December 2009 Archives

Blewt! Year End Roundup

The end of the year is always a good time for Blewt! Productions when all the year-end reviews come out. Fortunately, this year is no exception!

We were listed in the Top 10 best things to happen to Chicago Comedy in this decade by Time Out Chicago:

"Top moments that cracked us up--and changed Chicago comedy" 2004 A group of Chicago writers and comics forms Blewt! Productions, which creates long-running comic faves Don't Spit the Water and Impress These Apes.

They also predicted that in 2010 we'll get our own network TV show:

Our funny predictions for comedy in 2010
6. Impress These Apes will become a smash network-TV game show. Soon every kid in America will be wanting Captain Apehab, Barry Shirley and Bushmeat dolls.

And Apes was listed in the best comedy moments of the year:

Best Peter Boyle impression
It wasn't just our simian friends whom contestant Chad Briggs won over week after week in season four of the futuristic game show Impress These Apes. We, too, were mesmerized by the local stand-up, who was crowned Least Pitiful Human at ComedySportz this fall. Our favorite moment? Briggs as Peter Boyle having a conversation with a carton of eggs: a funny, oddly endearing tribute to a departed comic actor with Chicago roots.

All three of those were written by Jason A. Heidemann. Thanks, Jason!

In PerformInk's Year In Review, Nina Metz included us in some of her favorites of the year:

Small and Intimate Make Theatre Better Second City is a safe bet when you have visitors in town, but the really intriguing comedy--comedy that hasn't had its edges buffed down--tends to happen elsewhere, including i.O. (where those same Second City cast members frequently perform after hours). And pound for pound, Impress These Apes is still the show the beat in terms of originality and offbeat humor.

Thanks, Nina!

What a Year!

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What a year! What a decade! I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year. 2010 is going to bring great things.

Happy New Year, Lovelies!


My Cute Family!


Mom, Christopher and Katie came up to Chicago for Christmas! Since we were all together, we did a little photo shoot, thanks to Fuzzy! Enjoy the pics!

Reids and Gerdeses

The Reids

Christopher and Erica

Christopher and Erica

Christopher and Erica

Christopher and Katie

Christopher and Katie

Erica and Fuzzy

Happy Birthday, Christopher!

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C Bday.JPG

Gerdes Family Christmas Portrait 2009

A Story


For some reason, this memory has been in my brain a lot this last week--it is sweet, but also so sad to remember-- so I am writing it here to see if it will get out of my head. I know I am thinking about it because Christopher and Katie will be here in a few days and the time of year and memories and sentiments and emotions and feelings, and such is life, happy celebrations swirl together with sadness and memories and that is a normal and beautiful thing. Also, writing it down will help me to never forget it and always cherish it and what it meant.

When Dad was in his final weeks, we had a lot of people bringing food to the house. Dad was in a hospital bed in his and Mom's room--he didn't want to get in the bed, because he knew he would never be able to get out of it, and although we all had hope that he would, we knew that wasn't very likely. Because we knew he might not make it to Christmas, Katie and I put up all the Christmas decorations in the house so that he could have some Christmas one last time. His bed was facing into the living room, and the tree is an umbrella tree (fuller at the top--so to keep the cats out of it) and is left up all year round with different glittery ornaments, so we put a lot of Christmas ornaments on it and colored lights so he could see them. He mentioned a lot about how he especially loved seeing the blue lights. I think blue lights are the favorite lights for everyone in the Reid family.

So we had all this food at the house--the daily leftovers from Horse Face Harry's (generously donated by the owners David and Rhonda), Goldies BBQ (my favorite food, and a Vicksburg staple), grease and catfish and meaty beans and thick heavy Southern fare. We would freeze some of it, cause we knew we would really need it after Dad died (I feel weird writing that, cause we were getting ready for him to die, and even typing this it feels so surreal that it is so matter-of-fact and that we could know this was going to happen, and we could see past it, but how did we ever function and comprehend it?) We were existing in this altered state of reality, and one day, Dad was on the phone with a family member, having a nice chat, when she asked if there was any kind of food that we needed. I was in charge of a lot of the meal preparations and inventory and fortunately was in the room with Dad at the time. He put the phone to his chest and asked me if there was anything that we needed. I told him, Yes--we need more vegetarian food. (In the South, most everything is cooked with fat and grease and bacon and bones and stock, so vegetable dishes can be chocked with meat. Christopher and Katie are vegetarians, and have mastered how to eat vegetarian in Vicksburg, but their choices are very limited, not to mention when you are at the hand of what others are cooking.) While Mom, me, Fuzzy, Linda, Memaw Reid and everyone else in the house could just fix a plate, Christopher and Katie had to cook their own meals every day.

I will never forget the look on his face, like a light went off. It was sincerity at its purist--he loved Christopher so much and wanted to be able to take care of him and his sweet wife. Dad was relieved and happy that I had thought of them, was amazed as to how humble the two of them were to not complain about the lack of edible food for them, and was so happy that he could actually ask for something that was needed, and so he told her that we needed more meatless food. This, it turns out, was the perfect way for her to help out, because she at one point had been a vegetarian for over 10 years. Dad was so filled with love of the care and help of family that he started crying. He wept and wept and laughed with relief that there was a need and someone to fill it, and he wept with joy that his son and daughter-in-law would be looked after and taken care of. It was a beautiful moment.

The Curse is Lifted!

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At my therapist's office this week, I realized that I hadn't once thought about The Nutcracker yet this season, and that was a huge revelation.

Today I've been listening to Christmas Pops on Sirius, and they've been playing a ton of Nutcracker music, and...I've LOVED it! I love it I love it I love it. I have even danced it in my brain. Happy memories, no tears. Maybe my DADA piece worked last year? Maybe therapy has helped? Maybe everything else in my life has just filled that part of my brain that couldn't handle it? No matter what the answer, it is a new beginning!

