July 2009 Archives

More Goings On

Here are some photos from the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K walk that we did on Sunday.

Get Your Rear in Gear 5K
Tim, Rebecca and I are ready to walk!

Get Your Rear in Gear 5K
Fuzzy and I say "Eff a bunch of cancer." Notice I am wearing Dad's old work shirt and undershirt, and I am wearing a photo of him holding his nursecat Alley on a chain. That morning, we heard Jethro Tull's Aqualung, and I knew he was happy we were walking in his memory.

Tim didn't know Fuzzy was taking a photo, and this happened. It was funny and of course I couldn't keep a straight face.

Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

Last night, Fuzzy and I went to Hot Chocolate for our anniversary dinner. Surprisingly, I didn't love it as much as I wanted to love it, but it was good. Here are some pre-dinner photos:

Fuzzy & Erica
The happy couple.

I got this dress at JCrew (my obsession) for only $16 on a clearance rack!! Normal price was $78. BOOM! It is super comfy, and I think one of the most "Erica Reid" dresses I have bought in a long time. I could wear it every day.

This week I treated myself to eyelash tinting at the Benefit Store in Evanston. I have never been blessed in the lash department, and I hate having to wear mascara, and now I have pretty and dark lashes that will last a couple of months! I am surprised as to how long my bottom lashes are, too. And it was super cheap!

Reflecting on the last 3 years being married, Fuzzy looks to the Fuuuuuture.

Fuzzy & Erica
The nice couple next to us took this photo for us. Too Cute!

This weekend we take off for a mini vacation, so I won't be posting again until Monday. But I am sure I will have tons of photos and stories then! Have a great weekend!

Congrats to the Hixx!

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Congrats to the super fabulous Margaret Hicks!
Check out her Trib Article on her new Second City Walking Tours!

One Weekend Left!

We are in the home stretch for the Apartments.com Roommate Of The Year Contest! Voting ends August 2nd, and it isn't looking good for me--my direct competition is way ahead. If you have a second and don't mind, please go here and vote!

Wouldn't it be cool if I pulled a Kris Allen and won this thing?!


Three Is The Magic Number


One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

I am so blessed to have found the most perfect man in the whole world for me. My best friend, my greatest love.

Happy Anniversary, Baby! I love you!

(please note that for the last 2 years, we've sported our matching "Team Gerdes" shirts. We are both dorks! Dorks in looooooove!)



I want this cat so badly.

What is that, a dog?


So I finally feel like I am on an upswing again, and it is a very welcome feeling.

This weekend was a good start to a new outlook. Saturday, Fuzzy was gone all day, so I took the opportunity to wash and put away 4 loads of laundry, scrub the kitchen and bathroom, wash the dishes, go for a run, change the cat boxes, do an exercise video, and choreograph half a dance. It is hard for me on any normal day to do one of those activites, much less all of them, plus I had a nice long talk with my brother that day and I talked to my mom, too. I think I am preparing for really purging the house--I mean, really PURGING. We have so much STUFF, and it is driving me crazy, so I am excited to sort and purge now instead of looking at it like it is a big giant chore. A positive outlook can really make any chore seem exciting. Time to focus on me and Fuzzy and our life together.

On Saturday, I did for the first time, Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Holy Shit, this is the hardest and best workout I have ever done. After having recommendations for it from Kate and Margaret, I finally took the plunge. I have never sweated or cursed so much at a workout video before, but I could tell it was already making a difference. It is only a 20 minute workout, so it is doable, but damn it is hard. Now it is 3 days later, and my body is still sore, but it is a good kind of sore. I don't have any time to do it the rest of the week, but next week I am trying it again. Look out.

Saturday night, after Fuzzy got back, we went out for a dinner at my favorite restaurant, Ras Dashen. When we were sitting there, a tall, tan, good postured supermodel looking woman in a yellow dress came in, and I only saw the back of her head, but I thought to myself, that's McKey! Then I thought it was silly, cause not every tall gorgeous woman is a winner of America's Next Top Model, but as the night went on, I was more and more sure that it was her. I took a trip to the bathroom to get a better look (we were on opposite ends of the restaurant), and sure enough, it was her! She is from Lake Forest, IL, so it makes sense that she was at an amazing restaurant in Chicago (with a cute boy, no less.) Not surprisingly, she is stunningly gorgeous, and she put all of us other schlubs in the restaurant to shame. Thankfully I was wearing a cute dress, so I didn't feel TOO inadequate. We didn't talk to her, but it was a fun sighting.

