Thursday, July 31, 2008


This has to be one of the best videos ever. If ever love was caught on camera, it's in this video.

Basically, these people are all listening to the song "First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes---which is the song in the video. (And also, can I just say that the concept for this video is really awesome...I mean, having random people listen to the song and capturing their first reactions? Absolutely brilliant.)

It's hard not to feel all the different types of love that each person (and an animal!) is expressing or reacting to when they hear different parts of the song. It really is beautiful.

And yes...I get choked up...every time.

P.S. Jeff? I love you. ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

being done

Usually on Wednesdays I opt to stay in Chicago with Jeff. Of course, once a month I head back to Indiana to join up with the gaggle of girls (and the occasional guy) for karaoke night at the Tap.

Today I decided to stay in Chicago, and all day at work I contemplated calling up a friend to come over for some wine and girl talk. So, I texted her to see what she was up to.

About an hour later, I got her response.

Now let me preface what I'm about to talk about next. See, this friend has a family member who is one of the strongest people I know. And this person has always been my friend's ally, confidante, and overall inspiration.

This person has also been dealing with medical problems since I've known my friend.

When my phone rang with my text ringer, I was expecting either a "What's up?" or "I've got practice." I mean, it was pretty last minute, and my friend is a busy gal these days, bless her heart.

Instead what she wrote struck me. In summary, the text simply said: "i'm at ....'s all night...[they're] basically done...we're making [.....] as comfy as possible until it's time..."

At first I was saddened, and immediately texted back my love and prayers. I didn't want to call and interrupt such a private moment.

Before I closed my phone, I reread my friend's message..."[they're] basically done..."

That line really stood out to me. Of course, in simple terms it refers to the end of life. But I thought about it on a deeper level. There's something beautiful about that line.


Done with worry, done with pain, done with the pieces of the world that make us hurt, make us cry, make us wonder what the point is, or make us wonder some people do such horrible things to one another.

I think my friend put it in such a beautiful way. It's not that life is all bad, or that it isn't worth it. I think it's the exact opposite. I think it's about this crazy journey with ups and downs and curves and turns. I think it's about beauty and about ugliness. It's about absorbing everything around us. It's about experience. It's about learning. It's about succeeding...and failing. It's about laughter. It's about philosophizing. It's about everything.

But like all things, there will be a point when we're done. And then it's off to something new and different. (For the record, I don't believe that once this life is over that's it.)

Not done forever. Just done with this. It almost makes it feel like the journey has been won. Like every experience---good and bad---has finally paid off.

This weekend, I looked at my pit of a bedroom and shuddered at the thought of cleaning it all up. For a few hours Sunday evening I toiled, scrubbing, vacuuming, sorting, organizing, doing laundry. Near 11:00pm, I had finished. I looked around at my room, no more a filthy pit of dirty underwear, empty water bottles, and errant shoes. It was peaceful. I couldn't wait to just get into bed and enjoy it. As I hung up the last shirt, I took a deep breath, exhaled and thought to myself, "I'm done."

It was a small accomplishment, a little speck compared to a lifetime lived. But it was freeing.

That line...[they're] basically sad as it is, I think it's very poignant in its simplicity. Because being done with something isn't necessarily a bad thing. Being done with one thing, gives way for something else. And in this case, I'm sure it's a journey without pain and suffering, full of unimaginable beauty.

Monday, July 28, 2008

silly singin' time

Felt like singing a little Elvis tonight. I just think this song is so I sang it :)

get, get, get, get busy.

So, Pierogifest was this weekend in my hometown...which I still live in. At least for part of the week.

Initially I had planned to upload my pictures this morning, but scary dreams of earwigs, flying ants, and poisonous caterpillars that morphed into poisonous kittens, caused me to hit snooze more often than I should have. (Yes, that's right, poisonous kittens.)

So instead of treating you to a nice picture of me impersonating a drunken chicken, or sporting a George Washington hairdo in my pool at 2 in the morning, or of my friends and enormous amounts of beer and ethnic food, today I can only write you to let you know that this week's blog entries involve a lot of hilarious pictures and stories.

