Guitar Lessons Part 60

June 21: IMHO

I played my acoustic today. Gosh, it’s pretty.

I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song again.

The wedding song sounded so good today!

I hit every rhythm, every volume change. I wish I’d been recording.

June 22: Heavy

I played the electric today. It’s so heavy. I sit down to play because I can’t stand the weight on the strap. I can barely lift it off the hook on the wall.

I’m sure my arm being sore might account for some of the trouble I’m having with it.

But it doesn’t hurt my arm to play it, and that’s what’s important right now.

We’re looking at getting me a hybrid that has smaller depth like the electric and is lighter like the acoustic.

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the ballad.

I know, the ballad!

I wanted to see if my arm hurt after playing its quick strum rhythm. It doesn’t hurt more than it did before I started, so I’m calling it a win.

June 23: Sometimes

I played the electric today. It started off great; I played the melody line for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers and it sounded perfectly in tune. Even the walking song sounded fine.

But then “Get to Know You” started sounding off-key, and I had to stop after only one chorus of the wedding song. I checked the tuning and it’s fine.

I have no idea what’s going on with that.

Any ideas?

I finished up by playing the walking song on the soprano ukulele.

Which, btw, I have not posted a picture of!

Here’s my little Stitch (daughter) with the ukulele.

Dragon with the new soprano ukulele (it glows in the dark!)

June 24: Eek

My real mother’s day gift came in today. Originally, we had ordered a hybrid guitar from a German company. I was really excited about it, but it wasn’t coming in until June. But my arm was hurting when I played my acoustic, so I couldn’t wait.

So we got my pink electric guitar.

It was super cool, and it didn’t hurt to play, but it had a lot of negatives; it was heavy, I had issues with the tuning, it was full-sized.

Well, we gave up on the German one. It updated and said it wasn’t coming in until August or September.

@ericdesmarais scoured guitar companies and found me a replacement, and it came in today!

It’s a hybrid, so the amp I have works with it when I’m going to record, but tbh, it sounds great even without it. It’s light, the tuning is great, and it’s travel-sized. And it doesn’t hurt my arm.

So we’re selling the electric, because I will never want to play it now that I have this hybrid.

It’s blue, btw.

Isn’t it pretty?

My new guitar! Yes, it’s blue.
It’s 3/4 size, so it matches my first guitar. I still like the sound best from my first guitar, but I love my new one!

June 25: Hybrid

I played my new hybrid guitar today.

I really love it.

I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song. And then I played the walking song again because @ericdesmarais said he couldn’t hear my singing the first time.

The hybrid is louder than the electric guitar, even not plugged in.

I’ll get used to it.

I love the size of the hybrid.

Very happy.

So we’re selling the electric. Pick up only because shipping is ridiculous.

June 26: Quick

I had like, ten minutes before my dad picked us up for Sunday dinner today to play. I quickly tuned the hybrid and then played the walking song without music.

I had to backtrack a couple times because I forgot the words, but I’m happy to say that I played the right chords at the right times. I think.

It sounded right, so that’s what matters, right?

Guitar Lessons Part 59

June 15: Feels good

I played my acoustic again today. Gosh, I missed it.

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song. I modified a chord from D to D7 in the verse. I like it SO much better now. It’s got that right sound.

After those three, I was ready to stop.

But my daughter was sad. “But I want to dance!”

Not a problem. I’ll put on music.

“But I like your music better.”

Wow. Thank you.

I was afraid to overdo it with my arm though, so I had her grab the soprano ukulele and I played the walking song again. She danced, my son danced and sang along.

He’s been consistently asking only for my songs as bedtime songs.

It feels really good that my kids like my songs. And they’re exposed to lots of really great music.

June 16: Hands

I had a really hard time stretching my fingers enough to reach the proper chord today. Not unusual chords or anything; a C. I play C chords all the time. They’re in every song. But today, my fingers just weren’t having it.


I practised the walking song and “Get to Know You” on the acoustic.

Then I practised the walking song again on the soprano ukulele.

June 17: So sweet

I played my acoustic today again.

I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the French song.

It had been a while since I played the French song, and it went really well, both the playing and the singing, so that was nice.

Then I played the walking song again on the tenor ukulele.

After I was finished, I packed up, and then my son brought me the soprano ukulele, because that’s what I’ve been using the past few days.

