Category Archives: Pictures

Dream Home, Dream On


Daily Prompt: Dream Home

You win a contest to build your dream home. Draft the plans.

This is something near and dear to my heart.  I briefly had a home of my own during my first marriage.  He divorced me nine months after we moved there.  I happened to love the community of Sayreville, NJ. so much that I went and got a street map of the town and mounted it on a wall.  Every single day I referred to that thing and explored a different part of my town… ha, this was way before GPS‘s made life easy.  But I knew that town like the back of my hand in three months, the town I was finally putting roots down into.  The first seven or so years of my marriage, I did not feel “at home” where we were living, so this was pretty big for me.

So, I am assuming that I can go all out, just as if I won the lottery and cost is a non-issue, including maintenance of said house, and enough money to stock my kitchen and meet the needs of every whim.  My dream home is something with large rooms, lots of window area, like wall sized that will let the outside look inside… well, I’d also have acres and acres of privacy.  Since I’m living the fantasy here I have no qualms about specifying that I’d definitely have a suite of craft rooms, you get my drift, and these rooms, one for each hobby, would have lots of window space.  My knitting and spinning rooms would have a snug, warm, comfy feel with a fireplace for those long winter nights of doing my thang.  I’d have a room for my jewelry making, with an organizer for my beads built right into the wall.

My kitchen would be tremendous, also with a fireplace, large island, and accommodate every kitchen gadget and appliance… because I AM living the dream, this is all very doable!  This room would be a dream accommodation which would impress the most sophisticated chef.  Yet, it should be simple.  Doable? YEAH~!

modern-seattle-dream-home-2Picture 039imageshouse-with-ocean-view

Picture-111 images-2 images-1

Now that I’ve got fantasizing out of my system, I come down to earth and realize I just need a house, a “place” big enough to accommodate three people, plus maybe an extra room to serve as both a little office and guest room… or maybe both, separately, so that I can accommodate more of my family at a moment’s notice should the need arise.  I’ve got to say, however, that I’d love a Widow’s Peak, you know, a small room at the top of the house with four windows, one on each side.  Another realistic desire would be to live near the ocean, either right on the ocean or on top of a cliff on the shore’s edge.  A lighthouse?  Yeah, maybe… with a house on the side.  Whatever house, it MUST speak to me.  It must tell me it’s story.  I love architecture and all those little things that pop out at you and whisper in your ear.  Did I mention the fireplace?

We don’t have much right now.  We rent, but we rent the first floor of a nice sized private house.  We have small bedrooms, but large-ish public rooms, two.  We have access to a front porch and the back yard, though we don’t entertain outside.  We do utilize storage space in the basement and for a bit extra, have half of a two car garage.  Not bad.  I love it here, though I hate the carpeted floors.  They are beige (intense dislike), OLD, dirty and way past the point where we can get them clean.  I am embarrassed to invite people over here just for the reason of the floors.  We live in an urban area, which has its drawbacks… severe drawbacks, but still, I love our living space, which is really what means the most.

To be quite honest, I’d love to live in a mansion, but another honest thought is that I would always feel like a guest there and not that it’s my own.  Living the better life, “richer” life is just so alien to me that I would always feel that the time to go home is fast approaching.  So, I just need a place that I can hunker down in forever.

Did I mention the fireplace?

Daily Prompt~


Daily Prompt:  Opposite Day

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

Soo,  I’m not sure what I write.  I can write a pretty mean fiction, but I’ve not done so in quite a long time… Same goes for poetry.  Okay, so this daily prompt presents a good opportunity to post some pictures of the wire wrapped pendants I have made.  It will always bother me that I took pictures without first polishing off my fingerprints from the stones.

Oh, as a last minute addition, I’ve included a painted tee shirt I made for my son to wear to school on Halloween.  This was kind of last minute as he didn’t want to participate the whole time, leading up to the day, then of COURSE the night before, he changes his mind…. SuperMOM to the rescue and he LOVED it~!  Such is the rewards for being a mom.

While I’ll not be drawing the pictures, I have created what is inside the pictures:

DSCN0105 DSCN0108 DSCN0594 DSCN0598 DSCN0600 DSCN0609 DSCN0615 DSCN0635  20120223-145934

Entering the World of Words


Gabriel reading

I thought it was time to chronicle the words that Little Drake can say now…. or I should rephrase that to “my skills at decoding the boy’s language have advanced to the point where I can discern some meanings). This will take awhile as I cannot remember even one right now, so will need to make this list slowly. LD has been practicing intonation, accents on words and hand gestures quite extensively, I might add.

