November 2008 Archives

Thinking Again...


Disclaimer--I am openly talking about Dad's death in this and possibly the next several entries, so feel free to skip it if you want. It helps me to write about it and get it all out of my head.

When a family member gets put on hospice care, they give you a booklet on what to expect in the last few weeks of the person's life. I was terrified to read it and put it off as long as I could. Yes, I was in denial that Dad would eventually be leaving us, but even the hospice nurses even said that Dad still had a few months left in him. I am not quite sure who it was that told me that I should read it, I think it was my uncle Carl, and so I trusted him and sat down with the booklet.

I was amazed to find that death from disease follows such a exact plan. I was skeptical with each thing I read, until Dad followed the same path. For example, a few days before a person dies, they stop eating. This one was hard for me--In the last few weeks of his life, I fixed Dad a lot of his meals and was responsible for his medicine and liquid intake. A woman that we met to help us through the last few weeks told us (before we got the final diagnosis) that food is medicine and we have to keep it up in order to get stronger. So when Dad stopped being interested in food, I was freaked out, and tried everything I could to keep calories in his system. I would wake him up to give him a drink of Boost, then he would drift off, and once he did, I would wake him up again so he couldn't argue and therefore would take another sip. The last full meal he ate was scrambled eggs and ham that Fuzzy made him, and the last solid food he ate was his mother's lemon cake that he loved that she had made for him. It was so sweet to see him enjoy the cake for the last time, and I love that his last food was something that he ate even as a little boy.

In the last few days of life, the patient stops being able to respond to things, but he is still able to hear and process what is going on around him. We had so many visitors in and out of the house (sometimes we had to tell people that they could not come in because it was so overwhelming and we needed some calm and family time) and people from near and far stopped in to say their goodbyes. When Dad was conscious, he loved that, but when he wasn't it was kind of strange to see people just standing over his bed talking to each other. The nurses kept telling us "Talk to him, he can hear you" and it pissed me off when people talked to him in baby talk or like he didn't understand. When things would quiet down I would sit next to him and ask him how annoyed he was when people did that. We played him Jethro Tull music and the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in the West and we played him "I Can See Clearly Now" the song he had requested to be sung as his funeral. We would sit around his bed at night to be with him, and usually, once a night, he would re-gain consciousness and we would talk about what had happened that day. The amazing thing is, he remembered all of it--every last bit. He would tell us how surprised he was to see old friends, to ask who the people were that he didn't know, he would tell us that he heard all of the beautiful music we played for him. Once he would wake up and we would talk, we were usually able to rest easy and get a good night's sleep, because we didn't have to fear that he was going to die overnight. One time he even woke up and told us that he could get some rest if we weren't all sitting around him talking to him. We all got a good laugh out of that one.

The first thing the hospice nurses all tell you, and then tell you over and over again is that you should make sure you tell the patient that it is ok for them to die, since so many people hold on until they know it is ok. I certainly understand where this comes from and I think it is a sweet thing to do, but to me it walks such a fine line between letting them know it is ok for them to go, and pressuring them and making them feel like they should go. Since we didn't know exactly how literal the "final steps" were, everynight we thought he was leaving us. It was awful, night after night telling him it was ok for him to go and to not be afraid. But then, he would do that waking up, and we would all be able to go to bed. Night after night, me, Mom, Christopher, Linda, and Memaw Reid would go through this process--it was grueling. But when the actual night came upon us, there was no doubt what was going to happen. A nurse came over to check his vitals, and when she came out, she said "you are right--this is it."

(to be continued)

Happy Day, Turkeys

Thank you so much for all of you guys for your concern over my last blog post. I didn't mean to be so dramatic, but I had a rough couple days. I am sure if I went into it all now I would sound like a big ole whiney baby, but it was hard, nonetheless. As Dabo says in Schmuckt die Hallen, "There is only disappointment." But long story short, I am doing better today, thank you.

