Monday, January 31, 2011

filed under: severely underrated / rap is awesome

If you recognize the names:
- Drake
- Lil Wayne
- TI
- Juvenile
- Master P

Then hurry up and go here:

Snacks and Shit.

Shout out to Steph for the fantastic find and for not being selfish and sharing it with a sister.

**If you don't recognize those names, then I might suggest skipping it.

money in da bank.

I've always been one to rise to a challenge. Even if it's a challenge I'm creating for myself.

Knowing this is a wedding-heavy year for yours truly (woohoo! as luckily, I love weddings. Well I love receptions because they always have a dancefloor), I need to get better with financials. It's something I always try to do, but then I wonder how hard I really try. Enter my own personal challenge.

With tomorrow arrives February (along with some "storm of the century" to hit Chicago). What better day to start a challenge than the beginning of a new month?

I hereby challenge to spend only $100 of fun money throughout the month. This includes:
- drinks at bars
- cab rides
- meals out at restaurants
- clothes/jewelry/other "necessities" that I don't actually need

Food is a necessity so I cannot lump in groceries as that's just plain silly. As are toiletries. Those are my main exceptions.

Tomorrow at lunch, I will head to the ATM and remove $80 from my account (I've already got a $20 hanging out in my wallet) and this will begin my own challenge. Spending cash always helps me get a grip on the fact that money's actually being spent. Credit and debit cards are dangerous with the "it's just a piece of plastic" mentality of paying.

I'm hoping I'll end up saving some money in the long run and maybe even turn this into a new month-to-month plan.  Or maybe realize that I can do $80 for a month or $50! The possibilities are endless.

Oh dear - I need to settle down and just get through February first. Well, not just February first, but all 28 days.

Friday, January 28, 2011

snow no!

I don't necessarily think winter sucks, but I think this would:

A real Joe Angel move.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

tomorrow, tomorrow, i love ya! tomorrow

Hold the phone.

Did I just read what I think I read?

The glorious little gem of a movie Annie is being re-made?

First, Jay-Z releases a version of "It's a Hard Knock Life (For Us)," but he's stepping up his game in a whole 'nother way. Can I getta wha wha?

He will be producing a remake of Annie and the little-ginger-with-a-fro-and-the-cutest-red-dress-ever-wearing girl will be played by...wait for it...Willow Smith. Read all about it here.

It's funny to me that for such a talented song writer, Jay-Z would want to remake something, rather than make his own. Maybe he'll cast Beyonce as ol' Ms. Hannigan! Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Pretty confident I won't be seeing this one in theaters unless of course, Annie decides to whipherhairbackandforth whipherhairbackandforth!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

say what you mean.

Mean what you say.
Don't say it mean.

One of the hardest lessons to teach yourself:
Why communication is so important.

Monday, January 24, 2011

church saves the day.

My brothers are funny males.

Ricky gained some extra comedic points for this performance (his words in white):

We could use a good Bible verse after yesterday's Bears debacle.

lesson learned.

The lesson learned, you ask? Keep your valuables hidden whilst riding public transportation.

Saturday afternoon, I was riding back to my apartment on the EL - still on a high from a great day of volunteering at Children's Memorial Hospital. I was in my own little world while waiting at the Fullerton Red Line stop.

I noticed a guy mostly keeping to himself. His eyes were focused on the girl in front of him who was fiddling around with her iPhone 4. Not feeling great about it, I decided to stand by the door instead of taking a seat and enjoying the ride.

As the train pulled into the Clark & Division stop, I heard some cursing and saw the guy dart out with the iPhone 4 girl in fast pursuit. He had grabbed her phone right from her hand and sprinted out the door. It happened just like that.
In less than a second.
With more than 15 witnesses.
One of those "did I really just see that?"

If she didn't catch him, the CTA security guards did. However, let this be a lesson. While it is just a phone and can be replaced, keep an eye on your belongings and trust your gut when you spy someone who looks even a bit off. Pretty scary!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

somebody can't spell

Just as the hot topic of me being a typo nut was addressed a mere two posts ago (hmmm is hot topic the best way to describe that? Survey says: hot topic!), I find this one on of my favorite funny websites:

See the real deal here.


I'd also be ashamed because this card isn't even that funny. Or am I totally missing the point that it's purposefully spelled wrong? Either way, if it is intentional, it shouldn't be this hard to figure out why.

Such a waist of a typo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

all good news, all the time.

My kind of news updates:


I especially like the thought bubbles popping up at the top of the page: readers responding to Tonic's question of the day (or maybe week?). 

With all the bad news out there, it's nice to see a site dedicated to the goodness that does happen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

how unique.

I'm a grammar nut. Much as Phil from Modern Family says, "I'm a hip dad. That's my thing." I'd venture to say "I'm a typo nut. That's my thing."

Needless to say, I get to do a lot of writing with my job - woohoo! Every so often I'm faced with your basic grammatical obstacle and I find myself Googling to ensure I have it correctly.

Today's dilemna:
An unique or a unique?

I can never thanks, Google, for reminding me:
"When a "u" word is pronounced as though it begins with a "y" (yoo nique), it's treated more like the consonant sound of the y. So, a university, an umbrella, a usual day, an unusual day."

Now I just need to think of more unique things to say! And while on the subject of grammar, let me take you back to some "old school" because I'm an ol' fool -

Friday, January 14, 2011

stop toying with my zodiac emotions, astrology.

Funny how yesterday, people were in an uproar about their zodiac signs changing - which is ironic because I could have sworn at least half of those people claimed they don't believe in horoscopes. Hmmm...

Talk about panic.

I'm not a big believer in astrology, but I've always loved that I am an Aquarius. This after I learned that your zodiac sign does not always start with the first letter of your last name. I was so naive when I was younger.

