December 2007 Archives

The New Normal


Warning--kind of stream of conscious-y.

I am back in Chicago. It is so great to be back. I've spent a lot of time with my kitties, seen some great friends-though only a couple (I'm still hiding), written a ton of thank you notes (I still have a ways to go, though), spent a little time in the cold (yikes-I have readjusted to MS winters. Why is it so cold here?) but all in all things are good. It was hard, so hard, leaving Mom--I wish I could just take care of her everyday and help her get better. But as she and everyone knows, it was time for me to get back to my home of almost 8 years with my sweet and wonderful Fuzzy. I am excited about 2008--I think good things are going to come out of it. And it has to be better than 2007. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of great things to come out of 2007, but it was absolutely the hardest year of my life. I am still the same ole Erica, but I am forever changed.

I am scared about a lot of things. I am scared about getting back into a routine. I love everything that I have been doing, but I am not sure that those things are what I still want. I want to make so many changes, but that is often the hardest thing to do. But getting back to Normal is something that my Mom and I have talked about a lot--Normal only shows what is missing. I want the New Normal.

Ok, 2007, lets reflect.
In 2007, I took a lot of pride in the work I was doing. Blewt came even more into its own and is steadily growing.
I helped write and performed in Soiree DADA with WNEP--a show that I never tired of, but that left me physically and emotionally exhausted for weeks.
I started choreographing wedding dances, which is something I love greatly.
I reconnected with a lot of friends.
I turned 28, which was at once, a terribly hard and unimportant day-- due to dad's illness-- that Fuzzy later turned into one of the sweetest most wonderful days I can remember.
I moved into an apartment that I truly feel at home in--a rare occurance for me.
I learned how to truly be honest with people, even if it hurt or was difficult or left me completely vulnerable and open. I learned that honesty is often hard to hear, but almost always is the best. Communication is key.
I fell in love with Fuzzy every day.
I realized the true value of a family, and that great people make a difference in many lives.
I learned how special my Dad truly was.
I spent what seems like half the year in my hometown.
I learned exactly how much support I have and how many amazing friends I am blessed with.
I took joy in taking care of my father and my favorite part of the day for a few weeks in November was waking up in the morning, going downstairs, waving to my daddy who was anxiously waiting for me, and fixing him breakfast. For all the years that Mom and Dad took care of me, it was an honor to be able to return the favor.
I cried a lot.
I watched my sweet Daddy die.

Things I am striving for in 2008 (edited/ updated)
I want to have fun. I spent the last 3 1/2 years with a burden on my shoulders that was always there. Fuzzy and I were only together for a month before the docs' found Dad's cancer, so I am looking forward to what our lives will be like without that stress.
I want to get into a good physical shape. I want to start dancing again.
I want to unclutter the house. I want to feel more domesticated. I want to be unpacked 100%, something that has not happened since I moved here in 2000.
Purge Purge Purge! Books, cds, DVDs, clothes--I want to give it away to someone who needs it more.
I am going to have to get used to not talking to, seeing, or hugging one of the most important people in my life.
I will diligently try to be as giving as possible to everyone I encounter.
I want to choreograph more. I want to write something funny and important for women. I want to make more of a name for myself, but I want to perform less.
I want to get out of debt as much as possible.
I want to buy a new dress. I want to start feeling pretty again.
I want to cut out all the bullshit.
I want to look out for myself.
I want more time with Fuzzy. That isn't tied to stress or something that we have to do.
I want to be happy.

All in all, life is truly what you make of it. If you are stuck, change the routine. Unhappy? Take a risk. That first time will always be scary, but it will be a memory that you will never forget. Each day is a blessing and a new adventure. And I am super excited to see what will happen this year. The sky is the limit! For real, though, in a non-cliche' way. Blah blah whatever, we figure it out as we go.

Today, though, I feel good: inspired, rested, happy. Excited for taking that step.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Merry Christmas!

To all my beloved friends and family, I wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Thank you for all your love and support throughout the years--you are each a blessing to me.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday, Christopher!!

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31 looks great on you! You have taught me so much (and continue to!), and I am honored to be your little sister. I love you.


Swanson-Strening Wedding Dance


Andrea Swanson and Michael Strening, Jr's wedding dance, choreographed by Jeff Gandy and myself. They rocked it!

My Heroes


My sweet Mama and Daddy at Thanksgiving.

Thank you to all for your loving words and sympathy.

Christopher, Mom, and Fuzzy are keeping better records of recent events, if you would like to keep up there. I am not as good of a poster as they are, but I do what I can.

Boy I miss my Dad. It is so hard to believe he is gone. But I know he is having a grand ole time up in Heaven, rocking out with family, old friends, and some of his favorite musicians. And Big J, of course.

Look after us, Daddy. We love you and miss you.


Yesterday, in the Vicksburg Evening Post, the paper's editor, Charlie Mitchell- who is a longtime family friend- wrote this wonderful tribute:

Remember David Reid, who never lost the melody

We met in elementary school.

After those days our encounters were rare and brief. They came at predictable intervals as we aged, in grocery store aisles, at back-to-school nights for our own children, reunions.

Exchanges with David Reid always went past, "Hi, how are you? Fine and you? Fine." He always had something wry, something personal, something sincere to say.

David made an impression, a good impression. He was consistently upbeat.

It was good that the Post had David on the front page a few weeks ago, "outing" him to the world for what was probably the most outlandish deed of his life. David was one of four Hinds Community College commuters from Vicksburg who in 1973 carved, in giant letters, "Remember Duane Allman" into an earthen wall along the then-new Interstate 20 near Bovina. Prompting the
news story was a performance in Vicksburg by Gregg Allman, brother of the legendary guitarist who had been killed in a 1971 motorcycle wreck.

The carved memorial lasted for years, becoming an icon to I-20 travelers. Gregg told David and his co-conspirators the family had seen photos and appreciated the gesture. That meant a lot.

Anybody who knows anything about music--and David knew a lot about music--will tell you that Duane Allman, though a rocker's rocker, always kept the melody, never lost it to the noise.

And so it was with David.

He was keenly intelligent, with an excellent memory, but he didn't care whether anyone knew it or not. Impressing others wasn't something he desired to do. David was as casual as the Hawaiian shirts and wide-brimmed hats that were his stock-in-trade.

He and his classmate, Tricia, equally smart and warm in her friendships, formed a marital partnership in which they derived pleasure from being considerate of one another. Money didn't matter. Having a posh house didn't matter. Having the newest car didn't matter. What other people thought, did, cared about or worried about didn't matter. People mattered. Relationships

Together, David and Tricia infused their ideals into their children, Erica and Christopher, talented and creative children who have become talented and creative adults. The Reids equipped their daughter and son with roots and wings the way great parents do--a grounding in values plus decency plus a yearning to explore, learn, serve.

Word that David had cancer came years ago. Tricia, an Internet blogger before that term was even invented, wrote about it the same as she had everything else. Both were realistic, prayerful, confident, scared, accepting the challenge. What choice did they have?

They won a hell of a lot of battles, but, as the cliche goes, not the war.

Just a few weeks ago, a backache sent David to the doctor. It wasn't a pulled muscle. It was another malignancy. The verdict: David would die in a matter of weeks.

They say hospice nurses are compassionate, which would be expected. But they're also pretty seasoned. After David's nurse had her first private meeting with him, telling him how things would go, I'm told she left the room in tears.

The end came last Sunday night just as forecast, family and friends all there. A free spirit became free.

Encounters with people like David Reid are brief and rare. When they happen, listen for the melody. They've learned to sustain it through the noise.

-- Charlie Mitchell is executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him
at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail

Daddy's Obituary

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From today's Vicksburg Post:

G. David Reid died Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, at his residence. He was 53.

Mr. Reid was born in Jackson and moved to Vicksburg when he was 1 month old. He was a 1972 graduate of Warren Central High School and attended Hinds Community College and Mississippi College. He was an electrical technician with various companies and, at the time of his death, was an employee of IGT. Mr. Reid loved his family, music, movies, animals and laughter. He was devoted to his faith.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Bane Reid of Vicksburg; a daughter, Erica Reid Gerdes and her husband, Fuzzy, of Chicago; a son, Christopher Reid and his wife, Katie, of Columbia, S.C.; his mother, Norma Reid of Vicksburg; a sister, Susan Mahan of Vevay, Ind.; and two brothers, Carl Reid of Flowood and Kyle Reid of Hattiesburg.

He was preceded in death by his father, George L. Reid.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Riles Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Jimmy Biedenharn, pastor of the Byhalia United Methodist Church in Byhalia, officiating. Burial will be at Green Acres Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5 until 7 p.m. Wednesday at Riles Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, Box 1193, Vicksburg, MS 39181.


Visitation, Wednesday, December 5, 2007 from 5-7 pm at the Riles Funeral Home (5000 Indiana Ave, Vicksburg, MS 39180).

Service, Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 11 am at Riles Funeral Home. Burial to follow at Green Acres Cemetery (191 Highway 80, Vicksburg, MS 39180).

In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted to the American Cancer Society in Vicksburg.
More info to come.

My Sweet Little Daddy


Cutey Bumblestump at Home
Pic by Noah Ginex

December 2, 2007, my sweet little daddy passed away. He was everything to me, and it was an honor to be there when he passed over into Heaven. I would be nothing without my family.

Thank you.