Tuesday, December 30, 2008

San Francisco Christmas

I just returned from San Fran.

The last few years, my family and I have met up in various locations-- anything other than home-- just to get out of Dodge (a.k.a. Dallas) for Christmas and the days that surround it. This year we chose San Francisco. We went a couple of times as a family back when I was around 7 years old. I can remember our visit to Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, The Hearst Castle, Salsalito, Carmel, The Crookedest Road, The Golden Gate, and the Muir Woods. We stayed at the Hyatt and I remember just thinking "What a GRAND hotel!" I LOVED our trips to San Fran. We all did. And we thought maybe we could recreate some of that magic.

This time around, we stayed in a family's house (while they were out of town). The house was a three level, cozy home built in the early 1900's. It was just a couple of miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Fermin and I got to stay in the little girl's room on the top level that had a beautiful view.

The weather forecast had predicted rain and clouds for nearly our entire trip, but instead, we had sunshine all days but ONE!

We didn't get out and see nearly as much as we did back in the day when my dad was much more drill sergeant-like. Instead of getting out and seeing all the sites of S.F., we did a lot of lounging around the house. We ate a few meals out, had a few in, went to a couple of movies (there are so many great ones out right now!) and went on some walks. We DID make it to the Muir Woods and Salsalito, we walked across the Golden Gate, and we made it out to Fisherman's Wharf.

Sounds like a pretty good Christmas, I'd say! But we could've been anywhere, really. The city of San Francisco didn't get to play much of a role in our Christmas vacation. But somehow, going to a different city for Christmas is what we still need to do. We miss Mom. We don't want to attempt a Christmas at home without her just yet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays

I can still remember how exciting the anticipation of Christmas was when I was a kid. I loved watching all the Christmas specials on TV, visiting Santa at the mall, going on car rides with my family to look at Christmas lights, reading Santa Mouse with Mom, and writing my letter to Santa each year.

This year, I've done very few of those things. However, I did get to meet Rudolph and Frosty just the other day! I was so excited when I saw them, that I just yelled out, "FROSTY!!!!" like he was my long lost friend. He came over to give me (and others) a peppermint and I asked if we could get a picture together. He nodded, so my friend snapped a picture of me and my man, Frosty. He also took a picture of Rudolph.

Once we saw the picture on a large screen, we realized because of the camera flash, we could see in thru Frosty's eyes. I saw a man (not a snowman tho) with a mustache! That is just not what I pictured at all behind the mask of Frosty. I hope the image here is big enough for you to see the man inside- It's pretty funny-

It's true that Christmas just isn't the same as it was back when I was a kid, but obviously, I still get a thrill from seeing some of Santa's friends.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, or whatever it is that you celebrate, everybody!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not Enough Time

This past Tuesday was my mom's birthday. She would have been 72. But she would've looked at least ten years younger than that. Her friends would've all gotten together and taken her out for lunch, and I would've been sitting right beside her.

This song, Not Enough Time, I wrote a few years ago about Mom. Really, it's a song of what I imagine her and my dad's sentiments to each other must have been. Anyway, I didn't even know anyone was videoing me, and the person who filmed it didn't know the meaning behind it. However, he posted it, and sent me the link, which I read the morning of Mom's birthday.

I miss you, Mom. Happy Birthday~

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The White Rock Marathon- Perseverance

Today my husband ran miles, and miles and miles. 26.2 to be exact. Slower than he expected, due to some major, debilitating muscle cramping (to the point of him nearly crawling at times)- but who cares? He finished. And that was triumphant!

There were so many marathoners out there today- it's really an unbelievable sight to see the masses that participate. And what they all have in common, obviously, is perseverance. Many, like my husband, have trained for months for this single day. Train all you want, but you can really never predict how race day is going to go.

Aside from my husband's muscle cramping, he realized his toe felt funny during the race for a now obvious reason once he took his shoe off, AFTER the race. (See scary looking toe photo.) That is perseverance!

The lead half-marathon runner had his own difficult day. He missed a turn, and because he was so far out in the lead, it took the officials about two minutes to tell him of his mistake. It cost him some time and a ton of frustration. I'm not sure how it all turned out for him, but I saw how distraught he was when it first happened. Many would've just stopped and said, "Forget it, I've lost 4 minutes, I can't win!!!" but this runner kept on running. That, also, is perseverance.

And although I didn't run a marathon today, I did walk around and perform twice at the Dallas Heritage Village Candlelight celebration. My shoes felt so comfortable. In fact, uncomfortably comfortable. They seemed a little roomier than normal. And they were! (See picture of red shoe unattached from it's sole/soul.) I had to lose the ripped shoe and keep on walking around while avoiding donkey poo left from the Donkey Drawn Carriage Rides. I had my own unexpected mishap, but I too persevered! However, not at all in the same way, or on the same level as the runners I saw today.

So my admiration goes out to those that will most likely be hobbling around tomorrow, and maybe the next few days, regardless of how comfortable their shoes are. (Pictured below are my two favorite marathoners.) You just ran a marathon! YOU are the SHIZ!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Lost

Months ago, I wrote here about a love triangle I was involved in during the summer after 8th grade, also known as The Summer of Love. My best friend, Kelly, and I had quite the tryst with one boy named Rick. He was her boyfriend first, then mine, then hers again. We nearly killed each other over him. We were 14, he was a few years older. We were 8th or 9th graders, he was a construction worker. And I loved him. I loved many boys, and their names fill the pages of my diaries I have kept most of my life.

Anyway, I again mention this sordid love affair, which is exactly what it should be called when you are in 8th grade!, because I have to share the beautiful power and magic of the internet.

Yesterday, the infamous Rick Zuppa's name appeared in my inbox. He wrote that he happened to do a Google search on himself (and c'mon, don't we all do that on occasion?) and found my blog because of it. That is AWESOME. I couldn't wait to call Kelly and let her know that it was ME he contacted first after all these years!

Kelly's married now, I'm married now, and Rick is married now, too. And none of us are married to each other. Whew!

So now, I'd like to post the names of those I have wondered about for years and years. I hope that like Rick, they will Google themselves during some lonely evening, and they will be led to ME and this blog. I would love to hear from the following:

1. FIRST and foremost- My first REAL boyfriend. The first boy I really, truly loved. TOM DONOGHUE. I've tried to find him on Facebook and elsewhere- There are quite a few Tom Donoghues out there...But so far, I haven't found the right one.

2. Lisa Bardenhagen- My favorite friend from my freshman year at UNT. All of my best memories of my first year in college include her. But she left the next year, as did I, and we lost touch.

3. Lee Barge- Another very cool friend from college. We reconnected a few years after losing touch, but even that was probably 10 years ago.

4. And last, but NOT least, Amy Smith- She was my friend from 4th grade until...well, until we lost touch. I'm not even sure when that was, altho it was gradual. She was at my wedding and that was nearly 15 years ago, and I'm not sure I saw her again after that. So, it's been awhile, and with a name like that, she's going to be a little hard to ever find. AND, women's names often change if/when they get married.

Ok, those are my top 4. I'm putting this out to the universe- also known as the internet. If you can hear my voice, or rather, read these words- please contact me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Home Tours

Lately, I've started going to "Home Tours"- If you're not familiar, a Home Tour is when you pay somewhere between about $15 and $25 for a ticket to see inside houses of the Rich and Famous. Except, they're not actually famous. But based on the vast numbers of people who show up to these tours, you'd think they were.

This past weekend, I was not only was an attendee, but also a performer at the Highland Park home tour. My cellist friend and I played songs for about 2 hours. On the average Sunday, we rehearse for a couple of hours in the morning. This past Sunday, we just pretended I had moved to a mighty fine house! And that we had opened up my home to lots of well dressed ladies to wander around, oohing and ahhing at all of my lovely things.

After we played, I met up with another friend, and we toured the other homes on the list. Lots of times, I find these home tours make me wish I had a "home like that." But honestly, this weekend, the homes were SO big, and so extravagant, and just so...ELITE, I was just awestruck. I can't and don't even really want to imagine myself living in such a home. One of the homes on the tour was 18,000 square feet. That's no typo, my friends. Yes, I meant EIGHTEEN THOUSAND SQUARE FEET. If I misplaced my keys or cellphone, I'm not sure I could ever find them again. Assuming I did any of my own housecleaning (which I sort of enjoy because housecleaning gives me some odd sense of peace and order in my little world) it would be endless and likely bring war and disorder to my life. And never could I use the excuse to out-of-town guests that I'd love for them to stay with me, if only I had the room! :(

The home tour has inspired some additional house-cleaning today. I can really clean my humble home in just a matter of an hour or two. There's plenty of room for my little family- Fermin, Zoe, Scout and Me. And I misplace things all the time, but they never take too long to find.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Music to My Ears

Yes, it 'tis the season. And I know most people get sick of hearing the holiday songs while they're shopping, and many complain about how commercialized the holiday season is. But I say, "Turn that music up! Spread the good cheer!" because THAT is what I'd rather hear when I'm shopping...

