May 2012 Archives

12 Years

May 24th marked my 12 year anniversary of living in Chicago. So hard to believe it's been that long. I moved here as a fresh faced 21 year old kid with a cat and a dream. I threw myself into classes, shows and multiple jobs. I struggled, I perservered. The cat got fat. I somehow found myself in an improv group that would become my core group of friends and strength for the last 10 years, long after we stopped performing. I somehow found a friend and creative partner in an evil genius who started a comedy group which is my main comedy passion to this day. I somehow managed to meet the most brilliant, amazing, kind, handsome, and wonderful man, who I fell in love with and who happened to love me back. This one is the best thing that's ever happened in my life--if anything, I moved to Chicago to meet my husband.

Now, I'm an adult. I've been through hell, and I am still going strong. Life has kicked me the in ass and also lifted me up.  I've made a strong career and life for myself, and I feel blessed every day.  I'm happy. I love Chicago, and I also hate it, but I can never discount that it has been a major factor in shaping me into the person I am today. For that, I thank you, Chicago.

(I listened to this song on repeat the last 6 months I lived in Mississippi. It's very special to me.)

Chicago Flag

Reasons I Love Summer

Duh, we all love summer. It's the most fun time of year! I just felt it was important to put some of these reasons into writing as a public "thank you" to this amazing season.

1) I'm more comfortable in the heat. Since I have hyperhidrosis, I spend every day of my life covered in sweat and in wet clothing. Since sweating is a cooling mechanism, I am freezing all the time, so when it is hot out, I am able to stay warm! I can rock a hot day like no one's business. Sure, I might look gross, but I can assure you that I am comfortable.

2) Getting dressed is easy!  All I have to do is throw on a sundress, of which I have several. Today took me about 3 minutes to get ready, plus I look better dressed than I do the other non-summer months of the year.

3) The days are longer! The sun sets later, and since it is warm all night, you can extend your outdoor activities well into the evening. We biked home at 11pm the other night, and walked home from a concert last night at 10pm! Winter Erica doesn't want to be outside for over 4 minutes. Summer Erica never wants to go inside.

4) Activites! Biking, running, swimming, going to the beach, driving with your windows down. Heavenly.

5) Outdoor drinking! No explanation needed.

I'm so happy it's finally summer in Chicago.  Let's just hope it stays!!

Yeah, baby

Went to an awesome concert, got home and made coffee for the morning and a kale salad with homemade dressing. Feeling pretty badass. Life is good.

Life! (How Bout It?)



Where the hell have I been? What the hell have I been doing? Those are great questions. The good news is that I've been traveling a lot (pics and stories to come soon), training for these athletic events (more in a minute), and been having lots of fun. Also, here's something awesome--the person I feel the most in tuned with right now (aside from Fuzzy) is my brother, who is in Africa! We've totally found the talking/catch up sweetspot, as his post-work time coincides perfectly with my lunch break. It's so great that I can still be so close with him. It's been the best treat, and it's totally helped keep me going through all the insanity.

So, what's new? Well, for starters, Fuzzy and I have signed up for 2 more triathlons this summer. THE HELL, YOU SAY! I agree. But I am excited about it! Both are sprints, and one is in June and one in July, so they will be practice runs for the big guy in August. I'm doing great on my training so far this year--my knee is holding up great! I am running about 3 times a week (getting up at 5:30am--WHO EVER THOUGHT I COULD DO THAT? Not me, that's for sure) and I've started biking again. My first couple times back on the bike were terrifying for me--I kept having these flashes of falling--total PTSD. It was bad. But I am happily past that now, and yesterday I biked to work! WOO! After a 3 mile run, too! The weather was gorgeous, and I took it really slowly, but that only added 10 minutes to my commute time. Not bad! Of course, as I passed my crash site, I gave it the respect it deserves. And now, I am no longer afraid! FEAR FACED YET AGAIN! I think my training is right on track, too--just gotta get in some cold-ass lake swims.

This Sunday we are doing Bike the Drive! Woo! First time for me, but it will be good to see if I can do a longer distance like that. I need to make sure I can bike 2.5 hours.

What else? Things are trucking along for the DRUNK MONKEYS LIVE SHOW on June 6th! Please come, won't you? It'll be quite fun! I am so excited. As always, our podcast is available for download on iTunes, or you can subscribe to the blog at!

Things are gearing up again for Season 7 (!!!) of Impress These Apes! This season will be bigger and better than ever. I'm tired already.

I'm also doing a little choreography again! KKC is reprising an old dance from a few years ago, so this week, I was back in rehearsals with them! And another dancer and I are bringing another oldie back to the stage, so I have some rehearsals with her in my future. It's been good to be back, though I forgot how exhausting teaching is to your body and voice. Fun times.

Oh, I'm also working part time for I Want to Draw a Cat for You. It's amazing and fun. That Steve. He's a marvel.

Did I mention I am performing 2 wedding ceremonies this summer?

So that's why I haven't been blogging so much lately. It's not cause I don't love you. Cause I do love you.

Speaking of biking to work, does anyone else think this is funny and weird? Look closely...


Happiness Is...

Best friends

Up up and away...

Up up and away...


Also, a rare moment of silent contemplation:


...and somehow I've managed to get peanut butter and hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE.

Happy Monday!

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

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I absolutely love strawberries. I adore them. I could eat them every day. I love all things strawberry flavored, too, and lucky for me, strawberry flavored things are everywhere.

Unluckily for me, it appears that I have developed a severe allergy to them. And possibly some other berries.

