New schedule

Things have changed a little bit on our blog.

Travelling TARDIS has shifted from Wednesday to Tuesday/Thursday, because the Guitar Updates have stopped. I felt like they were getting super repetitive this summer, and I wasn’t enjoying writing them any more.

Movie Reviews, for now, are on Wednesday.

And I’ve taken over writing some of the Monday/Friday blog posts because Éric, despite the doctor’s orders, has been forced back to work by WSIB. He started on November 2nd, which is when I am writing this.

With him physically at work for the first time since Pegasus was born, things have changed rather drastically at home.

For one thing, we adults have started going to bed an hour earlier (so 11pm instead of midnight, although we probably should be aiming for 10pm) because we are getting up at 6am instead of 7:30am.

Since the bulk of my writing was being done at night after the kids went to bed, I need to figure out a new way of writing. So far today, I’ve been writing on my phone during the day, in between reading books to my son, while remotely supervising Dragon’s virtual school. It’s been working fairly well, but I’m at a point in the book where words flow easily. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the momentum when it’s a point where I’m struggling.

I’m also now responsible for the kids for the entire day, waking them up, getting all three meals (because Éric isn’t home until 6pm), and tonight he’s grocery shopping, so I’ll be putting them to bed by myself as well. I recognize my privilege that I haven’t had to do this since the beginning. It’s still hard.

And I miss my husband.

Fortunately? for COVID, his office is still doing 3 days at home, so I’m only by myself for 2 days of the week, but those 2 days feel interminable.

However, the kids have been very good so far (separately, since Dragon was in the basement and Pegasus was with me) today, so I’m counting that as a win.

Apparently, saying “I know Papa doesn’t do it like this, but Papa isn’t here today, so work with me here” is working. So far.

Wish us luck.

A new health update from Éric on how he feels working against his doctor’s orders will be coming soonish. It really depends on how bad his pain is when he finishes work.

No NaNoWriMo

Nobody in our house is doing NaNoWriMo this year. Éric because of his arms, and me because I don’t want or need the pressure that comes from that. Plus, I’m still in the middle of one of my ghost writing novels. I can’t stop that one and I don’t have the energy to write two at once.

However!

We wish everyone who is attempting to write their novel this month lots of luck and good writing.

You can do it!

Guitar Lessons Part 65

July 21: Impatient

I’m very impatient today, with myself, with my playing, with my electronics…

Practice was okay. I played the melody and the walking song. I made some silly mistakes.

July 23: Repetitive

I’ve started to find the guitar updates super repetitive and boring. I’m not enjoying writing them, you’re probably not all that excited to read them lately.

I’m not fishing for compliments.

Every once in a while, I’ll have something exciting to say, and I’ll make a post.

But other than that, just assume that I’m practising daily, playing the melody, the walking song, “Get to Know You,” the wedding song, and the ballad, with a few random others thrown in.

Thank you for following me on this journey.

I’ve now been playing guitar and ukulele for over a year, written four songs and a melody, and improved beyond my wildest dreams.

I look forward to seeing what the next year brings.

As always, my ask box is open. 🙂

I took a break

I took a break from playing guitar this past August (2022). I played maybe one a week, and that’s generous.

I definitely lost all my calluses, but I started September feeling refreshed and ready to play again.

And even better, my arm didn’t hurt (as much).

I won’t be continuing to update daily on my progress. That was too exhausting to continue. When I have something interesting to say, I will make a post, but I don’t expect anything new for the next little while.

Guitar Lessons Part 64

July 15: Music video

I didn’t play, exactly, today.

I pretended to play while we recorded another part of our music video. This time, it was all 4 of us holding instruments and swaying to the music in our backyard.

I put my fingers on the correct chords, but only pretended to strum. So I consider that to be practising.

July 16: Not much

I played the melody and the walking song, without sheet music.

Today was a busy day. We filmed the last part of the music video!

We’re hoping to get it out by mid-August.

July 17: Didn’t

I took a break today.

An accidental break, but a break nonetheless.

I read over the wedding song to try to memorize it more, but I didn’t pick up an instrument.

July 18: Feeling that urge

I’m feeling like I need to write another song.

In our books, well, initially in Éric’s book The Sign of Faust, there is a band that lives forever. (Since the sixties, anyways.) They reinvent themselves every decade or so, change names after being out of the limelight and have a whole new sound so that they’re not recognizable.

Anyways, in our books, we mention several different iterations of their band and a couple of their songs, so I’ve got options.

I’ll have to think about it.

