Feb 232020
 

We have a little more than a month before we leave for our mini-theme park Euro-trip so I’ve been spending most of my free time scouring the Internet and YouTube to ensure our itinerary is as padded and stacked as possible because I am super high-strung when it comes to DOING THE MOST AHHHHHH WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Now, I have previously been to several places we will be hitting on this trip, but I was a kid and sadly, unless I pull out the old travel journals, I have very spotty memories of these times which is pathetic because some of these cities I have been to more than once.

For instance, my only memories of Amsterdam:

  • Getting stuck in the elevator of the Pullman? Astoria? hotel we were staying at;
  • My Pappap finding a piece of glass in his dessert at the same hotel’s restaurant (I have a vivid memory of the dessert being a peeled pear, like straight of a can, sitting on top of a chocolate sauce pool);
  • Another time being in Amsterdam as a surly teenager and having a huge fight with my aunt Sharon and writing horrible things about her in my vacation journal, and then going on a tour of a diamond factory and her buying me a diamond ring for my birthday and being all, “Dear diary, I take back everything I said about Sharon; I was just tired and hungry. Oh yeah, and she bought me this cool ring!” And I definitely probably didn’t use a semi-colon though because I’m sure I didn’t know how to use those yet, but I mean, do I really know how to use them now.

And Cologne:

  • Milling about in a courtyard and walking along some slanted brick thing, the kind of things that usually have a tree or flowers in the middle, and I lost my balance and fell, sending my camera skidding across the courtyard, batteries popping out and rolling all over the place, and I skinned my knee too probably, that sounds about right;
  • Another time we were in Cologne and I was like, “OH HAY GUYS REMEMBER??” And then I began to do a mocking reenactment of The Fall and then accidentally fell again and injured myself;
  • I think it was also that last time, I spotted these two people who looked like the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock. The lady was straddling the man on a bench and they were slowly rocking back and forth and I was like look at those people, they look like Fraggle Rock and Sharon was all OMG THEY ARE HAVING SEX and then slapped her hand across my eyes and lead me away.

Brussels was the only city in Belgium that I’ve been to and we’ve opted for Bruges instead on this trip, but either way, my only memory of Brussels is seeing the statue of the peeing boy and fighting with Sharon.

We were honestly the WORST travel partners. I mean, it was ok when my grandparents used to travel with us because I could at least seek refuge and reprieve from Sharon in their room.

Anyway, now it’s hours later and this post inspired me to dig through the treasure trove of photos I took from my Pappap’s house when we were cleaning it out in 2016 and I actually found a photo that Sharon took of me in 1995 standing in front of that dumb thing I fell down when I was 10 and you can tell by my scowl that I loved having my picture taken. And right after this was when i was like HAHA I WAS SO STUPID LOOK AT ME I’M ERIN FROM 1989 NOT KNOWING HOW TO WALK and then I accidentally fell down.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

I also found a picture of this guy I was in love with from one of those trips and I have been wanting to write a travel memories post about him for quite some time now so maybe that will inspire me to do so someday when I feel less lazy.I really got away from my point here which is I really appreciate that I had the opportunity to do so much traveling as a kid and thank God I kept travel journals else I would barely remember anything. For instance, we are going to Frankfurt and I have to actually flip through those ancient tomes* at some point because I am not sure if I have been there before?!?! That’s…pathetic.

*(The best edition is the one where I was going through a phase when I spelled ‘really’ as ‘rilly’ and replaced any ‘s’ at the end of a word with a ‘z’ just BCUZ KAY GUYZ? And every paragraph was in a different color ink. Would you believe me if I told you I’m actually less obnoxious now?)

I tried to get Chooch to start vacation journaling when we took him to Disney in 2016 but he is super not into that at all so I guess at least he has my blog to fall back on. For instance, when we were hate-watching these dumb Australian travel vloggers who were in Savannah. They went to Leopold’s for ice cream and I shouted, “WE WENT TO LEOPOLD’S WHEN WE WERE THERE TOO!” and Chooch was like, “I wonder what flavor I got” and I said “Probably something dumb, here, I’ll check my blog.”

“Yep, as suspected: Probably Something Dumb,” I happily reported back.

I think I veered off track somewhere up there but the whole point of this post is that this is my first time traveling to this region of Europe as an adult and without the shackles of an organized bus tour so we will be in full control of the things we do and I want to make sure we do the right/best/most funnest things and eat all the good foods because unless stroopwafels weren’t a thing yet in the 90s which I find hard to believe, our stupid tour guide never made sure they found a way into our mouths, not a single time I was in Amsterdam, how can that be so!? That is just an example of the things on my Erin Returns: The Redemption Trip.

That’s just a name I thought up on the spot. It’s subject to change, a work in progress. We’ll see where it goes.

That’s all for today. I’m revisiting Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program and today I started Workout 5 and still feel slightly nauseous from that so I think I might go and dry heave into a waste basket and then put myself to bed early WHO CAN BE SURE.

(Do I have a waste basket though? Is it just a garbage can?)

Feb 222020
 

…I got distracted and didn’t finish writing it, so now it’s Saturday and you can have four things instead of five because what good are rules if you don’t ever break them? Fuck off, Friday Fives! We’re here for Saturday…Fours now.

    1. It Always Comes Back to Days Of Our Lives

Yo, I was watching SuperM on some YouTube video from when they were doing their US promotions and they were each asked to name a song that’s the playlist of their lives, or whatever, and I had to do a doubletake when Baekhyun chose PEABO BRYSON?!!?

How fucking random. I feel like a ton of Americans wouldn’t even know Peabo Bryson, but I know him because he sang STEVE AND KAYLA’S SONG FROM DAYS OF OUR LIVES:

Also, when it was Taemin’s turn, he picked one of his own songs, haha, I love him so much.

2. Math Mystery Night

For the last several years, Chooch has been attending the Gifted Center once a week during school. Every year, they have this thing called Math Mystery Night and he always either forgets to tell us, or tells us 10 minutes after it started, or actually gives us the flyer in advance which gives us plenty of time to make excuses for not being able to go. Ew, math on a weeknight? No thanks.

But this time, I saw the flyer in his backpack and as soon as I noticed that it was on a Thursday night, I stuck it up on the fridge and told Henry to go.

“I don’t want to,” he whined.

“Well, I can’t go because that’s my late shift. So, you can go. It’s his last year there!”

Thank god for late shift, haha.

So, that’s what Henry ended up doing Thursday night while I stayed at home and worked. He said Chooch was the only 8th grader that showed up and all the other kids were like, elementary-age. But, Chooch was happy to solve dumb math problems and collect prizes, and apparently Henry even managed to solve one.

It was probably some basic word problem like, “Susie has 8 soft pretzels. She eats 7 of them while watching an episode of NCIS while sitting in her car in the Shop n’ Save parking lot. How much salt is on the car seat now?”

Anyway, later in the evening, Henry said they were in one of the classrooms when some bitch-mom was whining to the teacher about how her son didn’t get into SciTech and Chooch piped up, “I got into SciTech.”

WOW, SON. Maybe we should enroll in SciTACT, you know what I’m saying?

(When I told Todd and Glenn this at work the next day, Todd said he didn’t know what I meant, so I explained it and he was like, “Sike, I knew what you meant, I just wanted you to have to explain the joke.” COOL.)

Henry said that he actually wasn’t mad at Chooch for his ruthless outburst because the mom in question was a bitch.

“She reminded me of [name redacted for my own protection]’s mom, only—”

“—alive?” I offered, because that mom kicked it last year.

“Wow. No. I was going to say ‘mouthier,’ but OK,” Henry said, shaking his head at me.

3. Beetle Ring Story Time

Sometimes when I’m rummaging through my jewelry boxes, I stumbled upon shit I forgot I had, like this here (wow I typed “hear” at first please send me back to 2nd grade) steampunk-esque ring that my ex-bff bought for me years ago on Etsy because I said I wanted it and back then, all I had to do was say that I wanted something and it was mine because she was like, some pimp salesperson at a window company at the time and always bragged about how much money she made so I was like, “OK cool then buy me shit” and she would because I’m the best, have you not figured that out yet?

Anyway, the very same day, the ring arrived in my mailbox and I was like HOW THO. Turns out, the maker actually lives in my neighborhood so when she saw my address, she packaged it right up and just walked it over to my house. We struck up a casual friendship through Etsy because of this and ended up meeting – she had moved her from San Francisco after spending years being the number fan of this local college-rock legend Weird Paul and then he was like “Be my girlfriend” I guess and so that’s what she did. I went to their house one time for tea and snacks, and she pretended to use a banana as a telephone and then we watched some documentary about a photographer I think, and then another time she and Weird Paul came to my house for game night and brought a bag of pretzels (“If Weird Paul brings a bag of pretzels to Erin’s game night and Henry eats the whole bag, how high is Henry’s blood pressure?”) and a vintage board game called Uncle Wiggily.

I have to laugh because Weird Paul’s Pittsburgh popularity has had a bit of resurgence lately and smugly think to myself, “He came to one of my game nights, so…”

MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER GAME NIGHT SOON?! The last couple were kind of…eh.

