Blog Archives

Taking A Break From Mac Screen

A health expert recently recommended a break after a 3 hour stint at the computer.  He suggested using a timer to get up once every hour.  That can be easily done for a bathroom break, to get a cold drink, or for some, to look for a small healthy snack, like a fruit.

To ease eye strain one can always adjust the text size to make it larger.  To take my eyes away from the screen periodically, I have found the best diversion ever.  I stop blogging for a few minutes to watch 3 fancy tail rainbow male guppies, 3 female, 2 recently birthed baby fish, a snail, and a tiny shrimp who may come out of hiding.  Besides there are small water plants, including water lilies that seem to grow overnight and often have tiny flowers!  The small aquarium sits on the table where I usually blog on my laptop.  Looking away from the computer helps to exercise the eye muscles and ease eye strain.

But better yet, get up and move around EVERY HOUR!  Take a break from your computer and water those house plants, finish your breakfast dishes or straighten the pillows on your sofa, THEN jump back on your computer!

By the way, this is my 5th consecutive post with the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge; I’m done being challenged.  I’ll be ‘taking a break from my Mac screen!

This is actually a small 6×6 aquarium that sits on our large dining table where I use my MacBook Pro.





Why Do You Have To Do A ‘Daily Challenge’?

MY HUSBAND asked, “Why do you have to do a ‘Daily Challenge’?

Me:  “BECAUSE.  Because I want to see if I can do it, write a post a day, every day until Friday.”

Him:  “What are you planning to write about?”

Me:  “ANYTHING.  That’s the challenge, you know, ANYTHING, any subject and something different from how I would normally write.”

Him:  “So what do you have in mind?”

Me:  “THAT IS THE CHALLENGE!  There’s no theme this week so I can choose my own topics.  WHAT am I going to write about?!”

When I was teaching, my students marveled that I had so many stories to tell them.   So I’m sure I won’t be at a loss for one post a day, taking a day at a time!   Well, WHAT shall I write on?

Him:  (Husband is thinking and sometimes saying out loud:  “When are we having breakfast?”   “What’s for lunch today?”  ” Aren’t you taking too long on ONE POST?!”   “Oh well,  that will keep her out of my hair for a while, and I can do my computer work uninterrupted!”)


DAY 1  I am thinking of doing the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and plan to share Big Island photos in ‘Where Is A Good Place for Meditation?’  I’ll post 5 photos and write about Psalm 5 and prayer and meditation in a SHORT PHOTO STORY.

DAY 2  My  Short Story of yesterday was a challenge as I wrote ‘A Blog A Day? Why Not?!   That was because I saw that ‘RANTING’ was in the list of suggestions.  Through my frustrations I found at least 3 ways to post photos; the last was the easiest by far!  I discovered a simple way to bypass MEDIA and  the Media Library.

DAY 3  The idea for this blog, ‘Playing Guitar the Easy Way and Guitar Photos’ came from the number of views I continue to have on ‘My Takamine Guitars’ (June 7, 2012).  I thought there must be bloggers who have the same love as me for gospel music, are guitarists, guitar music aficionados/guitar collectors, Christians, or all of the above, thus the follow up blog.  And posting the 2 photos was a breeze!

DAY 4  That brings me up to TODAY’S BLOG POST!  And I already have 3 post topics brewing on the boiler!  I may make it after all!   Only thing is, I don’t really know how this Daily Challenge works.  What day is the last day of this ‘post a day’  Is it on my time or Greenwich time?  I don’t even know if I’m in the Daily Challenge since I haven’t the foggiest idea how to ‘grab a badge’!   Remember, I just figured out how to post photos!  And I have yet to learn how to link better because at this editing, one link still won’t work!  Can you find it?!

Well,  I should get off the computer and fix lunch before I hear something GROWL– (my husband’s stomach)!

Playing Guitar the Easy Way and Guitar Photos

Interest in my guitar post (My Takamine Guitars, June 7, 2012), prompted me to follow up with this post about my guitars and guitar playing.  It may be a surprise to some of you when I say that ANYONE can learn to play my style of playing the guitar, (also the ukulele and keyboard).  My way is an EASY way to play, especially if you like to sing, and if you like music.  For me, it has been a DETERMINATION to learn an EASY way without going the route of paying for arduous music training, taking lessons, and feeling pressured by teachers to perform.  I can ONLY play for fun and without stressing!

PHOTOS OF MY GUITARSLawsuit Takamine F310S on top; Takamine C132S Classical; Epiphone EC25 Espana folk guitar, bottom

From top to bottom:  ‘Lawsuit’ Takamine  F310S, Takamine C132S Classical,

Epiphone EC25 Espana Folk guitar.

This is the Takamine ‘Lawsuit Model’ with the Martin head.


You’ve heard the saying, “You can do anything you set your mind to do!”  This may have some truth to it, but being a Christian, I believe that “With God all things are possible”  (Mt 19:26).   God will take our desires and give us the ability to use His gifts for His glory.  I think a DESIRE to play music to accompany yourself will determine the level of enjoyment and success you can experience.  My EASY method works only if you SING along with your playing.  As a matter of fact, nearly everyone who plays with this method will usually sing along with their instrument!

With my background in teaching in early childhood education and elementary school, I HAD TO SING with my students; music was an important part of the curriculum.   My whole teaching career was spent in Christian schools where I played solo for class devotion, school assemblies, and programs.   I found out early on that I could sing better and on pitch when I had music accompaniment.  It seemed that the students enjoyed singing more, too, when I played my ukulele or guitar.

