Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snapped Strings...

Funny how things you chat about sometimes come to reality. And that reality can really bite you in the rear end.

I'm playing Silent Night for Midnight Mass. I've been practicing and last week tried a sound check. The amp didn't work. Rats.

So I asked my guitar teacher, and he said, "Change your battery." The pickup in my Seagull Artist guitar uses a 9-V battery and I hadn't changed it in a while. To be truthful, I don't actually play it as much in this church as I did in my other church; so it's not "powered up" a lot. 

All strung up
But ok, I'll change the battery. To do that, I have to reach into the sound hole, pull out the little pocket where the battery lives and then re-tune the guitar, because in order to get to the innards, the strings have to be loosened to the point of being able to move them out of the way. This was an aftermarket installation of the pickup, so it's not one of those nifty ones that has a little door on the top of the guitar. You can see the red & black cables in the sound hole. The pocket for the battery is up on top near the neck. Come to think of it, my Seagull 25th Anniversary also needs to have a "cavity search" but the battery there is along the middle, where I can reach it easier. I'm playing the Artist because it's got a "bigger" sound. If I wanted the "biggest" sound, I'd play my Martin, but it's not amplified, and this church doesn't have a good sound set-up where I could swing a mic around. And besides, my Seagulls are better guitars. 

I had just said to Jeff, my teacher, "Yeah, I know I need to change strings, but I don't want to do that before Christmas." No, he agreed -- it would not be the best idea, because new strings take a while to "settle in" and stretch to where they can hold a tuning for a while. 

Yeah, you know what's coming. I re-tuned and snapped the high E string. Well crap. However, I have strings, so I didn't have to go run to the store (thankfully). I figured I'd just change that high E string. Which I did. Then I continued tuning.

And snapped the low E string. Which is pretty hard to do, I gotta say. But hey, I managed just fine. Double-crap. TRIPLE-crap. 

Because, unless you're under a stump somewhere, Christmas Eve is THREE DAYS AWAY. I mean, I'm counting all the way UP to the Mass, which is at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. And you have to subtract the 2 hours I'll be at Mass on Sunday, plus the "several" hours I'll be gone on Christmas Eve between my mom's party, an open house and Midnight Mass. 

On the other hand...that gets me out of staying at the open house for long. "I have to go home to get my guitar ready for church." Yeah, that works for me!

Muttering nasty things about strings and batteries, I removed all of the old strings. As long as I had the strings off, I figured I might as well clean the fret board and polish it up. I do that once a year anyway. 

We're all re-tuned now and I've got the guitar sitting in the living room. I'm playing it every 10-15 minutes or so, and re-tuning. I'll be doing that for the next few days. I'm taking this guitar to church so that we can do one more sound check and a quick rehearsal with the choir. But all day today, as much as I can tomorrow and all day Monday... playing every 10 minutes or so. I have to balance it with other things, so my fingers don't get messed up. 

I'm just not happy. Even if I use the other guitar, I still have to change THAT battery. Risking, because of the older strings, another snapping issue. 

I just sigh. It'll all work out, right? I have faith. And sore fingers.


The sweater is taking shape. I'm almost at the second buttonhole, and the yoke is definitely looking "yoke-ish." It's a garter-stitch design where the garter stitch comes right to the top of your bust. By design. It has 3 pretty good-sized buttons (7/8") and there are design notes that recommend that even if you THINK you want to make it longer at the yoke, you probably shouldn't, because the garter stitch, for those of us carrying a bigger load up-front, won't lay right. Especially with those larger buttons. You can lengthen it at the body, which I might do, if I find that I want it a bit longer. There's nothing much to show, because I'm just going back and forth, and it looks just a little bigger than what I showed you the other day. 

I'm going to see if Kid #2's friend can make me some glass buttons. That would be cool. It's a hand-wash item, so I don't worry too much about the buttons. They don't have to be a shank-style button. They can be flat. 