While out doing some of my shopping this week, several times, I've noticed very loud cell-phone talkers thinking they are multi-tasking and getting several things done in one quick swoop, by having seemingly deep conversations while getting either grocery, or holiday shopping done. (And that, my friends, is a very long sentence. Whew!)

One woman I overheard was one aisle over from me at Target. I could hear her angrily saying over and over, "YOU ARE ENABLING HIM! YOU ARE ENABLING HIM". I actually walked over to her aisle just to check on her and make sure she was okay. But she was just sort of feeling cans of beans, and looking bored as she gave out her important advice. Her conversation went on for a few more minutes while I did more shopping. When I passed her aisle again a little later, she was still talking on her cell, and still feeling off the beans.

First of all, I wonder, why talk so loud? If the person was there in the store with her, would they be having this conversation for everyone to hear? It seemed kind of private. Secondly, rubbing your hands over cans of beans doesn't constitute a shopping trip. Hang up the phone and shop, or leave the store and talk on the phone. Chose one. Please, just one.

Today while I was at a department store, I overheard another very serious conversation that should not have been had while looking at jewelry around lots of other shoppers.

It's December. The stores are hustle-y and bustle-y enough without all these excessive, loud and dramatic phone calls. These multi-taskers are just making it unpleasant for the rest of us.

Linger in the bean aisle if you like, caress all the costume jewelry that you want, but please be PRESENT with those items and give them your full attention. OR, like I said, leave the store, and give your enabling friend your full attention.

And please, let us hear that holiday music instead!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear Listener

Dear Listener,

Although you came up to me after I played last night and gave me a very generous tip, all I said to you was, "Thank You". But I'll add here on my blog, although you will never read it because you don't even know my name, a further explanation of my gratitude.

While I sang to a bar full of profiles and wine glasses, yours was the face I saw turned toward me, really listening. I'm pretty sure you led the applause after every song I played. And you even stood up for awhile toward the end of my set. I noticed and it was meaningful to me.

One slightly drunk man meandered over to me while I was performing and told me the owner of the bar was gay, and recommended I play something a gay man would like. I'm not even sure what he meant exactly, but he made me uncomfortable. He just stood there, longer than I wanted him to looking at me and saying, "Oh, you know!" But I didn't.

I'm not sure what kind of songs that man wanted me to play, but he made me feel like they were something other than the ones I was playing. And I thought, "Hm. What should I morph into? Should I try a Cher song?"

But because of you, Dear Listener, I knew the person that was really listening in a loud bar, liked my song choices. And you helped me feel confident enough just be myself, and play the music that I play. You made me happy that I was ME. I couldn't really be anyone else anyway...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Best Place to Be

I am in between Thanksgiving feasts- I just came home from my in-laws, where I actually passed on the turkey dinner so that I would be hungry by the time I got over to my Dad's house for our family's feast.

I stopped by the house to hug my dogs, feeling a little guilty that even tho they are my true, everyday family, I have to leave them at home alone on this day. I also am here to pick up the food I've already prepared to throw in Dad's oven once I get over to his house. And now here I am, sitting by the fire- listening to Jason Mraz, my dogs right beside me, and I'm thinking- Do I really have to go back out?

Well, of course I do, because it's Thanksgiving- And I've got to let my Dad and those at his house know that I love them. But it is hard to get up and leave this spot right now. My home. My home sweet home. There's no place like home. Dorothy was right! And my Mom used to always say that, too. My mom liked being at her own home more than anywhere. She was a real "homebody". I am so glad that when Mom passed away, she got to do it in her own bed, in her own home rather than in a hospital. She went out from her favorite place.

Like so many other things, that "homebody-ness" is something Mom and I share. There's no where I'd rather be than right here. Home.

So maybe that's just how my dogs feel. They know I'll come back home after I've eaten my turkey dinner with my family. Where ever it is that I go, they know I'll always come home. Because THIS is the best place to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Cooked Meal

One of my "jobs" around the house is that I am the chef- When we eat dinner in, it is me that does the cooking. Sometimes my meals turn out pretty good, other times...not so much. But my husband pretty much always eats it, and thanks me for my effort.

Tonight I started chopping up some vegetables while he stood near me and he said something like, "Kerri...you're not cutting that the way we learned in the cooking class at Central Market." True, I wasn't, but I was so not in the mood for advice from the non-cooker of the family. So I said, "You know what? You should cook dinner if you want the vegetables chopped the right way." I was really just saying it to shut him up, but I wasn't really suggesting he cook. But he said, "Ok! I'll cook tonight."

Huh? I quickly went from irritated, to grateful.
I went into the den to read my new book while he cooked.

There was a lot of banging around, chopping, and general cooking sounds going on in the kitchen for the next 45 minutes or so. And the occasional, "Where do we keep the salt?" types of questions. And I even heard him yell out "dammit!" once or twice.

Finally, our dinner was ready. Not only were the vegetables cut properly, but the meal was super tasty. Automatically, everything tastes better when someone else has done all the work. And maybe he's a better cook than me anyway, I don't know.

The icing on my proverbial cake tonight was that when I got up to put my plate in the dishwasher, I started to tidy up the kitchen. But then my husband said, "That's okay, Kerr, I'll clean up the kitchen."

I'm tempted to continue cutting the vegetables the wrong way. Especially when my husband is watching.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Okay! I've been listening through my recordings of the songs I wrote for the "50 Songs in 90 Days" challenge and working thr


Okay! I've been listening through my recordings of the songs I wrote for the "50 Songs in 90 Days" challenge and working on/editing the ones that sound worthwhile. And I have noticed that I have a habit of saying "OKAY!" before I sing each song. And after listening to 20-something songs on my digital recorder I had used- (which is all I've made it thru so far) I found myself so annoying with all those "OK"s.

I also have the tendency to be my own cheerleader. When I get to a big number (usually one that ends with a 0) I use that pseudo-enthusiastic voice "OK!" And sometimes I even say words like, "Yay!" or "Woo-hoo!"

If members of a Toastmasters group listened to me on these recordings, they'd use that "um" clicker each time I said "Ok!" It's GOT to stop. It is so NOT okay.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snoring Dogs

It's a overcast gray day. Leaves are all over the ground and it finally looks like Autumn.

I just returned from some errands, and let my poochies, Zoe and Scout, inside. Altho it would seem they would welcome cooler weather and be looking forward to Fall, and then Winter, they're Texas girls and they seem best suited to the heat. They love to lay out in the sun, and when the days get cooler and I have a fire in the fireplace (which I will confess, I already do! right now) they like to come inside and lay right by it. Zoe especially hates the rain, and neither of them seem to be all that jazzed about the cooler temperatures. So they seemed pretty happy when I invited them to come into the warm house.

We just bought them new pillows because their old ones were beyond stinky- I've only been home about 15 minutes, but they are already crashed out on their pillows snoring. I love the sight and the sound...

They're so endearing to me- those snores. And even those old stinky pillows that have now been moved outside to the patio. If only I could be as forgiving and love so unconditionally with the humans of the world...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Hoopla

I didn't do early voting because I wanted to be in the thick of the voting hoopla on election day. During early voting, I happened to be at my library which was a voting spot. I asked how long the wait was, and they said it was about 45 minutes. I asked what was the best time of day to vote and they advised me to get in line before the polls opened, because all day, everyday the wait had been at least 45 minutes. There seemed to be lots of early voting hoopla! Every time I drove past that library during early voting, there was a long line out into the parking lot.

I went to vote today, around 10:30am and there was NO ONE in line. I didn't wait one single minute. There wasn't a line of people to feel patriotic with.

So much for the hoopla. But I know people got out there and voted this year- I guess they just couldn't wait until Tuesday. They wanted to avoid lines but got stuck in them. I wanted to be in a line, but missed it. Oh, the irony!

But all is well that ends well. Assuming this election goes as it should, I will be VERY happy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Amazing Grace

This is my 300th post on my blog. YOWZA! That's a whole lotta writing about a whole lotta nothing! But how fun it is for me- and it's just icing on the cake that other's actually READ it!

And speaking of icing on the cake...This weekend I went to my friend's 40th birthday party. I asked her how she felt, and she said she felt great- not really any different than the day before, back when she was in her 30s. I looked at her very closely to see if I saw more wrinkles, or gray hair. Nope! She looked just the same. Only better, because she was especially happy at this fun party of hers!

