December 2008 Archives

See Ya, 2008


Ah what a year. I am happy it is ending. There were some beautiful things about the year and some terrible things. Some things were so bad, that I could cry thinking of them. Some things were so wonderful, I could cry with joy thinking about them. One thing is for sure, I lived every day of this year, and for that I am thankful.

I am ready for 2009. I have my arms outstretched and I am ready to receive. There are a lot of things I will try to work on, to better myself and to help those around me, but ultimately, I will just try to do the best I can with what I am given each day.

Thank you all for reading this random-ass rambley blog. It has proven to be good therapy for me. Thank you all for your love and support. Thank you all for being you.

I like who you are.

And with that, this is my new favorite song--Department of Eagles, "No One Does it Like You":

Happy New Year, Y'all.


It is pretty outstanding and a sign that you are being taken care of by the universe when you are having a crummy day and then get an email from an old beloved friend that makes you laugh and feel better.

This is Chet and Barbara (I think--I don't remember my own fake name) and Godiva at a Denny's in about 1998.

Thank you, sweet Toph.

Even a year later...

...I can't hear a Jethro Tull song without tearing up.


Just Another Typical Monday Morning


I am so lucky--the things I get to do.

Bork Bork Bork

Boxing Day? Sure, why not.
On Much Music, Canada's awesome video channel we watched constantly when I was growing up, they would always have "Triple Play Boxing Day" where they would show 3 videos in a row of the same artist. It ruled.

I woke up this morning relatively easy and I actually left the house earlier than I usually do to go to work. I was even fairly chipper! But then I went outside for the first time since Wednesday night and discovered the classic Chicago Blizzard + negative 3 weather + warmer 33-40 degree weather + plummet back down to freezing at night = EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DEATHLY ICE DEATH WORLD. Holy moly, the sidewalks are like ice skating rinks (and I should know...I'm an expert on ice skating now, you know) and it is impossible to lift your feet to walk or you might fall and break your neck on the sidewalk. Sheesh. Then I got to the car, which looked like it had been wrapped in that plastic privacy sheen that you often find on bathroom windows. As I started the half hour scraping session, the only other people on the sidewalk that I saw this morning walked by asking "Oh, is it that bad?" Yes, friends, yes it is. After being completely unsuccessful in driving the car over the giant ice fort that was built around the car, I had to go be an asshole wife and wake up my dear sweet warm and sleeping husband who has the day off to help me get the car out. Ugh. But I made it to work, and I survived the death walk from the parking lot to my office without any major slippage. A small victory.

Anyways, I am feeling much less grumpy now.

THE CASSOULET TURNED OUT AMAZING. Holy Crap I think it is the best thing I have ever eaten. I can't wait to get home so I can have it for dinner.

I think Bell's Winter White might be my favorite beer ever. Thank God Bell's is back!

Last night we saw the video to "Do they know it's Christmas" and I like to think that this conversation happened on set:

Producer: Um, hi, Bananarama. Thank you so much for taking the time out to come record this song. Um...I know we said we just want you to sing the chorus, but as it turns out, we are actually filming the recording session to be our music video. I know you just probably rolled out of bed to get here, so if you want to take a few minutes to maybe fix your hair or change clothes or something, we can wait for you.

Bananarama: Um, no. We spent hours trying to look like this.
(and scene)

In other news, the Chicago Tribune named Impress These Apes "Hands down the best comedy show in Chicago." Thank you. Really. I certainly don't need any recognition or praise for any of the shows I do--that's not why I do them, of course--but sometimes, it just feels good.

Look for the Don't Spit jokers on the WGN morning news again Monday morning.

Everyone, go out there and Box! Just be careful not to slip and fall. Unless you fall in a Box--I guess that would be appropriate.

Merry Christmas


Well, here we are.

Christmas. My favorite holiday, a magical and emotional one. I love Christmas, and still do, although I have no idea how to handle it this year. I feel like Christmas and I are having a fight. We are friends, but we aren't talking to each other right now, and next year, we'll get through our differences and be closer friends than ever before. I really hope that happens.

I've been listening to the holiday music channel in the car a lot this week, and some songs are fine, but every now and again, one gets to me. I think of my sweet Daddy and how much he loved Christmas and how shitty it is that he isn't here to share it with us. I have cried at the most random of songs, but mainly the ones about being home for Christmas.

For so many of us, "home" has so many meanings, or none at all. I love that we are staying "Chicago Home" for Christmas this year, but it is hard being away from all of my wonderful family. We've been through so much together, especially in the last few years. I have a constant push/pull with wanting to be with them and needing to heal more before being around them. I know that a lot of my family reads this, so please know that I love you so very much, and I wish you a blessed holiday.

The holidays are about reflecting and thinking of your loved ones at all phases of your life. This is difficult to do, but so important, I think, to keep you grounded on who you are and what you are made of and where you are going. I think that is a lovely sentiment.

