Nov 212014


After our life-changing trip to Heini’s Cheese Chalet, Corey and I decided it was time to get a substantial meal that didn’t consist of cheese cubes on toothpicks and (the best) butter (in the world) on Wheat Thins. We opted for Der Dutchman because it boasted Amish Kitchen Cooking, so of course we went and ordered the two most American meals on the menu: a cheeseburger and grilled cheese. And we forgot to use our dinner rolls the way they were intended: as vehicles for Der Dutchman’s peanut butter spread. Corey wanted to ask our waitress for more rolls so that he could have a do-over, but then he kept chickening out. Also, we had to stand in line just to get inside the restaurant, which normally would be a huge HELL NO for me, but when in Amish Country, I guess. Some hag in front of us kept trying to make conversation because we clearly have such avuncular faces? I’ve always been told that I’m stand-offish, so I guess that doesn’t translate in Ohio.

Before we were seated, there was a brief moment of panic when Corey and I thought that this was a family-style restaurant and that we might have to sit at a table with some horrible family, asking us to pass the biscuits, and I almost fled. When I was a kid, this might have been pre-Corey, our family went to Lancaster, PA, which is essentially the Amish capital of America.  We ate at some restaurant that had an attached petting zoo and we sat a long wooden table with other families and I was crying internally because I didn’t want to eat with people I didn’t know but our dad was like FUCK YES THIS IS REAL COUNTRY-LIVING! He was all about it. But what I remember most about that meal was the shoo-fly pie. Because of that experience, it has always been the first thing my mind goes to when I think of Amish (OK fine, right after I think about them copulating through a hole in a sheet).

This is all to say that I was really looking forward to piggybacking  my grilled cheese with a slice of that sticky molasses Dutch pie.

(Oh dear god, my tongue is having vivid flashbacks of my last shoo-fly pie experience.)


I was really excited about the creamed corn.


Halfway through lunch, I noticed that Bitch-Broad from Heini’s, the one who had the nerve to yell at our beloved Father Cheese, was also dining at Der Dutchman! (That’s her in the green shirt and stupid poufy hair behind Corey.) Corey said she was also at the bakery we stopped at across from Heini’s and that even in there, she was bitching about how she couldn’t believe the price of whatever bakery item she was glaring at. Then we saw her after we left Der Dutchman as she and her horde of less-bitchy broads walked into a chocolate shop. She still looked mad! How are you going to be mad walking into a CHOCOLATE SHOP? Maybe she should have just stayed home and watched her DVR collection of The View.

But as usual, my train of thought is getting derailed once again. She has literally nothing to do with shoo fly pie.

When our waitress asked us if we wanted dessert, Corey and I declined because we hadn’t seen shoo fly pie on the menu and we were obviously saving room for that down the road.

Before we left the Der Dutchman parking lot, Corey decided that we should call our dad and ask him where to get the dessert of Amish gods.

Corey put him on speaker, and it was one of the  most painful laugh-stifling moments of my life, possibly even moreso than the one at Heini’s, because I felt actual kidney pain. Like the angel on my shoulder had hopped off and started punching me in the side for being the type of asshole who laughs at a dad who is genuinely trying to help his kids have the best Amish experience possible.

“Oh, I doubt you’re going to find shoofly pie,” our dad said gravely. “In fact, I had to pre-order one the last time I was there because I knew the bakeries wouldn’t have any otherwise.”

We were suffering at this point from what I can only describe as “The Wet Laughs.” Tears were streaming down our faces and I was even starting to break a sweat from the exertion of laugh-containment.  Corey wheezed, “I can’t!” and flat out hung up on our dad. I can only imagine how ugly I looked in that moment, with my face wet, red and twisted in a mixture of pain and hilarity. I FELT ugly. It was an ugly laugh. Hearing our dad speaking so seriously about shoofly pie was just too much.

Finally, we calmed down enough for Corey to call our dad back, who answered immediately by saying, “The reception is really bad out there, I know.” And then proceeded to sound disappointed when we mentioned that we chose Heini’s over Walnut Creek Cheese, and then asked, “Did you guys go to the hardware store yet?”

That fucking hardware store!

“It’s not like a Home Depot, you know,” he earnestly advised. “It’s TWO FLOORS and it has a lot of things that Erin would like to look at. Like birdhouses.”


We promised that we would stop and check it out after we visited Sugarcreek, but first we had important business to tend to at Swiss Heritage Winery, which was essentially like your Aunt Rhoda’s house, full of sparkly trinkets, Betty Boop memorabilia, and clashing floral patterns, with a small wine bar thrown in almost as an afterthought.



Corey and I each chose 5 wine samples from a cheerful lady in a supposedly traditional Swiss dress and then plucked some complimentary chips and cheese cubes from a platter and took our wine samples over to a tall table where we recalled what we learned from Roberto at Narcisi Winery last year, and proceeded to stick out like sore thumbs. I liked all  the wines just fine, but wasn’t really in the mood to purchase any bottles until I noticed that he cherry cranberry variety was called “Han’s Favorite Wine” and featured a picture of Hans himself, in a Swiss cap and lederhosen. Swiss Heritage, you got yourself a sale.

While Corey and I were paying for our wine, I used it as an opportunity to ask the older women behind the counter if they had the shoofly pie 411.

I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the expression on the one woman’s face actually darkened, like we were suddenly in I had audaciously screamed “Voldemort.”

“I wouldn’t even know,” she said curtly. “That’s something you don’t see very often around here anymore.”

“You might want to try Der Dutchman,” the other woman offered, with a slight shrug, but I told them we had just come from there and it was a no-go. (Although we never actually ASKED the waitress. Now I’m kind of glad we hadn’t. We might have been told to get the fuck out.)

“Sorry, I just don’t know,” the first woman said without even a HINT of apology as she handed over our gaudy gift-wrapped wine purchases.

As we shirked out of the door, I could hear the two of them still talking about shoo fly pie, like they had just been reminded of something that they were told to forget.

“I think I might have a recipe for that somewhere….” the nicer of the two was saying as the door closed behind us.


“What the fuck, Corey!?” I laughed as we set off for Sugarcreek to finally gawk at the world’s largest cuckoo clock. “Why did t hey act so weird about shoofly pie!?” We spouted off some theories, like maybe there was some feud between the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish community and the Ohio Amish, and the PA peeps won the rights to the pie.

After checking out the clock, we stopped in some novelty shop called Finder’s Keepers, where we quickly learned that a movie was recently filmed there called “Love Finds You In Sugarcreek.” Almost every shop along the main street had signs and DVD displays in  their windows. Even the Gospel Shop! We stopped in the Decanter and Stein “Museum,” which was basically just a small,  musty room full of steins and decanters for sale. I found pretty  much the only one that wasn’t $500 dollars and decided that I needed to buy it because I refused to leave Sugarcreek without a stein. I’m suddenly hot for steins, I don’t know.

The proprietor was a really old man who took his grand old time wrapping my stein in newspaper and taping it with 87 pieces of Scotch tape while I was having a coughing fit. My allergies had been flaring all week and basically as soon as we set foot in that shop, I knew I didn’t have much time. This was he only low point of the day for me, and as sweet as that old man was, I had strong urges to snatch the half-wrapped stein from him and yell, “I’LL JUST DO IT MYSELF THANKS” except that I couldn’t even speak since I was coughing so hard.

Once we stepped out into fresh air, I felt fine, so we went to Esther’s Home Baked Goods which was right next store. The inside of the bakery was very brown and austere. But Esther’s friendliness and bonneted-head compensated for the lack of paper lanterns and pastel palette.

“Oh, I see you looking at my chocolate pie!” she enthused, and I had porn flashbacks. “It’s on sale because I messed it up. It still tastes good, though!”

Way to sell it, Esther!

“You don’t happen to have any shoofly pie?” Corey asked.

“No,” Esther said, seemingly bemused by this question. “But it’s funny you ask, because several people have asked me that lately! Maybe I should try to make it again….” she added, mostly to herself.

I ended up getting some weird date cake thing and Corey got pumpkin ice cream and peanut butter fudge.

“Tell me if the fudge is OK!” she begged Corey. “It just didn’t seem right when I made it.”

This lady and me would make a great business team. Esther and her “Dessert Messes” and me and my “Fake Art.” Our confidence will bowl you over.