It took me 13 years to get here, but I finally made it.


We went to a Bulls game last week, and it was a lot of fun. The spectacle of seeing a game live is amazing. There is a giant inflatable Benny the Bull that flies around the stadium, people shooting things into the crowd, parachutes falling from the ceiling, animated races that win you donuts, Benny the Bull Bowling, and of course, the Luvabulls. In addition to the Luvabulls, there is the Incredibulls, and the Inflatabulls, so Fuzzy and I came up with some other Bulls marketing ideas:

The Detectibulls--they go into the crowd and give cancer screenings
The Preventabulls--they shoot condoms out of a cannon
The Insatiabulls--they just can't get enough
The Malliabulls--contortionist group
The Capabulls--they can do it!
The Forgetabulls--I don't remember what they do

Some Things I am Loving Right Now

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Fuzzy and I are trucking along on our purging and cleaning project, and we've been making some great strides in building our home together. I am also feeling really good about the holidays and life and work and dance and everything (for the most part--there are always hiccups), so here is a list of some things I am loving these days.

1. Our New Mattress--we made an investment this year in a new mattress, trading in our crappy springy old one that Fuzzy had had forever. We now have the most amazingly wonderful mattress that anyone in life has ever slept on. Seriously, we've had it for a week and I could live on it--I sleep through the night, don't stir too much, and feel rested in the morning. The other morning when the alarm went off, I got angry at it for making me get out of "my good friend." That is how my brain processed the act of waking up. For interested parties, it is a Simmons Beauty Rest Firm Plush bought at Sleep City at 3154 North Clark Street. To paraphrase Butthead, from Beavis and Butthead, "I don't know where Sleep City is, but I want to find it on a map and go there." (Points go to anyone who isn't Fuzzy who can correctly name where Butthead was wanting to go.)

2. Our New Windows--here's how easy it is to get new windows with our awesome rental agency ICM Properties--ask. Our house has been an icebox wind tunnel for the longest time, and now we have amazing windows that make so much more of our house livable. We've had them for about 2 days now, and the difference is amazing.

3. Lactaid Brand Eggnog--Seriously, people, brilliant. I've had to cut back my eggnog addiction over the years cause of the barf response after I drink it, but NO MORE! I can drink glasses of it, and my taste buds are none the wiser and my stomach is happy.

4. Target--I think all of my money is going there these days, but we've gotten food, gifts, clothes, housewares, everything there. Including a very special cat accoutrement that we will reveal later.

And then there is the non-material things:
5. Fuzzy--always and forever. My best friend and perfect partner.
6. My Family--they are hilarious.
7. My awesome friends, for everything.
8. My kitties--so sweet and snuggly.
9. A job--not only do I have one, I enjoy it!
10. Dancing--it's my first love, and it feels good to be back in it.
11. My family coming to Chicago for Christmas--can't wait!

Eggnog Martini


Yesterday, Melissa sent me this recipe for an Eggnog Martini. I instantly knew that we would be making them last night, and one way that Fuzzy and I are such a team is that once I sent him the recipe, his reply was "I just bought eggnog and Frangelico."

Fuzzy Martini prep.JPG

The drink according to the recipe makes a small amount, but is super strong. I added more nog to mine and it was utterly deeeeeelicious. Fuzzy drank his full strength and said it was very martini-y.


Fuzzy Martini.jpg

A Crash of Critters

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Scrabble Owls.jpg

Our good friend Kate O'Leary has an art show currently at the Fill In The Blank Gallery at 5038 N. Lincoln in Chicago. The show is called "A Crash of Critters" and it is based on Terms of Venery, including a Murder of Crows, a Crash of Rhinos, a Clowder of Cats, a Ballet of Swans, Parliament of Owls, and a Parade of Elephants in silkscreened linen plushes and pen and ink. All items are available for sale--plushes, originals and prints.

Opening Tonight

A Crash of Rhinos


Even if we weren't friends with Kate, I would love her art--so much color and vibrancy and fun and adorableness. I want to hang it all on my walls!

Kate in action!

If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend checking it out. If you do not live in Chicago, might I suggest checking out her Flickr stream or maybe purchasing some of her adorable nursery art?

Santa Shuffle

Did I mention that we were all dressed like Santa for the 5K?

Shannon, Erica, and Santa
Shannon and I, pre-suiting up.

Erica and Fuzzy
Erica and Fuzzy Santas!

Santas Assemble
That's a lot of Santas!

Erica and Shannon finishing
Shannon and I bringing it home. I actually wore the beard most of the time.

Erica and Fuzzy
We did it!

Snow Snow Snow



Santa Shuffle

This morning I (half) jogged (half walked) my first 5K!
Shannon, Fuzzy, Shaun and I got decked out in our Santa's best and headed out into the December morning to do so.

Let's take a look and see what the weather is right now:
Feels Like


This One is Dedicated to My Dad

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Two years.

reid family-80

It's overwhelming.

Reid Family Thanksgiving PJ Portrait

My dad taught us a lot about life; how to love, how to laugh, how to find the joy in everything, how to be a good friend, how to help others, how to keep learning, how to reach for the stars, how to follow our dreams.

How to squeeze every last drop out of this beautiful life we are given before it is over.

David's hat

Christopher and I were talking last week, and we said that even though we can't talk to Dad anymore, we are still getting advice from him--in how he lived his life, how much he loved, from all his support. And I still talk to him and see him in my dreams from time to time.

Father and Daughter, laughing

I am blessed and honored that I was able to know him for 28 years.

This one's for you, Daddy.

(Video from Impress These Apes Season 1 Finale February 2007)