4. A Psycho Surprise

I have this little gold picture frame on my desk at work that contains a vintage photo of a dead man in a coffin  that I used years ago for one of my Halloween displays but then ended up keeping it as perma-desk decor because, hey, that’s just who I am, a person who enjoys looking at real life photos of finely-dressed corpses throughout the work day. Sometimes, when I’m struggling through a particularly sticky conversation with a lawyer, I stare at that picture and remember that someday, I won’t have to talk to people on the phone anymore because I too will be a corpse.

I SHOULD MAKE MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS, I KNOW, YOU’RE RIGHT, THAT’S A GREAT FUCKING IDEA. TIME TO OPEN UP A CAFE PRESS STORE.

Well, one day recently, I noticed that the picture was all askew, and I would accuse the cleaning people of bumping it but we all know that they never dust our fucking desks so who knows who the culprit was; in any case, I opened the back of it so I could adjust the picture, and this photo came fluttering out:

THAT’S A FUCKING PICTURE OF MY EX-BOYFRIEND PSYCHO MIKE FROM WHEN HE WAS A CHILD! I can’t remember why he gave this to me when we were dating, BUT HE DID, and then eventually I covered it with a picture of my boss from Olan Mills and I guess the dead guy has been in there for 6 years now, which evidently is long enough to make me forget that Child (but still psycho, no doubt) Mike was in there, lying in wait.

It was real jolting and I had to stifle a scream, since this happened in the middle of the work day and you’ve probably never been to my office but it is usually so quiet there that you would think you were in a morgue, so my Dead Guy probably feels quite at home. Then I started laughing because the fact that I was more scared of a picture of my psycho ex-boyfriend than one of a dead guy in a coffin is extremely telling of our sordid relationship.

***

Well, hell. That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime.

Feb 202020
 

Tonight, I marked “The Haunting of Hill House” as “read” on Goodreads and realized that I’m 22/30 into my reading challenge. What the hell. I think my brain was craving a return to reading more than I realized!

This month has been GREAT bookwise so far, although it started off kind of weak with a series of mediocre-to-bad recommendations. I’ll have a wrap-up of all I read at the end of the month, and I’m already dorking out at the thought of that blog post. My life is, um, super rich.

Chooch told me last week that our local library had a stack of paper-covered “surprise” books and at first I was like OK Way to rip off the Kdrama “Romance is a Bonus Book” because they do that as a marketing gimmick in one episode and I’m sure it’s not the first time that was done but I am super protective of my dramas because I’m a DRAMAMAMA.

Great, now I want to watch that show all over again. And also possibly get a temp job making copies at a small book publishing company and then amaze them with all my LOFTY IDEAS THAT I AM ABLE TO FLAWLESSLY EXECUTE AGAINST ALL ODDS BECAUSE I HAVE A SECRET MARKETING DEGREE AND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE THAT I PURPOSELY OMITTED FROM MY CV and then they’ll be all, “Why have you been over there refilling the coffee bar when you’re clearly a book genius, here have a promotion.” 

(I don’t get a sleep anymore. I can’t be held responsible for the cringe I generate on this website.)

(Yes, “a sleep.” I’m leaving it like that to ILLUSTRATE MY POINT ABOUT HOW I DON’T GET ANY.)

Wait, where were we? Oh! The mystery books at the library!

Chooch had to draw me a map of where these books were located, because he didn’t wish to accompany his dorky and extremely dependent MOMMY to the library. His map actually quite sucked, but I figured it out once I got there. It was right before Valentine’s Day, and they were calling it Blind Date with a Book, which I thought was so adorable and also kind of gross, but whatever. I wasn’t planning on picking one out, because I was really there to pick up another book I had requested, and I also had some others lined up at home, but like a Big Dumb, I chose one. 

Anyway, I already knew it what it was before I got it home, since I had to scan it to check it out: “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena. It seems like it will be an OK read! Just a thriller, probably nothing I would have reached for if the cover was available for some good ol’ judgin’. 

I have that one plus three others sitting here looking at me, and hopefully I’ll get them all read before the 2/29 so I can include them on my February Round-Up!

My favorite thing about this challenge is that my screen-time is waaaay down. Like, people online probably think I died. I think it’s been a week since I even posted on Instagram*, and I barely even look at my feed on there lately, which is insane because Instagram was the really my one big social media vice. I don’t want to quit that altogether, but it’s nice distancing myself and not being chained to my phone like usual! Although, I really just replaced with it obsessive scrolling through the Goodreads app, so…

*(And then I posted a picture of my cat 30 minutes later lol.)

I’m so neck-deep in this reading game that I’ve resorted to watching “books to read on flights” videos on YouTube. Henry, with glazed eyes, murmured, “omg” the other night when he realized what I was doing. Look, I want to be better prepared for our flight to Germany, unlike when I went to the library last summer and blindly checked out two books (using Chooch’s library card because I didn’t have my own yet, and so I had to pay his stupid fine while I was there too, thanks asshole) in preparation for Korea and the one was a big fat hate-read and the other one had me snoozing before the first chapter was over. I cannot let that happen again. 

So that’s where I’m at in life: watching people talk about books on YouTube.  

Feb 192020
 

I feel like it’s been a hot one since I dropped some Kpop vids up in this rotting word-dump, so here are some of my current faves, because that sweet, sugary kpop is still fueling my lame-ass motherwhompin’ life.

FIRST, I want to show you guys (lol, every time I type those words, I’m 5-years-old again and talking to the stuffed animals lined up on my bed. I guess this is just the digital version of that) THE BEST ONE, which is SuperM performing “Dangerous Woman” on Jimmy Kimmel last week! I watched it 4x before I went to work that morning and cried happy tears each time, is it weird that it made me feel so proud of them?! Taemin, ugh. I’m really glad they chose this song because it’s nice to see them being relaxed and singing joyfully without focusing on choreo. When we saw them sing this live last November, I was like WHAT IS THIS SONG I LOVE IT!??! because it’s not on their album, and they debuted it during their tour last fall. UGH I LOVE THIS SONG!

Next up, let’s enjoy together the new IKON! It’s bittersweet though, because last year, they lost their member B.I. over something FUCKING STUPID and their dumb agency (YG, ugh!!!) didn’t do shit to fix the situation, and B.I. was one of the main songwriters of the group, so…this new album has his fingerprints all over it. I hate that he’s not with them anymore. Still, IKON never disappoints and I will support them always.

This one is Henry’s pick. He’s a HUGE Super Junior fan boy. Like, HUGE. Maybe even YYYYYUGE. I asked him one day, “If Super Junior did a US tour, would you go—”

“Yes,” he said, full of confidence, the rest of the sentence still dangling off my lips.

I just asked him who his favorite member is, and he thoughtfully said, “I don’t know” and like, not in that shitty I DON’T KNOW, STOP BOTHERING ME tone that he usually uses when I ask him to pick favorites, like who does he like better, Chooch or Blake? Me or Chooch? Red Pop or Moon Mist?

OK back to me and my favorites now. Pentagon just had a comeback last week and I have to say, similar to IKON, I applaud their resilience and determination to power on in the wake of scandal. I’ve touched on this numerous times in the past, but during the summer of 2018, they were riding high on the success of their single “Shine,” and two of the members, Dawn and Hui, had also just made a comeback with the side project they were in with Hyuna, one of Korea’s more controversial female solo artists, when Dawn and Hyuna admitted that they had been dating for the last two years.

I know, big deal right? Artists date all the time. Taylor Swift always has boyfriends. Whoopdie-doo. Yeah, but Korea has a PRETTY DIFFERENT mindset when it comes to their idols dating. So, fans got pissed, netizens were disgusted and betrayed, and their agency was all, “OK, Hyuna and Dawn, GTFO.” Yeah. They got kicked out of Cube Entertainment. Hyuna literally MADE that agency. She fucking carried them on her back, and her back alone. Dawn was a pivotal member of Pentagon. But OK, Cube. Cook on.

We can imagine how much it sucked for them, but then also you have to consider the remaining members of Pentagon. They had been CRUISIN’, their popularity was at an all-time high, they were slaying the music shows. And then they had the rug pulled out from under them. It was devastating. But, Hyuna and Dawn got signed by Psy (come on, you know “Gangnam Style”), who has his own agency now, and they’re still together, and they’re still making fucking great music. So, I guess, don’t cry for them, Argenteenagers.

And, Pentagon has continued to bounce back, with comeback after comeback, and while their momentum hasn’t really seemed to pick back up to what it was that summer, I have yet to be disappointed with anything that they do. Here is their latest!

And, for old time’s sake, here’s a live performance of “Shine,” as well, because that song MAKES MY HEART SING and it is a true mood improver (Dawn is the one who starts the song, FYI):

And I’ll end with this new-ish Stray Kids that is also uplifting, because it’s winter so let’s listen to this shit and put on a pep rally for our mental health. RAH RAH, MOTHERFUCKERS.

OK I LIED ONE MORE. I was just telling Henry that I dare someone who thinks that kpop is dumb to watch this video and then tell me that they didn’t like it and he was like, “Oh ther will always be someone—” and I was like, “I AM BEING RHETORICAL HENRY BUT OK COOK ON” jesus christ! But seriously, if you watch this whole thing and don’t smile or like, I dunno, tap your pencil against your desk or start a conga line with your goldfish, then you’re fucking dead inside. And maybe that’s how you like your insides. If so, that’s OK. We can still be friends, but I’ll probably side-eye you every now and then.