Since the last 4 and a half years have been filled with so much travelling for family and so much family care and stress, Fuzzy and I decided to stay in town this Thanksgiving (plus with the show Friday night, we didn't want to risk missing it.) We received numerous invitations to people's houses, but ultimately decided to stay at our own place a cook a meal. Namely, Fuzzy wanted to make a turkey. He did much research and planning, and we bought a roasting pan and an 11 pounder and got ready for the big day. (The other night when doing some research on different roasting methods, Fuzzy looked at me and apologized for taking on such a huge task. I reminded him that after the great "I am going to make homemade ceviche an hour before family and friends show up at our house for our rehearsal dinner therefore making me unable to clean, write cards, answer the door or talk to anyone" event of July 28, 2006, nothing could shock me with him in the kitchen. He understood.)

So last night, after Fuzzy knocked me out of my emotional weariness and grumpy grumpiness with a trip to Target and the grocery store, we ate some frozen pizza and watched some Top Chef. We got a very fun surprise visit from our friend Lisa, and the 3 of us talked and drank wine and had a great time. This morning, we got up, turned on the parade and started cooking and just hanging out. So she didn't have to take the train so late at night, Lisa crashed on our couch (instant slumber party! I love the holidays) we had a relaxing morning eating pancakes and drinking coffee. I talked to my mom briefly (she was on her way to work) and to my brother for a while (what was he most excited about for Thanksgiving? Cranberry sauce and deviled eggs.) Our friend Jeff came over in the afternoon and we spent the rest of the day eating and drinking. I did break down crying at one point, but it was good--necessary. I know the next few days are going to be incredibly hard for me, and when in the Macy's parade started talking about Santa delivering toys on Christmas Eve, I was hit again (as I often am) with how much I miss my dad and how much it sucks that he isn't here to share the holidays with. And with the close of the day today, we have now made it through every holiday that he was here for last year. This was the last one. There are no more. This is very hard for me to comprehend.

Before Fuzzy and I started dating, I had a few memorable Thanksgivings after I moved to Chicago (since we've been together, all of them have been memorable). In 2000, I cooked a bunch of food for myself, stayed in my apartment, watched a lot of movies (Toy Story 2, Big Night and American Beauty, to be exact) and talked on the phone all day. One year, I spent the day with Rebecca H and we ate pizza rolls and oreo pie and drank cheap wine and watched a shitty movie (Igby Goes Down) and an amazing movie (Down By Law--one of my top 5). One year, my friends Jeff and Sara and I cooked 12 different dishes for the 3 of us and were in a food coma all day. So it was even more exciting that Jeff came over to share Thanksgiving with us today. We had a feast! The turkey was incredible! And we made homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and rolls. Jeff brought dressing, collard greens and mac and cheese. And our friend Amanda was so sweet and brought us 2 pies! What a treat! And the movie this year was Wall-E. Holy crap, it was great. And surprisingly, I didn't cry.

Did I mention that we've been drinking all day? We have. I love it.

There is so much that I am Thankful for this year, and so much that I am stlll processing and don't know how to handle. But that is ok. Fuzzy's mom likes to ask what we have learned this year at Thanksgiving rather than what we are thankful for--and the amount that I have learned this last year far exceeds what a rambley blog post can handle.

I am thankful for all of you, my incredible and supportive friends and family.

Have a wonderful day.

EDITED TO ADD: I didn't mean to leave this out--what I am most thankful for this year and every year, is for my amazing and wonderful and loving and perfect husband. Fuzzy is my rock, my best friend, and the cutest and most handsome man on the planet. I am honored that he chooses to be with me-- a crazy old loon-- day after day.
Happy Thanksgiving, Baby. Every day with you is a holiday.

I should have known better


Here I was, all confident and feeling good, then the universe had to put me back in my place. Ah well. I knew it was going to happen.


Last year, when the doctors told us that Dad might not make it till the end of the year, we decided to Christmas up the place. Daddy loved Christmas, and since it is such a cheery holiday, we decided, why not make every day Christmas? Katie and I dragged out as much Christmas from upstairs as we could (oh, boy, it is a lot), and we put it everywhere. At that point, Daddy was in his hospital bed in Mom and Dad's room, and it faced into the living room. My mom has an umbrella tree--an upside down Christmas tree that is fuller at the top than at the bottom (good to keep the cats out of it) that she keeps up year round, decorated accordingly for each season. We put up tinsel and tons of lights on the tree and lots and lots of blue Christmas ball ornaments. Daddy said he loved the blue on the tree most of all. Even if he couldn't focus on much, he could see the blue of the tree. That made me happy. I only wish that he had been around longer to see more Christmas, but he just left too soon.