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

July 19: Melody

I forgot to play today, so right before the kids went to bed, I grabbed my hybrid and played the melody without even tuning first.

I’m actually quite impressed… It didn’t sound out of tune at all.

July 20: Dinner music

The kids ate first today, and I realized I had forgotten to practise. So I played the melody and walking song while they were eating.

I didn’t play more than that because my back hurts more than usual today.

Hard Week

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a high pain week. I’ve had to fight back tears a bunch, both from pain and feeling useless. Pain this week has hovered at a 6 and spiked to 8 a few times.

I’m once again trying to reach my doctor. I have more forms for him to fill out. I constantly feel like I’m trying to bridge information between my doctor, my work, and WSIB. It’s a frustrating and painful process.

Anyway, I’m going to be making a bunch of phone calls today and hopefully have a proper health update for Monday.

Take care of yourselves!

Éric

Guitar Lessons Part 63

July 9: Hybrid

I’m really happy with my hybrid.

I pulled it out quickly today when I had about ten minutes to play. It’s easy to tune using the electric part and it keeps its tune pretty well.

I played the melody, the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the first half of the wedding song.

I really need to memorize the rest of that song.

July 10: More than I thought

I practised the wedding song today without music, and I remembered all of the third verse! So that was exciting. Definitely more than I thought.

I don’t remember the fourth though.

It’s a WiP.

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

July 11: Promo material

I focussed mainly on the melody for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. I also played the walking song.

We’re going to be filming an amateur music video for our book this weekend, so I needed to practise the finger picking.

It’s going to be fun.

July 12: Filming, part 1

Part 1 was filmed this afternoon. It involved me playing the melody multiple times with both guitars for three different sites… So six times.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I assure you, it felt like it.

I’m exhausted.

July 13: Still a little sore

My arm still hurts a bit from all the recordings we did yesterday, so I didn’t play very long today.

I practised the melody (which, incidentally, I’ve been practising at a faster speed than I needed to), the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

I did use the sheet music today. There weren’t any big surprises, which was nice lol!

July 14: Walking song

I played the concert ukulele today. It needed tuning because it hasn’t gotten played very much, poor thing.

It’s not its fault. It was bought for my husband and he’s currently on sick leave for carpal tunnel and tendonitis, so he’s not playing anything at all.

We think I might have a muscle strain in my upper arm.

Ugh.

I don’t want to lose all my progress, but if this keeps getting worse, I’m going to have to take a break.

Anyway, I played the walking song on the ukulele today, twice. It’s hard to remember the different chords between the two instruments.

Quick Can-Con Report 2022

Hello Readers,

Jen and I were at Can-Con 2022 this weekend in downtown Ottawa. It was wonderful to see all those that could make it, and simultaneously felt like nothing had changed in two and a half years and like everything was a little off. That was probably because of the amount of wonderful people that were missing, either due to COVID or other circumstances.

However, we had a lot of fun and chatted with a lot of people. Jen had her first reading and her first pitch, both of which she handled admirably. No seriously, I think her part of the reading was way better than mine. Definitely better than my first readings.

We signed lots of books, and bought probably more.

It was a good time thanks to everyone who interacted with us.

Another big milestone; it was Dragon’s first event since lockdown. We felt comfortable bringing her since it was vaccine madnatory and masked at all times. She, somehow, remembered her Con manners and everybody loved her. She dialed up the cute to a near-painful level. It was great to see her being social and excited and just having fun with other people. She would walk around the vendor’s room by herself and come bouncing back to tell us about the random words she’d read on various book covers.

Dragon following and hiding from Derek Künsken, co-chair of Can-Con. This is a game the two of them have been playing for years and I’m not sure how she remembered it, but it was highly entertaining to watch. Hopefully Derek also thought so!

A lot of other things happened that I’m sure I’m forgetting right now. The big takeaway was that it was a wonderful convention with great people and one of the few times out of the house that I felt safe.

Thank you to everyone who was there, who bought, who volunteered and organized, and entertained Dragon. To those who couldn’t make it, I hope to see you next year.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Guitar Lessons Part 62

July 3: Pick

I forgot to say why I chose the title of yesterday’s post, so I changed yesterday’s and used it again today.

The pick!

When I first started learning guitar, I didn’t use a pick. I found that it made me feel separate from the guitar. I had no idea what string I was on. I still kinda feel like that when I’m playing the learning app, but for songs like the melody line of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, which I have memorized, I find it’s actually easier to use the pick (unless my fingernails are long, but that’s a whole other post).

I also prefer to use the pick to strum because then the strings don’t file my fingernails.

