August 2011 Archives

Eye on the Prize


I can feel myself slowly becoming human again...

Fuzzy the Tri-Triathlete!

On Sunday, Fuzzy completed his THIRD International Distance triathlon!! That's 4x the distance I did on Saturday. He is so amazing! We started the day at 4am, and he rocked it out from start to finish. You can read his round-up here!  Here are some photos!

Fuzzy and Shaun ready for the Triathlon

Fuzzy and Shaun, pre-race, looking adorable. Fuzzy trimmed his hair and beard for the event.

Fuzzy getting into his wetsuit

Ready to swim!

Fuzzy swimming


Fuzzy swimming

Go go go!

Fuzzy swimming

Lookin Good!

Shaun exiting the swim

Shaun, post swim. He zoomed through the water!

Fuzzy and Shaun start the run

Fuzzy and Shaun running!

Fuzzy finishes

Almost done!

Fuzzy, finisher


I saw a lot of my friends there, who were amazing and did the Sprint!

Roger, Holly, Scot, Kat, and Erin

Roger, Holly, Scot, Kat and Erin!

Jon Forsythe

Jon completed his 2nd Tri!


Here is Jess, whom I referenced before--she did 3 triathlons in 2 weeks!


Ryan, whom I made the Triathlon 2011 pact with. He did great!

I love my brother

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From an email from him today:


That's not me being sweet. that's just the word "ox" written a lot."

Raise a Glass

Mom's house just sold! AMAZING! What a relief!

Tri a Little Tenderness


It was amazing. Truly. I am so incredibly proud of myself and so glad that I decided to try it in spite of my knee problems. It was too good for me to miss. I loved every second of it, and I am ready for more.
My Super Sprint Results, hurt knee and all!
For those who don't know, the order in a triathlon is swim, bike, run (most risk to least risk.)  There is a transition area, where you set up your stuff--your bike and bike gear and running gear (which for me was the same as bike gear just without bike helmet and gloves)--that you run to between each segment. There are entrances and exits for each segment to ensure that there are no collisions in between. The Super Sprint triathlon has a limit of 1,000 people (the Sunday triathlon has about 10,000), so it was nice that it was never super crowded.

Last night, we went to the expo for packet pickup, body marking, and to get last minute supplies. You pick up a timing chip that you strap to your ankle, so that when you walk over each of the timing mats at each event, can can know how long each segment took you. We had fun looking at the vendors's booths, and came upon a booth for Tri Tats--temporary tattoos for body marking. When you do a triathlon, they write your race number in huge black sharpie on each arm, and your starting wave number on your right calf. Fuzzy, Ryan and I had been making jokes about getting these as real tattoos to show how hardcore you are, but that each year you'd have to cross it out with new tattoos to write your new numbers on and eventually you would run out of skin. So when we saw the booth, we shared this with the vendors and told them that the temp ones were a good idea. Then I saw that they had "in memory of" and "in honor of" temporary tattoos, so you could write in the name of the person you are running for underneath. Well, nothing gets me emotional faster than thinking about doing things in memory of my Dad or thinking about the fact that he isn't here anymore, so I instantly teared up and ask Fuzzy to buy a couple. The guys were so nice that they gave us a small stack of them to take. It was really sweet. So when we got home, I was prepping the tattoo, and I remembered that I was dedicating the triathlon to Christopher and Katie, so I asked Fuzzy to write "DAD" on my calf and "In Honor Of Christopher and Katie" on my right forearm as inspiration. That way, when things got tough, I could say "dad never gave up, so I won't either. Christopher and Katie are taking a risk, so I will too." When that was done, I said "oh, but what about Mom?" so Fuzzy drew a heart on my left shoulder with "MOM" in it like an old-school tattoo. Perfect.

Erica's markings - In Memory of Dad Erica's markings - In Honor of Christopher and Katie Erica's markings - Mom

After the expo, Fuzzy worked on my bike, fixing the brake issue and making sure my tires were good, etc. I had not ridden my bike outdoors since my wreck, so I went out to the alley and rode it back and forth a few times to see how it felt. I was nervous about braking--sense memory and all--but ultimately, It didn't hurt my knee too badly and I knew that I could take my transition turnarounds pretty slowly if I wanted to. In hindsight, I should have gotten on my bike before the night before the event, but I didn't even know if I was going to be able to do the damn thing, so it's ok.

The day started at 5:30am. I got up, put on my swim suit and ate a cereal bar and a tomato. I drank some water and did a last minute check of my stuff (yes, ok, so I did almost leave without my timing chip, but we saw it before we left) and then headed out to Foster Beach. Kristen was also doing the super sprint, so she and Shaun were awesome and gave us a ride. The weather was perfect--kinda breezy in the morning, but super clear and in the mid 70s for the race.  We set up our stuff, then went down to the beach for a course talk. The night before, I ran into my friend Jess, who I used to perform with, and we were in the same wave, so I hung out with her as we got ready to begin. Sidenote about Jess: That girl signed up for the Sunday Sprint, then heard that the Chicago Triathlon shouldn't be your first triathlon, so she did one somewhere else last weekend, and also won an entry into the Super Sprint. Yes, that's right, she's doing 3 triathlons in 2 weekends. SHE'S AMAZING! But anyways, I wasn't nervous at all about the swim, or the race even--I was just a little distracty. But I was ready.