We sadly opted out of seeing the Belmont Burlesque Revue on Saturday, because Fuzzy had to make a last minute trip to NYC Sunday for work.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early, picked up the newly married Rebecca and Tim and we headed to Tinley Park, IL for the first annual Colon Cancer Coalition Get Your Rear In Gear 5K walk. I took a photo of Dad and put a chain in it so I could wear him around my neck, and I wore one of his old work shirts. It was an emotional day for us, but it was wonderful to do something in memory of him. All in all, I wish the event had been more focused on the cancer survivors and those who lost their lives to it, but instead, it was just like a normal ole 5K run and walk. I wish that they had read a list of the people that were being honored or memorialized through the walk. Maybe next year. I want to make this a regular thing for me, so I can keep Dad alive in every way that I can.

Fun Fact: Tinley Park has tons of Pancake Houses! We passed at least 3 or 4 on the way in to the event. Who knew they loved pancakes so much? Certainly not the Gerdes/ Ryder crew, but we sure do know now. And we also know they are yummy.

The rest of the weekend and yesterday was spent with beloved friends with lots of wonderful conversation and catching up. I am so out of touch with a lot of my friends right now, so it has been good to visit with those that I've been able to see.

In not so happy news, our sweet Vicksburg kitty, Campbell, passed away yesterday. He was born when I was still a teenager living at home, so we've known him for a while. His furry little face will be missed. He's the grey tabby in the picture below:
Rudy and Cammy.jpg

The rest of the week is going to be super fun--tomorrow is a special day for Fuzzy and I, and we are treating ourselves right and taking the rest of the week to celebrate accordingly.

Good Good

This weekend was really good! I have lots to share about the past few days, but not too much time to do so. Details coming soon!

Answering Some Questions


It is always amazing how once you allow yourself to see something, it suddenly becomes really really clear. For me, some questions are starting to be answered, and it is kind of remarkable.

My friend Claire writes about So You Think You Can Dance for the LA Times blog. Each week, she gets to interview the contestants that are eliminated, and sometimes she'll ask if I have any questions for them--I almost never do. A few weeks ago, she asked if I had any questions that I might want to ask the choreographers, and I could not stop coming up with them. There are SO many things I would love to ask them! If I could see a panel discussion with the choreographers, that would be the best. In fact, that is my favorite part of the show--getting to know each choreographer's vision and seeing their methods and teaching styles. As I was coming up with all these questions, I thought to myself "Hmm, I wonder if I should listen to this?" and if that was a sign that maybe I need to make choreography my priority right now.

Within a week, I had a friend ask me to help her choreograph a dance, and another ask if I can learn a dance for her for a workshop performance. I said yes to both.

Earlier this week, as I mentioned in my last post, a friend who doesn't even know me or my past very well told me that she could tell that my body and soul were longing to move, and that a lot of my physical pain is because I wasn't giving myself that outlet. Another sign.

Last night, I worked with the first friend on a dance for the Belmont Burleque Revue, a show that I've been involved with both onstage and off for years. I have choreographed 3 group numbers for them, and worked on I think 2 other solos. Last night, I didn't go in with anything prepared, which is rare for me-- the dancer, Titi Touche, had about half of it worked out. Together, we created magic. I adore what we discovered together, and it is perfect for the adorable dancer that she is. The dance is going to be amazing. I've been so down on myself lately, but when I left her house, I felt great, confident, and proud of myself for having a skill that comes naturally to me and makes me feel like a million bucks. As I was driving home, I solidified in my brain that I HAVE to get back into a dance class.

When I got home, I was gushing about all this, and my dear sweet wonderful husbie said "Go look on your computer." There, on my desk, was a 4 class trial pass for Joel Hall Dancers & Center, the dance studio that moved 4 blocks from our house. "Happy Early Anniversary" he said. How wonderful is he?! So now I am excited about being able to start classes in August.

Sometimes life is so overwhelming that it is hard to see the easy answers and solutions that are in front of you. And it is a blessing and a gift when you can start to recognize them.

(The Belmont Burlesque Revue will be this Saturday, July 25th at the Playground Theatre a quarter after midnight. I'll be there, and I hope you will too! Get tickets now, cause it almost always sells out.)

Still Here, I Think


Sorry the no-posts for a couple of days there, but due to big staff meetings at work and some minor illin, I wasn't at my computer for a while.

But I am back today, and doing a little better.