Feb 172020
 

Well, here I am, on a Monday, being all wistful and internally whiny that the weekend is over. For me, it’s not even the fact that I have to go back to work, because my job is not bad; it’s not even waking up early and getting ready for work that sours my mood. It’s literally the whole trolley-aspect of it all. Will it be crowded? Will it come late? Will it get stuck somewhere and we’ll just sit and rot because the driver won’t have the decency to get on his dumb little speaker-thing and let those of us in the second car know what the fuck is going on? Will Aggressive Throat Clearer sit near me? Will there be noxious piss-aromas that eventually will get to my head and I’ll start to be convinced that the stench is coming from myself?

It’s all of these dumb little things that make me dread Mondays. By Tuesday, I’m over it. But Mondays, man. Mondays.

Let’s dive into the weekend memory pool, shall we?

During Saturday’s meet-up with Jiyong, I learned the word for “the couple next door,” which is 옆집부부. (yeopjip bubu)

So, of course I became obsessed with it because it’s so fun to say, and I happily blew through the recitations. This is what I am going to call Blake & Haley, and Hot Naybor Chris and his wife from now on.

Meanwhile, Jiyong said, “Shall we record you?” as she reached for her phone. I freaked out and yelled NO! which made her fall into the wall laughing. I’m glad my Korean-infant speak is so amusing to her, lol.

I always feel so inspired by the time our Saturday session is finished. I feel a bit more confident now, especially with pronunciation, and she said that my vocabulary is really good. I just need to buckle down and start practicing verb conjugations, because that’s where I’m always like, “CAN I PHONE A FRIEND.”

It’s funny though, because even though we have been meeting now, regularly, for nearly a year, I still get a little stressed out on Saturday mornings knowing that I have to, OMG, do work. The pressure! But then when I either already know something in that day’s lesson, or I figure it out on my own, or she gives me a better explanation for something I’ve been struggling with and it’s like a code has been cracked in my brain…it just makes it SO REWARDING.

That night, we ordered pizza and did some vacation planning, which is my favorite thing to do except that I’m the only one in the house who feels that way: Henry is just stressed and annoyed because he has to figure out the logistics, so there’s no fun in it for him; and Chooch is never really excited until it’s the day before we’re leaving. So that’s cool. Then Henry left around 8:30pm to weep and soul-scream in the anonymity of a dark parking lot (ie. he went grocery shopping, his escape). Lately, he’s been obsessed with Fresh Thyme, and that’s OK with me because he comes home every time with fresh peanut butter, and that is basically my fuel.

Anyway, re: vacation planning, I try not to put too much time and effort into this stuff until we’re 100% sure we’re going and have booked the flights, because god only knows. I fought really hard for this trip though, and have been obsessively hoarding money in our vacation account. I think I’m going through an early midlife crisis, maybe because Henry is already so old (haha), where I am always in this frozen state of panic, feeling like I’m running of time to do things and I am frantic to get it all in. I am so tightly-wound. This is why I take so many walks!

Sunday was glorious! I had breakfast with Jeannie and Wendy at Pamela’s. When I left the house that morning, I saw an older couple walking up the sidewalk to Blake’s house so I started to say good morning and then realized one of the people was Blake’s mom, a/k/a Henry’s ex, and she had this determined “KEEP LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD” vibe to her walk, so I stopped at “good” and went about my merry way, lol. Nothing like a little spot of awkwardness first thing in the morn’.

It’s been awhile since we managed to successfully plan a Pamela’s meetup, so this was much-needed for all of us. I was really mad though because I arrived early as usual and decided that I would just sit in the car for a bit and read some of my book because I was so close to finishing it and it was a GOOD ONE (“Pretty Girls” by Karen Slaughter, highly recommend). At 8:58, I started walking down to Pamela’s just as Wendy and Summer were getting out of the car. I ended up walking in right behind them, and Jeannie was already there, saving a table for us. So then it was all, “OH MY GOD, ERIN WAS THE LAST ONE HERE!” because usually I’m early, Jeannie is on time, and Wendy is woefully late.

I got super up-in-arms about this and yelled, “I’ve been here since 8:45 but I was in my car reading!” and then it turned into, “IT DOESN’T COUNT IF YOU’RE NOT INSIDE, AT THE TABLE” so fine, I was “late” I guess, whatever!

Jeannie told me that she had a dream where she was at my wedding reception (“That is a dream,” I interjected) which was apparently at an amusement park I had rented out, so did I marry a Disney heir or what?! She said in lieu of seating arrangements at tables, I had assigned everyone  to certain rides, and there were challenges, which Jeannie begrudgingly did ONLY because it was for my wedding, lol. She said everyone was having a lot of fun and then I got sad because this needs to be a reality but I don’t think I’d be able to rent  out anything grander than like, Fun Fore All, as it stands.

I got an omelet and then spent most of the time low-key coveting Summer’s strawberry and chocolate chip waffle. I’m just never satisfied!

Then we went to Oakland because Henry to drop something off at an Amazon Prime thing so I was like OOOOH WE CAN GO TO THE GOOD LIBRARY and Henry was like yay.

You may have been there through the roller skating phase. The Jonny Craig obsession. The succulent infatuation. Well, please join me now for the library addiction.

(I didn’t include Korea in the above list because it’s not a phase, it’s who I am. Back off.)

There were three specific books on my “want to read” list that I knew were available at this branch, so I scooped those up because I know how to find books now, and then on the way to check them out, I found another one that I had requested in the beginning of January but was never sent to me, so I HAVE THAT ONE NOW TOO. I used to think libraries were dumb! They are not dumb! They have helped me complete 63% of my reading challenge and it’s only midway through February, LET’S GO. (I hate when the kids say that.)

On the way out, Henry pushed the door open and it got caught on the corner of a rug in the vestibule, so then the door got stuck and the girl behind Henry nearly slammed into him because it all happened so fast and he was struggling to fix the rug and the girl had to struggle to get around him, AND THEN HE JUST LEFT IT so the same thing happened to Chooch and me when we were trying to leave next and we were so angry I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE but it was yet another time Papa H embarrassed us in public. Ugh.

After that, we went to Pink Box for Chinese breads and then Henry popped into a nearby Crazy Mocha to quench his newely-acquired cold brew thirst (you’re welcome) but they were out of cold brew and he had to just get a regular iced coffee so then he complained about it to us later but I’m sure he was all good-natured and pleasant to the barista: we always get his whiny side!

So, no Henry’s Coffee Corner this weekend, I know you’re really sad because who wouldn’t craze those insightful 350 word reviews he plonks out with his manly sausage-fingers?

The rest of the evening was very relaxing. Chooch watched dumb movies from  the 90s on Disney+, I read, and I can’t remember what Henry did. Boring stuff, I’m sure. Then I finished the book I was reading and cried about it and made Henry walk with me to the Brookline library even though it was 8pm and they were closed because I like to return my books immediately (see: tightly wound) and now I’m afraid to walk alone at night because I don’t want to get kidnapped and then put in a snuff film.

On that note: ciao for now, go braid a uni-brow.

Feb 152020
 

For a little pre-Valentine’s Day treat, my coworker Joyce added a picture of TOP from BIGBANG to our daily Roll Call email. She always includes a meme or something in every Roll Call but this was unexpected! It’s also pretty hilarious because she’s one our colleagues who work in the Chicago office, but I have still managed to sprinkle her with a bit of kpop powder without even needing to see her everyday!

And then for some reason, another coworker, Marlene, emailed me because she randomly found out that she shares a birthday with ANOTHER BIGBANG member, Taeyang. I will turn our whole department into VIPs* one of these days. 

*(BIGBANG fans.)

I think that selling Valentines has me somewhat desensitized to, well, serial killers, but also the actual concept of Valentine’s Day. Henry and I spend so much time hustling to make sure other people get their cards that we don’t always remember each other. 

Um, I know that I for one totally shit the bed when it came to whipping anything up for Henry. And I assumed he had also dropped the ball, until I got to work yesterday and pulled out a card he had tucked inside my SuperM bag.

I admit, this had major shock-value when I pulled it out of the envelope and saw a close-up of Henry’s mug, but then I noticed the finger-hearts! And then I opened it…

…and saw that he wrote “I love you” in Hangul! “OMG I hate him!” I laugh-yelled, and then showed Carrie, who was like, “*TEARS*” and then I kind of got tear-eyed, too?! I AM BROKEN. 

Apparently, Henry made this the other night while I was sitting in the other room thinking that he was just making actual orders from our shop. I am so oblivious!

We didn’t exchange gifts or anything but Henry was a nice man and went to Sugar Spell Scoops after dinner last night and picked up some scoops to go. I got one scoop of purple sweet potato which was so wonderful that I can’t even think of any good words to describe it other than SMOOTH, MAN, REAL SMOOTH. I am such a huge fan of vegetables-turned-into-dessert, like: carrot cake, carrot pie (!!!!), zucchini pie, etc etc. So when ice cream is made with shit like butternut squash or corn, things like that, I will opt for that over chocolate-y flavors every single time. This scoop was so pleasing and I wish it was on regular rotation!