Last fall, after eating some raspberry preserves, I awoke the next morning with a rash all over my face and body. I avoided berries for a few months after, which was easy to do, since it wasn't berry season.  2 months ago, I was making a fruit salad, and popped a strawberry in my mouth. The next morning, I had a burning rash all over my face and throat. Later that day, after eating some of the fruit salad, my bottom lip swelled up super huge and turned bright red. I took some benadryl and a few hours later, I was ok. I avoided all things berries for a while, until I wanted til a safe time to try it. I had one one night, and nothing happened. I had some strawberry jam last week, and everything was fine.

Until last night. While eating dinner, I ate 2 strawberries. Organic ones, too, so there was no weird chemicals or pesticides on them. The first one went ok, but when I ate the second one, suddenly I was hit with an uncontrollable coughing fit, then watery eyes and a huge painful sneezing fit. My throat started burning, and my face got hot. Before I knew it, my bottom lip and cheeks were tingling and incredibly swollen. My throat got tight, and it hurt to swallow. I took one benadryl, but after my face continued to swell and hurt, I took a second one and went to bed.

This morning, my throat hurt when I woke up, so I decided to forgo my run and bike into work. Since it hurt to swallow, I didn't want to risk getting dehydrated. Plus, I was still in pain and zonked out on the drugs. I am feeling a little bit better now, but my eyelids are so swollen, I can only open my eyes halfway.

According to, here are the symptoms of a strawberry allergy:

The most common symptom is oral allergy syndrome, characterized by allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. There can be tingling, itching, and swelling in the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and palate. Watery itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing can accompany the reactions.


I don't want to have to say goodbye to my beloved berries, cause I love them so, but if this is the price I have to pay to enjoy them, no thank you. So I will go upon my merry way, and maybe put my fruit focus on citrus. As they say, if you love someone, set them free.


Photo by Erica Livingston, courtesy of Flickr

Brick Day 5.16.12


I know I am waaaaay behind on posting about things, but I wanted to get this quick update in:

Run today--2.95 miles in about 33 minutes. I had to do a little walking in there, since it was my first run back in a week. Gotta stick with it. Still, it's not that shabby--11 minute miles with the walking. This is just shy of half the triathlon distance, at 6.2 miles.

Swim today--25 laps in a little less than a half hour. This is 1143 meters; the triathlon distance is 1500 meters. Not too bad! I was mainly focusing on swimming straight and not using my legs too much. I tried to breathe on my left side, too, but that wasn't too successful. I used to be a lot better at it. Oh well, I'll keep trying. I'm proud of that swim, since I haven't been swimming since January or February.

Now maybe I should try to get a bike ride in there tonight, too....

Where's Parker?

This is an email that I got from Fuzzy yesterday:

I thought maybe Parker had snuck outside, because I couldn't find her in any of her usual spots in the house. Until I looked real close.

Where's Parker? SPOTTED


I'll let these guys tell you about it:

Drunk Monkeys - Episode 25 - Live Show Promo from Fuzzy Gerdes on Vimeo.

Yes, that's right! Drunk Monkeys is not only starting season 4 this Friday, but we are also doing a LIVE STAGE SHOW as a part of the Chicago Funny Women's Festival on Wednesday, June 6th at 10pm at Stage 773 at 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets are $12 (plus fee) and can be purchased here. We're in a double bill with Tits and Bits.

I am so excited! We're going to be filming in front of a live studio audience. And yes, we'll have Salmon Vodka.

To get all legit and shit, we have a new website: and we're on Twitter @drunkmonkeyshow   You should follow us!

I love this show so much and am so proud of it, for one, because it is all ours. Jen and I just get to be ourselves and be silly (and get drunk). Special thanks to Fuzzy and Dave for being our support system, biggest fans, and water getters when we're a bit overserved. And double thanks to Fuzzy for taping and editing and uploading all of our videos. That's love.

Come drink with us on June 6th!!!

Fear Faced!

I biked today! Outside! My first road biking since my crash last June. I was terrified at first--really wobbly and scared, but then, as Fuzzy said, it was "just like riding a bike" and I got comfortable on it very quickly. Fuzzy, Shaun, and I biked down the bike path to Addison and back--about a 7 mile ride round trip. It felt great! Well, it was really cold, but it felt great nonetheless.

In other Working It Out News-
I've gotten off my game lately, because I've been so busy. I've put on some weight, and not committed to multiple workouts a week. Well, now I'm in hardcore training mode, so I can't afford the take many days off. The triathlon is August 26th! Here's the report this week:

Monday 4/30--27 minute run with Andrea
Tuesday 5/1--hour long private Pilates session. It was awesome and made my calves HURT.
Wednesday 5/2--28 minute run with Brandi
Saturday 5/5--40 minute bike ride

And tomorrow, CHEEROBIX! I can't WAIT!


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Q: Guess what Fuzzy and I had for dinner the other night?

What's for dinner?

A: Stuffed Salmon Belle Mar!
Stuffed salmon belle mar!

Why, what did YOU think it was?

Fuzzy Latte


Fuzzy Latte

Here's a little treat for you, courtesy of iSwap Faces, an addictive app that Erica introduced us to last week.

(The Fuzzy side of the photo is cropped out. It was a little horrifying. Like Fuzzy was wearing a Latte mask.)



(Ok, fine, here it is, but smaller, so not to give you nightmares)


More Parker Videos!

She REALLY wants you to donate to WBEZ. Here she is "Parent-Trapping" it up again, this time playing Bill O'Reilly and Steve Inskeep. Amazing.