Just not right now.

Right now I must do some work-related research.

And also find out what it means to dream of poisonous kittens--I'll definitely keep you posted on that one...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

thank you for being a friend

So, sad news.

Estelle Getty passed away today. You know, Sophia from Golden Girls.

I'd heard the news during a break at work so I sent out a group email informing everyone of the sad news, along with my two cents on how she was a Boomin' Granny.

Fantastically, this resulted in the entire office breaking out into a sing-along of the Golden Girls' theme song. First one person, then a couple more joined in, then more, until finally the entire staff was stylizing the "And if you threw a par-taaaaaaaay, and invited everyone you knew..." lyric, all the way up until the end of the song. Someone even busted out with the final instrumental string.

It was out-of-the-blue and brilliant.

I just wish I would have recorded it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

abundance of energy?

A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. I decided to take the Chicago Skyway to save a few minutes. Although I work in the city now, I still haven't purchased an IPass or an IZoom or whatever other tolling product is available.

I mean, I need one but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. So I always have to use the cash lanes and pay my $3.00. Recently, the Skyway made all of the lanes--even cash lanes--accept IPass.

As I drove through today, I handed the toll booth operator a five-dollar bill. He started handing me my change and then stopped and said, "You have an IPass?"

I thought he was making a sales pitch.

"No, I don't." I said politely, still waiting for my change.

Then he mumbled something about the IPass again and started to hand me back my $5. The way it was going, it seemed like I was in the wrong lane and needed an IPass to get through. I told him, "Look, this is a cash lane? Why do I need an IPass to get through?"

He told me he knew that, and that all lanes accept IPass. I told him that I understood that, but that I don't have an IPass.

Then he said, "But it's saying that you do have an IPass."

I looked around my car and assured him that I didn't have an IPass and begged him to take my money. I think my exact words were, "It might be saying that I have an IPass, but I don't. Take my money because I don't want you to get screwed. Really. Take it."

He did, but he looked really confused.

I don't know if he was more confused about the fact that the sensors detected a non-existent IPass, or that I didn't take advantage of the fact that they had made a $3.00 mistake.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


"I'll Find A Way"

I'll find a way to see you again
I'll find a way to see you again

I used to think that anything I'd do
Wouldn't matter at all anyway
But now I find that when it comes to you
I'm the winner of cards I can't play
Wait for me, wait for me
Darling, I need you desperately, desperately here

And I'll find a way to see you again
And I'll find a way to see you again

The rain is like an orchestra to me
Little gifts from above meant to say
Girl, you falling at his feet
Isn't lovely or stunning today
Wait with me, wait with me
I'm alive when you're here with me, here with me, stay

And I'll find a way to see you again
And I'll find a way to see you again

Why do the street lamps die
When you're passing by
Like a hand that won't stay on my shoulder tonight
If you held me close, would you laugh it away
Would you dare the glance that I steal to stay

And I'll find a way to see you again
Yes, I'll find a way to see you again
I'll find a way, a way, a way to see you again
I'll find a way, a way, a way to see you again
I'll find a way, a way, a way to see you again
The rain will bring, the rain will bring, the rain will bring, bring, bring me down
The rain will bring, the rain will bring, the rain will bring, bring, bring me down
The rain will bring, the rain will bring, the rain will bring, bring, bring me down

Monday, July 14, 2008

laundry list

Okay some things:

1.) Laundry gets me thinking.
2.) I am still very sad and it feels like I've been socked in the gut.
3.) I was wrong about some things.
4.) I've changed my mind about others.
5.) I'm dying my hair in 15 minutes. Stop me now, or forever hold your peace.
6.) Next blog will be about farts. And it will be up in about an hour or two.
7.) Heavy whipping cream makes coffee more delicious than you could even begin to imagine.
8.) Yes, I heard you tonight. And yes, I wanted to pick up the phone.
9.) Always on my mind. In fact, I may start calling you "Georgia."
10.) I like my dad's chicken.
11.) I also like broccoli. Unfortunately, it gives me gas.
12.) There are ashes on my dashboard.
13.) I hooped today. I am a bit out of practice.
14.) A centipede almost knocked me on my ass last night.
15.) I rocked COD2 today.
16.) I can't wait for my eye doctor's appointment Wednesday.
17.) I hope you know that I'm realizing a a good way.
18.) My hamburger at lunch today tasted mildly like Windex.
19.) I listened to a lot of good, albeit sad music today. Here are the lyrics to two new favorites:
Romeo & Juliet
20.) I miss you more in 24 hours than I ever have. I just want you to know that.
21.) I like bubblegum.
22.) I lost a button on my favorite new pants.
23.) I have veiny hands.
24.) I wish I had a Tootsie Pop.
25.) I don't care what anybody says...RC cola is the best. Period.

bye, bye, blondie

That's right. I've had my current hair color(s) long enough. Actually, over a year---which is like, a world record for me. Crazy.

So yesterday, after a less-than-good, borderline terrible, incredibly awful day, I decided that I'm going brunette again. Initially I was going to get through the summer, but I scratched that plan and bought two boxes of Dark Mahogany Brown hair dye.

So, tonight, I will officially be a brunette again.

I'll also look like my driver's license picture again, which is good because many times people question whether the damn thing is really mine. Which is annoying.

And yes, I'm still very sad today.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Sad day.

I don't really know where to begin...or even where to end for that matter.

So I'll just say this, you know how sometimes you get a picture in your head about how you think things will be, and then out of nowhere it all changes? Like, all of a sudden everything compounds into a confusing mess until the picture in your head gets all blurry and out of focus. And the whole time you're hoping that you'll be able to bring it back into clear view, but you're not sure how to, or if you even can now?

But you really want to. More than anything.

That's my day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

photoshop skills not necessary

So I was checking my email today when I noticed this little gem of an advertisement on the screen.

Now, I've seen a TON of weight-loss ads, and I'm well aware of the fact that:

1.) they usually make false claims


2.) the models are *usually* airbrushed.
Okay...pretty much always airbrushed.

But see, typically? Typically they're airbrushed to look, well, NOT airbrushed. Sneaky, I know.

However, if you take a look at the model above, it's hard not to notice that instead of nicely airbrushing some curves in her midsection, they blatantly just took out a chunk of her body. I mean, they didn't even soften the edges! Look above her belly button. It honestly looks like a chupacabra came and had her spleen for a snack.

Is that the secret that will shock me? That a chupacabra will chomp out random bits of my anatomy, thereby allowing me to fit into my skinny jeans again?

In that case, mission accomplished.

Friday, July 11, 2008

again with the blast from the past...

I don't know what it is about this week but, damn have I been nostalgic. And it's not like on-purpose nostalgia. It's more like, things pop into my head or something comes up and BAM! I'm back 3, maybe 5, or even 10 - 15 years ago.

It happened again today. See that video up there? Michael Penn's "No Myth." Brilliant song. Well, I was listening to again today, and all of a sudden it came on. And in an instant, there I was as the Roller Dome skating rink in north Hammond, holding hands with my very first boyfriend--we'll call him M.

Ah, puppy love. I mean, at the time it felt genuine. I was only 14, so in my adolescent mind M was 'The One." I imagined our lives together: house, white picket fence, a dog, and 2.5 strawberry-blonde-headed children. (I have always wanted to be a redhead, so the fact that M had a reddish tint to his coif pretty much sealed the deal for me back then.)

But when "No Myth" came on, for a moment, the memory of M and the Summer of 1995 (Holy cripes...13 years ago? Really? Wow. Hold on, I need to regroup for a minute.)... I was saying, when "No Myth" came on today, it brought back that memory of me and M at the roller rink way back in 1995. This song was playing during a couple's skate when M skated me to a dark corner, and I had my first kiss under a shower of lights from the disco ball.

