Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Setting goals and having clear intentions is great motivation.

I was able to write 50 songs in 90 days last year because my intention was very clear- just to write 50 complete songs in 3 months time. So I didn't worry about quality, just quantity. I paced myself, and wrote about one song every 2 days.

That was an entirely new experience for me. To write that often. To write whether I had something I wanted or needed to express or not. To not worry about the quality much at all. It was perhaps the biggest lesson of the year for me, last year.

When the 90 days ended, I was pretty sure I'd want to participate in the challenge again the following year. I can't believe it's already "the following year". It will be ten days from now, anyway.

July 4th. That's when it all begins. Nothing I write between now and then counts. I'm no cheater. So I'll abide by that rule.

This year, my intentions are slightly different. This year, I still want to write 50 songs, but this time, I'd like to try to produce one quality song each week. So by October 1st- the last day of the challenge- I'll have 11 or 12 songs I'm proud of, with about 40 more thrown in that can be any kind of crap I come up with.

I think the big difference will just be me spending more time creating. That sounds so awesome. I am so excited to start. I love the beginning ideas of a big challenge. I tend to lose steam once I get going, but I'm that really hyper horse at the starting gate, just chomping at the bit, and ready to run my ass off. Now with this clear intention set, I'll be motivated to stick it out until the end.

This blog will be all about my experience. And if I can get a little help on videography, I'll post some songs up along the way.

Feel free to send me motivation along the way- and challenges too! If you have an idea of something I should write about, or some song title you think I should try to write a song around, or...whatever, please send me an email, or post a comment to the blog.

This is It!

It's official.

The 30s can suck it. I am totally done with them.

Today, I turn 40. I just got back from a walk with my two favorite gals, which gave me a little quiet time to think about this whole 4-0 thing.

I was thinking of different milestones-

Turning 10. Which I don't even remember. As if I was a different person then. Because I was a kid. So therefore, yeah, I kind of was a different person. A kid person, as opposed to a bonafide adult. 10 barely counts. I don't remember thinking 10 was anything monumental. Other than it just being another one of my birthdays, which was always a little monumental!

Turning 20. I remember just wishing it was 21. That seemed like a much cooler age to be. But by 20 I had already met Fermin. I was in college. I sorta knew where life was heading. I thought I knew way more than I actually did.

Turning 30. I remember this one pretty well. I remember thinking the 20s were behind me, and my youth was fading away. I laid in bed until noon, got up and looked in a hand held mirror at any wrinkles or blemishes I had. I thought, "I've already got some problems here, and there's only more to come." But the 30s were pretty good. In fact, my early 30s were pretty great. But Mom died when I was 36, and that woke me up to the idea that people I love in this life are not always going to be around. I started thinking a lot more about mortality. I don't think those thoughts ever crossed my mind in my 20s.

And today. Turning 40. Maybe I can more easily assess it once I'm looking back on it. For now, it sounds old. It doesn't feel old though. And I don't even realize that I'm looking older over the years because I look in the mirror everyday. The changes are so gradual I barely realize it's happening. Until I look at someone in one of those younger age brackets. Or overhear one of them talking to their friends. Then it becomes clear that yes, they are very young, and I am not.

I don't think turning 40 feels great. And, I don't think it feels all that bad. Turning 40 didn't really just happen in a day. It's taken me years-40 to be exact- to get here.

One day, I hope to be 80. I hope it all happens so gradually that it just sorta sneaks up on me like 40 has.

(And by the way, I looked up the term "middle age" to see exactly what age that refers to. I found out, I've still got 5 years to go before I am middle aged.)

Monday, June 22, 2009


Yes, I know things could be worse. I know that I have very little to complain about.
But I am feeling so bummed out today.

Bummer days are like that. You feel bummed out, and the reasons don't even have to be all that big.

But please, honor me by letting me complain here.

Both of my ears are stopped up- which I've never really experienced. I feel like I'm on an airplane, and I'm either ascending, or descending and I need to chew some gum so I can pop my ears. But I'm on level ground...and there's no popping going on.

Also, I have laryngitis. Which not only feels exhausting but also makes me quite nervous. A few years ago, I had a recurring vocal problem and could never count on my voice to be there when I had a gig. It went on for months, and months. This time, I'm sure it's just a passing thing, but I fear it won't go away quickly. I'm scheduled to sing at 3pm this coming Saturday.

