August 2010 Archives

Fuzzy Swim

Fuzzy Swim

Fuzzy swim exit

Fuzzy run

Fuzzy run

Fuzzy run

Fuzzy finished

Erica and Fuzzy

Fuzzy, Sylvia, Ryan, and Noah

Here are Fuzzy's Stats:

He finished strong!

| 1 Comment

Fuzzy looked great crossing the finish line! He did the whole thing in less than FOUR HOURS!

Thanks to Sylvia, Ryan and Noah for coming out and cheering! Thanks to Kate and Dan for trying!

I am so proud of and impressed by my amazing triathlete husband!!!

Fuzzy bike run!

He's making amazing time! With 2 transitions and 25 miles on the bike, he did it in less than 2 hours! I just saw him run by. He's on track for an 11:30 finish! I AM SO PROUD!

Fuzzy Swim!

Fuzzy just completed the swim in 42 minutes! I am so proud of him!

Project Runway Vent


Real quick, y'all. I hate Gretchen.
OOOH, last night was so infuriating!
I wanted to slap her!

UPDATED! After the Jump.

More PoCampo Modeling!

| 1 Comment

Rebecca and I went to the bike shop in Evanston today, and on my way out, I noticed a stack of PoCampo brochures in the window. We picked one up!


And flipped through it!


What a nice surprise!
My name and everything!

And the photo is one that Fuzzy took!

Oh man. What a great find in the middle of the day. I feel like a rockstar.

Thanks, Emily and Maria!

Blewt! Press

Here are some fun articles today about upcoming Blewt! Productions.

Time Out Chicago--Fall Preview--The Nairobi Project

Evanston Review--Don't Spit the Water article.

Vote for Parker!


Parker is up today on WCIU's Cat Vs Dog. Vote Parker!

Things I Want/Need to Do

*Clean off my desk at home
*Take the books/clothes/crap to Brown Elephant
*Finish scanning all my family photos and file the originals
*Scan at the newspaper clippings and throw the originals away
*Learn how to use my sewing machine
*Learn to sew
*Make the skirt that Leigh helped me pattern
*Try knitting again
*Go to dance class: ballet, modern, hip hop and/or jazz
*Find images I like as inspiration for my next tattoo
*Book rental cars in Oahu and Kauai
*Alphabetize the cds
*Sort the DVDs
*Go through my books and give some away
*Pay off our debt
*Clean out the fridge
*Clean out the cabinets
*Get a haircut
*Purge my filing cabinet
*Get the info I need from Mom's mortgage company
*Figure out holiday plans
*Go to New York
*Sort my chest of drawers
*Be honest about things that I need and things I don't use anymore
*Read a bunch of books
*Get a new fall jacket
*Get a nice warm winter hat
*Get rid of all my ripped/ beat up shoes
*Look at snorkeling gear
*Get a gym bag for class
*Stay focused until vacation
*Go on vacation
*Go on vacation
*Go on Vacation!

*Schedule Parker's surgery
*Schedule dentist appointments for me and Fuzzy

Good Agent, Crappy Manager

For Carrie, to show to Mati Claire


Erica and Carrie, Precious, Old School


Little Piggies Went to Market


At the Beachathon on June 26th, Claire and I decided that one day this summer we were going to run to the Green City Market, Chicago's biggest and best farmer's market. I've heard amazing things about it year after year (there was a Top Chef Green City Market challenge, local Chicago chefs shop here, etc) but had never been. So we put a day in our calendar, August 21st, and locked it in.

I am getting stronger each run I do, but I am still not the best. This was going to be my longest run to date.

I woke up at 6:30am Saturday morning and walked the mile to Claire's house as a warm-up. It was breezy, overcast and rainy, but nothing was going to stop us. We took off running up Marine Drive and had lots to talk about. We kept at a good pace so that we could talk the whole time, which was awesome, cause before I knew it, we had run a mile. It seemed easy and fun and the company was awesome. Claire is a super runner who recently completed the Soldier Field 10 miler, and was so supportive the whole time. She kept saying things like "We're at Wilson! Now Irving Park!" which was great to hear, and she pushed me further than I would have pushed myself. I got tired at about Addison, so we walked til Belmont, ran til Diversey, walked to Fullerton, then ran the rest of the way. When we saw the tents in the distance, it was such an exciting feeling! I couldn't believe we had done it.

From my house to the market, it is 6 miles! WOOOOO! I am getting closer to running that 10K!

The market was amazing. So many good vendors, so much good food! Everything was so colorful and fresh--I could have shopped there for hours. We ate a giant piece of quiche, a blueberry/raspberry/mint smoothie, and a slab of grilled cheese with maple sauce on a stick. YUM! I bought peaches, raspberries, cheddar cheese with mushrooms, basil dill marinated mushrooms, and a mini pie (from our fave pie company, Hoosier Mama.)

I want to go again so we can get even more.

