Sneeze, cough, sleep…being sick sucks!

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Hello again everyone, I am sorry for the lack of posts for the past while. I am finally feeling up to sitting here and composing a post to let you all know what’s been going on.

This cold or flu or whatever it is hit me on January 16th. When it did it hit me like a Mac truck. In fact, I hopped on my Facebook account and asked if anyone had gotten the license plate. LOL

It was weird the way it took turns with my body parts. It started with a sore throat then went to headaches. From there it hit me with such a lethargy I spent a lot of time sleeping and reading.

Fever was the next stage and at this point I was miserable. Then came the sneezing and runny nose which reactivated a sore throat and headaches.

I don’t mean to go on and on whining is really not me. I just wanted to let you all know if there was any way to keep content going here on my blog and on my YouTube channel I would have made it happen.

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I think now that I must have picked up this bug at church although it could have been anywhere really.

Somehow I fought nausea and coughing etc. to keep up my commitments to my church. We have only a couple of people, myself included, that can run the sound board.

I didn’t want to leave them stranded with no one and figured I would not infect anyone if I didn’t hug anyone or get too close. The entire service I stayed up in the sound booth and tended the board.

Everyone who saw me, including the Pastor, commented that I should be home in bed but if I was determined to come in that they would pray for me. We even joked that we should pray the rest of them not get this. So we did just that!

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Slowly I am feeling better each day and this blog post is step one to getting back to my routine. I still take naps when I need to and am restricting activities to what I need to do.

So what else have you been up to Susan?

Okay, I did work on my story outline for my grandson’s book a little bit.

I have a cast of characters listed which includes; King James, Queen Crystal and Prince Ethan, the townsfolk in the kingdom and our friendly dragon of course. I still haven’t thought of a name for him.

Basically, I am going for a story in the style of Robert Munsch. I want to introduce the Kingdom of? (no idea what to call that either yet) the castle and those who live in it. I will then expand out to touch on a few of the townsfolk.

Word will come from an attack on the kingdom from the next kingdom over. Prince Ethan will be playing in the backyard of the castle and befriend a dragon perched on the castle wall.

Through this friendship, Prince Ethan will save the kingdom when the attack happens by calling on his new friend the dragon to chase away the attackers.

Once the kingdom is safe again there will be a huge banquet held in honor of Prince Ethan the hero. His dragon will make an appearance at the banquet to share in the glory.

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Again…thinking of drawing a dragon like this guy. ^ (I did not draw this it is just meant as an example).

I know this storyline has been written many, many times before but by personalizing it to Ethan and his parents and coming up with my own dragon I will make it my own.

What do you think so far? I would love to know your thoughts on the direction I am going with this.

I am considering making the book using plastic page protectors which I can slide pages into back to back and then seal the tops with tape.

I think this would give the pages some durability from the many, many times it is read to him (hopefully). I will probably then stitch the pages together using the holes where they are meant to be put in a binder.

If I just slap them in a binder some would get lost once he learns how to spring the clips open. Trust me with my grandson this will not take long to figure out….he is pretty determined when he wants something. 😀

On a final note, I just learned, today, how to run the laptop using Easy Worship 2009 to put the pictures and words to songs, scripture etc up on the screen at the front of the church.

Our usual person who runs the laptop during service is away right now so the one other person who can do soundboard will sub for me there and I will be on the laptop this Sunday.

Life is interesting if nothing else and it continues to be a busy one for me so I am glad that I am finally on the mend.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog post once again my friends. I really appreciate you sticking with me even though the postings are erratic. That means the world to me that you do that and I don’t take your attention for granted, ever.  🙂

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Decisions About A Book For My Grandson, Ethan.

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I got some excellent advice on my questions on my last post. I want to thank both of those people for their wise counsel. I have done a lot of thinking since that post and those answers and have decided to write a storybook for my grandson. Period. Full stop.

It will be a one of a kind book created and produced exclusively for Ethan. I have decided against writing any other children’s books for the public. My heart is not in it when it comes to getting something like that published.