Of course, I make it sound so poetic now. In reality I had a mouth full of Bazooka bubble gum and I had no idea how to kiss.

Like, at all.
And the place smelled like hot dogs and nachos.

Anyways, M and I spent that entire summer together, making out on my front porch swing, (This was before the city decided to install landing-strip-intensity street lights on my street, making secret make-out sessions on the front porch virtually impossible.), talking on the phone for hours, and celebrating our month-a-versaries. Yes, I got flowers once a month every month for an entire summer.

But all this nostalgia I'm feeling, I guess it's not so much about missing M. I mean, he was sweet, but it's not about missing M at all. I think it's the innocence that I miss. When it was all foreign to me,and my heart (among other things) was experiencing all of these new feelings, and it didn't have any bad relationship experiences to reference yet. That naiveté is priceless, and when we are going through it, we don't notice it. And really, that's kind of sad.

I wish I could have found a way to bottle that precious innocence up and could have saved some of it, so that I could daub some on like fine perfume every now and again. Just let it wash over me like those orbs of white light from the Roller Dome's mirror ball back in 1995, all sparkly and new.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

cranberry bogs and ska music

So, for some odd reason I decided to Google an album that I had about 10 or 11 years ago called "Ska Down her Way: Women of Ska."

I remember adoring this album back in my "ska-kid" days.

I spent countless evenings lying on my bedroom floor--my combat boots with the checkered laces tossed carelessly near the bed, my silver bomber jacket with sewn-on patches from all my favorite bands draped over my desk chair--singing along to that album.

And for some reason, it popped into my head to look up that album again. I found it on Amazon...although it's now out-of-print and only available through sellers willing to part with it. Luckily, many of the tracks can be heard in-full on

But listening to those old tracks again, with their island-y, poppy, trumpet-y melodies, I got to thinking about how much I still love that music. At Fat Cat on Thursday nights, our softball team usually gets together after games for some food and chit chat. We've always sat outside, but on occasion I've ventured inside to use the facilities, and I've noticed that they play a whole lot of ska music. I mean good stuff, old stuff, classic pure root-of-all-that-is-skafully-wonderful, unabashed ska.

And you know what I want right now? Like really bad? Especially since works like a radio station and is pumping some mad-awesome ska into my headphones right this very minute? (And it's based on what artists I like. For example, if I put in "Agent 99," which is an awesome ska band, will continually stream related artists. And right now, they're playing one of the best Chicago soul, reggae, ska bands---ever: Deal's Gone Bad. This. Is. Fantastic!) But I'm's what I want:

I want to sing in a ska band.

Not gonna happen, I know. But it's going on my list of weird things that I want to try at least once. It's one step below "Walk in a cranberry bog" and one step above "Visit a llama farm." Okay, maybe it's tied with the llama farm.

I could, possibly combine the two I guess. You know, visit a llama farm with a ska band and put on a show?

Actually, that *might* be cooler in a cranberry bog.

What to do? What to do?!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

sweet lew

That's me with my friend Lewis back in February 2006. We were at an Oscar Party, dressed to the nines, drunk as skunks, balls to the wall. Okay, so it wasn't THAT rowdy, but our table was covered with half-sipped chocolate martinis and screwdrivers that we'd hoarded right before they shut down the open bar earlier in the night. And by night's end, we'd finished them all.

I remember Lewis lost his camera that night. He'd gotten it for Christmas and had been taking pictures ever since. Hundreds of pictures were on that camera, and unfortunately the camera was gone. We figured someone had probably stolen it.

And to be honest, I think Lewis was more upset about the memories he'd lost, rather than the camera itself. I mean, the camera was replaceable...but the moments in those pictures? Well, it'd be impossible to recreate them.

Of course, a few hours later, Lewis had moved on. He was past losing the camera, and on his way to making more memories, posing for pictures in other people's cameras. Like mine. Or our countless other friends.

