Got the notification that this video was posthumously released last night so of course I watched it in bed and cried myself to sleep. He was such a treasure.
And true to form I’m watching it again now because what’s my life without a pre-work cry.
Got the notification that this video was posthumously released last night so of course I watched it in bed and cried myself to sleep. He was such a treasure.
And true to form I’m watching it again now because what’s my life without a pre-work cry.
3. Bonding with Henry over Korean dramas. He is adorably into them. The other night, he poked his head out of the kitchen (where he belongs) and asked, “WHICH ONE ARE YOU WATCHING?!!?” thinking I was watching one of his faves without him but I wasn’t. (His current favorite is Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. He smiles so much when we’re watching it and it’s just the cutest thing omg do I have a crush on Henry!?)
4. Buying jeans from the juniors department at Kohl’s for the first time since like, 2003! Henry was like, “Oh boy. I am so proud to have a girlfriend who just keeps acting younger.”
5. Chooch’s piano teacher teaching him Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” and his music teacher at school teaching the kids about Nirvana. These things definitely make me smile.
This has been my quick and pointless update.
Dear friends, it is a Sunday and I am in the mood to hear the keys on my laptop tap (I pretend that it’s morse code) so you know what that means: a worthless bulletpoint post!
Well, I need to go annoy my family with my high-maintenance demands. Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!
Perhaps you remember me whining last spring about how my good friend Lisa was moving to Idaho. Well, she moved to Idaho. And I have been missing her so much ever since! Even when she lived in Pittsburgh, she was really the only friend I talked to on the phone (LITERALLY TALKED TO ON THE TELEPHONE who even uses phones for talking anymore?!) so you would think that we would still talk fairly often even now that she’s gone and ditched the ‘Burgh, but those pesky time zones, man. Those pesky motherfucking time zones.
Luckily, she hasn’t completely forgotten me because I made the short list of people she wanted to see when she was back for a visit last week! She asked me about a month in advance if I was free on MLK day for dinner and I was like look if I wasn’t free, I’d make myself free! I mean, unless my prior plans were with G-Dragon. Then sorry, Lisa. We’ve seen enough of each other since high school, I’m sure we could skip this one time.
But sadly, I did not have prior plans with any beautiful Korean, so Lisa got lucky!
We met during a snow storm at Needle+Pin, which I had been wanting to try since it opened last year and Lisa was enthusiastically on board. It worked out for both of us because, since it’s Indian-English fusion, there are several vegetarian options, and it’s also one of only three gin bars in Pittsburgh and coincidentally Lisa has recently become a gin drinker.
Right off the bat, we had excellent rapport with not only the waitress, but the bartender as well, who came to our table to answer Lisa’s 1548452 questions about gin, while I was super low-maintenance and ordered the Blackberry Bramble simply because it sounded delicious and despite the fact that I’ve mostly avoided gin ever since my ex-boyfriend psycho Mike grabbed a bottle of it from my grandparents’ basement bar and got shit-faced on a hill in South Park in high school.
I just vomit-burped at the memory.
Anyway, the bartender–a sweet, young boy–praised my choice and I was so smug about that. Lisa had two different lemon-y gin drinks and was “meh” about both of them while openly coveting mine. It was so fucking good, you guys. And the best part was that the single, large ice cube slowly melted and mixed with the leftover blueberry syrup stuff at the bottom of my glass, so it was like the gin-gift that just kept gin-giving.
The ambiance and decor was just my style.
After the drink-ordering, we stressed over the food. The waitress broke my heart because they didn’t have the vegan bangers & mash that night, but the Tikka Masala I ordered was freaking delightful.
Lisa had ordering remorse again and it was just like old times.
And then I went back to 2008 and took this picture with my red Blackberry Curve. Here’s Lisa trying to steal some of my paneer.
Gin phone booth!
Lisa told me that on the plane to Pittsburgh, she was randomly sitting next to a man who started talking to her about he CS Lewis book she was reading and eventually she learned that he’s my second cousin Mike! His mom was my Pappap’s sister, and I haven’t seen him probably since I was 10 so I have very vague memories of him and that side of the family, however, Lisa said that the way he talked about my Pappap to her was exactly how I talk about him and I started crying right there over my Blackberry Bramble. Time has healed a lot but shit, I still cry about my Pappap A LOT.
A LOT, A LOT.
Overall, it was an emotional dinner. Ugh, it was so good to see her again and catch up!
MOVING OVER BY THE ELEPHANT FOR PICTURES WAS MY IDEA, OK!?
Lisa made me pose for this one and I hated every second of it. Payback for all the years of shoving my camcorder in her face I guess!
Before we left, we stopped at the bar and chatted some more with the bartender, who gave us straws and let us sample some gins. I think it’s safe to say that I will probably not be venturing out from the mixed gin drinks, but it was still fun to try and listen to him and Lisa nerd out about gin baths or whatever.
And then, just like that, the night was over, and I had to say goodbye to her all over again. Hopefully the next time I see her will be in Idaho. She was showing me pictures of where she and her family moved and it is definitely NOT Potatoville everywhere in Idaho, apparently!
Still having a hard time accepting that he’s gone. I’ve only just finally been able to listen to his music again without feeling like my heart is being stomped through a cheese grater.
In other news, today I was so happy that Henry was driving me to work and I wouldn’t have to walk in frigid temps to the trolley that I bounded out of the house without any of my winter accessories. So then when it was time to go outside for my lunch-walk, I asked Todd if it was cold out.
He said something like “uh yeah, it’s January.” But then I asked, “But is it cold enough for hats, etc?” And he was like YES BUNDLE UP BRO.
So I ran to Wendy’s office and she dressed me appropriately in her extra cold weather accoutrements which all happened to be Pittsburgh Penguins branded, matching my gold tapestry coat perfectly. I was the most put-together I’ve ever been, probably.
