Saturday, November 28, 2009

The End of an Era

In my neighborhood, which I've now lived in about 8 years, we have our mailboxes up around our front porches. It's great for many reasons, and I think only older neighborhoods have this set up. Obviously, it's super convenient. You either open your front door to get the mail, or some people have it drop right inside their house. But one of the unexpected reasons it's so great is that you get to know your mail carrier because he spends hours each day walking the neighborhood streets.

IF you've got the kind of mail carrier that we've had. Our mailman, Jim, has been walking our neighborhood streets and bringing us our mail, and saying hello to us most days for over 20 years.

About a year and a half ago, Jim took a different route for a while. I think the walking 9 1/2 miles every day was getting to him and he needed a little break. All my neighbors and I realized how much we missed Jim. We rarely got the friendly hello shout outs, our mail came at random times, and we didn't know the names of the different mail carriers that showed up from day to day. And if we were going on vacation, we actually had to go up to the local post office branch and fill out a little sheet of paper asking them to hold the mail until we returned. (Jim had always just taken care of that for us!)

Then, several months ago, Jim returned and all was right with the world (or at least our little neighborhood) again.

But, today was Jim's last day. He turns 62 next week and is retiring. He told me he's just tired of the 9 1/2 mile walks each day. He also told me he'd visit our neighborhood again, but I think he might have just said that so I wouldn't cry as we said our goodbyes.

I've seen change happening in our neighborhood since we've moved in. We started out with so many sweet, older neighbors in their 80s. Now some of those people have moved away, or moved on, and younger neighbors have come in to take their places. I still love my 'hood, but it's not quite the same. And now, losing Jim as our mailman is just another change that makes me feel sad and wish things could just sort of stay the same least the good things- like him!

Hopefully, USPS will find ONE mail carrier to handle our route and he or she will wave and say hi, they'll learn our names and we'll learn there's-- but, won't be the same.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Full of Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.
And I am full.
Full of thanks and gratitude.
Each day, I write 3 morning pages- Julia Cameron style- Yesterday, while doing my writing, I wrote a big,long list of things I'm thankful for. It wasn't hard to fill 3 pages.

I try not to take good things for granted, but after making the list, I realize I do just that. I don't often think about how glad I am to have good plumbing until I have some problem and am desperately calling a plumber. I forget to appreciate clean drinking water that comes straight out of my faucet at home, until I am on vacation in Mexico and I have to remember to use my bottled water at all times- even when I'm just rinsing after brushing my teeth. Until my mom died, I don't think it really hit me that the people I love the most won't always be around. It takes a little (and sometimes a lot of) yin to see the yang.

I am thankful for Thanksgiving. Thankful for the days I'm reminded to sit down and really count my blessings. All in one sitting. Until I am absolutely stuffed full of thanks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert Controversy!

I may be alone here, and that's fine if I am-
But I think all this hoopla over Adam Lambert on the AMAs is a little ridiculous.

After reading some posts on FaceBook about how "gross" and "inappropriate" his performance was, I had to look it up and watch it on YouTube, since I missed the show.

Is this really so offensive to people in this day and age? Nobody's clothes were off, no laws were broken, and no one got hurt, so what really is the big deal? I feel like I've seen this kind of stuff done before on shows, in concerts, at award shows, in movies, and on the dance floors. And if anyone's very familiar with Adam Lambert, he is a singer, but he's also a performer, he's also edgy, and hello?, he's gay! So maybe his sexy dance moves or a little different than a heterosexual male's, but it's no more or less offensive to me.

This is not the kind of stuff that offends me. This is not the kind of stuff I get up in arms about. This is not the kind of thing that really hurts anyone. So what is the big deal?

*By the way, what I do think is a big deal is that this is my 400th post! ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009


Just when I think no one is listening, someone unexpectedly lets me know they are.

I've had a few of those encounters in the past few days- Someone letting me know they have my cd and play it often, someone else letting me know they read my blog and enjoy it... Ultimately, I create and express out of my own need to do so, but it makes me so happy to know there really are people out there paying a little of their attention to me. Love that feeling of connection...

Friday, November 20, 2009

15 (or 14)

I've picked the 15 songs that will be on my upcoming cd. Although, if I can't come up with a different bridge, one of them is going to get tossed off. And I mean it.

Picking which songs I wanted to include has been hard. I feel so bad saying "no, not you" to the ones that have potential if only I would spend a little more time on them and shine them up. But just because I'm turning my back on them for now, doesn't mean they're lost forever. Maybe when I come back to them months or even years from now, I'll have a new approach and I'll know just what to do to make them so much better.

But for now, I'm focusing in on the 15 that flowed out easiest from the start. And that jumped out at me the most as I listened back over my initial demo recordings.

I think my next cd is going to be my best yet. That's got to always be the intention, right? It would be silly to make one if I thought, "Well, it won't be my best but I'm gonna make it anyway..." I like to always think that my best work is always ahead of me.

Some of the new ones will sneak there way on to my set lists, (truthfully, I very rarely make a set list, but somewhere inside my head each night, there must be one!) but I'd like to keep them more or less on the down low so when the new cd is ready, no one will know what's gonna be on it. Just 15, or maybe 14, new songs. And better than my last batch.

It's the New Moon Review...(coming right at you!)

(Anyone around my age get's my title reference, right?)

I shamelessly went to see the New Moon movie.
My neighbor friend and I went to the early- and I mean 10am early!- feature hoping it wouldn't be too crowded with screaming women.

Well, it was, of course, crowded. But no one was screaming. And there were almost as many men there as women. Apparently, Edward (or maybe Jacob, whatever...) has mass appeal not only across the age spectrum but also across the gender lines.