So cute.

Btw, last night after I sang him the walking song, he asked me what a bunch of words in it meant. Like, I finished singing, and then he went through it without me reminding him of words, and asked me their meanings.


He’s not even 3yo yet.

Sure, it’s not exactly a complicated song, but it’s not like it’s a nursery rhyme!

He asked what “drank his brew” meant. (Wizard brew)

He’s so good with music it’s a little intimidating.

June 18: Sore

My arm was sore today, so I played the electric (and the soprano ukulele at the end).

I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

I’m not 100% sure about the change I made to the chords in the wedding song the other day. I’ll have to play it again another day to see.

I still really love all my songs. That’s pretty great, IMHO.

June 19: Pain

I overdid it. Not with guitar, but I went to the park with my kids and husband.

We played with a soccer ball (I won’t say we played soccer, because with an almost 3yo and a 5.5yo, you can’t really do that).

It was a lot of fun.

But I overdid it and my chronic back injury (lumbar, in case you’re curious) flared up.

I couldn’t even brush my hair after my shower. Do you notice how much you use your back muscles when you brush your hair?

Needless to say, I did not play guitar at my usual time today and thought that I wouldn’t be able to play at all today.

But after we put the kids to bed, I played the walking song on the electric (not plugged into the amp). It was nice to be able to play, even if it was only the one song. I couldn’t have played any more even if I’d wanted to, though.

Oh, and I didn’t use the sheet music!

June 20: Allergies

How do performers deal with allergies?

Everything sounded off, my voice kept cracking…

In short, it was frustrating.

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song on the electric again.

Afterwards, I played the walking song on the soprano ukulele.

Guitar Lessons Part 58

June 9: The pick

I’ve been practising using the pick for melodies and I think I’m getting faster… At least on the one melody that I play. I don’t like using the learning app with the electric guitar, so I’ve really fallen behind on those songs. Instead I’ve been playing the melody that I wrote for the book trailer for “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.” It’s not out yet, but I promise I’ll link to it when it is and flood your dashes with it as often as I have the cover reveal. 😉

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the ballad today on the electric. I kinda like the ballad on the electric. It’s got a cool sound to it.

Then I played the walking song on the soprano ukulele. I don’t think I tuned it quite right, as the G chord sounded off to me.

June 10: Woo no pain!

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song today on the electric. Then I played the walking song again on the tenor ukulele.

And guess what?!

Well, you probably already guessed from the title of this post.

My arm doesn’t hurt!!

It’s such a relief.

My son has been asking for “Randal’s standing song” for his bedtime song the past two nights. I almost didn’t correct him because that’s so cute!!!

I discovered that I know the lyrics (with a couple hesitations) fairly well, but the melody eludes me when I’m not playing an instrument.

In other news, @ericdesmarais and I finished writing our fourth book together last night!! (In a little under a year and a half, in case anyone is curious.) Faymous is going to be going out to beta readers sometime this summer, after the novella is written at the end of it.

Feel free to AMA about it!!

June 11: Memorizing

I didn’t play today, but I am working on memorizing the walking song. I only hesitated once while singing it to my son.

I’ll call that a win.

June 12: Walking song

My son is a big fan of singing along with me. I hope he never grows out of it.

Today, I played the tenor ukulele quickly, only practising the walking song. My son competed with me, trying to sing the lyrics ahead of when I was playing them.

So we had a discussion about how to sing with accompaniment and I played the song again. He seemed to have gotten the concept.

I’m so proud.

P.S. It’s our 13th wedding anniversary today!

June 13: Back at it

I played the electric again today. I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

I also played the soprano ukulele to practise the walking song again.

My son played the ukulele after I put it down. He’s getting very good at strumming.

June 14: Acoustic

I played my acoustic today for the first time in a while.

I so adore it.

I played the learning app (struggled, but managed to pass), the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

My arm is tired. It’s not used to the wide body.

Choose Your Own Adventure – Welcome to Westmeath

You place your last box on the kitchen counter. Finally, all moved into your new apartment, your first on your own! Satisfied, you look around the little bachelor apartment with a smile. You can’t wait to get started unpacking.