My date cake thing was actually pretty good though. Corey said the fudge was way too soft but he liked it. He left out the “too soft” part when he gave her his review before we left to set off for the infamous “hardware store.” If I didn’t know any better, I’d think we were being sent off for slaughter.


I don’t know why I didn’t bother doing this while we were there, but a quick google of “shoofly pie” explains that it really is mostly just a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. No wonder those broads seemed so weird about it. They clearly hate Pennsylvania.

If there is one takeaway from our day in Ohio Amish Country, it’s that I really need to spend more time with my dad. He has inadvertently given Corey and me a day that we will probably talk about (and laugh about!) for the rest of our lives. And THAT is better than shoofly pie.




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Nov 202014


Corey & Chooch putting ornaments on my mom’s Christmas tree. I miss Chooch’s curls! And you know, family holiday dinners. I hope when Chooch grows up, he marries someone who loves to cook and they have 8 kids. I want big holiday dinners.

When I asked Chooch if he would comply, he said, “Uh…no. I can’t handle kids.”

“Neither can your mom,” Henry mumbled.


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Nov 192014


You might know this about me, but I am a hoe for Swiss/Bavarian/German culture, especially when it involves American tourist traps. So it’s really no surprise that one of the biggest draws for me when it comes to Ohio Amish Country is definitely the small town of Sugarcreek. Henry, Chooch and I had briefly stopped there in 2010 after I insisted we take a detour on our way home from Michigan so that I could see the world’s largest cuckoo clock. Henry was PISSED because when we finally found it, it wasn’t even assembled; it had apparently been dismantled after the restaurant it was once attached to had closed, and now it was just sitting in an empty lot.

I had heard that it had finally been bought and moved to the center of town, so I had been begging Henry to take me back for the last two years now and he always has some stupid excuse like, “I don’t want to spend money” or “That place is dumb.”

So when Corey suggested we take a sibling trip to look at Amish people in Ohio and I found out that he was actually talking about THIS SAME AREA, it was on.


We arrived in Sugarcreek sometime after lunch at Der Dutchman but before visiting our dad’s beloved “hardware store.” The clock puts on its show every 30 minutes, so since we had about 15 minutes to kill, we asked some local jogger to take our picture. She was pretty much slowing her roll before we even asked because I’m sure we looked like idiots trying to take a selfie while capturing the entire clock in the background. The struggle was real.

People in Sugarcreek are super nice. Obviously. IT’S OHIO’S LITTLE SWITZERLAND!

Sitting on the bench (which Corey discovered flips over into a picnic table!), waiting for the 3:00PM edition of Swiss folk music to blare out of the barely-hidden speakers, I was revisited by all of my past lives where I was better known as Swiss Miss, Heidi, and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

(Whoever said this waste of Internet space wasn’t occasionally educational?)

I felt so excited and in touch with my inner Alps-frolicking, Ricola-sucking self at that moment, it was like someone stuffed a bouquet of edelweiss up my ass.


Very kitsch. Such creep. You just know those lederhosen-clad band members sneak off in the middle of the night and drag stray cats and severed human limbs back into the dark penetralia of the cuckoo clock.

Another family joined us for the highly anticipated 3pm viewing, and somehow Corey and I were able to act like civilized human beings through its entirety. We managed to get our fill of the cuckoo clock’s 2 minute presentation of robust Swiss folk music**, right before a tour bus, probably full of those impatient cheese-grubbing fuck lords at Heini’s, rolled up to clog the area with a coterie of obstructed bowels.

**(Seriously, click that link to watch exactly 15 seconds of the clock in action. It’ll take you to Instagram, because I just found out the hard way that I apparently can’t embed my Instagram videos here now.)

After sufficiently making fun of the tour bus, we decided that our next sibling adventure will definitely need to involve us booking one of those weekender tours.

“It’ll be us and old people,” Corey said dreamily. “They’ll love us!”

And they really will, too, because somehow old people are incapable of sniffing out our douchiness.

Next up: the shoo fly pie saga.

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Nov 182014

Last night, right as I was falling asleep, “Jackie Blue” came on the radio. Do you know this song? It’s old, like from the SEVENTIES OMG, and it’s by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I have been obsessed with this song since high school so as soon as it started playing, I cried, “JACKIE BLUE FUCK YEAH!” and started dancing in bed which is something that Henry totally LOVES when he’s already sleeping, but who cares.

“This song makes me think of when I was 17 and went through a phase where I wore shoelaces as headbands!” I laughed, but Henry just mumbled some sleep-stifled sentiment into his pillow, so since he didn’t care to listen to my stories, I am ready to shoot them from my fingertips like smoking words from a phalanges-cannon. His loss is your gain, Blog a/k/a My One True Friend.

  • Back when I was 17 and wearing shoelaces in my hair, Lisa and I used to frequent a pool hall called Cue and Cushion. I’m really not sure how this all began, and for as much time as we spent there, we never really got good. Every time I would ever get a ball in the pocket, I would make an obnoxious gesture toward the pocket and say, “Skilllllllls” while every one else would groan, “Shit shot.” There was this one guy we befriended and I can’t remember his name but I can see him very clearly in my mind, especially how his face went from friendly to “You are dead to me” when he expressed interest and I was like, “I am dating a psychopathic fire-starter whom I love very much and will never betray!” Which was actually true. I never cheated on Mike once, yet he would constantly accuse me of. Also, I remember him being in his 20s and I was saving my cradle for Henry to rob at a later date, obviously. BUT I DIGRESS. I would ask Lisa if she remembers his name, but I’m lucky that she even remembers being friends with me back then, let alone some random pool shark’s name.
    • I have a photo of myself with this guy and I’m wearing a striped velour shirt that I bought from Contempo after it changed from Contempo Casuals but before it became Wet Seal. I’m wearing that shirt under overalls because that’s how I did it back in 1997, holla.
      • Speaking of photos, Lisa and I hung out at Cue and Cushion so often (and were probably the youngest people there on most nights), that we became friends with the proprietor, Lou, who hung our senior pictures up on her bulletin board.
  • Thinking of Lou got me remembering all of the other mom-types that loved me and Lisa back in the day, like Maryann from Denny’s, who kept a picture of me on her key chain (Henry rolled his eyes at this) and then there was a broad who worked at a diner that we called Home Cookin’ because that’s the generic name that was on the outside of it (it was in a shopping center) but really it was called Russitano’s. We NEVER called it that but then when I met Henry, it turned out his mom knew a bunch of the waitresses there and he would correct me every time I called it Home Cookin’. Probably because he couldn’t stand that he wasn’t included in my antics back then and hearing me calling it Home Cookin’ forced him to think about me having a life that GOD FORBID didn’t include him. Anyway, I can’t remember that lady’s name, but she used to let us go behind the counter and get our own drink refills. God, I miss that. I think it eventually changed to the Plaza Cafe, back when I was 19 and getting grilled blueberry muffins and coleslaw with the aforementioned Psycho Mike and then it moved down the street and now it’s something else but it seems to rarely be open so why bother.
    • And then all of this made me think of the disgusting amount of time my friends and I spent at various diners but mostly Denny’s and how the hell did they never kick us out when all we were ordering was coffee and essentially loitering.
      • One of my favorite Denny’s memories was going there for dinner with Brian, Chooch’s godfather, when we were…20? 21? He saw someone he knew sitting at a booth across the restaurant, so he told our waitress to send that table the sampler platter and to put it on Brian’s check. Because that’s the Denny’s equivalent of sending over a bottle of champagne at a classy restaurant, I guess. Brian spent the rest of our time there waiting and waiting for some acknowledgement from his friend, but then later, some kid that we knew from high school stopped by on his way out and thanked Brian for the nice gesture. The waitress had delivered it to the wrong table and Brian was SO PISSED but I was dying. Then, when we were walking through the parking lot of my apartment complex afterward, Brian tripped over a speed bump and I cried, “THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF ALL TIME!” Probably we went inside and sent Janna fake emails from a fictional man named Tyree, because that’s what we did for funtimes back then. I mean, I would never anything like that now.
      • Speaking of coffee, it’s funny to think about how we would go to actual diners and restaurants (like Denny’s and Eat n Park) when we wanted to hang out and have coffee with friends. There were no Starbucks or really any other coffee houses in the suburbs where I grew up that I can think of, aside from Gloria Jean’s in the mall. Which leads me to my next topic…
  • Ever since I had Dark Matter coffee at Riot Fest, I have been straight feenin’ for it. I finally buckled and bought a bag of the Mastodon-collaborated coffee, Black Blood. It’s a limited release and aged in Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whiskey barrels. I’ve been in a Keurig rut for YEARS so this inspired me (Henry) to get off my (his) ass and buy a french press. My first cup of that steaming Black Blood reminded me that Keurig’s K-Cups are essentially the mp3s of the coffee scene, and I’ve gone back to vinyl, you guys. I’m just sorry that I was led astray for so long. Convenience, etc.
  • Long-time readers might remember Eleanore, an older broad I used to work with at another job. I found her on Facebook about a year ago, but then I forget all about it until over the weekend, when I fell down the Old Job rabbit hole on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about: you find one person on FB that you used to work and then suddenly you’re scouring their friend list for other co-workers and then you accidentally send friend requests and it’s a whole big thing. Anyhow, I was reminded of Eleanore’s Facebook presence so I was scrolling through her shit and hearing her voice in my head reading all of her status updates out loud and then DYING at the amount of times TINA (OMG TINA HAHAHAHAHA) has posted to her wall saying “Hello dear friend, I miss” but in Tina-type, it’s more like “Hekjllo Dar friend i mis u.” Anyway…it turns out, and this is not funny at all, that Eleanore had a stroke two years and is no longer working. She seems to have bounced back, but that is still really sad and scary. I ended up having a dream last night that I went to visit her under the pretense of caring about her but in reality, I knew that she had three wheelchairs in her house and I wanted to buy one from her. OK, fine, I’ll tell you the truth: at first in my dream, my intent was to STEAL ONE. I have only stolen something once in my life and it was magnet made out of peanut shells that I took from Lechter’s, a home goods store that used to be in the mall. I was around 4 or 5 and I fucking swear to god, I was so racked with guilt after that, that I don’t even take pennies from Take a Penny trays at gas stations, even if I need one. OK, back to my dream. So I was going to steal one of these beautiful wheelchairs similar to the blue one I already have, but then I woke up in real life and forced myself to go back to sleep so that I could finish the dream by offering to buy one. I don’t know if I was successful, because then I was eating an ice cream cone that I didn’t like so my friend Jeannie let me have her ice cream cone, which was PEACH MELBA, so when I woke up this morning, my first thought was, “Wow, I forgot how much I used to love peach melba ice cream when I was a kid.”