The second scoop was a strawberry rose with tiny white chocolate chips, and I was worried that it would too tart, too sweet, too floral, but it was the perfect balance of all three, and those little chips really took the flavor to brand new heights. At first, I was like, “I will just eat half of each and save the rest for tomorrow,” but wow look at that, all gone.

Anyway, there was one thing that happened yesterday that took what would have been a fine, but maybe not too memorable, Valentine’s Day and punted it into ONE FOR THE SCRAPBOOKS:

Let me back up.

Living in the city of Pittsburgh means that choosing a high school for your kid can almost be like college-lite. We could do nothing and he would automatically become enrolled in Brashear, which has a seriously bad reputation and even if it may be less bad than it has been, it’s one of those schools that will probably always have a bad connotation to its name. So for Chooch’s entire life, we have been having frantic conversations about how to prepare for this. Should we try to move? We like living in the city, and even moving to a different part of the city might not really solve anything because then he’d just end up in another just-as-bad school. I always had a dream of him going to CAPA, which is our creative and performing arts school. I always felt like he could get into the writing program, but he fought me tooth and nail on it and very early on was like, “Look that is not what I want to do” and I had to get myself into check as I realized that I was sincerely starting to sound like my grandmother. And also I had to admit to myself that I only wanted him to go there because I had wished I had gone there in high school, lol. Oh, being That Mom is a lot of fun.

But I’ll never forget his fifth grade teacher telling us, “Look, your kid? He’s a math whiz. You gotta send him to SciTech. He’s your ticket to a beach house.” 

The beach house part is especially what I remember, haha.

I knew that Chooch had always gotten As in math and science, but I had no idea that he actually enjoyed those classes. Not until that day, in that teacher’s room. And it’s true – he fucking adores math and does it for fun on his own time. So, he applied to SciTech last fall and then we waited. 

I don’t think he cared nearly as much as me, but it was something I would think about everyday. “What happens if he doesn’t get in?” “Will Brashear break him?” Granted, he applied to another school, as well, and either one of those would have been fan-fucking-tastic. 

Henry always gets pictures of our mail emailed to him from the post office because he’s a weirdo, but it was beneficial yesterday when he saw that one of the letters was from the Pgh Public Schools. My pulse quickened. I had that “Waiting to get called into the office” feeling ALL DAY. Henry kept texting Blake to ask him to check for the mail, which usually comes around 9:00am but of course on this day it didn’t get delivered until the afternoon. So Henry texted Chooch and was like, “Go home after school before you go to the teen center and open that letter.” So Chooch did and said he was going to wait for us to get home before he opened it and I was like YOU TELL THAT SON OF A BITCH TO OPEN THAT LETTER RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I CANNOT WAIT 3 MORE HOURS!!! So he opened it.

And it was from SciTech.

He got it.

I burst into tears as soon as Chooch texted me a picture of the letter. A million pounds of inner-city dread was removed from my chest. Apparently, Brashear had more arrests last year than other Pittsburgh school (my resource for that fact is Henry; I don’t feel like Googling to see if it’s true, lol). Look, I know in this day and age, no school is safe. It fucking sucks to even have to think this way. But SciTech will give him a better chance for a good education, and it’s right by the University of Pittsburgh campus and he loves it there—he can walk to the main branch of the Carnegie Library, for Christ’s sake! He has multiple bubble tea options! THE CATHEDRAL OF LEARNING IS ACROSS THE STREET. 

His emotions are mixed right now, and I get it. He’s going to be separated from a lot of his friends after this year, and he was also hoping to get into the other school he applied to, because he knows a lot of kids there through the Gifted Center. But then after he went to the teen center last night, he found out his friend Zack also got into SciTech, so now he’s loosening up a little bit and he’s starting to get excited about it, like he used to be when we would talk about it when it was still so far away to really feel like a possibility. 

Also, he had to write two essays for this application, and I have no idea what they said because he submitted it without showing us. He is too independent sometimes! We have barely had to help him with anything, aside from the occasional project which required the purchase of poster board and other craft shit. But his homework? Never once had to help. Never even have to micromanage him to make sure he’s doing it. I don’t know how we get away with that for this long, but I can only hope it continues through high school because I do NOT want to help with high school shit, lol. 

He told me that one of the things he put in his essay was that he hoped SciTech could help him stay on the right path toward a bright future, where he can have a successful career in order to buy his mom a pension in South Korea. So, basically, there’s that beach house. <3

On that note, here’s a song that’s perfect for 2/14:

https://youtu.be/HnMuCf2XR-M

Feb 132020
 

I am a tightly-wound ball of nervous energy this week. Let’s bullet it out.

  • Yesterday, I was waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. One of the mail room guys was waiting with me, but he was going up. When one of the elevators stopped, he held the door open and said, “This one’s yours!” I was like “Thanks Mister” but as I stepped onto the elevator and watched the doors slowly close, it occurred to me that in the 10 years I’ve been working in this building, I still have no idea how to determine if an elevator is going up or down.
  • Last month, I splurged and bought a bunch of pins from Etsy. These pins are Korea-specific and they’re sold by an ex-pat living in Seoul. I mean, she has Seoul subway station pins, one of which happens to be the line we used every single day on our last visit – we stayed right off of the Hongik University stop! I honestly burst into tears when this package arrived the other day and I started digging through everything. I’m wearing the Ghost Face and Michael Myers ones to work for Valentines Day!

  • Speaking of Valentines Day, I started to make department-specific Valentines to pass out at work but then I stopped. I’m tired. My brain hurts. Only 1/4 of the people there would even appreciate it anyway. Besides, we were very nearly in over our heads with our actual card business this season so I didn’t really have the time or energy anyway. This was the best season we’ve had yet! I am so grateful and humbled that perfect strangers out there like the stuff I design, and rave over and over in the feedback they leave over the quality of Henry’s work. We really care about our products and the last thing I want is to send someone something that’s sub-par. I’m glad that our customers recognize this! But at the same time, it will be nice to have a clean dining room table now that our busy season is over, oof.
  • Have you seen Parasite yet? How much did you love it? I am having the most fun watching videos of the cast and crew celebrate and the least fun every time I run into a comment saying that BTS paved the way. Please, BTS is not the be-all end-all of South Korea. Anyway, how fucking great are these movie posters for it? I want them all on my wall, to be honest:

  • I am still on a heavy reading kick. I’m sure a slump will hit me here soon, but I am really enjoying the excitement of picking up requested books at the library and getting recommendations from Booktube, but I gotta say, the last several horror recs I got from Booktubers (such a stupid term), have been pretty bad. Are my standards just that high? I mean, I’m not some literary snob and I am the LAST person who will turn down a cute/fun/teenager love Young Adult novel, so I don’t think my standards or expectations in general are lofty. I just really am craving GOOD HORROR but man, I have read some doosies this month. I’ll have a full recap at the end of the month, but the last one I finished yesterday had me so angry. Henry was like, “Wow.” But at least he didn’t tell me to calm down (UGH) or snidely suggest that I just write my own.

  • I was inspired to clean off my old painting desk the other day. It had becomes a catch-all for folded laundry that I didn’t care to put away; old, dried-up paint brushes; layers and layers of dust. So I dusted off my clowns, readjusted the picture frames, and tossed all the old art stuff because let’s be honest, I’m not sure when the painting bug will bite me again and even if it was tomorrow, I’d still have to get new supplies anyway because I’m the worst at taking care of that shit. I pointed out my cleaned off desk to Henry, and the first thing he said wasn’t the “good job” I was craving, but a nit-picky, “There’s still paint on it though…?” YEAH, IT’S A SOUVENIR. AN HOMAGE TO MY PAST SELF. GOD-uh.
    • Penelope was like “Woo hoo, I can sit up here again.”
    • Coincidentally, right after I tossed all my supplies, people started asking me to do art shit for them and saying no felt so empowering. I used to hate saying no and I RELISH IT. Like, I want to squirt my “no”s on a fucking vegan hotdog and eat it in front of the people asking. MMMMMMMMMMnonononono.
  • HEY GUYS remember a few weeks ago when I got all nostalgic about pagers? NO? YOU DON’T READ EVERY SINGLE BLOG I PUBLISH? I mean, it’s cool. We all have lives. I get it. You can click that link and read up, maybe during The Bachelor commercial breaks (do people still watch The Batchelor? Do people still watch any TV in real time?). Anyway! a few days after I wrote about that, my old friend Shawn from high school sent me this picture on Instagram and I died. Page me sometime:

Embarrassingly/shamefully, I had to crop this picture because this was back in the 90s when I thought it was super cute to tell everyone they were a gaybo; wow I was a real peach. So cool. Very edgy. Ugh, thank god I don’t have any political aspirations.

  • Henry gave me an early Valentine’s Day present last night by way of booking our flights for our next trip! No, not Korea this year. :( But we’re going to be spending Easter break in Germany/Luxembourg/Belgium/The Netherlands – of course this was all my idea and the main reason I wanted to go is because there are some theme parks in that region of Europe that I desperately want to go to, but it will also be Chooch’s first time in these countries so I wanted to make sure that he actually gets to SEE STUFF while we’re there, so I whittled the list down to the three I most want to go to. (Henry is so excited.) Our itinerary is still very fluid at this point, but it’s looking like we will be spending Easter at the park that inspired this entire trip: Efteling. I AM SO EXCITED!!

