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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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(updated 9:05 am with Luisa bdy news and more details about harp strings than you probably want to know)

Hey, it's Luisa's birthday today!

Went to conduct our ritualistic gastronomic F2F at the Pickle Barrel last night with Allison and Jodi, then back to Allison's for more album idea talk as well as to watch the half-hour "Making of Lord of the Rings" episode. Allison laughs at me because I am SO hyped to see this movie even though I hadn't even read the books at the beginning of the year. The "Making Of" didn't do anything to diminish my looks SO great! Plus according to Allison, the previews of LOTR have already gleaned rave reviews.

This is a good and bad thing. Good, because it means chances are good that I'll like the movie. Bad, because I'll go in with abnormally high expectations. Ah well, it'll just mean I'll have to see it more than once (ah, the hardship!). The same sort of thing happened with Harry Potter...I didn't like it quite as much as everyone else on first viewing, liked it more and more with each repeated viewing.

This Sunday, Allison and I are going to the first gathering of the Paramount LOTR Virtual Line Party, an event organized by Luisa. Should be interesting...other than Allison and Luisa, I won't have met anyone else before. Even Allison and Luisa haven't met yet. :-) It's entirely possible that everyone else who shows up will be a high school student (or younger!).

Sara is coming over tonight for her first sleepover with Jeff and me! We are very excited! I'm also a little nervous. Will we have enough to entertain her? Jeff was wondering last night whether she shouldn't have planned something special, an event, an outing. But then we realized that our 7-year-old niece isn't visiting to be entertained, she's visiting to spend time with US. Or at least that's what we're telling ourselves. :-)

We're going to see Monsters Inc. with Sara and Annie tomorrow.

Harp trauma: While I was working in my home office yesterday afternoon, Gwyneth Paltrow's F34 #31 string broke! She can't have been feeling neglected, since I had just been playing her a few hours before. The string snapped with a terribly loud TWANG. Not sure about you other harpers out there, but seeing my harp with a newly broken string is truly a soul-hurting experience. I have to order more from a place in Vermont.

With some awkwardness, I put on the new string (I don't quite have harp knots down pat yet) and tuned it. Like new guitar strings, the new string hasn't quite settled yet, so I've been playing it quite a bit...some Christmas carols, as well as sightreading through a Kim Robertson arrangement of The Maids of Mourne Shore. Since I had no more back-ups for this particular string, I figured it was safest to get some more, just in case.

I found out that I can't just order my strings from a place like the Sylvia Woods Harp Center; they need to be custom-made. So I phoned Vermont Strings and talked to a very nice woman named Joan. She was concerned about the fact that this particular string had broken twice in a row, asked me for details about the specs for the strings on either side. Turns out that for custom-built harps like mine, the harp strings are designed specifically for the particular harp. Sometimes the harp builder does this, sometimes the harp string expert does it...deciding what the string is made of, how many wires or fibers are involved, tension, etc. If you put wrong strings on a harp, it could damage the instrument. Much more complicated than I realized! The one string I was re-ordering cost US$8 to replace, yikes. A tad more expensive than guitar strings...

You non-harp people are probably dying of boredom, so I'll shut up about that now. :-)


Ex-Beatles George Harrison died from cancer yesterday. More info here.

Today's pics:

-- Me, realizing Christmas is only next month. Done in Painter.

-- One of Allison's and John's Lord of the Rings cups from Burger King. A tiny switch near the base turns on a red light that illuminates the goblet from inside. Geeky but fun.

Today's Poll: (Suggest a question)

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? If you choose YES, realize that you will be making me feel all that more guilty for not starting mine yet. :-)

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