Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Greatest Losses and Gains

This time last year, I wouldn't have believed that in February, I would lose my two beloved Siberian Huskies, Zoe and Scout. 
my sweet girls
Although they were 15, and perhaps I should've been prepared for it, because they had just been such a great part of our lives for so many years, I never imagined they'd ever have to leave us.

But they did.  And both on the same day. 

What a terrible day that was-- February 21, 2011.  What a huge, huge loss for Fermin and me.  We came home to a quiet house, and it nearly drove me crazy.

What I didn't know on that terrible day, was that just a couple of weeks before that, February 8 and February 12, two little angels had made their way into the world...
...and they were just waiting for me to find them.

And the best thing about the year was that I did find them! 
So Cheers, on the New Year's Eve, to the unexpected, and to the eventual joy...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CareBear in Hibernation

My brother has called me CB, short for CareBear for as long as I can remember. 

Lately, the name seems especially appropriate.  Not because I identify strongly with the CareBears, but because I've sort of gone into a self-appointed hibernation period. 

I don't have any gigs scheduled until mid-January.  I'm just spending a lot of time at home.  Perhaps a dangerous amount of time.

Because instead of feeling like this break is doing wonders and I'm feeling refreshed, I'm instead thinking I never want to leave my house again!

I know we all go through it from time to time.  That feeling of, "WHAT in the world am I doing with my life?"  I'm feeling it.  It may also be a little bit of post-holiday blues.  It's a funky time of year.  

All I know is that I look forward to feeling like I'm ready to get back out, and I'm a little worried I won't ever get to that feeling.

For now, I'm just in hibernation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Are You F-ing Kitting Me?

I love Hello Kitty.  And it seems that many people know that.  And so, I get lots of Hello Kitty products as gifts.  One of my sweet friends even found a Hello Kitty iPhone charger!!!  Who knew a phone charger could bring me so much happiness?!?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter SolstiCelebration Coming UP!

I read just the other day that the Winter SolstiCelebration coming up here in Dallas this weekend is the biggest in the nation.  Or maybe even the universe?  I can't remember for sure.  My husband asked me, "Why is this one so big?" and I answered, "Because Amy Martin is awesome and she's been working hard on building this thing for the last 19 years!" Yes, 19 years!  I think it's grown every year, and she has found lots of other very dedicated people that help her plan and run the show each year.
The Cathedral of Hope
Anyway, not only is it's going to be inspiring!

I've been inspired already as I sat through rehearsals earlier this week.  There are all sorts of great performances-  musicians, poets, dancers, magicians, and even some folks who refer to themselves as "Circus Freaks".

And on this 19th year, I get to join in on the fun and contribute a couple of songs...  The photo below is my friend, Cornell and I rehearsing my song "Balance" just last night.
Cornell and Me
I also get to perform my song "Sum of All the Parts" immediately following what I think is one of the most beautiful moments of the show!  (But I won't give it away!)

I feel honored to be included as a performer on this very special night.  If you live in or near Dallas, you should definitely get some tickets and come out to see this show.  And if you get your tickets in advance you save a little bit of cash, so get 'em now!  Here's a link to do that: Winter SolstiCelebration 2011

Below is a little more information about the evening. 
19th annual
Winter SolstiCelebration: Our Human Journey 

December 16 and 17, 2011
Friday and Saturday
same service each night

7 to 9 pm
doors open at 6 pm ~ Yule Fest 9 to 10 pm
5 to 7 pm: meditation & tours of Interfaith Peace Chapel
Sat. 5 to 7 pm: tours of Interfaith Peace Chapel

Cathedral of Hope
5910 Cedar Springs, northeast corner of Inwood, Dallas, Texas 75235
best access through Ford dealership on west-bound Inwood, or turn on Nash  (1 block east of Cedar Springs)  

$15  ~ $12 in advance at website ~  $8 children & seniors ~ 214-261-5599 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A new show called "Virgin Diaries" just began airing on TLC this week.
It features different virgins of different ages.

On the first show, there was a group of friends- all 3 of them were nearly 30 year old virgins.Altho one had already had sex 7 times with past boyfriends, and said she was a reclaimed virgin. I think reclaimed virgin means "I wanted to be on TV with my girlfriends!"

All three of these ladies talked about how they couldn't wait to meet a guy (soon!) and lose their virginity.  So it didn't seem they were doing it for meaningful reasons.  Or maybe they were at some point, but now, they are just ready for to get it on!