I think this week I had a mild kidney stone passing...not anything to worry about, and nothing to go to the hospital about, but with my past experience with kidney stone pain, I was able to recognize it when it started and nurse myself back to health a little bit (basically water and sleep). I am taking it easy this week--I haven't been too nice to my body and mind lately, and I need to get that back in check. The next couple of weeks are going to be busy, but in a fun way, so it is ok that I sort of checked out for a while there.

How's it going for all of you?

I was talking with a friend yesterday, and she pointed out that while all of my writing and reading has been good for me, they are all left-brained activities and she thinks my body is crying out for some right-brained dancing or performing. While the thought of performing doesn't appeal to me, it does ring true that I need to be dancing right now. Dancing out my emotions, dancing out the pain, dancing out the joy. I am going to try to make this a priority when August rolls around. I might need your help to keep me accountable. I have some choreography things I am working on in the meantime, so that is good. And once I am get moving more, I bet I will be less tired and stressed out, too.

Recently, also, I tried to fight City Hall:
can you.jpg

Turns out, you can't.

Forget Me Not


I wrote a little tribute to Dad for the Colon Cancer Coalition, and they put it on their website. Read it here.



Fuzzy just came home with this!

The State: The Complete Series



I Don't FEEL Tardy

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Last night, Fuzzy and I went to a taping of Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, a nationally syndicated news/quiz/entertainment show. Growing up, we had a weekend ritual--Dad would get up and start making breakfast, I would get in Dad's spot in Mom and Dad's bed and Mom and I would read the paper (I would just read the funnies and the Parade if it was a Sunday), and eventually Christopher would get up, and he would just lay across the foot of the bed for a while. When breakfast and coffee were ready, Dad would bring it to us and we would all eat and talk and laugh. A lot of the time, we'd listen to Car Talk or What'dya Know on PRM. All that being said, when we got the tickets to Wait Wait, I of course thought about how much Dad would love that I was seeing a live taping of an NPR show, and I wish he was still around so I could take him to see it. As we went in to the theatre, the preshow music was playing, and the first song we heard was Jethro Tull's Too Old to Rock N Roll. Now, come on, you can't tell me that that was a coincidence. Jethro Tull is too much a part of the Reid history for me to shrug that off. I had to fight tears, but it made me so happy to know that my Dad was there with me and happy.

The show was a lot of fun and hilarious, too. Plus, we got to catch up with some old friends that were there, too, as an added bonus. If you are in Chicago and free on a Thursday night, it is definitely worth checking out.

(Many special thanks to the lovely Don Hall for giving us the rockstar treatment at the show. It was wonderful!) (Also, that video to Too Old to Rock N Roll is my favorite of all the Tull videos. Christopher and I used to watch it over and over so much that we have every moment, teacup pass, jump, and facial expression memorized. Even now, so many years later, I don't have to watch the video to see the video. You know what I mean?)

Speaking of Dad, Fuzzy found an organization called the Colon Cancer Coalition, who is hosting a Get Your Rear In Gear 5K walk in Tinley Park on Sunday July 26th. We are going to walk in Dad's memory. I am so happy that we've found an organization that focuses on colorectal cancer, and I am excited to become a part of it. It will be an emotional walk, but I know it will be a great step in my healing. if anyone is interested in joining, we have room for 3 more in our car!

In my quest for self-help, enlightment, and the ability to process where I am now in my life, we've ordered two more books to read: Fatherless Women: How We Change After Losing Our Dads and Grieving Mental Illness: A Guide For Patients and Their Caregivers. They will both be tough reads, but I hope they will help.

Get up on this: my awesome and brilliant friend Margaret is now doing Second City walking tours that tell the history of Second City and alumni, as well as the beautiful Old Town neighborhood. Fuzzy and I are going to check one of these out as soon as we can!

So, I entered this contest, right, and I thank everyone who's been voting for me! There are 2 weeks left in the competition, and I am exhausted. Every day this week, I've been obsessing about votes and trying to stay in the lead and trying to win this $500 and maybe even $22,000 and it has been making me crazy. Then yesterday, the best thing happened...my direct competition pulled ahead of me in votes. I was devastated and upset. But then I realized how silly I was being--we are competing over a video of our CATS. The reason I avoid Facebook and Twitter is to avoid the insecurity that comes with the constant comparison to other people, and yet I willingly put myself into direct competition with someone else. So I am letting it go. Releasing it to the world. I've put so much pressure on my friends over the years with my stress, grief and drama, that the last thing I want to do is take advantage of them with a silly little contest. Is that all worth $500? No. If I win, then it was meant to be and I will be so happy and grateful. If the other woman wins, then I will be happy for her, too, cause she deserves it just as much as I do. And with 2 weeks left to go, it is anyone's game, and who knows, I might pull in the lead again. Cause who wouldn't want to vote for this precioushead:

And now, for funsies, here's one of the greatest rock songs and videos in the history of the world.