I saw my husband talking to an older woman across the room. Eventually, he yelled over to me, "Kerri! This is Heather's grandmother, Grace!" Then he came over to me and asked me to guess her age. I guessed 80-something. Someone else near me guessed upper 70s. NOPE! She's 99. Ninety-nine. 99, are you outta your mind?!?!

My great-grandmother, Bobba, lived to be a few years over 100. But since I was a kid when I knew her, she just seemed really, really old for years, and years, and years. Other than her, I don't think I've seen many people near the century mark. So I went a little closer to Grace to get a good look.

Once I got closer to where Grace was sitting, she immediately started talking to me. And telling me stories. And I spent the rest of the night listening to her. She's lived thru wars, the Great depression when she lost her home among other things, and she's seen a lot of friends and family come and go thru the years. I asked her what her secret to a long life was and she told me there isn't a secret...that she doesn't keep secrets. So maybe THAT is the secret! I will tell you, Grace seemed like a joyous lady, and I have a feeling that's a big reason for her longevity.

Heather had a 3 piece New Orleans styled band playing at her party. Grace danced in her chair every now and then when something caught her ear. She eventually got up and danced with Heather. Now THAT is a great party!

At the top of this post if a picture of Fermin, and the amazing Grace!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Occasionally, rarely, on my most dreamy mornings, I get donuts at my little donut shop up the street. Always donut holes. They seem pretty innocent, as bite-sized foods usually do. (But just like other bite-sized food, I realize they're dangerous!)

My donut shop has had several different owners over the years. But all of them have been Asian, and all cute, lean women- and one man! They are surrounded by donuts every day, but they don't look like they eat them. Or even do any taste-testing while they're working!

So I'm wondering, not just, "How do these people keep from becoming doughy around all these donuts?" but also why most of the people I've ever seen that own donut stores are Asian? Does anybody have an answer?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Talking to No One

I am currently at the Dallas Public Library- One of my favorite places. I love being surrounded by books,magazines, cds and dvds- all for the taking- FREE!

I am also currently sitting across from a woman talking to herself. She has her phone in her hand, and she's about to make a phone call. I guess she's preparing herself for the upcoming phone call. She sounds mad. Just now, her 4-ish year old, Dane, has come up to her, wanting to sit in the chair with her while he looks at the book he's picked out. She tries to shoo him away saying she's about to make a phone call. But he disregards what she says and stays and smooshes his little body in the chair with her. Her phone call is going to be something big, I can tell. And I'm especially glad to be at the library today. I'll admit it, I'm a voyeur and I like to see what people are doing when they think no one is watching.

Oh no. She's really just calling around for a DVD. The library was suppose to hold it for her, but apparently, they did NOT. This is an outrage.

As soon as she hangs up the phone, she makes comments about the conversation, that I'm pretty sure Dane cares nothing about. It's sort of the equivalent of talking to herself. Except Dane just happens to be beside her and now it doesn't look quite as strange if someone were to walk past her.

I've always been so fascinated by people who talk to themselves. Do they realize they are doing it out loud?

She just got up and walked over to look at the books. And now she's talking either to, or about, the books. Dane is still here by me, so the words coming out of her mouth aren't directed to him. Or anyone. I just hear her mumbling away.

Is Dane going to grow up to be a man that talks to himself? Does he find it odd that his mom talks to herself? He doesn't seem to notice. I guess this is normal for him. And for her. How does he know when he's suppose to listen to her, and when he's suppose to ignore the conversation she's privately trying to have with herself?

She's ready to go now. So her and Dane are off. No more mumbling. The library is quiet once again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I'm glad I went to the Texas State Fair yesterday, rather than waiting until today. It is pouring down rain today!

I'm glad it's raining. I'm glad it's a dark, drizzly morning, and that both of my doggies are laying nearby snoozing as I write this.

I'm glad I recorded my "50 songs in 90 days" on my digital recorder because there is no way I could have remembered most of the songs I wrote otherwise. I'm glad some of the songs, most of them, are worth wanting to remember.

And speaking of the fair, which I was at the beginning of this post, I'm glad I didn't eat any of the foods they have to offer out there. I might be feeling sick today if I had. I'm glad other people ate those big turkey legs tho, and I got to watch. I'm glad the State Fair is in Dallas. I'm glad there are so many interesting people to watch. I think that's my favorite thing about the fair, actually...the people watching.

I am just glad, glad, glad...
Life is good.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I used to be a 1st grade teacher. It may sound funny, but back when I was a teacher I was at the peak of my financial earnings. If as a musician, I could make what I made as a teacher, I'd feel RICH.

That isn't to say that my life doesn't feel rich. In many ways it does. But I do sometimes feel a little sad that I don't bring more bread to the table. Or that I don't bring home more bacon to fry up in the pan.

My husband is nothing but supportive and never makes me feel inferior about my meager earnings. But it must sometimes feel to him that he lives with a teenager making minimum wage. I sometimes feel that way about myself.

I try not to buy into the starving artist mentality. But if I had only my earnings to live on, would I starve? Or would I just go back to teaching and once again, be rolling in the dough?

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Guide

I've heard the (print) newspaper is a dying breed. I still subscribe to the Dallas Morning News, and read it every morning. Altho it's now so easy to get news online, I still like holding it in my hands, rather than reading it off a computer screen.

For the past few weeks, the DMN has been getting me all worked up about the NEW GuideDaily section they kept advertising was "coming soon". They made it sound like it was going to be a big improvement from the current Guide. It became a little joke once I pointed out the advertising to my husband. It was going to have all my favorite things: book reviews, movies, cartoons, advice columns, concerts, and fun stuff to do. Everyday, there was a count down of when GuideDaily was launching.

This past Sunday was the BIG day. My husband woke me up by holding the GUIDE section in my face saying, "KERRI! IT'S HERE" I jumped out of bed and followed him and the Guide to the kitchen table.

WOW. They cleverly combined what used to be the Living section (comics and advice columns) with what used to be the Guide section (mindless Hollywood trivia, movie times, occasional book reviews,...) and now they call it GuideDaily. It was definitely worth the wait and anticipation!

And now I have a better understanding why the newspaper is a dying breed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans" ~ James Herriot

Today a friend and I decided to go pet some dogs at SPCA figuring we needed it as much as they did.

When we walked thru the door, it smelled bad. Like there had been a few accidents in the place. But then I saw puppies, got distracted, and the smell went away pretty quickly. There were two main litters of puppies, and as pretty much all puppies are, they were adorable. I feel sure they'll all find homes.

It's the older dogs I worry about. After seeing the puppies- because that is what you see when you first walk in- we went back to pet the dogs. Every single cage was occupied. I think I pet each dog there, and all of them were sweet and gave me a look that seemed to be saying, "Please take me home." I noticed there were so many "black lab mixes". What is the deal, people? I read an article about "black dog syndrome" in the paper about people not wanting black dogs. The SPCA seemed to be proving that true. The more I pet, the more I felt sad. I wish I had a huge ranch and could take all of the dogs home and give them a happy life.

On our way out, I saw a woman adopting a little dog that walked with a limp, and had a crooked mouth. I asked the lady what was wrong with the dogs mouth. She said, "Oh she only has a few teeth, and she's about 11 years old..." and mentioned a few health problems the dog had. She told me that she likes to adopt the oldest and most troubled dog and even if they have only another year or two to live, she wants it to be the happiest year of their life.

I'm not sure that dog would've been adopted had it not been for this woman. Lots of people wouldn't even be in the financial situation to take good care of that dog, let alone pass up all the younger and healthier dogs also in need of a home. So finally, it was that dog's lucky day.

Anyway you slice it, all those dogs need and deserve homes. Whether they're puppies, dogs, healthy or not, big or little, black or white,...

Like I said, I felt sad being there. I felt helpless.
But then I returned to my house and was happily greeted by Zoe and Scout. And THAT made me feel grateful.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Drum Roll Please!

As I've mentioned a few times on my blog, I've been participating over the last few months in on on-line songwriting challenge to write 50 songs in 90 days, creatively called "The 50 Songs in 90 Days Challenge".

Well... (this is where I'd like the drum roll!)

I wrote 50 songs, with a few days to spare- The contest ends Oct. 1st. You can see my name on the progress page, and you can see the titles of my songs here. Some participants posted recordings of their songs- But we were allowed to do it however we wanted to do it. I chose to just post my song's titles. I didn't want anything that felt overwhelming or scary, and I think that would have done me in.

I recorded them all for myself tho. Otherwise, I'm not sure how many I would've remembered at this point. I haven't gone back and listened to any of them yet, but I will now. But before my critic rears her little head, I just want to relish in the glory here for a few days. Maybe this is what my husband felt like after he ran the White Rock Marathon last year. I DID IT!