Image result for efteling

Image result for efteling

AHHHH!!! After my boss Amber approved my days off, she was like, “Where are you guys going?” and when I said, “Remember last year when I sent you that website for the weird fairytale amusement park in The Netherlands….” and she was like, “Oh for God’s sake!” Haha.

Well, cook on, mothercheffers!

 

Feb 122020
 

WEIRD WAVES

Two weeks, on a Sunday, Janna and I were walking back to my house from the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, having just seen Jojo Rabbit. (Have you seen this yet? It’s brilliant, and I rarely use that word to describe movies.) We were a block away from my house when two people were about to walk past us. I moved over to the right to give them room and noticed in my periphery that one of the people was looking at me and waving.

I glanced long enough to see that it was a young girl, maybe in her early teens? But again–just a very quick glance.

I waved back and then kept trudging along.

“Did you know her? She was really waving at you,” Janna said once we were a safe distance away.

“I have no idea who that was,” I admitted, and Janna said, “Well, she sure seemed to know you!”

I brushed it off, thinking possibly she was someone who knows Chooch, maybe someone from the teen center, and she just recognized me as “Chooch’s Mom.” That used to happen to Henry all the time when Blake was a teenager, because he was so popular.

It wasn’t even worth mentioning to Henry and Chooch when I got home that day; besides, I was too busy gushing about Jojo Rabbit to even give the waver a second thought.

RIDE REQUEST

One night last week, Henry left the house to go to “the store,” his favorite place ever. “The store” could mean: Aldis, Giant Eagle, Kuhn’s, Fresh Thyme, Shop N Save—I’m pretty sure Henry has a frequent shopper card for all Pittsburgh-area supermarkets. Just as we was about to get into the car, which we always park across the street from our house in the church parking lot, he said that a young girl approached him and asked for a ride to the Potomac trolley station. Henry, who unlike me, is adverse to giving rides to strangers, so he told her that he wasn’t going that direction, which I guess was true but who knows with Henry; he’s a habitual liar.

(He isn’t. I don’t think Henry has the balls to lie, actually. Or the imagination.)

So Henry embarked on his journey to The Store, passenger seat remaining empty.

While Henry was out, Hot Naybor Chris called him and apologized. Turns out, the transportation beggar targeted HNC first, but he had just gotten home so he sent her over to ask Henry instead, having spotted him in the parking lot. After Henry said no, she went back over to HNC and said, “He said he’s not going that way” so for some reason HNC was like, “Fine, I’ll drive you to Potomac Station.”

But, like all people who ask for handouts on the street, she continued asking for things. First, it was $2 for coffee. HNC said he didn’t have any money.

Then it was, “Can I use your phone?”

HNC said he didn’t have it on him, and then prayed that his wife wouldn’t call him, wondering why he had pulled into the parking lot and then immediately left again.

Anyway, I guess he got her to Potomac Station without her shanking him and digging out his kidneys, so that’s good. He told Henry that when he asked her where she lived, she said, “With Phil and my mom” like we know who that is. Turns out, she lives in the house on our block where the girl just died of an overdose two weeks ago, and Phil is that dead girl’s boyfriend. WTF.

When Henry came home and told me all of this, he described the girl and I was like, “Wait a minute…” and then he said, “I’ve seen her several times walking down the street and actually mistook her for one of Chooch’s friends, but she’s probably between 18 and 20” and that was when I realized that he had perfectly described the girl who waved me last weekend. Ew! So she must recognize me as a neighbor, yet that was the first time I had ever seen her.

Henry said that he was telling Blake this because at this point, knowing what house she lives in and how she has a mooching tendency, Blake shared his OWN encounter with her, which was that she knocked on his door recently and asked him if he has his license. When he said no, she walked away.

FURTHERMORE: Potomac Station is only a five-minute walk! Use your legs, lazy ass!

Night Knocks

Sometime early Monday morning, I woke up to urgent knocking on my front door. I rolled over and noticed Henry had already left for work. It was 3:45am. Maybe he forgot his keys…and also his phone….and was trying to get my attention?

I texted him.

“Is that you knocking?”

“No…?” he answered immediately. He was already at work.

Another series of urgent knocks and now I’m sitting straight up in bed with the comforter around me like a shield.

More knocks, angrier now. I was straight-up shaking in bed.

Without turning on the lights, I scooted over to the foot of the bed and peeked out through the blinds just in time to see a man quickly retreating down my sidewalk and then continuing on down the street. It was a chilling sight, but at the same time, it also looked like MAYBE it could have been Blake. The build of the man checked out, he was wearing a backpack, a coat, and a beanie in the style of one Blake Robbins.

“Maybe Blake starts work at 4am today and was going to ask me for a ride,” Henry texted, but our car clearly wasn’t out there so it didn’t seem to fit. Henry texted him, but didn’t hear back for several hours, because, you know, Blake was home next door and asleep like most normal people at that hour.

I was fucking shook. I mean, I don’t need to be a seasoned horror aficionado to know NOT TO OPEN THAT DOOR. And even if it was in broad daylight, I still wouldn’t have answered it. For god’s sake, my friend Tommy still makes fun of me for the time he and Jessy were over our house 10 years ago and I screamed and hid on the steps when the pizza man knocked on the door, AND I KNEW IT WAS THE PIZZA MAN.

So imagine me at 4am, shaking in my flesh boots, definitely not wanting to go back to sleep.

I kept texting Henry.

“What if he comes back?!”

“Why would he come back?”

“I dunno, to bring back up!?”

Meanwhile, after Blake texted Henry back later that morning, he went on to that the weird girl up the street has come back to his house several times since the first time, and that she looks strung out and half-dead each time. The last time, he called the police and the cops told Blake to call them again immediately if she shows up again.

And now we’re wondering if the knocker was this supposed PHIL, boyfriend of the dead girl?! It checks out—these people obviously live in a drug house and think it’s OK to just go around knocking on random people’s doors at all hours of the night, because what’s 3:45am to a druggie!? So now I’m on high alert in case either of these weirdos come back. I HATE THE COPS BUT I WILL NOT HESITATE TO CALL THEM IF ANY STRANGE FISTS TOUCH MY GODDAMN DOOR AGAIN.

Feb 112020
 

Genaroasta* was the coffee place of the week , I had nothing to do with the choosing of it this time. That was fine, due to the fact we were meeting Tommy and Jessy.

*(EDITOR’S NOTE: Way to misspell the name of the cafe, Henry.)

The cafe is in a small strip mall, for me that’s fine (notice I said for me)*, it takes nothing away from the place.

*(EDITOR’S NOTE: I hate when things are in strip malls!)

Service was fast and friendly, I just got iced coffee and a peanut butter cup peanut butter cookie (which I had to share), much better bake goods than the last place and more choices. Erin and Chooch got food, not important how they liked or disliked it, it’s all about me this post. T&J also got food, again not important! They all seemed happy with their choices.

The place wasn’t too crowded, we got a table as soon as we got there, the space was set up in way that you didn’t seem like you were sitting on the person next to you. Had tables, booths, comfy chairs and a long table, something for everyone.

The coffee was good enough for me to get another one, without Erin even noticing, she doesn’t notice much about me anymore!

Was good to see T&J again, we don’t get to see them that often. Hope to see them soon!

All and all it was a good coffee trip, next week is still a mystery.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: when Henry was preparing to write this post, I want everyone to know that he said “two dicks” ate half of his cookie; this is how he treats Chooch and me! He acted like it was the last cookie in the world that he begrudgingly was forced to share with us, when meanwhile we discovered an entire container of Valentine sugar cookies from a bakery that he was hiding from us in the backseat of the car! What an actual cookie monster! WHO DOES THAT TO THEIR FAMILY? I hate him.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE, AGAIN: I had to change a “to” to a “too.” Expected.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE, A DAY LATE: Henry forgot to mention that we had a rousing discussion re: “free passes” and when they asked Henry who he would choose for his free pass, he was all thoughtful and then I got super panicked and yelled, “NO! DON’T SAY IT! I DON’T WANT TO KNOW”! and then I got super-clingy and whined, “I DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE A FREE PASS!” and then I decided if he was going to have one, they would at least have to be older than me. He’d probably pick some bitch from NCIS or some other dumb American TV show.)

Feb 102020
 

I guess technically, the weekend started when I logged off work at 8:30 on Friday night, so I can start this rip-roaring’ recap with The Tow Truck Incident.

Let me back up.

Hot Naybor Chris got a new neighbor on the other side of his duplex, I guess this was over the summer, maybe? Some single guy, looks to be around my age, and evidently used to be a bartender at this super trashy bar down the street that was known for having fights culminating into someone getting chucked through a window. That bar is closed now.

Anyway, I guess HNC and this guy hate each other and they’re all passive-aggressive about it. Most of it seems to revolve around our shared driveway, WHICH HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF DRAMA EVER SINCE I MOVED INTO THIS HOUSE IN 1999, so we never park our car down there. No thanks.