Some thoughts--
We had a Christmas tradition in the Reid house every year, wherein we couldn't go into the living room until a photo had been taken of the presents and the tree. Never being a family of early risers, Mom and Dad I think used this as a stall tactic, so they could have a more leisurely morning. I would always wake up first, at like 8 or 9, then go to Christopher's room to wake him up. We'd hang out for a bit on his bed, then we would go wake up Mom and Dad. Dad would get up and make coffee and breakfast, I would get into his spot, and Christopher would lay across the foot of the bed (it must be noted that this was our weekend ritual as well, especially Sunday mornings after we stopped going to church.) Once the picture was taken and Dad made sure we had all eaten a little something, we could start to open presents. We never rushed--we would always watch each present be opened one at a time.

Christmas Eves varied over the years. When we were young, Daniel would come over and we could open the gifts from him (which were always the coolest cause they were from The Attic Gallery.) He would then do a dramatic reading of The Agnes Letters (my favorite part--"One who means it"). So funny. When we got a little older, Dad would have to work the night shift, and he'd have to occasionally work on Christmas Eve. One year, me, Mom and Christopher all went to church, sat on the back pew, and then on the way home swung by the Domino's and got a $5 pepperoni pizza that was hot and ready. It was great. When we were in our teens, we would go to Melissa's house and exchange gifts and eat Carolyn's delicious holiday goodies.

My Dad's favorite thing about Christmas was trying to surprise my Mom with an exciting present every year. He would get so excited and giggly and he would hide little clues all over the house for her to find. I think Dad loved giving presents more to Mom that he did to us. It was always so precious, and it was a great peek at what their romantic relationship was like. So playful, generous, fun and loving.

My aunt Linda always had a Christmas open house a few weeks before Christmas. I love going to these. For one, she makes the best hot apple cider I have ever had (apple juice and Red Hots--it is my favorite) and would always have deviled eggs and delicious cookies. She had the open house last year on my brother's birthday, and I am so glad we went, cause although we weren't feeling too Christmasy, it was great to be with family in a familiar setting. And it turned out to be really fun.

Since Christopher's birthday is so close to Christmas, we often took a family vacation to New Orleans to celebrate. I loved these trips we took, and they are some of my fondest vacation memories. Christmas in New Orleans was a beautiful thing--I only hope that it still is, or it is back to a glimmer of its old glory, at least.

This year, I am very happy with where I am in my life. I have my health, my amazing husband, my loving family, my incredible friends. What more do I need? Fuzzy and I, as our gifts to each other this year, bought a beautiful painting by our friend Anne Z. Knight that I love very much. For Christmas Day, we are cooking a cassoulet and a chocolate hazelnut tart (I say "we" but it is really all Fuzzy. I am in the office typing, after all.) We also are stocked with a week's worth of wine, beer, and spirits. We might even take a walk over to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in the city. The weekend should be really relaxing, with visits with friends and general hanging out. Perfection.

And with that, I say, To All A Good Night.

Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you a blessed holiday.

Viva la Influence!

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JJ tagged me to list some of my major artistic influences and some unexpected ones as well. For some reason, this proved to be very difficult to me. First of all, I don't think I would ever really describe myself as "artistic." On a good confidence day, "creative" maybe, but mostly I would just describe myself as "weird." Sure, there are things I thought when I was a kid that I wanted to do as I grew up, but I couldn't really put my finger on a good equation to get me from my childhood to the career path I have taken. So it was good to ponder upon. What I list below is I think a good representation of what I have been influenced by at an early age. Some may be expected, some not--that is yours to decide.

1) My Family--well, yeah, who isn't influenced by their family? But I was inspired by them. I literally came from 2 of the funniest people in the world and the funnest, funniest and best older brother anyone could ever dream of. Mom and Dad showed us so much stuff and let our imaginations run wild and supported us at every turn. They never hesitated to take us out of school or rehearsal to go to a concert, and we would drive for hours and hours to see concerts all over the Southeastern United States. My first concert was when I was 5 years old. They even drove Christopher, me, Jeremy and Billy to New Orleans so we could go to Lollapalooza in 1994--damn, that was a good time--and wrote us notes when we were too sore from moshing to make it to class the next day. Even as an adult, some of my favorite memories are of me living in Chicago and talking to both Mom and Dad at the same time on the phone and us laughing and telling stories for hours. I really miss that.

2) Saturday Night Live--Oh, yeah, baby. This might be the biggest factor that got me wanting to do comedy (and the other bazillion comedians that moved to Chicago.) In MS growing up, it wasn't actually live, they held it a while and showed it at midnight CST, so that meant little Erica stayed up every Sunday morning till 1:30am and then had to be woken up off the couch to get ready for church the next morning. I have watched SNL since I can remember, but probably the most influential years were the Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri glory days. My friend Jessica made me a booklet of all of our favorite moments (handwritten out on a handmade notebook, no less) I think when we were freshmen in HS and she called it the best SNL moments in the "pre-Erica years." Aww. Even though, my aspirations are different now, still, it is a major influence. Kristen Wiig can do no wrong in my opinion.