Before you can begin, the scrape of paper reaches your ears. You look down at your feet and see a white envelope. Quickly you open your door and poke your head out into the hallway, but nobody’s there. Shrugging, you close the door and turn your attention to the letter in your hands. There is no return address.

Open the letter

Open the letter

It reads, There is a $100 tax to the Oldtown Council, due on the 1st of the month. It shall be collected by assistants.

You frown, confused. You don’t recall the apartment manager mentioning this tax when you signed the rental agreement. Tomorrow is the first of the month. What do you do?


Look for work

Ignore the letter

You decide to ignore the letter. The first of the month is tomorrow and you just moved in. There’s no way they’d want to collect so soon. You dig a magnet out of a box and put the letter on your fridge so that you’ll remember and start unpacking.

You go to bed excited for your first day in Westmeath. First up, job hunting!

The next morning, you are woken bright and early by a knock on your door. You open it, bleary-eyed, and see a young man. He asks you for the money.

You have no cash on hand and ask for an extension. He says nothing else and leaves. You close your door, feeling unsettled, but ready to start your day.

You leave your apartment and head down the street. A rough hand pulls you into an alley. You get the impression of a large body, larger than any human could possibly be, and you hear a voice growl, “If you cannot pay the Beast, your life belongs to him.”

You feel a swooping sensation in the pit of your stomach, and then know no more.

You have been kidnapped!

The End

Try again from the beginning?

Go Look for work

You try to figure out how to get a job quickly. You don’t have internet or a Door Tech cell phone. You don’t have a printed resume, and have no idea where to find the library. How are you going to get a job?

Ask a neighbour

Walk around the neighbourhood

Ask one of your neighbours if they know of a place that is hiring

You decide that meeting your neighbours would be better than aimlessly wandering around the neighbourhood. In your hallway, you wonder which door you should knock on first.

The door directly across the hall

The door at the end of the hall

The door beside yours

Walk around the neighbourhood to look for job postings

You head out the door to see if any of the businesses on Gore Line have job postings in their windows. You turn right and see a restaurant called Mortimer’s Diner. You push open the door, a bell ringing overhead.

Mortimer’s Diner

The door at the end of the hall


You decide to try the door at the end of the hall. A tall blonde white woman in her early twenties with sparkling green eyes answers the door with a smile. She introduces herself as Kennedy Fairfield and suggests you try Oven Baked. She offers to walk you there, as it’s on her way to work.

She grabs her purse and the two of you head to Gore Line, turning left when you reach it. Kennedy works downtown in a boutique lingerie store called Discreet Frills. You’ve only known the young woman for a few minutes, but you can see how her sparkling personality would work well in a sales situation.

She leaves you outside the bakery.

Oven Baked

The door beside yours

You knock on the door of the neighbouring apartment to yours. A short wizened woman leaning on a cane that looks like a house with a chicken’s leg answers the door and grins up at you. Apparently she was expecting you and introduces herself as Lydia.

A little unnerved by that, but reassured by her smile, you ask her if she knows where you could get a job for some quick cash. She directs you to The Hawaiian, on the corner of Raglan and Plug.

The Hawaiian

The door directly across the hall

You knock on the door directly across the hall from yours. A blonde white woman of average height in her mid-thirties opens it. A miniature version of her peeks around the mother’s legs, blue eyes wide. She introduces herself as Michelle Swan, and the little girl as Evanna.

Michelle furrows her brow in thought when you ask about any jobs in the area, and finally suggests Judy’s Butchery, on Gore Line to the left.

You’re willing to take anything at this point. You thank Michelle and head off to talk to Judy.

Judy’s Butchery

The Hawaiian

The Hawaiian, it turns out, is a pizza restaurant, part of a larger building that houses the Oldtown Community Centre. The sign on the outside looks cheesy, but it seems to fit. A large metal pineapple clock continues the theme inside the restaurant.

The assistant manager, a tall classically handsome white man who looked to be in his early twenties, introduces himself as Nick. You explain that you’re looking for work.

Nick hesitates.

Do you mention the note to Nick?

Do you say nothing?

Judy’s Butchery

You enter the butchery and are greeted by a tall imposing Black woman. When you ask for work, she gives you a once over and then offers you the choice between two jobs.

Hauling meat into the freezer

A padded assailant for her self-defence classes

Mortimer’s Diner

A tall thin white man who looks to be in his late fifties greets you pleasantly and introduces himself as Jesse, the owner.