Thank god for Wendy.
Anyway, just a quick little check-in. I’ve been al wrapped up in my greeting cards lately and I can usually only pay attention to one thing at a time so this poor limping blog is suffering. Sorry, blog. I’ll try to be a better fake-writer after our busy Valentine card season is over!
(Go get some cards!!
The weather this past weekend was shit, but the weekend itself was THE shit. OK, maybe that’s being a little too hype, but it really was all kinds of wonderful for really no reason other than I got to have fun with my two favorite people (yes, it’s Henry and Chooch, ugh!) and it was just….really fucking nice. I do this thing where every day, whether I’m drying my hair or I’m out carousing the streets of downtown Pittsburgh on my lunch break, I recount in my head the things that are keeping me afloat. They range from the major ones (family, friends, health) to the little ones (whatever Korean food Henry is making for dinner tonight, watching some Running Man, my hair looks OK today) to the upcoming events (SOUTH KOREA, Chooch’s birthday, Warped Tour – the last one, sigh).
And I write about the weekends like this past one, so that on the days when no reminders seem to help override the death wish, I can revisit random posts on this blog and remember that things are not always bad and that there is so much worth living for. You do what you can, you know? There’s a lot of sadness, but this past weekend did not allow for much of that at all! I think it was just that we were, all three of us, in really fine moods. Like fucking stars aligning.
Most of Saturday was spent redesigning Valentines for our shops, with an obligatory run to Target because is it really the weekend without dropping $$$ on shit we didn’t need at Target? The whole reason we went was because Chooch wanted to spend the money that’s been burning a hole in his wallet: some leftover cash from Christmas plus the money he’s been swindling from the neighbors by shoveling their short sidewalks. That kid!
I hate hate hate going shopping with Chooch when he has his own money because it’s always the same: he trolls the same three aisles for an hour, tries to latch on to another family (seriously, we always catch him sidling up to some other family like we’re not good enough all of a sudden!??!), and then ultimately doesn’t want to buy anything.
WITH HIS MONEY.
It was no different this time. Henry and I even left him for a bit and hung out in the food aisles, where I was bored so I started spinning around and then Henry was all, “REALLY” because he just doesn’t understand what it’s like to still be a kid, and then I saw really cool sprinkles and made the mistake of saying that they were my style, so then he was all, “REALLY. YOU HAVE A STYLE OF SPRINKLES.” God Henry! I guess it would be acceptable if I was saying things like, “This packet of gravy is just my style and will taste wonderful on the mashed potatoes I’ll be serving next to your bloody steak.”
Meanwhile, Chooch actually found something he wanted!
In the homegoods section.
A fucking rug.
Granted, a really fucking cute ZEBRA rug.
And he got Henry to buy it for him, lololol.
After we checked out, Henry handed me the car keys and said he had to go to the bathroom, and to just go out to the car and wait for him. Of course we were bitching because it was taking him too long, but it was because he went back and bought me the backpack that I saw when we were about to check out. I mentioned that I wanted to buy it the next time we were there, and use it in Korea, and he actually listened to me!
HENRY IS TOTALLY MY STYLE.
We capped off Saturday night with another weekly hour of Family K-Kardio Night and it was just so great and I love my family! Seriously, there are not many other people in this world who would not only let me do my thing, but actually get into it with me. (The amount of Korean trivia that these two have absorbed through me is hilarious. Henry still sucks at pronouncing names though.)
Sunday morning, we watched some K-dramas, dropped Chooch off at piano and then did our weekly Asian supermarket run where Henry found some can of pear juice that made him so happy and he can’t wait to go back for more, and then we went rollerskating! Henry didn’t even bitch about it once the whole way there!
This is when shit got weird because I have apparently turned into a new person. Let’s discuss:
OK, so take these factors and then cut me into the backwoods mixture and you would expect this blog post to be one of my signature hateful rants that make people wonder how anyone could love me.
But you guys, no.
I loved this place.
I loved the whole afternoon.
I loved the people working there.
I loved that the first pair of skates I tried on actually fit me and didn’t do any weird broken shopping cart bullshit moves on me.
I didn’t even mind when a couple country songs came on, even though I did kind of feel like I had the shakes because I am sooo not used to hearing songs in English anymore.
I didn’t hate a single person on the rink, not even the two teenage girls in messy topknots and rollerblades who looked like total mean girls and probably for sure mocked me at least once when I wasn’t looking.
And the pizza was great! Just the way snack room pizza should be!
Here you can see that the lights were definitely lacking, but I couldn’t complain about that because the rink was nice and smooth….
….until it wasn’t.
So here’s the part of the story where FOR SURE the star character of this blog would have fucking raged her face off and made up brand new swears:
Everything was going swimmingly, I was skating with a bit more caution than usual though because I just had visions of me falling and breaking a bunch of limbs and being in traction for however the fuck long, not being able to do my kpop workouts, and going to Korea on a freaking stretcher. So I was really paying attention to my surroundings, especially the ground because you never know what those gross kids are going to track onto the rink.
About 60 minutes in, I stumbled a bit going around the bend of the rink. I caught myself and immediately slowed down and turned around to see what I skated over. Henry and Chooch were behind me when it happened, and we all scoped that area out again on the way back around. It didn’t seem like there was anything there, but I made a point of avoiding that spot for the next several revolutions.
For whatever reason, about 30 minutes later, I slacked off a bit and skated back over that exact same spot. This time, it was like someone grabbed the wheels of my right skate — it just completely came to a dead stop while the rest of me kept moving. It happened so fast that there was no way to possibly catch myself: I went smack down on my hands and knees full fucking force, man. I felt my teeth shudder, that’s how hard I hit. It stunned me, but I bounced back up right away, dusted myself off, and tried to laugh it off but good god damn that fucking HURT.