Disclaimer: This order does not reflect chronological order of appearance in my son’s vocabulary. Child will never perform on demand… NEVER, so just take my word for it.

Okay here goes:

  • d-ERT (meaning: dirt- appeared right after I read a book that was in the shape of a Deere front loader and had wheels. Every page had dirt on it.)
  • Down (meaning: down)
  • ba BA (meaning: bottle. Appeared several months after he actually used them)
  • ma MA (meaning: mommie, though he does not address me as such)
  • dadadada… (meaning: daddy, and he does address daddy)
  • fa FA (meaning: fall down)
  • boop (meaning: book, sounding just like ‘book’ except for the ‘p’ sound)
  • goggie goggie goggie (meaning: dog)
  • meow (meaning: cat or kitten. Full pronunciation… WOW, two syllables.)
  • dowr (meaning: door, drawer, accent on rrr)
  • feesh (meaning: fish. Appeared right after he became fascinated by the Windows aquarium screen saver.)
  • juice (meaning: juice. Actually articulated only a couple of times)
  • eye-t (meaning: light & fan, since our ceiling fans have lights on them)
  • ha ha ha (meaning: hot, cold)
  • car (meaning: car)
  • bawl (meaning: ball)
  • eese (meaning: leaves)
  • bush (meaning: bush and bushes)
  • tanx (meaning: thanks)

UPDATE: 4/02/07~8:07pm How can I forget!….

  • hi (meaning: hi!)
  • no (meaning: No!..VERY clear.)
  • dog  (meaning: dog)  First used 4/03/07
  • pinch  (meaning: pinch)  After DH caught the zipper of his jacket on his neck.  LD is okay and no marks at his neck.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  4/03/07~10:08pm…. Came home tonight and DH informed me of two more words!  After DH zippered up LD’s jacket, he said, “pinch”, and tugged on his neck… whoa, I’ve never used that word before, that I can remember in front of LD.  Then, as they were walking home from the park, out of the blue LD said, “dog”.  DH looked around and spotted, yes, a dog not to far from them… So that means that LD used the right word for dog now.  I will add these two words to the list at the top.
Well, I’ll have to leave that list as is because I can’t think of anything else. Not a very large list, but I am positive that he is saying more, I just need to break the code down further. Little Drake pretty much knows everything (almost) we are talking about and points to objects in the books we read to him. He loves books and we are very happy with that. I’ve got to say that I was very pleasantly surprised when he pointed to knitting that was depicted in “Good Night Moon” and he knew “boy” and “girl” before I ever showed them to him in the books. He knows mommie knits and he is forever grabbing my knitting to make the needles click together… as he likes to knit, too! I try not to use his baby talk, but I have slips every so often. I make it a point to pronounce every syllable and use correct English and grammar. I sound like a school marm! Though, remember how anal I am with my writing, so it’s not very difficult to do that.

Watching LD develop has been a true blessing for me, especially. I wish that my DH was around more so that he can see this, too, but he works so that I don’t have to, and so that I can stay up late at night to blog, right? I faithfully fill him in on what is going on with the baby and I basically function as the translator between my two guys. LD is basically teaching me how to teach him. Once I see the things he recognizes and how he recognizes, I can then move forward and facilitate more of the same thing. One thing I like to do is give him simple instructions and I know that he knows what I’m saying… even if he doesn’t do what I ask. He’s even learned the response to “God bless you.” (see above term) Man, I would NOT be able to do this if I was not HERE on a full time basis! How do working mothers DO it? Heck if I know.

Flickr Problem


If you don’t see the pics that I posted indicated in my last entry, I do apologize for that.  I am unsure as to what is happening, but I did some reorganizing and such and hoping that in time, it will update this blog.  I tried several ways of getting my current pics back up, but to no avail, so will wait a bit.

If you go to my flickr account, you should have no problem seeing the photos from my Hair Experience!

Thanks for you patience!

Breaking The Colour Barrier


UPDATE: 4/01/07 April Fool’s! Pictures to the left.

I sit here listening to my kitchen sink gurgle, louder than my hubby snores! Okay, it’s now 11:33pm eastern time and I am done. Won’t take pictures now because I let my hair air dry and I’m not staying up for THAT because I’ve got to be up early as my neighbor needs me to baby sit for her.

