Friday, June 29, 2012


For the past 4 years, around this time of year, I start up on the 50/90 Challenge.  Writing 50 songs in 90 days is a mad, mad pace.  It's given me confidence in myself to know that I'm able to crank out that many songs in such a limited amount of time.

Just in that time alone, I've written 200 songs.
It seems wasteful that those songs, as well as many others, just sit in notebooks that stay up on my bookshelf.  I gave them attention during their first spark of creation, but have mostly ignored them ever since.   It's possible some songs could be really great with just a bit of polishing.  (Or a lot of polishing!)

So this year, I've decided to forgo the July 4- October 1 songwriting extravaganza, and instead spend that time further crafting songs I have already written.  I also intend to spend the time immersing myself in the Logic software I bought months ago.  I feel like these two challenges go hand in hand.

Hopefully I'll get a good batch of demos recorded over the next 90 days.  And who knows, a new CD or at least an EP might be soon to follow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brain Happy

I just finished reading What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo.

I read it in just two days because I found it so interesting I could barely put it down to do anything else.

So... just a few of the nuggets I took away from this book, starting with my favorite:

*If you have a goal, to let's say lose 20 pounds by your wedding, it's better to pose it as a question to your brain rather than a statement.  As in, "I wonder if I can lose 20 pounds and fit into my wedding dress by my wedding day?" rather than, "I am going to lose 20 pounds..." 

*The hunt is always more exciting than the capture.  Hello, Ebay?!

* Our brain really has a need to be right.  But you don't actually have to be right for it to matter to your brain, you just have to feel like you're right.  This explains a lot of the arguements in my life:  I just really need to feel like I'm right.  All the time.

*The more immediate we know our feedback will be, the more we're motivated to perform well.  So teachers out there, get those graded tests and papers back to your students quickly if you really want them to ace things!

*You don't know what you don't know.  Seems pretty obvious, yes.  But we need to really remember this when we start a new job.  As the book says, "Practice and experience aren't just preparation.  They're part of the process of discovering what you could not possibly know as an outsider to whatever trade or profession you hope to become competent in."  So, give yourself a break.  And give yourself a little time!  ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012


The rest of my birthday weekend was great...
I got to spend lots of time with the Ricardo's, I got to go out for Mexican food with friends, Fermin made Fermalada's (similar to Pina Colada's, but with less sugar and fat!) to celebrate the occasion, and I made a necklace for myself and my sister.
My friends gave me this cute mug I can drink out of while I look at my cute garden art, which are from the same owl family!
They also gave me this super cute little coin purse from Paris.  I love the fancy little button on it!
Fermin gave me a gift he's given  me many times before-  He knows he can never go wrong with a gift card from Nordstrom Spa.

He also brought home these lovely flowers for me~

Besides the gifts, the weekend was really not that different than most.  Which to me says I live a pretty sweet life year round!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


My birthday has always been a big, happy celebration for me.

When I was younger, the celebration wasn't just on my birthday, but during the whole month of June.  As I got a little older, that got reduced down to about a week.  And now I think I've hit the age where just the weekend is plenty.

I'll admit it.  I LOVE getting gifts.  I do.  It's that element of surprise just before opening the package.  That, and the fact that someone was so kind to do something out of the ordinary for me.
As I've gotten older, I think of gifts of the panacea to getting older.... Yes, I may be another year older, but someone has given me a prize for getting there! 

Fermin always gets me a thoughtful gift.  Any other gift I get is just icing on the proverbial birthday cake.

Last nights delicious frosting on my birthday eve's eve cake was given to me by our friends Sammy and Lindsey.  A bottle of wine (not pictured because we drank it immediately!), some yummy candles, sachets for my sheets!, and a really beautiful necklace with earrings that Lindsey made!!!  Oh. My Gosh.  I was really surprised- And happy!  Because like I already admitted:  I LOVE GIFTS.

This morning, Fermin went up to the donut shop and brought me home my favorite:  donut holes!  YUM!  What a treat!  I ate a few donut wholes and then got to be lazy in bed with my cuddly companion, Lucy~
Lucy's bedroom eyes
Then, Ricky went on an hour long walk with me on the Katy Trail.  It was really hot by the time we got back to the car and he was exhausted.
He's tired, but he'd do it all again for me!
My birthday isn't even until tomorrow, but already, I've received such amazing gifts and I feel so well cared for.

Although I don't love the getting older part that a birthday brings, I will always love the celebration!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jury Duty Again Already!

For years, I was never called for Jury Duty.  I was summonsed about 9 months ago, and even wrote about it on my blog here, and already, I was invited back.

This time, I was summonsed to show up at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, which was a different court house than the last time.  I texted my judge friend and asked him what kind of cases where heard there (thinking that if this was just more of the traffic violations like last time, I might have to pretend I never saw the notice in the mail!), and he told me it was the more big time stuff.  Yay!  CSI here I come.