Chooch was right behind me when it happened, and god love him, he raced over to me and cried, “ARE YOU OK?!” I explained that it felt like my skate got snagged on something again, and he was ON THE CASE. That kid is so fucking loyal, I don’t know what I did to deserve him, you guys. He has my back!
Neither of us could find anything on that spot, and I shrugged it off and continued to skate.
RECORD. FUCKING. SCRATCH.
Did you read that!? Me, queen of temper tantrums, SHRUGGED IT OFF AND CONTINUED TO SKATE?
I didn’t even cry a little bit, or get mad AT ALL. I have no idea who I am anymore, but I think Henry and Chooch were both holding their breath, waiting for me to cause a scene or find a witch on Craigslist to dump a cauldron of acid frogs all over the rink or go full-fledged Tonya Harding and get some Butler henchman to break the knee caps of the rink owners.
But that didn’t happen.
I didn’t let it ruin my afternoon and went about my business with a smile on my ugly face….and a slightly sore knee….
Also, I loved that this joint had religious art on the snack room walls.
We’ll definitely be back.
The next day, I was prepared for some gnarly bruising, but my knees are completely fine somehow. However, the tricep of my left arm is definitely woke. That arm must have taken the brunt of the fall but I barely remember because my life was too bust flashing before my eyes.
Stop looking at my tacky, chipped nail polish for a second and peep these mini serial killer Valentines instead! In the past, I was selling these as six-card perforated sheets, but let’s be real – you guys want more. I get it! So we made them just a TAD smaller and now you can get SIXTEEN of these babies (SIXTEEN!!) in a set for only $8!
I love these cards so much because they bring back fond memories of Valentine parties in elementary school, when we all got to fuck a shoebox with a glue stick and crepe paper and then we all got to run away, stuffing Scooby Doo sentiments into everyone’s “mailbox” even if we didn’t like the person because THE TEACHER SAID. My favorite part was the candy and cupcakes though. I was a fat kid.
And then in fifth grade, I was the fat kid with a perm.
But I somehow still got Valentines so I didn’t hate the damn day.
Even now, as a grown as adult, I like passing out Valentines at work. I passed the serial killer ones out one year to mixed reviews. My one co-worker received an Albert Fish one and sent me an email that said, “OMG I just Wiki’d that guy. He was so terrible! Why would you give me that card?!”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Surprisingly, no one reported me to HR.
Life is all about taking risks, you know?
Each set comes packaged in these adorable little bags. I’m obsessed with them.
I’m in the process of working on the second set so very soon 32 different designs will be available!
The porn star ones have been re-branded as well! Instead of 6, you will now get 16 – 2 each of 8 designs because, well, I only have 8 designs in the porn series.
Who knew Seka would look so precious inside a plastic bag?
When I was working on these over the weekend, my kid walked past me and let out this sort of sarcastic laugh. I asked him what was so funny, and he dryly said, “Oh nothing. My mom makes vintage porn star Valentines, that’s all.”
SO WHAT HE’S SAYING IS THAT HE’S SUPER PROUD OF ME.
Anyway. Both sets are available for purchase on non compos cards along with a dizzying array of full-sized Valentines, birthday cards, Christmas cards, party invitations…it’s a freaking grab-bag of Hallmark rejects, OK?
And for the rest of January, if you use the coupon code “daebak” when you check out, you’ll get free shipping!
When I started making kpop cards, I have to admit that I felt kind of scuzzy listing them alongside my serial killer and porn star cards over at non compos cards. I created a new shop on Etsy last month solely for this new, lighter, cheerier brand, but I am L-A-Z-Y and never created any listings for it because I knew I’d have to go through the whole rigmarole of designing a banner and filling out a profile etc etc just shoot me. But after the whole accidental serial killer/kpop card swap happened last week, I was like, “THIS IS IT I HAVE TO GIVE THESE PRECIOUS KPOP CARDS THEIR OWN SHOP.”
So I cranked it into high gear last night, redesigned the mini kpop Valentines (this is going to happen to the serial killer and porn Valentine sheets too!), created an Instagram, and boom. Here we are. Introducing Hello Hanguk!
(The shop name literally translates to Hello Korea. I wanted Hello Hallyu but that was already taken, not on Etsy, but by some kpop website. I did my due diligence! Also, why not have another complicated foreign language shop name like non compos cards and somnambulant, amirite?)
This set contains 16 different designs: Sistar, Wanna One, Hyuna, two different Taemins because I love me some Lee Taemin, G-Dragon, Wonder Girls, IU, BIGBANG, Vixx, Twice, Got7, Gfriend, BTS, Apink, and EXO.
One of my past customers told me she hid the serial killer version of these mini cards all around the house for her husband to randomly come across throughout the year and I thought that was such a fun idea!
ALL OF THESE FOR ONLY 8 BUCKS! (Plus shipping. I’d walk them to your house free of charge if I could.)
They come packaged in an adorable little V-Day treat bag:
I’m obsessed. As a Kpop fan, I would be so damn stoked if I came across these and would (and will) give them to all of my work friends who will 100% not understand.
(Chooch just gave these card sets his stamp of approval, btw.)
These also look great all smeared out across a G-Dragon table. I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, amirite.
Again, this set is $8 plus shipping (about $2.60 domestic, but I do ship worldwide). I’m working on more designs so soon there will be more to choose from! Wow. Daebak.
Individual, full-sized cards are $5. I’m working on moving them all over to the new shop, but for the full selection, please see non compos cards.
Thanks for your time!
This week has been wack and I’m glad it’s almost over. The worst part was my dentist appointment on Tuesday – I thought I knew what to expect since I had already gotten the deep-cleaning done on the right side but WHOA NELLY (that always reminds me of “Labryinth”) the left side was so much worse for some reason, from the Novocaine all the way to the final prescription rinse. The last shot of Novocaine had me arching my back and gave me legit shakes and then the actual deep-cleaning was just beastly. BUT! Days of Our Lives came on at one point and it felt like 1984 Erin was standing over me and gently stroking my head….either that or I was having a stroke from the Novocaine.