Have a great weekend!

Grand to Lake, 12:30am

This is what it looks like out the rear El car from Grand to Lake on the Red Line at 12:30am on a Saturday night/ Sunday Morning.

Toppest Chef


Fuzzy and I have been doing a great job lately of eating fresh, eating better, and saving money by not eating out so much. I love cooking and I am just getting better and better at it. So please allow me to share what I made last night, cause I am damn proud of it.

Potato Leek.jpg

Behold! A potato leek pie with zucchini crust!

Fuzzy a couple of months ago mentioned that he used to make a pie crust that was made out of zucchinis and I became so enamoured with this idea I did some research and have been playing with the concept. This is my second attempt, and even better than the first. I love love love leeks and I've been cooking with them a lot lately and it makes me super happy. Overall, this was relatively simple and cheap to make, and healthy, too. It just took a little prep time. Here is what I did.

For the crust:
Shred a bunch of zucchinis, no need to peel. For this crust, I think I used about 4 1/2. Saute the zucchini in a big pan* with olive oil until it reduces to about half the size. Let cool and drain any excess water. Then mix the zucc with some breadcrumbs and eggs--I don't measure, I just add it till it looks right. Last night I used 2 eggs and maybe about a cup or a little less of crumbs. Then you spread it into a greased pie plate and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes--it will get a little brown.

In the meantime, saute up come chopped leeks in that same saute pan. I added a smidge of olive oil to that as well. Saute until they look good, you'll know. Thinly slice some potatoes (I used one large russet) and shred some cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you like. When the crust is ready, layer the cheese, potato, leeks, cheese, potato, cheese (that was my order, do whatever you like.) Somewhere in there we added some salt and pepper, too, I think on the leek layer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, for me it was about 40 minutes or so, and then let sit for about 5 minutes.

AMAZING! it came out better than I expected, especially for just making it up. I am stuffing the leftovers in my face as I type this, and it is delicious the next day.


*I originally typed "pig pan" and that concept makes me really happy.

Seeing Through the Glass, Darkly

Today I am thinking a lot about Spirituality.
These thoughts aren't too cohesive--so forgive me if this post is jumpy.

I am doing a lot of soul searching lately, as I am sure you all know, and one thing I've been struggling with is the whole church thing. I've been needing more God in my life, but not giving that the time and energy that it deserves. Church and religion often gets a bad rap--all too often you hear of people being rejected by a church body, and that is just sad. It is the oppostie of what a church really should be. I feel that everyone's spiritual belief are the most personal thing that we have. No one can tell you that what you feel or believe is wrong. We should try to love and be open and accepting to all people and religions--we are all in this big world together. For me, I find peace, hope and love in Christianity. I don't know if going to a church is what I am needing, but I am going to give it a shot. I've never lost my Faith; as I said before, watching Dad go was the most spiritual and Christian thing I've ever witnessed or been a part of. It's just that I am feeling pulled right now to explore and learn more and feel more. What that means in completely unknown, but I am trying to allow myself to be open and accepting to it. My cousin Adam has sent me some links to good sermons that he recommends and Melissa sent me a Beth Moore book that I am about to start reading (thanks, guys!) That is a great way to start.

In this book I've mentioned, Transcending Loss, the author talks about Spirituality and using it with your healing to find what you believe so that you can find peace in your loss and grief. Reading it last night, she quoted a prayer that helped one woman in her journey, and I added a little bit to it to work for me:

"Lord, help me grow into the person you created me to be, and give me the strength to be able to accept it."

I don't know what this means for me, what path my life will take, and that is scary. I am thinking more and more that maybe my life is not meant to be in the performing arts, and letting that go is hard--it is all I've ever done. I am trying to be receptive to this, and let that part of my life go if it needs to go. I just have to keep the Faith.

As I was reading last night at Elaine's acupuncture clinic, I saw a piece of paper on the floor. I picked it up to throw it away, and when I did, I noticed that it was the paper tab of a tea bag, and it said "The universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart." How lovely. I picked it up and tucked it into my book.