It was an amazing run and I am so proud of myself for doing it. Fuzzy reminded me later in the day that at the Bastille Day 5K, I was nervous about biking 5 miles down to Fullerton for the race, and yesterday I RAN there and then some! Wow, what an improvement!

Claire was an awesome running buddy, too. I look forward to more runs together this fall.


I love my life...

| 1 Comment

...because it is completely normal to have a friend come over on a Saturday night to teach us how to play the ukelele before we go to Hawaii.

Fuzzy and Jeff play the Ukelele
Jeff teaches Fuzzy the ukelele

Fuzzy and Jeff play the Ukelele

Jeff also brought a third uke, so the 3 of us jammed out. At least we did until the baby back ribs were delivered.


Jeans Vs Cutoffs

I know you've all be on the edges of your seats wondering what I was going to do with my poor ripped jeans, but FEAR NOT. I am here with an update.

This morning I stopped in at the Old Navy on my way to the train station downtown. While perusing the clearance racks, I noticed that they apparently recently offered a pair of jeans that no one wanted, as there were 2 racks of them and in every size they make. Lucky for me, they are a VERY SIMILAR wash and cut as my old ones with only a few minor differences. It is of note that my other jeans were not Old Navy jeans, so this was quite the find. I tried them on, and they fit like a glove! And only $16! Even better!

So not only do I have an awesome new pair of jeans....

...I'm about to have a really awesome pair of cut-offs!

Lollapalooza Final Thoughts

| 1 Comment

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I am really sad that I am not at a concert drinking Bud Lime right now, actually.

I was thinking on the weekend, and realized what made it so special for me. I grew up going to concerts, and we went to several a year. Music is really important in the Reid family, and live music is part of life. When I moved to Chicago, suddenly I was able to see any band that I desired, and it was life changing. I spent a lot of time by myself at The Green Mill, Schubas, The Vic, The Metro, etc, seeing everything I could. I distinctly remember one week where I only had $20 for the week, and G Love and Special Sauce tickets were $17. I weighed my options, bought the concert ticket and ate ramen and water til my next paycheck.

When Dad got sick and Fuzzy and I started dating, we got out of the habit of going. I wasn't up for being out, plus we had each other so we didn't need to go see shows. This year, however, we've seen a million bands, and it just feels GOOD. It feels like home.This weekend I truly understood the "dance like no one's watching" expression. I was able to let it all go and just feel the music and dance. I felt free. Unburdened. And to be able to share it with the man I love? Amazing.

Tuesday night, Fuzzy decided that we needed to sit down with The Reader and other concert listings so we can keep going to shows from here on out. How sweet is that?

Here are some other random pics for you, from Fuzzy's Flickr set:


This is an iconic Lolla image for me. It was all over Lolla 94.

Rock and Recycle
Rock and Recycle

Saving water bottles
Event Water. The comment they left on my first post said they saved 204,200 water bottles! Incredible!

Soundgarden rocking out.

Poster by Phineas Jones
Our friend Phineas did the official poster.

Oh yeah, baby!

Purple Guy

Best Photo Ever



Lollapalooza Day 3

Sunday started off really rainy, which made me nervous, since it was Soundgarden Day, but it cleared up and turned into the hottest and sunniest day of the weekend. We started off by seeing X Japan, a Japanese heavy metal band. They were rocking.

X Japan

X Japan

Our daily photo:
Erica and Fuzzy


Then we headed over to see Erykah Badu.


Homegirl is a powerhouse. She didn't come onstage until about 20 minutes into her allotted time (her DJ spun for a while, then the band jammed) but that didnt matter. She could have sung for 5 minutes and that would have left the audience in awe and amazement. Her presence is incredible. Plus, look at her.

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Remember when I said that the show was really great at starting and stopping shows on time? Well, Erykah wasn't done when her time was up, so she just kept on going. The band on the other stage, Wolfmother, started anyway, and Erykah Badu stopped shortly after, but everyone there knew that Erykah was the winner. I missed this, but I read that she ended her set by saying "If you feel like I do, throw up your hands and say your own damn name." Awesome. Read a review of it here.

After that, we hopped over to Perry's to catch some of local DJs Flosstradamus and to get some grub.


At this point, I was getting really nervous about getting a good spot for Soundgarden, so Fuzzy and I split up. He enjoyed some more DJs and Cypress Hill, some of Soundgarden and some of Arcade Fire. Me, I was all about Soundgarden.

I got close to the stage, about 9 people back, and for the hour before they started, I was a nervous wreck. at about 7:40, I started talking with a guy from Houston and that helped pass the time and calm the nerves. I didn't know how rowdy the crowd was going to be, but I was prepared to mosh/help people crowd surf, etc. I didn't have anything on me but my ID and a $20 bill.