3) MTV and VHI, or really music videos in general. I love them. Always have, always will. nothing will keep me up late more than a good string of vids on MTV Hits. If I see a video once, I will see it in my head everytime I hear the song after that. As a kid, I loved the dance videos the most--the Janet Jackson ones and Paula Abdul. As a teenager, it was Insomniac Music Theater and Crossroads on VHI. Man. I still love dance videos the most. When I hear songs that I don't know the video for, I either make one up, or choreograph to the song in my head.

4) Esther Williams movies. I "am not a strong swimmer" but I used to watch those movies for hours and hours all day long.

5) Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons. Nothing makes me laugh harder than Beavis and Butthead watching and commenting on music videos. God, thinking about them is cracking me up right now. They taught me stupid humor. Ren and Stimpy taught me the art of being random. The Simpsons taught me the art of writing good comedy.

6) Fashion Magazines. I am no fashionista, nor do I try to be, but the visual art of fashion has always been so intriguiging to me. I used to pour of Harper's Bazaar like it was the last magazine on earth. I think It made me weirder.

7) My parent's non-descretion with age appropriate movies (mainly my dad.) I love that they wanted to show us the movies that they thought we should see, but some movies (The Wicker Man, Stepford Wives, The Big Chill, The World According to Garp) are lost on or scary as hell for kids age 7-12. It really taught me what kinds of movies I DO like. I wonder if my love of non-plot came from this, or from the non-plot movies dad mom and dad watched that I did like.

8) Solid Gold! It made me want to be a dancer. Later, I was inspired by In Living Color, because I wanted to be both a comedian on the show and a Fly Girl.

9) Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, GIlda Radner--and all other amazing female comedians that I grew up watching. They made me never doubt for a second that I could make people laugh and follow my dreams.

10) Grab Bag! David Letterman, Seinfeld, Tom Waits, Jethro Tull, Broadway Musicals.

I always knew that whatever creative path I chose, it was going to be a little off kilter and not the norm. I think I have stayed true to that. Of course, I am still trying to figure out just exactly what I want to do and what I am good at, but I guess that it is a good thing, cause it keeps me on my toes and keeps me always learning and striving for something different.

Happy Birthday Dicknot!!

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Happy birthday, Big Brother!
You are brilliant, hilarious, inspiring, supportive, wonderful and many other words that mean awesome. I hope you have an awesome day and that 32 treats you well! I love you!


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Thinky Dinks


My wonderful sweet darling husband surprised me last night with a nice bottle of tequila, after my blog post and multiple emails to him about wanting to drink tequila this week. Oh man--my cravings were fulfilled, and I they probably will be again tonight and tomorrow night and Sunday (not Saturday cause of the closing of the show. I will be drinking lots of other things that night.) Delish!

I love James Taylor and his voice melts my heart, but I really wish he had never recorded "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" because the way he says the phrase "Rooty toot toot" is just GD creepy. Someone in the recording studio should have said something.

My multiple remnant water bottles that are in my car are all bottles of ice now.

I want to take a day and sleep all day. But I know if I did this, at the end of the day, I would feel like crap because I didn't accomplish anything in a day. But that sounds like the best thing ever.

Kalamata olives are one of life's greatest joys.

I might add to this post during the day today. We'll see. But for now, I have to go warm up my car. Season's Greetings!



I thought I was so clever.

I was all like "Oh, I can do this Christmas thing." "Look at how cool we are, we are donating to charity." "Yeah, Christmas--we got this one." "Look at me, I am doing good." It was nice, wasn't it?

Tonight, Christmas came up and bit me in the ass. Hard. With razor teeth.

Tonight, we saw a Christmas show that was fun and silly and personal and thinky at times and emotional at times. I enjoyed it. During the show, I was fine. I only got misty-eyed a few times. But after, when we parted company with our friends, I lost it. Completely broke down on the street and on the way home. Not because the show was so great, but because I am so confused about my feelings and relationship with Christmas and my family and my life and everything.

I haven't really allowed myself to feel Christmas for the last few years. Two years ago, we were with the in-laws, and it was lovely, but deep down, I was thinking of how sad it would be if it was Dad's last Christmas and I didn't get to share it with him (it was, and he had a great time visiting C's in-laws in NJ). Last year, we changed it up. We opened our presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning, and on Christmas Day we went to Waffle House for breakfast then to a nice movie theater not in our hometown and saw 2 movies. We needed to break the traditions--to give us something to think about other than the fact that we had lost Dad only a few weeks before. Perhaps this was denial and avoidance, yes, but it was also self-preservation. We said "Oh, Dad would love that we did this" but think really, we all wanted a day off from being so miserable and exhausted and worn down. We had some laughs, but it didn't feel like Christmas.

This year, we are still adjusting and figuring out what we are supposed to do and feel and think. For me, there is something missing. And I think it has been my heart. I have been going with the flow and doing our (amazing) Christmas show (which doesn't so much feel like Christmas from the inside) and enjoying avoiding all the holiday hullabaloo. But maybe what I need to do is submerge myself into it, in order to allow myself to feel something towards it. Figure out what it means to me now. It is terrifying, but I have God and my friends and family to help me through it.

