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Betty LaRue
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Nearly had a bust-up with a neighbour, who has erected a garden shed against the back wall of my tiny home - an old Sunday school - which would have made it impossible for me to re-paint the windows or re-point the brickwork. Having exchanged ‘a few words’ yesterday, I was planning to contact the local planning department for clarification.

 

This morning there was a knock on my door. “I’ve had a word with my wife”, the neighbour said, “and I’d like to apologise”. He said he’d move the shed to another part of their large garden, and I said that would be the end of the matter. Crisis averted… and from now on I’ll think of his wife as ‘the voice of reason’!

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4 hours ago, John Morrison said:

Nearly had a bust-up with a neighbour, who has erected a garden shed against the back wall of my tiny home - an old Sunday school - which would have made it impossible for me to re-paint the windows or re-point the brickwork. Having exchanged ‘a few words’ yesterday, I was planning to contact the local planning department for clarification.

 

This morning there was a knock on my door. “I’ve had a word with my wife”, the neighbour said, “and I’d like to apologise”. He said he’d move the shed to another part of their large garden, and I said that would be the end of the matter. Crisis averted… and from now on I’ll think of his wife as ‘the voice of reason’!

 

It is a shame when things like that happen. It spoils the rest of the day, well it does in my case.

 

Pleased it was settled amicably without having to involve the authorities.

 

Allan

 

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21 hours ago, sb photos said:

A new 2 seater sofa was delivered today to replace one that had been badly mauled by our cat. Come to think of it, all of the sofa's we have had over the past 40+ years have been replaced due to our adorable cats. Had a difficult time getting it into our front room, it is larger that the previous one, but is extremely comfortable.

 

When my new sofa arrived last year the delivery men said that if it had of been a three seater they would have had to cut it in half to get it round the corner.

 

Allan

 

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1 hour ago, Allan Bell said:

 

When my new sofa arrived last year the delivery men said that if it had of been a three seater they would have had to cut it in half to get it round the corner.

 

Allan

 


Alan, for a short time I did wonder if the window frame might have needed removing to get the sofa in. It was very tight even after removing the hall light fitting and a fully loaded bookcase. Hopefully this one will last us out.

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14 minutes ago, Thyrsis said:

It’s surprisingly easy to ‘pop out’ a plastic double glazed window unit! We did that at our son’s last  house to get a large sofa out.

 

I watched our double glazed windows go in, so removing it was always a possibility. I suspect putting it back and neatly applying the mastic would have been more tricky.

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Yesterday at around 6pm I was travelling north on the M1, and between junction 6 and 5 the England football team in two coaches with a huge police escort passed me going south to Wembley. Later on the short stretch of the A405 between the M25 and M1 I passed the Italian team stationary at the lights. They too had a fair size police escort, but with further police motor cyclists waiting ahead to join them. Was the biggest police escorts I'd seen for some time. I wish I had earlier investigated the possibility of shooting from a high vantage point, but hey-ho. I had my cameras in the car boot from shooting earlier in the day.

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Had a phone call last Wednesday to tell me I'd won a prize in a photography competition; "Floración del Tajinaste" Photos of an endemic Echium flower which blossom in May/June each year in the Las Cañadas del Teide National Park. There were 4 categories in all and you could enter 3 images into each. 892 images were entered and 163 photographers took part; with 15 prizewinners, so I'm rather pleased 😁

The prize giving was on Saturday night and off we trundled to the 4* Hotel Vilalba for the presentation. I was delighted to be awarded second prize in the night category with this image:

p2792089250-5.jpg

 

Phil

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Phil Crean said:

Had a phone call last Wednesday to tell me I'd won a prize in a photography competition; "Floración del Tajinaste" Photos of an endemic Echium flower which blossom in May/June each year in the Las Cañadas del Teide National Park. There were 4 categories in all and you could enter 3 images into each. 892 images were entered and 163 photographers took part; with 15 prizewinners, so I'm rather pleased 😁

The prize giving was on Saturday night and off we trundled to the 4* Hotel Vilalba for the presentation. I was delighted to be awarded second prize in the night category with this image:

p2792089250-5.jpg

 

Phil

 

 

 

So satisfying, well done Phil  !!