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However, my heart is entirely in it when it comes to making one for Ethan. As a result of this decision, I have decided to work on a story outline personalized to Ethan. He will be the hero of the story.

His Dad, my son James, is a fan of all things dragon so a dragon must be involved in this story. I will have to learn how to draw a friendly looking dragon as well.

I think I want to make him a friendly dragon that guides and protects Prince Ethan just as James does for the real Ethan.

 

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Something like this might work (image from Pixabay)

 

Yes, I believe that will work and would be an excellent jumping off point.

I will be writing the story first so that I have an idea of what to draw at crucial points in the story. I will also begin taking photographs of Ethan I took this past Christmas and teaching myself to draw his likeness in various poses.

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So far I have not been able to sit down and draw or do any sort of artwork since the New Year. I am pleased to report that my other two goals are right on track. I talked to my best friend out west for two hours the other night. 🙂

I have been able to almost finish my first book of my reading goal of 40 books this year. This should all be in a separate post, really, but I wanted to explain that the drawing part of this project is a bit delayed.

Not to worry I will get there!

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In my next post, I should have a rough outline of the story written to share with you. Thanks for stopping by my blog to read my thoughts once again. I hope you have a wonderful day/night wherever you are. 🙂

 

 

 

Update On: How To Schedule Your Time Making Your Days Count

On November 8th this year I wrote a post titled (clicking on this link will open that post in a new window)

How To Schedule Your Time Making Your Days Count

I mentioned at the end of that post that I would write an update in one month’s time to let you know how the schedule I made was working out.

Long story short, it didn’t work out. 😦

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Here is what I think happened, my carefully worked out list and plans did not mesh with my real life issues.

My plan/schedule was too regimented with no built-in flexibility for the curves life sometimes throws at you.

I had everything scheduled and set up on my iPhone with alerts when it was time to change to the next activity. I was trying to keep a schedule that would allow me to do a little bit of everything.

It seemed a little better to get some of everything done than to complete one task and miss other equally important tasks altogether.

Ahh, what to do…what to do?

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So I am back at square one; not completely, though…maybe square two? I mean I still have the list of things that I need to get accomplished. Now I just need to figure out how to do it all.

I need something that will work with my life; that will be flexible so that I can adjust on the fly, when I need to, without throwing the whole thing in the garbage and starting again.

One thing is certain, what I was trying did not work for me. It was a success nonetheless because I did find out a way that didn’t work and can now eliminate that  from my list of things to try.

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One more idea bulb burned out….next! Onward we go…charge!!! LOL 😉

My iPhone has now been scrubbed of all my best-laid plans and alerts. To be honest, the alerts were driving me a bit batty.

The phone was chiming in with another alert all the time and at one point my only thought was “ugh, what?…what now?”.

Therefore, I have decided that I will not be using the phone for this anymore. I will still set up alerts and reminders for scheduled items like doctor appointments or when my library books are due, but not my day to day schedule.

 

What is the next idea to try? Does anyone have any thoughts to share on what I should try next? What works for you?

I would really appreciate hearing from you in the comments and I thank you for stopping by to see what I had to say today. 🙂 Have a wonderful day/night.

How To Schedule Your Time: Making Your Days Count

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Hello, everybody, I have been struggling with this concept for a while now as you all know. I have both a YouTube Channel and this blog plus everyday life that I must juggle.

I decided to do some research on how to get myself on track and wanted to share with you what I found out.

Perhaps you could use some of this information in your life too and we could get ourselves better organized together.

Life is busy. Now there is an understatement if I ever heard one! There is so much to do that we must somehow find time to cram into our day if we want to get everything done.

 

The question is how? I found out the very first step to organizing your time is to make a list of all the things you want or need to accomplish.

We need to define the problem in order to find a solution.

Okay, here is what my list looks like; at least all that I can think of at this moment. I may add more items later if I suddenly remember more.

Make YouTube videos – various topics

Write posts for my blog -various topics

Practice my mandolin

Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog)

Do dishes

Make the bed

Do laundry

Make meals

Sweep and wash the floors

Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos)

Clean the church

Attend church

Read books

Surf the internet

Sleep

Phew!! I am getting exhausted just looking at that list; no wonder I have trouble getting it all done. Is your list as long as mine? Or longer?