And I will end this with a picture of me and Lisa at Denny’s (of which I have many).

(Pictures. Not Denny’s.)


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Nov 172014

Or: I’m not feeling like typing words today.

Brief summary, tho: the new Punk Goes Pop compilation just came out and while I’m not super into these comps, there are actually a few tracks I like a lot this time around. (And then you have the jumbled mess that Slaves made of Sweater Weather. What a great song for that merry band of misogynists to shit all over. That’s awful even by Kidz Bop standards.)

(I wish Dance Gavin Dance had covered Sweater Weather instead. With Tilian.)

The standout track for me is State Champs’ cover of Zedd’s “Stay the Night.” I love the original so much (full disclosure: I can’t listen to that song without crying, every.damn.time) and State Champs added their own sound to it while STILL making me get choked up at the gasoline part.

“Stay the Night” can stay on my radio.

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Nov 152014

…Or “Chorey” as Henry accidentally portmanteau’d  them earlier.

Today after Chooch’s piano lesson (and a trip to Etna for the best pierogies I’ve had in some time), I met Corey at Jefferson Memorial to help him out with some updated headshots for his real estate business cards. Henry had to go craft shopping with the old ladies at the nearby Pat Catan’s, so he dropped Chooch and me off which turned out to be kind of frustrating because Chooch was straight sugar-rushin’. I thought he had burned through some of his hyperactivity at his piano lesson, where his teacher Cheryl admitted that he’s  actually well-behaved when Henry takes him and agreed that he feeds off my mere presence. She suggested that I sit in a different chair where he couldn’t see me!

Anyway, I’m getting too wordy as usual. I apologize. This post is meant to be just pictures that I want to share, because it’s been awhile since I got some good ones of Chooch and his Uncle Corey. (For someone who claims that they hate having their picture taken, Chooch sure is a fucking master photo-bomber.)




Random flowers on a fresh grave.

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It was really cold out there in the cemetery, but totally worth it!

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Nov 142014


Somehow, Corey and I were able to stifle our giggles long enough to devour Heini cheese samples. I was delighted to see that nearly every type of cheese had a tupperware container in front of it, loaded with tiny tastes in cube-form. Corey and I grabbed toothpicks and got to samplin’.

The store was very crowded, and nearly every person in line was also buying stuff, so the line moved pretty slow. To the man behind me, this was unacceptable and rather than wait 20 seconds until I moved forward, he stretched his body across me so that he could blindly spear spear. I gave him a good once-over with my judging eyes and he did not appear to be OMG STARVING. I guess he was just in a hurry.

Buddy, I don’t think they were going to run out of cheese.

Corey and I were intrigued by the weird cheese flavors in the aisle next to us, flavors such as rainbow sherbet, which looked beautiful but I thought for sure would not taste as such. Then that entire aisle turned out to be fudge, so I guess Heini’s isn’t really that progressive after all.

I didn’t try any fudge samples because I knew it would culminate into my shaking entire containers of the minuscule slivers into my mouth because I can’t do stuff like that in moderation. One sample would quickly turn into an easy 5 new pounds on the scale Monday morning.


Corey tried some and said it was amazing. Of course it was! It was Heini’s brand.

At one point, I looked around and felt sad at the urgency these people were popping sample after sample past their cheese-lusting lips. Sad and sick. Welcome to America! In fact, after crawling past the cream cheese spreads (the fruity ones were great, thanks for the heads up Father Cheese!) and beef sticks, Corey and I decided that we really didn’t care to stand in line and eat anymore, especially since we were going to be headed to lunch afterward. So we took our wares to the nearest register. Corey bought some Amish noodles for our dad, and I showed tons of restraint by only snagging two types of cheese: horseradish and Vidalia onion. I really, really love cheese, but I’m also super cheap and don’t enjoy spending money on food. I also grabbed a jar of gooseberry jam, though. Because I could always go for a good gooseberry.

We ALMOST left right after this. The joint was a madhouse of directionless tourists and I can’t stand crowded stores. But I needed a souvenir! There were other areas of the chalet, like a candy room, a cafe, and also a room in the back that was full of Americana home decor, cat calendars and souvenirs…but also samples of butter.


Father Cheese had mentioned this butter during our excruciating cheese tour, and told us at least twice that we were lucky to have come to Heini’s that day, because the butter was ON SALE. I remember thinking that I didn’t care.

In fact, I had forgotten all about this highly-touted Heini butter, until we walked into the back room where a man in a blue shirt stood behind a counter and cried out, “THIS IS…THE BEST BUTTER IN THE WORLD. YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER BUTTER!” while methodically slathering Wheat Thins with smooth, yellow globs.

Corey and I exchanged wide-eyed looks of hyperbolic wonderment and marched over for a sample, fully prepared to refute this man’s lofty claim.

But goddamn if that wasn’t the best butter in the world. I mean, maybe I’m just really sheltered when it comes to the best butters, but this seriously was the BEST BUTTER that ever touched my tongue.

“And today, you can buy not one but THREE for $5!” the butter-slinger announced. I had a vision of myself splayed out on a hammock somewhere in Georgia, maybe, spreading perfect smears of the best butter in the world on hot biscuits and quite honestly not giving a FUCK about anything else, because why would I? The best butter in the world was melting in my mouth.

I made a beeline for the cooler behind him, where I snatched up three tubs of the perfectly-churned bread lotion before the tour bus people  caught on and another grotesque lined formed. I won’t be beat by the fanny-pack set.

Across from the Best Butter-slinger was a small section of postcards, mugs, magnets and t-shirts for those sentimental types (me me me) so I grabbed a magnet for my collection at work. (I like  to show my new magnets to Glenn right before I stick them on my closet-thing; he will say things like “wow” or “cool” without so much as a glance.) There was also a pile of red Heini shirts. A bright wheel of cheese was displayed prominently on the back, right above the informative phrase: WHERE THE CHEESE IS MADE.

Corey said, “Should we?” and I said, “Oh my god, definitely!” He had to go out to the car to get more cash, which left me alone, unsupervised and undistracted for way too many minutes with the Better Monologue.

