy friendships." This is certainly true of Traveling Light. Five enthusiastic stars! Very highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING by Deanna Raybourn


FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell is not one to disappoint. 

After weeks of chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, being on the run for her life, and having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, cooling her heels in a relatively calm London already has Veronica itching for her next invigorating jaunt. Happily, just such an opportunity soon arrives at her doorstep in the form of an invitation to the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment dedicated to celebrating society’s most intrepid and brilliant women.

Shortly after arriving at the club, Veronica is introduced to Lady Sundridge who implores her to undertake a seemingly impossible task. Miles Ramsforth, one of society’s well-known patrons of the arts, has been convicted of a brutal murder that Lady Sundridge is certain he did not commit. With little time left to discover the true killer’s identity, Veronica is faced with a race against time before Miles is set to hang for the crime. However, Lady Sundridge is not exactly what she seems either—a revelation that only serves as the first of many that Veronica must make in order to solve the case.

Once again Veronica joins forces with her natural historian colleague, Stoker—her frequently uncouth, though ruggedly handsome companion—as they set off to unravel this dark mystery that becomes increasingly intricate with each clue they unearth.

Although I don't read a lot of mysteries, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Speedwell, lepidopterist, is smart, accomplished, and sassy; Stoker, taxidermist, is intelligent, handsome and roguish. Both naturally inquisitive and completely fearless, they use the same methods employed in their scientific research to solve human mysteries. Together, they are a dynamic and unstoppable mystery solving team.

But the relationship between Speedwell and Stoker is the most fascinating aspect of the book. They have a great rapport; their banter is both witty and engaging. Clearly there is a mutual attraction and Raybourn does a great job of building sexual tension between the two characters although the romance is developing very slowly. I have not yet read A Curious Beginning and although I would like to know more about Speedwell and Stoker and how they met, no previous experience is necessary to understand and enjoy this installment. However, I am definitely looking forward reading about their future adventures and deepening relationship in the next volume of the series.

Five enthusiastic stars! Highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome, 2017!

Like many folks, I spent much of the day Saturday in reflection. I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore, exactly, but January 31st seems like a good time to reflect on what is working and what isn't working in my daily processes. So I reviewed the goals I set for 2016, kicked myself for the areas in which I fell short and congratulated myself for the areas in which I exceeded. Although I am overall pleased with the turns my life has taken, my music leaves me with little time for much of anything else and the three-legged stool that is my life (Asberry School of Music/The Wishing Box/Pam Asberry author) has grown quite wobbly. Yes, teaching and playing the piano are going quite well and jewelry sales are enough to keep me in supplies. But in the past year I blogged infrequently and novel writing came to a virtual standstill. I plan to repair that in 2017. I also set myself some fitness goals for the New Year. While diet and exercise don't pay the bills, I must remain healthy in order to do the work that does. Then I revamped my Amazing Life List, aka Pam's Bucket List, removing items accomplished or no longer relevant and adding a few new ones. 

And my word for the year? It's VENTURE. More about that another day.

* * *


Number 37 on my Amazing Life List is "Knit a sky scarf." Although I'm not much more than a beginner - rectangles are my specialty - I enjoy knitting and am always on the lookout for something new to try using my limited skill set. When I came across the Sky Scarf on Pinterest, I decided that would be a great project for 2017. I put the kit on my wish list at Amazon; when Santa didn't bring it, I ordered it for myself. 


The kit includes five skeins of lace weight wool yarn and a special tag. I added a pair of size 3 knitting needles (the tiniest I have ever worked with) and double rainbow add-on (surely I will see a rainbow or two in the next twelve months!) The premise is simple: every day, you knit a stripe that matches the colors of the sky. At the end of the year, you have a five-foot scarf. There is even a Sky Scarf group on Ravelry. Literally hundreds of women have knitted/are knitting sky scarves. I am delighted to join their ranks!

Above is a picture of yesterday's sky so I cast on with two shades of gray. I won't be changing colors today as the heavy cloud cover has lingered. But who knows what tomorrow will bring?


How did you wrap up 2016? What are your goals for the New Year?