Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am rarely speechless.

Yesterday I told you about three year old Logan Larrabee and what he's been going through as a result of his recent cancer diagnosis. I asked you to donate if you were able and to share my post or the link to the fundraiser to spread the word. I want nothing but the best for this family and I called upon my Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog readers for help.

I must tell you how overwhelmed I have been at the positive response I've witnessed in less than 24 hours. You guys have reposted and pinned and tweeted and shared and liked your little hearts out. I've watched my rallying cry for Logan grace the Facebook pages of people I lost touch with years ago. I have strangers emailing me asking how they can help. Some of my friends have used their connections to get the companies they work for involved. And in less than 24 hours, you have donated over $300. Most of you have never met the Larrabees. A few of you have never met me. All of you are absolutely amazing.

I pride myself on self-expression, on being able to articulate feelings and communicate ideas through language. I rely on writing to get me through everything. And so I find it quite odd that I cannot string together the right words to accurately describe how much I appreciate the outpouring of support you guys have shown me and my friends. Jim and Robin cannot thank you enough. I cannot thank you enough. I am rarely speechless. I could cry.

And I want you to know, Logan says thank you, too. You guys rock.

On a less "Keri could cry" note, you guys are weird. I promised to write you a blog if you donated, and some of the topics I've gotten so far are off the wall bonkers crazy. You may have more faith in my abilities than I do. If you donated, don't forget to send me your topic of choice if you haven't already. A deal is a deal. And now I must finish writing about modern day hipster superhero Jesus. Yeah.   

Monday, November 18, 2013


I have never asked you for anything. I have poured time and energy into this blog to entertain you and to give you the feels when I'm feeling feely. Let's be honest, this blog is half "I love my family" and half "I feel like being an asshole today" and maybe half "self-deprecation is funny, right?!" and probably two-thirds "I am whiny and sentimental." Man, math is not my strong point. Thank god I word good. Anyway, all of that has a place, but today I'm taking Filthy Nerdy on a little detour; let's get philanthropic in this bitch!

I'm not going to get all Sarah McLachlan on you. Here's the SparkNotes to the tragedy in my life: Logan Larrabee is 3 years old. He was very recently diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He's currently undergoing chemo and is looking at a bone marrow transplant. He has three brothers. His parents are friends of mine and really, really good people. I realize that the holidays are coming up and something about a recession and I'm sure you're still pissed about Obamacare but this family could really use some financial support. When I last spoke to Jim, Logan's dad, he told me about this fundraising campaign that a family friend started to help with hospital bills and expenses since both parents are missing work to deal with this awfulness and insurance won't cover everything. Jim said it perfectly: "I hate asking or being pushy, and I guess all of my pride is going to completely disappear, but it ain't about me anymore."     

Guys, seriously. I would really appreciate it if you could CLICK HERE and give whatever you can, if you can. I realize that it may be rude to disappear for months and pop up to ask you for a favor, but that's exactly what's happening. I've been fine, if you're wondering. I've stayed out of jail and mostly out of trouble. I still pay my taxes and drink on Mondays. I went to Dallas, I was a dinosaur princess for Halloween, I fell in love, I went fishing twice. See, I'm fine. I got a really wonderful email from a reader saying nice things about this blog and how I should write more because I'm entertaining. Well, I'm about to make your dreams come true, Ryan, (and the rest of you who might have missed me) but it will come at a price. 

When you donate any amount of US dollars to Love for the Larrabees, I will write for you. I will give you 1,000ish words on your topic of choice, and I promise not to shy away from anything. Want me to write about my most embarrassing moment? Cool, I will, go donate. Want to hear my thoughts on the Cuban Missile Crisis or how much I fucking hate birthday cake? I'll write it. I'll write about whatever. I'll write sappy things or sassy things or silly things. I'll write about you if you want. I'll write you a goddamn sonnet if you help my friends out. If you can't donate, don't worry, I am not going to hunt you down in the night. I will hopefully be too busy writing You-Call-It blogs for all the people who did donate. But you can still help by posting the link around your social media. Facebook it, tweet it, pin it, tumblr it, fuck, put it on your LinkedIn. It really can make a difference. 

1. Cancer fucking blows.
2. My friend's kid has cancer.
3. You can help by opening your heart and your wallet and DONATING HERE.
4. When you donate I will post a blog on a topic of your choosing.
5. If you can't donate dollars, please consider sharing the link. The more people who see it, the better.

I realize that this arrangement makes me kind of a whore, and I am surprisingly comfortable with that. I'll throw out of a couple of blogjobs if it helps Logan. I have realized - truthfully and not tragically - that writing is one of the few things I truly have to offer.

Reasons to Donate: 
1. Cancer fucking blows. 
2. You know the family like I do and you want to help. 
3. You don't know them but you know me and want to help. 
4. You don't know me either but you like my blog and want to help. 
5. You are not a heartless asshole. 
6. I will write 1,000 words of whatever you want, however you want it. (Don't think I won't write about public pooping in the style of Ernest Hemingway.) 
7. Please?