One thing he always said was that he didn't want to linger. And once he was on hospice, he was only around for 2 and a half more weeks. I am so glad we were all there with him.

A funny anecdote--although my Dad was one of the hugest movie buffs I've ever met, the last movie he watched was Bad(der) Santa! Bad Santa?! Hilarious. What makes it all the sweeter is that he knew how much Mom loves the movie and he wanted to watch something that made her laugh. That was my Dad for you.

Erica Reid--An American Girl


To me, the American Girl Dolls are very very special.

The American Girl Company was founded in 1986, and I have no idea how they found a seven year old girl in Mississippi that year, but they did. Oh yes, they did. And my whole life changed. There were three dolls then: Kirsten, Molly and Samantha. They were so beautiful--especially Kirsten. Kirsten had blonde hair and braids that swooped back into little loops by her ears. She had a blue flowered dress. I loved her. The catalogs dedicated a double page to every scenario--school! Nighttime! Kitchen! Outdoor fun! A new catalog came every two weeks, and I poured over each one for hours, getting excited whenever a new accoutrement was added. Sadly, they were so expensive, we were never able to afford one, but I understood.

It educated me, too, and was a part of my day to day life. In 4th grade ROTOC* which later became GATES**, I dressed as St. Lucia for a presentation, not because I knew anything about it, but because that was how Kirsten celebrated Christmas in the catalog.

My BBFFAAAH*** Sarah had both Molly and Samantha, and we had so much fun playing with them. Well, mainly, she would play with them and I would hold them and gaze at them longingly and secretly envy them and wonder why she didn't get Kirsten, who was clearly the best of the three. Molly was ok, and Samantha was a rich girl with her gold locket and watercress sandwiches, not a down to earth girl like me Kirsten.

When I first moved to Chicago, my friend Drew took me to American Girl Place, and it was glorious. A wonderland. I am pretty sure I cried.

The other day, I spied a catalog sitting in the front entryway of our 6 unit apartment building. Since one of these units house two 9ish year old twin girls, I left it for them to pick up. Then a few weeks went by and it was still there... HAHA! IT WAS MINE! I poured through the pages, my heart a little twittery and with a grin on my face. Now, there are 9 American Girls, and the catalog only dedicates a page or two to a few of them (except for Kit, who has about a bazillion pages.) Sadly, there was only just a couple of tiny pictures of Kirsten. But that by far wasn't the saddest thing in the catalog--they are retiring Samantha. Why is this so sad to me? It isn't like I feel old about it--it was a long time ago, yes, but it feels like yesterday. Maybe it is cause these new little girls don't understand. Or, hell, maybe they do. The website has a place where you can share your fondest memories of her. Goodbye Samantha, we will miss you.

The store recently moved from it's old location into a new home in Water Tower Place. Maybe one day soon I can take Fuzzy there, and I can be 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 all over again.

*Reaching Out To Our Community
**Gifted And Talented Educational Services
***Best Best Friends For Always And A Half. We still are!

Holy Moly

We opened the show. And it was awesome.
I couldn't be happier or more proud.
The cast and crew are amazing as are the folks at the DCA. Thank you to all who came out!
16 more to go!

Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

Here it is, the day of the Soiree DADA opening, and it is past midnight and I can't sleep. Tonight Fuzzy and I treated ourselves to delicious delivery sushi, wine, and Top Chef, then were so tired we went to bed pretty early. And I woke up an hour later and have been figity and anxious ever since. Can't shut the brain off. This happens when I am stressed out--I can't sleep when I need it most and when I do, it is all nightmares and anxiety dreams. Tomorrow (or later today) I am treating myself to sleeping in, a nice breakfast, a half hour massage to make sure I don't have any more muscle spasms during the show, then therapy and chill time to decompress before calltime. I have a lot of friends coming to the show, so their support will be incredible, especially on our vulnerable first night.

Do you ever think about what people's skeletons look like when they are going about their day to day life? You should try it--it is creepy. Like, right now, my skeleton is kind of balled up in my computer chair. Think about my creepy skeleton fingers typing this right now! EEK!