And all I feel like doing is sleeping. So today, while sitting at my kitchen table eating my breakfast and feeling exhausted already I was thinking, WHY am I feeling so bummed out? Is it because I don't feel like my usual self? Is it because my 30s are winding down and I've got this big 40th birthday looming over me? Is it because like a kid, I think my birthday is cause for the world to stop for at least a few hours and say, "YAHOO, KERRI!!"- but I'm pretty sure it's not going to stop?

I found myself crying over missing my mom last night. This still happens and often catches me off guard. Every time it does, I realize feeling sad about her just makes me feel ...sad. There's nothing to be done that makes me feel better, or miss her less. And it will never end.

So boo hoo. I just wanted to write a post of honesty. Not all days are good. I don't always see the bright side of things. I'm an optimistic person, but can feel downright negative at times.

I just hope this mood passes over quickly. I hope my voice returns soon enough. And I hope my ears stop hurting and open up. And I do hope the world will stop- however briefly- on Wednesday to say "YAHOO, KERRI!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Right Ingredients

While out playing tonight, I had some technical problems with feedback. My voice was all phlegmy and hoarse from being sick earlier this week. It was hot and sticky playing outside on the patio, and my hair kept blowing into my mouth while I was singing. Oh, and I got a couple of bug bites.

But you know what? It was a great night!

Which makes me realize, it's not how my voice sounds, how well I play, or how I feel, or even how many people show up. I think it's just the vibe created by the people that are there. Sometimes it feels like we're all connected, and really just having a relaxed night out together. I love it when I feel like I'm just playing for a group of friends. Having dogs around helps- because they're automatically friends with everyone, and there were a few up there tonight. Having just one or two dedicated clappers helps as well, because of their fine example, soon everyone is clapping and once people are clapping, it sorta means we're all having a good time and enjoying things.

So the bugs can bite, the temperatures can soar, my voice can crack, and my guitar can buzz and as long as happy people and dogs surround me, it's all very good...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That Time Again

I just realized that it's just about time for that crazy on-line challenge that began the whole idea of this "90 Days" cd in the first place. "50 songs in 90 days" starts up on July 4th and runs through October 1st. (Ahhh, perhaps the weather will start to cool off by then?!)

Is it really possible that's it's already been a year since I did this last time?
Do I really have it in me to write a whole new batch of 50 songs in 90 days?

It was done at such a fast and furious pace last year that I wrote songs that I didn't get around to listening to for a second time until months later. And for me, that's turned out to be a real challenge. So many of the songs need work, but I don't feel connected enough to them to even know how to approach them. They're like strangers at a party- I don't know what they want to talk about, I don't know where they're coming from, and I don't know if we're going to like each other. So I've sort of been standing in the corner by myself, ignoring them.

But I really loved that challenge. I loved that I wrote songs about all sorts of topics- I felt no pressure that they be "good"- Just to get a song written about every 2 days was enough. And I loved posting my song titles up on the board, and seeing my name as one of the people who was on track with the pace. I felt really proud of myself that I stuck with it!

And I'm ready to feel proud of myself again! Maybe this is just the push I'm needing.

Maybe this year, I'll bend the rules a little so that I get to spend more time with the songs that sound like they deserve it. Or maybe this year, I'll just get to the editing RIGHT away, once the 90 days is over. But, I remember how draining that was...Will I really be up for that come Day 91?

The 50 Songs in 90 Days challenge begins on July 4th. I've got to figure out what my intentions will be this time around... Last year, I think my only goal was to just do it. Just write 50 songs in 90 days. I didn't know if I could do it. Now I know I can.

I'll decide what my goals are over the next week or two and post them here! Please check back soon- And if you've got any suggestions... please leave me a comment!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shiny and New

Yesterday, after posting my latest blog entry about my laptop, my "vintage" laptop, that was beginning to have un-fixable problems, I opened up an early birthday gift from my husband.

I was in the tub soaking earlier that morning when the doorbell rang. Now let me tell you, I pretty much never answer my door to unexpected guest-- especially not while bathing- but oddly, I got out of the tub, looked out the window, saw that it was the FedEx truck and ran to the front door in my towel. Just as I opened the door, the FedEx man was walking away- but I caught him just in time, and was able to sign for the package, without dropping my towel.

I wasn't expecting anything, but the box had my name on it. It occured to me that I better not rip into it, because it could be an early birthday present for me. There were no clues on the box as to where it came from, who sent it, what was inside, etc. So I called my husband at work and asked him if he knew anything about it. He told me that yes, it was an early birthday present for me, but no big deal and I could just go ahead and open it if I wanted to. I told him I'd just wait until he got home.