I really do appreciate any support you guys can give, and any contribution really will help the Larrabees out tremendously. 

If you are interested in learning more about Logan's story and the Larrabee's journey through childhood cancer, you can like the Prayers for Logan page on Facebook. 

And really, thank you. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's in a Name: The Existential Crisis Edition

I hate my name. Keri. Short and sharp. No frills. Grating even. Wrap your mouth around that hard consonant and finish on an irritating up-vowel. (Up-vowel may not be a real thing.) And it's spelled ridiculously. Keychains from Disney? Not for me, ever. Keri Jean? Ugh, even worse. In my head, it conjures up an Elizabethan midwife or scullery maid. "Keri Jean will know how to get the placenta out of the dressing gowns. Fetch her from the stables at once."

When I tell people "Keri," the number one response I get is "Oh, like the movie?" Well, no asshole, not like the movie. High school was awkward but I made it through prom without murdering anyone. Barely, but still. What's more, how bullshit is it that I get lumped in with Carrie based on name alone? I'm sure people with your name have done some pretty fucked up things, but I don't associate you with their tomfoolery. And if your name is Tom, I wouldn't be so bold as to assume that you're even in to tomfoolery.

Your name is undeniably connected to your identity, but you don't even get to choose it. What people call you, what you sign on the dotted line, what you have to hear for your whole life is designated at birth by people who don't even know you yet. You don't even know you yet. Maybe you never truly know you, but I can only have one existential crisis at a time.

I refrain from bitching about my name in front of family since I was named after two family members. I never met Great Great Grandma Carrie (note the change in spelling from the movie to the lotion - way to go, Mom), but I am told she was a badass. Jean is a popular choice for middle names in my family; I think I'm the third or fourth one with that denim designation. Even typing it is starting to piss me off. Keri Jean. Yuck. Every so often, someone gets real cute and buys me Keri lotion as a silly gift, and guess what -  

I'm fucking allergic to it. So stop that.

I can only complain about something for so long without being moved to action. At 4:30 this morning I decided to take charge and change it. And I was sober, so suck on that. Why not? It's just a matter of paperwork and 30 bucks. I can do this, it's my choice now. I have the power to chose a nom de plume that fits me, something that I can stand behind, something I'd be proud to shout from the highest points of every great city. All I need to do is pick a name.

Cue moniker meltdown. Do I still want to be named after a family member? My two favorite people are younger than me, so that doesn't make any sense. My favorite uncle was like a big brother when I was growing up, so I could adopt the female form of his name. I could be Danielle and go by Dani. That's nice.

Or maybe I could get away from the family thing altogether and go looks-based. I have a lot of my dad's Polynesian features, but with a last name of "Ramos" I more often have people speaking Spanish at me than asking me to hula dance. I bet if I had an ethnically stereotypical name like Kimani or Haliaka then people would guess Hawaiian (correct) before Spanish (again, incorrect).

Well, being Hawaiian means less to me than being named after a family member. I mean, heritage is important, and I once got a piercing in my face to celebrate my culture (tell you later) but my first name based purely on that? Maybe not.

I can say I know what I don't want (noun-names like April, Daisy, Savannah; monosyllabic names; anything that ends in the letter O) but why can't I pick something I like?

I'm staying away from popular late 80s names. I know about seven Jessicas, nine Ashleys, forty-seven Tiffanys and, if I had to give a rough estimate, about 1.8 million Brittanys.

I also don't want any name that appears in a song. Just can't do it. As it stands, three people in the world are allowed to sing or reference "Carrie Anne" by the Hollies in my presence. A fourth person tried once. Once.

How about naming myself after someone I want to emulate? That could be okay. Like what about Olivia from Law and Order: SVU? Perhaps. Or how about Clarisse from Fahrenheit 451?! (See, you think she's not an important character, but she really is. I could write my dissertation on her.) Ohmygosh. NANCY. FUCKING. DREW.

Now I have too many choices. Now I am staring at the sun slowly rising through my bedroom window. Now I am afraid that all the control in the world over my name doesn't matter one bit since I can't even make a decision. Maybe taking charge is pretty damn useless if I don't have the guts to pull the trigger. Maybe I shouldn't be in charge of anything in my life at all considering I can't even decide what to name myself. Maybe I'll just have no name. I'll walk down the street and people will whisper "There she goes, she doesn't even have a name, poor girl. She choked on her name change form and left it blank and it actually went through - can you believe it? Of course Florida legislature let her change her name to nothing, fucking morons. But yeah, she's just got an empty space on her driver's license and they say she's just that empty inside."

For fuck's sake, get it together, Keri.

Hmm. Keri. Simple, but still kind of weird. Abrasive, but with a certain finesse. It's familiar, but not exactly commonplace. Snappy, curt, quick to action. Wrap your mouth around that hard consonant and finish on an irritating up-vowel. Now spell it ridiculously.

Yeah, that'll work.