A few weeks ago, we saw a delightful Christmas Nativity show at a local church. I had seen the show before a few years ago, and sobbed the whole time. This time was different--maybe it was because I had seen it before, or maybe it was because we had a clear shot of the technical difficulties of the actors behind the curtain, but I just sort of watched it as a casual observer. It wasn't until they invited the congregation to sing a Christmas song together at the end that I broke down. I wasn't able to sing, and so I didn't. I stood there silent, choking back tears. Looking back, I wish that I had sung full voice and sobbed huge horse sobs in public to get it all out. Because even if it is a difficult emotion, it is an emotion that I, as a human, am blessed to feel.

I also don't want to go about my day like everything is ok. It isn't ok--each day is a challenge in so many ways, and that is what life is. Struggle is a part of it. Relating to others and working together and feeling whatever we are feeling, no matter what it is, is the right thing to feel, because that is who we are at that moment and that moment is fleeting and helps define who we will be in the moments to come.

So much can change in a short period of time. Families change. Relationships change. People leave us. People join us. Such is life. It is a bit overwhelming if you ask me.

And it will be.

Cause if we had it all figured out, what would be the point of continuing?

Maybe Dad was just so brilliant that he had it figured out.

For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.--1st Corinthians 13:12

Is it a sled? Or a french horn?

One of my favorite Christmas decorations that we had when we were kids were these window stickies. We had a big stack of them that all year were smooshed together in our big box of Christmas stuff. We had a Santa and reindeer and Christmas trees that were green and red, and a bunch of white snowflakes. They weren't like the window stickies you see these days--these were awesome and old school. If you put them on the window when it was cold, they would just fall off, but since we were in MS, that wasn't a problem too often.

This morning, when I got in my car, I sat there letting it warm up for a minute. As it snowed, I watched the delicate snowflakes fall on the windshield in their beautiful natural patterns, and I remembered those old stickies for the first time in years and years.


Or Maybe I am just Losing It


I just walked around the outer limits of the bottom floor our loft office 3 times. Granted, it is a very small office, so I really just walked in a circle 3 times, but for some reason I think it helped.

You know that feeling where your brain doesn't want to do the same thing your body does? I am there today. I think I have too much potential energy all of a sudden. I kind of want to claw off my skin.

Or maybe I am avoiding working on some spreadsheets.

Or maybe I am a robot.

Or maybe I am just a big giant dork.


But Tom Waits makes anything better. Thanks, Pandora.

Let's Drink Tequila

Doesn't that sound good today? Maybe some reposados?

I have much more to say, but not too much time.

But I think everyone should drink a little tequila today and think of me.

I'll do the same for you.

This is what it's like...


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Oh, yeah.

We're all in this thing together

I saw this on Margaret and John's travel blog, and I thought it was so beautiful, I had to post it here.

From Playing For Change.

A Love Letter to Chicago

Dear Chicago,
I know lately I have been making a lot of comments like "When are we going to move to a warmer town?" and threats to move to Starkville so we can have a house and a yard and hang out with Delia and Melissa, but I just want you to know that there are so many things that I love about you that make me overlook the fact that it is only 20 degrees outside.

Chicago, you introduced me to my greatest love, my sweet and wonderful Fuzzy, my best friend, my sweet husband. You teased us for years by having us be friends and then surprised us when you brought us together on your crazy elevated train system. I believe the reason we both came to Chicago is so we could meet each other and be in each other's lives. How cool are you?!

You have given me and continue to give me the most amazing friends anyone could ever ask for. Friends who are loving, compassionate, hilarious, inspiring, and wonderful. Good to the core. I am blessed and amazed each day to have these people people in my life. I have learned so much from them over the years and I continue to do so. They have gotten me through so much.

You have given me so many amazing performance opportunities, whether it be improv, sketch, drama, dance, film, etc. You have allowed me to dream up the craziest ideas and make those ideas a reality. You are a never-ending source of inspiration and dreams coming to fruition.

Chicago, Damn your food is good! Anything our palates desire, you give us. And your beer is awesome, too.

You are so beautiful in each and every season.

When I first moved here in May of 2000, I said I was only going to live here for 10 years. Now that I'm at 8 1/2, and although I may have a touch of the wanderlust, you give me no reason to ever want to move.

Unless I wanted a house and a yard and weather that is warmer than 30 degrees half the year. But I can overlook that.

Thank you.


Don't Dress for DADA


Tuesday night, Fuzzy and I saw Don't Dress for Dinner at the Royal George. We had been wanting to see it cause Jeffrey Donovan is in it (Fuzzy is a fan of Burn Notice and plus we had just seen Bruce Campbell at the My Name is Bruce screening the week before. More on that later.) The show is a farce and it was farcey farce farce all right. Cute and light and fluffy and a nice little chuckle here and there. I agree with the reviews in that Spencer Kayden steals the show as the cook--she absolutely does times 100 (and I bet our friend Kristen did, too, when she played that part in a run of it last year). So if you are looking for something light and silly, there you go.