Then my whole day happened and I sorta forgot about the package that was "no big deal" anyway. Like my blog said, I went to the Apple store, found out my laptop was vintage and could no longer be (at least regarding certain things) repaired. Boo hoo for me.

By the time my husband got home, I was building my case for why we should start thinking about getting me a new computer. As I was making my points, he was opening the box that had been delivered earlier that morning.

He looked at me and said, "Ok, close your eyes." He pulled out whatever had been inside the box and put it right in front of me on the kitchen counter. I started getting really excited and impatient saying, "Hurry up! I'm about to look!" Finally he said, "Ok- Open your eyes!" And there it was: My new computer.

Could the timing have been anymore freaky? And awesome? He had ordered it last week. It traveled all the way from China and got here in just a few days. Right on my doorstep, just after I had been told I could no longer keep repairing my other one anymore.

This is my first blog- of many more, I'm sure- to write with the new computer! I love the clickity sounds this new keyboard makes. Love the way the keyboard is all lit up! Love the larger screen. Love it. Love it. Love it. It's sleek. And shiny. And new. It feels a lot like it did when I got the other laptop 5 years ago. Yay for me!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vintage Smintage

Usually when things such as clothes, wine and cars are labeled vintage, they're considered something of high quality and even more valuable as they have aged. However when a computer is referred to as vintage, it has a different meaning, as I learned today.

After experiencing a new problem with my computer last night, I took it up to the Apple Store today. The cd/dvd player of my computer has "failed", I was told. The man helping me looked up repair/replacement options for me. I can get some little external thing to load cds with. But as far as a repair on my computer, it's no longer an option. Why? Because my little 2004 iBook G4 is now considered a vintage product. So in this case, vintage means "we’re not going to repair it for you anymore."

I remember how happy I was when I first got this computer. I remember how I literally (no pun intended!) thought it was going to change my life. I thought I would carry it around with me everywhere and stop in little coffee shops and write my brains out. Well, I sorta have. I started my blog with this computer. I've written hundreds of posts. I've kept a personal journal for no one but me. I've recorded things Mom has said to me that I never, ever want to forget. I've written up my lyrics on here. Oh, and I've fired off lots of emails with this keyboard!

Sort of like a sweet old lady, my computer may move a little slower and look a little older, especially if she were to be placed next to one of those shiny new Mac laptops. Oh, but she's still very active in her community!

So I write this post today in a coffee shop, drinking a chai tea and typing away. This computer really HAS changed my life! If it hadn't been so convenient to get out and use all the time, I never would have done all the writing that I have. Thru all this writing, I've learned things about myself and really pinpointed how I feel about lots of different things. And I have drudged up so many memories- both good and bad, but mostly good- with all this tapping away I've done on this keyboard over the past 5 years.

I'd hardly consider this iBook vintage, but then I wouldn’t really describe myself as middle-aged. Labels are just words we attach to things. You can give those labels your own meaning. Vintage can mean something holds so much sentimental value that it can hardly contain it all! Just like middle-aged can mean having more wisdom and insight!
And how I love them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Incredible Edible Egg

I love eggs.
I love that by making such slight adjustment when cooking them, they can turn out so different! Scrambled, fried, boiled, over-easy, omelette, fluffy omelette,...

Yesterday my friend and I went to eat at Toulouse and we both ordered the Croque-Madame sandwich- which is basically a ham and swiss cheese sandwich but with the added magic of a fried egg on top. Oh, yum.

We both agreed that it was delicious and we then went on to discuss how cool eggs are. They're easy, reliable, versatile and healthy. And who knew about this egg on a sandwich thing? Well, apparently the French did, but I just found out about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lordy, Lordy

Two weeks from today, I turn 40.

Oddly, I have been looking to it with such anticipation- as if something big is going to happen and some big change will occur on the very day that I turn from 39 to 40. But really, will I be much different 2 weeks after my birthday than I am right now? Will I be wiser? Will I have any more wrinkles? Will my bone density be lower? Will I be treated differently? Most likely, no, no, no, no and no.

I don't think men struggle with the turning 40 thing as much as women do. A few wrinkles on a man is rugged. I few grey hairs is distinguished. It's not quite the same for us women.

But I'm feeling an odd kind of excitement about it anyway. It's a milestone. And now I'm about to be done with the dread of turning 40. I'm just gonna own it.

Lots of people I have talked with along the way have said that turning 30 was harder than turning 40. Ok. Good. Because the day I turned 30 I stayed in bed until noon feeling old and then got up and looked in the mirror and I could swear I saw wrinkles that weren't there the day before. A friend delivered black balloons to my front door telling me I was over the hill.

If you're already 40, and especially if you're a woman, and if- and only if- you've got something good to say about turning 40, I'm asking you to SAY IT. Hit the comment mark or email me. It would be appreciated!

Friday, June 5, 2009


DAMN. (And I'm just using that word because this is a family friendly site.)

I have been planning to treat myself this year to the Swannanoa Gathering song camp in Asheville, N.C. I've attended 2 other years in the past and loved it. And this year, of all years, I really wanted to go. It was to be my birthday gift to myself.

So this morning, I sat down to make my flight and hotel plans. Fortunately, I called the song camp to verify a few things before making any of my reservations. Because I learned that all the classes were already full! DAMN.

They had 2 times as many people register this year as last year. Great for them, but DAMN for me.

But there will be other years. There will be next year, even. And I can just plan further in advance. But right now, I am wallowing in my sadness. :(

Waste Not

I read a blog written by Jason Mraz about reducing our consumption of toilet paper for the sake of the environment. It's actually a pretty interesting post about a slightly embarrassing topic.

He challenges us to try using only 8 squares of tp when we use it. (Altho, I could've sworn he said 6, until I just checked it to make sure I was giving you accurate information.) I have never realized how much tp I just grab off the roll. FAR more than I need. I've been very aware of it during my last few trips to the bathroom. I've easily reduced it to 6 or less with every visit. It's a fun challenge.

So read the post, and try to reduce. Save the virgin trees!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Never Again (Until Next Time)

I just finished gathering up all the tax information I need to dump off to our C.P.A.- for 2008. Yay me! So, does this make me a procrastinator?

Well, yes. I'm pretty sure I qualify. I have had the thought of "doing my taxes" hanging over me for what...about 6 months now? But once I sat down to do it, it was done in less than 2 hours. Maybe even less than an hour and a half. I spent more time making excuses and avoiding it than I did actually doing it.

And it's not like I thought it would actually take much longer than it did. But I could not seem to sit my ass down and make myself do it.

But now that I have it behind me, I feel pretty great. Pretty relieved. And I'm saying my old familiar line, "Next year, I'm not putting it off like this!"

It's true what they say- the first step is the hardest. Once I just make the start on something, it's not that bad.

I love blaming my parents for bad inherited traits or habits I have. So, I'd like to point at my dad for this one. Every year I hear him bitch and moan about taxes. He talks about the need to clean and organize his office before he can even think about doing his taxes. I'm not sure his office has ever actually become clean and organized, but eventually, he stops talking about it. He then moves on to talking about how much he has to do on his taxes. Then he sort of disappears for a period of time. And eventually, voila, his taxes are done! It seems like a huge ordeal every year. And I know how much he hates it. So it's all I know. I'm suppose to hate taxes, and I'm suppose to avoid it as long as I can. And then, once I'm actually done, I'm suppose to say YAHOO and NEVER AGAIN will I put it off like that.

So seriously:
YAHOO! I will never again put off doing my taxes like that again!

H-2 ZOOM Handy Digital Recorder

When I was a kid, probably my favorite "toy" was my tape recorder. I sang into it, I recorded interviews I did with my friends and family (and a few presidents and Hollywood stars), and I even recorded cool parts of TVshows- Like my favorite songs from the Wizard of Oz. I never owned a Barbie doll. But I spent a whole lotta time with my Radio Shack tape recorder.

Not only is it hard to come by tape recorders and cassette tapes these day, but the old one I have is horrible. It sounds very jarble-y.

But now they sell digital recorders. Some of them can be pretty pricey. But if you have any interest in recording live sound of any kind, I think the Zoom H-2, at less than $200, is worth every penny.

The sound quality is surprisingly very clear. And it's easy to convert the format to mp3 and then if you want, you can load it into iTunes. It can do all sorts of funky things that I don't even bother with. I just keep it simple, and hit the record button, and the playback button. But if you're more tech savvy than me, (which I'm pretty sure you are) you can read all about what the ZOOM digital recorder is capable of.

If I didn't have this handy little recorder (which is, by the way, called the Zoom H-2 Handy Recorder) I would lose most of my song ideas. It's really hard for me to remember a melody during the beginning stages of my writing process. I jot down the lyrics and the chords I use on paper, but I would get lost if I didn't have a way to record all the other important stuff like phrasing, tempo, strumming or picking pattern, and melody.

Zoom H-2. It's handy.