I really like the hygienist that I’ve had at all three of these appointments. She reminds me of Jessica Smith, this fitness lady on YouTube that I really like because she is so damn inoffensive and mild. Anyway, I think I kind of get on her nerves though because I ask so many questions. Like every time she withdraws to change torture devices, I have a new question all queued up. Like when she was aggressively working around my crown, I started to get so paranoid that maybe she didn’t know there was a crown there, so when I had a moment of hands-free mouth, I blurted out, “Sometimes when I floss, I get really nervous around my crown…” I think she was for sure picking up what I was putting down because she was like, “Even me working back there with these instruments isn’t going to pop that off” and I was like THEN WHY DO PEOPLES CROWNS POP OFF ALL THE TIME AND THEY HAVE TO POOP THEM OUT. But I didn’t really say that because this was around the time I recognized a voice on the TV and cried out, “OMG PATCH IS STILL ON DAYS?!” so then we bonded over Days of Our Lives. She told me that back when she was a kid, the soaps used to also play on the radio and she and her sister used to sit in the backyard and listen to them. I’m pretty sure she and I are around the same age, but I don’t remember the radio thing. Then JENNIFER HORTON had some screen time and I excitedly grunted around the hygienist’s latex’d hands until she removed them my mouth, affording me an opportunity to tell her that I wrote a letter to JENNIFER HORTON AKA MELISSA BRENNAN in the 80s and she send me back a TYPED LETTER on pink paper and an autographed HEAD SHOT. teh hygienist was very impressed.
Later on, we were talking about how all these kids have cellphones that their parents pay for but when she was in high school, she had a pager and she paid the bill for it herself. I was like OMG I HAD A PAGER TOO! But my mom paid for that for me. And the bill for my own private phone line LOL I WAS SO SPOILED.
Damn, now I kind of miss my pager. I used to customize the number so that when people called it, they would hear songs.
The next day at work, Glenn was all ready to be a jerk to me about my dental horrors.
“Good god! Let it go!” he said all disgustedly as I was telling him about how much worse it hurt than the session from last month. But then when I mentioned that it felt like the Novocaine was wearing off halfway through, he was like, “Really. You needed NOVOCAINE for a CLEANING?”
“It was a fucking DEEP CLEANING GLENN. They go UNDERNEATH YOUR GUMS FOR THAT. Yes, people need NOVOCAINE FOR THAT.”
“Oh,” he said in a way that I could tell meant he genuinely thought I was going for some routine, basic cleaning.
Other than that, I was terrorized TWO OUT OF FOUR days so far by this annoying daddy/daughter duo that I hate on the T. I don’t hate the kid, fine. But the dad can fucking suck it. He wears sandals in the summer and I just know he has a variety pack of granola bars in his bags. He always reads to her really loudly on the T, and everyone knows that the morning trolley commute is meant for quiet time. Literally no one else talks but them. On Monday, the wife was with them and he was much more toned down when she’s there. I realized at one point that I actually didn’t hear his big dumb mouth so I looked up and saw that it was because MOM was reading the book to the kid, but in a trolley-appropriate volume, i.e. I could see her lips moving but couldn’t hear her. Meanwhile, DAD was sitting across from them, taking pictures of them on his phone with the flash turned on.
The next day, it was just dad & daughter again and while waiting for the trolley to come, he spotted a robin, so he loudly yelled to the daughter, “LOOK ITS A ROBIN. DO YOU HEAR THE ROBIN. DOES THE ROBIN THINK ITS SPRING. DO YOU THINK ITS SPRING.” ughghhh SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UPPPPPP.
Just let the goddamn schools do the teaching and let us all enjoy the silence PLEASE.
My coworkers think I overreact about this guy but they don’t know the torture that is his booming, dorky voice.
I especially love when she won’t cooperate and he tries to reason with her like she’s an adult. She’s like 3.
It was 60 degrees today. It’s January 11th and this is Pittsburgh. So….
Chooch and I started watching a new drama called Love In Trouble (Suspicious Partners). Henry muscled his way into our watchathon the last night because he always has to co-opt our things but then he doesn’t know what’s going on because he didn’t watch from the beginning and he expects us to tell him. Like, google that shit.
I’ve been making so many new Valentines this week, working on the new Etsy shop for the Kpop ones, and rebranding some of the older stuff like the Valentine sheets. Hopefully by the weekend I will have everything ready to share on here.
I will share my Hyuna card now though because I love it so much!
I just heard Alexa say “Playing Lodi Dodi by Slick Rick” so on that note, Imma go make sure my kid knows that his yo girl mom knew this song way before he did.
Yeah guys, hi. Hey. ‘Sup.
Remember a few days ago when I told you that Amber replaced our way outdated Golden Thumb Award with a Bob Ross Chia Pet? And that I greedily claimed it at our Monday meeting? Well, we got him all set up today and it was majorly team-building in that a third of the group GAVE ME BAD WATER MEASUREMENT ADVICE.
But let’s back up.
The Golden Thumb was something that our old supervisor handed out at our weekly meetings to the team member who excelled the week before. It was kind of a joke tbh, and Amber has wisely eschewed it for this new fun gimmick. It’s a new era!
Since Bob was in my possession, I got the party today by soaking him in water. Glenn was worried that we wouldn’t find something to soak him in and I was like “Hello, I have three empty plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins in my desk. I think we’ll be fine.”
So off I went down the hall and to the kitchen, gripping a plastic pumpkin in one hand and clutching Bob by the neck with the other. This likely did not look unusual to anyone who saw because, well, IT ME.