But it got me to thinking....Man, I am proud of our DADA show. It was interesting looking around and seeing the full theatre (though the house had been papered) and feeling like DDFD was "theatre light." Here we are, with a DADA show that we have all put our heart and souls into and bared ourselves so completely and cried over and struggled with and spun into something beautiful. Ours just feels so real. Their show felt fake. All in all I would say DDFD was....cute. That's all. Just cute. Not even great, really. And I certainly didn't didn't leave the theatre feeling moved or changed or challenged in anyway.

Even if no one else comes to see our show, I will go out on top knowing that we created something so unique, so scary, so freeing and real and gritty and confusing and hilarious and DADA. And even if after the show each night I feel like a physically and emotionally bruised and chewed up piece of shit, I feel damn good about that.

Only 2 more weeks to see it. That performance ticker on the right is getting smaller and smaller.

Regarding "My Name is Bruce." The Reid family has long been a fan of Mr. Campbell, as evidenced by the fact that we named a cat after him. I had seen him a few years back and a book signing, but we were excited to hear his Q&A after a movie screening at the Landmark. First of all, the movie isn't any good (sorry Bruce). Secondly, after answering a few questions, he said "I made this movie for you guys--the fans. Obviously, I'm not making anything here--I'm getting panned left and right" or something along those lines. The next day, I had a thought--he didn't make this movie for us at all. In the movie, he plays himself, but as a letcherous, washed-up asshole that no one in their right mind would like (and in the movie, no one does.) The fans don't want to see that. If anything, it changed my opinion of him in a negative way. I'm sure he had his reasons for it, but don't say you did it for me. I want my Bruce Campbell served up as a hero and all around nice guy. Even if he isn't.

Oh, I Get It!


Wow, huh? December 10th already?

As you probably read earlier (or not--Hi new readers!), I have been dreading the Christmas season and holidays in general and wishing they would just come and go without a peep. Longing for a change and a way out, Fuzzy and I made the following decisions:

We are not giving or accepting presents.
We are not traveling this holiday season.

And wouldn't you know it--what a difference it makes!
I have never spent a Christmas in Chicago--they have either been in Mississippi or Texas. I love my family and Fuzzy's family, but this year, my mom is going to visit my brother's in-laws in NJ, so she is taken care of, and we visited with Fuzzy's family earlier this year, so we decided to go visit next year when the babies will be a little older. It is really relaxing knowing that we aren't going anywhere--we can accept invitations to parties-cause we are here! We can relax cause we aren't spending what little money we have on plane fare. We can actually have a few days off instead of going somewhere and always having to be 'on.'

And with the presents--I love shopping for people, but this year, with the job market being as screwy as it is, it is nice to not be a part of it. We will be giving to charities in people's honor--cause they need it more. We told the family that instead of shopping for us, send the money you would normally spend and send it either to their credit cards or to charity. We are adults--we have everything we need, and if not, we buy it. The last thing we need is people to buy us stuff that we don't need just cause they think they have to--I would just feel selfish.

So in the meantime, I think I am enjoying the season! I am a little shy to go to church, cause I know I would just sob the whole time, but I might go in the coming weeks. Last night we put up our tree, and when we turned out the lights to look at it, I was overwhelmed with emotion and memories and the sincerity of it all. It was so sweet. It is a little mindboggling to think of the changes that have occured in the last year and how much our family has changed. And it was a relief to think that Fuzzy and I are our own little family (with the kitties) now and it is a positive step to start our own family traditions. A new beginning.

The other morning, when it was the massive snowfall, Fuzzy and I started singing "Let it Snow" and for the first time in my life, I actually GOT IT. I understood the words and the meaning. It didn't matter what was happening out in the rest of the world, I had everything I needed inside.

I think it will be a lovely last Christmas for this decade in my life.
Now where is my hot chocolate and Bailey's?

The Chucklebowl Holds the Answer

If you have thought to yourself any of the following things:

I wish I had New Years Eve plans.
Laughing is fun.
I don't like to spend lots of money.
I really like bowling.
I wish I had seen Don't Spit the Water before they closed their 4 year run.
I wish I could see DSTW again--too bad they closed their 4 year run.
I like drinking.
I like comedy.
I like drinking with Erica and Fuzzy.
Mmmm pizza.
Who Farted?

Then The Chucklebowl Spectacular is your answer!! We are reuniting for ONE NIGHT to ring in 2009 with laughter, pizza, cheap beer and fart jokes. Doesn't this look like fun?
Photos by Monte.

Full Details are below.

And for Funsies, here is a sneak peek at what you might see (dedicated to Nellie):

Video by Dan.

Tight Five Productions is teaming up with Blewt Productions, the team that bought you the smash hit live game show Impress These Apes, to present the city's most off-beat and affordable alternative to this year's New Year's Eve events.

The third annual "Chuckle Bowl Spectacular" takes place at Chicago's retro Lincoln Square Lanes on the North Side and features the following:

*A one night only revival of Blewt's popular live audience-interactive
game show Don't Spit The Water.

