February 2009 Archives

Beautiful Ladies


mom and memaw.jpg

Look at my beautiful mother and grandmother! This photo is from Valentine's Day. So precious!

(note: mom is blogging again! Hooray!)

shuffle shuffle

work busy
benefit next wednesday
haha emailing during the day? remember that a little bit?
awesome dinner tonight with friends. tipsy and full.
behind. i am behind
is it february still?
i want to wear sundresses
thanks to jan for getting me through the last week. much love to my cuz
i like food
and cats
i am sleepy

Blah Blah Blabber


1. I am feeling better, but still not 100%. I am in the sneezy phase of the cold, where my nose is really raw and I sneeze every few minutes. But--I am better, and that's what counts!

2. Holy Moly, I found this recipe for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes on Katie's site, and now I am obsessed. I think I might have to make them for a certain occasion in April.

3. Fuzzy and I recently discovered the beauty of On Demand movies and last night we watched Step Up 2 and Oceans 13. Both were pretty great, but Step Up 2 was especially exciting because of brief appearances by Rainen from Jabbawockeez and Shorty from Beat Freakz and the dreamy Will Kemp as the school director. (I must point out that I used to have a photo of Will Kemp from his Gap campaign at my desk at the Goodman, but I only recognized him in the movie when he started dancing.)

4. Speaking of being a dance nerd, I get excited when we see these dancers we've gotten to know over the years on these tv shows (I recently freaked out at a glimpse of Comfort from So You Think You Can Dance in a hip hop video on MTV), and I also am relieved when I see choreographers using moves in multiple dances. Power choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon used a move in America's Best Dance Crew's opening dance on Thursday (about 1min 52 seconds in) that they used in last season's SYTYCD (at about 2 min 59 sec.)

5. I bought some new music on iTunes yesterday: the new Sigur Ros Album, T.I. and Rihanna's Live your Life, and Sara Bareilles's Love Song. I have been listening to the last song on repeat for about an hour.

6. I guess it snowed again this weekend, but I haven't left my house. It's been a good weekend--I've gotten a lot done and gotten lots of rest, too. But now, that laundry's not going to put away itself. Darn.

7. The Oscars are tonight, but I don't know if we are going to watch them. Though it would be a good reason to drink a bottle of champagne.

8. Who am I kidding? Since when do you need a reason to drink a bottle of champagne?

Required Reiding--the Erica Edition

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(With all due respect to my brother's blog of the same name.)

I have a really hard time reading books. I generally can't stay focused on more than a paragraph (who I am kidding--a sentence) at a time, and often I find that I have "read" the same page for long periods of time over and over, yet have not idea what words were on the page. Reading comprehension has always been a problem for me, and after losing Dad and Mom's getting sick, I really have a hard time caring about anything on the printed page, no matter what it is.

Now that things are relatively calmer, I am finding that it is good to occupy my mind and hands with something stimulating or crafty. Therefore, I am going to try to start reading the books I have been meaning to read for the last few years and finish the ones that I have started but then put down. I am printing them here so I can be held accountable for them, and I'll keep you posted on my progess.

More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman- I've been reading this book for a while now, the sequel to The Areas of My Expertise, which is the funniest book I have ever read. This one is moving a little slower for me, but I am starting to get my groove going, and I hope to finish it soon.

Necessary Luxuries, Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life
by Topher Payne-- True life essays written by my dear sweet hilarious Topher about his life and friends in Atlanta. I've listened to the audio cd which is selections from the book, and it is absolutely wonderful. I know that it will make me cry and laugh out loud at the same time. I can't wait to read it.

Sunbathing in a Body Cast by Rebecca Rine-Stone--Look at all my talented friends! My BF Rebecca has been writing her memoirs over the last several years about growing up and living life--I have been lucky enough to read a lot of these essays already and they are wonderful; again--hilarious and heart wrenching. I am going to pick up a copy at her book release party in March, and set aside some quiet time to read this.