You ask him if he has any job openings.

He doesn’t, unfortunately, and wishes you luck on your job search.

When you leave the diner, you are approached by a man and a woman in purple leather jackets. They offer you a job delivering packages. You’re fairly certain they’re not the reputable type of employers.



Oven Baked

The bakery smells amazing, even from outside. Smells of fresh bread and cakes waft over you when you open the door. There are a couple people sitting at the tables, chatting while they eat a quick meal. You walk up to the counter, where a Middle Eastern man with a name tag that reads Sam smiles pleasantly and asks how he can help you. When you tell him you’re in need of a job, he strokes his chin thoughtfully.

While he’s thinking, a teenage boy saunters out of the back. He greets you cheerfully and introduces himself as Carter, the son of the bakers. When he hears about your problem, he has a suggestion. So does Sam.

Do you take Carter’s suggestion?

Do you take Sam’s suggestion?

Hauling meat into the freezer

Hauling unbutchered meat into the freezer from delivery trucks is really hard work. You’re exhausted after the second carcass.

On a break between trucks, you are approached by a man and a woman in purple leather jackets. They offer you a job delivering packages. You’re fairly certain they’re not the reputable type of employers.



Mention the note

While Nick is hesitating, you blurt out the whole story and tell him about the note.

Nick listens patiently, a furrow on his brow. When you finish, he tells you that they’re not really hiring, but one of their delivery people called in sick that morning, and they can use a replacement for today only.

You leap at the chance and thank him gratefully.

On your fifth delivery, to a house on Riverdale St, you knock on the side door of a cute little bungalow, which seems to be the style of most of the houses on this street. A tall, muscular man with shaggy dark hair and bronze skin answers the door.  He looks to be in his mid-twenties, and is wearing a sweaty tank top and gym shorts.

He checks the pizza and hands you a wad of cash with a smile. You count it disbelievingly and try to hand him back half the tip. He shakes his head and closes the door, mouth full with a bite of pizza.

You look at the name on the receipt, Jason Johnson, and wonder who he is. His tip puts you over what you needed for the tax.

You pay the tax and are safe… this month.

The End

Padded assailant for self-defence class

Judy informs you that the first class is in ten minutes. You head up to the third floor above the butchery, where her dojo is located. Judy helps you into the padded outfit, securing the straps behind you when you can’t reach. The class seems to be for under five-year-olds. These kids barely come to your waist and you can’t help but find them adorable.

Adorable until one of them throws you across the room so hard that you hit your head against the wall. You’re dizzy when you stand up and Judy examines your eyes with concern.

You have a concussion.

She calls an ambulance and you get taken to the hospital for observation.

In the middle of the night, you feel a presence in your sterile hospital room. You ask who’s there, grabbing weakly for your call button. It’s not where you left it, clipped to the bar of your bed.

“You didn’t manage to collect the fee required by the Beast,” says a soft voice. You can’t tell if it’s a man’s or a woman’s, it’s so quiet. “The Beast grants no second chances. Say goodbye to your life as you know it.”

You have been kidnapped!

The End

Try again from the beginning?

Make a different choice at Judy’s?

Say nothing

While Nick is hesitating, an older, affluent-looking white man comes up beside him. He introduces himself as Claude, the manager of The Hawaiian. He looks apologetic as he tells you that they’re not hiring at the moment.

He suggests you try Oven Baked on Gore Line.

Take Carter’s suggestion

Carter suggests you head to Judy’s Butchery a couple buildings down. She often gets deliveries and could use the help.

Go to Judy’s Butchery

Take Sam’s suggestion

Sam suggests you visit The Hawaiian. They sometimes need extra hands when the community centre, which shares the same building, is booked for an event.

On your way to The Hawaiian, a big guy with a switchblade steps out of an alley. He demands money, which you haven’t got, and you nervously try to figure out how to get out of the situation.

Just when you’re about to run, a shadowy figure in black appears between the two of you. You know it’s not safe to stay and watch, but the figure in black disarms the mugger and has him unconscious in seconds. Then he turns to you. You see that he’s wearing a shadowy domino mask over his eyes, obscuring his features. He introduces himself as The Westmeath Phantom, checks you’re okay, and asks if you’re near your destination.