Like lots of other first time marathoners, my husband has signed up for another one this year. His goals are a little loftier. He knows a little more about what to expect.

Daily practice of something that makes you feel strong- Of course I intend to keep that up! But maybe I'm ready for a little off-season. But not too long that I get out of shape!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For years, years!, I've wished I knew a cellist that could play with me. But somewhere along the way, I decided finding one to play my kind of music would be too difficult. Someone once told me a cello player would need things scored, or written out, because they're "classical" players. I naively believed they were right.

But somehow, I got the wild hair, at a certain point, to start looking for a cellist. I put an ad. up on the SMU bulletin board, and posted something on Craigslist. Pretty quickly, my ad got answered by 4 or 5 cellists and I set up "auditions" with them.

They were all really talented, and I felt pretty confident in all of them. (By the way, I didn't write out anything for any of them, and they're all classical players, so apparently, my advisor had been wrong.

I did, of course, have a favorite of the several that I met. She seemed to be the most into it- for reasons other than money! And I just had a gut instinct that she was the one I was suppose to choose.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Cd IS Now Available

For real!
It's finished!

There are 12 songs plus a little surprise at the very end, if you're patient!
This cd, Walk Beside Me, is my favorite I've done because it's not just me and my guitar- It's me, my guitar, and some great friends that were willing to join me. The wonderfully talented Sarah Reinke plays cello on half of the tracks, and I've got other guest musicians chiming in on a few of the other songs. Everything from a clarinet, to a rub board, to a cajone drum, to a harmonica, to a bass guitar. And some pretty fabulous harmony vocals!

My cd is currently for sale only at my gigs, but will soon be available on CDBaby.com and a few other on-line sources.

Please pick up your copy soon, and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 8, 2008

"America the Beautiful"

I went and saw this documentary at the Angelika on Friday.
Nope, it's not anything patriotic, but is instead a look at how grossly obsessed we are with physical beauty- specifically of women- in our country.

This is always an interesting topic for me. As ridiculous as I know it all is, I too get sucked into it.

While watching this movie I was thinking about damage I would cause my daughter, if I had one, by my own issues with my self image. Little girls pick up on that. If their mom thinks she herself isn't thin enough, or pretty enough, the child will take all of that in. And she too will struggle with those same issues.

But most of this beauty nonsense comes from the media. The documentary had a short segment about what a model looked like when she first came into make-up, and then how the ad looked once they made her up, and then photo-shopped her photograph. The lady doesn't even look like the model that she is!

Good documentary- Great food for thought-

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trash Talking

After running a quick errand at Michael's, I was walking in the parking lot toward my car. I noticed a lady pulling into a parking space while chowing down on a hamburger. Driving and eating.

This is not such a big deal, but I kept curiously watching the woman. She pulled into a parking space rather aggressively. She then continued to eat her little hamburger that was wrapped in the tissue paper that came with it. Once she got down to the tissue-papered area, she rolled down her window and THREW HER HAMBURGER TRASH into the bushes.

I realized everything about this woman, in those few moments, seemed aggressive. From her beat up car, to her attack of her hamburger, to the way she pulled into her parking space, and then the grand finale of littering. All of it seemed ugly.

It seemed that maybe this lady needed to slow it down a little... Eat her little burger at a table, and then walk over to a trashcan and discard the rest. Maybe then she could keep both hands on the wheel while driving and she wouldn't feel so rushed to pull into the parking spot. It seems hard to imagine there was anything satisfying about her meal, or her Sunday drive to Michael's.

These days,when I see someone driving recklessly or distractedly, I assume they're texting. But they just may be eating a burger!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Farewell Olympics 2008

Whew! As much as I loved watching the Olympics this summer, I'm sorta relieved it's come to an end. It's kind of like if I had been on a 2 1/2 week vacation that was a blast. But all of the sudden, I'd start to feel an itch for getting back to my normal life. Or in this case, regular programming and not so much of it.

I recorded ALL the Olympic coverage and then we'd watch it all at night. We'd, of course, speed thru and skip certain events because otherwise we would've literally done NOTHING besides watch tv during our waking hours. But still, it was a big commitment. Lots and lots of hours of serious, dedicated tv watching.

There were so many great moments we got to witness. After the Olympics ended, NBC showed a montage of the highlight, and the unfortunate lowlights for some. Watching all that emotion is such a beautiful thing.

Then abruptly, NBC cut to a big, loud commercial advertising the new season of "Deal or No Deal". And that beautiful montage moment was clearly a thing of the past.

The Olympics are over for 2008. There were lots of champions from all over the world to inspire us all. And so many of them live right here in the USA!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boy A

I went and saw "Boy A" at the Inwood theater today. Partly because I was interested in the movie after reading some reviews, and partly because I wanted to check out one of the Inwood's upstairs theaters after seeing Mark Cuban talking about it on a local talk show.

The movie AT LEAST equaled, and actually surpassed my expectations. It was so well acted by the actor, Andrew Garfield, who that plays "Boy A". It's the story of a boy who did a dreadful childhood act to another child and was sent to prison. The movie begins as he gets out and is taking on his new name and identity so he can live life safely- I won't give things away here, but his crime was seen as so heinous, there's lots of people out there that would rather see him dead.

Since he was convicted at such a young age, he's still quite young even when he gets out. I would guess early 20s? Anyway, it was an interesting and sad movie. Really, really great. But since it's not a big Hollywood movie, not nearly enough people will get out to see it. And that is such a shame.

The Inwood Theater is such a step back in time, and I have always loved that about it. They recently updated some things, and one thing they did was to put big leather chairs with side table in the upstairs theaters. But I had envisioned something more akin to a Lazy-Boy recliner. These were still basic movie theater type seats, but leather, or something that looked like leather. And there were little table to the side in place of about every 3rd chair. It was slightly more comfortable than the average theater but not really as great as how I interpreted Mark Cuban's description. But hey, he owns the place- Of course he's gonna sell it! Like I said, I love the Inwood, and always have. In fact, I love it so much, I'm glad it's really not any different now after all!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Waiting and Hoping and Tweaking

The print shop is now printing out my cd covers. Everything has been recorded and mixed. And it seems my cd is only about a week away from popping it's head out into the world.

As I wait on the part I cannot control or do myself, I keep listening to my song mixes and making slight adjustments. I think I could go on forever with this. And I wonder at what point will I feel I can just walk away?

When I write a song I don't have this problem. When it's done, I know it's done. But this is not the case with mixing the recorded versions of my songs. It seems like a hamster wheel I'm on. One little tweak to a song only leads to the need for another little tweak. (And I am, by the way, aware that "tweaking" also refers to meth-amphetamine use!)

Soon, I know it will be time to just put it down, and walk away. My tweaking will have to stop soon. And hopefully, no permanent damage will be done.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Usually, I find myself running OUT of the rain. I use an umbrella, or wear a raincoat and I seem to be running around like That Girl everywhere I go.

I am so glad we've finally gotten some rain this week after a hot, dry summer. But as usual, I've been staying out of the rain. On Monday morning, I didn't even go on my morning run. By about 7pm, I was feeling stir crazy and sluggish and since there was a little break in the rain, I decided to go for a run.

It was sprinkling a little bit, but I had on a cap so it wasn't bothering me. The sprinkles got bigger, and finally turned into rain. It all happened so gradually that by the time I was running around in the heavy downpour, it never even occurred to get out of the rain. I just kept running.

Eventually, every stitch of my clothing was soaking wet. Water was running off the bill of my cap, and my shoes and socks were squishy. But I wasn't running to get out of the rain. I was just running in it. And I didn't melt!

When I returned home, Fermin was actually driving in his car trying to find me, thinking I had been caught in the rain. And I guess I WAS , but surprisingly, that wasn't a bad thing. Just squishy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Trampolining

When the Olympics first started over a week ago I, like the Olympians themselves, dedicated myself to really focusing my full attention on the events and the athletes over the next few weeks.

It's hard to keep up with it all. Fortunately, my DVR helps me out by recording ALL of it, and then I am able to blow thru the commercials and a few events that hold the least amount of interest to me.

Thru my dedicated watching, I've noticed a few events I never knew were Olympic sports. Like Badminton, Table Tennis, and Trampolining to name a few. Had someone said to me, "I was the Gold Olympic medalist in Trampolining in the 2004 Olympics, I surely would've thought they were kidding, or they were talking about a different kind of Olympics. But it's true. Trampolining exists in the Beijing Olympics.

As far as I can tell, based on what's been shown so far, there is no Squash in the Olympics. Even tho Squash seems like the more popular international sport, apparently, Trampolining is much bigger around the world.