Suck your Stomach In and Put Some Color On by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson--I bought this book on the way out of town in Vicksburg last year at Lorelei Books. So far it is great, but it is one that didn't keep my interest for long due to my fragile mental state. I love me some good Southern Witticism, though, so I know I will enjoy it.

There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell by Laurie Notaro--Another one I've started but not finished. I love her non-fiction, so I need to give this novel another shot.

Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe--This was given to me as a wedding present from my cousins Barry and Jennifer, but I haven't yet read it (oops). Erica and I have talked at length about how there needs to be a realistic and non-stressful book about dealing with loss and funeral planning and how this book might be the closest thing to it. Maybe we just need to write one.

Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums--another one that I have started and not finished, my friend Sabra gave this to me a few years ago for my birthday because it got great reviews and she is convinced that I know everyone in Mississippi. Ironically, I met the author on a visit home once while at the Attic Gallery.

Wow. Guess who loves that she is from the South, huh?
What else...

Conversations with Choreographers
by Dorothy Daniels Lister & Svetlana McLee Grody --Fuzzy got this for me a couple years ago. I forgot where I heard about it, but it is so interesting to read about famous choreographer's processes and inspirations.

This is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down by Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini Risley, Jackie Speier, Jan Yanehiro --I picked up this book at Flourish Studios on a whim last year, and it was a huge help in finding motivation to give going in times of struggle. I have only one chapter left to go--maybe I should knock this one out first.

Transcending Loss by Ashley Davis Prend--Yeah, this one is pretty self-explanatory. I started it, but didn't get too far.

What it Is by Lynda Barry--This was a present from Fuzzy last year after I expressed my desire to write more. Part art project, part workbook, i definitely want to spend some time with this.

Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn--Holy Moly, I didn't even know we had this book until last week! Since it is one of my all time favorite movies (what, you haven't seen it?! It is soooo goooood,) I am sure I will enjoy the book.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin--I love autobiographies and I love Steve Martin, so there you go.

Wow--I have a lot ahead of me don't I? I'd better get to reading!!!

Goooooo Fuzzy!!

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Fuzzy today is competing in a match of Layer Tennis over at Coudal.com. If you are looking for a little distraction this afternoon, head on over!


hazy day


I am home sick today--I am in that phase of a cold where your face just hurts and your throat is revolting against you and all the extra mucus in your body is draining into your stomach making you sick on a different level. A day where you go to sleep and wake up 3 hours later and get up to drink Gatorade and maybe a cookie before passing out for 3 more hours. It is 3:30 and only the 3rd time I have been out of the bed today. Needless to say, I am a very attractive girl right now. But I hope that allowing myself this day to rest and be worthless will give me a weekend of feeling a lot better.

I've had the bedroom door open to let Parker sleep in the bed with me, which means that Latte's been in her cage all day sleeping. As I walked past her just now, she woke up and gave me a look like, "Oh! You are here?!" and now she is asking for some lunch. Silly kitties.

Ok. that's about all the energy I have. I might go lay on the couch and watch a cheesy movie. Stupid cold.

Looks like we need to start a burial fund...

The fact that years ago Mom and Dad pre-paid for their plot and vault at the Vicksburg Cemetary where my entire family is buried saved so much time and money after Dad died. But now this:

Vicksburg cemetery won't honor payments


Ups and Downs

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Today sucks.
I have a cold and I feel like ass and I am upset about something that I can't talk about in my blog and blah blah woe is me.

I want to go to bed.

But I contacted the tattoo artist I am obsessed with about trying to schedule me in for April, so that is exciting. I'll keep you posted. And I am really proud of Fuzzy for taking certain risks and steps and just being 100% amazing in every way.

I am still trucking along, so I guess I can't complain TOO much.

(Maybe just a little...It hurts to be awake/alive today.)

Too Cute

Over on his website, Fuzzy is drawing a new cartoon a day for a year. This is today's and it is so adorable and so accurate...


Don't Worry


We found your Denim Fanny Pack.