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1 hour ago, Phil Crean said:

Had a phone call last Wednesday to tell me I'd won a prize in a photography competition; "Floración del Tajinaste" Photos of an endemic Echium flower which blossom in May/June each year in the Las Cañadas del Teide National Park. There were 4 categories in all and you could enter 3 images into each. 892 images were entered and 163 photographers took part; with 15 prizewinners, so I'm rather pleased 😁

The prize giving was on Saturday night and off we trundled to the 4* Hotel Vilalba for the presentation. I was delighted to be awarded second prize in the night category with this image:

p2792089250-5.jpg

 

Phil

 

 

 

Nice one Phil.

 

Allan

 

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Not sure of this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Last year I attempted to raise threatened Monarch butterflies in a newly purchased butterfly cage. It didn’t end well because of a fly that laid eggs injected in them while they were tiny caterpillars.

One I managed to keep through emergence from the chrysalis, but it fell and damaged itself upon emerging. I cried like I’d lost my dog (back when I had a dog).

This spring, a family member asked if I were going to harvest monarch eggs off my milkweed plants this year. I answered a hearty NO, why would I open myself to grief again? I don’t need that. Backstory…I sat at my breakfast table many times a day, watching the caterpillars munch on their milkweed. I love nature, and found them fascinating. It was like they’d became my pets or something.

 

Guess who has 4 Monarch caterpillars, hatched from eggs I found, crawling around on milkweed cuttings in my butterfly cage.

When I spotted the eggs, how could I ignore them?
Ah, well. I’ll stock up on tissues times 4.

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I’ve had my Martin guitar 5 full days, and am learning a few chords shaped the easy way to start.  I’m working out the chords to “Born to Lose” right now. I’ve got C and G memorized (almost D). I started with just learning to strum properly. I hope I live long enough to learn to play riffs. (Single notes)

I’m waiting for calluses. I can’t practice long because of arthritis, so they’ll take a while to build up.

 

You guitarists, how long did it take you to just ‘know’ where the note you wanted was?

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I miss playing guitar. I played finger style on a classic guitar, selftaught -- folk, jazz, Brazilian, blues, and some of the simpler classical pieces like Romanza and Cavatina, the love theme from The Deer Hunter. There are a lot of guitar lessons shown on YouTube, Betty. Some might be worth watching. 

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3 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I’ve had my Martin guitar 5 full days, and am learning a few chords shaped the easy way to start.  I’m working out the chords to “Born to Lose” right now. I’ve got C and G memorized (almost D). I started with just learning to strum properly. I hope I live long enough to learn to play riffs. (Single notes)

I’m waiting for calluses. I can’t practice long because of arthritis, so they’ll take a while to build up.

 

You guitarists, how long did it take you to just ‘know’ where the note you wanted was?

 

Hey Betty,

It's all muscle memory when you play songs. If it's a relatively simple song, I can play most of it without looking down to see where my fingers are. If it's more complicated, I'm looking down more or less constantly, or certainly often, to make sure my hand is in the right place (I'm trying to train myself to look down less). But the more you play any particular song, the more your fingers will go to the right place of their own accord. Self taught, been playing for 12 years. Just started taking guitar lessons for the first time 3 weeks ago...

 

Single note riffs are often easier than playing chords. But you often find riffs are built out of chords, so your left hand forms the chord shape, and the right hand is playing single notes from that chord. And for playing riffs, you want as little motion for your right hand as possible. So just the right hand and the wrist moves, the arm should stay still generally.

 

Main thing to get right as a beginner I guess is to be able to change between chords without a big gap in time when moving your hand to the new chord shape. And that you fret the notes with your fingers to the right hand side of the fret as you look down. The closer your fingers are to the left hand side of the fret that you're on when you press down on the string, the more chance there is of buzzing in the string, so then you have to press down harder with your finger to stop that happening - which hurts / takes more effort.

 

Other easy chords to learn are E, E minor and A. Next step will be to learn bar chords like F, where you have to flatten your index finger against the strings.

 

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

I miss playing guitar. I played finger style on a classic guitar, selftaught -- folk, jazz, Brazilian, blues, and some of the simpler classical pieces like Romanza and Cavatina, the love theme from The Deer Hunter. There are a lot of guitar lessons shown on YouTube, Betty. Some might be worth watching. 

That’s all I’ve been doing, Edo!! I have about a dozen sites marked. I’d still be sitting here fumbling with the pick while staring at the guitar, otherwise. I’m trying to be patient. Impatience is my Achilles heel. I need to stay in one lesson until it’s second nature, instead of eagerly forging ahead of myself.

Many years ago when I had a guitar, I never played more than chords, and only about 3 or 4. The guitar was strung backwards, didn’t have a good sound, so I wasn’t that motivated. I did seem to have an affinity for the steel guitar, but it was my husbands’s. He didn’t have an ear for music, so I didn’t play it much because I didn’t want to discourage him with my progress on it.