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Next step? Prioritize; what must get done (needs) and what you want to do for yourself or others (wants)

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NEED : Make YouTube videos -various topics

NEED: Write posts for my blog -various topics

NEED: Practice my mandolin

NEED: Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog)

NEED: Do dishes

NEED: Make the bed

NEED: Do laundry

NEED: Make meals

NEED: Sweep and wash the floors

WANT: Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos)

WANT: Clean the church

WANT: Attend church

WANT: Read books

WANT: Surf the internet

NEED: Sleep

All right, now we are getting somewhere. I have ten items on my NEED list and five items on my WANT list. It’s okay; no need to make sure there are even amounts on both lists.

Different activities take different amounts of time. Besides, I am sure you can expand your wants to fill any time not taken by your needs. LOL 😉

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Now we get down to the nitty gritty and figure out how long and how often each thing takes. An average is okay; no need to define your schedule down to the last minute or second.

It is not nice to put that much pressure on yourself!

NEED : Make YouTube videos -various topics  (this one varies as some videos are easier to make than others. I will call this 2 hours and it needs to happen every day). If I get a lot accomplished I will simply add them to scheduled videos and get ahead of the game.

NEED: Write posts for my blog -various topics (strangely enough this is the same as videos and I will schedule 2 hours every day for this one too). If I get a lot accomplished I will simply add them to scheduled posts and get ahead of the game.

NEED: Practice my mandolin (I should be practicing every day or two for 20 minutes to 30 minutes). Let’s call it 30 minutes for sake of fitting it into the schedule more consistantly.

NEED: Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog) (I could easily spend hours upon hours keeping up with comments on both my channel and my blog but being reasonable I will devote 1 hour to this task every day so it doesn’t get backed up too far).

NEED: Do dishes (I do dishes once a day after dinner. They take 20 minutes to 30 minutes since I handwash – I don’t have a dishwasher).

NEED: Make the bed. (This one is easy – under five minutes and every morning when I get out of bed.)

NEED: Do laundry. (Usually I do laundry on weekends when hydro is cheaper but the odd weeknight I will have a load that I do at night after 7pm – again to save on hydro. Wash and dry  1 -1 1/2 hours).

NEED: Make meals ( Most meals I make take no longer than 30 minutes to cook and I do that  three times a day if I am lucky; quite often it is twice a day.)

NEED: Sweep and wash the floors (This chore takes me 1 hour and I do it once a week).

WANT: Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos) (As I was saying when it comes to wants I could expand to whatever time is available to me). I would be happy with twice a week.

WANT: Clean the church (This happens once a week – usually on a Friday and it takes my husband and I 30 minutes to tackle all the chores together).

WANT: Attend church (Also once a week, from 11 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. every Sunday) This can expand to 10 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. when hubby is on stage and I run the soundboards to allow for setup time and brief rehearsal)

WANT: Read books (LOL, any chance I get and for however long I can. I have been known to read for hours at a time.)

WANT: Surf the internet  (same as above only surfing the net instead of reading books.)

NEED: Sleep (This has to happen every night. I try to get at least 6 hours of sleep).

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Finally, we are at the stage of putting all of this planning down onto a weekly schedule. A quick chart to post on the fridge would be handy to keep things in mind as you go about your day.

If you work outside the home of course work will also be on your schedule and must be accounted for if you like to do things like eat and have a place to live.

A daytimer or appointment book is useful to keep tabs on what you need to do and when but also consider your smartphone. They are handy and can be set to vibrate or sound an alert when it is time to switch activities.

I believe I will be posting on the fridge and setting my smartphone up as reminders. That way wherever I am I will have my schedule with me.

So, in conclusion, I have tallied up the figures on the various things I need to get done and I can get it all done in 14 hours per day and that includes my 6 hours of sleep a night.

Out of a 24 hour day that leaves me with 10 hours to sprinkle in some “me time” and the things I want to do; that make me happy and fulfilled as a person.