Some Letters I've Been Meaning to Send


Dear Sun,
Thank you for sticking around longer and longer every day. It helps me see on the drive home, and it makes me smile. I like hanging out with you. You make things better.
Sincerely, Warm-Blooded Southern Girl Who Can't See at Night

Dear Chex Mix,
If I wanted to eat a bunch of seasoned crackers and pretzels, I would have bought a bag of Gardettos. The truth is, I want more Chex in my Chex mix, but apparently, to get that, I have to buy my own box of Chex and add it to my pre-seasoned Chex Mix. Thanks for nothing.
Sincerely, Didn't want Crackers

Dear Wealthy People,
I know that I am not related to any of you and that the economy is bad right now, but I am a nice person with a lot of debt. If you are looking to help sponsor someone or give to a good cause, I would be a worthy recipient. OR, if you don't want to pay my credit cards, I would also happily take funding for a new tattoo (or 3) or for a vacation that I would love to take with my husband to help detox from the last few shitty years. Just consider it. And I can guarantee that the tattoos would all be beautiful and very symbolic, repesenting such important things in my life as my surgery, my father, my family, my triumph through hard times, my spirit, and my husband.
Sincerely, A Girl Who Can't Spend Money On Herself Without Having Considerable Guilt.

Dear TV,
Thank you for being so awesome. Thank you for Top Chef, The Office, Kath and Kim, America's Best Dance Crew, The Soup, The City, Good Eats, America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, Ace of Cakes, and--I might regret admitting to this--Rock of Love Bus.
Sincerely, Couch Potato

Dear 20s,
Ah, what memories we have together. Thank you for being my wreckless youth. You brought so many wonderful things--Chicago, Fuzzy, amazing opportunities, incredible friends, amazing road trips, marriage, hours and hours and days and weeks and years of laughter and fun. We've also had some hard times, some hard hard hard times that I don't ever want to go through again. We've grown a lot together. But soon, I must leave you behind and join the 30s. Don't worry, I will never forget you--you will always be a part of me. But to be honest, I am excited for the next decade and to see what it brings. It feels good to move on. Thank you for everything you have given me.
Love, Erica

Dear S-Dawg,
Would you like to go to Mz. Dymples?
Love, E-Rock

"Stick with me, Kid..."


"With this kind of hard work and determination, we'll have our newspaper off the ground and running in no time! Start the presses!"


"You're a fine reporter now, kid, but stick with me and one day, you'll be great!"

Sarah and Erica

(Me and Sarah, 4th Grade, working on our report on John Gordon Cashman for our presentation about Vicksburg. Mrs Cook wrote the theme song, and I still can sing it today. "We are studying Vicksburg, and we're here to celebrate------reading writing and learning about a city that is great!" Also, can you guess who in the photo looooved her hair crimper? There are two correct answers.... )



I don't have much to say today, but this pretty much sums it up.


Likes and Dislikes


Like: The rainy weather today.
Dislike: The new Dunkin Donuts waffle breakfast sandwich. I had such high hopes, and it was a huge disappointment.
Like: That these pants still fit.
Dislike: That you don't know if they sanitize the 3D glasses at the movie theatre
Like: Fake shopping.
Dislike: Not having money to go real shopping.
Like: That our house is clean and getting cleaner!
Dislike: Cleaning.
Like: I've been trying to look more feminine and I've started wearing different earrings and mascara every day.
Like: Ice Skating
Like: Cooking
Like: The City on MTV. There, I said it.
Like: My sweet and wonderful husband
Dislike: Slipping on a patch of ice and falling into an ice cold melted funk puddle
Like: Old photos of my family
Dislike: That I am running out of time to write likes and dislikes!

Don't give her your eyes


I might be the only person in the world who, after watching Coraline in 3D, has a complete and total emotional meltdown and panic attack. At least, I hope that I am. It was a beautiful movie--I had never seen a 3D movie before and although I was concerned it would make me sick, I actually loved it--and I really enjoyed it. It was also incredibly scary for me, not that it takes much, but the central plot of the movie concerning Coraline's parents was too much for my broken brain.

Ah well. It doesn't take much to send me into a tailspin.

The good news is, there is scotch and tequila in the world, so once I got home, I was able to take the edge off a little bit.