But this dude actually parks in the garage, which is amazing because the garages are so narrow, I can’t even imagine. One time, his garage door was opened and he accused HNC of doing it and HNC was like, “why would I want to go in your garage, don’t flatter yourself” and I guess the guy yells a lot in his house. I personally dislike him because he comes home around midnight every day and leaves his car running in  the driveway and his dumb bass wakes me up. YES, I AM AN ELDER. I hate bass unless it belongs to something I am personally listening to. One of my hugest pet peeves is when someone else’s bass permeates my walls. BIG NOPE ON THAT, PAL.

Sometimes he parks across the street in the church parking lot, but he has purposely been double-parking in HNC and his wife’s spots, which is kind of hilarious only because it’s not happening to me. Anyway, he came home early on Friday, noted the snow on the driveway, and parked in the parking lot instead. You know, like a real scholar. But then he came home later AND PARKED IN THE GARAGE, and then later that night, when he was unable to get his car back up the driveway (it’s a hill), he CALLED A TOWTRUCK at 10:30pm instead of just shoveling it!

“That’s someone who doesn’t know how to do anything for himself,” Henry said, watching from the window. “Like you.”

Yup. This is accurate.

Anyway, yeah. Fuck this new guy. He’s a Dumb.

On Saturday, Henry had a shitload of Valentines to make and didn’t get done in time for us to walk to the post office together, but I still needed to go to the library because I’m obsessed and there was a book available that I felt the need to check-out even though I have a TBR stack already here. Chooch came with me even though I embarrass him with my book-slut ways, and then afterward, he wanted to stop in Las Palmas – the local Mexican market which also has a super trendy taco cart out front that seasoned readers of Oh Honestly Erin might remember from the days when I had a taco cart boyfriend who mysteriously was replaced over the summer, yeah, you tell me.

Anyway, Chooch was jonesin’ for some Takis (do the kids in your area love those things? They have a cult following here in Brookline for some reason, I mean, they’re good but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get them?) and to no one in particular, I mused, “HMMM DO THEY HAVE A CREDIT CARD LIMIT HERE I BET THEY DO. WE SHOULD BUY MORE SHIT JUST IN CASE” because you know, whatever makes me feel better. I bought some crap but also these things which some people in my department actually like!

So I made a sign that says, “SOME PEOPLE LIKE THESE” and that encouraged others to try it, even though they’re mostly leery of the snacks behind my desk. Here is a summary of what people think they taste like:

  • animal crackers
  • Nilla wafers
  • lemon things
  • Twix

I started imagining eating a bowl of them with milk, like cereal, LIKE COOKIE CRISP. Maybe I’ll try that. Then I’ll tell you and you’ll be like, “BOO HOO I CANNOT FIND THESE GRAGEAS BALLS NEAR ME” and I’ll be like *wicked laugh / lightning from fingertips*

You know how that happens sometimes. The lightning just shoots right out.

Saturday night, Henry did kpop cardio with me and then I started a new book.

Wow, such a Saturday.

갑자기 일요일이야.

I felt extremely sluggish all day, like SOMEONE drugged me. Literally had a tough time holding up my eyelids so then I thought I was getting sick and Henry reminded me that I have felt on the cusp of some invisible illness for months and there is allegedly nothing wrong me OR IS THERE.

But! We had a coffee date with our pals Jessy and Tommy, whom we only see about twice a year because, you know, life; so I wasn’t about to cancel on them! We went to Generoasta in Warrendale, which Henry is supposed to review on his Coffee Corner but we’ll see how long this blog-writing streak lasts – it will probably end with last week’s review, haha. He sucks. WE DON’T WANT YOUR DUMB REVIEWS ON HERE ANYWAY, STUPID HENRY.

I have always really appreciated the fact that my friends have been so amazing to Chooch, from when he was a baby to now. He’s never shunned or put in the background because he’s a kid—all of my friends have always included him in conversations, and Tommy and Jessy are no exception. It always just feels like we’re a bunch of friends bullshitting and not two couples and that one kid that tags along…or whatever. I don’t know what I’m getting at. I have an imaginary illness, remember?

Jessy found another cafe for us to try so hopefully that happens sooner rather than later!

(Side note: I had a Cupid’s Bow or something? It was white chocolate & orange latte. It was good and not too syrupy, but I didn’t taste the orange and that hurt me deeply because I love orange flavoring and it’s not very common!)

SPEAKING OF ORANGE.

We came home and I decided I want an orange for a snack. But while I was opening the orange, a corner of the peel went under my thumbnail and cut me and I was screaming, like LE HOLLERIN’. Chooch & Henry were like “who the fuck cuts themselves on an orange peel” and well, joke’s on them because this isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

None of them even tried to help me, so that’s real cool. I’m so fucking loved.

It wasn’t as bad as the time when I was like “how hard do I have to squeeze this Milkbone in my hand before it breaks, let’s try” & then it broke & left a gash across my palm and my mom was like bitch you best pray you don’t need stitches because I’m not taking you to the ER for that.
Aside from that, I watched Booktube videos (haha, kill me), exercised but I was too lethargic to do Jillian Michaels so I opted instead of a 20-minute Jessica Smith weights workout instead and then felt like a failure because I rarely skip a workout and Chooch was like, “But you still exercised though?” and this was after I thought he ran away/was kidnapped/stepped into a wrinkle in time but then I found him outside in the dark playing alone in the snow and it was kind of sad but he was like “WHAT I AM FINE OUT HERE ALONE, DON’T CRY FOR ME” and I was like, “Yeah you’re right bye” and shut the door because it was cold.
Speaking of playing in the snow, when I was working from home on Friday, we had a mini snowstorm and I spotted Blake and Calvin outside building a super pathetic snowman and then they went in the house so I was like, “Chooch look at how hideous that snowman is. You should get a pot of hot water and dump it on the snowman, put the fucker out of its misery. But knock on Blake’s window first and do it while Calvin is watching so he’ll cry HAHAHAHAHA” and you could tell Chooch was torn between being a good uncle to Calvin or crossing over to the dark side with his MOMMY, so then he compromised and decided he would go out there and leave Calvin’s snowman intact, but build a better one next to it and I was like, “OK fine I guess that’s moderately diabolical” but then when he went out there, Blake and Calvin came back out so then they all WORKED TOGETHER to build a snow fort.
Gross.
Blech.
Teamwork.
Other than that, I started reading a new book and read Oscars update on Twitter and cheered for Parasite! What a victory for South Korea! Let the world STFU and watch, for Hanguk is the Bestguk. And now people keep wanting to talk to me about how much they loved this movie and I am so happy to listen! I had to laugh when Janna and I went to see Jo Jo Rabbit last weekend because they showed previews for Parasite and she was like, “I guess we will need to see that next” as if I hadn’t seen it months ago when it first came to a theater in my dumb city, lol.
Best fucking picture, can you even believe it. I’m crying again.
Image result for parasite oscars gif
(Fun fact: the actress in the middle, Lee Jung-eun, is in a bunch of dramas that Henry and I have loved and she is just a real treasure, you guys. A real fucking treasure. Watch Korean dramas. They are pure magic.)
(OMG this is still so surreal for me!)
Feb 082020
 

I have the day off from Korean studies, and as much as I love those weekly hangouts, I am secretly relieved that I don’t have to recite sentences over and over until my face feels like it’s splitting at the jaw. Sometimes, when it’s quiet, I hear myself saying, “여름에는,  너무 더와요. 그래서, 저는 여름을 싫어해요.” Which is a weird sentence to be thinking about in the dead of winter, with snow blanketing the ground, because it means, “In summer, it’s too hot. So, I hate summer.” When really I’m sitting over here doing witchy spells to bring summer to me but then I start thinking about climate change and I panic and then it’s like NEVERMIND, WINTER, YOU CAN STAY FOR THE ALLOTTED SEASONAL TIME, BUT NOT A SINGLE DAY MORE.

It was really nice on Monday though. Like, nearly 70 which is scary and I felt guilty for being so happy about it. But really, I wouldn’t mind the cold temps of winter so much if we could just get a fucking blue sky occasionally. I think I saw that in Pittsburgh last month, we had like 27 days of gray skies and rain. Fuck that shit.

The other day, my friend Lori was on the phone at work with a partner from Tokyo and it sounded, from my perspective, like a very joyous chat about music, and then when I heard Lori say, “Yes actually, I have heard of them, because one of the girls in our office is a super big kpop fan” so I shot my arms up and said, “That’s me” and while that was exciting in and of itself, the thing that I latched on to the hardest was that she referred dumb old 40-year-old me as “a girl” and not “some broad” or, you know, “lady.” Woo! Forever a girl!

I very rarely have pleasant phone calls with partners at work. Practice assistants are fine, I’ll talk to them like they’re one of the postal clerks I have moderate relationships with, but partners usually make my insides curl up and pour cement over whatever semblance of a personality I have left in this crap head of mine. In fact, I had one phone call last week that was so painful, I was actually shocked afterward to see on my phone log that the call was only 4.5 minutes long when I’m pretty sure it was actually an hour. So many painfully uncomfortable silences too. And he kept saying, “Ohhhhhkay” with subtle “you are a real stoop” undertones to them and I wanted to fucking flee the scene.