In the kitchen, I put Bob in the pumpkin, set the pumpkin in the sink, and then began to fill ‘er up. Debby came in. “Do I even want to ask?” she sighed, so I quickly gave her the run-down of how Bob Ross is the new member of the processor team, etc etc and she was like, “Wow.”
The second part of the process was the Soaking of the Seeds. The instructions said to add two teaspoons of seeds to 1/4 cup of water. PANIC. STRESS. A TEASPOON?! A QUARTER CUP?! How to measure?!?!?
“Just use a spoon,” Glenn said, and Todd supported this. Todd also happened to be going into the kitchen at the same time as me, so when I frantically held up a paper cup and cried, “HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH?!” he suggested “half.”
So I did “half.”
But then I went to Lauren on my way back to my desk for a second opinion.
“Um….I would dump out like an inch of that,” she said, squinting at the water line.
I feel like she probably cooks sometimes so she would know.
I dumped out an inch of water into the nearby water fountain.
After that, my assignment to stir occasionally for 30 minutes. It was daunting though because it looked like something gross and healthy that I would eat for lunch (like some kind of slimy earth porridge) so I had to be mindful not to put the spoon in my mouth.
Thirty minutes went by and while the seed mixture was definitely jellied and thicker than it was in the beginning, it didn’t spread very well on Bob’s head. Amber was getting angry because the seed-splooge kept sliding off and then LAUREN HAD THE NERVE TO SAY THAT SOMEONE MUST HAVE USED TOO MUCH WATER and I was like, “I ONLY DID WHAT YOU PEOPLE TOLD ME TO DO!” and then it turned into a thing and I can’t wait for when Bob’s fro doesn’t grow and everyone BLAMES ME. UGH.
(However, now I’m wondering if I don’t really know how much “an inch” is.)
Pictured above is Bob posin’ in front of one of two Glenn Galleries. Amber applied the chia-jizz as best as she could, so we’ll see what happens.
Hopefully we can replace Glenn in no time!
At one point during this Bob Ross gardening activity, I had slight deja vu. “Do I have a Bob Ross Glenn?” I asked no one in particular but then the real Glenn answered, “It’s hard to say. You made so many.”
Later, I checked out the display of Glenns (it’s like MoMA up in our department) and sure enough, there was Bob Ross Glenn.
“Yeah guys, he’s right under Jeffrey Dahmer Glenn!” I cried out but no one cared.
Here’s a quickie.
That’s all I got for now. I was originally going to have a non compos cards Valentine commercial but Henry’s card blunder RUINED THAT for now and I can’t look at my cards so maybe tomorrow we’ll see.
Remember the other day when I posted a sob story? I know, all my stories are of the sob genre, but specifically the post about how fucking cold it’s been here in Pittsburgh. Well, Saturday was still fucking cold.
I started the day with several walking workouts on YouTube since it’s just been too much to walk around the neighborhood in this weather (my Mexican taco cart boyfriend has probably forgotten me by now, ugh). And then I watched Goblin – it has taken me nearly a year to get through this drama because IT IS SO FUCKING SAD. It makes me ugly-cry so hard, it’s repulsive. Even more than This Is Us. But it is so, so, so good.
And then Henry made me this bubbling ramyun for lunch because HAVE I MENTIONED IT’S GODDAMN COLD OUT? Every year I swear that I won’t be that person who complains about the weather or points out the obvious but man, I will just never be OK with winter. Sorry all you winter stans.
After lunch, Henry had to go to the eye doctor and originally I was just going to stay home. But then I remembered that the eye place is very close to Century III Mall, and since Chooch and I haven’t been able to get in our nightly walks, I thought it would be fun to pose as elderly mall walkers. Because, if you’re from this area you already know — there ain’t much else to do at the near-defunct Century III Mall.
Henry dropped us off and I was shocked to see that since I was last there (less than a year ago), nearly every store had closed. I’m not being hyperbolic here, either. We walked through almost an entire wing before we finally came across something that was open — freaking Things Remembered, ugh that store is so lame.
One of my friends posted a few months ago that Italian Village Pizza, the last remaining joint in the food court, had closed. Chooch and I walked over to that side of the mall and it was actually really cold, obvious that it wasn’t even being heated anymore. And my favorite wing of the mall is now entirely off-limits: the steps and escalators are all blocked off.
I know I’m a super sentimental person, but I was shocked at how much this hurt. There was a pet store down there that my friend Rachael worked at and I would visit her there in high school. And then off to the right down there was Champ’s, where I would buy all of my Champion and Starter hoodies and coats (I was a yo-girl and dressed almost exclusively in JNCO & Karl Kani jeans and college sports sweatshirts, lol — I really liked Michigan for some reason?!). When I was in 9th grade, I befriended the cutest salesguy in that joint — Will. Ugh, he was so dreamy, and like probably in college. I remember my friends Jameelah & Erika also really liked him and would get so mad because he paid the most attention to me, and after I started dating my “first love” Justin, Will would always tell me that he wasn’t good enough for me. We used to talk on the phone sometimes too (my mom WAS NOT A FAN OF THIS) but I realized later that he probably just liked me as a little sister and truly did look out for me, which was pretty awesome now that I’m old enough to see it for what it was.
I tried to regale Chooch with some of my memories, like how the dark, cobblestoned portion of the bottom floor had a shop called the Pittsburgh Store and it’s where I would get all of my stickers. “I collected stickers and had like 87 sticker books,” I told Chooch.
“Of course you did,” he sighed.
And how there was a Dairy Queen back there too, where Keri and I would always stop for refreshments on one of our ritual Friday night mall lurks. (I would always get the tropical flavored one.) And how one time we were accused of shoplifting at the Claire’s in the now-closed wing of the mall, and of course we proved that we didn’t do it but I couldn’t get the bitch manager to apologize so Keri’s mom called the mall and flipped her shit on them.