It was like falling inside an infomercial at 3am: monotonous, cheesy (oh hahahaha), outrageously boastful…the only thing missing from his hyper sales pitch was a BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

I guess probably because there wasn’t more. The best butter in the world was enough on its own. Do you think Butter-slinger wakes up at 6am every morning without the aid of an alarm, bounds out of bed and brushes his teeth with a squirt of that slick pasteurized cream while reciting facts to the mirror, such as BUTTER IS GOOD FOR YOUR LIVER, before rubbing the best butter all over his nude body while making orgasm-faces before going to his woodshed and slaughtering the Amish hostages he has chained up and frying up their flesh in the best butter?

Does he bring his own to-go tubs of Heini’s best butter to restaurants with him so he doesn’t have to use disgusting, white trash Land o’Lakes? (The horror.)

I wonder if he’s married. If so, did they have a butter sculpture at their wedding reception? TELL ME YOU’RE NOT WONDERING ABOUT THIS NOW. I sat on a bench with an old lady who totally busted me filming Instavids of the butter show, so I got up and moved to a different area, where people were too busy looking at racks of wind chimes and other such Amish novelties to notice me being weird.

The line had grown a bit by the time Corey came back to buy his shirt, so we had to endure an additional fifteen minutes of butter superlatives barraging our ear drums. Corey made eye contact with the cashier while he was purchasing his t-shirt and he said she gave him this “I know, right?” look.

Once Corey paid for his shirt, we fled the butter room before we wound up having another fit. As we made it closer to the main area of Heini’s, we realized that Father Cheese’s voice was emanating from the ceiling, like God himself, and then we saw him with a HEADSET ON! And not only that, but somehow Best Butter had made it to the front of the store without us knowing and was HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH FATHER CHEESE!



We had originally wanted to say goodbye to Father Cheese, mostly so that we could show him that we bought things, maybe that would convince him that his cheese tour wasn’t all for naught, that Corey and I aren’t so bad after all and at least Heini’s made a few dimes off us. But there was an actual wall of people blocking us from his information table and I was starting to sweat at the idea of trying to Moses my way through.

As if that wasn’t a great note on which to end our visit, we noticed that some broad was arguing with Father Cheese. The joint had become so packed with tourists hungry for cheddar that Father Cheese was trying to direct foot traffic. It appeared that he mistakenly told the poufy-haired broad to get into the wrong line, and she was FUCKING PISSED.

Corey and I stood there in horror. How could anyone yell at Father Cheese?! He’s so old and frail and has TWO hearing aids! I wanted to march over and save him, but then a ginger-man standing nearby began speaking to me, because apparently this is what people do in Ohio Amish Country: cultivate small talk.

“This is ridiculous!” he spat through a set of interestingly-directioned teeth. “I been standing here watching people cut in line this whole time! My wife has been standing in line forever trying to pay and I seen THREE WOMEN—I’ll just leave it that, three WOMEN, I won’t say anything else about them—walk past all those people and cut right in front of my wife!”

OMG OK “I’m Not Racist, But…” Guy.

It was incredibly awkward and he just kept ranting about how out of control the place was. We stood in mutual silence for a few seconds, taking in the rowdy cheese epicure-wannabes, 80% of whom I guarantee have a fridgeful of Velveeta and individually-wrapped Kraft slices, anxious to taste the next sample and buy all of the cheese before it had a chance to age anymore.

Finally, I shrugged and said, “I mean…it’s just cheese” while slowly backing out of the door.



As soon as we got outside, we absolutely lost our minds all over again. IT’S JUST CHEESE.

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Nov 132014

I drank too much after-hours coffee and now I’m wired so here are some things.

  • Glory Days. Moonlight. Adventures of Beans Baxter.Emily Owens, MD.
    • What are: TV shows I loved that were canceled.
  • Speaking of TV shows, Chooch and I are really into watching The Goldbergs (he said I’m as annoying as the mom, ugh!) and Red Band Society together, so here’s hoping those guys don’t get canceled.
  • Barb and I went to the viewing of our co-worker’s mother after work today. On the way back to Barb’s car through the funeral home parking lot, we walked past a frighteningly oldlady struggling to get out of the passenger side of a car. Barb asked her if she needed any help. The oldlady said yes and then reached out for me to help her. ME! Not Barb, but me! So I had to have human contact with a stranger and I was so scared. God damn you, BARB.
    • Somehow, this was my first time in Barb’s car. I’m here to report that she narrates EVERYTHING that is happening while she’s driving. I don’t think it matters if she has a passenger or not.
  • Last week at work, someone sent out an email about a free Neil Diamond CD they were giving away which made me nostalgic so I opened up and told Glenn and Mean Amber about how I bought this deluxe Neil Diamond boxed set when I was in high school and then PSYCHO MIKE took one of the CDs during one of our many Sid & Nancy episodes* and I was never able to look at the boxed set again, because knowing that one of the CDs was missing drove me nuts. It’s actually in a box in my attic. I JUST CAN’T WITH THAT DEFECTED BOXED SET, OK.
    • I don’t know why I referenced Sid and Nancy. There were never any drugs involved in our psychotic fisticuffs, unless you count Mike’s prescription drugsand also the brief period we triedto be pot dealers,LOLOLOL.
      • While we were on the subject of Neil Diamond, Amber admitted that she didn’t know who sang her favorite childhood song, but it went something like—-and after two second of her singing, I screamed, “RICHARD MARX!!!!”

  • Yesterday, Glenn was listening to fucking Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass” so loud that I could distinctly hear it through his ear buds and if I had any respect for him prior to this, I would lost some at that moment. Ugh, that song. Just ugh ugh ugh it all the way to hell.
  • I made myself popcorn tonight, which entails me over-popping the bag so that the middle becomes a charred brick with some unscathed popped kernels clinging to it. Then I spray it handsomely with Pam. Suddenly, after 13 years together, Henry has a “problem” with this. Like he has just realized now after all this time that my popcorn preference is offensive and I’m like you know what? How about stop trying to change me, man? I’ve been eating burnt, Pam-spritzed popcorn for fucking ever and I won’t let some righteous male try to control how long I cook my corn in the microwave. Fuck off. I AM WHO I AM. And that’s evidently a person who just really loves the synthetic aftertaste of cooking spray on her tongue.
    • My crazy aunt Sharon is the one who got me hooked on Pam because she would always use that on popcorn in lieu of butter when I was a kid, because she was forever on a diet. The taste of Pam reminds me of sleeping over my grandparents’ house, having my back scratched by my grandma while watching Empty Nest. THOSE WERE THE DAYS.
  • I’m trying to convince Chooch that pilgrims are fictional. Shockingly, it’s not going very well. The internet makes it so hard to lie to kids these days!
  • Unpopular opinion: I really dislike the current season of American Horror Story. The wholefreakshow/clown thing is something that is so dear to my heart, and AHS’s depiction just isn’t doing it for me. I’m still watching, though. If only to mock Kathy Bates’ bizarre Fargo/Pittsburgh hybrid accent. But if she throws an “n’at” in there, I’m out.
  • I’m totally watching the video for Richard Marx’s “Hazard” right now. Wasn’t that a huge deal when it debuted on MTV?
  • So, I’ve been watching “The Affair” on Showtime and I love/hate it. I absolutely hate everything about the main guy, and the main broad’s voice and lips drive me nuts. And it has me convinced that Henry is having an affair (much like when Mike was killed on Desperate Housewives and I was so sure Henry was going to get shot and I didn’t want him to leave the house anymore). But I can’t stop watching. I keep making comments to Barb about Henry having an affair and she gets all mad and flustered and yells, “HE IS NOT CHEATING ON YOU! WHEN WOULD HE HAVE TIME!?” Wendy was mad because it took Henry an entire afternoon to text her back the other day. I told Barb about this and then I said, “You know why he didn’t text her back right away? BECAUSE HE WAS TOO BUSY WITH HIS AFFAIR!” And then Barb was like ^&%*&%&(^(*&*(((@@#$$.
  • ENDLESS SUMMER NIGHTS! I have officially fallen down the Richard Marx rabbit hole and IDGAF.
  • DON’T WORRY: I didn’t forget about that giveaway I said I was thinking about having. It will probably be the week of Thanksgiving, where blogs all over the Internet use that holiday as an excuse to triple their page views.
  • My brother told me that our mom has recently brought out a painting I made for her probably 7 years ago and is now displaying it on the mantlealongside one of my old grade school photos. The last time I was at her house (god, over 4 years ago) I was looking for something in the kitchen and saw that very painting stowed away in a cupboard. And I remember when I gave it to her (it was a Xmas present), she very sarcastically said it was wonderful. So, this is interesting to me. I guess on one hand, it gives me hope that she still has some emotion and maybe she possibly misses me. But on the other, I’m not getting my hopes up because it’s a toxic cycle. I asked Henry if he thought she would ever start being a mom to me again and without hesitation, he said no. No sugar-coating when it comes to this topic.
    • I try not to whine about this topic, but sometimes the need presents itself.