So this experience was way less boring!  It started off with about 500 people in one huge room.  It was amazing to look around and see all the people who actually show up to do their civic duty.  Pretty cool when you think about it.
They broke us into smaller groups of about 60 and we went to the various court rooms.

So at least this time, I was considered a "juror".  I even got a badge that said "Juror". 

We heard just a tiny bit about what kind of case this was-  Basically, while committing a theft, a man threatened another man with a deadly weapon, which was a cane!
Canes can be deadly weapons depending on how they are used.
Both the defense and state attorneys asked us jurors all sorts of questions to figure out if we could be fair and impartial.  They had us take an oath, which meant we were all telling the truth in our answers.

Some people said stuff that was really funny to me.  One guy said he didn't think he could be involved in the punishment phase of a trial- that he didn't think punishment worked.  Another lady  due to her religious beliefs, said she didn't think she could be fair and impartial.  (She was Catholic, by the way.)  A few other people said they didn't feel like that could trust the testimony of police officers, because they had bad past experiences with them.

We were asked if we had any other reasons why we thought we might need to be exempt from serving on a jury.  A few people said they had diabetes.  Hmmm.  So do I.  But I don't really know how just being diabetic makes you unable to serve. Another man said he was on heart medication that made him have to pee frequently.  The judge asked him, "How often are we talking?" and he answered straight-faced, "I don't know, but when I gotta go, I gotta GO!"

I know these people were under oath, and I'm sure they were telling the truth.  But I also think they didn't want to be selected as one of the 12 jurors that would be there, we were told, the remainder of the week.

The weird thing is, I did want to be there!  I got the impression, from the people I spoke with during the day, that I'm not of the majority.

I noticed the defense lawyer looking at me a lot when I first walked into the room.  After about 15 minutes he turned to the judge and said something.  Then the judge said, "Juror 31, Kerri Arista, do you recognize Mr. Defense Lawyer?" (Actually, she used his name, but I have no idea now what it was.)  I didn't.  Honestly.  He said I looked familiar and he thought we might be neighbors.  He kept glancing at me often.  Another potential juror next to me said he thought it was a little creepy.  And it was!  I hope that guy isn't my neighbor.

At the end of the day- yes, we were all there all day- the lawyers had narrowed down the jury pool to just 12.  They got all the way to Juror 39 to select a dozen.  People were stricken for reasons they had given earlier, or because they looked familiar to one of the lawyers.

So like I said, I didn't make it to the final jury.  But it really wasn't a bad day.  It wasn't boring.  I was very entertained by the whole thing, and by the people there.  And to top it off, I made $6, which just almost covered my parking fee!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maui Jim

This post is going to make me sound like I'm irresponsible with sunglasses.
But the truth is, when my glasses break, it's usually not my fault.  And although I misplace them often,  I don't think I've ever actually lost a pair.

I love Maui Jim lenses.  Not because I love the island of Maui either.  (Altho I did ironically buy my first pair when I was once on vacation in Maui!) I don't necessarily think they are the most stylish frames, but I totally don't care.  If you're ever around water, I swear, you see it totally differently if you're wearing Maui's!  Anyway, because of that, I own a few pair.  Two for running (two broken pair that is-- I'll explain in a minute) and one pair to just wear whenever I'm in the sunlight.

I think there is a design flaw with the two I use for running because the lenses have both cracked in the exact same spot.  So either they are defective, or my face is.  And this isn't even the first time they've cracked!  They've cracked before as well, but I've either been able to exchange them, or send them off to Maui Jim and they send me a brand new pair.  I sent these two pair off a few weeks ago, hoping I'd get them back before I went to Hawaii...  Unfortunately, the USPS was holding them at the station and I didn't get a notice until I received one lone "final notice" (as if had been sent others?!) came in the mail the day after I got back in to Dallas.  But look!!!
two brand new pair of Maui Jims!!!
And all they cost me was the $11 processing fee I sent in with the broken ones. 

My other pair, the ones I wear for all things other than running, are currently in terrible shape.  One day, I could have sworn I had my glasses with me on the way out to my car.  But I couldn't find them once I was in the car.  "oooh well,"  I thought, as I backed out of my garage.  And then I heard my tire roll over something crunchy.  It ends up, I rolled over my glasses, in their case!  They must have fallen out of my purse on the way to the car.  BOO. 
the remains
I was going to send them off, and hope for a new replacement pair.  But Fermin talked me out of it.  We decided I really shouldn't push my luck too much, and after all, I guess this was my fault.  It certainly was not Maui Jim's fault anyway.

Anyway, just had to give a little shout out to Maui Jim for the fine customer service!  Greatly appreciated!