Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! =)

Karen

Happy Birthday, Karen. Today’s post is dedicated to you! That is my amazing sister Karen in the picture above and our Mother’s arm is around her.

I am so thankful to have my sister back in my life that I really need to celebrate her birthday today. As luck would have it this post (due to my new schedule of posting every third day) lands on August 31st, her birthday.

Since you awesome people that read my blog do not know us I need to explain a few things so you can understand why I am so happy and excited to be able to celebrate with Karen today.

For many years my sister and I never really talked. She knew I was here and I knew she was there but there was no love lost between us.

This was due to misunderstandings and hurt feelings growing up together. These things kept us at a distance from each other even though we shared a bedroom for our formative years.

We have since been able to have long conversations on the phone and work through those misunderstandings and hurts. I am pleased to say that now I share a beautiful and deep bond with her that at one time I never thought would be possible.

I still remember the various decoration styles that the bedroom walls went through over the years. I remember a massive field of yellow flowers on a white background to go along with our bright yellow, orange and white striped bedspreads when we were younger.

I may have a picture of that somewhere still. Happy Harry was on the bed…my yellow stuffed dog with long black ears. Do you remember him Karen?

Then I think it went to a dark chocolate  color on the trim and mint green color on the walls as we got older and more sophisticated. I really liked that one…made me feel like I was staying in a mint Oreo cookie. LOL

I remember the windows on each side of  the  one corner and that Dad made our beds each one on top of a set of drawers. The beds were joined at the head by a desk he built between them so we could study.

I must have had the worlds best-tanned eyelids since Karen was always studying and I tried to sleep with the light on. LOL She is two years and almost three months older than me and I am so proud of her for all she has accompished in her life so far.

I’m not sure if you remember this Karen, but when we were younger, and sharing that bedroom, Mom would come in late at night while we were sleeping to put our clothes away in the closet.

Mom told me once (a very long time ago now) that she would catch us talking back and forth in our sleep! What is really crazy is the fact that we made sense…you would say something, I would respond and vice versa.

Looking back now it saddens me to think of all the years we have lost.I am just so happy and excited to know that we won’t be losing any more time and have been able to reconnect, to get back the relationship that we should have had all along.

I hope I have not embarrassed you, Karen, by writing all this, but I want you to know I wish you a very happy birthday today. May this be your best year yet and may all your dreams come true. You are smart, beautiful and  the best sister a person could ask for. I love you. =)

 

 

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Something exciting I am planning…

 

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This is the color of the mandolin I am looking at.

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

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See how small it is and how comfortable she looks playing the mandolin?

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This is how big and bulky guitars can be.

Hi, everybody! I am excited and looking forward to buying this sometime soon. I have been looking into learning to play the mandolin and doing a heck of a lot of research. Today I went to our local music store to actually look at one and try it out for myself.

Prior to today, I have done a large amount of research on the internet which includes, but is not limited to; shopping around different websites to see what the average price is for these instruments, watching YouTube videos of both people playing music on mandolins and teaching people how to play also discovering the differences between an A Type mandolin and an F-Type mandolin.

At the music store, I found the package pictured above for $249.99 plus tax (Canadian dollars). I actually held one of these in my hands and plucked at the strings trying to judge how comfortable I would be holding and learning to play one.

Verdict isI am stoked. I want to buy one of these for certain now. From my research, I know that I prefer an A Type mandolin. That is the one in the picture (pear shaped). The F-Type mandolin is like the one on the cover of the book you see in the picture with the weird curl up near the neck and the point on the other side of the neck.

The price point at Music City (the store I went to today) is absolutely great for what you get in the package. There is virtually everything I will need to begin playing and taking care of the mandolin. I need to buy nothing more.

Included in the package is the mandolin itself (which is just gorgeous in person by the way), the padded gig bag to store and carry it in, a tuner (to keep the strings in tune), a strap (to keep it secure while I play standing or sitting), a set of strings (spare set should one break), picks (the proper word is plectrum) and an instruction book with the basics to start playing and some beginner songs to try.

I know that Fender is an excellent company with quality products since my husband has had his Fender guitar for years now and not one problem with it in all that time.

The average price on the net for just a mandolin alone (no extras) is between $100 Canadian  for a cheap knock off to $1,000. or more for well-known brands.

There is some consensus that one should not go too cheap on a musical instrument in order to be sure there is enough quality there to ensure you won’t get frustrated and give up on learning due to breakage.