Let me preface this post by saying that I can be a nit-picker. I am a born proofreader, have done it professionally; and I’ll tell you that I hold myself back, out of respect for my peers here, from correcting some of the comments. I don’t mean any offense because I know what it’s like trying to whiz through all the comments I want to make and end up with typos and other errors… I’m just too anal to let them go, myself… but I love the spontaneity that they reflect.

First thing I’ll say is who does a swatch test 48 hours before coloring? I mean, I would if I had a known history of skin allergies, but I don’t, so I just bulldoze right on in. Now L’Oreal’s Colour Rays color that I used was Copper Craze. Once I found the English directions, it was pretty straightforward. They give you pretty decent rubber gloves for this product, but I can’t say the same for others. What is the deal with that? Why not give the same quality glove for each product? Annoys me. Okay, so you dump the creme developer into a plastic tub that is marked as to which side you should mix in. The color, itself is in a tube and the hardest thing, EVER, was to get this stuff out. So thick it was solid… almost. I am wondering if it was so reduced in price because of a past expiration date, but never found that out because I could not FIND it on the box.

So got all the color out and mixed with a spatula they give you and went at this thing for literally a few minutes to make sure that it was mixed “thoroughly”. Beforehand, I had carefully separated my hair and held the rest back with a band so that I could be as efficient as “I” can be in applying this paste onto my hair. They give you a wand/brush thing to apply it with, stating that you must take a large amount of paste and “roll” it on top of the strand of hair from root to ends, without leaving a lot at the roots (don’t know why). After the first try of this, I got really annoyed and just used my fingers to apply it, squishing it in, because I already had the designated hair sectioned out and just needed to get the stuff on.

After I did the front, from top of my head to just behind my ears, I did some underneath on the nap of my neck… one on each side. Just pulled out a piece and slapped it on. I still had more paste left, and being that I can’t see just throwing it away, I did three more very thin strands on the top, one on each side and one in the back. Then I put more of the paste on my four fingers and just finger-combed my hair on the sides and back… not very good coverage, but I didn’t want a stark color change there…… oh well, my adventurous self took the wheel on this one.

After my 30 minutes of “developing”, I got myself into the shower and rinsed my hair out; however, before I got in, I read Step 5, which said, “Keeping your gloves on, thoroughly rinse off mixture until water runs clear.” Needless to say, I did not keep my gloves on during my 30 minutes of waiting, and after you get those things off, I’d like to challenge anyone to try and get used, sweaty, plastic, ripped gloves back on a second time. Oh well. My next beef is that you are supposed to apply “after color” shampoo and “after color” rinse that comes in tiny 2 x 3 inch envelopes that are impossible to open in the shower without using your teeth. To be fair, the tiny amount allotted me did cover my head with lather to dye for… felt so luxurious on my head. But that is just foam, is it really working on all the colored area? The one thing that I liked about this product is that every item containing “stuff” was labeled, “1-2-3-4”. I’ll also say that I never noticed excess color run out of my hair. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it brought my thoughts back to the missing expiration date.

I’d like to ask why they tell you that this product is not good for hair that is more than 20-25% gray. Sorry, I can’t find the exact verbiage on the instructions so it must be on the box… which is all goopy from stray stuff and in the garbage. Now, the gray part of my hair looks great, so why are they saying not to use it on hair that is moderately to predominantly gray?

All the while I was rinsing, I cannot see any change in color.. okay, so the light is kind of dim in there… must wait. Okay, so now I’m ready to come out, and I’m all set to look in the mirror that is right opposite the tub and whip the curtain back, swoosh! DANG the mirror is all fogged up! Jumped out of the tub, dried myself off, trying to act indifferent. I actually dried the mirror AND my eyeglasses, nice and clear so I could see what I had done to myself. Well, I did see the copper color really nice on my grays, themselves, but cannot make out anything more than that. I, too, must wait until tomorrow to see the total effect.

Cats, Cats, and MORE Cats!


I got up really early today, Saturday. I was feeling a little better, so I came online, initiated a new blog (which I’ll get into at another time), checked email, surfed- the usual. At around 6am, I started to think that Little Drake was going to get up soon and that I should at least have some coffee. Went into the kitchen and heard the sound of meowing and thought that I’ll leave the cat in the back stairwell because it serves it right for getting in there in the first place. My thoughts revisited the argument I had with the neighbor on the third floor about her feeding all the cats in the neighborhood and how when they get inside through her entrance, they pee and crap all over the basement. If you remember, last summer, I was disgusted and upset because of the cat (or dog) waste smell underneath our windows. Probably cat because I saw one using that area for a litter box. The argument diffused as we both vented and had our say.