Oh man. They were amazing. Perfect. They sounded incredible, looked amazing, and just ROCKED it. They played everything you would ever expect or want them to play. It is kinda good that they don't have a new album (yet) cause then they just sort of played a greatest hits set--there was nothing I wasn't familiar with. Chris Cornell, man. What a rockstar. I was sort of blissed out the whole time, not believing what I was hearing or seeing. Fuzzy described them as my great white whale--so it was really surreal the whole time. I did notice at one point that people had left a large circle around me (not getting too close to me) because I was dancing so much. Thanks, guys. The crowd wasn't rowdy at all--there were a few times that a mini-mosh would start or someone would attempt to surf, but the reality was that the folks near the stage were all hardcore fans in their 30s, and really chill. It was more like "hey, remember when we used to do that? Yeah, that was cool." There wasn't a lot of extra crap in the show either--a few simple backdrops, not a lot of banter, just 100% hardcore rocking. Perfection.

Fuzzy's view (I was a lot closer)



Check out more amazing Soundgarden photos from viewers here.

I swear Chris Cornell has a portrait aging somewhere, cause he looks amazing and like he hasn't aged a day since the 90s. He sounds better than ever, too.

This is how I felt afterwards:

Ahhhh. What an amazing weekend!
Erica and Fuzzy

We bought 2 Soundgarden Tshirts, too, which I will always wear with pride.
Mission Accomplished!

Lollapalooza Day 2

Saturday morning, we got to the fest a little before 4:00 (sleep, breakfast and a trip to Target delayed us a bit.) I wanted to try to get there to see The xx, but instead we got there in time to just hear the last half of their set. They sounded great, and since they are so mellow, I am sure I didn't miss much by not seeing them. We camped out and got a spot on the ground for the next show, which I was excited to see--Grizzly Bear! They were playing at the crappy stage, though, so we could only watch them on the monitor, and since they are mellow and quiet, sometimes it was hard to hear them. But it was really awesome to hear them live and to just relax and zone out on a blanket with the man that I love. It was great people watching, too.

Erica and Fuzzy

We explored the grounds, and found a booth from our coffee shop, Metropolis! We chatted with our friend Sienna about the fest.

Metropolis Coffee

Then we headed over to the secluded Sony Bloggie stage for what was in my opinion, one of the best shows in the festival--Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

I was REALLY excited to see ES&TMZ. I love them. Their song "Janglin" was my theme song from last summer, and I can't listen to "Home" without getting a little teary eyed. We had tickets to see them play at Schubas earlier in the year or last fall (I cant remember) but we were too tired and I was too stressed out to go to the 9pm show. I am kicking myself now, cause I bet that show was amazing.

Here's a snippet from their band bio:

The band is a rotating collective, with 10 members listed on their Rough Trade Records bio. Rolling Stone declared the group an artist to watch in 2009, calling them a cross between Arcade Fire and the Mamas & the Papas. Their own biography perhaps summarizes their effect best: "Fans are known to be so overcome with emotion at their live shows that tears of euphoric joy are not uncommon."

How can you watch this video and not just be filled with joy?

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros "Home" from Edward Sharpe on Vimeo.

The stage was tucked away in the shade and it was jam packed with people, so much so that they were climbing the trees.
Fans in trees
Fans in trees

What a show it was. They sounded amazing, and there was something magical about it. Lots of love, lots of joy. I totally cried. Yep.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

It was actually really spiritual. Thinking back on it, I feel like it was a modern taste of what it might have been like to hear Jesus preaching--the masses clammoring to hear His words, everyone filled with love for each other. I am not comparing the band to Jesus, really, but in that there was something magical that we were all experiencing together, and how exciting that must have felt back then. I don't know if that makes sense.

For the last song, Alex, the lead singer, asked us all to sit on the ground, and every single last person did it. It was awesome. I was talking to a guy before Soundgarden on Sunday and he said "I had never heard of that band, but there was something really amazing going on over there. When he asked us all to sit down, you just had to do it."

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
I was so moved, I said a prayer thanking God for all the blessings in my life, for Fuzzy, for my family, for the ability to experience joy again. Like I said, it was a beautiful moment all around. A concert I will never ever forget. I highly recommend downloading their album--I can't stop listening to it. Their lyrics are just filled with so much love, and the music is just powerful.

Fuzzy and Erica

After that show, we got a snack and then headed over to the mainstage to see Green Day. This was special for me--the first Lollapalooza I went to was in 94, shortly after Dookie came out, when Green Day was just a bunch of punk kids who didn't think any song should be over 2 minutes long. They were the opening band. Boy, how things have changed in 16 years. These dudes were putting on a SHOW. Fireworks, fire, bringing people up on stage, giving away guitars, having a conversation with the audience, refusing to stop playing at 10pm, just entertaining. It was fun. Fuzzy and I hung to the back of the crowd and spread out our blanket. It was awesome to just let go and DANCE.

Green Day

Oh yeah! We're in Chicago!


Pure joy.

After they played what I call the "Dookie Rock Block" we headed over to the other stage to catch the last song from Phoenix. They sounded great. When we left the area at 10:15, Green Day was still going strong.