I use to have a trampoline when I was a kid. I could do a one and a half- meaning, I did could do one forward flip and then land on my stomach. That was my biggest trick. However, had I known I might have been an Olympian, I might have tried further developing my skills.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One-Upped with Sheryl Crow

If you read my blog last week, you know about my extravagant date I planned for my husband and myself that involved ice skating. I must tell you how glad I am I set the bar so high for date planning.

Fermin surprised me with great tickets to see one of my favorite singers of all time, Sheryl Crow! What was great for us, but not so great for Sheryl, was that the tickets didn't sell so well, so Fermin was able to get great seats for only $40 each! Nearly half of what face-value was.

Sheryl is so cool and seeing her is worth far more than just the $40. The first time Fermin and I went to see her was when she toured of her second album and the Wallflowers opened up for her. Of course, she was great, but then she was off-the-charts-great when we saw her years later for the C'mon, C'mon tour. She was a ROCKSTAR at that point. I remember she wore her Red, White and Blue sparkly pants and opened up with the "Steve McQueen" song. She had changed a bunch as a performer in the years between those two concerts.

And then, we saw her at the Austin City Limits Festival in Austin. It was back when she was dating Lance Armstrong. I remember, he brought a guitar out to her.

Now, just a couple of years later, we saw her at Superpages/Smirnoff/Starplex. And she is still just as great but you can tell, she's been thru a lot of changes. Now her songs have a strong political message. And she's allowed to get away with it because, well, she's Sheryl Crow. And because she's smart enough to sprinkle in stuff like "All I Wanna Do", and "Soak Up the Sun", so it doesn't too heavy for anyone.

Sheryl adopted a child over a year ago, after her bout with breast cancer, and her break-up with Lance. So of course, she would have some strong feelings about messages she wants to put out into the world. I so admire that she's not just about writing hit songs, but about singing songs that have significant meaning.

I LOVE Sheryl. It's great to have such a cool FEMALE musicians to be inspired by.

Fermin likes her too, but I know he got those tickets knowing how much I would LOVE getting to see her. It was really such a surprise and I was so happy! I have to admit, Sheryl is even better than ice-skating at the Galleria! Way, way better.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Man Is An Island

I am a singer, a songwriter, and a guitarist. But I am so NOT many of the job titles that I try to do in order to do what I do. I'm not a booking agent. I'm not a sound engineer. I'm not a roadie. I'm not a graphic designer. But yet, sometimes, I find myself doing these careers that are NOT my thing and that I have very little talent or skill for. Either because I don't have the budget to hire someone who knows what they're doing, or because it just seems ridiculous to not try to get the job done myself, and because it's hard to ask for help.

And then in the middle of it all, I realize I am insane for thinking I could do it myself.

So the cd that coulda, shoulda, woulda been completed over a year ago is still struggling to get out. And the project I started off loving, is growing into one I'm barely even liking, and getting closer every day to hating.

One day, and hopefully soon, this project will be complete. And hopefully it's one I'll be proud of. And if nothing else, perhaps it will have taught me some lessons that will help me out for "next time".

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I am a creature of habit. So it can be easy to fall into a rut. My husband and I have fallen into a bit of a rut as far as the things we get out and do together. So last week I decided to take us on a different date than any of our usuals.

I decided, being that it is so hot, to take us ice skating at the Galleria. The last time we went skating was during the '98 Winter Olympics, after watching figure skating and thinking we needed to get out there and work on our triple lutzes. The Olympians made it look easy. Mostly what I remember about that particular skating session was falling and slamming the back of my head on the ice which caused a headache that lasted for hours. Possibly days.

Well, the Olympics just started, so it seemed like the right time to go back for more. Although, it's the Summer Olympics this time. And none of them are skating. But I thought skating sounded more fun than gymnastics. This time, I wasn't under any false impressions that skating would be easy. I just wanted to skate. Forward. And upright. It's been about decade since either Fermin or I got out on the ice.

I didn't tell him what I had planned. I started to feel a little nervous on the drive over, worried he might think my idea was stupid. He kept guessing what I had planned. Eventually, as we neared the mall, he guessed...Ice skating. He seemed not all that excited, but not too miffed either. He did, however say, "But I don't have socks." And I said, "Oh, yes. You do. I handled it."

We were on our way! When we went up to rent our skates, Fermin asked when the Zamboni was going to clean the ice. We decided to eat at Mi Cocina first, while we watched our competition skate for a while before the ice got wiped fresh and clean.

About 90% of our competition consisted of kids under the age of ten. This made me nervous.

But since we didn't start skating until about 9pm, at least some of the youngest skaters had cleared off and gone home to bed.

We were sort of vulnerable together as we started out. Altho I was, at first, "on the rail", Fermin encouraged me to turn loose. And I did! The longer I skated, the more steady I felt. I even got bold enough to grab Fermin's hand when I heard the Beatles singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Had there been a couple skate like in the good ol' days, who knows what might've happened.

No falls, no headaches- and no triple lutzes either. Just a really fun, non-rut date on a hot summer night!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Neighborhood VIPs

In my neighborhood we have something called VIPs- Volunteers on Patrols. It's neighbors who have gone thru some training with the Dallas PD that slap some sticker on their car occasionally and drive around the 'hood looking for suspicious behavior. The premise is a good idea, however, given a small amount of "power" some of these VIPs can become quite overbearing.

Yesterday I was standing outside talking to a neighbor while he took a break from mowing his lawn. We saw our across-the-street-neighbor drive by with his 16-year-old son in his car. His son has his driver's permit and was practicing driving.

Shortly after they passed us and gave us a wave, another car drove up quickly, rolled down his window and yelled out, "Do you know the driver of that car?"


He told us he had just called 911. "Why?" we asked. "Because a CHILD is driving that car! And they're just CIRCLING the neighborhood!"

When we esplained to mr. VIP altho yes, he was a child, he WAS with his parent, and he DID have a permit, it was clear he doubted us. The conversation quickly turned ugly as my lawnmowing neighbor made some comment like, "I think you just need to go on about your day, sir"-

It was really so gross to see this slobbish guy driving around just looking for "trouble." And thinking he had found it in a 16-year-old boy practicing his driving in his neighborhood in the middle of the day with his dad. I'm pretty sure 911 has bigger fish to fry.

Based on the way mr. VIP reacted when we told him it was a neighbor that we knew, and that it wasn't anything suspicious, he didn't seem to want to drop it. It seemed more about being in a power position than wanting to make our quiet, safe neighborhood even safer.

I called my neighbor to alert him that he and his son had the fuzz on their tail. We all had a good laugh over our neighborhood VIP. Sorry 911. Hope you had a slow day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to the Grind

My neighbors have returned from their trip, which means my vacation is over. I was in charge of watering their plants. Which also put me in charge of swimming at their pool each day. Sometimes a couple of times a day, actually.

A few days, I took Zoe and Scout over there with me. My girls are NOT big fans of water. But they are big fans of ME, so they followed me to the pool for the first few days. After a couple of days of 150 degree temperatures, they told me they'd rather just stay inside our air conditioned house than sniff around in someone else's yard.

It's not that I'm a big swimmer. Or a sunbather. But I'm a reader. And I'm a napper. And really, that's what "being at the pool" is all about. But it sounds less lazy to say, "I hung out at the pool for a couple of hours today" than "I read a page of my book and then napped on a raft for 2 (or 3)hours."

The napping was absolutely exhausting. I had very little energy most of the week beyond just walking diagonally across the street to my neighbor's pool. WHEW! And all that plant watering! In the evenings, I was usually too tired (and too prune-y) to take my typical 45 minute bath.

They've returned from Florida, and I've returned to a more normal routine, which no longer includes the 2 hour naps at the pool.

Tonight I went over to their house to return their garage door opener. They gave me a "thank you" gift for taking care of the plants. A candle, and a book I've been wanting to read. Believe, me- I deserved it! It was hard, grueling work!

Anyway, vacation's over. Now it's back to my bathtub!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dog Day Afternoons at the Pool

I probably wrote a very similar post to this one about two years ago. This is the time of year my neighbors go out of town and I get to "take care of their pool" and water their plants.

It's one of my favorite weeks out of the year, if not THE favorite. Their house is diagonally across the street from mine. They have the best pool. It's just a little oasis over there. There's a little waterfall, a butterfly garden, and the most comfortable floaties. Their pool is the salt-water kind, not the chlorine kind so it doesn't smell all chemical-ly.

This year tho, Molly, their sweet dog that use to swim with me, is no longer around. So I decided to take my girls over and see if they might want to go for a dip.

My dog's only experience with water is: drinking it, or bathing in it. And by bathing, I mean crying and howling in misery while Fermin scrubs them down with the hose.

So getting them into the pool, so far, has not been a success. Scout's made it in ankle deep to the first step but won't budge beyond that. Zoe has licked the water and that's about it for her.

But I still think they like going over their with me despite the 100+ temperatures we've had to endure these past few days. There's lots of shade. And there's lots to sniff. While I float in the pool, they sniff the yard, the fence, the plants, the lawn furniture, etc.

We've got this whole week to hang out at the pool. Life is very, very sweet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's in a Name?

When I got married, not only did I get a great husband, but I got a great name. I have loved my last name for the past 14 years. ARISTA. It sounds so festive! And then paired with Kerri it really has a ring to it.

I've met people who have kept their maiden name even when they got married. And I've heard of people who use a hyphenated name of their maiden name with their married name. Not for me. I was happy to drop my maiden name of Hicks. And I didn't use it as my new middle name as I know some people do. And good Lord, no, I never considered the hyphenated option of Hicks-Arista. I love my parents, and I love where I came from. But to me, a name is just a name. And I'd rather have Arista than Hicks. (Sorry, Dad.)

Growing up, I was sometimes referred to as Kerri Hickey. Not because I sported lots of hickeys, or gave them out, but just because, well, because kids are silly and they like making fun of names.

(On a little side note, since I'm talking about names that get made fun of when you're a kid... When I was in 4th grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Fagg. Whats worse is, his first name was Dyke. That's right: DYKE FAGG. My 4th grade teacher! But, I digress...)

All of this reminiscing about names came up because tonight I discovered that one of my friends did something a bit unusual when she got divorced. She dropped her exhusband's last name and went back to her maiden last name. But, for her middle name she used a hyphenated name of her two sons, Austin-Taylor. She said she held on to the part of her marriage that was great and let go of the part that wasn't! And that is now her legal name. And it's so beautiful.

So in her case, I guess a name is not just a name. It's a story. It's what's meaningful.

And perhaps THAT is why I love my name: Kerri Arista

Dark Knight

After my brother saw the movie "IronMan", he gave it such a rave review and insisted that I go see it, even tho it's not "my kind of movie". So I saw it. And it was...
"not my kind of movie". I probably enjoyed even less because I had walked in with that higher expectation, set by my brother.

He was suppose to go with me to see "Dark Knight" earlier this week, but snuck off with someone else and went with out me. Then he left me a voicemail saying, "It was SUCH a waste of time. And I didn't even think Heath Ledger was all that great in it." So even tho I had read all the great reviews, and saw that it got a 96% approval on the Rotten Tomatoes site (which is my favorite place to decide if I want to go see a particular movie or not), my expectations were somewhat lowered by my brother's comments.

Even tho this movie was also "not my kind of movie", I loved it. It's true what everyone (beside my brother) has been saying about Heath Ledger's performance- very impressive. He is the creepiest villain I've seen in a long time. Since Hannibal Lector, I think. And the statement the movie makes about good and evil in the world is so powerful. It was just a great, great movie. So highly entertaining that the 2 1/2 hours flew by. It may be a Batman movie, but it certainly isn't for kids. It's pretty violent and serious.

As soon as I got home, I logged on to blockbuster.com and added "Batman Begins" to my queue. It has the same director and the same Batman- Christian Bale- who I thought was perfectly cast.

It's so NOT like me to love this kind of movie. Maybe that lowered expectation I had walking into the theater really was an advantage. Or maybe it was just a great movie.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The other day my husband and I went into GNC to buy the protein powder we like. It had gone up several dollars from its already expensive price. So my husband made a little comment, "Hm, it costs even more than it use to."

And the man working in the store overheard him and said, "GAS! It costs us more to get it, so now we have to charge you more."

I am SO sick of hearing this excuse by everyone for all these rising prices of anything and everything.

Should I raise my rates since I have to drive to my gigs? I just feel like we're all struggling with the price of gas in our tanks, so let's not make it harder on each other. It can become a never ending cycle.

It costs my husband $80 to fill up his tank. $80 bucks. A WEEK. It costs him $18 a day to get to and from work with gas and toll prices. Lots of people just couldn't afford that. It's really unbelievable. And it doesn't seem like there is an end in sight.

But c'mon, GNC. Stop. Your protein powder was already WAY over priced. Calm down.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

42 to Go

Just a little update regarding this "50 Songs in 90 Days" challenge that I'm participating in. It started on July 4th. Since today is the 17th, that means we're on day 14- 2 weeks! And I've written 8 songs already. Only 42 more to go.

So far, I've had such a good experience with the whole experience of a more regular writing schedule. In fact, it seems to be flowing out better than usual, maybe because I'm regularly "priming the pump".

Surprisingly, I really like most of the songs I've written so far. I'm finally getting good use out of the small digital recorder I bought a few months ago. I think that if I didn't record these songs, I'd forget how they go- The way this has been going, as soon as I finish writing one song, I move on to the next one, rather than playing it over, and over and over (like I usually would). So I figure at the end of this 90 days, it will be fun to listen back thru what I've written. It will almost be like listening to someone else's songs.

Just in this short amount of time, I've come to realize the power in just showing up each day. This is not to say that each time I sit down to write a song will come out, but if it IS floating around, I'm there to catch it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eight is ENOUGH!

The other day, in the middle of reponding to an email, my computer starting wigging out. What appeared on my screen was completely different than what my fingers where typing on the keyboard. My computer seemed to be possessed and have a mind entirely of its own. My screen split into 3 screens, a series of weird numbers and letters typed themselves, and lots of keys I was pushing did nothing at all.

I took my computer to the Apple store, fully prepared for either a) being told it was a very minor cost-wise and time-I'd-have-to-be-without-it-wise repair or b) so major and costly and virtually irrepairable that I would have to get a brand new shiney version of my old computer. I will admit, I start to secretly hope it was the latter of the two.

But, it ends up, it's just the keyboard that went bad. And it's a pretty minor expense, and I will only be without my computer for "a few working days" and then, hopefully, we'll be good as new!

I blame this whole computer breakdown on "Eight is Enough". Remember that show?- with little Nicholas and the rest of the gang- from the 70's, or 80's. Because Betty Buckley (a.k.a. The Bradford's step-mom) had been in town, and therefore, in the Dallas Morning News, my friend and I started trying to sing the theme song from "Eight is Enough", got a little stumped and then looked it up on YouTube. And you know how YouTube is- One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, you're laying in the bathtub, watching 6 consecutive segments of "True Hollywood Story: Eight is Enough"-enthralled!

So enthralled was I, that I inadvertantly dribbled quite a bit of my bathwater into my computer keyboard each time I leaned out of the bathtub to advance to the next segment. I wiped it off with a towel, and it seemed ok. Until later that night...

After learning of the sad demise of most of the cast members of "Eight is Enough", I went out to see a Mexican fat-Elvis impersonater at Lost Rancheros, thinking it would cheer me up. And it did! Until I returned home a few hours later and flipped on my computer to check a few emails. After a few minutes,it went blank. Then I restarted it, and the previously mentioned monkey business started.

I had forgotten all about my bathtub full of Eight is Enough. Until when trying to help me figure out what was going on, my husband asked, "Have you dropped it, or spilled anything on it?"

Oh, you mean like warm sudsy bathwater???

Damn Nicholas, Tommy, David, Elizabeth, Mary, and all the rest of them- I got so sucked into their story that I caused my beloved computer all sorts of pain. And I was THIS close to throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

But all's well that ends well. And Eight is Enough to fill out lives with love...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In The Woods

My friend, Diablo and I started a book club. It's a huge nationwide phenomenom. 3 members! Diablo, myself, and my best friend who lives in Pennsylvania, Glitzy. So we'll be having our first book i-chat in the next week to discuss our first book.

We read In The Woods by Tana French. SO GOOD. It was a suspense thriller full of twists and turns. Very engrossing. Very hard to put down. It's about 3 kids in Dublin that wandered off into the woods. One was found clinging to a tree terrified and in shock, the other 2 just disappeared. Flash forward 20 years, and that same little boy attached to the tree is now a detective. And coincidentally, a child disappears in the same woods. Except she IS found, and she is not alive.

All these years, the detective has had no memory of what happened to he and his friends in the woods. So he thinks (and you might, too) that he might finally get some answers...

It's the author's first book. And it's a NY Times Bestseller. It seems it should be made into a movie. And I think I know who could play the lead roles. But I can't discuss that just yet- I've gotta save it for the the book club. Sorry.

So if you'd like to read it for your own book club of one or many, here's the link to Amazon to buy it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Kindest Pressure

I had set (and missed) a self-imposed deadline to finish my new cd. Of course I have some excuses, but ultimately, they're all pretty lame. There must be something I fear about finally being finished with it or something.

Every now and then, I'll get an email from some kind person asking me how much longer until it's for sale. And I LOVE them for asking! For caring about it at all! And not one single person has said it in a way that made me feel criticized from my lateness. So I've felt flattered, more than pressured.