But that was Lewis. He just made the most of everything. I mean, he was born with a heart defect for which he'd had an artificial valve implanted since he was little. But you'd never know it. He never let it slow him down. And much like the way he just went on having fun even after losing his new camera, Lewis just went on having fun and enjoying life, even with a heart condition.

I mean he just really lived. Truly balls to the wall I guess, actually. He did things that made him happy. He never acted like he was more fragile than the rest of us, even if in truth he actually was.

I remember a few weeks after Oscar night, Lewis leaned over and told me that in the fall he'd be having heart surgery to replace the old valve. I was a bit shaken up. I mean this was serious shit. But he let me know that it would be okay, and that it would be for the best. I mean, the valve he was using now was getting pretty old. "Better to be safe than sorry," he'd mentioned.

He was dressed like a vampire or a super hero. Something with a cape. It wasn't Halloween, just a theme night for him and his circle of live band karaoke friends. I remember him whispering into my ear, his cape falling over his shoulder, someone on stage was drunk, and singing something loud and fairly obnoxious. But just like he did after losing his camera on Oscar night, Lewis just went on with the night, having fun, creating if nothing happened.

Lewis died July 8th, 2006, just about 4 months after he told me about the heart valve replacement. He was 24.

It's been two years, and for the most part it doesn't hurt to think about the loss of Lewis. But sometimes, like's harder.

I guess for all of us who knew Lewis, it's a lot like when he lost his camera on Oscar night. Right after, we were distraught. We were borderline frantic and shocked. But as timed passed, we went on. We started having fun again, occasionally looking up to the sky as if to check in on Lew every once in a while. We kept on creating moments, even though we still felt like there were some empty spaces where Lewis should have been.

And now, two years later, we still do. But unlike the camera, Lewis is not lost. A little piece of him is in everyone he ever knew. And we are all better for that.

Miss you Lew.
November 11, 1981 - July 8, 2006.

Monday, July 7, 2008

square peg

I've always felt a little out of place. I mean always. Anywhere. No matter what.

It's not entirely in a bad way, and perhaps I could blame it on mild chronic self-esteem deficiency, but no matter what, I seem to always feel like I just don't fit in.

I guess it's kind of hard to explain. And as I write this now, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense even though it's been on my mind all day. Literally. All. Day.

I've always had this issue with being "normal." More specifically, it's just that I've never felt entirely normal. Which I suppose is a good thing, I mean, normal can be sort of bland, boring, beige. But I imagine that there's some sort of comfort in normalcy. And I think that's what I feel like I'm missing.

Or, perhaps, maybe it's not really normalcy that I crave. Maybe it's just a sense that who I am isn't really all that out-of-place or awkward. That I could actually find comfort just by being me. But no matter what, I just can't seem to shake the fact that most days I feel like a square peg in a very round hole.

In short, more often than not I feel rather awkward. Always have.

And maybe for me that's just normal.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

vote often

Okay, so it isn't really voting, but here's the deal.

A very, Very, VERY dear friend of mine is a HUGE Alanis Morissette fan. There's a contest on Myspace karaoke that she's entered, and I really want her to win. Her love for Alanis is akin to my love for No Doubt. In other words, this is a big freaking deal.

All you have to do is go listen to her recording of "Incomplete" by Alanis. (Yes, my friend is singing...and I'll tell you what, it's pretty amazing.) Then rate it. Rate it based on how you feel, or if you love me, give her a 10 for going out of her way just to figure out how to hook up her microphone...and succeeding!

Just click the "Play" arrow button on the link below and support Erica!

long weekend delay

Sorry it's been a few days since I've updated. But don't worry...4th of July related blogs are forthcoming. And maybe a few that have nothing to do with the 4th, too.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

dollar store bargains part 1

A while back I talked about a trip to about a million different dollar stores in Chicago. This past weekend, I took a walk up to one of my favorites at Foster and Lincoln. It was Jeff's birthday this past week, and nothing says "I love you!" like random trinkets from the dollar store. I've decided to show you what I've far...and why I enjoy the dollar store so very, very much. So, with that...let's begin:


My First Cute Puzzle. In the same line as "My First Happy Puzzle," "My First Sad Puzzle," "My First Ugly Puzzle," and "My First Trauma-Inducing, Will Require Therapy Later in Life," puzzles.