I later apologized to Fuzzy for the fact that I am broken. He told me that I wasn't broken, just battered and bruised. I love that man.

At any rate, Coraline is lovely and I recommend it. Unless you have parent sadness in your life. Then maybe go see "He's Just Not That Into You."

Spending a little time in my brain...


Last night, when walking from my office to the train to go home, I was zoning out in my own little world, when I smelled a fire burning in a fireplace. It was an incredible smell, and it instantly transported me back to a different time and place--back to Vicksburg to our old bonfires. Back when we were growing up, we were known in town for our giant bonfire parties. We lived on a hill and away from many other houses, and at the bottom of our big hill, we had a huge firepit. This firepit got used quite a bit. We would have a fire whenever we cleaned all the branches and sticks out of the yard when Dad was going to mow the lawn. We had a huge New Years Eve party every year where we would drive around town and collect the Christmas trees that people had thrown out for the trash collector--these would be our greatest treasure! We would burn them one after another all night, and the smell of burning pine and the warmth of a fire in the dead of a Mississippi winter was like nothing else. Dad would be the Master of the Fire, often smoking a cigar and wearing flannel. Oh, such fun we had.

The night we graduated from WCHS, a bunch of us took out our agressions on my extra choir dress but writing on it in sharpie and setting it on fire. That baby went up in flames and was gone in about 20 seconds.

I have tons of pics of all the people who came to our house over the years, even when our heyday started to fade. Mom and Dad moved from that house, the house we grew up in, when I was 19. The city moved our little tiny house that hosted years of memories of a close knit family of four to a different lot down the street and bulldozed the hill that Christopher and I spent hours, days, weeks, months and years of our lives playing on.

I teared up a little bit when I had this memory, but pushed the tears out of my head. But it got me to thinking about life and everything. How nothing is permanent and we have to keep pushing on. It is really easy to resent the things in our pasts and to get caught up in our problems, but it takes a stronger person to learn from the past and experiences and use them to help with each day of the present. Not to say I am the master of this--I get so overwhelmed sometimes I just have to lie down and hide--but I think I am getting better at it each day. I always used to say "If I had 2 wishes, my 2nd one would be..." because my first wish was always that Dad didn't have cancer. Now, I can say that my #1 wish would be that Dad was still here. Oh, what fun that would be! Mom wouldn't be sick and things would be so much better, but I know that that isn't what the plan was supposed to be. And I accept that, although I am not "ok" with that. The other day, even, I saw something and instantly thought "Oh Dad would love this!" and then was just sad when reality hit. But you know what, I feel like now that we've been through that pain and experienced that loss, everything else seems so trivial. The rules have changed. I am less afraid of taking risks, because I know I can handle things. I can throw away things from high school and college, because those things are gone. I am far less sentimental about things than I used to be, and I am ok with that. As Christopher says "A memory should be a thought and not a keepsake" and in this current house purge, that has been an inspiration. I am happy to say that I have thrown away a number of old meaningful things. And I feel good about it. Even though right now, my life is pretty mundane and I have no news to report (except for the fact that poor little Latte has kidney disease and we have to give her liquid meds daily through an iv--a process that is a little more than vaguely reminiscent of the process of administering chemo), I am happy that I am able to get through each day, even when the days are challenging and the daily chores of life sometimes get backed up and overwhelming.

This is random, but it is sticking in my head. Last year, Dad's birthday was Easter Sunday. This year, mine is. I feel like this means something. Any ideas? It makes me pretty emotional when I think about it. I know I should start going to church again, but this idea also makes me emotional and apprehensive. I feel like I am better capable of dealing with crisis and hard times than accepting love, forgiveness, and hope. Those things sound so foreign to me.

This all might not make any sense, but it has been floating around my brain, so it is good to get it out.

Anyways, it is a blessing to be able to have memories--to relive moments of our pasts, to smile, to cry. But there is not healthy to dwell there. Instead we must take those memories and experiences and keep walking. Otherwise, we might miss our train.



