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New hobby continues




Well my new hobby of playing a mountain dulcimer is moving along very well at the moment. I have been practicing for three weeks now and can play 4-5 songs poorly. Mainly I am having fun and it has rubbed off on Lesley. She has got her dulcimer out and is practicing with me. Playing together has really helped me as she has played off and on now for many years so I am learning from her. Last week She and I went to a day long workshop in the store where I bought mine. Much of it was over my head, but I did pick up several good tips and now have a better idea of where I want to go with the hobby.


i have a much better practice plan now and am more focused on the basics. I won’t be playing in public for a long time but may join the dulcimer group at the local seniors center in the future.


i have learned that picking a hobby is much like my stroke recovery was in the early years. What I mean by that is try until you find what works for you. When I was early in my stroke recovery I tried just about everything I heard of, some worked, some did not. This is my second major new hobby I have tried in the past few years. The first was ham radio. I gave it about six months of serious effort, passed two license exams, bought good new equipment, joined local clubs, but in the end it just was not for me.


i have come to realize in life that if something is not working for you in spite of your best efforts, perhaps it is time to try something else. So, I gave up the ham radio and here I am trying to play music now. The good news is that I am really enjoying this and can see real progress. Easy? No, it takes effort, for me about one hour a day at the moment. Just like my stroke recovery. Longtime readers may remember carrying my canoe in the woods of northern Minnesota was my goal. It took six months of intense rehab, but I still carry it to this day at age 74. Not everything in that rehab worked, but enough did to accomplish my goal.


my other hobbies are driving and working on our motorhome. I still do the oil changes and grease jobs, wash and wax it with Lesley’s help and as much other work as I can although I do not get on the roof anymore. I also have started building models with my Erector and Meccanno construction toys again. The instructor at the music shop I go to also does outdoor photography and I have gone out with him a few times.


So, all in all I have nothing to complain about except my tea cup is empty.


bye for now



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George I am amazed at your energy and your zeal in the pursuit of excellence at whatever you tackle. I think that is what keeps you strong and alive. Carrying a canoe at 74 is impressive. Looking forward to hearing more about your new hobbies. Best wishes to you and Lesley and her Mum for the Christmas season and for 2020.

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Thanks Sue. All of us here in Tennessee wish you a merry Christmas as well. Mum is still doing great at age 97. She is looking forward to her letter from the Queen at age 100 and at this point I would not bet against her. I must say that having her live with us has made the past 2 1/2 years among the best years of my life 


As I mused back on my past few hobbies I was just struck by the similarities between trying new hobbies, some of which failed, and stroke recovery efforts, some of which failed as well. i suspect these similarities would apply to many of life’s challenges.


The good news is that I have learned that with persistence usually something eventually works.

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Just had a read of some of your blogs and am impressed! The desire to play a musical instrument must be inherent in everyone but not everyone perseveres with trying to learn one. I also read of your attempts to get to grips with amateur radio and your lack of success. I was an enthusiast for many years and had a station in Ceylon when I was there in the RAF. I'm guessing but I think you may have been mainly on RT where I was a morse enthusiast and just loved high speed challenging communication. Apart from that it was just swopping the same old chat with the same people. The other reason was that I was a  lonely single lad of 20  (even though sharing a billet with 30 others) and that communication took me away from all their rather coarse values and activities..

I am progressing well with the uke even though I don't practice much, my 70 years of guitar playing has left me with a lot of musical skills which the other club members do not have and this gives me more than a head start. I have a Yamaha keyboard at home and I get a half an hour daily playing that  as well as the guitar. There is no way I could consider playing out of home though, just the thought of the effort required to carry equipment and setting up elsewhere leaves me exhausted.

Can you read music?




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George :


I love your zeal for the life & willing to try different things, I love your idea of knowing when something is not working out then stop it & try something else. good lesson.  it feels so great to see you enjoying leslie's mom so much. Merry christmas to you, leslie & Mum




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Deigh, no I do not read music. One of the attractions of the mountain dulcimer is that it is easy and all you do initially anyway, is follow the numbers of the frets on the music sheet. You only have to move your finger on one string (the melody string) and move it to the desired fret. The other (good hand) does all the strumming and no cording with multiple fingers is needed which is good because my left hand cannot do much of that. Even I can do that! Obviously there is much more to it but for me at the moment, less is more.

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