Another thing that stuck out to me in the book last night is the following quote by Victor Frankl, "Everything can be taken away from a human being except the last freedom, the freedom to choose your attitude in response to the circumstances in your life." I believe this is true--that is one way that I've learned how to handle disappointment with things and guilt is to release the negative feelings. Let them go. I say that the only thing that makes you feel like a failure is thinking that you are a failure. I've really used this to take a lot of pressure off of myself and exist more in the moment. It is hard, but once you get it the hang of it, it is very freeing.

Finally, I want to say that last night I reread Footprints. Poor Footprints has sadly become such a cliche. I can't tell you the amount of times I've heard the phrase "that's when I was carrying you" used in a humorous or sarcastic manner. But to read it again, to really read it--I was moved to tears. It is a beautiful poem. There are many versions and people claiming authorship, but here is a lovely version that I invite you to read again.

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with my Lord,
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You,
You would walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times,
ther is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I need You most,
You would leave."
The Lord replied, "My precious child, I would never leave you during your times of trial and suffering.
When you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.

Beautiful. I know for me, I've certainly felt like I've been carried many many times. I can't imagine being in this world alone. I take great solice that there is a Heaven (Dad proved that to me) and knowing that one day I will be reunited with all my loved ones that have blessed me with their presence throughout my life.

I know my spiritual journey will never be complete--in many ways it is just beginning. Now I just have to allow myself to walk, even if I am blindfolded.

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

Today I am thinking about our bodies.

I've found myself lately slipping into the thinking lately that my body isn't good enough; that I am gaining so much weight and have all this cellulite that I used to not have. I'll be honest, I've have gained about 15 pounds in the last two years, and I really really hate that. My former dancer body is now completely gone, and it would take a lot of work to get it back to that shape.

But you know what? I was in that shape when I was a teenager and in my twenties. I am now a full grown woman in my 30s, and that is a beautiful thing. Would I want to go back to the time when I was in my early twenties? In some ways, sure, but overall, heck no.

It is rare to talk to an American woman who is happy with her body. We always have to feel guilty for not doing enough--not eating better, not working out more, "every dessert goes straight to our thighs"-- meanwhile juggling a family, career, stress and so much more. We love to make ourselves feel guilty, although doing so feels like crap. We have a hard time accepting and hearing complements, because we never think we are good enough. Well, I am going to try to start here and say You ARE good enough. You ARE beautiful.

I am happy with who I am, and I am only getting better with age. I am a beautiful lucious woman. I am real, and my clothing size has no say in my worth as a human. Eff you societal standards, eff you fashion and tabloid magazines, eff you greedy companies who try to pray to the insecurities of men and women throughout the country.

I'll reward my body with healthy eating and exercise, not because I have to to keep the cellulite away, but because I feel better when I do. I have more energy when I am active; things are easier. But I'm not going to beat myself up about it if I don't. Instead, I'll enjoy my time on this earth and be grateful that I have the ability to move freely and that I'm in good health.

The scars we carry, each wrinkle, and the few extra pounds we have tell stories of who we are and what we've gone through.

Everyone's life is a blessing. Whether you know it or not, your life is a gift to someone else. We are better off for knowing you. You have so much to offer, to give. You are enough. You are beautiful. You are an amazing human being who has lived through so much, overcome so many obstacles, brought joy to so many people. I am happy for and proud of who you are.

And it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside.

Help Me, Dear Readers!!

Team Gerdes entered a contest at Apartments.com for Roommate of the Year in the "Purr-fect Pet" category. We dressed Parker up in some (though, not all) of her amazing costumes, and made a cheesy fun video of the two of us being dorks. The grand prize for the contest is what they are calling the "ultimate bailout package"--$22,000 (a year's rent, plus $10,000). If we won that, we would be completely out of debt--HECK YEAH! See our super special video here.


So I need your help.
The next phase of the competition is voting-- the final say is 60% vote and 40% judges opinion. To vote, you have to create an account, but then you can vote once a day every day til August 2nd. Even if I don't win the grand prize, the second prize is $500, and they are awarding 4 second prizes-one for each category remaining after the winner is chosen. There are only 2 finalists for my category, so chances are good!!

So please help us out and vote! I appreciate it so much!
Thank you!

Special thanks to Ken Barnard, who told me about the contest. You rule, Ken!