This morning, our car battery was dead again, so I had to take the train to train to bus route to work (over an hour commute instead of the 25 minute one). In the process, I got so cold, I turned into an Ericacicle!


(Note: Being an Ericacicle makes you look chubby and unattractive, because Ericacicles don't wear makeup and might have just woken up or not combed her hair. But it is funny nonetheless.)
(thanks, Fuzzy!)

Happy Birthday Mama!

Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you have an awesome and relaxing day. I love you!!



Happy birthday to the most wonderful person I know, my sweet husbie. 39 has never looked so good, Babe. I love you!

Warm and Fuzzy.jpg

We have a hot day ahead of us of shopping, eating at Hot Dougs, and eating at The Publican. Team Gerdes loves our food.


Also, Happy Birthday to Don and Happy Belated Birthday to Ian! You guys rock!

6 More Weeks of Snuggles!


Parker saw her shadow this morning, so she said there is going to be 6 more weeks of adorableness, cuddles, and purrs. Oh yeah, and 2 more months of winter.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Ready for something a little different?*

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I was gearing up to write about how today, February 1, is my 10 year anniversary of professionally performing comedy, and I went back to my old Capitol City Improv portfolio and was flipping back to the original audition notice, only to find that today is my Eleventh anniversary! Wow! Happy decade plus one to me and all my other CCI BFFs. It was my first year of college, and Erica** and I had started working at the local professional theatre in Jackson, New Stage Theatre when we saw an audition notice for "A merry band of improv players." Little did we know it would forever change our lives.

Capitol City Improv was a force to be reckoned with. Under the direction of Jamie Phillips, we learned long-form improv, we performed Harolds (our typical show was 3 Harolds in a row), and we learned more and more with every performance. We started first by doing free shows in the second stage room of New Stage (our home base), and over the years that we performed and grew, we performed at numerous coffee shops, concert halls, Jubilee Jam, and more and were able to charge more and more as we grew. We developed a huge following, we featured frequently in the newspapers, and we inspired many other improv groups that started sprouting up all over Mississippi. Over the years we added more and more people to the group, but the original crew was Erica, Topher, Mary and Jamie, Brett, Tripp, Cindy, Sara, (Harrison) Scott, and myself. I hope I am not leaving anyone out. Capitol City Improv really started a number of our careers. I am happy to say that I am still close with a number of these talented and hilarious folks. Gosh, we had such fun. We developed ridiculous games like The Bottom Line (based on not-at-the-time Jackson Mayor Frank Melton***), the Doll Hour, Swap and Shop and so many more. Mom and Dad were loyal attendees, and Dad would spend the whole week before the show trying to think up the best possible topic. We always went to him for topics--they were the best.

In April of 1999, Cindy, Sara and I came to Chicago for the Chicago Improv Festival, and I decided that weekend, the weekend of my 20th birthday, that I was going to move to Chicago the following year. I scraped and saved and researched and studied, and I moved here in May of 2000, and have been here since.

I am very proud of my career in Chicago. I have accomplished so much and learned more than I ever thought possible with my tiny pea brain. I have improvised, written and performed in my own 2 woman show, choreographed a number of musicals and shows, helped create an amazing comedy force, done dramas, sketch, movies, variety shows, burlesque shows, DADA, and so much more. Although I am currently not performing, and probably won't be any time soon, it is still and will always be in my heart. My relationship with improv is so odd...it used to be so exhilarating, it started my career, it introduced me to my husband, and yet now, I don't enjoy performing it or watching it. Yet, I still love it.

In looking in that old acting portfolio of mine, I ran across this article from my old college (Hinds Community College in Raymond, MS) newspaper. I think 20 year old Erica would be very proud of 30 year old Erica. I am amazed as to how true to life this is; it very well could have been written just last year (except for that whole "school" and "class" thing and the "deserving the spotlight" thing.)

Hindsonian - March 8, 1999

*The old CCI Slogan
**Because we worked together, went to school together, lived together (for the most part), performed together and were inseparable, people just called us Blondie and Red.
***Please click that link. It is hilarious and sad.