Tuesday, January 23, 2007

blisters on my fingers, aloha in my heart

How long has it been since you picked up a musical instrument? The last time I played a note was when I was 12 years old. Guitar lessons at the YMCA. I wasn't that bad, but I wasn't good either. I did enjoy it though.

30-odd years later, inspired by a couple of very enthusiastic expat bloggers, I decided to challenge my questionable musical abilities once again and bought myself an interesting Christmas present. A ukulele. Yes, one of those little 4-stringed cuties that looks like a guitar that shrank in the wash. But don't be fooled. Once you pick up a ukulele, you'll never want to put it down.

Here's my new baby.

Can you tell it's a girl? Since I'm not yet sure how far I'm going to get in this new adventure, I mostly chose her for her looks. She was green (my favourite colour), cute, and cheap inexpensive. What more could you want? And what did I have to lose, anyway, besides (as I would find out later) a fingernail or two?

Of course every ukulele needs a name. After some consideration I decided to call mine...Patience. A nice, old fashioned name that reminds me to take my time and keep trying until I get it.

Because I'm not sure if I'm really getting it yet. My first reaction after playing for a few days was, "Wow, my fingers are hurting like crazy! I wonder if this pain is going to go away?"

Well, the pain eventually gave way to numbness. And callouses on my fingertips. Very UNladylike callouses. My Virtual Ukulele Instructress, a uke legend in her own time, informs me that those callouses are here to stay and that I should wear them proudly. OK, Pam, if you say so.

I've got a long, long way to go before I can produce anything anyone could recognize as a song with proper chord changes and rhythm and all that, but I sure am having fun trying to figure out this adorable instrument of mine. I love it. It's addictive.

And just looky here - former boy band Take That (who should probably now be called a slightly scruffy-looking middle-aged men band) custom-wrote this song just for my ukulele.

Oh, OK, the song has nothing at all to do with ukuleles, but I re-wrote the lyrics as an ode to my little Patience.

Go ahead, sing along, I know you want to.

Oh, my little Patience

I'm still hurting from a nail I lost
You're feeling my frustration
But any minute all the pain will stop
I'll hold you close inside my arms tonight
Don't be too hard on my manicure

'Cause I need time
Fingers are numb, they've no feeling
So while they're still healing
I'll try and have a little patience

I'm gonna have to start over again
I know you wanna be my salvation
The uke that I can always depend on

I'll try this next song
Believe me, I'm trying to move on
It's complicated but understand me

'Cause I need time
Fingers are numb, they've no feeling
So while they're still healing
I'll try and have a little patience, yeah

Oh, my little Patience, yeah

'Cause this uke was so cheap
It's been hard, but I have to believe

And have a little patience
Oh, my little Patience

Owww, 'cause I, I just need time
Fingers are numb, they've no feeling
So while they're still healing
I'll try and have a little patience

Have a little patience
Fingers are numb, they've no feeling
So while they're still healing
We'll try, oh, my little... Patience


At January 23, 2007 4:45 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Oh, there definitely will be ukeleles at Expatalooza! That is so cool. :) I'm blowing all my vacation days on the honeymoon but I'll think of you all while we're in Tahiti... well, maybe!
(P.S. The deleted comment is mine. I made a typo. Haven't finished my morning coffee yet!)

At January 23, 2007 5:18 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

LOL. That was great, Christina! Last time I touched (an) instrument(s) was sometime last year (my flute and my guitar). I know the feeling of numb fingers AND callouses, believe me.

At January 23, 2007 6:46 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...


My callouses are numb and bulging, also. But it sure is worth it.

I propose that you, Pam and I do a cross-blog version of "In My Life" on December 31 of this year.

BTW...I plan to introduce the world to Felix some time soon. Maybe this weekend.

Keep practicing.

Yours in ukephoria,

At January 23, 2007 6:57 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Awwww. So glad I get to see her and now call her by name. Patience. I like that. With friends egging you on, you'll do just fine. The key word I read was 'addiction.' If you have that, not even the sky is the limit!


At January 23, 2007 8:43 p.m., Blogger Pam said...

I think Patience is an absolute cutie pie. And yep, your going to have paws like an Amish farmer. Be proud.

A legend in my own time. Yuk yuk yuk.

Uke on!

At January 23, 2007 11:06 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Angie - You BETTER not think of us when you're in Tahiti. That's not what honeymoons are for. :-)

CanSwiss- I bet you're a talented musician. I wouldn't have a clue how to play the flute.

Sal - Yeah, it IS worth it. And you're definitely on for Dec 31st. If I don't learn it by then, I never will. Can't wait until Felix makes his official appearance.

Ginnie - Uke mania seems to be catching on. Who knows who'll get the bug next. :-)

Pam - She is kind of cute, isn't she? Thanks for the inspiration.

At January 24, 2007 8:12 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, you had me at the book entitled "60's uke-in"
Where can I get this book???

At January 24, 2007 9:57 a.m., Blogger christina said...

rubber duckie - I bought it from Amazon.de but I just checked, it's available at Amazon.ca as well. Look for books by Jim Beloff.

At January 24, 2007 2:18 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are SO CUTE!!!! The instrument is darling but you are darlinger.

At January 25, 2007 9:45 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me want to dig out my cello. Don't ask!

At January 25, 2007 12:19 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christina, you are my absolute HERO!

At January 25, 2007 5:33 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I was never musically inclined but my mom had a ukelely that I always tried to play for a few mins, same with my brother. I'm sure she still has it somewhere in the house...

How fun! Keep trying. It sure looks like you have the drive and you've got a mighty beautiful "Patience"...

At January 25, 2007 10:40 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always dreamed of being able to play piano. Keep us informed of your progress - maybe I'll be inspired to run out and buy a keyboard!

At January 26, 2007 5:53 a.m., Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

I took guitar lessons for 2 years...and ONLY learned how to play...a tisket a tasket..and jingle bells...hope you have much more luck than me:)

you can record your progress, we'd love to hear:)

oh btw, i loved your voice meme, i keep trying to get thomas to do one, as his accent is very interesting!!!
imagine a french speaker, with a scottish and who knows what accent..

At January 26, 2007 11:29 a.m., Blogger christina said...

anonymous - Hey, I'd know those adjectives anywhere! How come no one in real life ever tells me how darling I am?? Do you have a spare room?

american in france - Oh please do dig it out. That would make a great vlog. I'm still dizzy from the last one :-)

Betsy - Wow, I don't think anyone's ever said that to me before. Want to come live with us?

Expat - It's really fun, you should try it again some time. Then we could do a worldwide uke podcast.

christina - We have an old keyboard kicking around somewhere and it's really easy to learn. You should go for it. Then all we need to do is find a drummer and we'll be famous.

Kim - I wasn't too bad at the guitar so I'm hoping I'll make progress here too. Just need to get my speed up a little and practice a LOT more.

You should DEFINETELY make Thomas do an audio post! I bet he has the greatest accent.

At January 26, 2007 3:20 p.m., Blogger Cathy said...

What fun!

At January 27, 2007 8:48 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it! I play guitar every once in a while and have the same finger progressions as you mentioned. Then I forget to play for a long time and start all over again. Have a great time! I hope you stick with it - we'll await your first CD soon.

At January 28, 2007 7:15 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIGHT ON. I love it! I also love how she looks like a cut-in-half avocado.

At March 18, 2012 8:55 p.m., Blogger Sandi and Richard said...

I am in love with my ukulele. I have a blister on my finger and that is how I found you! Thanks for posting,
I love ukulele everything!



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