They advised that if you are a fast swimmer to go to the front of your wave, and if you are slow to go towards the back. Well, I am a fast swimmer, but I can't run, and since you had to run into the water, I didn't want to get in anyone's way. No one in my wave, however, wanted to be in the front of the pack, so the announcer commented that there must have been a lot of first timers in wave 9. Then the airhorn sounded, and off we went. The water was super warm, but I wore my wetsuit anyway, and was ready to take off. However, the water was super shallow and everyone was WALKING! They walked for a really long time, and it was hard to swim past the pack. Finally, when we rounded the first buoy, I was able to maneuver around everyone and pass a lot of them. The swim felt like it was only 8-10 minutes long, but my official time, due to my slowness in and out of the water was 18:44. It was great and invigorating! And I saw Fuzzy on the way out, and that was awesome. The swim distance was 1/4 a mile.

Sunrise Swim Start and Finish Erica Erica Erica in her wetsuit
(my signature pose)
Erica Erica swims Erica swims, others walk
Stuck behind the walkers.
Erica finishes the swim Erica on her way to transition
Me "running" to transition.

I wore a 2 piece swimsuit underneath my wetsuit, which was a smart idea, cause it was essentially underwear and a sports bra. So in the transition area, I dried off, applied sunscreen, put on a tank top and shorts, socks and shoes, my knee brace, bike gloves, helmet, sunglasses and had a snack and something to drink. The bike distance was 6 miles, and we were to do 3 loops from Foster to Montrose and back. The bike went fine. I wasn't super fast, but I pushed myself. My knee feels ok until I have to tighten up and use the muscles and ligaments on it (I can bend and straighten it fine, but I can't tighten it or go up and down stairs, etc, without pain), so on the flat and downhill segments, I was fine. Where there were hills, however, it was kind of rough and I had to push through the pain. On lap 2 I got really tired and achy, so I thought about Dad and C&K and pushed through (although my wetsuit and suitjuice had completely erased all the sharpie and even the temp tat with my inspirational words--I knew they were there, though.) At the course talk, the announcer had said to call out to people when you were passing them and to communicate with each other. I always thanked the person passing to let them know that I had heard they were passing, and one time when a woman passed me she said "How's it going for you?" and it made me so happy! I replied that it was great and asked about hers, and she answered and zoomed off. That gave me an added boost. Having Fuzzy, Shaun and Ryan cheer me on at every Foster turnaround was pretty amazing, too. My bike time was 31:41.

  Erica gets on the bike Erica on her bike
Is that the wicked witch of the west? Nope, just me. Erica

At the end of the bike transition, I encountered my only gruff person--a volunteer who said to me "Quickly quickly, this is a race." only it was impossible for me to go any faster with my knee, which was hurting pretty badly. Ah well. I went, dropped off my bike things, and headed to the run exit, with what was probably a pretty strong limp walk. The volunteers on the way out were amazing, saying things like "You look great!" "You're still moving!" and "Great job!" It really made me well up with tears. I saw Fuzzy and gave him a kiss and then hobbled onto complete the mile and a half. Kristen and I walked together for a minute, then she took off running. I knew I wasn't able to run--my knee buckled 3 times within the first 5 minutes out of the gate--but I would try it every now and again. I would lumber along for about 5 seconds and stop. I decided that I would run through the finish line. The walk was really lovely--again, the weather was GORGEOUS, and the turnaround was up by the dog beach at Montrose. Athletes making the return trek would say amazing things to me like "Keep going--you look great" and cheer for me and that was incredible. Jess approached and cheered for me and gave me a high five.  When I got to the turnaround point, it was shady and gorgeous, by the lake and under the trees. It was quiet and there weren't a lot of people around, so I took a minute to look around me and take it all in while I was walking, and thank the Lord for allowing me to be a part of that moment. To push myself to do something that I didn't think I would be able to do. For my health and my life and to be able to have an experience like that. It was beautiful.

When I approached the finish line, Fuzzy was there and I told him to run ahead so he could watch me finish, cause I was going to run it in. I did my best, with my weird Frankenstein run, and they called my name as I approached--ironically, another Erica was finishing at the same time!  Once I crossed--I did it!--they gave me a metal, and Shaun, Kristen, Fuzzy, and Ryan all came to meet me. It was amazing. My "run" time was 29:47.
Erica starts the run
Lumbering along.
Kristen and Erica at the start of the run
Kristen and I together! Then she promptly left me in the dust. Ryan cheers for Erica
Ryan cheering! Me in the distance!
Erica finishes strong
Run Erica Run!
Erica finishes strong

I am SO thankful that I did the triathlon. I loved every single second of it. It's a shame that my knee is still not healed, cause I would love to do the Sprint distance tomorrow, but it was really smart of me to do the Super Sprint instead. It was all within my reach and in the realm of what I could realistically do being a month out of my training. Now, my knee is sore, but it is ok. I've iced it today to help with the swelling, and I will give it a little while to rest and then try to rehab it.  
Bemedalled Erica
Me with metal, Gatorade, banana and bagel. Fuzzy and Erica
Fuzzy and me!
Erica and Kristen
Me and Kristen--WINNERS!

What a journey it's been. I went from someone who never thought they could run or bike, to someone who can, then had a major setback with my injury, and now a newfound determination to get better and stronger.  I can see how these get addictive...I am ready for more! But for now, I am incredibly proud of myself and feel like I am on top of the world!!!!

(All photos by the amazing and wonderful Fuzzy Gerdes, the greatest man in the world.)

Friday Roundup!

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Happy Friday! Here are some things that are going on in the world and in my mind.

Claire interviewed me and another friend about officiating wedding ceremonies! What an honor. Read it here!