Through the years I took piano and even a few guitar lessons, but every form of music training eluded me and I was a dismal drop out.  I lacked discipline to learn and never could persevere at developing the skills for reading the simplest music.  The way I learned music was like this:  I chose songs that I wanted to learn or needed to learn and listened to them over and over.  I trained my ear to learn the melody, recognize pitch, rhythm, and especially to hear chord changes.   I began to learn and play chord progressions, basically with only the I, IV, V7 chords with a minor chord or two.  I have taught a couple of friends how to play by ear starting with these chords, and in a key that was comfortable to sing in.   Do you know that you can actually play all of your favorite songs in the one key that fits your vocal range?  My own grand daughters were thrilled when they learned that they had their own key to play and sing in!

Anyway, some years after I began playing this way, I took a guitar class for teachers thinking that I was ready to learn a little more than what I already knew.  Would you believe that the instructor taught nearly all of her songs in the key of D which I already was familiar with!  I was able to show her how to play in other keys with the use of a kapo.  I used to think that it was a ‘crutch’ and I was ‘cheating’ using a kapo, but found out it was used by even professional musicians!   I still use a kapo for playing in the key of F, but since I bought the steel string Martin Takamine I can play bar chords easier with the narrow neck.

After learning which chords are played in a particular key, I then went on to learn how to play chord progressions in other major keys.  That to me, is good enough to get by when playing with children, in schools, churches, nursing homes, in women’s fellowship and anyplace else my playing would be welcomed.  Where I may lack in chords, I made up in alternating bass strings and plucking patterns, which has come with practice.

So, the easy way to play music, I believe, is by learning to ‘play by ear’ and by using ‘fake sheets’ with lyrics and accompanying chords.  The advantage in being a musician who plays by ear is that you don’t need to depend on sheet music; you don’t even need to read music.  And you can play chords on other instruments like the ukulele and piano!  For example, if you were at a birthday party, you could plop down at the host’s piano and play ‘Happy Birthday’ by simply using chord progressions.  How simple can that be?!  A couple of piano teachers on You Tube said that they began to learn to ‘play by ear’ because even with years of formal music training, they could not play simple songs without sheet music.   A lot of professional musicians play their instruments ‘by ear’.

These days my Takamine C132S and ‘Martin Taka’F310S  are what I enjoy playing for my own devotions, for church and outreaches like nursing homes.  My grand daughters are using the Epiphone,but I’m looking for a smaller model for them since it is a full body instrument for an 11 and 14 year old.  For my ukulele group, I play a small, classic Martin ukulele.  We use fake sheets, but there are a few of us who can ‘play by ear’.

That is the long and short of my guitar stories.  If anyone has an easier way to learn to play the guitar, or can tell me how to move on to another level, do let me in on it!

Note added 4-4-13:  Read about converted Takamine and lawsuit Takamine guitars:

A Blog A Day? Why Not?!

WordPress has a Daily Post Challenge going on this week that seems like a free-for-all.  It may be a fun challenge since it’s not thematic, meaning to me that anyone who enjoys writing can write on anything on his/her mind about an ‘anything under the sky’ topic, but decent, and qualify in this latest competition.  The posts from this DPchallenge should prove to be some interesting reads!

Okay, I’ve chosen to RANT, how’s that for a change?!  I finished a photo story yesterday which started out to be a SHORT story, that could be done in a jiffy, but became a LONG short story that took almost 3 hours!!!  WHY?  Because I couldn’t remember the right steps to posting photos!  Everything that could go wrong happened with the photos placed in wrong order, the text that had to be adjusted; I kept previewing and updating, etc., etc.!!!  And I posted photos with a story just 6 weeks ago with ‘Peril on the Highway and Saved By Angels’ (Aug. 27, 2012).  Maybe I don’t remember that I spent a lot of time with that post, too!  But yesterday’s post was to take a short time, you know, short story- short time deal.

My husband said, “Didn’t you write down the steps like I told you to?!”  Poor guy, he hears me muttering under my breath when the computer can’t get things right.  (Blame the computer!)  I didn’t want to tell him that I did write it down on one of my little note pads before,  but I didn’t know which pad in the stack of unsorted paper stuff on my desk.  This time, finally after I was sure I was doing the right steps, I wrote instructions for myself in a new, bright orange notebook marked ‘MY BLOG’.  What a pain it was in my Ying Yang, or is it  the too frequent ‘senior moments’ for me- a SENIOR, who is blogging with a half million Word Press Bloggers, mostly half my age most probably!!!  GRRRR!

Where Is A Good Place for Meditation?

With a view like this one it is easy to  meditate on the beauty and wonders of God’s creation, and have a heart of thankfulness for the blessings and goodness of God.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 5. Verses 1-3, especially, are not only so meaningful, but were probably sung by David as he played on his harp:

“Give ear to my words O LORD, consider my meditation.

 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

I like to start the day with prayer otherwise I won’t get around to it after the day’s activities have begun.  This past April 2012 we went to the Hilton Waikoloa on Hawaii island for a weekend to attend a credit union convention.  My husband went to attend his morning seminar which included a breakfast for him, so I was on my own.  I went out to look for the right place to meditate. . .

On my walk through the resort grounds I came across a quaint little chapel which seemed to be an ideal place for quiet prayer and meditation.

Nearby, an unoccupied gazebo beckoned me, “Come on over here!”  So guess where I ended up?

After my quiet time, I enjoyed breakfast in the gazebo.

I hailed down a resort worker who was walking by and he took this photo of me.