*Open bowling in all 12 lanes throughout the event - enhanced by
theatrical lighting and music from renowned DJ "Bubbles Sanchez."

* Multiple video screens showing some of the funniest off beat film
footage ever committed to celluloid with some specially re-imagined
music videos to some of your favorite tunes.

*Free pizza and full, value-priced bar featuring $3 domestics and $4 shots.

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9pm-1am.
Lincoln Square Lanes, 4874 N. Lincoln Ave. (773.561. 8191)
$20 advance, $25 at the door. 18 and over. Advanced tickets available at
Uncle Fun (1338 W. Belmont Ave., 773.477.8223) and on-line at

More on the Bird thing


Shannon just found bird poop on our stairway, and I realized that I have had a white stain on my desk for some time now that is probably bird poop as well.

Maybe we have some chimney swifts? Or airshaft swifts?

I am kind of relieved. I was still thinking voodoo.

Life. How bout it?


Isn't it kind of amazing how people come in and out of your life at different times for different reasons and that sometimes people show up at just the perfect time and you might know why right away or you might not even know it till later but that person was put there to help you with something or to enhance a part of your life? And that people you used to see daily suddenly you realize you haven't seen in over a year? And that most of the people in the world, you don't even know and will never know? And that everyone's experiences and perceptions and view on life is different, but that we learn from each other and become better or worse people based on the company we choose to keep?

I find that comforting.

This morning on the way to work, I saw 2 people all bundled up trying to cross the street, and for some reason, I thought to myself how they have their own world going, and I don't know them and I don't know what they do or where they are going or what they are thinking about or looking forward to or going through. But the good news is, they don't know that about me either. But yet we cohabitate in the same environment and might even know some of the same people and ultimately are just trying to do the best we can with who we are and what we have and want in our individual lives.


Merry Christmas!


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Santa Parker is watching you.



We just found a dead bird in a box in our office! We have no idea how it got there or how long it has been in the office.

Do you think someone is voodooing us?

We are creeped out. EEEK!

Don't Sweat It (pt 1)


Seven years ago today, my life changed 100% for the better.

I had a Thoraoscopic Sympathectomy.

My whole life, I have had hyperhidrosis, which is hyperactive sweat glands. It is genetic--my Memaw Bane has it, too, and it has nothing to do with how hot you might be. Water would pour from my hands and my feet and puddle up on my desk and soak through my socks, shirts, etc. I couldn't ever write with a pencil, cause my hands would soak my paper and the pencil would tear the paper. I couldn't write on the chalkboard in school because i would drip all over the board. In dance class, my classmates would ask if I stepped in water because my ballet shoes would be soaking wet. I wouldn't ever shake anyone's hand because it would be too embarrassing, and when I had to anyway, I would tell people that my hands were sweaty. They would almost always say "oh, its ok," then pull away and say "man you were right--they are sweaty." It was terrible. My hands and feet would sweat so much and I would lose all my body heat and freeze. I would get nauseated because of my screwy body temperature. Mom says that they knew when I was only 2 weeks old that I had it, because I would stop crying when they put socks on my feet. Another side effect is "blushing," which is the swelling and reddening of your hands, which is what got me the nickname "bloody hands" in college. As a performer, the sweating was a real hindrance-it was distracting to me, and disturbing to others and I would constantly have to wipe my hands on my clothes or pants so not to sweat on others and wear black clothes cause it wouldn't show the sweat stains so badly. My underarms and knee pits would drip, too, but the hands were the worst. I remember one day, on a very crowded commuter train going home, my hand holding the bar to stand was above many others' hands, and my sweat was dripping down the pole and onto the other commuters. I couldn't do anything about it but apologize as they all recoiled in fear.

Growing up, I tried everything--Drysol, which is a prescription antiperspirant that you put on your hands and feet at night, but it burned like hell in the morning. I tried holding teabags, but that stained my hands brown. I tried Drionic, which were these little machines that had electric probes that you put wool pads over, filled reservoirs with water, then turned the machines on to send electric shocks into your hands and feet to try to stun the sweat glands and make them not work for a while. You guessed it, that was painful, too. There was a surgical fix, but it was risky and might cause paralysis.

After I moved to Chicago, I learned of a new surgery that wasn't too intrusive and I started doing research. I couldn't find too many surgeons in the country that were doing it, but I was willing to travel to find it. My friend Shelly was working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at the time, and one day she forwarded me an internal newsletter about a surgeon there who was specializing in the surgery--not even knowing that I was researching this daily. I changed my insurance to a PPO so I could go to him, and called and to make an appointment with him.

When I met with Dr. Liu, I had absolutely no doubt that I was going to go through the procedure. I also was prepared to be on a waiting list for a few months, but he told me we could schedule it any time after 2 weeks! Incredible. I scheduled my appointment for December--I think at the time it was October.