Over the years I have taken a stab or two at trying to learn how to play guitar. I have the advantage of my husband teaching me as well and I just couldn’t commit to it. I found even the smallest guitar too thick and bulky to get my arm over to strum the strings.

Another issue with learning guitar was the pain in the fingertips when it came to pressing down on the strings in order to form calluses. Yes, I am aware there will be some pain with the mandolin too since it has the same sort of strings but the difference is the mandolin is physically smaller.

The neck is narrower and flatter so it will not be so hard for my hand to stretch around it to reach the strings. The size and thickness of the body of the mandolin are smaller as well, shorter and thinner front to back. My arm easily reaches across to the front for strumming.

The strings are paired on the mandolin as well…not eight separate strings but four pairs of two strings. Each pair is treated like one so it will be much simpler to memorize where the note and fingerings are on the neck than the guitar was.

So what makes me think I can commit to the mandolin you say? Well, I have done a lot of thinking about that and have come to realize the profile of this instrument is thinner, shorter and easier to hold and use as I have just outlined.

There is also the fact that I will be on my own learning to play the mandolin as it is different from anything my husband has or has played.

I think these factors will help keep me inspired to train myself between the book included with the mandolin and the online lessons I can get for free. I am looking for an instrument that I can master that is different.

Kevin, my husband, plays both acoustic and electric guitar. He has played some piano keyboard over the years as well. Our landlord, upstairs, plays the acoustic guitar and the banjo.

I am excited to start learning something new. Plus, I will be sinking my own money into the purchase of this mandolin package. I think putting your money down helps with the commitment end of things – you are saying to yourself that you are serious because you are willing to part with cold hard cash.

Hopefully, I will be able to afford one soon or at least put one on layaway to chip away at the total until one day I can take it home. Cross your fingers for me, guys, please? Until then I will just stare at them on the internet and dream. =)

.

 

 

I Would Like To Issue A Retraction

A Retraction...Sort Of!

Okay, so I spoke too soon. In my last post, I claimed summer was over and fall was pretty much here. It seems I spoke in haste and there is more hot weather in store for us. The swimming pool is not closed yet. I have taken the heavier blanket back off of our bed.

Long live SUMMER! 🙂

In my own defense, we did have some rather cool days after sweating to death and the stark difference between the two states threw me into a panic. I mistakenly claimed the sky was falling…it is not, however, and I needed to correct that here on my blog.

I was talking to my sister on the phone and her feeling was one of incredulous disbelief when she read my last post. According to her, they are the farthest thing from the end of summer down where they live.

Are you happy now Karen? LOL, I am writing a retraction of my doom and gloom fall is coming post. I must admit that the weather has once again turned hot and humid. We are once again finding ourselves with  daytime temperatures in the mid to high 20s.

I do stand by all that I said in my previous post but my error was that I said it too soon. It is not often that I reverse my position on a matter, as I am doing now, so enjoy it while you can. 😉

We have had quite a few rainy days and thunderstorms lately and the nights are now cooler so the leaves on the trees will begin changing soon if they haven’t started already. The days have been sun and cloud as well as straight sunny for the most part.

Fall is coming, as I stated in my previous post, officially September 22nd this year. So, that being said summer is still alive and kicking… for now. Hooray, as you can tell, I am once again a happy camper. 🙂

While I was talking to my sister she mentioned that the bold on my font came across rather strongly in the emails she receives so I have reduced that now to regular font. I hope that has made it easier to read Karen.

I do appreciate the feedback and that goes for anyone who reads my blog. If something is not quite working for you please let me know and I will endevour to fix the problem. I do not see my posts via email so I would not have known. So, thank you Karen for your valuable input.

 

 

It’s coming…yes, fall is almost here!

fall in the country

Brrr, fall is almost here I can feel it in the air, especially at night. The nights get cooler as the year dwindles down toward autumn and I have put a heavier blanket on our bed already.

This year, the autumnal equinox falls on September 22, 2016, at 10:21 A.M. EDT. This equinox occurs when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from north to south.

We have had a couple of cooler days with tremendous winds along with rain and lightning. Even today, though the skies have cleared for the most part the temperature is down to 12 degrees with a high of 22 degrees predicted.

I am sad to see the summer retreating once more. It has been an extremely hot summer with lots of heat warnings and high humidity that made it hard to sleep or even breathe some days. Swimming in the pool is over now.