There was actually only one time in my whole life that I shoplifted, and it was when I was like 4 or 5 years ago. My mom and I were in some kitchen store on the second floor of that mall and I walked out with two magnets made out of peanut shells, and then felt so terrible when I realized what I did that I cried all night and never did that again.
But honestly, I practically lived at that mall from 7th to 10th grade. In 8th grade, I’d get dropped off every Friday night with the hopes of seeing SCOTT DAMBAUGH, who I was desperately crushing on. Even Henry knows the Dambaugh lore.
To be honest, that mall started going downhill back in the 90s when it was first sold and renovated. It was “modernized,” which basically just means they took out all of the cool parts, like the stage area that was outside of Kaufmann’s (Richard Simmons performed there once!). And the smaller third floor area was pretty much just left to die, and that has always pained me because that’s where my favorite music shop was (Waves — I bought what feels like a million dollars-worth of cassingles from that place), where my friend Liz and I “accidentally” lost the French foreign exchange student who was staying with my family during the summer of ’92, and where the best arcade was (the mall had two back then). It was also where one of my first memories originates, it’s super unclear, but I remember my Pappap and me walking around the mall a lot when I was really young, like pre-school age. And there was a…OK bear with me because I just tried to tell Henry this story and he looked at me with question marks undulating around his furry brows. How to even start this. There was a department store on that side of the mall – I thought it was Gimbles but Henry was all THAT WAS ON THE SIDE WHERE THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT IS NOW. Maybe it was Hornes then? It doesn’t matter. All that matters was that on the wall outside of it, next to the entrance, there were buttons. I never knew what they were for, but it was like a ritual for me to push them every time. And the one was brown so I would pretend that every time I pushed it, coffee was being made.
I started to remember this when I was an older kid, and when I brought it up to my Pappap he was like, “Bitch you cray” and when I started hanging out at the mall later in life with friends, I actively tried to find those buttons and no one ever knew what the hell I was talking about.
Also, the third floor used to have this super cute It’a A Small World-esque Christmas display AND NO ONE REMEMBERS THAT EITHER. Please, dear god, if you’re from Pittsburgh and have any clue what I’m going on about, PLEASE COMMENT AND VALIDATE ME.
Oh man, I just now had a recollection of buying Billy Ocean’s greatest hits for myself at Waves, and as the cashier rang me up, I turned to my friend Christy and shouted, “SUSIE IS REALLY GOING TO LIKE THIS CD” because I didn’t want the guy to know it was for me, and it’s hilarious to me that I even once cared about what someone would think about my musical persuasions!
Or going to National Record Mart when I was in third grade because I wanted to buy the T’Pau record but all I knew was that I liked the song “Heart & Soul.” When the clerk asked me who the artist was, all I could say was, “I don’t know. She looks like Tracey Ullman.” OMG AND GOING TO KAUFMANN’S TO BUY CONCERT TICKETS!
UGH AND POGS!!!!!!
Other memories I have of the mall are, pre-vegetarianism, skulking around Hickory Farms for the free kielbasi samples; eating at Alby’s Big Boy as a kid and falling into the dark hole of penpalling thanks to the penpal section of the kids menu (I WAS EVEN FEATURED ONCE!!!!!); getting all of my film developed, with doubles!, at Ritz Camera; meeting some of the Penguins at an event there after they won their first Stanley Cup (Phil Bourque and Peter Taglianetti were definitely two of them, but I’d have to find my old pictures to remember who else was there); playing the Simpsons arcade game with my brother Ryan; GETTING THE WORST HAIR CUT OF MY LIFE AT SOME SALON THAT’S NOT THERE ANYMORE THANKS MOM; Taco Tina’s.
I’ve still been going to that mall a handful of times a year, because it still has Hot Topic and Journeys. But now Journeys is gone too! I hope that my Dance Gavin Dance friend Sam got to relocate to a different Journeys. :(
On this particular afternoon, it was pretty much just me, Chooch, some elderly people, and a kid pretending to be a zombie. Chooch wanted new shoes and that was a struggle considering 90% of the stores are closed and JC Penney is the only department store left. But we eventually found a cool pair of red ADIDAS at Champs (in a new location). And they were majorly on sale too because the mall was sold to UPMC and all the remaining stores are just waiting for their leases to run out, I guess. I mean, even Spencer’s is gone. Does a mall even exist without a Spencer’s?
Inexplicably, what the mall DOES have is a beautiful double-decker carousel that’s managed to last for several years now. Chooch and I naturally wanted to ride it but my credit card wasn’t swiping properly so the ride operator graciously let us ride for free!
“ARE WE GOING UPSTAIRS?!” I cried, and of course Chooch answered yes so we clobbered up the steps and picked our animals.
The ride operator waved to us every time we rotated past her, and I waved back the first few times but then just pretended like I didn’t notice after that because it was getting to be too much.
After this, we went to Penney’s, because we still hadn’t reached 10,000 steps (we got Chooch a Fitbit for Christmas and he and I are “healthy” competitors). I was about to try on some slutty jeans when Henry texted and said, “Don’t buy anything.”
Um, OK, control freak.
“Especially not stupid, overpriced red shoes.”
I showed Chooch and we both looked at each other like, “WHAT HOW WHY.” I figured he probably got a text notification that I purchased something from Champs because ever since we had our account hacked several years ago, Henry gets notified for every last purchase just in case.
“Or merry-go-round rides.”
OK, for sure I figured he probably just saw our picture on Instagram, but I wasn’t sure how he knew that we bought red shoes. Then he asked where we were and after I said “Penneys” he appeared behind us LIKE A FUCKING CREEPER. Turns out, he had been in the mall for a minute because he had to go to the Verizon store, and on his way there, he walked past us just as we were getting on the carousel. He even mimicked me saying, “ARE WE GOING UPSTAIRS?!” Lol! I was like, “OMG were you so proud to know us?!” and he said no, that he hung his head in shame and hurried past us before we saw him.
Henry said the first thing he noticed was that Chooch was wearing brand new bright red shoes hahaha.
So that took up pretty much the whole afternoon.
I spent some time in the evening making some new Kpop cards, and then later we had family KpopX night! THIS IS MY FAVORITE NIGHT! HENRY DOESN’T EVEN TRY!
We finished the night by watching an old Running Man episode featuring IU, so I had my tea in an IU cup. It was a good day. I mean, it was cold as fuck. But it was good.
Today is the coldest day of winter so far here in Pittsburgh and I am pretty angry about it. I hated winter as a kid, and I still hate it as a “grown-up.” You can keep your snow! I don’t even need it on Xmas!
Speaking of Christmas. Back in November, Chris and Monica came back from Iceland and Amsterdam with some gifts for us for taking care of their cat Graham (the best orange cat I’ve ever known!). Chooch got some really cool toy-type souvenirs and amazing slipper socks from Iceland, while Henry and I got an assortment of chocolate bars. Chooch, forgetting that he had his own bounty right there in front of him, could only focus on the fact that we got chocolate and he did not.
Sike, I’m the same.
Anyway, for Christmas, Chris & Monica got him this obscene 4lb chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s and he was gobsmacked (I don’t know why I had such an urge to use that word because it is totally not a word I would ever say out loud, ever…?). I have to admit that we have collectively mowed that sucker halfway down throughout the week. It’s good chocolate!
And this is one of the gifts they got me ^^^. Honestly, it’s like someone plunged a turkey baster into my brain and then splooged the contents onto a wooded plaque, because if this doesn’t scream ERIN RACHELLE KELLY then I guess you just haven’t been reading this blog as diligently as you should, NOW HAVE YOU.
I made Henry hang it up as soon as we got home later that night:
Now I get to see it every day when I leave for work and it makes me feel less hateful!
Also, Chris is a whiz with fancy yarn and made me this infinity scarf. I AM SPOILED. She made slouchy hats for Henry and Chooch, too. WE ARE ALL SPOILED. We were so lacking in the Xmas gift exchange department this year, but I swear I will make up for that with gifts from Korea. They are just way too good to us!
Anyway, perfect timing for this scarf because it’s been in the teens all week, weather-wise, here in Pittsburgh. Of course, I still went outside every day for my lunch break walk because I’m a fucking low-IQ masochist, but I just need that daily walk or else I will have sat at my desk all day and that’s bad. The one day, Wednesday maybe, it was a sweltering 20 degrees out and we were all raving about how it felt like a veritable heatwave at that point. It was the best walk of my week because not only was I out of the frostbite zone, but the sun was shining full force and it felt amazing on my face, like a fucking vitamin D bukkake. Hit me baby one more time.
I felt like dancing through the Strip District.
Or stripping. You don’t know what I’m capable of.
Here is a New Year’s Eve picture of Peenlop.
Wendy got Chooch this blanket for Christmas after I told her that he always hogs my couch blanket, you know, Mr. I NEVER GET COLD yet somehow is always wrapped in my blanket. Now he has his own and I want it! It’s so cool!
Well, let’s keep this short & sweet. I need to go and do jumping jacks to warm myself up. Never underestimate the power of simple jumping jacks, my 친구.
Feels like I’m obliged to, anyway.
For me personally, this last year was actually really great aside from uncontrollable emotional breakdowns. I hate to use this word, but the #metoo movement has me so triggered. I’m not saying I’m mad that this is a dialogue we’re finally having, and that abusers are being called out, but it has really stirred some things in me that I keep thinking are in the past but apparently are a part of me forever. I’m working through that while being continuously fired-up and wanting to scratch the faces off of every vile predator out there, our “president” being at the top of the list.
Add that to the pot with everything else that was/is going on: the internal conflicts within our country, the shootings, the deaths, the racism and Neo-Nazi resurgence, the uncertainty of nuclear war—these things have me, like so many of my fellow sane Americans, so stressed out that it’s sometimes hard to remember that I had a lot of fun adventures with Henry and Chooch, explored new cities, spent time with a lot of friends, and worked hard at making some huge personal and physical changes. For instance, I went to buy new pants for work yesterday and tried on several size 6s, just on a whim, and was shocked to find that they slid right up, no sucking-it-in needed! I try to keep my weight loss journey on the down low because it is something that I’m kind of modest about, if that makes sense (and I’m certainly not posting a thousand full-body mirror selfies of myself on the Internet because no one needs to see that before & after other than me) but for god’s sake I worked so hard for this so I’m just gonna drop myself some praise on here, OK?! This didn’t happen for no reason and I’m more than happy to talk about it with anyone who is looking for something new to try.
I still dream of being a KpopX instructor! Too bad I hate being around people so much. Especially IN FRONT of them!
I think it’s kind of funny how we put so much stock in calendar years, like just because one year full of terrible things is coming to an end, the new year coming up will allow us a fresh start as if we’re not going into 2018 with the same president, etc., but I am definitely on the GTFO 2017 bandwagon and am anxious to try my best to do my part in making 2018 better than the last. That was a really long sentence.
Sorry if this is harsh or whatever but my only resolution for this new year is to stay alive.
Here are a few highlights of the last year, off the top o’ my head:
My year in music, not shocking to anyone:
And I will leave you with an end of the year performance of my most-listened-to song of 2017, Vixx’s “Shangri-La.” (Honestly I’m very surprised it wasn’t BIGBANG’s “Cafe” or Taemin’s “Press Your Number.”)