I am happy to report that the Neutrino Project is now officially closed. It was a fun run and a great experiment, and the biggest shocker of all--we made rent! Thank you so much to all to came to see it and for those who worked on the show. What a trip.

It is refreshing to just have the one show running now, instead of 4. Though this one is like ten times the work of those 4 combined.

A very happy congratulations to all my beloved friends who have recently had babies and for the ones that are on the way!!! Andrea, Abby, Laura (Raunch), Ashley, Sarah and Sara--I am thinking of you all! I know there are more, but that is all my crazy fried brain can pull up right now.

I was thinking today about my college friend Becky who was murdered 4 years ago on my birthday and looking at pics of her online and reading articles about the crime. For some reason, she has been on my mind a lot. I need to track down her parents again and send them a card to let them know I am thinking about them. Becky was an amazing person and was going places in the DJ and broadcasting world. The world is a duller place without her in it. Makes me all the more thankful for being alive and for what I have. For all the wah wahing (i know, it is called the healing process) that I have been doing lately, the truth of the matter is, I have an incredible life. I have the most amazing and wonderful husband who every day surpasses my wildest dreams and whom I love more and more everyday, I have an incredible supportive family, I am able to create art and follow my passion (and the one thing I have ever been any good at), I have amazing friends that I love and that make me laugh every day, I live in an amazing city and now an amazing country with a soon to be amazing president. I am alive. What a blessing each day really and truly is.

Maybe I should try this sleep thing again. Or maybe I should prep my suitcase for the show tomorrow and pin my pocket back on my pants. Or maybe I should hold my fatty Parker. Sounds like a win, win, win, right?

Wherever you go, there's your butt. Or your creepy walking skeleton.

Barftown, USA

I am so tired I am seeing stripes. My toes hurt and my fingertips hurt.

I think I am only good for data processing type jobs. I am so good about technical things and little details, but have no capacity for logic or reading comprehension. I hope I make things easier for you, Shannon, and never harder.

I am disappointed that none of the girls on ANTM accidently ate a pot brownie or legally got stoned when they were in Amsterdam.

Fuzzy and I are going to move to Belgium where I hear people just drink beer all day and eat delicious foods. And the streets are paved with gold and kittens are like flowers. I think they have unicorns over there, too.

My brother is amazing and such an inspiration for how you can try to make a difference in this world. I understand the importance of art and comedy in the world, I do, but with everything he does, I some times feel really really superficial.

I have the most amazing friends in the world.

How can everything in a person's life be so together, then suddenly nothing makes sense and everything you know to be changes? Just how to you recover?

I was talking to a friend last night about how I don't really miss people when they (or I) move away--I miss aspects of seeing them, but I know that they are doing great things and I know we will keep in touch. Meanwhile, people that I used to hang out with who may only live a block away become the hardest people to see. That is all part of the beautiful cycle of life and influence.

I do, however, miss my Dad. Sooooo much. He was such a ray of sunlight. We had many talks before he died, about how he wasn't worried about what was going to happen to him--he was going to be in Heaven, the most glorious place that we cannot comprehend. He was more concerned about how we were going to be when he was gone. And this fact tore him up and made him cry, thinking about our pain. I was toodling along yesterday in a good mood, and I thought about home, and I got so sad thinking about Daddy's smiling face and great hugs and hilarious sense of humor and how I am no longer able to experience those things outside of my memories.

I also miss my Mom. What a rough year this has been for her and for all of us. Our roles have reversed now--motherdaughterdaughtermother. I know you are going to read this Mom, so please know that I love you with all my heart, and I hope that you can continue to heal and I hope you find your humor and joy again. Though I cannot be with you in the next few hard weeks and for the upcoming holidays, I am with you in my heart.

Hmmm...I didn't mean for this entry to take a sad turn. Aren't dogs in sweaters the cutest little things? And pluffy kitties with their winter furry coats?

So far, I don't mind the snow. It is charming, even.

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

My Power Song

I have a power song. Power songs come and go depending on your phase of life, mood, etc, and this particular song I have found myself listening to on repeat lately to get myself jazzed up. I love love love this song and cannot get it out of my mind.

It is Beyonce's Upgrade U.