The other day while I was playing, there was someone listening to me that has a copy of my last cd. So she asked me when my next one would be "out". I told her I was running a bit behind but I thought around a month should be good. So she asked if she could give me the money for it now, and I could just send it to her when it's finished. My gut instinct told me NOT to take her money- Not until I had a actual product to sell her. But she encouraged me to take her money, and so I thought, "Well, yes. Maybe this is just what I need. I will feel sort of like a thief, or at least a fraud, if I just keep her money without sending her a cd within about a month."

Di is her name. And she did me the biggest favor. Now I don't just have a self-imposed deadline. I've got product owed to someone who has already put down their money. I've got a little but of pressure to knuckle down and finish this cd that is really so ready to be let loose out into the world!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

50 Songs in 90 Days!

The other day I ran across an online songwriting challenge: To write 50 songs in 90 days. It runs from July 4th- Oct. 1st. I signed up.

The rules are pretty simple. Write 50 songs in a 3 month period. If you want to make them available for others to hear on line, you can. All you need to do, is post the title. So, yes, ultimately, you could just write down 50 bogus titles, and pretend that they're songs. If you want to be a cheater, I guess you can be. (But who wants to be a cheater? And who does it really cheat anyway?) There's no grand prize at the end, other than the songs that will be written.

I'm beginning with the best intentions: To write daily. To write lots of songs in a short period of time, knowing what many of them are going to be for no one else to hear but me and my dogs.

I figure it will lead to all sorts of things. I might try out some new genres I've never written in before. I think I'll be looking for things to write about constantly. This will be a very different method for me. I typically write when inspired, I don't have to look for a topic. Just to show up daily facing a blank page EACH day sounds a little scary. And if it sounds scary, well then, it's obviously a challenge I should take on!

So watch out. If you come across my path in any way over the next 3 months, I may just write a song about you. It might be an instrumental, it might be a parody, I guess it could even be a love song!

To track my progress, or to wish me luck, or read more about it, you can click HERE.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

..and then there are GIFTS

My Dad surprised me with the best guitar in the world for my birthday.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Today I played at a very, very cool place called Motopia. It's a bike shop (motorcycle) with a cafe. But it is NOT what you might imagine. It is NOT a "biker bar". I didn't wear leather pants, I didn't get a tattoo before I showed up, and no one referred to me as their HogBitch. I didn't see anyone that looked like they belonged in a biker gang either. Instead, Motopia is a modern, European coffeehouse that also has food. It has a very "lounge-y" look, and they have Wi-Fi there, so there seem to be lots of business types there on their computers. It also has a glass wall that divides the cafe from the area where they work on bikes. It's a very unique place.

Channel 8 news happened to be doing a story on Motopia while I played today. Eventually, the reporter came over to me and said, "Um, we're doing a story on Motopia today and I'd like you to play something with more of a driving beat- I'm thinking "Barracuda"- Can you play "Barracuda"?"

Ok, I LOVE Heart! When I was a young girl, I was very inspired by them- I loved it that WOMEN where the leaders of this band. I owned all of there albums. And I've played some of their songs even. But BARRACUDA??? Is that me? At all?

So, no. I didn't play Barracuda. Or Magic Carpet Ride. Or Born to Be Wild. That might have fit right into the whole Biker Bar mentality. And if that reporter thought that was fitting, I think we viewed the place quite differently.

Coincidentally, this afternoon, after I returned home, I flipped on "Ellen". Josh Grobin was on and he and Ellen played Guitar Hero together. And guess what song they played????

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thirty Nine and Feeling FINE

I am so mature these days. I'm older, I'm wiser and I am not trying to hide or deny my age anymore. I'm 39 today. I've got one more solid year in my flirty thirties!

I can remember when I turned 30 and I stayed in bed until about 11, then got up and looked in the mirror at my little bitty wrinkles and thought, "I am so old". What the hell was I thinking? I was a child then.

Then when I turned 35 I remember thinking, "Oh my- I am just as close to 50 as I am to 20 now." And that really wigged me out.

Well, this year all I have to say is, "Lord-Y, look who still isn't 40!" No, as you can guess I've got much more to say than just that.

When I was a young girl (younger than I am now even!), I thought that once I was well into my 30's (VERY well) I would have life all figured out. I wouldn't be concerned for what anyone else thought of me. I'd be a WOMAN, and you'd be able to hear me ROAR. I seriously thought that.

Of course I don't have it all figured out, as I naively thought I might by the wise age of 39- but what I understand now that I didn't way back when is that I don't even want to have it figured out! I think if and when that time ever comes, well... time just might be up! And although I still care probably too much about what others think of me, I mostly care about what I think of me.

Overall, 39 feels just as young as 29. Well, okay, just as young as 32. Since I'm married to the man I started dating when I was only 19 (TWENTY YEARS AGO!), and we've looked at each other daily, we haven't noticed each other's aging. So hey, it's sort of like I'm still 19! I'm purring, not quite roaring yet, but I think I'm getting there. Although still a little unsure of myself, I think I'm gaining not just in years, but in assuredness.

I feel mighty fine about his number 39, as a matter of fact! Life is still sprawled way out in front of me. I still feel like the world is my playground. I still feel young- very young in fact. And maybe I AM a little more comfortable in this skin each year. Maybe the wrinkles have loosened things up and I'm starting to feel more comfortable... And I know now, that in a few years I'll think back to this day and think, "What was I thinking? I was just a child then...."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grandfathers I Never Knew

My mom died when I was 35, and obviously, I felt a little ripped off. I expected to have my mom in my life for much longer than that.

The other day while I was at lunch with my dad and some friends, it came up that he lost his dad at a very young age. My dad said he can remember being called out of class when he was in junior high school, and being told that his dad had suffered a fatal heart attack. His dad was in his 40s.

As a kid, I just knew that I never had a grandfather. (My mom's dad had also died when she was just a teenager, and he too was in his 40s) I knew that sounded like a really young age to die, and I knew my parents were just kids when they lost their parents.

But it seemed I was taking in this information as an adult for the first time just the other day when my dad talked about it a little at lunch. I can't imagine how my dad must have felt... And how my aunt, who is my dad's big sister, must have felt. And how sad and scary it must have been for my grandmother to be widowed at such a young age. Talk about ripped off!

I didn't ask my dad a lot of questions (yet) because like I said, we were at lunch with some friends. But I will. I realize now that my mom is no longer around, that maybe I've lost some of her history already by not asking her those same questions to her. The very little I've heard about their dad's as a kid barely sticks with me now. It was hard to connect to it back then and I guess I didn't feel a loss over men I never knew. But as an adult, I can now feel empathy for my mom and dad, and their families over that kind of loss. Because now I've had my own experience with loss.

And I want to know about my grandfathers. Because altho I never knew them, I would've really liked to.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Father's (Birth)Day

My Dad turned 70 this weekend, and it also happened to be Father's Day.

We had a last minute surprise party for him. We invited about 25 of his closest and oldest friends. We called them up about a week prior to the date. Other than those that were out-of-town, every one made a great effort and showed up, promptly at the specified time to yell out, "Surprise!" as the Guest of Honor walked in to his big bash this past Saturday night.

We pulled off another surprise party for him ten years ago. That time we captured the big moment of his surprise on video so it's quite evident he was pretty shocked. It was so goofy, and so funny. Seeing someone so caught off guard in a great moment is such a fun thing to witness. But I think he had a few sneaking suspicions this time around.

Maybe he got a few extra birthday phone calls the day before the party, even from some who don't normally remember the birthdate. Maybe he just expected some bit of fan fair as he rolled into another big decade. I'm not sure what gave it away, but it didn't seem to be such a shocking surprise.

But still GREAT. We had two big tables full of faces from his present and past- All people that love Dad.

I not only loved his party and seeing all those people, but I even sorta liked making those phone calls when I invited his friends. It's wonderful to be told by others what a great guy your dad is- I was literally exhausted from it after my hours worth of phone calls.

Happy Birthday, and Happy Father's Day, DAD!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

This weekend I saw the documentary showing at the Magnolia called "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" or "Harder, Bigger, Louder", or something to that general effect. You get the idea. It's about steroid use in America and why we as a nation are so drawn to enhancements.

It's hard to find a documentary that seems as un-biased as this one. The film maker who conducts different interviews and provides the commentary is from a middle-class American family. He and his two brothers grew up idolizing iconic figures like Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, and Hulk Hogan. As kids they thought, "I want to be just like HIM!" So when they finally found out these real life super-heroes used steroids to rise and stay (at least for a while) at the top, they decided it only made since to do the same. The film maker no longer uses steroids, but his brothers still do. He's not judging those that do, he's just trying to shine the light on all sides of it. Both from those who advocate and oppose.