Our friend Mike is fighting cancer, and there is a fundraiser to help him pay for his medical bills. If you are looking for a place to make a donation, please consider Mike! He's amazing and talented and we want him to stick around a while and get back on his feet. Fuzzy and I made a donation of our own and with some proceeds we've made through the sales of our Fuck Cancer bracelets.

Impress These Apes Season 4 Contestant and all around nice guy Daniel Kibblesmith is going to be featured on Monday's episode of Bravo TV's Millionaire Matchmaker. Little did Patty know that she could just "fix it with eyes."

Speaking of Apes, we close Monday! Get your tickets now! Watch it live online!

Speaking of Blewt!-- Reminder that our Don't Spit The Water! Pilot airs September 3rd at Midnight! That's next Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Speaking of TV, I am sad that Expedition Impossible is over. I could probably watch it every day. I am happy with the winners!

The online Sirius radio listening device still sucks. Why does it stop playing after 30 seconds?

I love figs. I had an amazing fig quiche this morning. That's right. FIG QUICHE. From Fraiche.

Today is my brother's last day at his job. Katie's been posting a lot about their upcoming move. SO WEIRD AND EXCITING!

Oh, God. It's Friday, which means that there is a new Drunk Monkeys video over at Four Squirrels. We are drinking Herbsaint. The video is 8 minutes long. And we are DRUNK. I apologize to Jen for being such a steamroller. And my apologies to Mike Doughty for mangling the "Yellow number 5" lyric from Bus to Beelzebub. Wow.

Fuzzy and I have signed up for the Bucktown 5K. Which give me a new goal--to be running again by October 2nd. BRING IT.


I HAVE DECIDED TO COMPETE IN TOMORROW'S TRIATHLON!  I know that it will be painful and difficult, but I can live with that more than I could live with my own disappointment and shame if I didn't try. If the pain gets too excrutiating, I can always stop. But I bet I can push through it--its only a 6 mile bike and 1.5 miles on my feet. Easy, right? If you want to come out for it, and you certainly don't have to as I am going to be slow and hobbly, it is at Foster Beach tomorrow morning.  I will be in wave 9, starting at 7:54 am, in a white swim cap. EEEE! HOW EXCITING!

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Pro: New car!
Pro: Driving!
Pro: Listening to the radio during my commute!
Pro: Being able to take day trips! Whenever we want!
Pro: Going to the store!
Pro: Hauling things!
Pro: Not having to deal with drunk Cubs fans!
Pro: Not having to deal with a late train ride after a show!
Pro: You get everywhere quicker!
Pro: You can give people rides!
Pro: You don't have to rent cars when you need one!
Pro: Good in emergency situations!
Pro: Cuts my commute time from 30-60 minutes to a cool 23 minutes!

Con: Expensive car payments.
Con: Buying Gas.
Con: Maintenance.
Con: Again, car payments.

Pros and Cons for not getting a new car:

Pro: Not having a car loan payment!
Pro: I'll be able to read more books! (I've already read one!)
Pro: One less thing to worry about!
Pro: Save on car payments, insurance, and parking space rent!
Pro: Not having to decide who will be the designated driver!

Con: No control of when you'll get somewhere.
Con: Having to walk a lot and go up and down stairs all the time (hopefully this is only a temporary Con, while my knee heals.)
Con: Having to deal with humanity on the bus and the train.
Con: Winter.
Con: Not having a car.

What to do?


I'm at a crossroads. Time to make some big choices and steps. It's hard, but I need to just stand up tall and own it. It's my life and I need to make the most of it. I need to get some sleep, talk with my husband, and take some steps. This stalled out place I've been for almost a month is soon going to end. I am looking forward to that.

Today I am sans kneebrace, and I'm doing ok. Which makes me more and more conflicted about the tri this week. Yesterday it was hurting pretty badly, but today it only hurts a little. If it was all or nothing, it would be easier to make the decision. But I'm in this weird middle place. Do I let myself rest or do I let myself try to accomplish something amazing? I can't decide. And I know to everyone else in the world it seems stupid that I am still considering doing it, but being ok with not doing it is easier said than done.

A lot of my friends right now (most of my friends) are also in this weird transition place. What's next? We're in our 30s and 40s and don't want to feel stuck or unhappy, but taking that leap into the unknown is always hard. Safety in numbers maybe? Misery loves company? Both? All I know is that I want to reinvent myself and I wish I knew how or knew how to help anyone else out there. I miss the way I was feeling when I was doing a lot and on top of everything. I called that version of me 'Awesome Erica.' I miss her.

Blah blah...just using this as a sounding board. Trying to figure it out. But I know that I really just need to take a deep breath and stay present in this moment. Cause this moment is pretty ok great and that is good! The weather is beautiful. I am not in massive pain today. I have deep and enriching relationships that feed my soul. My husband is perfect. I am thankful for all the blessings I've been given.

So. One step at a time. Stay in the present. Yes yes.

Yes, also, this is like the 3rd or 4th time I've updated this post. Which means the sounding board is working! I don't feel so grim! My anxiety has loosened a bit! I am seeing the bigger picture a little better! I'm also assembling some boxes at work, and I really am enjoying that and it is relieving some stress. I think maybe in a past life I was an assembly line worker. And a happy one at that. Maybe I got to sit down or take frequent breaks.

Today's song of the day. Yes, it is more Chris Cornell, deal with it. 

A Special Life


I love that I have the kind of life where I can have photos and experiences like this with my husband: 

Impress These Apes Season 6 Show 7 - Impress These Apes Season 6 Show 7 - And here are some other awesome ones from Monday's show: Impress These Apes Season 6 Show 7 - Impress These Apes Season 6 Show 7 - Thanks to the super awesome Elizabeth McQuern for the photos!