Fear not, horoscope readers, your zodiac sign has not changed.

Whew. Now we can all enjoy the weekend and lay our zodiac worries to rest. And in an attempt to keep up with the fad, here's today's Aquarius horoscope:

"Your ability to learn things is ramped up today — so get out there and educate yourself! It’s a really good day for absorbing new info and ensuring that you can make the smartest moves in the days to come."

YEAH! Thanks for the vague impression that today (and today only) is a good day to absorb new info!

Also, anyone else find this image a bit creepy? Why is he grasping that unknown object which apparently leaks so adoringly?

go with the flo.

A friend told me last year that I reminded her of Flo from those Progressive commercials. I know some of you can't stand her, but I think she's hysterical. It's about getting excited over the little things.

I just received the daily newsletter from Women's Health Magazine about how to boost your happiness and thought they were worthy of sharing on this gray January day:

1. Have an attitude of gratitude.  
Be thankful for something that made you smile earlier today or earlier this week.
2. Banish the comparisons.
We're all different and are good at different things. Bask in your own successfulness - and no, it doesn't make you selfish.
3. Find meaning in your work.
No one wants to hear you complain about your job. So if you don't like it, change it.
4. Hang with happy people.
Speaks for itself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

work in progress.

Yesterday I found myself snacking on snow snap peas instead of M&M's.

Today I realized how it's funny I've never regretted working out (even when it felt like I was forcing myself) yet I regret when I don't work out.

New year, new me?

Nah - not really. I always knew I had it in me. I'm not a big "resolution" maker. I never have been. I think I know why. A couple years ago, my mom shared some of her ever-present Peggy wisdom in these words:

"May you always be a work in progress."

So here's to taking those words to heart and making them the reason you get up each morning because damn, it does feel good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DVR you ready to rumble?

Since moving into my new abode, picking out my newest favorite feature is a tough one.

I love the natural light. The windows. The balcony. The view of the Sears Tower (yes, I will call it the Sears Tower forever more. None of this Willis Tower shenanigans). The layout's openness. The size of the bathroom. Taking the elevator down 8 floors to get to the gym. Wearing slippers to the Whole Foods.

All these things are pretty freakin' awesome. However, what I do love most is my DVR. This is my third time with the recordable machine and we still get along like peas and carrots. Never one to forget what I want to watch, doesn't mind skipping through commercials and most definitely never questions what shows I record. We have a winner.

I happened to glance at my latest recordings last night and laughed at the randomness of the shows. My DVR resembles my iTunes: all over the place and very Kerri.

We've got:
• drama
(The Good Wife; Grey's Anatomy; Private Practice; Definitely, Maybe - Ryan Reynolds, duh)
comedy (Friends; Modern Family)
crime (Law & Order: SVU; The Unit)
feel goods (Parenthood; Brothers & Sisters)
white rappers (Eminem Takeover)

You've heard of analyzing people based on what type of coffee they order at Starbucks, how about analyzing someone for what's on their DVR? (If you haven't heard of the Oracle of Starbucks, click that link - it's accurate).

I do feel a bit overexposed for sharing what I record, but am I ashamed? No way. No how.

Image credit

Sunday, January 9, 2011

i gave in.

If you like talent, country music and/or Tim McGraw, do yourself a favor and go see Country Strong.

I didn't know a lot of the plot before I went. Something about Gwyneth Paltrow playing a recovering alcoholic, hoping to make a comeback and prove she's not a has-been on the country scene. I liked that I didn't know much about the movie and that it didn't have your typical Hollywood ending. I liked that the music was unreal. I liked that it was a movie about music - most specifically, country music.

It had me at this song:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

whole lotta shakin' goin' on.

Once again, I find myself wishing I had a musically inclined talent. I can't play an instrument (unless you count reading piano music and only playing the right hand portions). I most definitely can't sing well. Sure, I can remember lyrics - but that won't take me very far. Unless I somehow end up on Don't Forget the Lyrics! and blow 'em out of the water.

Back to the topic at hand. Music. Talent. We recently saw Million Dollar Quartet, which is a Broadway production based on an actual event. December 4, 1956. It was the first and only time Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash ever sang on the same record.

It was phe•nom•e•nal.

I've always appreciated people who play instruments and play them well. But Jerry Lee Lewis's talent? To quote him, "Goodness gracious! Great balls of Fire!" he was AWESOME. They really don't make music like they used. And naturally, I hold a special place in my heart for piano players.

If you're in Chicago, New York or London, check it out. You'll be tempted to buy some Blue Suede Shoes and join the Party.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in all honesty.

I really and truly dislike when people say, "in all honesty" or "I'm just going to be honest with you."

It's unnecessary. I assume honesty. Silly me?

And more food for thought: What's the difference between "honesty" and "perfectly honest"? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Whilst I ponder and whilst you ponder, I love this brand name of tea.

In all honesty, I think it goes with the theme of this post.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

time out.

I'd like to thank social media for bringing out some of the most inspiring thoughts...and no, for once, I'm actually not being sarcastic.

A friend just posted this:

"I don't have time" really means, "I'm not willing to make the time."
Set a new standard.


Image credit

what's the opposite of 'doggone it'?

Passing on a beautiful story - mostly because everyone should take five minutes to read this, whether you're a dog person or not.


"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me.
"Can't you do anything right?"

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts....dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article..."

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each
contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me.

I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons: too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. "Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!"

Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw...

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at is feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before:  the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article... Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter...
his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father... and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live while you are alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance.

* * * * * *
Blogger's note: I firmly believe I am a better person because I'm a dog person and I can't imagine a life without canines.