Um…on that bitter note. I think maybe I should quit while I’m ahead! Tomorrow, I should hopefully have PART 2 of Heini’s Cheese Chalet for you to gloss over with bored eyes. It’s been pretty hard to put Corey’s and my giddiness into words!

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Nov 122014


I felt kind of bad that Corey and I opted to visit Heini’s Cheese Chalet over our dad’s suggestion of Walnut Creek Cheese. He’s a self-professed expert on Ohio Amish Country, so I don’t doubt that Walnut Creek Cheese is a wonderful establishment. However, when I did my own research last week and stumbled upon Heini’s Cheese Chalet, I was like, “Holy fuck, this is the one.” Because:

  • it’s a cheese CHALET
  • it’s called HEINI’S
  • it offers cheese factory tours!!

I texted Corey and he was like FUCK YES HEINI’S.

I noted that some of the Yelp reviews mentioned it was imperative to get there before 11:30, because that’s when it gets really crowded. We made it to Millersburg around 10:45, after squealing and pointing at all of the Amish buggies we passed along the way because we are Those People Who Remind the Amish Why They Chose That Path.

…because they don’t want to be American assholes like us.

We pulled into the parking lot of Heini’s at the same time as a large tour bus, and I was like “WHAT IF THE CHEESE TOUR FILLS UP?!” so we ran toward the entrance at the same time as four older woman, who laughed at us because they too were trying to beat the bus. THEY EVEN HELD THE DOOR OPEN FOR US. Corey and I thanked them sweetly and then exchanged excited LOOK AT US, MAKING FRIENDS! looks. If those old ladies really knew!

I went straight to the restroom, knowing that an empty bladder was imperative considering how quick I am to laugh to the point of pee-drops. When I came out, I found Corey standing near an information kiosk with a comically-old man who said he was willing to give us a tour anytime we’d like.

Which obviously was RIGHTNOW. This was around the time that I realized literally no one, not one single fanny-packed Midwesterner, was trying to get a spot on this critically-acclaimed tour. It was just me and Corey with some old guy in a Cosby sweater who was extremely stoked to tell us the story of how cheese is born. We got started at the beginning of a hallway, where we could peek through windows into a large factory-room with industrial-sized bins where milk apparently does things. There was no cheese being made at the time, so our guide kept expecting us to “imagine” the process, but you guys. I have to admit, it was pretty boring. Curds and whey and blah blah blah. Corey looked extremely bored. He spent most of the time looking away, and all I could think was, “Oh no. Corey’s not having fun! I built this cheese tour up too much!” But then I quickly realized that he was trying not to make eye contact with me because he knew, and I knew, that we would both start laughing.

While fidgeting to get my phone to start recording, I tried to occasionally nod my head and say things like, “Wow” and “Whoa.” I mean, this guy was so into it, almost treating it like it was the greatest bedtime story ever told, and I waited for him to invite Corey and me to sit on his knees so he could be better inspired to tell us wayback stories about how he used to walk 40 miles in cardboard-soled shoes in the winter to fetch Heini cheese for his mother while Father was in town watching nudies at the theater.



“And this is the man who invented yogurt cheese right here at Heini’s!” Father Cheese proudly exclaimed, and then stepped back to watch Corey and I gape at the portrait. I was surprised that the yogurt cheese man wasn’t a Heini! Man, he must be heralded by all those lactose intolerants.

We moved at a snail’s pace down that hallway, pausing to peer through new windows that offered the same views of large, steel vat-things, and I became acutely aware of the fact that the cheese shop had become twice as crowded since we started our tour. People were shoving cheese samples into their gluttonous maws mere feet from where we stood, listening to Father Cheese talk about the aging process for sharp varieties, like your CHEDDARS AND SUCH.

I could feel the giddiness begin to churn deep inside my gut, just like all that HOT MILK THAT MAKES THE CHEESE. I just kept chewing on the inside of my cheek, digging my fingernails into my palms, and repeating “Don’t make eye contact with Corey” over and over. I was thinking that maybe I was going to make it through without making a complete asshole of myself!

I found out later that Corey too was employing the physical pain infliction method of curbing the giggles, along with the classic “thinking about depressing things” tactic.


“What kinds of things do you like in your cheese?” he interrupted his curd-y fact-sharing to ask us.

Corey just stared back blankly, so I quickly blurted, “You know, I like FRUIT in my cheese.” WHICH IS A LIE! WHY DID I SAY THAT?! I mean, I’ve had cheese with dried cranberries in it that was pretty tasty, but fruity fromage is not something that I would consider a staple on my cheese board. I wanted to take it back and tell him that I meant dill or fennel, horseradish even! But he had already plunged head-first into a passage of fruit-infused cream cheese spreads.

By this point, he had backed us into a dead end while explaining to us how the cheese got its shape or something, I can’t remember. Full disclosure, I retained absolutely nothing from this walk down Learning Lane except that the men working in the factory were wearing BEARD NETS. While I was gawking at two of them pushing a cart of cheese up a ramp, Father Cheese made some comment about how heavy such large quantities of cheese is.

“Look at them, pushing that booger up there,” he said adoringly, and in my head, I was like HAHAHAH HE SAID BOOGER, DON’T LAUGH DON’T LAUGH.

But then bits of pieces of the last 15 minutes came flying back into my face: the fact that Father Cheese’s wife made him a breakfast shake out of WHEY that morning, the picture of the man who invited YOGURT CHEESE, the tour bus full of people HUNGRY FOR CHEESE, the bonnet-wearing cashiers who I’m not sure were actually Amish, Father Cheese’s sweater, us racing the passengers of the tour bus because we thought they were going to fill up the cheese tour….


And then I accidentally made eye contact with Corey right as Father Cheese was ticking off the BIG CITIES where one could find Heini’s cheese (Pittsburgh is one!). Corey made some kind of painful squeak from trying to contain the giggles, and that was all it took. Flood gates opened. We laughed so hard that it actually, physically hurt and even though I had purposely peed before the tour started, I felt a drop threaten to fall.

It was hilarious and horrifying all at once because I have never actually been busted laughing in someone’s face like that before. I mean, at the Bayernhof, there were people (and music boxes) to hide behind. But here, it was just the three of us, and I was backed into a corner. Literally.

This used to happen to me a lot when I was a kid. In church. Sitting on a pew among hundreds of silent parishioners, and there I go. Snorting and wheezing and my whole body shaking because YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO LAUGH IN CHURCH WHILE THE PRIEST IS TALKING ABOUT A MAN WHO WAS CRUCIFIED.

But it was never this bad.

Father Cheese stopped talking and slowly looked from Corey to me. He was confused, yet trying to keep a smile on his face. He knew that nothing he was saying was funny, but Corey and I were fucking scream-laughing at this point. I was slightly squatting to stop myself from peeing and Corey’s face was bright red from the exertion of hilarity.

You need to know about Corey and me that we are basically human hyenas. We will laugh at nothing and everything and then proceed to feed off of each other’s hyper-inappropriateness and it’s just a hot, douchey mess.

So, that’s all it took: one quick contact with the eyeballs and there went our sanity, slipping off our faces like rotted banana peels. I thought about how disappointed our dad would have been right then, at his kids making a mockery of Amish Country; and how disappointed Henry would have been, at the mother of his child setting more examples of assholery. And how disappointed Father Cheese certainly was, at these two spoiled brats who were laughing all over his very livelihood. We might as well have been squirting Easy Cheese into mouths right in front of him, that’s how badly our laughter was desecrating the entire Amish cheese process, right down to the Amish milk shooting out from Amish teats.