I have just set up all of the “events” on my phone. I now have the times blocked out and can see that there are gaps of an hour here and there throughout in which I can choose to do something off my wants list.

I am not putting down anything in particular for these times but instead will allow myself to gravitate toward whatever I feel like at the time.

This way my wants won’t become another “chore”.

I will write another post to update you on how things are working out for me in about a months time.

That gives me four weeks to get into the routine of things and accurately judge how well it is working; productivity wise and satisfaction wise.

There is one thing I would like to know; if you would be so kind as to leave me a comment, do you have a schedule to get everything done or do you fly by the seat of your pants as I have been doing all this time?

Thank you for once again visiting my blog to read my thoughts today. I do appreciate all the support, my friends. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Why Google is my friend!

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Today’s post is inspired courtesy of another selection from 365 Days Of Writing Prompts

Google and rescue operation What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

The last thing I searched for online was a Peavey RQ 2314 14 Input Reference Quality Compact Console. It is the make and model of the soundboard at our church.

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Why was I looking that up, you ask? Well, because our worship leader asked if I would be interested in learning how to use it.

Every Sunday we have a group of musicians up on the stage leading worship. Usually, there are two electric acoustic guitars, a harmonica, two singers and a piano player.

This Sunday there will be a piano player, a harmonica, two singers, two electric acoustic guitars, an electric bass guitar and a set of acoustic drums.

There are two people in the sound booth, one to run the laptop that puts the words to songs and other messages on the drop down screen via a projector suspended from the ceiling.

The other runs the soundboard that takes what the musicians do on the stage and amplifies, modulates and tweaks the signals from all instruments and microphones.

These signals are then broadcast through speakers also hung from the ceiling so that the congregation can hear a strong, clean sound with which to sing along.

Also on this soundboard is a channel used for a hearing system we have in the church. Assistive listening devices are available for anyone who need them to help hear the spoken word.

Into these devices; only the lapel microphone the Pastor wears and the handheld microphone, that gets passed around the congregation  when it comes time for prayer requests and praise reports, are used.

I was more than a little nervous taking on this challenge and thought that a little research was in order before actually trying to use this piece of equipment.

I wanted to make a good impression since it is an honor not bestowed on just anybody. Only those with a good ear for music and sound are asked; hence the honor I spoke of.

The laptop duties are passed to anyone who is interested in helping but the program pretty much runs itself.

Timing is the only key to successfully running the laptop. Are the words on the screen at the proper time? Do the announcements appear on the screen when the Pastor is saying them?

Using the soundboard, though, that person is in control of what everyone hears; the congregation in the house and the musicians listening to their monitors on stage.

My biggest fear as I take this duty on this Sunday is not messing up with the handheld microphone or with the signal going to the hearing assistance system.

The handheld microphone is the most tricky to stay on top of. Too much on a dial can mean feedback screeching through the entire church,  too little on the dial means a muffled voice that no one can understand or hear.

Adding to the complexity with the handheld microphone is how some people use it. When handed to them everyone holds it differently which means a lot of constant adjusting.

Some hold it farther away from their mouth and the gain has to be turned up. Some almost eat it which means the gain must be turned way down or there will be a great deal of feedback.

The pastor is the main one we want to hear and his lapel mic should pick up his voice and broadcast it properly with the right tones so he doesn’t sound too high pitched or too low pitched.

We had a practice last night with the musicians on stage and I was in the sound booth for the first time ever. I was given a basic rundown of the board and shown how to adjust sounds for each person or instrument.

I don’t think I did too badly…the worship leader playing up on stage told me it sounded all right to him but he could not hear what was coming through to the house.

We would need an independent person sitting in the pews to listen and give their opinion but on practice night, of course, there was no one to fill that role.

Of course last night I was also not able to practice with the handheld mic, the lapel mic or the hearing assistance devices. This is really making me nervous.

So Sunday is going to be nerve-wracking for me until I get either compliments or complaints from the congregation.