This left-handed Martin sounds good, and I don’t have 4 other people in the house to cook and clean for while they’re impatient with any minute I try to carve out for myself. They always were put first in my life, as it should have been. 
The past couple of years is the first I’ve had “me” time.

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2 hours ago, Steve F said:

 

Hey Betty,

It's all muscle memory when you play songs. If it's a relatively simple song, I can play most of it without looking down to see where my fingers are. If it's more complicated, I'm looking down more or less constantly, or certainly often, to make sure my hand is in the right place (I'm trying to train myself to look down less). But the more you play any particular song, the more your fingers will go to the right place of their own accord. Self taught, been playing for 12 years. Just started taking guitar lessons for the first time 3 weeks ago...

 

Single note riffs are often easier than playing chords. But you often find riffs are built out of chords, so your left hand forms the chord shape, and the right hand is playing single notes from that chord. And for playing riffs, you want as little motion for your right hand as possible. So just the right hand and the wrist moves, the arm should stay still generally.

 

Main thing to get right as a beginner I guess is to be able to change between chords without a big gap in time when moving your hand to the new chord shape. And that you fret the notes with your fingers to the right hand side of the fret as you look down. The closer your fingers are to the left hand side of the fret that you're on when you press down on the string, the more chance there is of buzzing in the string, so then you have to press down harder with your finger to stop that happening - which hurts / takes more effort.

 

Other easy chords to learn are E, E minor and A. Next step will be to learn bar chords like F, where you have to flatten your index finger against the strings.

 

Good luck!

You are far more advanced than I, Steve. I would love to take lessons, but I get stressed over others’ expectations. I have arthritis in my hands, so I cant  practice as much as others can. The tenderness in my joints dictate my sessions, which are only 10-15 minutes long. So it would be expensive to pay someone since it will take me longer to advance. Yes, the gap between chords as I change is quite long right now! 😄 I have to constantly look, but years ago, before I forgot everything I learned, I got better at that. I will again, because I’m determined.

I’m not sure if I can physically perform a bar chord. Hurt pretty much when I tried it. When you are talking left and right above, are you considering my left-handedness? Before I set it in my mind what you are saying, I want to be sure of that. Right now, I’m forming chords with my right hand, strumming with the left. Putting my fingers just behind the “right” side of the fret.

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3 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

You are far more advanced than I, Steve. I would love to take lessons, but I get stressed over others’ expectations. I have arthritis in my hands, so I cant  practice as much as others can. The tenderness in my joints dictate my sessions, which are only 10-15 minutes long. So it would be expensive to pay someone since it will take me longer to advance. Yes, the gap between chords as I change is quite long right now! 😄 I have to constantly look, but years ago, before I forgot everything I learned, I got better at that. I will again, because I’m determined.

I’m not sure if I can physically perform a bar chord. Hurt pretty much when I tried it. When you are talking left and right above, are you considering my left-handedness? Before I set it in my mind what you are saying, I want to be sure of that. Right now, I’m forming chords with my right hand, strumming with the left. Putting my fingers just behind the “right” side of the fret.

 

Morning Betty,

Oh dear, I was considering that you might be left handed, which would render all my lefts and rights opposite, but I was like, "nah, low chance of that!" Maybe playing might help with arthiritis? Hopefully the more you play, the more flexible your right hand will become. I can do things now, without too much stress, that hurt when I started and felt like I'd never be able to do.... My hand just got more flexible with playing. I'm still not great with chords tbh, because I've always played more melody, but I can form a lot of the basic chords quite quickly now - muscle memory.

 

Enjoy your "me time"!

 

p.s. An electric guitar is easier to play than a steel string acoustic - the strings are thinner and are a lot close to the neck so you don't need to press so hard and it's quicker to play notes. Not sure if you've come across hammer ons and pull-offs, as well as string bends and legato slides (gliss), but they're all easier on an electric guitar.

 

So electric is better for playing melody, particularly when you're using a pick, with the acoustic better for strumming chords (although you can play melody fine on a steel string acoustic too and it's good for finger plucking). But then you need an amp for an electric guitar  and a connecting cable to the guitar. If you get a modelling amp, you can get a range of sounds, including acoustic, and there is of course a volume control as well on the guitar so you don't need to worry about waking the neighbours. 🙃

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Steve is right about E being one of the most natural keys for the guitar, B7 is the only complex chord you need for that. Country songs can usually work with three basic chords in the first position. With the jazz I played and the America Songbook stuff, harmony is more complex. Electric guitar? That's a whole different world.