When we were biking home, we caught the Saturday night fireworks at Navy Pier. It was an awesome end to an amazing day.


Lollapalooza Day 1

[All photos by the talented and gorgeous Fuzzy Gerdes]
We arrived at Lollapalooza on Friday about 12:30.

Erica and Fuzzy

We took a few minutes to grab a beer and look around, and then headed over to see Los Amigos Invisables, who I had never heard of, but Fuzzy likes and now I do, too. While waiting for them to start, we heard the last few songs from Wavves, all of which I recognized from SiriusXMU.

Los Amigos Invisibles
Los Amigos Invisables.
Los Amigos Invisibles
They were great!

At 1:30, we headed across campus to the mainstage to see Raphael Saadiq. On the way there, we heard the end of the Walkmen.
Raphael Saadiq
Raphael Saadiq
Erika Jerry
The lady singer/dancer, Erika Jerry, was amazing.
Raphael Saadiq
He kept peeling off layers of clothes, revealing lots of tattoos and serious guns. It was realll niiice (sorry Fuzzy.)
The show was a lot of fun, but it dipped in energy when they did a freestyle set. He didn't play my fave song either, which was sad.

Food break!
We had a lobster corndog from Graham Elliot, Punk Rock Shrimp from Elate (my fave from the weekend--I got it twice) and a pork belly tostada from somewhere I don't remember.


Then we decided to miss the New Pornographers (ah!) thinking that we can probably see them again and it is more rare to see....DEVO!
They are so funny. They had 4 costume changes in 1 hour.
They started with their more rocking stuff, but then started to lose the young crowd when they started talking about Devolution and playing Jocko Homo. The older folks in the crowd loved it.

Here's a woman doing the Rock-and-Recycle program I mentioned earlier.

After that, we caught the first half of Matt & Kim, who I think are the most adorable band in indie rock. Great energy, great songs, great fun (no photos). We should have stuck around for the whole set. Instead we wandered to the other stage to catch the end of Dirty Projectors (only heard one song) and then the Black Keys. I love the Black Keys, but unfortunately, they were on the crappiest stage of the festival (the second mainstage). It had terrible sighlines and acoustics, so we could barely hear them. I bet it was an awesome show if you were up front, but instead it was boring and bad and we left after 3 songs. I don't fault the band--I fault the stage.

Dirty Projectors
Dirty Projectors

The Black Keys
Black Keys

Eventually, we headed back over to the mainstage (after getting more beer and a pulled pork sandwich) and settled in for Lady Gaga.

Oh man.

It was so weird and hilarious. I don't quite know what to think of the show. I love Lady Gaga--love her--but the show had a weird story line sort of, and it all seemed pretty self-indulgent (she kept asking if we thought she was sexy, she kept saying how she was made fun of in school and look at her now--she's a star! And that she was getting payback for getting bad reviews at her 2007 Lolla show.) But the music and the dancing--amazing! I love her choreographer and that woman has some pipes! At one point I had to throw off my hat and my earplugs that were draped over my neck so that I could truly dance and let loose. It was awesome.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga
The literal "Fame Monster."

She had about a million costume changes (I stopped counting at 8) and really blew the mother out. It was great.

Every now and again, we would look around and say "Oh yeah! We are in Chicago!" Awesome.

All in all, it was a great day.

Lollapalooza Post #1


Oh my God.
What a weekend!
It was amazing, wonderful, delicious, emotional, fun, gorgeous, sexy, incredible, awesome. Just awesome.

I am so tired today. And so sore. Not only did we have 3 full days of walking, standing and dancing in the sun, we also biked each day to and from the concert, 9 miles each way. So after a full day of concerts, we biked home an hour. 56 miles total in one weekend. Biking was the best choice, though--we avoided the crowd of the trains, and instead had a relaxing ride home. There was even a free guarded bike valet provided by the Active Transportation Alliance. Those guys were awesome.

A few brief thoughts on the weekend:
I am really proud of Fuzzy and I. We did not get sunburned, we stayed hydrated, and we wore earplugs, so we didn't have ringing ears. We are very adult concertgoers!

It is impossible to see all the bands that you want to see at Lolla. We would have a full schedule set, but then that day would arrive, and we would opt to go later so we could rest more, or we would skip a set to watch another or get food, etc. There is a lot to see at Lolla and half the fun is going to the vendors and walking around. There's a million more bands I would have loved to have seen, but we needed to rest.

There were 95,000 people there Sat and Sun, yet we kept seeing the same people. Crazy.

They had 8 different water bottle refilling stations on the grounds, therefore saving hundreds of thousands of water bottles. These refill stations were a Godsend. Also, it meant that we could just use our nalgene bottle all weekend and not worry about running out of water. Also, powdered Gatorade packets were a great thing to have, too. Electrolytes!

There were a lot more people there on Saturday and Sunday than on Friday.