What is going to make Sunday even more nerve-wracking is that there is both a baptism taking place and communion afterward. These two occasions do not usually happen at a normal Sunday service.

All I know is that I have been and will continue to do a lot of praying that I do everything correctly and the service goes off flawlessly.

I know, there is the perfectionist in me rearing it’s ugly head again. I can’t help it, though; this is too important to me.

My husband will be one of the musicians on the stage with his acoustic guitar and I really don’t want to mess up the sound and make him sound bad either.

I really am happy to be chosen for this job. I want to be able to help out at the church. My husband and I clean the upstairs part of the church each week and now we each have a part in the service as well.

This will not be an every week duty either; only when this worship leader is on stage. We are part of his crew; his hand-picked set of people to work with.

Some weeks we have guest musicians up there and some weeks there is another worship leader with their own crew.

Wish me luck guys; those of you in the faith, please pray for me. 🙂 Thank you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Progress Update: How I Am Doing With My Mandolin Now

 

LOL, I love that Keep Calm And Play Mandolin Meme…that is what is on my desktop on my computer right now; not that I need it to remind me to play. I love this mandolin!

I have picked it up every day; two or three times a day since bringing it home. Oh, and the picture to the right of it is my left hand fingertips after six days of playing. I am not sure you can see it in the photo but the calluses are building nicely.

Below is a picture of me holding my mandolin. I am thinking of making this my profile picture on Facebook and a few other places on the net. 🙂

 

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All of the research I have been doing on the net has been paying off. Not only have I gotten a fine musical instrument and a heck of a deal on everything that it comes with but I have various chord charts for beginners.

There are a few in the instruction booklet that came with the package but the ones from the internet allow me to print them out full size on printer paper.

This way too I won’t have to flip through the book to find a certain chord.

I have a binder that I have plastic sheet protectors in and I put all my photocopies in there. There is even a pocket on the inside cover of the binder where I have tucked my instruction booklet.

As I collect songs that I can practice and play I will be building myself a journal of sorts that will show my progress from beginning to my current level.

This will help keep things organized and let me find whatever I want to practice on, easily.

The booklet that came with my mandolin takes you through the very beginning of everything and you do not need to have any musical experience to play the mandolin.

So, it begins by showing you the various parts of the mandolin, how to hold it, how to hold the pick, and so on. It then talks about keeping time by tapping your foot and how to read sheet music.

I took music theory in high school and a lot of it is coming back to me althought I do prefer to use songs with the appropriate chords above the words.

I find it easier to follow and if I wonder about the beat or tempo I need only listen to a recording of the song to get the idea.

There are a multitude of videos on YouTube showing how to play certain chords or songs and also some on care and maintenance of your mandolin.

It is from one such video that I recently saw that I learned how to lower the strings closer to my fretboard. I lowered the action, as it is referred to, in order to be able to play easier and not hurt my fingers as much.

Don’t misunderstand…they still hurt, just not as badly. 😉  My fingernails are now kept closely trimmed so as to not interfere with the strings as I form the chords with my left hand. I keep my right hand trimmed the same way too.

This is not a huge deal for me anyway as my nails never seem to grow to any appreciable length without splitting or peeling. They never have been long and beautiful until I got artificial nails put on a long time ago.

Then there were the endless appointments to go and have them filled as my real nails grew out underneath them. I must admit that when I had artificial nails I felt more feminine.

I am glad I got rid of them years ago as they would just complicate playing the mandolin now.

As I explain in my update video I just posted on my YouTube channel (Embedded Below) I am now practicing quick licks that Scotty Grove showed me on his YouTube channel. What is great about that is it involves all the chords I have just learned.

This gives me something fun to try and get better at and while I am doing that I am practicing the chords at the same time. It makes practice a lot more fun and interesting.

Please take a moment and have a look at it. It is just five minutes long and you can see and hear what I have learned thus far.

I will be doing further update videos as I am able and when there is a sufficient amount of new stuff to show you.

 

 

I think the next thing I will have to work on, besides the quick licks, is my strumming patterns. Until you play a stringed instrument you really can’t appreciate how much coordination one must have to keep the beat with one hand and the notes with the other hand, at least I didn’t.