You explain that you’re heading for The Hawaiian to ask for a job, and he tells you not to bother, that they’re not hiring. Instead, he suggests that you try Mortimer’s Diner.

With that, he hoists his prisoner over his shoulder and disappears.

You blink in surprise. A real-life superhero? Not what you expected when you moved to the tech capital of Canada!

You continue on your way to Mortimer’s Diner.


You accept the job from the people in purple leather jackets. They give you a package and an address.

You head off with the package under your arm. A couple blocks away, a cop car stops you and an officer gets out of the car. He asks to see inside the package.

You know you can say no because he doesn’t have a warrant, but you nervously hand the brown envelope over, worried that there might be drugs or something else illegal inside.

When the cop pulls out a rewritable CD, you sigh with relief. It has a crude symbol drawn on it and reads Stargate Season 5.

The officer makes a tsking sound, pulls out his ticketing book, and writes you a ticket for two hundred and fifty dollars for intent to sell copyrighted material.

You return to the people in purple leather jackets and show them the ticket. They laugh it off, but the experience soured you. You didn’t get paid and you’re even more in debt than you were before!

You decide to try and find another job.


These people look kinda sketchy and you don’t trust them.

You politely decline and decide to try a different method of looking for work.

Decline (2)

You decline politely; you’ve already accepted a job with Judy and you won’t leave it half-done. The work doesn’t get any easier, and you’re near exhaustion by the end. At the end of the afternoon, Judy pays you and compliments you on a job well done. You count out the bills, almost crying with relief that you managed to make enough to cover the tax.

Judy is concerned and asks you what the urgency was.

You explain about the letter you received, and she frowns. “I’m going to look into this. If you need money next month, come and see me. I’m not aware of such a tax.”

You pay the tax and are safe… this month.

The End

Want to know more about the people you just read about? Do you want to solve the mystery of the letter?

Read Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers for more!

Physical version, electronic version AVAILABLE NOW!

Guitar Lessons Part 57

June 3: New uke

We bought a new soprano ukulele. The old one was losing its tune by the end of a song. I’m not sure about this new one yet. The strings haven’t settled.

I played the song that came with it “House of the Rising Sun” and the walking song.

I look forward to testing it more tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll like it better.

June 4: Bonus

I asked my son to get my music for me today. He brought up some books too (not surprised. There’s a reason I don’t ask him to get it very often).

Today I played three instruments (not all at the same time).

I started with the electric. I played the walking song, “Got that Feeling,” “Crazy little thing called love,” “Perfect,” and “Shake it off.”

Then I tried to play “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” but my electric is a full size guitar, and my fingers don’t stretch that far for the G7 chord.

So I put my electric away and grabbed my acoustic instead. I haven’t played my acoustic in a while. I missed it. So I played that mouthful of a song, and then I played the walking song again because I realized I hadn’t played it on the acoustic before.

And then I picked up the new soprano ukulele and tried to tune it again. Then I played the walking song for the third time today and checked the tuning, and it was fine! Yay!

Also yay: my arm doesn’t hurt too much!

June 5: Memorizing

I picked up the soprano ukulele just before lunch today and played the walking song.

Well, the first verse and the chorus.

I need to memorize the song.

I mean, I know the chords, because they’re pretty simple, but I don’t know the words yet!

June 6: Relief

I played the electric most today; the walking song, “Get to Know You,” the wedding song, the ballad, AND the French song.

And then I even picked up the soprano ukulele and played the walking song again.

And guess what?

My arm doesn’t hurt at all!

I’m not sure what happened or why, but I really hope this continues to be a trend.

June 7: Future

@ericdesmarais and I talked about our plans for the future of our songs.

As you may or may not know, all these songs I’ve been writing (there are 4 now and husband has written one) were written because of our books.

Our first book, “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers” (available for pre-order, comes out September 15, 2022) does not have a song in it, but “Crushing It” (coming out spring 2023) has the first song I wrote in it.


We were thinking of releasing that song as a single after our first book comes out in the fall. As a way of drumming up interest, you know?

I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited about the idea.

I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song on the electric, and then the walking song on the soprano ukulele.

June 8: Quick

I only played two songs today; the walking song and “Get to Know You”.

The practice went well. I was just tired.

We’re not having a great day today, all combined.