Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Voted

I won't be able to vote on the actual election day (which is actually on November 8th, not Novermber 28th...), so I early voted this week.

I went to my polling place on Tuesday, around 2pm thinking it might be less crowded since it was well after lunch time, and not close too morning or evening commute time.  Still though, even at 2:00, there was a 30 minutes wait. 

That is not a complaint.  In fact, it felt so good to know that there are so many people out there, like me, very willing to take time out of their day to cast their ballot for our next President.  I'm so glad that people are actually getting out there...  Even though some media has reported what a landslide it will be.  Even though someone has said this is a rigged election.  Even though so many people have said they don't want to vote at all this year.  And even though, living in Texas, many people say our vote doesn't count.

There's something that feels very patriotic to stand in line with a bunch of strangers, but fellow Americans, all exercising our right to vote.  We may all have different opinions on how and who will help us achieve it, but we all want the best for the United States.

I believe every vote counts. 
Ricky and I encourage and urge you to VOTE because it matters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Heart Which Wich

I'm a super picky eater.  It's a pretty serious condition.  It's known as SED (selective eating disorder), or sometimes, you might hear it referred to as APE (adult picky eating). I am not making this up!  I have lived with this condition all of my life.  I didn't actually know it was a condition, until I read about it in a memoir I was reading.  I may not have an extreme case of it, but oh yes... I have it.

Having said that, although I am picky, when I find something I like I really like it.  And when I find a place that caters to my picky needs... I'm a fan for life.

I like a good, relatively plain sandwich.  I have tried all the regular sandwich shops and some of them are okay.  But once I discovered Which Wich, about a year ago, I realized I never needed to go anywhere else again for a quick sandwich.  There's is the best.  The most customized.  They slice the bread extra thin for me.  AND.  Unlike any sandwich shop I've ever been to... They will crumble up a few of their house chips to go in my sandwich. That's all I need.  Not a whole bag of chips.  Just a few, crumbled up.  IN MY SANDWICH.  I am telling you, it's magic.

I go so often that I'm always greeted by name.  I love that.  It's like the fictitious bar, Cheers- "Where everybody knows your name..." but this is real life.
Celebrating my 150th visit to Which Wich.
Today was a big day.  It was my 150th time to eat at Which Wich since I fell in love.  Just to be nice, they gave me a free drink, and Fermin got a free avocado added to his sandwich.  I mean c'mon!!! That's a happy, happy day in my book!
150 visits so far to Which Wich... and many more to come!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Music Monday: Liz Longley

The greatest thing about Monday, is that around here on the blog, I like to post something about the music I'm currently binging on.  And this week, one of musicians I've been listening to a lot is Liz Longley... Particularly her latest CD, Weightless.  It came out months ago, but it wasn't until I heard her playing live at the Kessler Theater here in Dallas that I really fell in love with this batch of songs.
Liz Longley at The Kessler Oct. 18, 2016
Because the CD has a lot of production- a little more than I typically like for a singer/songwriter-, I preferred her live performance even more.  But the CD is great.  Liz has one of the prettiest voices I know of... She a great lyricist and she comes up with some great hooks and her voice is crystal clear and one of my very favorites. 

So today I'm posting the first official video from the Weighless CD, but I highly recommend youtube-ing her and finding some of her live performances as well.  And the more acoustic, the better--- It's that voice of hers you'll want to focus on.  It's breathtaking.

Here's the video of her song called "Swing".

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fear and Excitement

Here's an interesting fact that I hadn't heard or ever thought about until just the other day: Fear and excitement are physiologically the same thing. Your body doesn't know the difference. 

That being the case, it seems that it would serve us all better if we chose to think of ourselves as excited rather than fearful, right?

Let's say you have a speech to give in front of an important audience. You have butterflies in your stomach, and your heart is racing. You could think to yourself, "Whoa. I'm super nervous!",and most likely, your performance would suffer because of it. However, if you instead reframe those feelings to mean, "Wow!  I am so excited about this that my stomach is doing cartwheels!", your approach and the way you connect with the audience is probably going to be a lot more positive.  And fun. For everyone involved.

When I think back to my very first gig, I realize the only reason I was able to follow through with it was because I was able to reframe my fear and recognize it as excitement.