Home Stretch!

I am now in the home stretch for the Insane Summer of 2011. Seriously, I went from 0 to 100 in the course of a few short months, and I think I am paying for it with a face fulla zits, a crick in my neck, and the bum knee. When I get mega overwhelmed and overstressed like this, I need to pretty much stop everything and reboot for a while. I am looking forward to September!

Apes closes a week from today! Only 2 more to go! What a fun trip this has been. The contestants continually amaze me, and we have a lot of fun up on that stage. When Apes closes, my KKC rehearsals will switch back to Monday nights (after taking a week off for Labor Day), so then I will have my Wednesday nights free again!

I think we are done with the wedding circuit this year, too. Whew! I performed 3 wedding ceremonies in 5 months! Each one was so amazing and beautiful and made me cry, and it is an honor that my friends trust me enough to put their special days in my hands. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends that I am able to share my life with (that goes for everyone--not just the ones that got married this year!)

The triathlon...yeah, I don't know what to do about that. I haven't biked or gone for a run in forever, so I am going to make the decision Friday night if I can do the triathlon Saturday morning. I am going to try to ride for a half hour tomorrow--if I can. I am still in some pain, and still limping, but I hope it is finally starting to get better. I am going to call the doctor next week to find out what to do next.

Someone recommended Tai Chi to me...that might be a fun thing to pursue. I am feeling like a lumpy slug since I've been forced to be sedentary. Soon I will be a good candidate for a "Before" photo.

I am really just looking forward to being boring again. I jumped back into the performance circuit with both feet, and now I am ready to bow out again. I want to nest. I want to scan the photos that I have set aside for scanning, put the newspaper clippings in a scrapbook, sort my clothes (remember when I said I wanted to dress better? That sort of fell away. Though now that I have been having to take public transit, I've started to care again a little more), sort our magazines, sort our books, purge purge purge! I want to enjoy my husband, my house, my friends, my cats. Make my own schedule.

Don't tell anyone, but I am excited for Fall.

I keep having this recurring dream that I am in high school and we are on an AB schedule, and I alternate English and Science classes.  In the dream, I can never remember where my science class is, always forget to do my science homework and can't ever find my book, and always forget to go to science class. Just that one class. I end up freaking that I am going to fail the class (which I think in my dreams is taught by Ms. Richter) and I just keep only going to Ms. Brittan's English class instead.


This is my song for the week (thanks to Rebecca for introducing me to it):

Noah and Stephanie's wedding yesterday was so sweet and so beautiful and so fun and so THEM. It was a blast, and I slept pretty much all day today. I am taking these photos from Ryan's Flickr (thanks, Ryan!) Full set here. Enjoy!

DSC00025 DSC00026 DSC00038 DSC00034 Check out Noah's tie made out of Kermit feet and Fuzzy's giant beard  also check out how large Fuzzy's beard is!

Grease pop

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Tonight I'm making salmon croquettes. Having flashbacks of my mom cursing and telling us to get out of the kitchen when she used to make them. Thanks for looking out for us mom--this hurts!

New Drunk Monkeys!

It's Friday! Which means there is a new episode of Drunk Monkeys! This week we drink Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. And we are off the rails. Jen continues to be adorable. And I don't mean to make my Memaw Reid sound like a meanie, I am just telling the truefacts.

Kate and Dan!


Kate and Dan's wedding is featured on Style Me Pretty!
Check it out--the photos are beautiful!


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Hey hey--what a rollercoaster couple of weeks. I'm not going to lie, I've been in a funk. Trying to wrap my head around this injury, trying to adjust to not having a car, trying to navigate our futures and what's next and plans and life and blah blah.

Sunday afternoon, I tried to go for a run, and it was impossible. Sort of like a slow gallop. I could only go a few feet. It was crushing. Fuzzy and I did some talking, and I did some soul searching, and I decided that realistically I can't do the Sprint distances for the triathlon. Plus, everyone I know has been telling me to not do it. But then, we found out that our friend Kristen is doing the Super Sprint on Saturday the 27th, which is a 1/4 mile swim, a 6 mile bike and a 1.5 mile run. That gave me hope that maybe I could get up to that distance in time. I emailed the coordinators and they were so generous and switched me to that event. I am revived! New goals! I don't think I will be able to run by then, but I can certainly walk the 1.5 miles. And this way, Fuzzy will be able to meet me at the finish line! So I feel good about my decision. Now I just need to get back on the bike. I was going to ride some this morning, but I woke up in a lot of pain, and Fuzzy advised that I should just take it easy. I am constantly loaded on ibuprofen, which I hate cause I try to not ever have to take medicine, and I need to be better about icing the ole knee.

It's got me thinking a lot--what's next? I have really found strength in exercise--stress relief, feeling better, mental health, etc, and I don't want to lose that. I can keep swimming. I can focus on boxing again. Maybe should I start going to yoga class again? Dancing is certainly out of the question--it hurts bad enough doing the apes opening dance, and that is the easiest dance in the world. So I just have to re-prioritize, and refocus. Maybe triathlons were never for me? I don't want to give up, but I don't want to be unrealistic, either. You know.


GOOD NEWS! We have an air date and time for our Don't Spit The Water! Pilot!
Saturday, September 3rd at midnight (technically Sunday, Sept 4th) on WCIU! That's the main Weigel Broadcasting station! What a great slot! What a great channel! If you are in the Chicagoland area, we will be having a viewing party that night at the Lincoln Tap Room!
More info to come!!! I'll be posting a lot here in the next few weeks.