Perhaps this is why I feel this cooling off so acutely. It is such a stark change to the way things have been for nearly two months or more.

As you may or may not know, we recently moved to our new apartment out here in the country. This brings with it surprises in store for us this coming winter as we have never lived here before.

It is once again almost time to pack away the summer clothing and bring out the sweaters, long pants, long sleeved tops and warm housecoat. I usually keep a couple of summer wardrobe staples handy on the off chance we get a brief Indian summer in the midst of this cool, wet weather.

My purse has already been changed over to a darker larger version of itself in keeping with my usual ritual of the switchover to fall. I will also need a new winter jacket soon since my last one was donated during the great purge performed in anticipation of moving here.

There is time yet, I hope, to find one I like at a good price. For the time being, I do have warm jackets for fall weather that will take me up until the first snow.

I shudder when I think of that white stuff layering the ground and making the roads treacherous. That is another thing we will have to get used to…winter driving out here in the country.

Luckily this is a bus route for school children so the plows will be out keeping the roads clear. Okay, stop Susan; you already have it snowing in your head. LOL

Some people look forward to fall with bonfires (okay, I like bonfires too), hot chocolate, Thanksgiving and closing up the cottage. We all have rituals we go through every year as we prepare for the next season…those of us that have seasons, that is.

Every year I drag my feet while moaning and groaning about the dying of summer. It is my favorite season after all! I suppose that too is a ritual. Hmm, never thought of it like that before.

Stay warm, my friends and thank you once again for stopping by to visit my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you. =)

 

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

ghost by a grave

Today’s post is  brought to you by the one word Daily Prompt  Ghost

This subject tends to divide people into one group or another, that is if they discuss the topic at all. There are three basic groups. I thought I would explore the idea and fill you in on my experiences with ghosts. That’s right, I am in the believer group.

There are the believers who swear by the existence of ghosts, most have a story to tell or a television show they saw showing the actions of a poltergeist (that’s a ghost who can move objects). Then there are all the mediums who can speak to the dearly departed, at least they say they can.

Okay, now, the other group are the skeptics. These people poo-poo the idea that ghosts even exist. Not only have they not had any experiences with ghosts their faith tells them that it is just not possible. You either go to Heaven or Hell and there is no middle ground where you hang around to haunt the living.

The third and final group of people are the undecided.These people have not made a decision one way or the other. Their minds are open to the possibility that ghosts could be real but have not yet found absolute proof that would allow them to claim belief in these earthbound spirits. This also means that with no absolute proof they exist also means that they have also not found any absolute proof that they don’t exist. Hmm, what is a person to do? Why one needs to sit on the fence about the subject of course! LOL

Alright, finally we are at the part where I tell you of my experiences with ghosts. Yes, that’s right, ghosts…plural. I will relate to you two separate incidences where I came face to face with undeniable proof that this is real. I was extremely close to my maternal Grandmother. I just adored her – her manner of speaking and the compassion she showed me when my Grandfather (her husband) teased me just for fun being just two of the reasons I loved her.

Anyway, I digress, when she passed on about a week after her funeral I woke up one night and sat straight up in bed. I could smell her perfume and I felt her presence in the room with me. I was missing her terribly and believe she had come to visit me to reassure me she was okay and was still with me.

I hear you…you are saying that I was just overcome with grief and I dreamt all this in order to comfort myself. Well, years and years later I was visiting my best friend’s house in another city and was curious to see this new house of hers because she claimed it was haunted. After the experience with my Grandmother’s spirit, I was open to another encounter with the other side.

My first night of the three I spent with her that long weekend there was a loud crashing noise that brought everyone out to the living room. There were noises coming from the kitchen as well, that sounded like dishes rattling in the cupboard.

In the living room, we discovered several of my friends CD cases on the floor a few feet from the shelving they were on prior to going to bed that night. As we stood there staring at the mess on the floor more CDs launched off the shelves flew through the air and landed on top of the pile in the middle of the floor.

We all backed out of the room and went down the hallway to the kitchen to find the cupboard doors open and all the cups, plates and bowls shoved to the back wall of the cupboards. One cup lay smashed on the countertop. This was without a doubt a poltergeist. Proof positive to me anyway.

Please tell me in the comment section if you have ever had any experiences with ghosts or poltergeists. I would be really interested to know. Or, are you someone who is a skeptic – can you tell me why? I would be really interested to hear about that too.