Speaking of personality and the postal clerks, I had to mail some orders the other day at work (Henry has been very diligent about mailing them for me lately so that I don’t have to lug bags stuffed with Valentines to work everyday, thanks Henry). There was a new, young woman clerk at the one post office, and I have never seen her before and judging by her extremely pleasant disposition, this must mean she’s a fresh one. Anyway, while I was at the counter, she said, “Oh, I love your necklace!” It was my oversized wooden sarcastic Conversation Hearts necklace, which I do have to agree is a very cool necklace, so I cheerfully thanked her as if the necklace was my own creation. Then she noticed my cactus phone case. “Oh, and I love your phone case too!” I laughed and said, “Yes, I do too!” because obviously I do, I bought it, after all. My people-skills, man.

Then, as I was taking my receipt from her, she squealed, “AND YOUR JACKET!” It was my cowprint jacket. “I can tell you have an AWESOME PERSONALITY!” and all I could do was giggle shyly and said, “I try.”

EXCEPT THAT I DON’T TRY. Literally, my personality, what’s left of it, hangs off my shoulders in soiled shreds these days. It’s all mangled and beaten and DON’T TALK TO ME.

Man, 20 years ago, though. My personality was FIRE 20 years ago.

I worked from home yesterday, and Chooch happened to have a snow day. I heard him call Henry at one point and ask when he was expected to come home. “Because she doesn’t want to make her own lunch. No, I’m not making lunch for her.” WOW. But yeah, that’s me. Non-cookin’ mom. Cook on, just don’t expect me to join.

Look. Drew’s friend saved her a seat. Drew has such nice friends. What a nice friend, you have, Drew.

I realized today that when I went to the library, that it was the first time I had left the house since Wednesday. I could never work from home every day. I would be ruined. My cats would start to hate me. What’s left of personality would petrify.

I really don’t have anything else earth-shattering to report. Our busy card-making season should be starting to wind down now since Valentine’s Day is less than a week away at this point. I’ll be happy to have a clean dining room table again and to not stress-fight with Henry over shipping labels and whatnot. I let him watch videos from one of the recent SuperM concerts the other night while we were packaging orders and he seemed very content. I always catch him smiling whenever Taemin is talking. It’s OK, Henry. You can admit it.

In other serial killer card news (actually though, the Golden Girls Valentines may have outsold the killer ones this year!), GG Allin’s brother came back and bought more cards off me, so I can now officially say that GG Allin’s brother is a return customer and that kind of makes me a little bit giddy.

Other than that, I have been severely depressed over this whole impeachment fail, the coronavirus, the wildfires, the world in general. Deciding to bury myself in books again was pretty much the best thing I could have done for myself. I’ll just be over here, blissfully unaware of the news from now on.

Cook on, mothercheffers. Cook the fuck on. I’m dun dun. So dun dun dun dun dun dun dun…

P.S. I just realized I haven’t eaten lunch yet and dumb Henry isn’t here,어떻게………………..:( Same boat as yesterday!! OMG I JUST RHYMED IN KOREAN AND ENGLISH, I’M A GENIUS.

Feb 072020
 

The other night, I tried to start a fight with Henry because we’re not precious like Robert and Mary, but he didn’t take the bait. Anyway, I hadn’t listened to this song IN A MINUTE and the feels came crashing into me like the waves that Henry will never frolic in with me because he’s Henry and he doesn’t frolic or much of anything relationshippy, for that matter.

I never actually wrote about my experience meeting The Cure in Australia back in 2000, and I’ve been considering possibly transcribing my vacation journal entries from that trip on here, which I’m sure wouldn’t be embarrassing and a shit-covered cringefest AT ALL considering I was 20 and a million times more annoying than I am today at 40 and I am still pretty fucking annoying, so chew on that fat for a minute and get back to me.

I also have actual video footage of when I met them but it’s on an 8mm and I need to get that digitized at some point so I can blast social media with the excruciating 2 minutes of me stuttering and stammering in King Robert Smith’s face. It was…really something. Definitely not something that kept me up at night.

It’s weird to think that I was in a country that far away, pre-smartphone age, for a full week, and managed to come back alive when, at the age of 40, I can barely go to the store by myself. People who know this version of me usually think I’m fucking with them when I’m like, “This one time, in goth-rock band camp…”

(I actually had a weird moment in a taxi though on the way to the Canberra airport, where I 100% thought I was about to get raped, and I am not even exaggerating a little bit. That was a strange time.)

Well, if you’d be interested in reading something like (not an almost-taxi rape, but The Cure thing), then perhaps that will happen soon because I am in the mood for getting nostalgic, y’all. I get like this sometimes.

Feb 052020
 

I realized today that the picture I’ve been using as my desktop background at work for the last few months now is a picture from Starfield Library at the Coex Mall in Seoul. It’s giving me inspiration to stay committed to my reading challenge, and also making me REALLY want to go back to Korea super soon ugh.

Now that I’m into my second month of the challenge, I wanted to report back with some significant findings, such as the fact that my idle social media perusing is WAY DOWN. Don’t ask me if I watched your Story because I probably haven’t!

I’m also watching way less pointless YOUTUBE videos*, which was always my go-to after work routine while Henry is making my dinner haha. Now, I either walk to the library to pick up new requests that are waiting for me, or I stay home and read a chapter or two. I feel like the old me again!

*(except that now when I AM on YouTube, I’m watching “booktubers” – what kind of bizarre realm have I fallen into? Henry hates this new literary side of YouTube sooooo much, which makes me like it even more haha. Also, they tell me what to read so I don’t accidentally pick up garbage like I did over the summer when I needed a book for the plane and I grabbed Baby Teeth. Such a shitty book.)

I still have time set aside for Exercise every night so basically I just cut out all the dumb shit and filled those newly-empty time slots with book-reading and I already feel like my brain is making a comeback (whether that is reflected in my blogging remains to be seen though, ha).

So basically, this has been a big lesson in time management for me. I can’t tell you how much nervous energy I have been harboring these last few months, a culmination of stress and needing a new outlet I guess. Telling myself to stop saying “I don’t have time for that” and allowing myself quiet time to sit and read (Erin, it’s ok to sit down and relax!) has done wonders for my anxiety. (I mean, I’m still a spaz and can barely handle the most base human interactions but I’m…trying?)

I’m about to start my fourth book for February and I’m really excited! It feels like a game and I am scoring so many points! Woo.

Also, it annoys Chooch because I’m a fast reader and he hates when I can do anything better/faster than him so this has been such a big win in so many ways. Thank you, fake New Years Resolutions and Goodreads. You are making me a better and more competitive person. Erin rulz!!

What? I’m not manic. You’re manic.

Feb 042020
 

My weekend was pretty catastic, if we’re being super honest. The only thing separating me from a full-blown Cat Lady lifestyle is the fact that I don’t live alone and can’t knit.

Friday after work, I think Henry seriously considered leaving me, and at one point, he did run away to his ever-ready refuge, The Store. (Kuhn’s, Giant Eagle, Aldi, one of the Asian markets – the man loves his grocery store quiet time.)

[RELATED SIDE NOTE TO HENRY’S DOMESTICITY: My work friend Margie was just helping me MacGyver one of my bracelets with a paper clip because the elastic band has become too slack over the years. “Do you know how to sew?” she asked, and then quickly recovered by saying, “What I mean is, does Henry know how to sew?” Good save, Margie!]

I don’t know what started it but I invented this entire hyper-scenario, not in my head, but out loud for Henry to also enjoy, where my cats, Drew and Penelope, are entering the convent to be nuns. First, Henry scowled at me from his post at Card-Making Central, and then eventually just entirely left the house in exasperation after I yelled at Drew for calling one of her toy mice a “motherfucker” because there’s no swearing in the convent, God will strike you down, Drew. Yes, Drew, he’s the one who watches you from the cloud. No, Drew, that’s Ho-Ho*. I’m talking about GOD.

*(That’s what my cats call Santa.)

Then I changed their names to Sister Agnes Drew and Sister Mary Peen and later that night, while Henry was trying to sleep, I gently laid a white dishtowel on Penelope’s head so it looked like she was wearing whatever nun’s wear and then I was shaking the bed from all the laughing and Henry whispered, “Plz get help.”

I don’t know if he really whispered that. But probably. I worked from home on Thursday and Friday so that gave me A LOT of special time with the cats and excuse me if they’re my best friends and the only ones I CAN REALLY TALK TO, HENRY.

SATURDAY CAME.

We walked to the post office with our bundle of Valentines and  then I went to the library to pick up the two books that were waiting for me because playing Library is my new favorite game ever. Henry was like, “What are books” and then we went to the bakery to get cookies to eat on the walk home because that’s how exciting we are. 

Later, I met Jiyong at Panera for Korean Time. I don’t mind Panera generally but the last several times, it’s been a real Yinzer circus which, I know may seem shocking, but is not conducive to the learning process. At least for me, anyway. It was the equivalent of trying to catch babies while reciting back sentences in Korean by memory. OK bad analogy because we all know I would never go out of my way to catch a baby.

As mentioned above, Jiyong does this new thing where she takes my book from me and makes me recite, from memory, the little story I just translated for that session. Now, this would be difficult for me to do in my mother tongue (not sure what that is, actually, and sometimes it does not seem to be english!) because my memory is not what it used to be, and now she wants me to do this in a language that I barely know. Cool, let’s do it. I love suffering in a Panera. 