This morning as I fed Little Drake, the meows started up again and I thought that I should finally let them out. I opened the back door to the stairwell, and to my surprise, there were no cats there. I peered through the backdoor window onto our tiny porch and did not see any cats there, so I resumed our breakfast. A little while later, I heard it again and thought that it was strange because I didn’t hear the neighbors going out, which would let them in. I looked outside again and saw four tiny bodies on the porch. I said, “Oh shit!”, and opened the door, immediately noticed that one had already perished. It looked so still. I stopped myself from touching them because the mother is a feral cat. Between going back and forth to the door, and feeding LD spoonfuls of oatmeal, I managed to 1- slip a towel outside in an attempt to warm them up, grab the bowl and basket from the front porch and bring them to the kitchen, fill the bowl with cat food, rearrange the filthy blanket in the basket, with paper towel in hand, picked up each remaining kitten and placed it in the basket, then slipped the basket outside, then placed water outside. Whew! Each interaction with the outside was made slowly and briefly so that the mother would come back right away.

My next task was the most sorrowful. With the paper towel I used for it’s siblings, I picked up the deceased one and cradled it in my arm like I did with LD as an infant. Wrapped in paper, it seemed as if it was merely sleeping except that it was cold, but not yet completely stiff. It must have just passed and I grieved because I thought that if I had caught on sooner that it was kittens mewing instead of annoying half grown cats who are always coming in, then screaming to get out, I could have maybe saved this life. I will never know that for sure, but in that moment, one life grieved another life in the middle of my kitchen this morning. Next, I brought myself to wrap it up totally and placed it in a temporary coffin of Huggies wipes. I will probably need to put it outside so that the cold will slow it’s decomposition, but for now, let it know the warmth it was denied earlier. Maybe she was the first one to be transported from the birth den, wherever that was, and her little body maybe saved the next sibling when it, too, arrived at our back door.

God can be so ironic. Another reason to really watch what you say and do. I have never shown this feral mother cat nothing but animosity, always chasing her away because she was intimidating our own cats and taking their food, who are outside cats. Why she would bring her kittens to me in a snow storm is beyond anything that I would expect. Divine Irony which I notice because while I am adamant that we should get rid of this cat problem, I have compassion for them because they are really the innocents in this story. Unfortunately, if their food source continues to be available like this, they will be the ones to suffer in the end. Humans feeding them falls out of the realm of nature. Nature’s plan is that these animals are hunters. They must hunt for their food. Feeding them, makes it too easy for them to reproduce and they DO. Overcrowding of these animals in one place is not good for them as well as for us.

As you can see, there is a love-hate relationship going on here. I have always known animals, grew up with dogs and the occasional cat. About five years ago, I got my own little kitten, Simba, and it was love at first sight. He has always known Smokey, our other cat. Right before LD was born, we had to put them outside because they were defecating in the house, more as a territorial thing between them, than because I was pregnant… I think. Anyway, I could not handle this behavior with the relative immediate birth of our son and put them outside. They got on out there well with relatively mild winters and we kept feeding them, which we really did not need to because the ones upstairs constantly put food outside for all the neighborhood cats. These are people who cannot afford to feed themselves (supposedly) yet they are spending money on cats. This seems like another post coming on, so I will get back to this subject.

While I love animals and my cats, I must be realistic because I will be acting within my own realm of capacity. Being realistic means that I cannot catch wild cats and have them fixed, male and female. My own cats are not capable of reproducing and I made sure of that right away. I cannot tolerate another hot summer with the odor of cat feces wafting in through my windows, which is bound to get worse this coming hot season. I know exactly the area my own cats use for their litter box and it’s not near the house. I want to get rid of all these feral cats, even if it means sending them to the pound. We have an animal control agency that will take them, but we must catch them. See, there is no such thing as a “dog catcher” anymore. I don’t know what the deal is with them, maybe they see doing their jobs as beneath them, who knows. But in this day and age, the taxpayer must do the work and they will just come and pick up the animals, already caged. Last summer when this first came up, I could not leave my son alone in the house so that I could catch cats. I still don’t know how I will manage this, but I must take responsibility myself and do it. I know that people might say that I’m being cruel; but truly, two summers ago there were only 2 neutered male cats, last summer five kittens. Presently, there are no less than five adult cats sitting in the backyard, beneath my porch, in a sort of Alfred Hitchcock remake of the “Birds”, with one mommie cat and three newborns nesting on my porch. Those five half grown cats from last year will replicate themselves with a vengeance if this artificial feeding pattern doesn’t cease and desist… and I mean NOW!