This episode also featured a 35-year old man that had never had sex.  He told his his mom that some friends had suggested he hire a prostitute.  She seemed to think that probably was a good idea, but he decided to instead just try getting hammered at a bar with friends and hopefully meet his first conquest.  So again, his reasons for being a virgin were never really explained.  He didn't seem to be happy about his "condition".

And then, there was a couple-  I'm not sure if they revealed their ages or not, but emotionally, they seemed to be about ten years old.  On the show, they were soon to get married, and up to that point, hadn't even kissed each other! We got to see their first kiss and oh... my... God.  Painful.

We got to hear a little from them on the morning after.  I don't think fireworks went off.  They said it isn't like in the movies.  That it's actually painful.  With kisses like theirs, that's not surprising.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this show is.  Just weird entertainment I guess.  It's definitely not making a strong case for why someone would chose to be a virgin.  In fact, if a virgin was to watch this show, they might end up rethinking their position.  They don't seem to be in very good company.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything!

This is the signage for a new store going up in one of my favorite areas of town.  

It's a little funny.  A little offensive.  And just a little fabulous. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Kiss

This weekend, I went with a small group of friends to Social Art Studio.

There are lots of these types of art studios popping up lately.  They all have a calendar online that lets you know what painting will be done on which date.  That way, you and your friends can pick something you all like and book your date to paint!

It's also BYOB, which is always a selling point for my wino friends!  ;)

The good people at Social Art Studio provided the canvas, paints, brushes, and instruction as we painted our own versions of "The Kiss" by Gustov Klimt.  

It's funny how even tho we were all painting the same thing, with the same paints, and with the same instruction, our paintings each had a unique take on "The Kiss".  
5 all the same, but different

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jingle Bashing

I was so looking forward to going to the Etsy Jingle Bash today.  It's a craft fair of lots of vendors who sell handmade goods on Etsy.  I figured I could pick up a few unique Christmas gifts for others, and/or myself!

Apparently a lot of other ladies had the same idea.  Way too many ladies!

It was held downtown at the Palladium, which sounded like it would be plenty big even if there were a bunch of people there.  BUT, there also happened to be a studio tour in the same area, so people were just every-effing-where.

Even parking was hellacious.  I had to parallel park, which is never pretty.  But no cars or people were injured, and for that, I am proud.

Maybe there were cute handmade goods there, or maybe there weren't.  I'm not even sure.  It was impossible to even make it up to the counters in the sea of people I would've had to wade thru to get there.

They had a few bars set up where you could order drinks, and they had a DJ spinning.  All that sounds kind of nice and festive, but it was just completely irritating to me.

If you notice on the Jingle Bash flyer above, you'll see that where it says, "shop-party-art-craft", the word "craft" sort of looks like "crazy".  That's what it looked like to me anyway.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Writer's Group

Since I began participating in a few challenges that require lots of songwriting in short bursts of time, I've accumulated lots of songs over the last few years.  I'm talking hundreds. But I haven't had much time to go back and edit barely any of them.  Many of them probably aren't even worth a second look, but I know some of them are.

But with that many songs to weed through, it's been a little hard to get motivated.  I don't even know where to start.  And so, I don't.

I know that as much as I hate deadlines, sometimes, I need them. 

So just the other day, a fellow songwriting friend and I decided to start a writing group.  Just a group of other songwriters to meet with to share songs we're currently working on, to get a little feedback, to give a little feedback and to get inspired. And of course, to give ourselves that much needed deadline. 

We were going to meet up one weeknight a couple times a month.  As it turns out, the night that we selected didn't work scheduling wise for anyone we invited.  Not even the two of us who came up with this grand idea. 

Once we found out no one could make it to our first meeting, she called me that morning and said, "Hey, since it's just us, and we don't have day jobs, you wanna just meet this afternoon?"  Hells yeah, I'd rather meet in the afternoon when my husband isn't home, when I'm not having to cook a quick dinner first, and when I tend to be in a more creative mode!

So she came over, we played our songs for each other, offered and received a little feedback, and got inspired!  We also decided our next meeting would be during the day again.  We figure, if we build it how we intend it, "they" will come!

Our songwriting group, as small as it was that day, served it's purpose for me.  I picked out a song from that big ol' pile and worked on it enough beforehand so that it wasn't too embarrassing to share. After playing it, and talking about it, I had some direction on what I needed to work on.  That night and the next morning, I spent more time with my song, trying out all sorts of different ideas I came up with, spurred by our discussion during our songwriting group.

We meet up again in a few weeks, so thankfully, I've got another deadline.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I'm reading Spent by Frank Lipman, M.D.  It's a non-fiction book written for people who feel, well.... spent
sorry, you can't click to look inside unless you go to!
I had been feeling pretty exhausted during the summer.  I even went in to my endocrinologist to make sure my thyroid wasn't whacked out-- I was just so drained every morning when I'd return from my run and puppy walks.  I'd come home to shower, but take a bath instead because I just felt so tired.  My brain seemed fuzzy most of the time.  I had the memory of a 70 year old, and I was getting headaches often.  And if I had to use a word to describe how I felt both physically and emotionally, I would say, "Spent". 

One day, I was reading a magazine article about how to regain some energy, and it mentioned this book.  I loved the title, and tend to make quick judgements based on that alone.  So I checked it out at the library.

Spent is set up as a 6 week program.  Each day, it offers one suggestion of something to either add or remove from your diet, exersize or sleeping regimen.  It's not some crazy strict diet or anything like that at all.  It's very sensible stuff- some of it that you already know and just need to be reminded about, and some of it, at least for me, is things you've never even thought about!

I think the very first day, Dr. Lipman suggests cutting out sugars and artificial sweeteners from your diet.  This is nothing ground breaking.  But he threw in some factoids about artificial sweeteners that I needed to hear again. Facts like:
*"Although it is marketed as "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar," it is more chemically similar to DDT."
*"Aspartame has more than 92 possible side effects."
*"If you are using Splenda, you are essentially dumping chlorine into your coffee."
He said that cutting that junk out might feel really challenging the first few days, but after that you'll notice your head will start to clear.  As in, not fuzzy. Yay!

Another thing suggested very early on in this 6 week program has to do with your sleep habits. 

Let me tell you, I wake up most mornings feeling like I need to go right back to sleep.  So although I've never even thought much about my sleep habits, I'm realizing I probably need to.

So the big advice here was-- don't watch tv in bed.  And not only that, don't watch tv or use a computer screen after 10pm.  Those bright lights emitted from the screen mess up our body clocks.  This was a tough one for me.  I love watching tv in bed.  And I love using my iPad in the tub during my evening bath.  But no more!  I quit doing it for about 10 days in a row.  But then, one night, I just had to watch a little tv!  And I slept like crap that night.  But I still made the same mistake again the next night watching tv in bed until about midnight.  And you know what?  I woke up around 3am and didn't get back to real sleep until about 5:30.  Not refreshing!

I'm on about week 5 of the program.  Some of the things suggested in the book I have stuck with, and some, I just try for a couple of days.  (Which Dr. Lipman seems to long as we're listening to our body and figuring out what makes a positive difference to us.) 

I'm feeling a lot better.  This could be at least partly due to the fact that the brutal summer is over and I'm no longer running in nearly 90 degree heat for and hour each morning.  But I think for sure, taking a lot of these suggestions to heart has done me some good.

Anyway, this book is so worth checking out if you, too, are feeling spent.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Very Scary

I don't watch all that much scary stuff-- But every now and then, I just wanna!  And since it's October, I guess I wanted to get all spooked out.

So I've heard a little about this show on F/X called American Horror Story.  My friend Valerie, who keeps a great blog, mainly about TV shows she indulges in, wrote about it recently (Read it here!).  She seemed pretty affected by it, so I decided to watch it.

It's about 4 weeks into the series, but fortunately, between Dish on Demand and F/X running repeats, it's not too late to jump on at the beginning of the series.  Amerian Horror is a pretty intricately weaved story, so it could be quite confusing it you don't catch it from the beginning.  So I watched the first one.  Alone.

Then I told my husband he too had to watch the pilot so that he would also get sucked into to the evil web of American Horror Story, and we could watch them from that point on tegether.  Because I'm not sure this is a show that should be watched alone! 

Last night, we got caught up on all the episodes that have been on so far.  (Which means, yes, we watched waaay too much TV last night!)  But oh.  My.  Gosh.   Every time I see the names of the writers and creators of the show I think to myself, "Those are some pretty sick bastards to be writing shit like this!" 

And to them, I am grateful.  What a crazy show.  And so fun to watch.  With someone! Have a happy and spooky Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Due to this crazy drought we experienced all summer, I watched one of my 65 foot trees fall in the backyard the other day.

Lucy and I had just come inside from playing in the backyard.  I heard branches rustling, and thought a wind storm had come in out of nowhere.   So I looked out our window, and although I didn't see a storm of any kind, I did see one of my beautiful trees fall. 

The tree took the power lines down with it, caused a little firework display, and knocked out everyone's electricity on our side of our street.  It ripped the power pole and box off our house. Our neighbors got electricity back by the end of the day, but it took us a little longer to get our power restored because we had to call an electrician.  It's not easy to find one over the weekend!

The hammock we love to lay in was destroyed.   

And our fence was hit, but only by the brush, and was left standing- although in need of some repair.

Of course, I am so sad to lose a beautiful tree that provided such nice shade in my backyard.  But Fermin and I look stupidly happy in the pictures below.  I think that's because even though we lost something, we realize we could've lost a lot more. 

None of us were outside. No one was napping in the hammock. Lucy and Ricky were both safe indoors.  Our house miraculously didn't get hit.  It fell in the most perfect direction it possibly could have.  It did hit another big tree as it fell, but the damage was minimal.  If we had planned to take this tree down, I don't think we could've done it much cleaner.

My tree guy, Randall, is the greatest.  He came out first thing the very next day to clear things out enough so that we could get our cars out of the garage.

He used a stump grinder to fill back in the big, gaping hole with the roots and soil.  So in a way, our tree is buried in that hole now.  At least parts of it.

The rest we're using as stumps to sit on in the backyard, firewood for our friends, and a plant stand to showcase the pumpkins I just bought!

The brutal summer of 2011 is over, and most definitely left it's mark.  But we're all safe and sound. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sparkle and Shine

I think I've actually posted another version of this song on the blog before, but a man named Stephen E.Potter did such a great job capturing this video and putting some cool effects on it, I just had to put it up!  Ironically, he sorta did what the song is all about, so I've posted the lyrics below...

I like the way you see it, and the way you make it sound
There's something about the music, it's just better when you're around
It's just a slight improvement, just a subtle little change
And there's something more to look at, and I like the broader range

It was good before, but you brought a little bit more
It was perfectly fine but now it sparkles and shines

It's always unexpected, what you've got up your sleeve
A little bit of magic, that I'm starting to believe


The colors bloom, the stars are out
My heart swells when you're around


Monday, October 3, 2011

I Crossed The Finish Line!

I did it!

I completed the challenge I set out to do about 3 months ago.  I wrote 50 songs in 90 days!
The space and tools I used in writing 50 songs over the past 3 months  (Minus my guitar and ukelele!)
I sort of figured I could do it, because it's actually my 4th year to take on (and complete) this task.  But almost because of that, I was a little unsure.  I get nervous that maybe my best is behind me already.  Or even worse, that my creative well is going to dry up completely.

About every 9 days, I had to make sure I had written and recorded 5 new songs.  I posted every single one of them up on the 50/90 website.  Which is a scary thing to do~ to put something out into the cyber world for others to hear before having a chance to do any editing.

No one said I had to do it that way.  But somehow, adding that element to the challenge kept me very accountable that all songs were complete and weren't completely horrible.

Now that the challenge is over, I'm taking down all of those songs for  anyone's ears but my own for a while.  Perhaps some of them will find their way onto a CD.  Who knows?  But those raw, naked versions are going to be set to private!  I feel like I'm getting to put some clothes back on!  And just in time for Fall!

Sometimes finishing a big project feels a little unsatisifying.  We can ruin it for ourselves worrying about the "What now?"  Well, for me, I know that answer to that question.

I'll start listening to those songs and see if any deem worthy of some re-writing.  And I already know there are at least a few.  I want to learn a new recording software called Logic, and learn how to use MIDI, so I figure working through some of these songs will be perfect for that!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Happy Reunion

I'll be honest and admit it:
Lately, I haven't been all that focused on booking gigs.  I'm not sure why.  But fortunately for me, I've been booking and playing at the Songwriters in the Round at Opening Bell Coffee on Monday nights.  It's kept me connected when I sorta felt like checking out.

Oh, I love the place.

When Mom was still around, she was constantly on the look out for me.  She was my biggest cheerleader, of course.  So when she happened to be walking around at the funky building where Opening Bell resides, and the owner- the super fabulous Pascale- was hanging up her signage and getting ready to open up her coffee shop, Mom asked her, "Are you going to have music here? Because my daughter is a great musician."  Good ol' Mom!

And it's because of that conversation that I have the great claim to fame of being the first musician to ever play at Opening Bell Coffee here in Dallas, Texas!

Mom also started me into guitar lessons when I begged for them when I was in 5th grade.  Years later, I took guitar lessons again because my highschool boyfriend found a guitar teacher and I decided I wanted to take some more lessons, too!

I was at that angsty teenager age, so I'm not sure how much guitar I actually learned at the time.  However, he kept me interested enough that, hey, I am 25 years later, still at it!!

And the other night, we were reunited at one of my gigs.  What a huge, huge honor that he played with me on a song!!!

I love hosting the Songwriters in the Round on Monday nights at Opening Bell.  You never know what might happen.  You never know what kind of special things you might see.  This was a hugely special moment for me.  Watch the video and you can tell I am BEAMING!!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I am most happy when my bedside table looks something like this...
I've got loads of books awaiting me... This is just one stack.  It's funny how books seem to come all at once, and then every now and then, I just can't find anything that interests me.  (I think when I'm going through one of those stages, it really says something about my overall state of mind!)

A friend of mine says he has a habit of buying a lot of books.  He said one of the reasons is, he feels like as long as he's got books to read, he can't die.  You know, because obviously, you can't die when you're in the middle of a great book-- You have to know how things are going to turn out, after all! 

Anyway, I've got a lot of reading-- and living!-- to do!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Psychology Today is So Yesterday

I got this mean little letter in the mail today from the collection agency that Psychology Today apparently uses.

Let me first say, that I been a subscriber to that magazine for about 5 years.   This year, I decided to take a little break from it and not renew.  I did not order a subscription for the year like the mean letter accuses me of doing.

I find this letter not only mean, but funny, and even ironic.  It's coming from Psychology Today?!  Don't they have a little better understanding on how to treat their customers?  It seems like they should understand human psychology better than this! 

Although I really liked this magazine, and was only taking a break, after getting this threatening letter, I will probably consider this  a total break up now.   Do they really think I'm going to want to start up a subscription now?!  Really?

Ok, so here's the letter, word for word. 

Dear Kerri Aritsa,  (Yep, that's right, they didn't even get my name right!  Way to go!)

You don't get something for nothing.

The magazines ordered from our client, Psychology Today, have a value.  Otherwise, there wouldn't have been an order placed for that subscription.

That value is in the amount of $15.97.

We expect full payment for that subscription.  The value of sending payment on your part is to protect your account with our client.

That account has a value, too.  Don't damage yours.

Make a check payable to North Shore Agency and mail in the envelope provided.

You don't get something for nothing.

It's not the way it works and you know that.  Resolve this matter and collection of this account will stop. 

Um, no. Sorry.  I hate bullies.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thick and Thin

I just wrote song #30 for the "50 songs in 90 days" challenge.  For now, the title, at least for now is "Thick and Thin".  Unconditional love is so easy when it comes to puppies!  But hopefully this song stretches out and applies to a whole lot more than puppies.  :)

let me tell you the way it's gonna be
i'll say it slowly and i'll repeat
i'll make it simple and i'll spell it out
i'll explain it so that you won't have a doubt

i'm gonna love you for your whole life
i'll be the one you run to when something just ain't right
i'm gonna love you thru thick and thin
and if time starts to run out we'll just start it up again

your only imperfections are the ones that i can't see
i guess that's why you are just perfect for me
the way i see you, oh, i wouldn't change a thing
you're the sweetest love song that i ever sang

i'm gonna love you for your whole life
i'll be the one you run to when something just ain't right
i'm gonna love you thru thick and then
and if time starts to run out then we'll just start it up again
and if time starts to run out then we'll just start it up again

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vaudeville Night This Saturday

I will be a part of Vaudeville Night this Saturday (August 27) at Labyrinth Walk Coffee House.  It's the annual fundraiser for Labyrinth Walk which is just a great acoustic venue run by volunteers. 

It's my first Vaudeville experience ever. 

I don't even really know what Vaudeville is exactly, but the sweet people that run the Coffee House asked me to be a part of it several months ago and I felt like I couldn't say no.

Because I think it's possible that Vaudeville implies there might be some jugglers, and/or people walking around on stilts.  And who knows what else!

I do know there are lots of different "acts", and I'm just one of them.  I also know I'm 3rd in the line-up order, so if you're coming, get there early for me!  The show starts at 8pm.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Half Way Mark

Can get a a big whoop! whoop!?

I am now half way to my goal of writing 50 songs in 90 days.  I posted up the 25th song on the board last night and decided I'd go ahead and post it here on my website as well.

This is a love song, like so many of my songs are.  I'm lucky to have so much love in my life...  This one's called, "It's Not Heavy".
You've passed the test with flying colors
I watch you and my hearts a-flutter
Everything you do, you do it right
You've learned all the tricks I've taught you
There's nothing that we've tried that's stumped you
You've picked up everything like it's light

It's not heavy how I love you
Cuz it comes so naturally
It's been easy just to love you
I guess that you were meant for me

All the colors are in balance
and we offset each other's talents
You're the calm that lives inside my storm
You give me space when I need it
You know my dreams and believe in them
You huddle in close to keep me warm


I'm so glad you followed me home
That you were brave and you took the bone
You trusted that I'd take good care of you
Now you have made my load much brighter
You have made the sun shine brighter
'Cause I know you love me thru and thru


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Camp Pick Up

When I was a kid, I never went off to summer camp.  (And as to the whys of that...well, that's a whole other topic I'll someday write about!)  And since Fermin and I don't have kids, we've never gotten to experience being on the parent end of the summer camp experience.
waiting for our camper with the masses!

But thanks to our friends who we were visiting at the time, last month, we got to tag along and pick up Abby from her first summer off at camp.
Such a sweet reunion, huh?
 My favorite part of the whole thing was getting to hear what the camp counselors had to say about each of the kids in Abby's cabin.  I actually video-ed it.  We were all so proud of Abby!  And isn't it so true what this girl says about Abby-  You can tell by that smile of hers that she is just full of joy. 

Sometimes you get to live some of life's experiences vicariously through others.  For just a second that day, I got to pretend I was a mom picking my sweet girl up from summer camp!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dallas Texas, You Are My Bitch

It's been one of those sweltering summers that doesn't happen all that often. Of course, summers in Dallas are always hot.  But this summer, we had 40 straight days of temperatures over 100.  The record was set back in 1980: 42 consecutive days off 100+ temperatures.  We came so close to setting a new record, but then yesterday, some clouds rolled in and knocked the temperatures down and we only (only?) got up to 97.

We sweated our asses of here for weeks and weeks.  And you know, Texas is known for excess.  "Everything is bigger in Texas" is one of our slogans.  And think about the tv show from the 80s, "Dallas".  Excess.  So it feels unfair to have suffered thru this excessive heat so long, and to continue to have to endure it for who knows how much longer, but to have one day in between to only get us into 2nd place for all time record breaking temperatures.

It is this time of the year, every year, that I complain about living here.  But all this time, I've continued to call this place my home.  So there are clearly other things that keep me here.  But this time of the year, I cannot remember what they are!

Here is a little song I wrote yesterday about my love/hate relationship with my hometown.  It's called "Dallas Texas, You Are My Bitch".  Oh, and the verse about "14 years of my life...." refers just to the amount of months I've done little outdoor activity due to outrageous summer heat.  It totals up to FOURTEEN YEARS.  I have lived in Dallas my whole life though.  It's only the 14 years that I've bitched about.  But that's quite a lot, still!

And speaking of excess..."Dallas Texas, You Are My Bitch" is song #21 of "50 songs in 90 days".  I'm getting close to the halfway mark.  Yay!!!

Dallas Texas, you are my bitch
You make me itch to get out
From June until September
I can't remember
What our love is all about

Sometimes your big blue skies with all that sun
Just hurts my eyes
But sometimes your one lone star
Reminds me your
Deep in my heart

Fourteen years of my life
You've kept me inside
Hiding from your heat
You'd think by now that I'd accept
and I'd expect
And we could make our peace but...


Dallas Texas, you are my bitch
You know I can't switch
Off your big bright lights
I know that everything is bigger
And I'm just bitter
That your summers burn so bright


Friday, August 5, 2011

Song Writing (and Puppy) Update

As previously mentioned in my blog, I'm currently in the midst of my 4th consecutive year of writing 50 songs in 90 days.  I began the madness on July 4, and hope to get to #50 and be done with it by October 1st.  So, I'm about 1/3 of the way there and pretty much on schedule to get to the end on time.   Just today, I completed song #17.  Whew.  It's a furious pace.  But super fun, and I am most happy in this mode for sure.

I will always find it amazing that even on days when I think I have nothing to "say", if I just plant myself in my studio, I CAN write a song.  And I know that goes for whatever creative endeavor it is that you're into.  Just give yourself the time, and something, inevitably, will show up to greet you.

I thought I'd post a couple of my songs on the blog today.  One is about Lucy,  called "I'm in Love With Lucy".  The other, "Forevermore and More", was written for Ricky.  This way, you'll get a little slice of this 50 song pie and, in the same breath, get to see cute photos of my sweet puppies.  Can you tell I'm in love with these two?

"Forevermore and More"

Well the way you look at me is just the way I look at you
No one's ever seen thru me quite the way you do
You know my secrets and I'll keep yours
And I'll love you forever more and more

It was put into your path and you were put in mine
It wasn't a coincidence, it was just the perfect time
Now you're in my story and I'm in yours
and I'll love you forever more and more

Now you walk beside me down the road until our journey's end
There will be twists and turns and bumps and swerves but both of us can bend
You know the path to my heart and I know yours
and I'll love you forever more and more

"I'm in Love With Lucy"

She wakes up with a smile on every day
She sees the fun in every little thing
The sun it shines a little brighter
Since I get to walk beside her now

I'm in love with Lucy, and I know that she loves me
I'm in love with Lucy

Her happiness is rubbing off on me
Her love's contagious and bit me like a flea
All my days they just seem better
Ever since the day I met her- wow

I'm in love with Lucy, and I know that she loves me
I'm in love with Lucy

Monday, August 1, 2011

#1 Feet Center

One of my #1 favorite things to do is get a massage.  I ask for a gift certificate to Nordstrom Spa each year for my birthday, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. So thanks to my husband, and my dad, I get to go fairly often.

But not really as often as I'd like.  I go every few months.  And each time I'm there, in my blissed out state, I pledge that I'm going to give myself this gift more often, like once a month.  But it just doesn't work out that I go that regularly.  Mainly because it feels like a lot of money to spend on myself, and just a little overly luxurious.  Because after all, who do I think I am?  A queen?

The other night, my friend Theresa came over.  She told me she had gone to some Chinese place for a foot massage.  She had never had a massage before, so she said she didn't really have anything to compare it to, but she said she liked it.  AND, she gave me a flyer from the place that had the pricing.
Take a look at that!  And look at the one that says, "70 minute combination (50 minute feet, 20 minute body).....$30"

THIRTY DOLLARS.  For 70 minutes.  Are. You. Kidding. Me?!?!

So the very next day, I tried convincing my husband to go with me to try it out.  But he said we didn't have time.  (I think there is always time for a massage, but he doesn't agree.)

I waited until the next day- today!- to head over there.  Although it's pretty near where I live, it's a bit of a sketchy area.  And I only mean sketchy if  you want to find others who speak English.  And I really did not.  So it was certainly not too sketchy for me!

When I walked into #1 Feet Center, located in a little strip mall with lots of other Chinese businesses, a lady handed me a menu, that looked like the pink flyer, and I pointed to the service I wanted.  (70 minute combo, of course!) Then she took me back to this dark little room with all these comfy lounge chairs everywhere, and brought me a big bowl of hot water to stick my feet in.

The lady who had assisted me up point then motioned over to something or someone, but I didn't understand.  She just giggled.  And so I giggled back.

And then a man came from the direction she had pointed and sat down in front of my chair. Oh no! I had hoped I'd have a lady masseuse, because in the past, whenever I get a male masseuse,  I've felt a little uncomfortable.  I'm a little modest maybe.  I'm not really sure why.  But it is what it is.   However, today,  with this language barrier, I decided to just go with it, rather than just shake my head no.  I mean really, what would I have done to communicate that I prefer a female masseuse in a friendly way?

I won't go into each and every detail of my massage, although I'd sorta like to.  I'll just say...
It was the best massage I've ever had in my whole life.
Very vigorous.  Almost painful at times.  But totally energizing and the whole time I kept thinking, this has got to be good for me.

Sometimes I get so relaxed during a massage that I fall asleep.  And in a way, that sucks.  I miss out because I'm asleep.  And sometimes I even start snoring!

But with this type of massage, I couldn't fall asleep because it was so invigorating. 

After I paid my masseuse, he pointed to himself and said, "George."  and handed me a business card flipped over.  I took that to mean I was suppose to write his name on it, and request him again next time.  And by next time, I mean next week.

I decided during my massage today I am going to this place on a weekly basis.  Of course I am!  I can find a way to cut back somewhere else. 

#1 Feet Center (hilarious name, don't you think?!), you are my #1!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Are Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll the Fountain of Youth?

Perhaps...  Mick Jagger is 68 years young today.  He looks like no other 68 year old man I have ever seen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Songwriters in the Round- Mondays in July

I'm hosting the "Songwriters in the Round" at Opening Bell Coffee during the month of July.  There are only 2 Monday nights left in July so c'mon out and check out this great scene!

I've booked 3 acts for each night + me.  We take turns playing songs we've written, and talking a little bit about the "behind the music" of our songs.  Opening Bell is such a great, cozy atmosphere for just this kind of thing.  And where the heck else would you wanna be on one of these sweltering summer evenings anyway?

It's hard to get out on a Monday night, at the end of a work day,  I know.  But once you're there, it sure is a great way to unwind.  Even better than watching "The Bachelorette"!  ;)  Last week, although the crowd was small, it sure was warm and welcoming.  I love people who actually come out to listen to the music.  It makes us songwriters feel so appreciated.

Last week, I had NO VOICE.  I didn't get to sing.  But I did get to listen.  And here's a little of what I got to hear:
The fabulous Cary Cooper, who you just can't help but sing along with!

And the beautiful voice of Robin Hackett...

And, my friend, Ro Diaz-- He's famous for being an artist- Gorgeous paintings.  But not everyone knows he also has a talent for music.  He shared a little of his songwriting, and also performed some beautiful covers.

What a night!

So please don't miss out tonight- It's going to be another great one.  On our line up is for tonight is
Hudson and Harlan, Annie Benjamin, Emmeline, and me!  7:30-9:30pm! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Filling Up Pages

I received a belated birthday gift in the mail from my sister this past week.

A journal is always a great gift for me.  Whether it's from someone else, or myself!

I've kept a journal, or what I used to call a diary, for as long as I knew how to write.  I have so many journals filled up stacked in my closet. I rarely look back at them, and I sometimes fear that some day, I'll be gone, and someone will be reading things that I really only intended for myself.  So although I'm not sure why I hang on to the old ones, there's just no way I could ever get rid of them.

Lately (and maybe it's due to that fear...), I mainly use journals for songwriting.  Although that stuff feels private too, at least it would be a little harder to decipher it someone other than myself ever got a hold of it!

So this journal from my sister comes at a perfect time.  Today marks Day #1 of 90 for the "50 Songs in 90 Days" challenge that I have participated in for the last 3 years.

Right now, all that blank white space looks a little daunting.  How and with what am I going to fill those pages?  Can I really come up with something new to say, or at least a new way to say something I've written about before?

But that's the beauty of this challenge.  There's no pressure, other than self-induced pressure.  No one says these songs have to be good, or put on an upcoming CD, or sung in front of anyone.  All 50 of them are allowed to be the worst songs I've ever written...

Of course, I don't really want to spend the hours and hours and hours this will all take if it's just to write a bunch of bad songs!  So I'm hoping for some good ones that will make this all worthwhile.

90 days from today, October 1st, I will have written 50 new songs.  Good, bad, ugly or indifferent.  And regardless, I am sure I will not regret the time I spent on the endeavor.

Posted below is the final song I wrote last year, called "Pages and Pages".

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Very Happy.

There is no cuter tummy than Lucy's!
I celebrated my birthday this past weekend.

Friday morning Fermin put the puppies in bed to wake me up.  Awww!  And then he told me he made me an appointment at the Nordstrom Spa for "Two Hours in Heaven".  (Really, that's what they call the treatment I got.  And it WAS two hours in heaven!)  My husband knows me well!  And he is super thoughtful.  I had a great day, thanks to him.

Then, that night, we went out with our great friends, Allyson and Kevin, to Eclair Bistro.  Super yummy.

And when we got home, I opened up the perfect gift from my friends:  Dog Agility in a Bag!  Anyone who knows me, knows that these days I'm all about my puppies, all the time.  A gift for the puppies is really the best gift for me! unusually quiet moment for the Ricardos...
2011 started off very shitty.  Zoe and Scout died in February.  What a huge loss.  But we had a great life all together for a good long 15 years.  Oh, but my heart felt broken.  But I know now that the break in it just allowed it to stretch and grow bigger.  Now I've got these two new puppies to love.  And I'm able to give them a ton of love... and they give it right back!  2011 is turning out to be a great year after a very sad start.

And it was a very happy birthday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guten Tag

With my Apple Strudel!!
Our dinner club group had Germany night last weekend.  It was my brilliant idea last time we met (back in January) to dress up like someone from whatever country we were celebrating.  Apparently, by the time Germany night rolled around, everyone but me and the host of the evening, Mike, forgot about the dressing up part!!
Hansel and Gretel
My friend Marina brought me a bottle of Pinky Tuscadero wine!  (I have a pink cruiser bike I've named Pinky Tuscadero, and I even wrote a song about her!)  The wine wasn't German, but was, in fact, made in Texas!  It was super sweet, sorta like my little bicycle! 

I thought I would hate all the German food- But there were actually some pretty yummy things- The spaetzel was my fave, and the potato pancakes ran a close second. The sausage and sauerkraut- not so much.  I brought the dessert- Apple Strudel, which was delicious- with a little German Haagen Daz Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Yum.

The country we picked for next time is Thailand- Yay!! Food I LOVE!  But what will I wear?!?