Bikes and Pudding

This weekend Fuzzy, Andrea, Jen, Dave, Shaun, Jin and I participated in the Late Ride, a 25 mile bike ride that starts at 1:30am and goes to sunrise all over downtown and the west and north side of Chicago. In the last couple of years, I've become someone who has to go to bed by about 10:30 or 11pm or I am practically useless, so I took a nap at 10pm on Saturday to get ready. Waking up was like waking the dead, but once Andrea came over and we left the house, I was pretty excited.

The Late Ride has about 10,000 cyclists all decked out in lights and decorated helmets, all meeting near Buckingham Fountain. Amazingly, among all those people, all wearing the same tshirt and helmets that make everyone look like Tron, we managed to meet up with all the folks we were riding with. AMAZING! Let me say that again--out of 10,000 people, we all found each other with relative ease. Pretty cool.

At 1:30am, the first wave was allowed to start. Some of the streets were closed off (much to the irritation of motorists on their way home and much to the delight of lots of drunkies who came out to cheer for us.) All the bikers were in solidarity--yeah--take that! We are on BIKES! We can take over the world!!

I hated it.

Well, ok, so I didn't really hate it. I was just scared shitless the whole time. I am not a very good bicycler. I don't have a lot of experience, I rarely bike commute to work, and I am not used to having thousands of other bikes wizz past me literally left and right. Having crashed my bike before, I was terrified of crashing here and being run over by thousands of other bikers or starting a chain reaction. That is how Jeremy broke his jaw, afterall. I was scared to take a hand off the handlebars to scratch my face, and I basically 'white-knuckled' it the whole way, and stared at the concrete below me instead of enjoying the lights of our beautiful city at night. For the first part, we kept up with our friends and were able to check in and see how everyone was doing, then I got scared and tired of biking so fast, so we hung back a bit and more took our time. Fuzzy was a champ, he kept checking in with me and telling me that I was doing a great job. It was sweet. After a while, my crappy knees started giving me trouble and the fact that I was hungry and it was 3am started getting to me, too. When we got to the rest area, we all met up again, and those of our group that live in Edgewater decided to peel off and just go home. After we separated from the pack and were on our dark and quiet streets, I really enjoyed the serenity and calm of biking in the middle of the night. Fuzzy says that we probably biked about 17 or 18 miles, and that is the most I've ever biked! Woo!

Looking back, it was a lot of fun. After a while, I won't remember the pain, though I currently am still feeling it. I won't feel the crippling fear that I felt then, or the grumpiness that I had that I was there. I compare it to the time we did the Chiditarod a few years ago--it was a great experience and I have amazing memories from it, but it is something I never want to do again.

Also, I am amazed at the amount of people that sit on their front porches in the middle of the night and smoke weed.

To recover on Sunday, I did a whole lot of nothing. Poor Fuzzy had rehearsals all day, but all I did was have a drink with a friend at the bar next to my house, take a bath, pet the cats. I washed a ton of dishes since our dishwasher is broken, and then did some cooking. Shannon is out of town for a week and a half, so I took her box of organic veggies that she gets every few weeks so that it doesn't all go to waste. I made a sort of chicken and dumplings stew that I love, with chicken, fennel, green onions, carrots, and garlic scapes. It was heavenly. If you've never made chicken (or veggies) and dumplings, it is super easy. Mix together a cup of sifted self rising flour with a 1/2 tsp of salt, and add to that a mix of a 1/2 cup milk and 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Stir until moistened, and then drop by the tablespoon into the boiling broth of your choice and cover, not lifting the lid for about 15 or more minutes (that is important). Delish!

At the rest area in the late ride, they gave out packs of rice pudding. I have a problem with Midwestern rice pudding. It is basically vanilla pudding with a few pieces of rice in it. Barftastic. So I set out on a mission to make rice pudding like my dad used to make--basically a thick, sweet cinnamonny rice. He used to call it Jethro Tull rice pudding, because it was "Thick as a Brick." After I got over being sad and angry that I can't just call him to ask him how he makes it, I scanned the web a bit and then went to my tried and true favorite cookbook--the old Highland Baptist Church cookbook. I went with a recipe by a family friend and the wife of our former pastor. It turned out ok, but not perfect--definitely not Dad's, but with a little tweaking, I can get there. After a weekend like we had and an amazing meal and mojitos, I, as my Mom says, "slept the sleep of angels."

Life is good.

Man, I love my brother.