[ETA: So weird story. While I was watching this video before work, I said to Chooch that I was surprised they were even asked to perform at any of these big year-end music festivals because their comeback last…May?…really seemed to sputter and go nowhere, which I thought was a shame because I LOVED THIS SONG (Spotify’s like, “We know.”) Anyway, later on in the day I was reading my Kpop sites, lol, and I saw that apparently the video of Vixx’s performance was on Naver’s mainpage and ended up going viral, and now they’re going to get a second chance at a comeback stage on Music Core!! This is really cool. Good for Vixx!]
Henry and I worked hard to make sure that we were offering a good array of Korean fare. We have both learned so much about it over the last year and honestly have adapted our daily diet around it, no joke. Most of my meals are seasoned heartily with gochugaru and swimming in gochujang that my tongue rarely feels the heat of spicy food anymore. I’m over here like, “Here try this, it’s not spicy at all” while people are gasping and reaching desperately for a glass of cold milk.
So we tried to keep it authentic* while not incinerating our guests’ cheek linings.
* (As authentic as possible considering neither of us are Korean; but as someone who really likes cooking, I will say that Henry treats this cuisine with utmost respect and doesn’t try to Americanize it at all. He even added eomuk – fish cakes – to the tteokbokki.)
The final menu was:
I wanted him to also make kimchi jeon (pancake) but he answered me with a glare; also, we ended up being properly stuffed with what he provided, so perhaps we’ll save the jeon for the next K-dinner party.
The banchan included:
All of these were procured from New Sam Bok, a Korean market in the Strip. Henry made the lotus root himself though. I mean, he didn’t GROW it, but he boiled and marinated it and our house smelled so fucking good while that was happening.
I was worried that our guests were going to recoil at the banchan, because let’s face it, this isn’t like your standard side of fucking cole slaw, you know? But these are staples in Korean households, and I have to say that for the last year I have been eating kimchi on a regular basis and it’s to the point where I will sometimes sit at work thinking about it and longing to be home with a side of it in front of me.
Henry also prepared bean sprout (basically just fresh bean sprouts marinated in sesame oil – it’s so good), but we forgot to put it out on the table. C’EST LA VIE, BEAN SPROUTS.
Everyone was waiting for JANNA to get there. She had some excuse about TRAFFIC.
But then she finally arrived and the pouring of the soju commenced. We had two bottles on hand, and Chronica brought two more, so we were set. I wanted to also have magkeolli but we live in shitty Pennsylvania with their prohibitionist liquor restrictions so none of the Asian markets around here sell it. Henry was going to order it from the state store but they were like, “Nice try, you have to buy a whole case.” We obviously didn’t want a full case so no magkeolli for this go around. Maybe next time we’ll plan ahead and take a drive to the nearest H-Mart or something, or Henry can buy a fucking kit and make some.
Holy chopstick holder.
You guys! The banchan was a success! Blake said his favorite was the bellflower (doraji) and everyone resoundingly enjoyed the fernbrake which I thought was going to bomb, even though apparently in Korea it’s the favored banchan. I liked it, but the texture was a bit off-putting. I read that it’s really good in bibimbap though so I think I’m going to have Henry make some of that this week. (He recently bought a dolsat pot!)
Sorry this picture isn’t very appetizing but I was off my food-photog game that night because I was too busy Edward Chopstickhanding all the food into my face. But here’s the tteokbokki and japchae!
And Korean Fried Chicken & Tofu! No pictures of the bossam, though — SORRY.
Every kept saying how much they liked the food, and I was glad for Henry. He deserves all the props and hat tips!
Also, Chooch finally tried kimchi and admitted that he sort of liked it, kind of. I’m actually not sure if he ate anything all night because I was too busy with my face in my plate. I guess I should ask Janna.
Chooch got What Do You Meme for Christmas and was itching for dinner to be over so he could finally play it with Blake and Chris. (“And maybe her,” he said, putting at me as an afterthought. Monica was delighted to not be included because she didn’t want to play. I DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO PLAY EITHER!) At one point, he could contain his excitement no longer and started rummaging through the game; he was so pleased when he pulled out the Kim Jong Un card. Sigh.
Also, Chooch had a seating chart all planned out in his head and his brain all but exploded when people arrived and started sitting wherever they wanted. But he still got to sit next to Blake, which was his ultimate goal, so he left everyone else stay in their seats. It was kind of up in the air there for a minute, though.
Henry spent most of the dinner in the kitchen and then holding his grandson Calvin, but he had no complaints.
And my favorite kpop videos played in the background all during dinner. I even got to answer questions about kpop, the food we were eating, and Korean holidays! It was all I could ask for and I was so happy that everyone there was showing interest and not making me feel dumb for bear-hugging an entire culture that’s not my own. Monica at one point said that everyone has a thing, and some people’s thing i making the rest of us feel bad about having a thing.
This is really true.
After dinner, Chooch finally got to play his damn game, which is basically just as vulgar as Cards Against Humanity and Janna kept putting cards back in the deck because she didn’t want to read them in front of Chooch. I think Janna’s modesty was my favorite part! Monica and Henry wee so happy that they didn’t have to play.
My favorite part of the night was when we played MY favorite game, which Chris says isn’t actually a game, but it’s called, “Use Google Translate to give Chris Spanish sentences to translate” and of course she always gets it because she’s a freaking bilingual genius, but the funnest part is listening to Chooch read the Spanish out loud, even though all of his sentences are disparaging about my cat Penelope and way too complimentary about his dumb cat Drew. Mine was, “Jimin is Henry’s bias because he likes his chipmunk cheeks and luscious lips.” It was so dumb, and maybe it was the wine, soju, and Chris’s homemade eggnog talking, but I was in tears laughing.
I wish I had more pictures, but goddamn I was so into the food and company! It felt nice to be moderately social without the accompanying anxiety for once. It’s been a while. The night was so awesome, but more importantly, my friends are awesome! I’m thankful that they came over and partook in my favorite things for an evening. <3