So do you really want a review of the movie? Does it really even matter? If you're on the Twilight bandwagon, you probably don't care. You're going to see the movie regardless of a good or bad review. I woke up this morning and read the Dallas Morning News review of the movie, which was a horrible D rating, but it didn't give me a one second pause about whether or not I was going to see the movie.

Like the first movie, this one follows along very closely to the book. Except in my head, all of the vampires are way, way better looking than in the movie. Obviously, I liked my visions better. Except Edward. Well, Edward minus the weird lipstick, pale make-up and eyeliner. In my head, Edward looked like Rob Pattinson when he's on a talk show. Which is pretty much as described in the book: perfection.

I had started the Twilight saga several weeks ago, but after I read New Moon, I made myself stop until the movie came out. Now that I've seen it, I'm ready for the next installment- Eclipse. Ready to have more Edward, and maybe not so much Jacob. Ready to find out if Bella and Edward will get married, if Bella will eventually become a vampire, if Victoria will come back and what will happen when she does, if Jacob and Edward will eventually have it out...- what is going to happen?

And then in another year, I'll be back in the theater to see Eclipse on the big screen. (But not as beautiful as it is in my head...)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


One of my pet peeves is people who complain about how busy they are. I hate it when people do that. And by that, I mean the people who do it often. We're all busy in our own lives. Are the people who say that really any busier than the rest of us? Life is busy.

Being "busy"... Sometimes it's fun stuff, sometimes it's not fun stuff, sometimes it's exciting, and sometimes it's mundane. You might be busy reading a book, or taking a long walk, or getting your kids ready for school, or sitting in a boring meeting at work, or planning a trip, or lining up new gigs. But it all fills up time, and it's all a part of life, and it's all busy.

Using being busy as an excuse is just annoying. It feels almost insulting when someone says it to me. If someone apologizes for not calling me for a while and says something lame like, "Sorry I haven't called...I've just been so busy", it feels like they think I have just been sitting idly waiting on their call.

But I've been busy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The last month or so I've put in a lot of time weeding through not only these 50 songs I wrote for the "50/90" contest, but some others too. It actually became a little overwhelming.

But I slapped many of the decent songs on my iPod and have been taking lots of walks listening to the original recordings. After listening over and over, I got a much better feel for the ones that have some potential.

So now, I'm just re-working those. Making some lyric changes, some key changes, some tempo changes... singing and playing them over and over until I start to feel like they belong to me, or I belong to them.

My next cd will be signed, sealed and delivered within 6 months. That's my goal. I'm posting it here to hold myself accountable. By May 10th. Who knows, it might be even sooner, but it definitely will not be later!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sting: "If On a Winter's Night..."

It's a little too early to buy a Christmas cd, but Sting so brilliantly put one out called "If On a Winter's Night...", so it doesn't technically fit the category. It's not disgusting to buy it in early November. It doesn't have any of the standard holiday songs that we all get so sick of hearing by the end of each season.

I used to love Sting. I loved the Police, and then liked his first several solo projects. But I've lost some interest over the years.

But there was a single I somehow ran across years ago called "Lullaby for an Anxious Child" and I knew it finally made it's way onto a cd- this brand new one. So as soon as it was available I bought it.

I just broke it out today to listen to it while I crock potted and cleaned my house.

What the hell is happening to Sting's voice??? He went from the raspy voice singing "Roxanne" to this very deep, very proper sounding voice. It sorta sounds like after all these years, he decided to take some classical voice lessons. It barely even sounds like him at times. But it does match the sound of the music he's created for this cd. I'm not sure yet that I like it. All I know is, it's different. (But just on certain songs.)

It's the kind of cd I will never run to, and will probably not put in my car to drive around to, but I'll play it on a lazy Sunday morning while Fermin and I read thru the big, fat, Sunday paper. Perhaps eating our sweet potato pancakes at the same time. And I can play it without cringing well into February!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rules/Guidelines for Trick-or-Treaters

I love cute little trick-or-treaters that come to my door in costume on Halloween night. However, if I remove the words "cute", "little", and "costume" from that sentence, it's a whole different story!

Last night, I decided that since it's my door they're coming to, and I'm giving out candy, I should get to have my say. Just like restaurants that post signs that say, "No shirts, no shoes, no service", I think I have the right to refuse to give out my candy to patrons who don't follow Halloween etiquette.

If a kid can't bother to put on a mask, or a little paint on their face, or some sort of costume, why really are they even approaching my door? There was a large group of kids that looked related- None where dressed in costume, and all were older than what I consider legitimate trick-or-treating age. I asked them why they didn't dress up and no one even bothered to give me an answer. But then their Mom, or maybe older sister stepped up and held out her own bag and said, "We're poor! We can't afford costumes!" Oh? C'mon!!! Since when did using your imagination just a little get so expensive? I told her to try sticking an old sheet over her head and cutting two eye holes in it and calling herself a ghost.

Trick-or-treaters seem to be getting a little more demanding these days...One boy asked me for a bottle of water. We happened to be having a dinner party and all I had to offer at the moment were bikini martini's- so I just told him no and threw some candy in his bag.

I didn't even bring up the fact that some of these "kids" were way too old to be trick-or-treating. I only asked about costumes. AND I still gave out candy to them all. In other words, I used caution. But yet, it made my husband a little nervous after a while. Which is exactly my point: We're at our house, opening our doors to strangers, and giving out candy. Shouldn't I be able to speak my mind, even a little, without feeling nervous we might have our pumpkins smashed or eggs thrown at our house?

The Kerri Arista rules and guidelines for trick or treating are as follows:
(I used to be a teacher, and cannot help myself.)
1. Wear a costume.
2. Say trick-or-treat.
3. Say thank you after receiving the gift of candy.
4. If you're over the age of 11, you can only go out trick-or-treating if you're with a younger sibling or friend that needs you to walk with them.