It is possible to have a million completely different experiences at Lollapalooza. You can see all bands that you know and love (which was basically what we did.) You can see all new stuff you've never heard of. You can spend the day at the DJ stage and go to an all day rave. You can see soul, you can see hard rock, you can see indie rock. It is pretty amazing.

Teenage Erica and adult Erica kept colliding all weekend. I thought my head was going to explode. Soundgarden for one, but then also Green Day. Green Day was the first band that played when we went to Lollapalooza in New Orleans in '94, when Dookie had only been out a little while. On Saturday, they headlined the night. A lot has happened in those 16 years.

I am amazed at how smoothly the festival ran. They had everything scheduled by the hour, and as soon as one band ended, the band on the stage across the way from them would start up. It was a very well oiled machine. Similarly, I am really impressed at the cleanliness and ease of the fest. We never had to wait long at the bar or food court, and the bathrooms were almost always clean (we even found a hardly used bank of port-o-potties that was our fave place to go.) Also, the fest planners were BRILLIANT in that they had a Rock-and-Recycle program. If you filled up a bag of recycling, you got a free Lolla t-shirt with the band listing on it and everything, thereby turning concertgoers into cleaning crews! We saw people all weekend picking up cans to fill their bags--we did it, too! (Fuzzy did it twice) and there was such camaraderie between everyone--we would seek out other rockers filling bags before placing cans in general recycling just to help them get their tshirts.

Camaraderie was a large portion of the weekend. Everyone was in it together. Even up in the pit close to the stage at Soundgarden (more on that later), everyone was so nice and looking out for each other. Love it.

Speaking of love, I fell in love with Fuzzy all over again. I mean, I do every day, but it was so special to share something so important to me (music, outdoor festivals) with him. He is just amazing.

I am so worn out today, but expect more posts all week about this amazing weekend. It was everything I hoped for and more.


Ho-ly Moly, y'all! Lollapalooza starts tomorrow! Which means we will be seeing Lady Gaga tomorrow night and (drumroll) Soundgarden in three days!

(deep breath)


Full band list and stories will begin on Monday (if I'm not too tired and overheated.)

Have a good weekend!

I think my fish is trying to kill me.

Last year when we brought home our beloved General Sherman, we were over the moon! Oh, how excited we were! I couldn't stop looking at him, feeding him was a blast, and everything was super awesome and happytimes. My brother, when he was here at Christmas, asked if I ever put my finger into the bowl to see if he would come over to bite me. I hadn't done that, but I had noticed that every now and again when I was feeding him, he would make violent jumping motions that would scare me. I tried sticking my finger it--what's the harm, right? So when he came over to nip at me, it was exhilarating!

Well, things went downhill fast.

Now whenever I go over to feed him, he puffs all up and starts waving his fins really fast. He jumps for me all the time, and when I stick my finger in (hey, old habits...), he literally BITES me with full on fish mouth. And this is no baby fish mouth. It is full on teeth and fish mouth on finger action.

I asked Fuzzy if Sherman ever bites him, so Fuzzy tried sticking his finger in. Nope, nothing. Sherman barely noticed Fuzzy was there. So then I tried again--FULL ON FISH MOUTH BITING! We've tried this experiment more than once. He loves Fuzzy. Hates me.

I think it is cause my hands are so red. My hyperhidrosis turns my hands bright red sometimes (once earning me the unfortunate nick name of "Bloody Hands." Thanks, Erica.) Since he is a Siamese fighting fish and all, he might feel threatened by me, thinking my red hands are another betta fish. But only mine, not Fuzzy's.

The other night when I fed him, he started frantically swimming around his bowl faster than I've ever seen before. I honestly scared me! Then he was still for a minute, then did it again! I was yelling and screaming and I called Fuzzy in to look. And then he just sat there. Silent. Unmoving. Barely breathing. I was afraid I had given him a heart attack. I got real upset, Fuzzy decided we should just go to bed, and I felt like an asshole.

The next morning, it was business as usual. Everything was fine. I think I could hear Sherman laughing in his bowl.
"Heh heh heh."

The Jerk.

So, I am watching him. Keeping one eye open. I just don't trust him.

Sherman With Gun.JPG

Dear Male Stand-Up Comedians*,

I love you. I am on your side. I want you to succeed. But lately you've been really frustrating. I know, I know, you've been frustrated, too--I know, I've seen your stand-up routines. You are down on your luck, and as a stand-up, you feel it is your duty to make as much fun of yourself as you can in public, like somehow it will justify your misery. But I am here to tell you that there is an ever-growing list of things I never need to hear you talk about again in your routine:

*How homely you are.
*How much of a loser you are.
*How much you love to drink.
*How you might be an alcoholic.
*How poor you are.
*How horny you are.
*How much you love to have sex.
*Anything about ejaculate.