"Jimmy Fallon having The Roots as his house band is like if Arsenio Hall had a new show and Barack Obama was his announcer." --- Chris Reid, in a phone call with me tonight

True Love

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I'm not afraid to say it. This is the most adorable couple in the history of the world.

Photo by Johnny Knight at the Hanson/Ryder wedding.


This week has sucked.

But I am feeling better today. I am less angry, less anxious, less weepy, less in pain, more cheery. It feels good. Tuesday I worked a bunch of stuff out at acupuncture and therapy, and that helped unload the burden, but it was a bitch. I was so stressed and in turmoil that my hips started throbbing nonstop. And it is weird, cause I've just wanted to hide from the world and not talk about anything. Normally, I'll tell anyone who wants to listen all of my business, but this time, I just couldn't. I couldn't emotionally, mentally, or physically. So, I apologize for all the crypticness and thanks for the support (as always.)

The most appealing thing in the world to me is to be somewhere where no one can find me and no one wants to talk to me about anything. I'd invite only one person, Fuzzy, into my little world bubble and cell phones and email would be banished. Now, in this daydream, we are either in the woods or on a tropical island that also happened to be a resort spa, so there would be massages and hot tubs, too. But those people who would administer the massages wouldn't be calling me or asking me questions.

What a wonderful dream.

I've been coming to terms with some things--how life is now, dealing with the loss of certain things and relationships. It is hard. How do you truly feel liberated and like you are capable of standing on your own 2 feet? I feel like I was close to that a few weeks ago, but then real life sunk back in. I think I have to start writing about what life was like while Mom was the pits of her illness. Losing Dad and watching him go was obviously hard, but it paled in comparison to how things were while mom was sick. That is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, and I PRAY that things won't get any worse than that. It will be a difficult journey, because I don't WANT to put myself back in those days--I don't want to relive it--but I feel like I have to, or it is just going to keep gunking up my brain. I lost a lot of myself in that time, and a lot of joy and I must try to build myself up as much as I can--even still. I must pull away and be my own woman and find my own joy, and the start of that is staring at the past, screaming at it for being so shitty, then embrace it and thank it for the experience and lessons it taught me. I might not be able to post the writings here on the blog, but we'll see.

I am looking forward to trying again. Good things are in the future.



My totally awesome and brilliant friend Emily designed a sassy new purse that straps onto bike handlebars or bike racks. The brand is PoCampo, and the bags are gorgeous (and practical)! What's even better is that they are are made in Chicago. A few weeks ago, she asked me to be a model for some promotional shots for the bag. OOh, Fierce! Here are a couple of choice shots featuring the rack bag.

This is how you smile with your eyes...

Oh, I'm just casually sitting on this wall in the middle of the street, waiting for my friends...

Here I am as a backdrop:
Photos courtesy of Jamie Berg.

PoCampo info is here. Store list here.

the monk the monk the monk

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Today is a really difficult day physically and emotionally, so instead of your usual programming, here is a picture of some monkeys that we saw at the zoo last week.


General Sherman!IMG_0368.JPG

We got him Sunday, and I am in love. I know General Sherman isn't the best name for the fish of a girl from the South, but Fuzzy suggested it and it stuck. Other unofficial names for him are Genny, Sherman, Teeny Little Super Guy and Abraham Fishington Reid II.

I've always wanted a fish. Growing up, I used to pour over the Christmas Sears Catalog because it would have the best selection of awesome fish tanks. I used to daydream about having a clownfish named Cicely. I have no idea why that name, but I would draw clownfish all day and obsessively look at them in pet stores. I wanted a maroon and yellow one as well as the typical orange and white, and I imagined awesome blue clowfish and purple ones, too. (after Finding Nemo came out, suddenly all the clownfish in pet stores were all gone. Go figure.) Oddly enough, I am terrified of seeing dead fish in an aquarium, so I would be scared and excited everytime I entered the aquarium section.

So yesterday, we stopped in to PetSmart to get some Parker food and oooh and aaah over the kitties, birds and hampsters as we always do. There was a shelf of Betta fish, and we looked at them, and looked at them and looked at the starter kits and kept browsing. I could tell Fuzzy wanted one, so when it was almost time to go, I said to Fuzzy, "Do you want to get a fish?" His response: "Do you?" and we got all giddy and excited and went and picked one out. I love that Fuzzy and I can make the simplest act of buying a fish the most exciting and exhilarating thing ever--everything is an adventure!

General Sherman now lives on our mantle, and it is hard not to stare at him constantly. We have a fish!

What's Inspiring Me These Days?