It was so interesting. Most steroid users aren't athletes or bulky movie stars, as you may suspect, but instead just average gym rats. But it's interesting to wonder why people who don't "have" to use steroids in order to compete do it- And, is steroid use really any different than other things that help people do better at what they want to excel in? For instance, many public speakers use beta blockers to be more poised during their shining moments. Ultimately, isn't that really the same thing?

There was one scene in the movie where the mother of these three men find out about their past steroid use (or at least the one who was willing to admit that he USE to do it) and she is so saddened by the whole thing. Saddened to try to figure out how come they didn't feel like they were "good enough" as they came, in their original package.
It made me sad too. Sad because I know lots of people who clearly must not feel good enough. There are all types of enhancements people use to make statements. And steroids is just one.

I complain about some of my own "parts",but ultimately, that's what Mom and Dad gave me, and really I AM good enough.

As long as I don't look at women in magazines, on tv, in movies, and sort of most places around Dallas.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Try Being More Creative"

I was just updating my website thru Dreamweaver. Very simple stuff. I just put my June calendar up, and updated my opening page. Same thing I do at the beginning of each month.

After I hit the button to "push" the new stuff out into the cyber-universe I had an error message, and after the error message number it stated, "Try Being More Creative". What kind of an error message it that? I've never, ever seen that as an error message before. And it just seemed so weird for my computer to be judging me like that. When it comes to Dreamweaver, I know only enough to get by. If I want to get creative, I gotta get in touch with my web designer! Or if I really want to get creative, I need to get OFF the computer!

But the cyber-universe spoke, and it told me to get more creative. So I sort of shook my computer a little, pleaded with it, "C'MON!!!!", and tried pushing it through again.

And THAT was apparently creative enough for today. Yay. And now, I need to get off the computer...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Learning to Read

I can vaguely, VERY vaguely, remember learning to read when I was a young girl. I can remember struggling and slowly reading word by word- or actually more like sound by sound. I'd meet with my reading group and my teacher and practice a few times each week. One day, all of the sudden, I started reading with ease. And I can remember thinking, "Oh my God- I'm really reading. And the words are adding up to sentences, and the sentences are adding up to a story!"

I then went on to be a 1st grade teacher for several years and I got to teach lots of kids to read. I think for a teacher,it couldn't possibly get any better than that. The power that reading gives us is enormous!

When I learned to play the guitar, I never learned to read music. I've played music just by goofing around, and using my ear. (AND my fingers!) But a year or two ago, I got a book and started learning to read music. I felt sort of like I did at the beginning stages of reading back in 1st grade. Lots of starts and stops. Very choppy. Not very pretty. And without a teacher, or friends beside me, I didn't feel all that motivated to consistently spend time practicing.

But a few months ago, my friend Diablo and I started working thru a book of duets. After practicing a few times weekly, after only a few weeks, the reading is starting to come with ease. The notes are adding up to phrases. And the phrases are adding up to songs!

We have come a long way together in a short amount of time. We get so excited and we hoop, hollar and high five after our best songs. It's all very exciting and reminiscent of learning to read as a kid. There is something to regular practice, and to sharing that practice time with a friend, and then practicing a little on your own. The power reading gives us is, once again, enormous.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Every day of my life, I drink water. And I usually don't (or pretty much never) even think about how thankful I am that I can drink it right out of the faucet without the risk of getting sick.

I just returned from 8 days of vacation in Mexico where I was advised by a hotel employee not to drink the water. Showering was okay, just no brushing my teeth while in there, and no swallowing any of that water. It sounded easy enough because you can buy bottled water pretty much anywhere. But there's really nothing like ICE COLD water when it's 95 degrees outside with about a 200% humidity level- and in Mexico,
that idea is pretty much a pipe dream.

During my visit, I'd buy a big bottle of water at least once or twice a day- ranging anywhere from $1 to $6 dollars- but it usually wasn't very cold. And if it started out that way, it didn't last long. It became "room temperature" (and by room, I mean a hot steam room) within about ten minutes.

I got sick of drinking warm water. (But not THAT kind of sick, at least!) And I got tired of having to carry around a bottle all the time. And I had to remember to keep some clean water by my toothbrush, and when I ran out, I had to immediately buy a new bottle.

Aren't those bottles making an awful lot of waste in Mexico? And really,isn't it dirty enough already?

Here at home, I've taken clean drinking water for granted. But I return from Mexico with gratitude that I can just turn on the faucet and and VOILA: clean, fresh water. And if I want it cold all I have to do is add a few cubes of clean, fresh ice. I can brush my teeth and gargle, without any concern. I can even drink out of a public water fountain without too much concern. I usually don't, but I CAN.

AHH. Nice, clean water...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


This morning at my gym, I overheard a trainer's conversation with his client. His client was a slightly older woman, (slightly older than me, that is) and it seemed to be their first session together. She didn't look like a woman who had done much lifting in the past. After she did a long set of shoulder presses and sighed an exhausted "whew", he went on his crazy sales pitch. Which went something like this:

"See? Long sets with light weights, that's how those ladies get rid of all their body fat. You're gonna do this a few times a week and then in 2 months, you're done! It only takes 90 days to reshape your body. Zero body fat. That's what I'm saying."

Really? That's what you're saying???

I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but c'MON! Besides the trouble he must have with day to month conversion, he seems to be a bit confused on his health facts. I cannot believe a trainer would say this to someone. Zero body fat? 2 months and your DONE? He gives trainers a bad name.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sometimes You Need a Rocket Scientist

My new acoustic guitar amp made its debut last night. I had messed around with the settings and had everything sounding just like I wanted it earlier in the week at home. But of course, everything changes with a new environment.

I played out on the patio at Cafe Lago last night. The new amp sounds so different than my old one, and I am always behind my sound so it's very hard to know what it sounds like "out there". My friend Diablo was there and he kept telling me I needed to turn up my vocal mic. I'd turn it up and he'd say the same thing. As if I hadn't even adjusted things. I felt myself getting irritated with HIM. I'd adjust it, and then think it sounded better and then I'd say, "Ok! Here we go"...but then I'd start singing again, and see Diablo giving me the thumbs up- not the good kind, but the kind that says, "Turn it up!" Finally I had the mic volume turned nearly all the way up.

Two hours later, when I was finished with my second set and most of the customers had gone home, Diablo suggested I do a post-performance sound check, which yes, I know, is a little backwards. But to appease him, I agreed.

He discovered I had plugged things in all wrong. When I thought I was turning up the volume on my vocal mic, I was really doing absolutely nothing at all. Yay me! All those starts and stops of me saying, "Here we go!" earlier that night were really just teases.

This amp is pretty straight forward. It doesn't really take a rocket scientist to figure things out. But in this case, that's just what I needed. A rocket scientist! Diablo once told me that was his major in college- Aeronautical Engineering, also known as Rocket Science!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Secret History

On my website, I use to have a page for this blog, and a separate page for all of my insightful movie, music, and book reviews. But I decided to combine it into one big happy blog...Movies, music and books are such a big interest and influence in my life, it seems only fitting.

So today, readers, I wanted to tell you about a book I just read by Donna Tartt called The Secret History.

My friend, Diablo, saw it at the bookstore a few weeks ago, and remembered reading it and loving it when it first came out, so he bought it to read again. And due to our mutual love of a good story, and the fact that he was currently reading another, he sweetly loaned it to me first. As he gave me his brief synopsis of the book, and compared it to one of my favorite true crime books, Bully. I then grabbed the book from him and ran home to devour it.

Let me say, this book was no Bully. But it did share the common element of a group of young adults killing one of their friends. Usually truth is stranger than fiction, but not in the case of this book.

There is a strange click of friends, all in class together at a small college, and they are all way too into Greek classics. They interact only with each other, this odd group of 5 friends. In the beginning of the story, 4 of the friends tell the fifth friend of how they accidentally killed a man. Oops. They aren't really sure how it all happened. (WHAT?) But they fear their story might leak out. The guy in the group that seems most likely to spill the beans they then murder so as not to leak the story about the first murder. There isn't one character in the book that's a "good guy". No one seems to feel bad about the murder. It's more about not getting caught in the aftermath.

The book is very long. 592 pages! And parts of it never make much sense. But somehow, I kept reading. The best parts of the books come after the murder- I'd say the last quarter of the book. When I finally got to the last page, I was just as baffled as ever.

So I asked my other avid-reader friend, Glitzy, if she had read the book. She had, when it first came out, and she, like Diablo, also loved it. So although I read it,and was sort of enthralled by it, I never loved it. I didn't even like it. But I feel like I was supposed to, and I feel guilty to admit that. Did I just not get it? Hm.