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 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.