I'm also considering perhaps polymer clay buttons, but I have to do some research as to how you handle the hand-washing with those. 


First Tray of the Season
The first tray went out. To Jeff, my guitar teacher. He looked like a kid at Christmas, you know! He took off the wrapping and before I could tell him what was what, he popped about 3 of the Pineapple Crescents into his mouth. He loves those. As well as the Cranberry White Chocolate Chip cookies. He also liked the Santa's Whiskers. And while he didn't taste the potica, he did kind of drool a little. 

I love it when people like my baking. By the way, if you want a nice cookie tray, snag those small "fruit platters" you get from the deli. I have been saving those from various events. They're scalloped, they're red. They're the perfect size for a good cookie tray. 

I have a metal one for my mom's party: it's got a snowman on it. I probably have a zillion Christmas themed trays and containers, but believe me, they will get used. 

On the tray, in no particular order, are the following: potica; pineapple crescents; snickerdoodles; biscotti; carrot-pineapple bread; one MONSTER M & M cookie; triple chocolate cookies; Yin/Yan peanut butter & chocolate cookies, and Aunt Mary's oatmeal cookies; oh, and carrot cookies. Oh, and cranberry white-chocolate-chip cookies.

I had no room for: kolaches, cream cheese mint candies, carrot-poppy bread. 

Kid #2 is making Rolo cookies and chocolate banana bread. I have bananas that need to go. Well, I may get that banana bread in the oven; he's at his brother's house, so time could fly before he gets back. We are not (sorry, Kid #1) making Snow on the Mountain cookies. As it is, my mom may grab a tray from me for her hairdresser, which is fine with me. 

And I have an open house that our hostess is calling "Christmas Leftover Open House" -- some of these goodies will go there for sure. Out of my house, not on my hips. 


Instead of pigging out on Christmas cookies (which would be very easy because I tend to stress-eat), I'm drinking LOTS of tea. Right now, in my cup, I have Organic India's Tulsi Tea. It's a combination of 3 different types of basil. The Holy Basil is a plant common in almost every Indian household. It's a powerful antioxidant and it tastes good, too. I usually drink one or two of these a day. And it's got no caffeine, so it's good any time. 

Their Honey Chamomile is good too. I like the fact that they're a fair trade company, and I use several of their supplements as well. That's my shameless plug for the day. 


Oh my. Tar-jayyyyy is in trouble. Upwards of 40 million people have had their data swiped. Between Black Friday and about mid-December. 

I asked Hubby to check our online statements. I'm not incapable, but he watches them about every other day, so he's in the habit. I'm not. So far, I haven't heard that we've been hacked; and today's Trib said that credit card companies were emailing affected customers. I did alert Kid #2, because he shops there. 

Of course, people are trying to file lawsuits. And some are saying that Target "didn't respond quickly enough." Maybe. But maybe they just didn't monitor it as well as they should have. Yes, they should have been at least 5 times as vigilant, particularly in this vulnerable economy. 

But hackers are so crafty lately -- I can't imagine being in a big business and having to deal with this stuff. 

Random Picture...

2013 Frosty Friends
One of our ornaments on the little tree. I have collected Frosty Friends since they were first issued. This one is the 2013 one. One of these days, I'm going to take all of those and put them on a huge wreath - that way, I can hang it for a Christmas decoration and not have to pick and choose which ornaments get on the tree. Actually, I have enough of those to completely cover one tree. If they had a tree-topper, I'd get that and just have a Frosty Friends tree. But we do like all of the ornaments we have on the tree. Very few are just the "packaged" ones in sets. Most of them, we've either been given or we've picked very deliberately. 

This may be all the "nice" snow we see. We have a winter storm watch, but so far it's just icy. Well, I shouldn't say "just" - I hate ice. Lucky for me, I truly do not have to go anywhere today. I can stay home and knit and practice. 

And knit some more and practice some more. 

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