Yeah, sure, it is what is on your mind, so you want to talk about it. But also know that 3 other guys going up the same night as you are also going to be talking about the exact same thing, and it gets really old. And really, I just don't care. We all have been poor, we all have been horny, but we suck it up and deal with it. Also, when you come on stage feeling like a loser, you bring the audience down to your energy, and we all wallow in our self misery and unsatisfaction together. Sounds like a fun night, huh? Yeah, it's not, and in fact, I often get really tired and wish the show was over when this is your chosen performance method.

I, personally, would much prefer that you choose a smarter route. Find other things to muse about than sex. Sex is too easy. Be creative. Challenge us. Make us like you. Make us root for you. Have more confidence in yourself. Pick up the energy. And maybe, before getting up on stage, take a shower and put on a nice shirt.

I'm not asking you to change who you are as a person. I just want you to see how great you could be.

Your fan,

*This is not for ALL male stand-up comedians. Just a majority of them.

Rollin' On the River

| 1 Comment

Seriously, this weekend was one of the most busy, fun, eventful, social, adventurous and outdoorsy weekends we've had in a long time. It was spectacular in every way.

On Saturday, we went tubing at S&B Tubing in Albany, Wisconsin. We loaded up the car with Fuzzy, Amanda, Stephanie (it was her idea, as a late Bday celebration. BEST IDEA EVER), Noah and myself and setted off for ADVENTURE! We laughed the whole way there and had lots of fun watching videos like "Miracles" by the Insane Clown Posse and "The Double Rainbow Song" by the Gregory Brothers. Which we then referenced the rest of the day.

After some breakfast and a diner, and a not-so-quick trip to Wal-Mart*, we were ready for some tubin!

S&B Tubing and Canoe

Stephanie, Amanda and Me

Fuzzy and Noah Approve!

Erica and Fuzzy
I do too!

Oh, man, it was just about the BEST thing you could ever do on a Saturday. Floating down a lazy river (and not even at a water park!) drinking beer and eating snack food? HOW COULD IT GET ANY BETTER?

Face the product!
Mmm, Half Acre.

My gorgeous husband!

Tubing down the Sugar River, WI

Tubing on the Sugar River, WI
This was kind of my natural state the whole time. Cheese, bread, and beef sticks, with a beer in my lap. Heaven. Photo by Stephanie.

We were never far from another clump of tubers


I want to go again. Like, right now.

Fuzzy blogged about it here!

* When we arrived at Wal-Mart, I said in the car, "Ok, y'all have to keep us in check. Fuzzy and I have the habit of kind of going nuts in Wal-Marts." After we all tested our feet at the Dr Scholls Orthotic Center, here is a short list of what Fuzzy and I left with:
-Beef Sticks
-2 workout tank tops (for me)
-2 workout pairs of pants (for me)
-a Lodge 16" cast iron skillet
-a small pocket knife (for Fuzzy)

Yeah. At least we didn't buy the Justin Timberlake Rolling Stone tote bag.

Partners in Grime!


Fuzzy photo documented the day, so I am going to share my experience in his awesome photos.

We woke up at 3:45am and were at the location at about 5:15am. I don't think I have ever willingly woken up that early before. When we were heading to the suburbs we saw some guys in a tennis court and we were like "Whoa, hardcore" only to see that they were kicking around a soccer ball. "Nope, drunk and still out from the night before." I've been that guy a bunch.

When we got to the location, it was so foggy you could barely see. Scary!
Matt and Me (barely)

Fuzzy and I wore white to show how muddy we would be at the end. Notice our hawaiian leis from the Tiki Bar!
Fuzzy and Erica
Fuzzy and Erica

Erica and Fuzzy
Happy Clams ready for Adventure!

The race started at 7:00am, but we started at about 7:30. We were in waves according to team makeup and age--we were in wave 10, Co-ed, 56-75 (or something like that.) Together, Fuzzy and I are 71. I loved that in our group there was a father daughter team-he was in his 50s she in her 20s. Precious!
Muddy Buddy
Ready for Action!

One thing we weren't expecting were all the mosquitoes! All over! They didn't stop biting. Ever. I even saw one fly out of ny nose at one point. Yeesh. Next year, we're bringing the Cutter.

I started on foot, Fuzzy started on the bike. I was amazed that the mud and terrain started IMMEDIATELY across the start line. I am reasonably new to running, so running up and down steep hills on gravel with bikes zooming past me was way more difficult than I expected! Similarly, I have NEVER mountain biked before, so biking on slick long grass and up and down muddy steep hills was really hard. I mostly walked the bike when it was steep or muddy. It was hard and I was out of breath almost the whole time.

It was great that you knew you were doing 1 mile, then at a checkpoint. Since Fuzzy and I weren't trying for any great time, it was nice to regroup and get water at each break point. Just when things would get hard, I would say, "You can do it! Almost there!" and then there would be the obstacle on the horizon.

Obstacle 1 was a climbing wall with a cargo net on the other side.
Obstacle 2 was a low crawl.
Obstacle 3 was a balance beam.
Obstacle 4 was a cargo net climb with an inflatable slide down, seen here:


Biking towards Fuzzy
Erica on slide

The most gorgeous and amazing man on the planet.

At this point, my knee was hurting pret-ty badly, so I had to walk a lot. I was about to get to the home-stretch bridge, when there was Fuzzy on his bike waiting for me! It was awesome, cause it gave me just the boost I needed. He realized that he couldn't finish the race without me, so he might as well wait and complete the last leg with me! What a sweetheart! We took turns on the bike (he let me ride on the flat parts cause of my knee pain) and then we had to carry the bike through a giant muddy puddle, which is where we saw Shaun and Matt, who were waiting for us. Look at that mud! A taste of what was to come.

Shaun and Matt

We gave them the camera, and off we went! When we got to the mudpit, we got right into it--there were flags you had to crawl under, so I sunk down to my shoulders. Fuzzy's knees are still injured, so he was really careful with it. The mud was really cold, smelly, and goopy. I looked over at Fuzzy and said "Never in my entire life did I ever think we would ever do anything like this!" What a blast!

Erica coming out of the mud pit
Me coming out of the pit.

Fuzzy and Erica, finishing
Finished! Look at that mud!

Fuzzy and Erica, post-race
Lookin' Good!

Fuzzy and Erica, post-race

After the race, we skipped the hose-off lines, and joined the people bathing in the nearby pond:
Cleaning up
Others bathing in the pond.

Erica gives the race a thumbs up
(Sort of) Clean!

My good friend Becky also did the race with our friend Lillie. Here we are with our post race beers (note: I did not drink all the beers that were in my hand. Fuzzy and I were stacking cups.)

Erica and Becky

I was so hungry post race, I scarfed down a burger and still ate a huge breakfast after. After breakfast, we realized how gross and dirty we must have looked. We all had bits of mud all over us, and we were trying fit in in public.

Then I passed out for most of the rest of the afternoon.

All in all, the race was a TOTAL BLAST. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Now that I know what to expect, I know how to train for it, too. BRING IT ON MUDDY BUDDY 2011!!

UPDATE: It is now 2 days later. I am finding GIANT bruises all over my body. The mosquito bites are still itchy. My toenails are still disgusting and black. I am really tired. Still loving that I did it.

ALSO UPDATE: It helped to wear disposable clothes. Fuzzy and I both wore junky old shirts and socks we didn't love, so when it came time to clean off, we just threw them away. Smart choice. We did wash our shoes and kept them for future adventure races (there was a booth where you could donate them for those without shoes) but my once-white shoes are now a pretty solid gray.

One of the million awesome things about being married to Fuzzy is our shared sense of adventure and cheesiness. We have such fun at everything we do, and he makes even the weirdest experiences fun.

And so was our anniversary.

About 9 or 10 years ago, I went to a tiki bar in the suburbs (let's just call it Kala Hahiki, which is almost close to the actual name. But I don't want to offend anyone that might stumble upon this using a google search.) That night was the most fun wonderland of drinking, with huge drinks on fire and long straws, and laughing and fun. I have the most wonderful memories of going. Fuzzy, however, had never been, but had been hearing about it from me for years. We decided that since we'll be in Hawaii in a few short months, let's get the party started with a night at the tiki bar.

The bar is about a half hour drive outside of Chicago, so that posed a problem as well. Drinking and driving, as they say, don't mix. Not a problem! There is a Super 8 up the street from the bar! It's no secret how I feel about the Super 8 Motel, as you remember. When Fuzzy was booking the room, he noticed that there was one online with a queen bed and a jacuzzi tub. Since we moved and no longer have a jacuzzi tub, whenever we can get one, we take it. So here we are, Wednesday after work and we are checking in to the room. The woman at the front desk asks our name.

Fuzzy: Gerdes
Woman: (exclaiming with familiarity) OH, Yes!
Me: (laughs)
Woman: (pointing at me) Well, she's laughing!
(Fuzzy and I exchange confused looks.)

The woman continued to make clucking and knowing sounds and oohs and ahs and it was making me embarrassed and tickled at the same time. She kept making comments about me like "she's awful happy" and stuff like that. Then she says:

"You've seen this room, right?
Fuzzy: No
Woman: You didn't look at it before?
Fuzzy: No, I just saw it online.

She then took off her glasses and got really serious:
Woman: Look, I'll be honest with you. This is our honeymoon suite, and a lot of people don't like it. The room has a round bed.

I was suddenly REALLY embarrassed.

The room was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Big giant round bed, string lights surrounding it, all sorts of light switches and recessed lighting in the ceiling.

Erica presents the Super 8

And it was not a jacuzzi tub, it was a jacuzzi pod in the corner of the room:
Jacuzzi shower pod thing

It looked like something out of Barbarella. It even had a little TV in it. That didn't work.

Erica presents the Super 8

So then it was time to head to the bar. We walked down the pedestrian unfriendly side of the road to bar, which looked glorious.
Hala Kahiki
The bar is GIGANTIC and the back of it is a gift shop. Fuzzy and I are huge cheeseballs, so we decided to start with a drink and then later hit up the gift shop. We ordered the drink I had had before, that was on FIRE. Well, the center of it was on fire. And it was smaller than I remembered. And much less tasty. Really sugary, with a weird flavor. You know, not the kind of drink you wanted a lot of, and this was a drink built for two.

Volcano at Hala Kahiki

Fuzzy drinks from the volcano

Erica drinks the Volcano

At that point, the mosquitoes were eating us alive, so we decided to move indoors.
The inside of the bar smelled like 25 years of stale cigarettes concealed with massive amounts of sickening smelling pineapple and coconut air freshener. And we were sitting right next to an intake valve.

We were getting near the end of our volcano, so we decided to split one more drink for funsies. Fuzzy chose the "Suffering Bastard" a drink that was touted as being really tart. We like tart, so we went for it.

It was bad.

Like, bad. Not tart bad, but like a weird mix between bitter and sweet with some weird thrown in. It was a poor choice. We were suffering bastards indeed. We decided it was time to visit the gift shop, so we asked our waiter how to get there.

Waiter: I don't know.

We laughed, like oh, how funny, "now really how do you get there?" He informs us that he literally doesn't know where it was because it was only his second day.


So a minute later the manager comes over and tells us to give her a few minutes so she can turn on all the lights to the gift shop so we don't hurt ourselves.

I guess a lot of people don't go back there.

We thought that it might just be a room of stuff in it that you would later bring back to the table to pay for, and the woman told us to just walk past the velvet rope to go. We walked through the skeleton of several more abandoned giant tiki rooms, crossed the velvet rope and were in the gift shop.

Which was not empty.

There was a woman working the shop who was in maybe her late 50s and obviously doesn't get a lot of visitors. She instantly took the chance to point out every little thing in the shop and how much it cost and what was new and what wasn't. Suddenly Fuzzy was nowhere to be found. He had thrown me to the wolves.

Lady: These earrings are $2.99, these are $4.99. If you ever have a party, here is this this and this and this and blah blah.
Me: Ok, thanks! I am just going to look around for a minute.
Lady: Ok, but let me just show you all of our children's clothes and blah blah ramble ramble......
Me: That's ok, I am just looking, so I am going to look around.
Lady: Ok, well, I want to show you these dresses in case you ever need one in the future or know of anyone who does. Nom Nom Nom....
(repeat a similar dialogue like this for about 10 to 15 uncomfortable minutes.)

Finally, when Fuzzy showed back up, I couldn't make eye contact with him for fear I would start laughing. Finally, we were able to remove ourselves from the lady and do some shopping for real. She kept interjecting from her counter post, asking me about my hair and if we live around there and if we were throwing a party. When we were paying for our goods, she also pointed out some shot glasses that seem to be popular with people "doing the tequila thing." It was really weird.

I have this theory that the lady just sort of lives back in the gift shop. She only has human interaction every 50 years, and if she were to cross the velvet rope she would NO LONGER EXIST. She reminded me in some ways of the Radiator Lady in Eraserhead. She might even feed on human souls. I later had a thought that if she was some sort of demon or banshee and we were trapped back there and needed saving, we would be screwed because our waiter WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE KNOWN HOW TO FIND US!

Goodnight, table

Light-up tiki at Hala Kahiki

I guess some things are more memorable when you are 21 and drunk.

Fuzzy and Erica at Hala Kahiki

Finally we headed out for the night and had an uncomfortable night's sleep on our super hard round bed with a severe lack of pillows. The jacuzzi was actually pretty nice, and I got a huge kick out of watching Fuzzy try to used the half broken weird spray jets in the pod.

We had some other weird experiences at breakfast the next morning, and as we were driving back to the city, I was all the more appreciative of our wonderful city, amazing friends and own flavor of weird that we have in our own day to day lives. We spend the rest of the day off on Thursday drinking beer, eating delicious food, napping, watching tv, riding bikes and enjoying each other's company.

It was pretty much a perfect anniversary.

Erica and Fuzzy

Erica and Fuzzy

All photos by Fuzzy, who writes a much nicer review of our experience here.

Here's to many more decades of weirdness and fun!

Big In Japan

We Did It!

Oh My God, we did it!
We did the Muddy Buddy!

I will write more about it when Fuzzy puts the photos online, but we did it! I am so proud of us. It was freaking hard, but freaking great and a total blast. Hoo, boy, it was hard. Running up hills, biking up hills, running in water, mosquitoes everywhere, getting up at 3:45am, man! Climbing walls, climbing rope nets, balance beams--at the second checkpoint, where Fuzzy was waiting to get the bike from me, I said to him, "this is the hardest thing I've ever done!" but I had a blast the whole time. Biking in the mud is hard! And the mud pit. Oh man. So gross. So awesome. I bet I am going to be washing off dirt for the next week.

I can't wait to do it again next year!