The nice folks at Sony BMG Music Entertainment have disabled their embedding code, so if you want to hear the song and watch the video (which includes not as much dancing as I would like in a video, but awesome dancing nonetheless) you have to click on the link to go to youtube.

I am a proud lover of pop music, cheesy music, teenybop music, ghetto booty music, top 40 and dancey music, so I am proud in my proclamation. I have loved Destiny's Child ever since they became a household name, and I am loyal to Beyonce. Sing it, girl.

And I think this video is perhaps one of the greatest dance videos I have ever seen (and a kickass song).

Now forgive me, I am off to get my Audemars Piguet watch, dimples in your next tie, Hermes briefcase, Cartier top clips, silk lined blazers, diamond cream facials, VVS cuff links and six star pent suites.


Can I just say...

Amanda's face smells great!

muck muck muck muck

DADA opens Friday. That pretty much sums everything up for me. Life right now is work, DADA, struggle to get to sleep cause I am so tired, struggle to wake up cause I am so tired, wash rinse repeat. I am in the constant state of unattractiveness, with a permanent white sheen on my eyes, zits all over my face and fried hair that I don't bother to fix. My eyes are constantly blurry. My body is bruised all over and it hurts to stand up and walk across the room.

And I love every minute of it.

I am really proud of this year's DADA show--it is so very personal for me and so emotional in many ways and I feel good about my contribution. I have written pieces about (among other things) loss, mental illness, fear, and emotional void. I personally am afraid of the holidays and the emotions-both good and bad-that I know it will bring, and I am happy that I have allowed myself to have this outlet of art to channel all these feelings into. I am working with an INCREDIBLY talented cast and crew, all of whom it is an honor to work with and that I love dearly. Our creepy little DADA family. Yes, almost every cast and crew you work with on a show becomes a little family of sorts, but with DADA, it is different--these folks see you inside and out, all your weirdo habits, all your crazy thoughts, all your cryfests, all your moodswings. Personal space is thrown out the window. It feels both completely vulnerable and scary and yet completely safe. As they say, some of my best friends are DADAs.

Yesterday, when I was struggling to keep my head up and my eyes focused and my food down, I mentioned to Fuzzy that the tired I feel now pales in comparison to the tired I felt this time last year. And it is for a much happier reason. So I know I'll get through it--I can get through anything and come out the other side a little different, a little better.

Won't you come see it? Show info is on the sidebar. Certain performances you might get 2 Gerdeses for the price of one (Fuzzy has also written a lot of pieces for the show and also will be acting in select performances. Yay!) Cause we need a little Christmas, right this very minute.

Oh, and the McRib is back!

Looking to do some Christmas Shopping?


I would like to encourage you to consider the following merchants, all of whom are friends of mine that I would love to support. All these items are high quality and hand made. Let's go shopping, shall we?

How about an adorable kitty loaf T-shirt, made by Kate O'Leary of Arsonist Cow? Her Etsy site also features adorable Christmas Cards and handkerchiefs.


How about some 100% organic and 100% awesome herbal teas made by Sara Keely McGuire? Faelyn's Faerie Brew Teas are delicious (I speak from experience) and healthy and are available in a number of loose leaf varieties: Gaia's Gift, Phoenix Balm, Triple Goddess, and Masculina-TEA. For more information, please leave a comment and I will hook you up.

Looking for some precious hand-puppets? Check out Noah Ginex of the Noah Ginex Puppet Company's Etsy Store. This could be your new best friend:

Rosie Tiger
Or is jewelry more your style? Check out Beth Cummings of Diffraction's beautiful jewelry. If you are in the Chicago area, be sure to stop by her trunk show Dec 13th from noon to 5pm at 2050 W. Addison. My personal favorites are these Chicago wine charms:

Wine Charms

Happy Shopping!