UPDATE 3/17/07 (12:37 p.m.): She allowed me to take some pics:

Kittens1

kittens

 

 

Birthday Weekend


DSC02163

Today was Gabriel’s birthday. I can’t believe that it’s been 2 whole years already. Yesterday was his party and I started this post while sitting down for a minute or two to take a few leisurely breaths before anyone got here. It was 12:30pm and I had taken a look around and I can say that I did not freak out. Not the norm for this turkey, especially if you can remember this post . I freaked out then because something went wrong. I am one of those people that doesn’t really need to have the place in tip top condition all the time and sometimes it really shows. If someone stops by unannounced, I am unconcerned because now the obvious scapegoat is my 2yr old who tears the house apart on a daily basis. BuT should I plan to have people over, I procrastinate, then freak out a day or so before the planned visit. I get crazy and I want everything perfect.

My dad was always a major participant in helping my mom get ready for guests, so I really expect/want/hope/pray for the same thing. Alas, I have a DH who is always working and usually on Saturdays, as well. He SAYS it’s mandatory… and well, of COURSE I believe him, but I get all freaky and feel abandoned… except for today. I think it was because I didn’t [really] procrastinate this time. All this week, I cleaned all the hot spots, one or a few each day, and cleaned all the areas that annoy me. You know the ones. All those places that become mini dumping grounds for mail, keys, odds and ends that do not have a place yet.

It gets interesting around here because of my son’s growing range of reach on tables, so everything must climb to higher ground to escape his stretching, probing fingers. I am hoping that he gets to the age when he will STOP before I run out of places to put things.

A major help was that Eddie pulled up the tables and chairs last night and we set them up. We got a 4′ sandwich and salads. I baked the cake the night before and, I must say myself, really like how it came out [pic below]. This whole weekend was really great and practically stress free…. maybe it was the “stress-less” scented candle lit in the bathroom? Nope, it was me.

DSC02172

CHECK OUT THE GREAT CAKE! This was actually two cakes, one on top and one on bottom. Duncan Hines Spice cake mix, then I add my own spices to “spicen” it up. I’ll share something that I discovered that made this cake actually taste refreshing. I added crushed anise seeds [secret ingredient]. The pic above is the very last piece. Man, this cake is g-o-n-e….. GONE. Yeah, this was was the best gathering we’ve had yet.

Then today, on the actual day, we all attended another birthday party for the girl upstairs, her birthday was on March 1st. So, this was a real birthday weekend. Will write more in the next few days.

Let me say, that something DID go drastically wrong the night before my son’s party day. The drain in the kitchen sink backed up and after almost a whole bottle of Liquid Plumber, it still persisted. Finally, I had to call the landlord and he agreed to get a plumber out to us early in the morning. Strangely enough, I did not panic. I kept a feeling of peace about me…. really, not the usual for me. Then the next morning, the landlord came to just to try to do something himself. Can I tell you that 1 or 2 attempts with the plunger and the drain was unclogged??? I was so embarrassed because I do not call for help lightly. I was so happy that he tried the water first and saw that it, indeed, was backed up. After that, all I had to do was take a shower (without breaking the shower rod) and it was a piece of cake from there. I seriously believe that the quality of my day was directly the result of my outlook that day. It was manifested by the serenity I felt that day…. or good vibes, whatever you want to call it. I should know because so many times, I manifested the totally opposite type of day…. the really frazzled ones. I am so happy that for once, it was the other way around. Don’t know if I can replicate that but from this whole experience, what was driven home yet again, is that God helps those who help themselves.