What probably only lasted for 30 seconds felt like watching a wheel of cheddar being aged. It was so uncomfortable, awkward, mortifying, embarrassing—-but SO FUCKING FUNNY.

Poor Father Cheese though, he was so confused. Finally, I was able to psychically bitch slap myself hard enough to stop laughing long enough to explain that we had been in the car all day and were extremely slap happy.

Father Cheese smiled and placed a hand on my arm.

“I understand. Why don’t we just end it here,” he said in grandfatherly tones lightly seasoned with exhaustion and a desire to suckle butterscotch; he handed me a sheet of paper with additional information, including great advice such as:

Do not put cheese in your car trunk [on hot summer days]. This would be the hottest place.

Corey and I had to walk back down the hall with him after that and it was excruciating. We purposely fell behind and then pretended to be SUPER INTERESTED in a bulletin board full of children’s cheese drawings until we were certain that Father Cheese was far enough away for us to safely proceed.

This was the first time in my life that I ever had to flat out confront my immature and out-of-place bray and it was A REAL EYE OPENER. Not enough to suddenly put us in check though. We were practically hiccuping at this point from all of the fermented laughter.

I texted Henry:

Me: Well, I peed my pants from laughing so hard at our first stop.

Henry: I’m glad it’s just the two of you.

Me, Oh, you would be so pissed!

Henry: I’m sure of that.

And then we proceeded to get in a line that would eventually herd us like cattle past veritable troughs of cheese samples.



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Nov 112014

This is what I like to call: no time to write a real post so let’s look at my fake art!


First up, for your eyeballs, we have a piece called Crimson & Craniums. This is made with spraypaint, which makes Henry nervous because technically I’m not allowed to use spraypaint because I can’t be trusted to use it responsibly. This one is no longer available because Wendy saw it on Instagram and claimed it. Have I mentioned how glad I am that Wendy uses Instagram now?)


Hey guys, hey: I call this one “kooskõla: a Ghost painting.” Like, why do ghosts all gotta be white? It’s available for purchase! Makes a great Xmas gift for people who like: gifts, things, and sniffing paintings.


THIS ONE MAKES ME SAD. Perhaps you’ve been reading my blog for a few years and remember the time when one of my co-workers had an orange ball that he liked to obnoxiously bounce and toss back and forth with another co-worker? So then I kidnapped the ball and held it hostage? Anyway, the owner of that damn orange ball has left the Law Firm and everyone is sad because he was such an awesome guy!

So some of the managers were like “Erin you should make Chris a goodbye painting. Because now that we know about your fake art, we are going to exploit this” Because I am happy that people like my fake art enough to commission things, I said yes even though I am drowning in a pool of obligations. Because Chris is worth it!

He is really into poker, so that’s the theme I was asked to run with. I decided to paint him as a playing card. The No Conflicts thing is something that’s specific to our department. Chris actually moved to Memphis over a year ago but had been working remotely, so I sadly won’t get to see his reaction when he gets the painting in the mail. I hope he likes it!


To cap off this round-up of paint-stuffs, here is a Phish painting that Wendy (my #1 customer, apparently) commissioned for a Xmas present for her stepdaughter. I’m not a Phish fan, but it was fun because I got to use all of the colors. And I like painting faces.

But not face-painting.

OK, that’s all. I’m unfortunately too booked up for any more Xmas custom orders, but if you wanna request an “anytime” painting, hit me up and I will add it to my to-do list!

And now I’ll resume sobbing over the Penguins game.

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Nov 102014





As far as November weather goes, we were having a pretty beautiful Sunday here in Pittsburgh. We had nothing planned for the day, and even though I was fighting an annoying cold/allergy attack, I decided it was too perfect of a day not to go out and take pictures. Nothing major, I said. Let’s just, I don’t know…go to the grocery store first and buy a birthday cake. For no reason.

Oh just a simple, cheap cake, I said, giving the false impression that this was going to be a breezy, casual, in-and-out trip to the grocery store. Except that we got there and I threw a fit because NONE OF THESE CAKES LOOK RIGHT! NONE OF THEM MATCH MY VISION! THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT! I HOPE GIANT EAGLE GOES OUT OF BUSINESS!


I know this game, Henry said out loud, and instead of going home, he drove down the street to a different grocery store, smartly left Chooch and me in the car, and came back with the gaudiest birthday cake, complete with plastic clown head whose icing body was splayed across the top in a hideous, prostrate fashion.

It was fucking perf.


We took the cake, and a “just-in-case” rabbit mask, to Henry’s workplace which has always treated me well as far as photo shoot locales go. Henry was happy because my attitude had adjusted slightly with the purchase of the cake. (Although there was a brief argument in the over birthday cake candles, or lack thereof.)

Thank god we happened to have a random paper mache clown figure in the trunk of the car, too. (Our trunk is like the Mary Poppin’s Tapestry Bag of Animal Masks, Hats, and Other Assorted Oddities. We are always prepared for impromptu costume parties or induction into the witness protection program.)



My only direction for Chooch was “pretend like it’s your birthday party and no one came.”

I can do that, he said with a shrug.

He was very accommodating and easy to work with because I promised that I would play 10 (ten!!) rounds of Call of Duty when we went home. (Mostly because I am really beginning to like playing even though my skill level is not improving.)











The stages of being blown off on your unbirthday.





Now pretend like you don’t give a fuck and just eat the everloving SHIT out of that cake, I said to Chooch, always ready to provide direction.





And then I got to smash cake in Henry’s face because who knows if I’ll ever have a WEDDING DAY. Henry wasn’t very pleased about this, but Chooch and I were laughing so hard that he eventually cracked the tiniest smile while muttering, “You just wait, little bitch.”





It’s been awhile since Chooch and I got along during a photo shoot. I think it was because I mostly let him do whatever he wanted. Plus, the cake. He got to eat cake.



I don’t always go into these things with some high-brow, art student intentions or subtle nuances suggesting a deeper message. But while I was editing these last night, my brother texted me something along the lines of how it makes him happy that even though we were dealt a pretty crappy hand as far as families go, we were still able to have a strong sibling relationship where we can go off on random adventures and laugh to the point of an ugly-cry.

So, I guess this photo series has a cheesy moral to it after all. Um….: When things don’t go the way you intended, try to make the best of what you’re given, eat some cake, etc etc.

Or just go and cut someone. Whatever makes you feel better.

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Nov 092014


Shit got real once the sun went down at Knoebel’s….



And that’s when some of the rides went from being normal to OMGHAUNTED. Like the antique cars. They were closed all day long in preparation of the sun setting, and I was excited to ride those boring things because they had haunted scenes set up, which Chooch and I could see every time we ascended the inaugural hill of the Phoenix. On the Hallo-Fun brochure, there was a warning that the seasonally-haunted cars might be too scary for kids under 13, but from what we could see, it was your typical VFW-caliber haunted house decorating.

Kitschy and adorable.

However, people started standing in line before the ride even opened, and the line was LONG, so we never got to ride it. Because HENRY was all, “You will never have time to ride this.”


So Chooch and I entertained ourselves by taking selfies on basically every ride that we went on, because we’re Those People.  One of our favorite rides is the Cosmotron, which is essentially just the Music Express but inside a DOME and they TURN OFF THE LIGHTS and then what happens next is an epileptic’s cautionary tale. I was amused because We the Kings was playing while Chooch and I were on it and I have never hear WTK outside of Warped Tour. I don’t particularly care for them, but they’re well-suited to soundtrack the Cosmotron.

We exited on other side of the building, which Henry wasn’t prepared for. When we came back around, I spotted Henry with his back toward us, waiting for us to come out of a different exit. The compulsive hider in me grabbed Chooch’s arm and tugged him behind a bush before Henry had a chance to spot us. “Let’s sneak up on daddy,” I whispered giddily and then Chooch as usual tried to hijack my well-crafted plans of sneak-uppery by attempting to creep from a different direction until I yanked him back my way, which involved walking around a building and coming at Henry from the opposite direction of the Cosmotron. I’m sure we didn’t look suspicious at all.

But then stupid Henry was waiting for us because he has a fucking sixth sense when it comes to our presence and was fully prepared for the sneak attack. I blame Chooch. Henry probably saw him when he tried to deviate from the course.


The Looper. What a piece of shit this ride is. Chooch and I struggled with it when we were there last there, so this time I flat out asked the ride operators what the secret is to get the fucking thing to flip all the way around, because I saw other unevenly-weighted pairs succeeding so I knew that there had to be a way to conquer this bitch in spite of the weight imbalance. The two guys were like “blah blah blah” and I thought that I understood what they said, it sounded simple, but then the ride started and it only worked once! Chooch was livid and kept screaming at the guys to help us and I was like, “THEY’RE NOT GOING TO HELP US WHILE THE RIDE IS MOVING, GOD!” And then Chooch was making me feel incompetent but I fucking swear I was doing it right! By the time the ride stopped, the muscles in my legs were on fire from me trying to use my body to physically flip the cage. WHAT DID YOU DO TO HELP, CHOOCH?! Nothing but run your mouth, that’s what!




Here, Chooch was mad. He wanted a caramel apple or something. Apple cider? No! A restroom. He had to pee. So Henry was like, “Erin, go take him to the bathroom while I buy stuff for myself to eat because it’s Henry Time.”

Henry’s tone implied that taking my son to the bathroom was something that A Real Mom could pull off effortlessly, therefore he was fully prepared for me to fail.

And…I did. Almost.

We headed the direction that Henry thumbed us, but I just can’t get a good grasp on the layout of Knoebel’s! This was only my second time there and it’s just confusing, OK? Chooch and I were trying to consult a map, and then we thought that we found a restroom but it was some fake-log cabin thing that was closed. So then Chooch became mad because he thought he might piss his pants, and I became panicked and started to shut down, which is what happens to me in those Rise to the Occasion moments, where Real Moms are lifting cars off of toddlers and getting out stains with nothing other than their own spit, and I’m just standing there, stock-still and comatose, while the world moves around me.

WE ARE LOST. WE ARE SO FUCKING LOST. WE ARE SO FUCKED! is what I kept muttering over and over again while Chooch flipped the map upside down and then tilted his head to a right angle in an effort to crack the code.




Tilt-a-Whirl, motherfuckers!


I’m not sure what was going on in this shooting gallery, but Chooch keeps better at it because Henry taught him how to aim but he won’t teach me, god forbid, so now I don’t even bother to ask for quarters because WHY BOTHER.


A cob-webbed Santa, my favorite kind!


This thing.


If I thought I had any friends who loved me enough to drive 5 hours in my honor, I would totally have my birthday party beneath the birthday cake pavilion at Knoebel’s next year. That thing makes me feel so festive.


Ugh, Chooch and I went on the Satellite, which we had at Kennywood way back in the day and everyone called them the salt and pepper shakers but I feel like that wasn’t the real name. Anyway, if you ever ride this son of a bitch, you’ll understand why people called it the salt and pepper shakers because it’s literally like you’re a fucking grain of salt and some fucking giant is furiously trying to shake you out onto his disgusting bowl of giant slop. This ride is terrifying and painful and I rammed my shoulder so hard against the cage that I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking I had rolled over onto a rock but NO it was just the BRUISE on my shoulder. Chooch found this endlessly humorous, because he’s my son, and we’re both dicks.

Anyway, that picture up there is a view from when we were stuck in the air while new people were being herding into the cage below.


Creepy Henry, watching us have fun without him on the Whipper. Fuck you, Henry.



I don’t know how this started, but Chooch and I suddenly have a tradition of screaming SELFIE!!! every time we’re whipped around the corner. I’m sure we don’t sound like obnoxious pricks AT ALL.



Henry could have rode this with us but I guess $1.25 in tickets isn’t worth being smashed in a rounded car with two screaming assholes.



I was supposed to share this with Henry, so what I did was eat all of the whipped cream and caramel first and then I left him two apple slices.


This picture is kind of gross. Did the chef just splooge all over that apple and now he’s watching it drip down into an ejaculatory peak? I mean, look at that self-satisfying smirk on his face! Stop jutting your ass out!

Also: Why have I never considered using an ax to cut my apples?


The Downdraft is basically the bastard son of that No-Named Yellow Piece of Shit that sometimes makes an appearance at the Westmoreland County Fair. I thought that I knew what I was getting myself into but then the fucking started before I was ready for it to start, and I don’t mean that they engine kicked on and then the ride slowly started up. No, I mean there was literally no warning, it just fucking shot out into the air and my head snapped back in the same sort of inhuman angle reserved for exorcism movies, so that felt great.

I dubbed this the Bowel Loosener.


Henry actually bought this hat for Chooch which was crazy because Henry never buys anything for us at amusement parks, except for food because he knows better than to not feed us.

All in all, it was a great time. The only time I got super angry was when we went into the arcade to have our way with the photobooth, but some ridiculous hipster couple kept hogging it because they were consistently unhappy with their photos and kept going back in for more. Seriously? Perhaps photo booths are to advanced for you then. Maybe stick with iPhone selfies? Or better yet: go to Urban Outfitters and hog THEIR photo booth. Hipster douchebags.

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Nov 082014


Ever since our dad had Amish people working on his house, Corey and I decided that it was imperative for us to have an Amish adventure, because what is the most obnoxious thing for us to do?!

Our dad was REALLY excited to find out that we decided to go to Sugarcreek, OH because it’s apparently one of his favorite places and Corey said sometimes our dad will disappear for 6 hours only to come home with bags of cheese and beef sticks after taking his motorcycle to Amish Country on a whim.

Anyway, he was excited to make us an itinerary of post-it notes, pictured above, and Corey said he mentioned the hardware store several times.

“Ya gotta finish up at the hardware store!”

Corey said he was jabbing his finger at the map and was so into it, so now we’re like WHAT IS AT THE HARDWARE STORE?!

I’m excited to find out.

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Nov 062014

The proposition of “Let’s go downstairs” seemed innocent enough. No, that’s a lie. I was actually quite taken aback and had visions of being knifed/blackmailed/tickled/forced to lick a shoe until I caught Alisha shaking her pack of cigarettes at me. We were at her friend Mark’s apartment, watching the Penguins game, eating pizza and quickly drankin’ our way through three bottles of wine.

“I’ll come too,” Mark decided, since the first period had just ended. He and Alisha grabbed their wine glasses. Not wanting to seem like some wino who can’t be without a glass in her hand for five minutes, I left mine on the table.

I had never met Mark before, but he was very affable from the get-go and had good vanilla handsoap in his bathroom. And even though I usually get annoyed with girls who watch sports for the eye-candy factor, it wasn’t annoying when Mark gushingly admitted to thinking Sidney Crosby is cute.

After Alisha and only Alisha finished her cigarette because she was the only one smoking, not me, I don’t smoke, Mark swung his keys in his hand and went to unlock the front door.

“Oh, shit,” he spat. Alisha and I stood there waiting for an explanation, but all he had to do was open his hand to expose my car keys dangling from his finger.

Mark lives with his brother, who conveniently was in Ohio for the weekend. And of course, Mark’s phone was in the apartment, watching the hockey game that had resumed by that point. His landlord’s number was in his phone, along with his brother’s, which he didn’t know off by heart. Through a phone relay, Mark managed to acquire his landlord’s number, and it naturally went straight to voicemail.

And then a bunch of panicking happened. At one point, we found ourselves sitting in my car, where we at least learned that the score was 3-0 Penguins. I emitted a dialed-back, near-silent “yay….” accompanied by a watered-down roof-raise, because I had a feeling maybe Mark was a little bit too stressed for someone to be punching the roof of a car in jubilation.

“I can always ask one of my neighbors for a ladder,” Mark postulated. Moments before, we had scoped out the back of the house. He lives on the second floor, and there’s a small roof beneath his kitchen window, which he admitted to not locking. Standing on the sidewalk in front of his neighbor’s house, Mark turned to us and asked, “Before I go and ask for a ladder, will one of you actually climb it?”

My hand shot up to the sky. “Me! I’ll do it.” I could sense Alisha looking at me in surprise. But probably it was adoration.

“Hold my glass,” Mark said, shoving it at Alisha’s hand. As he turned to walk to the neighbor’s house, I started jumping up and down in excitement.

“This is fantastic! I’m so excited!” I squealed.

But Alisha, turning somber, placed her hands on my shoulders. “I just want to say that, of all my friends, I am so glad that it’s you here tonight. You are the bravest person I know, and I feel safe in your presence. When this first happened, in fact, I thought to myself, ‘A-Prid, you need to calm yourself right down, girlfriend. You’re going to be fine. Erin’s here, and she’s like MacGyver. She will get us through this. And then you’ll have the rest of your life to bake her chocolate-covered rewards.’”