This clown is scary as hell. But take an even closer look (if you can stand it)...

"Sleep Happy?" Are you F*@$ing kidding me? There's no sleeping period as I lie awake in bed, worrying that this evil MFer will come and eat my face.

And I'm an adult.

I can't imagine a child taking comfort knowing that freakin' Pennywise is watching him from the outlet by the closet...

This one about gave me a star-attack...


Now, I don't even really know what this thing is. Some sort of spinning musical light. Woo hoo.

The real fun lies in the the fantabulous packaging. Let's take a closer look...shall we?

It says:
"Magical Light. Design for the children.
Best quality for your selection.
Welcome to choose our product."

Me: Um...Thank you?

32 Grow the music! Alright!

Um...I'm assuming that this is a unisex toy? Either that, or it could cause seizures AND make you question your sexuality.

Forbidden finger? Moving parts gap? Uh.....I'm confused. Maybe if I look at the more detailed warning section...

This didn't help me AT ALL.
Where's a damn custodian when I need one?

Ah yes...a construction action figure playset! Woot! Hey, wait? Is that a sticker that says "2" Action Figures? Why yes it is...because if you peel up the sticker you'll find that apparently there used to be 4.

Damn lay-offs...

Is it just me, or do these construction workers look like rejects from Village People auditions?

And apparently, they're made out of cheese...
But what else is in this playset?

Surely something awesometastic to make all of my construction daydreams come true...

Jackhammer...(Freaking cool) and Check!

Hey...wait a minute. What the...

An axe? Really? For what?

Oh..a malfunction.
It all makes perfect sense now.

Wait...malfunction? Arg...what's "malfunctioning?"

Um...the malfunctioning culprit is either a rock...
or a giant turd.
Neither of which explain the need for an axe...the wheelbarrow, yes.
But definitely not the axe.

What else?

A flag. Nice. But, where the hell is it from?

Holy sh*t on a shingle. What the hell is this?

"Warning: Firefighter!"
Is he trapped in there?!
Use the jackhammer to get him outta there!
Wait...this explains the axe...
Are these guys construction workers, or serial killers?!

Or perhaps they're part of a militia?

Camo green sand bags...

...barbed-wire trench fence?

Hey wait a minute...

"Press Show of Orientation Go"
Great advertising. Really. This sign is so DIS-orienting that you need to visit the all-powerful Press Show of Orientation to get your head on straight again.
It does beg the question however: What the hell does a press show have to do with a malfunctioning turd and the Village People militia?
And also, what did that poor firefighter do to end up in a barrel over all this?
I know:
Code of flammable stifle the forbidden finger to violate the custodian. (In other words, they probably failed the fire safety inspection.)

Really, though...what can I say? I mean, especially when you put it all together:

It's the 4 -- whoops, I mean 2 action figure Construction/Village People/Waste Removal/Serial Killer/Militia Set.


The lesson: I'd be less worried about lead poisoning and more concerned about the mental trauma caused by this CF of a playset...

Proof that our children are growing up too fast:

A newborn with a cell phone? Really? Why?

Ohhhhhhh....yeah. That makes complete sense now...


And finally, something I didn't intend to buy, but had to because the store owner was staring at me too much for me to simply snap a picture. (Plus, it was only a why not.):

Sweet Love Douche. Sweet freaking Love? Really? Are you kidding me?


Well, at least it's "Complete." Wouldn't want some cheap, incomplete douche, now would we?

Ah, the joys of the Dollar Store. I tell ya, this stuff just doesn't get old.

If you happen to have any dollar store finds, email them to me:

I'd be happy to post them in upcoming Dollar Store Bargain posts.