I Made It Through The Rain


RAINBOW

I Made It Through The Rain
by Barry Manilow

We dreamers have our ways
Of facing rainy days
And somehow we survive

We keep the feelings warm
Protect them from the storm
Until our time arrives

Then one day the sun appears
And we come shining through those lonely years

I made it through the rain
I kept my world protected
I made it through the rain
I kept my point of view
I made it through the rain
And found myself respected
By the others who
Got rained on too
And made it through

When friends are hard to find
And life seems so unkind
Sometimes you feel so afraid

Just aim beyond the clouds
And rise above the crowds
And start your own parade

Cause when I chased my fears away
That’s when I knew that I could finally say

(chorus)

First, I am pissed because I had to copy and paste this post from BlogDesk. Still waiting for someone to get back to me regarding this issue I am having. Grrrrrr!Okay, let’s get on with it….

Ah, Barry always speaks to ME. If you know this song, you can hear the loneliness in the music and his voice; but then, you can also hear when he comes out of it.

Music and my art always got me through the rough spots in my early years, especially Barry Manilow. His music, his voice, touches the very heart and soul of me. His OWN music, not really the other music he does… plus, I am speaking from the 70’s and 80’s. He speaks to love, and love speaks to him, through him to the world. I thought that if Barry could get through the rain, I certainly could. Critics might think his music predictable, starting at a low point, then building up to, finally, a magnificent climax; but that is exactly what I love about his music.

I’ve always been an artist, though at present, I have not drawn anything at all. I can remember at a very early age, maybe 4-5, I drew a dinosaur, a stegosaurus, to be precise. Heck, nobody believed that I did it. Then I drew that head of a fawn that was an art test from the TV guide, you may remember it. Again, everyone thought I TRACED it, despite the fact that it was done on a heavy brown paper bag.. and was bigger…. geez. I always drew animals. I loved doing horses… beautiful and magnificent…. well, my young mind thought so.

Whenever I was working on something, I went into a trance-like state, not looking up until I was done. I believe that I was Spirit-driven… it had to be. I could feel myself getting drawn into the object I was working on, becoming a part of it, almost. I worked from either still life, or a picture and probably could have gotten into restoration, but did not have the self confidence to pursue anything back then. I did briefly attend night school, “Art in Advertising”, but I soon discovered that field was way to competitive for me. Also, in taking the classes, I felt that I was not creative enough for advertising. I am actually glad that I dropped out of that because I believe that my talent is a gift from God, and as such, is meant to be shared and not paid for. I am sure of that. I get so much joy from making gifts out of my artwork, crafts, knitting, whatever, that I could never ask for money. I’ve found that I have many creative outlets; so the fact that I seem to have lost my talent for drawing is not so bad because I know that it shows up in many other areas.

Color me Diversified!

The Lost Boy’s Socks


Okay, I didn’t really want to go out today, but I had had enough. I keep losing my son’s tiny socks in the wash and I just simply can’t find them.  It was so cold outside, and he’d just gotten over a cold… but I was going stir crazy and this seemed like a good excuse to get out.  I get so frustrated because I lose all the socks, especially my own novelty socks… and you know that I can’t even get by with two different ones of those, like I do with one blue and one black.

My son got up again today without his socks on. Oh yes, I know he gleefully pulls them off and I found out he gets a lot of satisfaction “letting” them fall behind the crib. One time I caught him in the act and he looked right at me, grinned, and simply let go!  There were no socks around to use in a pinch, so I decided to excavate the pair he had on last night from the pit. He only had them on a couple of hours before going to bed anyway. I wedged myself underneath that crib and saw there is a blanket hanging down from his mattress that we had used for padding so that the springs would not eat into the mattress (the Drake’s idea). So, I pull up the blanket and this is what I found:

The Lost Boys Socks
Evidently, I stumbled into the Land of the Lost Socks.   I counted 18 pairs of tiny socks.  That little goopy acted like I raided his stash!

Needless to say, I did not go out today.

Guitar Groopie


My Yamaha F-310

This is my Yamaha F-310 Acoustic Guitar. Isn’t he a beauty? You can’t really tell from this pic because I had to scale it down quite a bit.

I wrote about how I came to play the guitar in my post, “Soul Harvest” if you are interested in knowing the background. It was a time in my life when I was just divorced, broke, living in a closet I called a room and really alone for the first time in my life. I had always felt lonely, but I was never really, totally alone. It was scary, yet I had my first sense of independence just that I had no money to do anything (requiring money). I learned a lot of free or cheap things to do during that time and going to Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon with a good book was my “special” thing for myself after a week of work. I could sit there all day in a nice comfy chair, and nurse a coffee for as long as I wished. This was my first introduction to this concept of being able to hang out somewhere for practically nothing; as was my first introduction to Borders, a book store chain, that actually allowed people to sit all over the store on couches or on the floor in the isles to read whatever they wanted without the pressure to buy anything. So cool…. Remember this was back in the mid 90’s for me.