In closing, this morning I had a dream that my cats were wearing beautiful cat-sized silk Chinese blouses that they put on themselves. It was precious.

Remembering Dad Remembering Duane


In the unpacking I have done recently, I found the following essay that my dad had submitted to Rolling Stone Magazine on December 3, 1975, telling the story of how Remember Duane Allman came to be.

740511 rolling stone

I have added a few footnotes as well. Enjoy!


Remember Duane Allman

by G. David Reid


Six miles east of Vicksburg, Mississippi, beside the west-bound land of Interstate-20, is a monument to the spirit of Duane Allman, the guitarist.  It reads simple: REMEMBER DUANE ALLMAN. Hand-carved in a wall of earth, it stands ten feet above the ground level, the letters themselves averaging seven feet in height and the entire message over one hundred feet in length.


Some people have never heard of Duane Allman. But those who know his music can understand the motivation to commemorate his spirit. The four of us who carved our feelings upon that wall--Dennis Garner, Don Antoine(1), Len Raines and myself--were among the growing number of people becoming aware of Duane's virtuosity on electric, acoustic and slide guitars when his death shocked the world of rock 'n' roll. Praised by fellow guitarists of all walks as one of the best rock n roll guitarists ever, his career ended with his death on October 29, 1971 from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. He was twenty-four.


Certainly we weren't as severely affected as people closer to Duane, but we were moved almost a year and a half after his death to honor his genius in our own special way. The idea was to produce a memorial that could be seen by many and interpreted by all as an appreciation of great talent. It could also serve to acquaint people with Duane's name. Hopefully, this was to be done in a lasting way that would somehow dominate other memorials or monuments in the area.


Our idea wasn't original. We had seen, in a magazine, a photograph of a similar statement painted on a fence in Georgia. Since then,  we have heard of the same words painted on a water tower in Arkansas. Here in Vicksburg, there has been several attempts at carving the words on dirt banks, though none had survived the weather and were already crumbling.


Our feelings about carving the message were mixed. Len Raines had remarked that he was tired of hearing so much about Duane Allman. The other three of us were enthusiastic about the idea but hesitant to make a start. It was easier to imagine the appearance of a huge message than to prepare for it and begin. Added to this was a bit of apprehension regarding the possibilities of people interrupted by the highway patrol or state highway maintenance crews. We discovered later that the risk of being "interrupted" by authorities was the factor that assured Raines' appearance for the carving.


At the time, the four of us were enrolled at Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi(2), commuting by bus(3) from Vicksburg. It was during our morning and afternoon trips of about thirty-five miles, most of which was on I-20, that our plans were made. The original idea was one of letters three or four feet tall, carved as high as we could reach from the ground, and located somewhere along the interstate. Several considerations were involved before the site was selected. We wanted a wall of dirt that was clean and, if possible, at an angle easily seen by passing motorists. It had to be on the north side of the highway to allow the sun to cast shadows in the letters, as well as keep them clean and relatively dry. (The opposite wall remains overgrown and damp most of the year.) Also we wanted a wall with little or no vegetation on its upper edge to avoid erosion of the bank due to the loosening effects roots have on the soil. We felt that the site finally chosen would allow an enormous number of people a view of the message. After two weeks of small talk about carving it, Don Antoine announced that he was tired of talking about it; that we should do it!


With the actual carving in mind, we set aside all morning activities of an approaching Saturday and stopped at the site beforehand to affirm our choice of a bank. The dirt was fine and packed, and we were pleased with the smooth face of the wall and its lack of vegetation. This wall, like many others here, was left with an almost vertical face because of its composition. The soil is windblown or aeolian soil and resists erosion to large degrees. It is not common in this country, but is found in Warren County, Mississippi, parts of Asia and in China. For this reason, we assume the carving to be unique in America. Often in construction of roads and highways here, instead of going over hills or bluffs, parts of them are removed by heavy machinery. The smooth walls of this subsoil that remain will support dirt graffiti, usually the names of people passing or living nearby. Occasionally a message, sometimes obscene, is left on such a dirt wall. This is a common sight here. If construction of a new road or building involves the formation of smooth walls of the easily carved, light brown soil, not one week will pass before someone stops to be the first to decorate its face.


"REMEMBER DUANE ALLMAN" was carved on one of these banks on February 3, 1973, a Saturday morning. It was begun at 8:45, completed four and one half hours later and turned out to be more ambitions than any of us had first imagined. After removing a carload of picks, axes and a nine-foot ladder, expressing feelings of general paranoia of being accused of defacing state property, we spaced and marked the positions for the letters. Upon the realization that we had only used one-third of the available carving space, we doubled the dimensions of the entire message. Our original conception of three to four feet tall letters and a message sixty feet long was abandoned as we re-spaced its position on the wall. The letters became six feet tall and the message over one hundred feet long.


The bank on which we carved is immediately west of a truck scale or weigh station one mile west of Bovina, Mississippi, and trucks came roaring past us constantly that day. The weather was beautiful, the sky clear and the sun hot, often the description of a Mississippi winter day. Some of the truckers honked horns, smiled and waved while others passed stone-faced. Three of us stood on the ground working on the lower parts of individual letters while one finished the upper portions on the ladder. About halfway through the carving, we began to realize just how large it was going to be. The response to our work increased as we neared completion of the letters. Four hours into the carving, as ALLMAN was being finished, it seemed that horns blew at us from three out of five cars and trucks that passed. We had seen only one highway patrolman, but he had passed before we could experience much apprehension. (He was hurrying; five miles to Vicksburg and it was dinner time(4).)


We were filthy, covered with sweat and about to collapse, but at the mention of leaving, Dennis announced that he'd be damned if after four and a half hours of carving that message he wasn't going to sign his name. We tossed a coin to determine the order of our signatures; thus in smaller letters, DENNIS, DAVID, DON and LEN. This took another hour of exhausting work. By that time, the sun had dried the moisture from the face of the bank and drained the enthusiasm from our bodies. Every chip into the dirt sent dust into the air. The signatures suffered because they were smaller and needed more attention for precision. We gave them little. A few minutes after two o'clock, we reloaded the car with all the tools and looked at our finished product with pride. Yes, it looked good; however, it became apparent to me that we had hurt the effectiveness of its appearance because we had unknowingly carved our names too close to the N in ALLMAN. It read like a run-on sentence--"REMEMBER DUANE ALLMAN DENNIS DAVID DON LEN." I hated what I knew we had to do. The three of us remaining (Len had left us earlier) were shaking with hunger and exhaustion but the suggestion came out of my mouth--we needed to extend the upward arm of the last "N" to distract from the crowded effect our names had caused. We drug the ladder back to the wall and spent fifteen minutes carving the arm higher. It made the shape of the letter ridiculous and didn't remove the crowded effect.


Inspiration entered the scene at that moment, and I mounted the ladder again and transformed our message into what a local art instructor cited as a piece of expressionistic art. I changed the blunt end of the arm of the "N" into a pointed arrow. Pointed skyward, it reminded me of the nicknames associated with Duane--"Skyman" and "Skydog." Not wanting to consider what else might be done to improve the carving, we drove away elated with an extreme sense of accomplishment, and an eagerness to hear of reactions to our work.


We are proud of the results of that morning and of the reactions we have received. Many of our friends suggested that we send photographs and a story of the carving to various magazines. Not feeling the need for such a thing at the time, I wanted to know how far word of it would travel without our interference. We found interesting the number of times we encountered people who claimed to have carved the message, or heard stories of people we had never met who supposedly had done it. A photograph and brief mention of the carving appeared in "Random Notes" of Rolling Stone a year and two months later. Friends have reported that local radio stations and newspapers have mentioned it and that one of the local television stations sent a camera and crew to the site and posed the question, "Who was Duane Allman, and why should he be remembered?"


All of these responses to our carving--whether they are claims of credit for the work, stories on local radio and television stations, photographs in magazines or simply word of mouth descriptions of something seen on the interstate--each and every one--justify the half-day's effort we gave to carve this message. Each time it is mentioned, our goal is accomplished. Hopefully, a good percentage of those who have seen it have since experienced the music of Duane Allman, either for the first time or again with the same enthusiasm and respect that motivated the four of us to honor him three years ago. Even in writing these words about it, knowing that responses to them will be varied, I feel satisfaction and a renewal of pride in having had a part in something as simple, yet effective, as carving words in dirt.


(1) Don is my uncle, married to my mom's sister, but Mom and Dad were not dating yet.

(2) Christopher and I also attending Hinds Community College

(3) My mom also rode the bus to Hinds, which is how they met.

(4) In the South, "dinner" in actually "lunch."


For reference:

Remember Duane Allman

From Fuzzy's Blog:
Remember Duane Allman from Slides
Sometimes the Internet Answers and the Florida Cracker post about the carving.
Remember When David Reid Remembered Duane Allman?
Remember Duane Allman, Follow-Ups

Dad and Gregg, from when they got to meet. 

Gregg Allman and David Reid

The gang mid-carve in 1973.


The gang in October of 2007.

group with gregg allman

M-R-I got my results


And they aren't terrible, but they aren't great.

Basically, the doc says that underneath my kneecap, there is a lot of inflammation, bruising and scar tissue, and it is hard to tell what is old and what is new. She said it looks like my knee was recently dislocated or hyperextended (which it could have quickly been when I hit the pavement.) Nothing is torn (hooray!) and everything is in the right place (double hooray!) but she said it looks really angry and funky. I don't need surgery (BIGGEST HOORAY) which is a relief--she said she thought sure they were going to have to "cut me open" and she is happy that isn't neccessary. Since my knee is improving, the next steps are just to keep resting it, icing it, and taking ibuprofen (I haven't iced or ibuprofened in a while) and taking it easy. If in a week or so, it isn't where I want it to be, we can consider a steriod injection or a referral to a knee specialist. But if things are better, she said she hopes that it can get back to its regular operating condition, which she said is "not normal, but something you know how to manage."

As for the triathlon, she said to still wait and see how it is feeling in a week or so. She said and since I am now so far off my training, that it will probably be rough and there is a risk of reinjury during the race, but that I am a "smart person" and know my body, so if I think I can do it, she says then there's nothing stopping me.


Drunk Monkeys Episode 4--Mezcal!

Today over at Four Squirrels, we are drinking Mezcal!

If you haven't yet checked out Drunk Monkeys, here is a teaser!


Drunk Monkeys - Episode 0 from Fuzzy Gerdes on Vimeo.

No News


No results yet on my MRI. I called yesterday and the results were in, but they had not yet been reviewed by the doctor. I am considering calling again today, but I don't want to be a pest.

Fuzzy hooked my bike up to our trainer, and I tried it out on Tuesday. It hurt and I'm so out of shape now, that the cardio was hard, too. I could only go about 13 minutes before having to stop. Today at work, I did a small jog to the mailbox, and proved that I am not yet ready to run. I am starting to get scared that I won't be able to do the triathlon. I know it won't be the end of the world if I can't, but I will be so disappointed. I was/am really looking forward to it, cause I know that pre-wreck, I COULD do it, and I had already overcome so much pain and so many obstacles to get to that point. 3 years ago, I was afraid of running cause of my knees, and biking hurt a lot, so the fact that I tried it anyway and pushed myself and improved so much means the world to me. The metal at the finish line was going to be my badge of honor. So now I am faced with the decision of pushing through and trying it anyway with potentially a lot of pain and struggle (and damage), or skipping it and letting my body rest and heal, but letting myself down mentally and emotionally. 

So I guess I am hoping the doctor calls and says nothing is wrong with my knee and in another week I will be pain free. I can have hope, right?

I had dance rehearsal last night, and it went ok. I wasn't able to do a lot, but I did more than I thought I was going to be able to, so that was nice. I was so worn ragged, though, it was probably the worst teaching I've ever done. Nothing was clear or based on any counts, and I couldn't for the life of me think of or say the word "hand." Literally--I had to keep holding my hand and saying "what is this called?" Yikes. One of the girls asked if I was still on my heavy duty drugs. No, I am not... 

I think I could probably sleep for about a month.

I am happy to say, though, that as of yesterday I can now walk up and down a few steps with my left leg! That is a huge improvement!


From Week 4 of Apes!

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Barry Shirley, Bushmeat and April May (who is wearing a very special dress).

Impress These Apes Season 6 Show 4 (photo by Elizabeth McQuern)

This is.

This is.

But in happier news...

I sort of walked up a step with my left leg today!

A Day.


What a day. Time for my whoa is me, I'm stressed out, wah wah pity party. It's my blog, right?

*Our car is done. It started moaning a few days ago, so we checked the power steering fluid and it was really low. While under the hood, I noticed that the coolant level was low, and I just refilled it a few weeks ago. So I took it in this morning, and here's the damage: Power steering leak, coolant tank crack, the rear brakes don't work at all, left rear bearing is gone, the belts are all crappy, and the right front brake hose is broken--all fixable for about $2,000. After the $1,000 we just paid for fixing the brakes and the $2,500 earlier this year from when the clutch broke. So no way am I repairing it, when in another month, something else will be broken. So now we will be carless and public transity until we can maybe buy my brother's car. Better get back on that bike soon...

*My iPhone is almost out of space. Gotta delete some shit.

*My Gmail is almost out of space. Gotta delete some emails, but I don't want to mass delete them, cause I want to keep ones from dad. One of which I read this morning, and it tore me up.

*I went to the dentist today. I have an awesome dentist and I floss obsessively....annnnnd, I have a cavity.

*The knee is a lot better, but it still hurts a lot. No MRI results yet.

*Too much to do. Not enough money/time/energy to do it.

So, nothing too terribly is wrong, its just the sum of the parts. All in all, it was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. But today I am just...struggling.

F***ing Magnets, How Do They Work?

I had my MRI this morning. I thought it was going to be no big deal, but it turned out to be more nerve-wracking than I expected. The machine was really loud (I had earplugs) and they said it was going to be 25-30 minutes, which is a long time to be still, and my left knee was put in this sort of archway little thing and foam cushions were positioned all the way around it. I wasn't supposed to move, but of course, my knee kept having spasms and I shifted some (the technician said it didn't mess anything up.) The thing I was laying on was jerky, too, and everything sort of got my heart racing, although my head wasn't in the big tube at all, so it wasn't really a claustrophic thing--or maybe it was. I kept trying to take deep breaths and focus on the soothing undertone pulses of the machine and not the the loud rattles, but instead kept thinking about the night Dad was supposed to have an MRI for his spine had had to go to the emergency room instead for bladder stuff. That poor little guy was in so much pain. But anyways, afterwards, while having breakfast in the hospital with Fuzzy, I got a little overwhelmed about all the sickness in the world and how many people are ill---I am SO blessed that all I have to deal with is a silly little knee injury I got while doing something awesome.

Also, when the MRI was finished, I was amazed that freaking magnetic fields can give you an image of something on the inside of your body. SCIENCE AND MEDICINE ARE INCREDIBLE! God bless those who work in those professions. I wish everyone around the world had access to the technology that we have in the states. We are lucky.

SO! I should have more information by the middle of next week.

You know, it all makes me feel like this:

Dream Hair


Ooh, y'all. You know I've got some crappy super fine hair that doesn't look good unless it is super duper short. I've had about a million hairstyles and colors in my life, and I get bored really easily. Sadly, my hair grows way too damn fast. So I often times want to do weird and edgy things with it, I like it when it looks really severe or "fake" (as I used to say) and I get hair envy pretty often.

So when we watched last night's Project Runway, I SWOONED when I saw this model's hair and styling. SWOONED! I mean, take a look:


(Photo courtesy of

I mean, look at it! To die for! I wish I could do that with my hair--I one time wore these weird nub things in my hair for about 2 weeks and my hair was all bleached and weird and it looked crunchy and a little homeless.  Erica (the other one) could always pull off the mini-nub/ homemade afro-puffs so well, and mine were more like puny cheese doodles. Not gorgeous and luxurious like this.

Not to mention the fact that I've been swooning over Anya's hair the last two weeks. Her clothes and earrings, too, actually.

I've been wanting to do the shaved sides thing for a while. I love everything about it. But I don't know if I can pull it off....but if I can't, who cares, right? I'll just shave the rest off and it will grow back before I know it. Better to do it now than the ass cold winter, right?

Drunk Monkeys: Chambord

Episode 3 of Drunk Monkeys is up over on Four Squirrels, and in this one we drink Chambord. I think this is the best one yet.

Also, the expressions and emotions that Jen's face has in the first 4 seconds of the video are I think the best 4 seconds that have ever been caught on film. I can't stop watching it. Enjoy! 

Oh, Hello Old Friends


In a few weeks, I am performing the ceremony of some dear friends, and everyone in the wedding party is supposed to wear a pair of Converse. The timing of this is perfect, since I've been kicking it in the 90s vibe since the Soundgarden concert a few weeks ago (who am I kidding--I am always in a 90s vibe.) My bro used to be the connoisseur of Converse High Tops, having over 20 pairs at one point in high school. I wasn't that hardqore--I only had about 4 or 5 pairs. But there was one special pair. One near and dear to my heart. One pair that I probably literally wore every single day for years. One pair that got huge holes in the toes of both shoes (something that still happens to my shoes today--I must have knives as big toes) and that lost the outer fabric overlay, so by the end of their life, they were just gross grey things. A pair that  ripped all along the sides so that my feet were almost exposed at all times. Trusty shoes that I wore to Lollapalooza 94 and that I never wanted to wash although they got really grimey that day (I distinctly remember peeing on the shoelaces accidently behind a dumpster on the drive back from New Orleans). 

So when I was browsing the shoes online, and I saw the low-top version of them, I had a physical gut reaction. It was like seeing an old old beloved friend. I literally teared up.  It was an awesome discovery.  Those of you who knew me in high school and that read this blog (Mom, of course, and Melissa, Jill, Sarah, Jeremy, Amanda, Jennifer, Ian, Laura, Ashley, and anyone else I might be missing) will most likely recognize them (though probably not Carrie or Erin, since I didn't wear these shoes to church...I don't think. Ok, I might have.):


When I first sent my brother the listing, his response was, "Oh yeah. I certainly know those shoes."

They arrived today--perfect timing, since I need a bit of a pick-me up. It feels good to be reunited.

Yeah, so they are a little too big, but who cares. They were on sale, too--added bonus. It's too bad they don't have the high top version, but I think it is a good metaphor--I am essentially the same girl I was in high school, with the same passions and interests, but am a wiser woman now, with so much life and experience under my belt. Similar, but different.

Now all I have to do is find some red shoelaces...

Oh, right. I'm human.

I spoke with much bravado last night about healing and training and everything, and today I thought I was going to wake up refreshed and inspired and ready to fight. Instead, I am the opposite: exhausted with no energy and a little grumpy. It hurts to move and I feel like I don't know what to do with my body.  I need to remember my zen. Zennnn.

I am working upstairs today at the office, so I have to take the stairs very slowly and one at a time. Of course, as soon as I get upstairs, I remember something downstairs and vice versa. I am relieved that I can just go home tonight after work and lie down. TOMORROW I will be ready to swim. Right? 

Who Knee'ds It?

Oy, this knee is causing me grief!
The doctor I went to today was super great--I loved her. She's an internal medicine doc with a focus on accidents and injuries and now I want to go to her for everything.

Upon seeing my knee, she instantly commented on the bruising and bursitis, which instantly of course made me think I needed to get an airhorn. (Am I right, Hanson?) She mashed all around my knee, which was good cause it proved there is no joint pain, but was bad for the soft tissues around there cause they were really tender. She had me lie on my back with my knee bent and she sat on my foot and pulled at my shins. She said that normal knees don't move around when you do that, and that mine were all over the place and the lower half of my leg pulled away some, so things aren't really strongly connected. This is somewhat sort of normal for me, though, as my kneecaps aren't in the place they are supposed to be and I am used to popping my knees in sort of a weird side way. Plus, I don't know if my left knee ever recovered from my dislocation when I was 17...

Basically, long story short: I am getting an MRI on Friday and we will know more about it then. She thinks that I might have damaged some ligaments or my meniscus and some old scar tissue from my previous injury that will need to be dealt with. She described my knee as "not happy" and when I am older it will be "not awesome." I told her it's not awesome now already! She told me to stay taking my mack daddy ibuprofen (I had stopped), and keep icing and elevating it. No running until at least Saturday (I am still having issues walking, so...ok) and that it is ok for me to do the triathlon in a few weeks (YAY!) but to not try for a speedy time (I wasn't anyway.) It's good to have more advice on how to heal it, though nothing is diagnosed yet. I still can't walk up a small step on my left leg, so I still have a lot of recovery in my future.

Interestingly, Fuzzy linked today to my write up of last year's Muddy Buddy, and in it I talk about how much my knees hurt. I did a quick search on my blog, and without looking too deeply or long, found at least 4 other blog posts where I mentioned knee pain. When I was in college and went to the sports medicine doctor, they asked me to circle on an outline of a pair of knees where my pain was, and I circled the whole drawing. I remember getting my knee braces in college and being able to walk up stairs without pain and how magical that was. I am 32 now, stronger than ever, but still dealing with these knees....

Maybe this injury was a good thing. Get them looked at before anything WORSE happens.  But for now...eye on the prize. Gotta remember to rest. Gotta keep swimming at least, cause I gotta get ready for August 28th!


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Leg still hurts. Still a little swollen. Turning all sorts of amazing colors.

The anniversary was awesome. I love my husband. We had a fun weekend and rested a lot. Fuzzy's been my rest personal trainer--reminding me to stay off my leg and do nothing. It is really really hard to do that.

I am trying to keep my zen and good attitude, but I am finding I am a little impatient and everything is getting on my nerves. Gotta push through.

I'll post an update after my appointment tomorrow.

Also, Impress These Apes tonight! Come check it out. See me do the opening dance using only my arms....