And then she thrust one of the empty wine glasses at me so she wouldn’t be mistaken for a drunken sidewalk-bound hobo.

Able to procure a ladder, Mark tramped around to the backyard. I followed, beginning to feel the onset of nerves manifesting as prickles in my fingertips. The ladder was sprawled out on the shadowed grass with Mark muttering, “How do you open this thing?” while I scoped out (with eyes stretched out to the size of porn-industry standardized tits) all the things I could potentially impale myself on. Like literal wooden stakes that were used to prop up flowers.

The ladder was opened to its fullest potential and propped against the back of the house. Making sure Alisha and Mark had firm grips on either side, I began my ascent. It was a wobbly ascent. The ground below seemed uneven and I can’t say I felt very secure. But I thought about some really awesome things to help me get through it and by the second rung I was already pretending I was on one of the Real World / Road Rules Challenges, about to win $10,000 for my team and a snowboard I’ll never use. And then I remembered my team was Mark and Alisha and I won’t lie – I considered throwing the challenge.

By the fourth rung, I began ruing the fact that I left my wine on the coffee table.

By the fifth rung, it occured to me that no one asked Mark why he wasn’t shimmying up to the roof to save us. I already knew why Alisha wasn’t – she’s not a team player. And also, I think she once told me she was abused by a ladder one time? Maybe I dreamt that? Oh right, I remember now what it was – she’s allergic to heroism.

I vaguely remember hearing forced and monotoned words of encouragement, in the style of “Bad Actor Reads From Cue Card.” Supportive gems such as “Oh yay. You are. Doing. A great. Job. Yay. Woo.” and “Don’t worry if the a/c unit falls on you! I don’t care about it!” and “I see that weather vane just plunged into your thigh. Can you try to not get any blood on the walls though? Thanks.”

Finally, I was at the top. The only thing left for me to do was turn to my right and swing my body onto the roof. And for the record, I’d like to point out that from the ground, the roof looked flat. But with it half a foot in front of my face, I was able to see that it had a slight peak to it. Awesome. But I had two people below counting on me, and without even swearing once (I KNOW RIGHT), I did a gentle dive over the gutter, where I then landed with the grace of a prima ballerina. And I won’t even remark on how the ladder simultaneously started sliding to the left, except that I just did.

Crab-walking to the kitchen window, it dawned on me that I never thought about what I’d do if I couldn’t get the window open. No way was I going back down that ladder. I once sat in a treehouse for hoursbecause I was too scared to come down the ladder. Granted, I was four. But I haven’t grown up much. I was able to slide up the screen with ease, but the window was more stubborn. Every time I would get a good grip on it with my palms, the top half of the window would jiggle, and I’ve watched enough Dario Argento movies to know that this is not a good sign. Finally, I held my breath and pushed up as hard as I could. The bottom window slid up high enough for me to drop my forearms under it and finally have something other than clammy palms to use as leverage.

And then something that had been hanging on the inside of the window fell and made a loud enough crash for Mark to scream from the ground, “Do NOT break my Fiestaware!” This was right as I was swinging a leg onto the ledge and kicked a bowl that had been placed decoratively on the sill. My arm shot out and grabbed it, which was probably enough of a talent-display to play for the STEELERS. Just as I set the bowl out of harm’s way, my other leg was en route though the gaping window and kicked another Fiesta piece. I saved that one too. I may be clumsy, but ain’t no one ever said nothin’ about bad reflexes. Safely in the kitchen, I straightened up the Fiestaware collection and noticed that the first thing that fell was actually a stained glass window hanging. A quick examination learned me it was unscathed. A good thing, as I would later learn it was the first piece of stained glass Mark made.

There was two and a half minutes left to the second period. I got to see Max Talbot attempt a penalty shot as I poured another glass of wine.

“Hey Mark, you know what’s funny?” I said once he returned from taking back the ladder. “I’ve never climbed a ladder before.” And oh, how we laughed. This was when Mark admitted to not wanting to climb it because he was wearing slippers. And really I have to agree that my ballet flats are way better for house-scaling.

It’s crazy to think about what might have happened had I not succeeded. We’d probably have had to fashion an igloo from leaves and Alisha’s cigarette butts, catch some rats to cook with her lighter. Maybe we could have eventually started a brand new colony down by the river. Oh, the homeless have already done that? Shit.

The “how” isn’t important, but I found Alisha’s diary entry from that night.


With all the roof-raising I do, it was only natural that I would wind up on a roof someday.

[A note from Present Day Erin: This is one of my favorite memories of Alisha. I miss that broad a lot sometimes. Also, I haven’t climbed a ladder since.]

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Nov 062014

It’s time to unload all of the deceased, Glennified celebs that I have been hoarding on my phone. You will note that there is no Robin Williams Glenn yet. I want to make a collection of Robin Williams Glenns, like a Brady Bunch-esque grid of them, but I just haven’t had the time yet.


I think I posted this one already, but I recently found out that Glenn used to be a beekeeper and now is not a beekeeper.



When I was a kid, I remember finding out that Bob Hoskins was supposedly (“supposedly”) British and I disputed this furiously. “I saw him in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and he is definitely from America because he talked American!” I MEAN, REALLY.



My god, I was so giddy when I made this one.



This one was suggested by my friend Kristy when we were at the Zombie Luau and it was apparently the nth anniversary of Elvis’s death. I know this because Kristy said to me, “Hey, it is the nth anniversary or Elvis’s death.” So, here is his RIP Glenn. You’re welcome, Mr. The King.

It makes me really happy when people who don’t work here/know Glenn suggest an RIP Glenn. I told him that this happens sometimes and he was like, “OK.”


Out of all the Glenns I have made over the years, this one probably is the closest match to his likeness.



This one hurt. Jan Hooks’ had a small role in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but it was huge enough to make a lasting impression on me (and millions of others!). I am not big on referencing movies, but her scene is such a metaphor for my life, always looking for something that doesn’t exist, finding myself asking for something that gets me laughed at. I have written about countless “Alamo Basement” moments on this blog.

One of my fondest Alamo Basement moments was a literal one. It was the summer of 1992, when we were hosting a French foreign exchange student so suddenly my family was doing textbook family stuff, like “going on outings together.” One of those outings was to Laurel Caverns, about an hour away, where we took French Kid on a tour so he could take home a souvenir of stalagmite with stalactite confusion, like the rest of us dumbass Americans. So we’re on this tour, deep inside a fucking dripping cavern, and my dad raises his hand and asks, in a perfect deadpan, “When do we get to see the basement?” My dad and I barely got along back then, but goddamn did I laugh.

Jan Hooks will always represent something happy from my childhood. And now, she is a Glenn.


I’m pissed about this one. The gown looks like stupid Alaska water and a stupid Alaska mountain. Ugh, Alaska, you constantly mock me!!

I KNEW I should have made the dress red.


After I made the Wayne Static Glenn, Glenn shrugged. “I don’t know who that is.”

Mean Amber turned around and said, “Yeah, either do I.”

So then I felt confused. Was I astral projecting again? Was Wayne Static someone who only exists in the astral projection town I visit on my fantastic subconscious trips and now my two worlds are colliding and everyone on this side is going to think I’m nuts, bringing back memories of characters who don’t exist here on this side?

But then Nate walked by and said, “Yes I am familiar with Static X” so I was relieved until it occurred to me that Nate and I are astral projecting together somehow, to a town on the other side that never advanced past pre-millennium hard rock.
FUNNY STORY: Glenn’s wife came to visit with their new baby a few weeks ago and Glenn took her to the other side of his desk, where two poster boards of Glenns hang on a wall.

“So, I never told you about this before,” he started slowly. “Because it’s kind of hard to explain, but…here is this thing.” And then he Vanna White’d an arm along the poster boards and maybe it was just the angle but I could swear I caught a glimmer of PRIDE on Glenn’s face.

There was a tense moment of silence while his wife took it all in. I was prepared to throw Amber under the bus.


But then Glenn’s wife started cracking up and pointing out her favorites. YES!

Later that day, Amber and I were reminiscing about all the Glenns we’ve defaced over the years.

“You know, when you first started this, I thought, ‘Yeah, this is going to get old.’ But no. No, it’s still funny!”

And then we laughed for awhile until Amber realized she had gone more than 5 minutes without being mean.

The end.

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