Thank you for stopping by my blog to read my thoughts and questions once again my friends. Have a wonderful day/night and I shall be talking to you again in my next post. =)

 

What The Heck Is Going On?

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If this is not your first visit to my blog you will have noticed that I have changed a few things. The tweaking will continue until I am happy with how my blog looks. They say change is as good as a rest, don’t they?

I have decided to do some deep thinking about my blog and try different things out to see how they look and feel. My previous theme was Truly Minimal and that it was. It started feeling very sparse and blah.

So, it is time to change things up.

Do you like the chalkboard? I really like the imagery of writing in chalk because it can be erased so easily. Do you remember being in school and being chosen to clean the board after school? I do. I loved doing that for some reason.

To me, the chalkboard is representative of life too. Let’s face it life can be erased just as easily. One moment you are here and the next you may not be. I am not trying to be morbid here but I am trying to explain my gravitation toward the chalkboard.

I close my eyes and see myself up in front of the class (in front of all of you lovely people) writing about my life and all the inner workings of my mind on the board while I talk to you. Not to worry, I brought enough to share with the class. LOL

My blog name and tagline are  undergoing changes for similar reasons. Now that I have 58 blog posts (this one is 59) I feel the need to have my blog name and tagline more accurately reflect the kind of content I am putting up here. I need it to fit with how I see this blog and what it means to me.

Please hang in there with me during the renovations while I figure this out. My blog will not change from what it essentially is now but I want to bring the other elements into line to better reflect my vision of how I see this online home of mine.

My Turn To Do The How I Read Book Tag

tea and books perfect combination

I was browsing through the Reader when I found

 How I Read Book Tag  on bookishthingsandtea.wordpress.com 

Have a look at McKenzie’s blog if you like bookish things. I am not sure whether the tea is optional but I grew up on tea so I am all good in any case. LOL  She has some pretty cool posts up there. I am enjoying her writing and have hit the follow button. 

It looks interesting so I thought I would have a go at answering the questions. In effect, I tagged myself as I was invited to. I would like to, in turn, issue the same invitation if you feel so inclined – tag yourself!

These are my answers …so here goes.

 

HOW DO YOU FIND OUT ABOUT NEW BOOKS TO READ?

For the most part, I look at Goodreads or my public library and sometimes I find a treasure or two at a yard sale in the summer. I like to keep my cost low as possible which gives me the ability to read more books.

 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO READING?

I still remember being thrilled when my mother gave me the book Ballerina Bess. That book introduced me to the fascinating world of reading and the ability to enter other worlds in my head.  In fact, I still have it on one of my bookshelves. My reading habit has only gotten worse over the years.

 

HOW HAS YOUR TASTE IN BOOKS CHANGED AS YOU’VE GOTTEN OLDER?

Obviously, I am way beyond the scope of picture books with simple words underneath them at my age. I now have a couple of favorite authors Stephen King and Lee Child although I do read from other authors as well. I prefer fictional stories that range from horror to mysteries and occasionally I like to pick up a series where authors lead me from one book to the next. 

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY BOOKS?

I only buy books at retailers when I absolutely must read the latest from one of my favorite authors and can’t wait for my local library to acquire a copy. When it comes to birthdays and Christmas I suggest books that I would like to read to anyone who asks what they could get me. Smart, right? I also take advantage of yard sale bins where books usually go for .25 -.50 cents each. 

 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO BOOK REVIEWING?

I dabble in book reviewing on Goodreads occasionally but I am always leery of writing spoilers and ruining the book for someone else. I would hate to do that as much as I hate it being done to me. 

 

HOW DO YOU REACT WHEN YOU DON’T LIKE THE END OF A BOOK?

I feel cheated, frankly, because here I have invested my time and emotions into reading the story for sometimes hundreds of pages only to be left with an unsatisfactory ending. That is just not right in my opinion. There, I said it. 

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU TAKE A SNEAK PEAK AT THE ENDING TO SEE IF THERE IS A HAPPY ENDING?

I don’t take a sneak peak at the ending of books…it is no better than reading spoilers to me and taints everything I read  from the beginning afterward. In short, I think it ruins the book experience. 

 

I TAG…

You…yes, you. That’s right, the one reading this post right now. If you read to this point of the post you must be interested enough to have some answers to these questions for yourself. I would love to find out How You Read too.