The procedure works like this--they put two incisions in your side (one at bra-level, one in the underarm), collapse your lung, snip nerves on the side of your spinal column, inflate the lung, stitch you up, flip you over and do the other side. It is about a 6 hour surgery with a week bed rest and about a full month recovery.

(to be continued)

I cancelled my MySpace Account


Look at me! A few weeks ago I cancelled Friendster, now MySpace! It's not that I didn't love MySpace, I certainly did. It connected me to a number of my old high school friends (Ain't No Half Steppin' in the Class of '97) so that I didn't feel bad for missing our reunion. I connected with friends I used to hang with in college and my Jackson days. It was lovely. But I realized that I hadn't logged on in months and honestly, I just don't care. Time to purge all the unneccessary things, and I actually feel a little relief knowing that I am less a part of the system. It isn't like I am hard to find, either---a simple Google of "Erica Reid" finds you one of 3 people--me, the wife of the president of Def Jam Records (I love it when my pics rate higher than the ones of her and say, Beyonce and Mariah Carey), and a 16 year old girl who likes horses who is actually probably in her mid 20s by now. So yeah. Take that, MySpace.

And no, I'm not going to join Facebook. Don't even try.

It's a Sad and Beautiful World*

It was lovely.

I was concerned that the day was going to be terrible, with me not being able to do anything or stop crying. There were tears, sure, but there was also lots of laughter, stories and memories.

I spent the day with a kindred spirit who took me ice skating. Ice skating?! Me? The girl who breaks bones and dislocated joints while standing still? I must admit, I was a little nervous, but I marched in with full confidence. When we were in Black Butte Oregon last August for Michael and Andrea's wedding, I talked to dad on the phone and told him about how beautiful everything was there, but how with all the mountains, he would be so nervous (he was afraid of heights.) He knew at that point, he wasn't going to be doing much traveling, and he told me that he was happy that I was able to see and do things that he would never be able to do. So with that, I knew that he would LOVE that I faced my fears and did something new and fun. It was exhilarating. So fun and hilarious. Not to be all metaphor-y, but it felt like progress and moving forward and taking a total leap of faith. It was very cleansing. I am so very thankful to J. for sharing her day with me and introducing me to something new.

Skating away on the thin ice of a new day.**

The rest of the day was filled with laughter and stories and good food and laughter and tears and laughter. It was wonderful.

Overall, the day felt like a celebration of life. Of new beginnings. Of starting over and moving forward. Of learning from the past and celebrating each day that we are blessed with.

Thank you to all of you who left such sweet comments and email and text messages. The reason I am still here and functioning is because of wonderful friends like you. Honestly, words cannot express how grateful I am to you all.

Dad would be so happy.

*Bob, from Down By Law
**Jethro Tull



Autumnal Harvest


Me and Daddy

Me, Puddy, Fuzzy and Dad

Mom, me and Dad

Dad at SnoBiz

Me and Dad!

The Folks on Navy Pier

David Speech

David, Susan, Carl, and Kyle


Tricia and David

Father and daughter and cat

Reid Family Thanksgiving PJ Portrait

Reid Family Thanksgiving PJ Portrait

Father and Daughter, laughing

There is so much in my head...


...and I don't really know how to get it all out. I will first start where I left off.

(again, talking about Dad, so skip if you want or need to)

So after we knew that we were going to lose Dad that night, we all gathered around in the bedroom to be with him. I don't remember who all was there, but there were a lot of people. Too many, in my opinion. There were old family friends and folks who were trying to make polite conversation. Even writing that I felt anger in my heart--they might have been trying to break the tension, but in that situation--the tension is all you have! You know, life is so short and fleeting and if you go around always trying to avoid feeling and avoid the gravity of whatever situation you are in, what kind of a life is that? I wanted to experience every second of my father's last minutes, not chit chat about hats or music or any of that bullshit, so I think we said something and got it down to family, the nurse, and a pastor in the room. Christopher and I were lucky, cause both Katie and Fuzzy were there. There is a thing called the "death rattle," which is the sound of lungs filling with fluid towards the end of a life. It was horrifying. We were playing music and we had Dad's oxygen machine going so it was very noisy, but yet that rattle was still so loud. We all held hands and held dad's hands and sang to him and talked to him. I did our nighttime ritual (the one we did every night while I was growing up and whenever we were visiting each other, and the one we did when he gave me away at my wedding) and I promised him that I would "keep doing wackadoo comedy." Ha.

I don't know how much time went by, but the nurse told us that it looked like he was fighting it and didn't want to go. Mom told him yet again that it was ok for him to go, and Dad made some sort of noise that sounded like "uh uh." Fearing that he was scared, Mom leapt up and embraced him, and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen happened next. Mom laid her head next to his ear and started rocking him and talking to him and telling him it was ok. She told him that she had never led him astray and he could trust her and it was ok for him to go and "if you think I love you, Jesus loves you even more and imagine how beautiful He is going to be when you see Him and I am not going to let you go until you see His face" and so on. Christopher and I were each holding on to Mom and to Dad and we were all standing over him. Mom kept rocking him and singing to him and telling him how much she loved him-and then Dad's eyes looked up, then one side of his mouth made a crooked little smile and he took his last breath. I saw my father see Heaven. And my mother helped get him there. That is love.

Once we knew he had gone, there was such a jubilant air--it was lovely and so strange. It felt like we had accomplished something. Something great. We all hugged and smiled--it was such a beautiful thing. Isn't that bizzare? We called loved ones and told them that he had left and we were calm while they cried. Only later did things start to really sink in--as they took him away, as the nightmares started, as the reality set in.

The next few days were a total blur--family, funeral homes, planning, cemeteries, shopping for clothes to wear since none of us had brought anything nice, people people people. And people who said stupid things. My advice to anyone who doesn't know what to say when someone suffers a tragedy or a loss--acknowledge that you know what is going on, but if you don't have anything to say, don't say anything. Yikes, the amount of insulting and inappropriate things that were said at our house that week. God bless everyone that was there, but still.

The funeral was beautiful--I really great service by a great pastor who had talked with dad a few weeks before he died. It was truly a celebration of his life--friends sang a beautiful version of I Can See Clearly Now and there was much laughter. At one point Christopher asked everyone to raise their hand if they had ever been to a concert with Dad and so many hands went up. It was standing room only. Friends traveled from all over. It was so sweet.

A family friend used his own personal beard trimmers to trim Daddy's beard and later even drove the funeral car.

My sweet little Daddy was only 53. The cancer didn't win--the cancer died when Dad's earthly vessel did, but Dad still lives on.

Ok, so random thought time--I think it has really taken me a year to process everything that happened and how it affected us and how it affects me every day.

For me, I am a totally different person than I was before. Some changes are for the better---some are for the worst. I am dealing with this new person that I am on a daily basis. The good news now is that now I don't deal with any of the bullshit. If it isn't worth my time, I won't do it. I don't get caught up in petty garbage anymore. I know better what I like, don't like, and can and can't handle. I am honest with people, even if it is difficult. It is hard to shock me. I am more confident in some ways and know more what I can handle.

The almost 4 years we fought that shitty cancer was miserable. It was such a roller coaster of emotions constantly, and I was a basket case for the majority of the time. I quit numerous jobs because I knew that going home to help and take care of Mom and Dad was the most important thing.

Just because you know it is coming doesn't make death any easier. However, each day we had with Dad was a blessing and we got to have the conversations we needed to have. Though there was nothing that needed to be resolved or things that needed to be said to each other because we were always so open and loving with each other. I am blessed to come from such an incredible family.

I have never seen anyone so strong as my mother when she was taking care of Dad. It was her mission to keep him alive and she did a damn good job. She was Dad's strength and hope.

A few days before he died, I crawled up in Dad's bed and laid with him for awhile. Christopher took a picture of us without my knowing it. A few months ago, he sent it to me, and it is beautiful--the last picture of the two of us together.

Daddy's nurse cat Allie, a tiny little white cat who took care of Dad all through his treatment, slept on his hospital bed by his side the whole time he was in it, and even for about 17 straight hours before he died. She normally didn't like to be around people, but she slept curled up next to him unbothered by all the people around her. She hardly woke up. She even let me pet her and pick fleas off of her while she was sleeping, something that never ever happens. About an hour before he died, she woke up, jumped off the bed and went to look out the front door. She knew what was going to happen. Fuzzy thanked her for doing such a good job.

I am blessed to have the most loving supportive husband in the whole world. Dad's cancer was diagnosed a month after we started dating, and Fuzzy was there every step of the way. Dad loved Fuzzy and I think was relieved knowing that he was leaving me in such good hands.

I am blessed to have the most loving supportive friends in the whole world. The cards, the gifts, the flowers, the meals, the trashy magazines, the movies, the shoulders to cry on, the ones who got me out of my house once I was back in Chicago and refusing to go anywhere, the ones who listened to each story, the ones who never judged, the ones who always loved, the ones that are still listening and still loving even when I think I must be the most annoying person on the planet. I love you all.

It doesn't feel like it has been a year. It is really mind blowing. A year sounds like so much time--so long. I am not ready for it to be a year. People think a year is so far away. But it isn't enough time. I am not healed. Sure, healING, but as I said before, I still have a-ways to go. I am afraid of forgetting. I afraid of the day when there will be more time without Dad than we had with him. I hate that there is so much that I want to tell him and so much I wish I could talk to him about. I am afraid of forgetting his voice. I am ashamed of the days that I don't look at his pictures on the wall in my house. I think of him constantly.

I am happy when I realize that I have a quirk that is like his. I am happy when I hear a song that reminds me of him or a friend makes a reference to The Prisoner in a show directly after I was thinking of him.

I am happy knowing that he is with his daddy and mama's daddy and his old dogs and Honey and Bumble and all our old cats. I know he is up in Heaven giggling and turning red talking with legendary musicians and old friends.

I talk to him a lot in my head and I see him on occasion in my dreams.

A year.

Much love to my wonderful family and everyone who loved Papa Reid on this difficult day.