Okay, in walks my guitar and guitar lessons. This was my new BF for a good long time. I spent many hours playing, learning, blending with it and the music. I had always loved the sound of guitars. They seem to reach deep down and touch my soul. The music, whatever kind, really stirs me. I love the baritones up to the sopranos, each one touching me differently and in a different place in my body…. I can feel the resonance deep inside myself. I gravitate to long, slow, haunting sounds, much like what I’ve got playing now, which is why I put it up here. The opening stretch of music. I love Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life”… well that’s not guitar, per se, but her voice. Other guitar playing I like is on Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”, Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”, the pretty sound of “Greensleeves”, Savatage’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo (12/24)”. Anything that is expressive.

I remember the frustration I felt when I could not play the first chord I learned which was the jazz style “G”. That one is one of the hardest to finger. Your pinky has got to fly all the way up to the last string, while your first 2 fingers are squished together, fingering the lower ones. I was crying like you would not believe, but I got it. I learned all the basic chords and taught myself a lot more by downloading tabs for the chords. The minors really touch me. I will say here that if you are a musician, please excuse my musical speech because I have no formal training and don’t read music.

The first song I learned was by ear, AND it was one that I was unfamiliar with. My mentor, Anthony, is a country music lover and wanted us to play “The Convict and the Rose” by Hank Williams. A very easy song as it only has 2 chords, but I had no idea of how it should go. I floundered for a good long time until I eventually I got it. We had a little list of songs we did when we got together which was the nicest time I ever had up to that point. Much to Anthony’s delight I was very comfortable just playing the chords to his lead guitar.

I soon classified myself as a “rhythm guitarist” because I was only interested in learning chords and not the harmony. Partially because I cannot understand sheet music. It’s not that I’ve not tried, I just can’t get it. Not a surprise to me because I am severely mathematically challenged. I just don’t get it. I really liked the idea of playing chords with feeling, or with sort of a melody. I can’t really explain that better. Anthony had friends who played guitars, too, and we all got together a few times. They were all men, so I was inhibited by my shyness as I couldn’t get that “guy thing” out of my head. One of them was very kind and very cute and he even made a CD of his original songs. His musical mastery intimidated me all by itself, but he kindly complimented me when I accompanied him on “Leader of the Band” and “Scarborough Fair”. Every song we played, I wanted to play it slower. I wanted to savor every note, every vibration. I played a version of “Nights and White Satin” much slower than it’s usually done and it sounds beautiful. It was my favorite song to relax to. Oh, got to mention that I loved to be able to sing and play at the same time. Music and words forever blending together to form something beautiful, but words and music are distinct in their own way, much like a marriage. Ever like the words of a song, but not the music or visa versa? Music and words that are done right touch me like nothing else on earth ever could.

After I learned the basics, developmentally I came up against a stone wall. This means that I was playing the same way all the time and could not break out of that groove. I was told by Anthony to just keep practicing and eventually, it would happen, so that is what I did. One day, I did break out of it. I don’t know how it happened, but my hand suddenly did something different and I liked it so I kept doing it. I was elated for awhile, but then, I got entrenched in THAT groove and could not get out. I guess there is nothing wrong with that because the playing still sounds the same, but I got bored with it and anyone would. As with anything else, musical growth is essential or you just stagnate right where you are forever. I stuck with it, though, little by little I played less and less. Then with making wedding plans, then with the birth of our son, the guitar just stayed in the closet to this day. The only time it saw daylight was when I moved my closet to another room to make room for my son’s things.

Ah, now I am seriously thinking about taking it out again. Something I am really hesitating on because of the limited time I have to myself as it is; and I can only take it out when my son is safely gone to sleep in his crib. I know. He will want it even before I get a chance to take it out of the case. I have tolerated him getting into my stuff. I have tolerated him destroying my stuff; but this is one thing that he cannot be allowed to even get into a position to destroy. Despite my feelings, I am really eager to have my son be exposed to it, see what it can do. He is just too young and doesn’t get the concept yet that he needs to take care of his things…. (sigh)

Will close here. I want to say so much more, but a lot of the songs I loved to play escape my memory, but I’ll write more as things unfold here.

%d bloggers like this: