January 2014 Archives

A Night in the Red Tent


We've created an entire evening celebrating menstruation. The crimson wave. Shark week. Riding the cotton pony. The curse. Aunt Flo. 

Call it what you want, but call yourself lucky if you're present for an entire evening of monologues, stories, songs, poems, scenes and improvisation dedicated to Mother Nature's idea of an (almost) never-ending prank. 

Twenty-eight women and men (give or take) will share their perspectives, thoughts, experiences and ideas on menstruation, and trust me, you don't want to miss it. 

You'll also get a sneak peek of Period Piece, the two-act musical comedy that premiers February 21st at The Playground. Written by Jenni Lamb and Lisa Linke, this show is a time-traveling exploration of menstruation. Yep. Composed and musically directed by Amanda Murphy, Directed by Andy Eninger, Choreographed by Erica Reid. 

So seriously. What else would you rather do on a Tuesday night than listen to a ton of talented people talk and sing about periods?

Tuesday, January 28th
8 pm
The Playground Theater
3209 N. Halsted (at Belmont)



The last couple days have been classic Reid-Gerdes days in that everything has been stacked back to back to back. We had a nice night at home Friday night, Saturday was a rehearsal, a wedding, then a birthday meal, Sunday we filmed another season of Drunk Monkeys, yesterday we were on the WGN Morning News with SNORF, had a photoshoot in the afternoon, and I had rehearsal last night. Somewhere in there last night, I developed a horrible sore throat, and I woke up all night in sore throat pain, and this morning I am full blown sick. NOOOO. Why does this have to happen? Luckily, I can sort of hole up at home a bit today and try to get things done while resting. I can barely swallow, though. And it is back in dangerous temps outside again. Sigh.

Where's Your Happy Place?

I daydream a lot. A LOT. Most of the time, my brain is choreographing...always always choreographing, but when it isn't, it is daydreaming. Lately I've been thinking about Parker, obviously, but whenever I am feeling low or overwhelmed or sad, I let my brain take me to my happy place. And it is almost always the same place. It's a cabin in the woods somewhere not cold and not hot--a nice warm. Dirt paths for walking or biking. A big porch for sitting and drinking beer. Cooking, baking, listening to music, laughing with friends. I let myself feel that feeling of springtime--when it starts to get warm and life starts to feel less hopeless and miserably cold. I don't know if that experience of the thaw is one that I've always loved or one that has become so much more important in the almost 14 years I've lived in frozen Chicago. Sometimes the cabin in my mind is one that doesn't exist and that I've never been to, and sometimes it is a place where I've had the honor and joy of having been to in the past with friends. No matter what, it is that feeling of escape, of adventure. The other happy place I go to in my mind is Paris this past summer. I've had a few things lately transport me back to that week in June. When I listen to the Copenhagen CD, I am back in our room, in the comfy plush bed. Specifically, that takes me to the morning where C&K went to Versailles and Fuzzy and I didn't. He went for a run that morning, and I stayed in and slept and listened to music and laid in bed. It was a true vacation moment. Yesterday, I saw this amazing book called Paris in Color, and some of the photos in it were things that we saw, and it made me so happy. I am lucky that I was able to experience that week last year so that I can revisit it over and over again as long as I have my memories.

I think a lot about the future--I always have--and what is going to happen and where we will go. I don't know if we will ever move from Chicago, but I think about that a lot. I daydream about living in a warm climate again, and having a simpler and less stressful life. Granted, right now, I get to do what I love for a living, and that in itself is a gift, but there is something about escape that is just so appealing. Who knows when we will be able to take our next vacation, but for me, I will vacation daily in my dreams.

Living in the Sad


It's been a tough week without Parker. I am trying to adjust to life without her, and it is harder than anticipated. I keep trying to be ok, too, but instead, I just feel off. Weird. Sad. Everyone is being so supportive and great and keeps reminding me that it is ok to grieve and be sad. It is a big loss. But I can't help but feel sort of dumb about it. There are so many actual things in the world to be sad about. Parker lived a great and happy life, and with her, I did, too. So I should be celebrating the years that we were able to share. But yet, I am just sad. I am also working harder than I ever have and am busier than I have ever been, so there is a lot to juggle and think about constantly. My mind is almost never still. I am sore and worn out all the time, even when I get sleep. I am still accomplishing everything I am committed too, which I am super proud of, but I don't have much energy for anything else.

I slept very poorly last night, and when I woke up, I was just feeling icky. Fuzzy reminded me that it was ok to be sad. Today Latte is going in for a check-up (she got a bladder infection last week, and also, since she is 19 years old, I want to keep her around as long as we can) and the thought of going to the vet made me sort of panic. We drove past the vet on Saturday, and I felt sick to my stomach.  Fuzzy offered to go without me, so I don't have to be in the room that Parker died in so soon. I appreciate that. I need to just tell myself that if I have to cry everyday, that is ok. And I can cry everyday if I need to. Sadness is a part of life and if I don't let myself be sad, I won't get any better. So I will function through the sad, and be ok in it. It's part of the process of life.

Hey, That's Me!

The super awesome and talented Plucky Rosenthal is hosting a monthly Variety Open Mic starting this month! I think this is an amazing idea, personally.  But look how fun this is: I am on the web banner! That's Mrs. Lancaster! See you on BroadWAY!


I am stressed and anxious, and my stress & anxiety reliever isn't here anymore.

It's a crappy cycle to be stuck in.

Losing a Friend

I’m super sad. I miss my Parker.

I try to be all hardcore and unemotional when dealing with stressful things, but also, I am a human, so need to allow myself to be sad and emotional in order to deal and process. I think Monday and Tuesday were just dealing with the shock for me. Dealing with her rapid decline and seeing her die. Dealing with her toys and bed and litter box and food bowl (Fuzzy took care of all these things). But as time goes on, the more her absence is huge in the house. Every night, I spend time on the couch to hold Parker. Last night, there was no Parker. I sit in the doorway of the kitchen holding Parker when Fuzzy makes dinner. There is no Parker to hold. I woke up this morning just SAD. I keep wanting to look for her just to see what she’s doing and to hold her fat squishy body and kiss her little head. But there is no Parker. And there isn’t going to be any Parker anymore. Parker is gone forever.

I understand death—the beauty and necessity of it. I am practical about it. But the habits are going to be hard to break. I was forced to quit cold turkey on my favorite pastime, my favorite possession, one of my closest friends.

I miss her.

Song of the Day

I am obsessed with Alt-J right now, and I am listening to this song on repeat today. Enjoy.

Auditions: Star Trek Burlesque

Gorilla Tango Burlesque seeks a fresh full cast of eight actresses/dancers for their revival of Star Trek: The Rack of Khan Burlesque, written by Nerdologues, directed and choreographed by Erica Reid. We will also be casting understudies for our other productions currently in open runs. Initial auditions will be dance-based, held on January 26th from 5:00-8:00pm, scheduled in groups in 1-hour slots.  To be considered, please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot to auditions@ericareid.com with "Burlesque Audition" in the subject line.

Audition Dates:  Auditions January 26 (5:00-8:00pm in one hour slots); callbacks February 1 (1:00-3:00pm - by invitation only)

Equity/Non Equity:  Non-Equity

Pay: $25/performance plus tips

Type/Restrictions:  Women, 21 and over only please.  Must be comfortable stripping down to pasties and a g-string.  Women with dance, movement, or comedy background especially encouraged to submit. All body types welcome. No experience necessary.

Time Commitment:  Rehearsals begin mid-February 2014, evenings and weekends. Rehearsals are always scheduled based on actor availability. Star Trek will run Fridays at 9:00pm from April 18th through August 29th. Actresses may still be considered for casting even with performance conflicts. Understudy positions in ongoing shows perform Fridays or Saturdays at 9:00pm, 10:30pm, or 11:59pm depending on casting.

Material to Prepare:  Audition by appointment. Please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot to auditions@ericareid.com with "Burlesque Audition" in the subject line. Arrive dressed to move; audition will consist of a dance taught day-of. Please Note: You will not be required to strip in initial audition. If you are called back, you will be asked to perform audition dance with additional strip down to bra and panties.

Location:  Auditions, Callbacks and Shows will be at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Sweet Little Parker

My sweet little Parker died yesterday.

I miss her terribly already. It is going to take a lot of time before I will stop looking for her or aching to hold her. Parker was just a part of my existence since I was 20, and this is the first day I've ever been in Chicago without her.

I am going to blog a lot about her coming up, posting pics and themed photos, etc etc, but I wanted to just update everyone as to what happened. Thank you to everyone who has sent such nice messages and memories about her. As I said to my brother last night, everyone who knows me knew Parker. She was just a part of me.

Fuzzy posted a nice post about her last night.

We are both super sad, but we are doing ok.

I said to the vet yesterday that my daddy was in Heaven waiting for her, and she said "She is going to take good care of him." I think that she is right.

Parker was sassy and beautiful and had so much personality. She was the best cat I've ever known. I am lucky to have been able to share my life with her.

Parker Reid Gerdes April 8, 1999-January 6, 2014

Holiday Cooking

I love to cook. Baking is one of my stress relievers. My schedule these last few months has kept me from my regular cooking adventures, so I took full advantage of the time off over the break. Please enjoy this selection of things that we made recently:

Ninjabread Cookies

Dutch Oven Bread (I make this a LOT. Recipe from BUST Magazine.)

Duck on Christmas Day (Fuzzy)

Christmas Day Meal: The duck, braised celery, braised shallots, roasted squash, & roasted brussel sprouts.

Duck Tacos (Fuzzy)

Eggs in Hell (eggs poached in tomato sauce! Crazy!)

Calzones from scratch! I even made the pizza dough! Amazing! They were filled with breakfast sausage, onions, green peppers, goat cheese and parmesan.

Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake (from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook)

Roast Pork with apples and onions, cornbread, New Years black eyed peas and greens.

Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwich (Fuzzy)

Homemade Baguettes!

Parker Update

We saw Parker's regular vet yesterday, who is just wonderful. It was nice to be with a doctor who knows Parker and can see all the changes. She sent us home with some steroids and antacids and advised us to keep giving her fluids and trying to make her eat. She barely ate yesterday, but has eaten more today, so that is good. She is moving around a lot today, but I can tell she is in pain by the way she walks, and she is crying a lot, too. She's still losing lots of weight. I have a day and a half left of my vacation before things get crazy again, so I am just trying to hold her as much as possible.

Thank you to everyone for all your sweet emails and texts. They are so helpful.


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January 1, 2014.

We are blessed that we are able to see the dawning of a new year.

Fuzzy and I have spent our new years eve and new years day so far in a somber state, as our sweet little Parker is likely prepping to leave this earth.

I won't go into any of the gruesome details (yet), but we spent 5 hours in the vet ER yesterday and opted to bring her home to keep her comfy and warm instead of leaving her at the hospital for extreme action, which they wanted to do. There's a lot to be said for quailty of life, and if this is her time to go, I would rather her do it with me in her cat bed by a heater than in a cold hospital with a bunch of strangers. It's heartbreaking to watch her, but when I pet her, she purrs, and that makes me so happy.

Ends of life are beautiful things. Hard as shit, but beautiful. I was blessed to be witness to the passing of my father; to watch his transition up to Heaven, alongside the rest of our immediate family. It is a memory that I hold dear and will til the end of MY time on earth.

I've been telling myself for years that I would be able to handle it when Parker passes--I've been through hell and back, and I am strong. If I could deal with dad's passing and mom's illness, surely I would be able to be rational and strong during the passing of a dumb little animal. But hearing the state of her health yesterday, I couldn't help but cry, and I have been weeping ever since. Parker is my best friend--she's been with me for almost my full adult life--I got her when I was 20, and she was just a few weeks old. She's from my hometown. She moved here with me, dated Fuzzy with me, blended into a larger family with 2 other cats when Fuzzy and I moved in together. She's been by my side and in my lap through everything. She's tolerated all the costumes, been in a million videos, and has more friends than I do. She is so pretty, and all the vets and technitions who have ever been around her have always complimented me on how good a kitty she is. It even happened yesterday.

We have more vet visits in our future in the next few days, and we will see what happens from there. Who knows, she might rally and be here for years! But for the first day of 2014, I am going to enjoy the company of the most amazing cat that I have ever met and had the honor to be friends with. I will celebrate the years we've shared together and the person she has helped me become.