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2 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Electric guitar? That's a whole different world.

 

Ha ha, my brother started playing electric guitar at school after he got a gf playing guitar in a band. She subsequently dumped him after he spent a load of money on his guitar, but he surprisingly kept it up and got pretty good. Which inspired me, so I started playing acoustic when I was 28 - I didn't want to go to the expense of getting an electric guitar if I decided I didn't like it. But I did like it, so splashed out 10 years ago on a snazzy Fender Telecaster. It's great fun 😃

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15 hours ago, Steve F said:

 

Ha ha, my brother started playing electric guitar at school after he got a gf playing guitar in a band. She subsequently dumped him after he spent a load of money on his guitar, but he surprisingly kept it up and got pretty good. Which inspired me, so I started playing acoustic when I was 28 - I didn't want to go to the expense of getting an electric guitar if I decided I didn't like it. But I did like it, so splashed out 10 years ago on a snazzy Fender Telecaster. It's great fun 😃

I started electric many years ago, mainly because it was used and didn’t cost much and my husband found the deal. At the time, I was singing a bit, but I didn’t have a mike, and I have a somewhat soft voice. (A lot from shyness) It was strung upside down and rattled.

Then my husband bought me a classical with nylon strings, (without asking what I wanted) very high action that shredded my fingertips even with the calluses I had built up.

This one, my Martin that I finally bought to suit what I wanted, is left-handed, steel strings, low-action and sweeeet.

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3 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I started electric many years ago, mainly because it was used and didn’t cost much and my husband found the deal.

 

Only in my teens did I for a short time attempt to learn to play the acoustic guitar. It didn't last long. When my daughter was 15 we bought her a Stratocaster copy and a Peavey 15W practise amp with reverb. She would play in her bedroom with a school friend, and they both had the same guitar tutor. Later she lost interest  when preparation for school exams took over. The Peavey was sold to a neighbour and the guitar sold via her tutor. 

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I've had three separate adventures in music. I was a jazz trumpet player in my teens and early 20s. Adventure #2 found me as a folk singer and it was then that I played guitar to accompany myself. When I came back to the States from Oxfordshire, film had begun to move into digital and my ability to earn enough from stock disappeared. At the same time a nephew was composing music on a keyboard synth. I watched him for awhile and thought "I can do that." And so I did. I composed very short pieces for commercials and a documentary as a ghost writer for a former jazz mate of mine, he in LA and me in NYC. 

 

None of these attempts at a music career ever really got off the ground. Until about 10 years ago, I continued to play the guitar for myself until it blew up on my wall one night from the dry steam heat in my old NY building. All three of these efforts are very long stories, so I just touched on them here. 

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7 hours ago, sb photos said:

 

Only in my teens did I for a short time attempt to learn to play the acoustic guitar. It didn't last long. When my daughter was 15 we bought her a Stratocaster copy and a Peavey 15W practise amp with reverb. She would play in her bedroom with a school friend, and they both had the same guitar tutor. Later she lost interest  when preparation for school exams took over. The Peavey was sold to a neighbour and the guitar sold via her tutor. 

People do things on whims and urges that don’t last. I’ve been guilty of this, too. For me, like sewing my own clothes which I discovered I hate to sew. Drives me around the bend.
The problem lies in not knowing in the beginning whether it’s a short-lasting whim or a long-lasting desire that turns into love. All we can do is follow it (buy the d**ned sewing machine) and see where it leads. People, and I’m very guilty of this, picture themselves in the beginning doing something really well, then soon find out it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to get there. Practicing consistently to get there is not what they imagined, heck, that's hard work and time consuming, and there are a lot of other things one can do to get quicker gratification. (Like fishing!) 😊

 

When I was 4-5 years old, my oldest sister who was 9-10 took piano lessons. I envied her so much and often plunked around on the piano when I could. There was no money for me to have lessons, too. I got sis to teach me to play chopsticks that we played together. I also picked out a child’s ditty called “I dropped my dolly in the dirt”.

Soon, the piano was history when we moved. All of my life since then I’ve had dreams where I’d be somewhere, see a piano, sit down and instinctively begin playing the most beautiful music, my fingers knowing where to go without my thinking it. The compositions were often new, nothing I’ve ever heard before.
Those repetitive piano dreams still happen.

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