It's sort of a funny story. I was on a cruise with my family. I entered the talent show as a dare from my brother.  He entered it too, and it was just sort of a funny vacation moment that the two of us shared.  But it was also more than that. It made me think, “Hey. That was fun! Maybe I could do that in real life.” 

With butterflies in my stomach, I delivered my cassette recorded audition tape to a restaurant in my hometown just a few weeks after that talent show. I was elated (and a little shocked) that I got booked to play the following weekend.  

Fermin drove me, my guitar, and my tiny little amp to my first Friday evening gig. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot and I saw the crowded outdoor patio packed with people, I panicked.  "Forget it!  Take me home!  Seriously, I can't do this. I'm going to vomit."  I wasn't exaggerating.  My fear was real.  Who did I think I was to get in front of this crowd of people and sing? My body was reacting to all that adrenaline coursing through me and I was nearly convinced that this idea was a huge mistake. We stood in the parking lot as Fermin tried to convince me I could do it, and I wailed on and on that I couldn't. And then we saw a car approaching from a distance.  With his windows down, the driver yelled out, “Kerri Arista ROCKS!"  It was a friend of Fermin's that had come out with his wife to hear me. It was funny and it made me laugh.  And it broke into my fear for just a split second. 

In that split second, I realized it wasn’t just fear I was feeling. I still had the butterflies and I still felt like I might vomit, but I looked at Fermin and said, "Okay, I think I got this. I can do it.  I'm actually kind of excited." 

And I did it.  I played my first gig.  I was scared. But I reframed it into excitement just in time.  And that excitement actually gave me courage. The crowd was in good and appreciative spirits (mostly due to the 3pm happy hour that had started well before my arrival at 6pm!) and was happy to have live music of any kind.  My little amp barely pumped enough sound out for anyone but the first few rows of tables, so it was mainly just a few friends and family that could hear me.  But it was one of the gigs I'm the most proud of because I started out being very scared, but I did it anyway.  And from there, I got booked again.  And then I went on to bigger and better venues.  So many great things happened because of that small start. But if I had let fear stop me, I never would have known how much fun I could have doing it.

So next time you feel fearful- just keep in mind that your body doesn't know the difference between being scared and being excited.  Just tell it...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why It's Okay to Bail on a Book

I'm a book lover. There's nothing that makes me happier than being right in the middle of a book I can't stop thinking about when I'm away from it. Books make my world broader- by the places they take me,the characters they introduce me to, and the topics they make me think about.  My life is richer because of books. I don't know what I would do without them, really. But being a book lover doesn't mean I love all the books that I open.  Sometimes, I begin reading a book with great intentions of liking it, maybe even loving it~ but then, at a certain point, for whatever reason, if I'm not enjoying my time with it, I bail.

I don't abandon every book that doesn't grab my interest from the start.  And I don't have to love everything about a book to read it to completion. I don't have to love the characters.  It doesn't have to be my favorite genre. It doesn't have to be one I "just can't put down". It doesn't have to be a book I'll remember for years. It doesn't even have to be a book I'd recommend to other people.  If I keep wanting to pick up the book and read it, I do.  But if I'm feeling bored or restless with it, I'm out. After years and years of being an avid reader, I realize sometimes abandoning a book I don't like is the best thing I can do to honor my love affair with reading.
It took me years to understand that's it's okay to LET IT GO, when it comes to books. And when I say let it go, I mean:  Put it down, walk away, don't look back, and don't feel guilty for leaving it behind

I don't have a hard and fast rule as to when to abandon a book.   I'll stick for a while, but at a certain point I just know it's time to say, "Nope. You're not for me", and move on to the next one. 

There's too many great books to get hung up on one that bums me out, and slows me down. By abandoning books I don't like, I'm making more time and room for the ones I will like.

I think people that claim "I don't like to read"- (they exist!  I actually know some of them!) just haven't found the right books yet.  Maybe they've let themselves get bogged down by a few books that just weren't for them, and now, they think they don't like reading.

That's why it's okay to bail on a book you're not enjoying. Just let that one go.  But please, pick up another one. It's worth it when you find one you love.