I prefer the sound without the pick, but feasibly, it’s just not sustainable.

I’m a pick convert.

I played my songs with the sheet music today. It almost feels weird doing that lol

July 4: Satisfying

I played today after lunch.

First, the hybrid, upon which I practised the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the ballad. (The latter because my daughter ran to get my music without me asking her because she wanted to hear it.)

Then I tuned the new concert ukulele that my husband got for Father’s Day. It’s a hybrid as well. It still needs a lot of fiddly tuning. Very frustrating, but I know it’ll get better. I played the walking song on it.

It is so satisfying to be able to pick up an instrument and be able to play something that I wrote on it.

That sounds like bragging, but it really isn’t. It’s just really cool to me.

July 5: Late night practising

I didn’t play earlier today, despite having woken up earlier than usual. I spent most of the day in a bit of a brain fog.

Right before we put the kids to bed, I played the walking song and “Get to Know You”.

I like how easy it is to tune and then play my hybrid.

July 6: Too fast

If I’m practising a song that is faster than usual, I tense my strumming arm.

Apparently.

I really have to be more careful with that. I’m not fully recovered from whatever was wrong with my arm before this point.

Anyway, I played the walking song, “Get to Know You,” the wedding song, and “La Da Dee” by Cody Simpson today.

July 7: Played

I played today. No music, so I played the walking song and “Get to Know You”.

Wanna know what song I can’t get enough of right now?

Jann Arden’s “You Love Me Back”

Lyric video of Jann Arden’s “You Love Me Back”

July 8: Whoops

Today was a strange day. Nothing got done because we, and just under half of the rest of Canada, had no internet!

Thanks Rogers.

(We’re not with Rogers, but use their infrastructure.)

Anyway, I completely forgot about playing my guitar until after the kids were in bed.

So I played the Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers melody and the walking song super quietly.

Oh, and we have internet back again, so that’s good news. 🙂

Guitar Lessons Part 61

June 27: Enthusiasm

I played after dinner today.

My daughter extremely enthusiastically sang along with me during “Get to Know You” and the chorus of the ballad.

I also played the walking song. I think she sang quietly along with the chorus, but I’m not sure.

I did play the learning app songs for the first time in quite a while. I was happy that I seem to not have done much worse than usual.

June 28: Lots of fun

I played the hybrid guitar today. I started off with the walking song and “Get to Know You” and then decided to try a bunch of songs I haven’t played in a while.

“Puff the Magic Dragon,” “The House of the Rising Sun,” “I Want It That Way,” “I Would Walk 500 Miles,” and “Somebody to Love” were the songs I played today.

It was a lot of fun. My daughter danced along with them.

June 29: 1 year anniversary

I’ve been playing guitar for ONE WHOLE YEAR. (June 29 2021-2022)

I am a little flabbergasted, both that it’s been a year and that I kept it up.

I’ve improved so much. I’ve written songs. I’ve learned how to strum and chords and finger picking.

I wouldn’t say that I’m super good, but I would say I’m decent.

I can play recognizable songs. I can sight read if the songs aren’t too complicated and I know them.

That’s pretty good. I’m so very proud of myself.

June 30: Hybrid

I’m really enjoying my hybrid guitar. I mostly play it acoustically because the extra effort to plug it in seems like a lot (tell me you’ve got ADHD without telling me you’ve got ADHD). It’s loud enough that it drowns out my voice if I’m not singing confidently.

I played (from memory) the walking song and “Get to Know You.” Then I pulled out the ukulele app and played a bunch of songs from that.

Maybe I played a little too long.

But I had a stressful morning.

July 1: The first of July

My kids are wearing orange shirts today, because every child matters. It doesn’t feel right to celebrate Canada Day when our history is steeped in the blood of First Nations children and Canada has yet to ensure the safe living conditions of current First Nations people.

I practised my hybrid today, playing the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the wedding song.

Oh, and we sold my electric! It was picked up today. I hope she’s even happier with it than I was.

July 2: Melody

One of the things I practise every day is the melody for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. I do this for a couple reasons.

1. I like how it sounds

2. I have no idea if my publisher is going to want me to play it at the book launch.

If the second does happen, then I definitely need to practise it. If it doesn’t happen, then I will have lost nothing.

I also played from memory the walking song, “Get to Know You,” and the first half of the wedding song.

Only the first half because I don’t know the second half as well.

I’ve got time to memorize it.

It’s not like the walking song that my son (3yo) requests to be sung to him before bed each night.

Gosh, I love that he does that.

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.

Image
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?