Please Watch This--It is Very Important

Dancey Pants


I started dancing when I was 4 years old. Officially, that is--I had been dancing around the house for years before that. Mom and Dad enrolled me in classes at The Dance Place, a local dance studio that was run by Eugenia (Genie) Atwater out of her home. The bottom floor was a studio, waiting room and dressing room. Wow--just writing these words and thinking about the old studio pre and post renovation is giving me chills. I can still smell that studio exactly--I can see the costumes, the cats, the curtains, the mirrors-- everything about it. It was Heaven to me. Mrs. Atwater also did the local yearly performance of The Nutcracker Ballet, so when I was 5 I started performing in that as well. I remember the excitement of each audition day--I always wanted to be in the first row for floor work and in the first group of people in across the floor work. Of course, us students of Mrs. Atwater's had an unfair advantage--she already knew us, our dance skills and what she wanted us to be cast as that year. A career in The Nutcracker meant performing in a number of roles, higher and higher until your senior year, in which you would have a major solo--most notably, the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. The choreography never changed--once I got up to the higher solo roles, at our first rehearsal each year Mrs. Atwater would say, "Ok, show it to me" cause she assumed we would just know it. We always did. I must sincerely thank my Mom for being such an amazing support--she sat through 12 years of dress rehearsals and three performances each year all with unchanging choreography--I bet she could dance the whole thing, too!! When we got older, we would be cast in a feature role and then also a secondary role in the snowflake dance. We would have rehearsal after our regular dance class, on Monday nights, and before we would start Nutcracker rehearsal, we would order pizza and all sit around laughing and eating before having the time of our lives dancing these beloved dances.

I spent a LOT of time in that house and in that studio. I wasn't the best dancer, but Dance was my heart. And Mrs Atwater was one of my heroes.

She was also a nurse. She discovered my scoliosis, and for my freshman year in high school, I spent a lot of time in the chiropractor's office, a practice I don't agree with now, but that "helped" then. Because winter was always so busy with dance, Nutcracker, Christmas choir concerts and Madrigals, I had a major injury the last 3 years of high school: Sophomore year--I fell on my knees banging them up and needing physical therapy, Junior year--I passed out while mid turn en pointe and broke my wrist in a place that took 4 doctors and 2 months for them to find, Senior year--my left knee dislocated after a dance competition that I had no business being in (I was back en pointe 2 weeks later). And when I was in Junior High, I performed the Nutcracker once with pnuemonia and 103 fever! The show must always go on!!

Every year, after our weekend of performances, I would break down sobbing. This always confused Mom and Dad when I was little, but as it went on, they knew to expect it. Something about release and loss for something you love so much and work so hard for.

Over the years, in the Nutcracker, I was: Party Scene, Dancing Doll, Mouse and Ponchinella, Snow Baby, Flower (twice in a row), Marzipan and Snow, Spanish and Snow, Chinese and Snow, Arabian and Snow, Dew Drop Fairy, and Snow Queen.

I was never the Sugarplum Fairy.

When I was 13 or 14, Mrs Atwater was diagnosed with cancer. The sad thing was, cancer was nothing new to us then, either--we had lost many a close friend to the horrible disease. Mrs Atwater took it all like a champ--she bought a purple mustang and a purple wig (purple was her favorite color and all our dance recital costumes were lavender or purple for many years in a row) and she showed us the chemo pump she carried around with her with a beautiful candidness. She tried experimental treatments at a number of hospitals and she still lead the Nutcracker my Freshman year in high school (which is in my top 2 favorite years of the show.). The photos from that year show her tired and thin, with her very pregnant daughter Adrian by her side assisting her.

I remember the Sunday morning Mom came in to wake me up to tell me that she had died.

Adrian continued on to lead dance classes and The Nutcracker for the following year, before handing the show over to another (rival) dance teacher. It was rough. I started taking classes with a new woman in town, who I didn't like or get along with, and suddenly, the rival dance teacher's students got all the leads in The Nutcracker. My senior year, I had a duet role with another senior, a friend of mine that I had known since 1st grade. We commiserated over feeling underappreciated in our roles. I wasn't even allowed to be in the finale, a dance I had done for 7 years. I watched it from the wings, I am sure with a tear down my cheek.

To add to everything else, at Mrs Atwater's funeral, she left messages for a number of her favorite students. Messages like "Stick with it, you'll do great things!" and "I'll always be with you." I did not receive one of these messages. It was heartwrenching to have the preacher calling names out and never hearing mine--with each passing message getting more and more nervous. Mom said it was because she knew I would be ok--I never bought that idea, though. Starting the month after she died, I started having these dreams--VERY vivid dreams that I always remembered--in which I was at a dance show and trying to convince Mrs Atwater that I was good enough to do to dance and to put me in. I always woke up so sad when I had them. These dreams continued for years and years, even after I moved to Chicago, haunting me more and more. I even stopped dancing after high school, and still had the dreams. It was only after I choreographed my first full musical, Single Box Turn's "Little House on the Parody" that I vivdly noticed the dreams stop. I finally had proved myself to her! From then on out, whenever I choreograph a show, I think of her and how she would be so proud.

I mentioned in a post a few days ago that I burst into tears whenever I hear Nutcracker music and that every year I try to over come this. This year, I am performing Mrs Atwater's original choreography in Soiree DADA, but with a major twist--one that expresses how I feel about the past, my dance experience, and basically my life in general. I hope that this year will be the year to let everything go. But who knows, right? It is all a part of what makes me who I am.

Another Closing!

Now that Apes is over (whew! What a ride that was!) we now are down to our two final performances for Neutrino Project: The Instant Movie. This show has been a lot of fun, but has sadly felt the affects of the massive theatre recession. Ah well, I am glad we did it, and I can only hope the cast has had fun in spite of the tumbleweedy audiences we've had.

Since next week is tech week for Soiree DADA: Schmuct Die Hallen, this Wednesday's performance will be the last one for Jen Ellison, Patrick Brennan and myself. We'd love to see you!!

Neutrino Project: The Instant Movie
Wednesday, November 12th and 19th
ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont

Apes Finale!!


Impress These Apes closes tonight!! Who is going to win?! What are they going to do?! Will anyone get naked?! It is anyone's game!!

Impress These Apes
The Lakeshore Theatre
Monday, November 10

When I was in Apes, I remember having no clue what to do for my finale performance for the 2 weeks leading up to the big event. I thought about shaving my head to make up for my crummy performance in the Performance Art Protest week and to make an anti-cancer statement. If I won the money, I was going to give it to Mom and Dad to help cover medical bills. But that was a little too emotional for me, so on the night before the show, I decided to go for a simple idea that was even more meaningful. Since I can remember, my dad and I always played this game where we would take the name of an animal and the word "shit" and swap out the first letters of the word (example: Shonkey Mit). Without fail, we would always erupt into giggles and we would try to come up with more and more clever animals, laughing until we were crying and in pain. We seriously played this from I was a little girl up to right before he died. I got my friend Ben Taylor to play the bass, and voila! My performance was made. I am so so proud of this performance--it was so personal and meaningful to me, some of the audience got it, a lot of others didn't. Two of the judges didn't get it either--I got two 10s and two 8s. It just goes along with the advice that I have given the current contestants--do something that you feel good about, not what you think will please the Apes.

I wish all the current contestants the best of luck, and I cannot wait to see what happens tonight!!! Impress These Apes!!

UPDATE: Congratulations Seth Dodson! You rock!

Way to go Parker!

My Baby Kitty is Famous! Vote for Parker!

Fuzzy has a screen grab here.

No Diggety

What a confusing week this has been for me. There's a lot going on that I am trying to figure out, some with success and some with not much at all. I am finding that I have nothing positive to say about anything, and I really don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but that is how I am feeling. I kind of want to hide from the world and not come out till next year. I know that I am not bringing anything good to the world or a conversation right now, so therefore I will choose to take myself out of it for a little while. Here I was, all like 2008 is going to be great! And then, later in the year, I was like My "new year" starts now! I was also like, I can handle shows! I can be social! But the reality of the situation is 2008 has been a shitty hard year with lots of pain and struggle and caregiving and rocky steps and in hindsight, I know that I should have really held back on agreeing to do things. I don't regret any of the shows I am doing, but I can't really be responsible for them anymore. Or anyone. I can't be responsible for anyone but me. And my cats. So therefore, in 2009, I am going to HEAL. I am going to REST. I am going to clean out the house and get rid of the past. And the clutter. I am going to clean out the clutter in my brain. I am going to figure out who I am now.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching in my therapy sessions and on this blog and I have come to terms with the fact that I have developed this hard exterior that I greatly dislike. It is my panic mode-take control self that I had to develop when taking care of Dad (and bracing myself for a contstant stream of bad news for three and a half years) and this year taking care of Mom, and now it is almost always in effect, especially with my producing shows. I lose all social skills, can't have a conversation and just shut everything out except for the task at hand. I don't like that feeling. I have lost my fun. I have changed, and I need to like this person and work with her instead of denying and resenting her.

We all carry our histories with us on our backs. Everything in our past has made us the people that we are today. If you cut me open, you can count the rings of my years. On election night, a friend I was with, in response to my sobbing over Obama's beautiful speech, said "Oh, she is just caught up in the moment." No. It was so much more than the moment. It was the weight of the past and the weight of the future and the possibility that we can keep going and figure out a way to make it work when you have lost your hope in the power to do so. The overwhelming weight. The challenge before us. How disillusioned am I if the mere concept of surviving, moving forward, and having hope make me break down sobbing?

Again, in NO way am I implying that my problems are more important than anyone elses--but the struggles I have are mine and I am just trying to figure out how to work with them and come out a stronger person. The phoenix that rises from the ash. The beautiful glass that comes out of the flame. With every additional day, I am figuring out how to get there.

I talked to my brother a long time on Tuesday, and it was a comfort. I am not alone in my feelings and struggles, and hearing the same thing from him--a man that I admire, respect, who is one of my heroes in my life, and who EXACTLY knows what I am going through--calmed my insecurities. We'll get through it and move forward, no matter how much time or how much we have to struggle to get there.

And with that, I will be quiet the rest of the day.

Oh my God

| 1 Comment

We did it! What a great time to be alive.

I am honored to have been a part of this incredible election.

Oh Yeah, Baby!

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Erica Voted

Come on, America. Let's do this!

To be honest, I am a bundle of nerves today. I know it is an exciting day and a historic election, but I am just on the verge of tears. I don't have faith that America will choose wisely. I can't say that Obama is going to win it--I have to see it first.

I want to say that I have Hope and Faith, but it sort of hit me today that the events of the last couple of years of my life have sort of taken that away. I don't have much Hope or Faith for anything, really. I still have Faith in God--I happily haven't lost that, but for everything else--eh. I don't want to be a pessimist and say that life is a series of disappointments and you just have to get through them the best you can, but....look at me, I just said it. Ha! I do hope things get better in this world, this country, my family, so there is still a glimmer of Hope there, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I hope to see it tonight. Come on, America. Let's do this.

I was tagged!

The amazing J-J tagged me with 7 random or weird facts about myself. How fun. So let's see.

1. I have hyper-extended knees, so standing has always been a challenge. At concerts, I often am in so much pain afterwards that it is difficult to walk--I only recently figured out that it is because I bounce backwards on my hyperextended knees instead of bending them to the beat.
2. I love data entry. I have loved my office jobs where it is just me and the computer entering things and not talking to anyone. I love seeing a beginning and an end of a stack of paper.
3. I know I have mentioned before here my love of picking fleas off of cats, but I must mention it again. If I know a cat has fleas, I cannot stop picking them off (and yes, I have a method for killing them, too.) I have a gift--I can touch a cat and tell if it has fleas. I also have very little control over this; it is an addiction. When we are in MS, I often sneak off to pick fleas and just clear my mind. Sometimes when I am super stressed out, I daydream about picking fleas off of cats.
4. I am blessed with a lot of friends. This is wonderful. However, I almost always feel like I am a terrible friend to most of them because I don't have the time I need or want to give to them.
5. My brother and I can communicate in an almost secret Reid language. I know this isn't unusual for siblings, but considering that we are well into adulthood, it is a joy that we still have it. And we can make each other double over laughing my saying the most random of things. We are both exactly the same and yet polar opposites.
6. Because of my long and tumultuous history with the Nutcracker Ballet, I, in a Pavlovian response, burst into tears or have a panic attack whenever whenever I hear any song from it. I have tried to overcome this for the last 12 years. I am attempting to again this year by confronting it headfirst in the DADA show.
7. I have attended an unbelievable number of funerals. So many, that I know that I couldn't remember them all to count.
8. I hate plots. Give me a movie or a show where they just sit there and talk and I am a happy clam.

There. I even threw in a bonus. That was hard to think of, for some reason, though. I think most things about me are weird or random, but to me they are just normal. Tra la la.

Chee! I am not gonna tag, but if you wanna join in, pretend I tagged you and then do it!

My Intelligent Friends