It is quite the workout for the brain and I have a new respect for musicians everywhere. When I think of the many instruments this is true of it leaves me in awe of the people that can not only play but with such skill too.

I want to be that good one day with my mandolin. Thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I wanted to talk about today. I do appreciate the support.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section; either here on my blog or on my videos on my YouTube channel. I try to get to every one I receive.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night wherever you are. Now I must go practice some more and master that F Major chord. 🙂

 

 

Extra, extra read all about it. =)

 

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This is what comes in the box and it IS the same color – Sunburst!

This is an extra post to my usual every-third-day schedule…I just couldn’t wait to tell you guys the big news. I am so excited because today I went and picked up my mandolin at the music store where it was on layaway.

We had the money to finish paying it off and bring it home. I told you I was paying for this myself, and I will be, but my husband is a wonderful man that is fronting the money for me so I can get it sooner.

I will then pay him back. So in the end, I will have paid for it myself because I think that is an important part of my motivation to keep practicing. If I fail to practice and learn I will be failing myself.

First of all, in my other post where I told you all about finding this and hoping to put it on layaway I was mistaken. I thought it was brown not sunburst but it IS sunburst.

I guess looking at so many mandolins on the internet, on our local buy/sell/trade website Kijiji and in the store I lost track of which one it was. LOL, I am pleased to tell you it is the sunburst pattern after all.

Just a couple of hours ago I did an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and it is compiling now so I can upload it later tonight.

I just recently learned how to embed videos in my posts so I have decided to embed the video from my channel below instead of posting a link. Enjoy! Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think. 🙂

This mandolin is just beautiful in person. Since Kevin, my husband, can’t teach me how to play (he has never played mandolin) which has a different string arrangement than guitar I am on my own to learn to play.

I will be learning by myself with the book that is included in the pack plus the various instruction videos on the internet plus printable chord charts, scales, and songs.

The strings on the mandolin are arranged in pairs…from top to bottom the strings are G, D, A and E. and that means notations and chords will be formed differently as well. I am totally psyched to teach myself how to play this instrument.

I can hear you now…sure, sure…they all say that in the beginning. Just wait, though, you will see. As I have told you already, I have an intense drive inside of me to learn this instrument.

The profile is much thinner than an acoustic guitar and the neck is both shorter and thinner than a guitar as well. Those two factors alone make this better for me to play as I found these the biggest factors in not being able to play guitar.

I have already found out how to use the digital tuner that comes in the kit and have tuned all eight strings to perfect pitch. In doing so, I have learned that the picks they include in the kit are too thick for me.

The strings will have to be tuned every time I play, especially since they are new strings and there will be stretching that happens. There will be lots of tuning before they settle down and stay in tune for the most part.

Back to the picks included, they are bulky and awkward. Luckily my husband has a ton of picks he has collected over the years. I am now using one that is .48mm thick which is much, much thinner and more responsive to strum with.

We will be getting more of that size so I can fill up the pick holder that Kevin gave me to stick on my mandolin. These things are good for keeping your picks from getting lost and keeping them handy to grab as well.

I have decided to begin learning by using the instruction book that came with my mandolin. It covers everything from the parts of the mandolin to the basic chords, how to hold the instrument and even has some songs to start practicing.

Tonight will find me once again picking up my mandolin to do some more learning and practicing. Since coming home with it I have played with and set it up with strap and pick holder and tuner.

I have, prior to all that, shot an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and edited it plus editing another video for my channel on how to make homemade beef stew in a crockpot.

On top of all that I have made lunch and now must do some dishes and make dinner. Then I will upload my videos to my channel and  while they are tying up the internet bandwidth I’ll have time to go back to my mandolin.

My fingers don’t hurt yet but I aim to make sure they do before I go to bed tonight. The calluses must be started if I ever want to be able to press down the strings and form chords without pain. 🙂

Wish me luck folks! Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are and thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I am writing about this time. 🙂 You are all AWESOME! 😀