Halfway through our study session, a Russian boxer arrived and took a seat at the table behind Jiyong. I know what you’re thinking, ‘wow, stereotype much, OHE?’. But look:

  • he had what sounded like a russian accent;
  • his face appeared squashed, like it’s been punched a lot over the years;
  • he was wearing a gray sweatshirt over a gray hoodie and gray sweatpants;
  • he was loud.

Russian boxer. Case closed. 

How was he loud, you ask? Because he saw someone he knew over yonder hills of sweeteners and coffee stirrers and he called out to this person in what sounded like a drunken bark, death bed cough, MAGA bray, and then that person came over to engage in a bro-hug next to our table and they spoke to each other in staccato grunts and Jiyong was coaxing me to start the next sentence and I’m like, “How is this not distracting you?!” and then Vladimir Knockoutkov sat back down behind Jiyong and proceeded to eat his Panera meal with the smackiest lips this side of the Kremlin. 

I could hear every single bite, every millisecond of mastication, every tongue-swipe of the lips. Oh Sister Mary Peen, I can fucking hear it right now in my head as I relive this tragic weekend moment. I am haunted. 

He, along with the family of 4 behind him who consistently dropped silverware on the floor and paced to and fro from the garbage can behind me back to their table, eventually left, but then there was this group of men having a meeting in the special, closed-door conference room thing next to us which was FINE, dandy even, until they began to emerge in pairs and sitting at a table next to us at which point interviews were conducted. 

I felt like I was on Silent Library. It was the worst and I kept whining to Jiyong about how I would be doing so much better if all these stoops weren’t distracting me and she gave me a polite, “Yeah sure” nod.

Ugggghhh.

Came home. Ate dinner. Went to Kohl’s. Wow, life is exciting in the winter. 

Oh! But Saturday night was super…crunk? Lit? I dunno what word we’re using these days. I would say “daebak” if I actually had the confidence to speak the Korean I know, haha. Ugh. Anyway, I wanted to read one of the new books I scored from the library so I put on something for background noise that wouldn’t distract me. I chose this YouTube channel called Cream Heroes, which is so cute – it’s this lady in Korea who has 7 cats and is always, you know, doing cat things with them. After a while, I happened to glance over to my left and I noticed that Sister Agnes Drew was sitting on the wheelchair, intently watching these videos. Now, I have played these a lot in the past but she, as to my knowledge, has never given a single shit about it. But on this evening, she was enrapt. 

HERE LOOK:

Bad quality, but I had to zoom in on her because that oaf otherwise known as Henry was sitting between us and totally in the way. I mean, she was into it for a good long while, I couldn’t believe it! I’ve put on cat-specific videos (fish, birds, etc) for both of them before and they haven’t cared. Maybe it’s the lady’s voice she likes too? She will probably learn Korean faster than me at this point. Sigh.

THEN IT WAS SUNDAY.

I let Henry choose which cafe to go to for Sunday Coffee, or whatever it is I’ve been calling it. Henry really seems to have taken a liking to cold brew so maybe cafe-hangs will actually be a consistent part of our routine!? Anyway, I had him review Steel Valley Roasters and you can read that here but true to form, it doesn’t say much.

We went to Many More Asian Market afterward and I was happy there.

I love that place.

I started a new book on Sunday – this one was about a possession which got me reminiscing about the time in high school when I desperately wanted to become possessed and I was actually very close to straight up devil worship for a brief period (oh, Erin and her phases) and I casually asked Henry if he ever wanted to be possessed too and the way he said NO, it was like it’s weird for someone to want to be possessed?!

 Meanwhile, Sister Mary Peen suddenly became interested in Cream Heroes too!

She eventually jumped up there and started swatting at the screen, so I guess she hates them. 

In the afternoon, Janna came over and we walked down the street to the Hollywood Theater, where we finally saw Jojo Rabbit! I feel bad because Janna texted me way back in August or September and was like WILL YOU GO SEE THIS WITH ME WHEN IT COMES OUT and I was like YES and then it came out in October and we never went because you really have to twist my arm  to get me to go to the theater, I’m such a weirdo about it. But I sincerely did want to see this! Then last week, Henry off-handedly said, “Jojo Rabbit is at the Hollywood now” because he knows that I will mostly only see a movie if it’s playing there because:

  • it’s convenient (a 5-minute walk from my house!)
  • it’s an old-school, historic one-screen theater with a balcony
    • I always sit in the balcony

So I asked Janna if she wanted to go and of course she said yes and it turns out Henry was telling me it was playing because he wanted to go see it with me but then I invited someone else and instead of just going with us anyway, he stayed home and pouted.

It’s fine. He had a lot of Valentines to make.

Anyway, I knew only the bare minimum about this movie, but Janna and I both loved What We Do In the Shadows and it’s the same guy etc etc Hitler, blah blah blah. So I expected it to be funny, and I expected to be slightly uncomfortable while laughing at the funny parts, but I didn’t realize it was going to slug me across the face like an emotional sledgehammer, holy fucking shit, I felt many feelings during this movie and I ugly-cried numerous times to the point where my body was shaking and I had to sit in the dark while the credits ran to make sure I was completely done crying before we could leave. 

Fantastic movie and for as much as I fucking LOVED Parasite, I think that maybe, possibly Jojo Rabbit was the better film THERE I SAID IT I’M SORRY KOREA I STILL LOVE YOU MOST.

Chooch was supposed to go see it with us and it’s extremely relevant to his interests (he is very into learning about Hitler not because he’s a neo-Nazi thank you but because he’s a budding history buff and was excited because he recently got to give a presentation at school about Hitler where he was able to say ‘syphilis’ and ‘prostitute’) but then he ditched us to go over some kid’s house TO PLAY FOOTBALL AND WATCH THE SUPERBOWL WHO IS THIS KID? I am so disappointed in him. I told Todd the next day at work that Chooch likes football now and Todd was like, “YESSSS! IT HAPPENED! THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!” 

Negative!

After the movie, I came home to the greeting card sweatshop and provided marginal assistance while paying more attention to the cats than a well-functioned human being probably should, but that’s OK BECAUSE THEY ARE MY BEST FRIENDS. 

And that’s what happened over the weekend. 

Feb 022020
 

As the owner of Oh Honestly Erin, I have made the executive decision that Henry will be reviewing on here each cafe we visit in his quest to acquire a taste for The Coffee. I thought it would be interesting to see each place through his Old Man Ex-Service Person eyes, because whereas I judge a cafe by its seasonal latte flavors and Instgrammability, his criteria is probably a bit different.

Originally I was going to ask him questions about life or whatever but we’ve done that before and his answers are boring and also I didn’t feel like thinking of questions haha. So to kickoff this series (which will probs die off just as quick as it started), here is Henry to tell you about his experience at Steel Valley Roasters!

LOCATION: Steel City Roasters, Homestead

COFFEE: Cold brew w/Almond milk (Barista gave me soy milk instead, not an issue)

BARISTA: Friendly and quick, gave me soy instead of almond milk, offered free refill for it, or they give free refills on cold brew, not sure.

COMFORT: I’m guessing if you go when yoga class is not letting out it would be quieter, and don’t sit on the long church pew , it moves with whoever is sitting on it.

CLIENTELE: not many people, it was a Sunday early, so it was a few people and the yogi’s. One with a bar voice more than a coffee shop voice.

AESTHETICS, on a scale from truck stop diner to gimmicky LA Instagram Trend Cafe: I would go back, only this time I would not get the subpar danish from the bakery down the street, I’ve had goods from that particular bakery before, not great! So I would put it the middle of the scale.

FINAL WORDS: For me it comes down to service if I go back to a place, and this place had good service, the barista was friendly and quick, one small mistake, taken care of quickly. The bake goods, yeah nothing special, made down the street. Should have stayed down the street! I would go back, not right away though, I have many places to go first.

***

ERIN’S NOTE BECAUSE THIS IS ERIN’S BLOG: Henry failed to mention that this place is connected to a yoga studio. Thankfully, we got there right before class let out so there was no line, but then we had to sit there and drink our coffee while all the dumb yogi yuppies came out and loudly congregated. One of them had a voice that was so loud and grating that I was like, “WE NEED TO DRINK FASTER, I CAN’T TAKE THIS BROAD ANYMORE” and Henry ended up getting the rest of his cold brew to-go before I could cause a scene. I brought a book with me in hopes that I could power through a chapter or two since Henry never has anything worthwhile to talk about, but those dumb broads were so freaking loud, and one of them had a screaming toddler and husband waiting for her, that it was impossible to block out.

My latte was good, though. I didn’t like the seasonal options so I went with just a plain soy latte, which I usually end up enjoying better anyway. I let Henry taste it. He still doesn’t like hot coffee, I guess.

And apparently, sometimes this one bakery I like, Jak’s, supplies this joint with baked goods but sadly, today’s offerings were from Blue Bonnet whatever that fuck is, but I guess Henry has been there before because he makes a career of eating baked goods. Anyway, it sure is fun dragging Henry to cafes! WHERE WILL WE GO NEXT SUNDAY, HOO BOY, CAN’T WAIT.