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Spike Jonze.
His committment and guts in this video are brilliant. This is one of the funniest and most amazing things I have ever seen.

I can't get enough of it.

Here's a neat bonus. Remember this Tainted Love Levi's commercial? Also Spike Jonze. (Thanks, youtube, for 'related videos'. I had no idea.)

And while we are talking about commercials, this isn't a Spike Jonze, but it is one of my all time favorites:

Hey folks,
Happy July 3rd! I love the July 4th weekend, but not because of the fireworks and BBQs and festivities, but rather because I like to do JACK SHIT. Fuzzy and I tend to get all introverted around holidays, despite the amazing invitations we get to hang out with friends. I've never been super excited about July 4th...I love America and all, it just doesn't do it for me. Talking to some friends yesterday, it occured to me that I might not get excited about it because of my upbringing. Vicksburg surrendered the Siege during the Civil War on July 4th, 1863, so for about 80 years, it was considered a "day of shame" for the town. Now, obviously, this mentality wasn't really active when I was a kid, but I do remember that for several years (til the casinos came in, really) there were no fireworks or celebrations, and that the party line from city officials was always that "they forgot." You forgot a holiday named the date of the holiday? Nice excuse.

Am I the only one who feels this way? You Vicksburg natives--do you have the same feeling towards it?

Not that I haven't had many a memorable Independence Day. Ten years ago, when I lived in Jackson, I took an awesome roadtrip down to Florida with Erica and Andrew to go visit Topher. We caravaned down with Christopher and Billy, who were going to visit Jeremy. We had some rules for the trip--Erica and I could only wear our bikini tops the whole drive down, and Andrew had to be shirtless. These were the rules whenever we were in the car, nevermind the fact that driving through the night can get really cold. Also, Erica and Andrew's mission was to teach me the words to Jane Says so that we could sing it together on the beach. I learned them, and we sang it. Also, we had printed out the directions to get from Jackson to Florida, and when we first hit the road, we were about 30 minutes outside of town, and we had the windows down and Erica was driving. The directions were tucked up underneath the sun visor, and when the sun got in her face, Erica tilted the visor down, and the directions went flying out of the window. It was awesome. Christopher called my cell phone from the other car and said "Um...were those the directions?!" But thank goodness we knew how to read a map. When we finally made it to the gas station where we were to meet Topher, we were so tired, and Erica put the car in drive instead of reverse when we were leaving, and we slammed hard straight into a pole. It was hilarious, and we STILL crack up about it to this day. "Remember when Erica drove into that pole?" Also of note from that trip: I jetskiied for the first time, we met a giant bug named Erica, I wore red lipstick for the first time and I got hit on by a man wearing American Flag Parachute Pants (who we dubbed "Patriotic Pants.") We also made an amazing documentary on the road, the likes of which none of us have ever seen again.

5 years ago, I shared the 4th of July with my friends Clint and Sarah. The 3 of us had such fun together, and we decided to celebrate by driving up to Milwaukee for Summerfest and to stay with Sarah's parents. We saw John Mayer in concert and I had fried cheese curds for the first time, changing my life forever. We got drunk at the Miller Brewery and watched fireworks from Sarah's front lawn. What made that trip especially noteworthy for me, though, is that it was the first holiday after Fuzzy and I started dating. It had been a rough month, as we were newly dating and Dad's cancer had just been diagnosed. Fuzzy was visiting some relatives in Indiana, so we were apart. I remember standing in the yard, looking at the sky and thinking, after only dating a little over 2 months, that I never wanted to spend another holiday away from Fuzzy. I knew he was the man I was supposed to be with. And every holiday thereafter we've shared.

So tomorrow, I will be celebrating by cleaning my apartment, blasting music in my living room, drinking slushy boozy drinks with my one true love, and thanking my lucky stars for being American and having that privilege.

The Sausage

I want a Puggle. After you click that link, you will want one, too.

chest pains
not moving forward, yet not moving back
is it ok to want to stay in bed? i think it is.
i might

You're a Hard Habit to Break


It's official. I can't go a day without drinking coffee. Twice now in the last few weeks, I've forgotten to have a cup, and the first time it sent me spiraling into a nasty headache. Last night I was freaking exhausted, and this morning I woke up feeling hungover. So then Shannon said to me "Did you have coffee yesterday?" Bah! No! So I just had some, and I feel great. Sheesh.

Though I know I could be addicted to worse things.

"Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee."
--Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks