May 152021
 

Greetings from the car ride home from Elysburg, PA! This weekend was one of many Firsts Since Pre-Pandemic Days, such as: FIRST AMUSEMENT PARK(S)!! But we’ll get that in a later blog post.

The other firsts: EATING INSIDE A RESTAURANT. I realize that both of these things were technically possible before but none of us felt comfortable pushing our luck with no vaccine and soaring numbers.

Things are finally starting to seem like they’re getting better (hopefully??) so we’re making our entrance back into society I guess.

This whole weekend was set in motion several mths ago when one of my oldest Internet friends (as in – we met in the late 90s on Darkchat!) Eresbet sent me an IG message and asked me if I wanted some of these awesome antique carnival toys that her mom collected. Of course I said yes because that’s my aesthetic but mostly because it was an opportunity to finally meet her! It’s crazy because I remember we had even talked on the phone occasionally back in the day, as in: the days when I wasn’t scared of talking on the phone!

We met her at the Soda Jerk diner after leaving Hershey Park yesterday and I was so nervous because hello, I haven’t had to be social in a long time and even before that, my social muscle does not flex very often.

But I feel like it went swimmingly!! She brought her daughter Lana with her and we got to sit in a big round booth which I love and the waitress was so nice (I missed waitresses!!!) and I got to chug diner coffee and eat my veggie panini as soon as it was brought to me instead of driving around and looking for a place to sit outside and eat, and I got a stomachache from a delicious chocolate milkshake and the conversation was easy and comfortable! I am typically the living embodiment of the sweating emoji in these circumstances but this time I felt like the sunglasses face.

Why do the people I get along so well with aways have to not live in Pittsburgh??

Chooch accused me of saying “yeah I’ll meet you but you have to bring me toys.” Also, he claimed the carousel.

Then we drove for a bit to accomplish another First since the pandemic happened: CHECKING INTO A HOTEL!

Henry came out to the car after checking in and gave us the room key and presumably directions to the elevator and we were like Yeah Yeah Ok Mmm and walked away from him. Inside the lobby, we assumed that we had to walk down the hallway because we didn’t see the elevator anywhere.

“Oh this door must be for the stairwell,” I said when we reached the end and still had yet to uncover this mystical elevator. But when I pushed it open, it just went out into the back parking lot.

As we Tweedled our way back toward the lobby, we saw the elevator just as Henry oafed his way through the doors with all the bags.

“What are you two idiots doing?” he asked suspiciously.

“We couldn’t find the elevator,” I said.

“I told you where it was!” Henry cried, and now we had the attention of the ladies at the desk.

“Oh, I stopped listening before that,” I shrugged.

“We didn’t know where they were going or we would have helped!” the one lady said.

“I told them to come inside and turn left,” Henry sighed.

“No left turn was made,” the one solemnly lady said and I am still internally cracking up over this. NO LEFT TURN WAS MADE.

Meanwhile, Days Inn is in the process of remodeling this property and im not sure if anything is going to be added but our room had a gigantic area of open space, it was really crazy. For our first hotel since December 2019, I have no complaints! It was clean & comfortable and the way that lady at the front desk so seamlessly inserted herself into one of our signature family squabbles made it way more memorable.

May 142021
 

Another emotionally exhausting week, coming to a close. Let us celebrate with a photo-dump from my phone and WELL I DON’T KNOW, five things!?

  1. In the Words of My Dad…

I think about this a lot, but it’s funny how similar I am to my dad considering he’s not my biological father. I guess living under the same roof as him for…14 years I think (???) really influenced me. Nature vs. Nurture. Etc etc. He gets super obsessive about things, little things like certain ice cream flavors that will have him pulling a U-y to tail a Reinhold’s delivery truck culminating in an UNDER THE COUNTER ice cream deal in the parking lot of a school.

But now that I am an Older Person, I find that I am also talking like him, in that I sound like a dorky 1950s white man drinking a dorky egg cream in a dorky soda shop not realizing the enormity of his dorkitude.

Except in this case, it was not a soda shop but a cafe in Brookline that I swung by on the way back from my morning walk on Monday. I’m very contrary in the fact that while I usually savor silence in a public place, sometimes I also feel frantic about filling it. And on this particular day, the silence was overwhelming as I stood there waiting for the barista to finish making Chooch’s latte (sometimes I’m a sweetheart of a mother and will bring something back for Chooch depending on how I feel at that given moment, like: did he piss me off at all yet that day, did he use a tone I didn’t appreciate, did he make me FEEL LIKE AN UNCOOL MOM….you know the drill). I needed to say something, and FAST.

Behind the counter is this giant glass contraption that looks like someone was assigned the task of making a four foot tall Days of Our Lives hourglass but then ate some shrooms and wound up with a swirly mess of beakers and tubes instead. I always look at it when I’m at this joint, but on this day I felt INSPIRED TO INQUIRE.

“Do you guys actually use that thing or is it just decoration?” I asked, jutting my chin toward it because I had no idea what it was called.

The barista glanced at me to see what I was referring to and said, “Oh, we use that. It’s how we make our cold brew.”

And then, in the most DORKIEST, THIGH-SLAPPING, CHOKING ON ENTHUSIASM VOICE OF ALL, I exclaimed, “MAN, I’d like to see that in action!”

Man. I’d. Like. To. See. That. In. Action.

Such a Dennis Kelly thing to say. So over the top.

Then she said, “Oh it’s not very interesting. It moves very slowly.”

I just stood there awkwardly, wind sucked out of my sails, and she asked, “You asked for almond milk right?” And life went on.

I still don’t know what that thing is called.

2. Chooch the Half-Vaccinated!

When the vaccine was approved for ages 12-15 this week, I kept refreshing all the various pages waiting for appointments to be available. I was able to snag one for Chooch for yesterday!

He was annoyed that I wanted to take a picture BUT IT IS A BIG MOMENT, OK. Note that he got the worst band-aid out of all of us. I got that weird UFO thing and we all know that HENRY got the best ones out of everyone.

Chooch sincerely didn’t care though. He basically showed no emotion at all because he’s 15 and has none, although he did express mild interest in watching the vaccine being pushed into his arm. I sadly wasn’t there to witness this though because I was working motherfucking LATE SHIFT which hopefully will be over for me at the end of summer but who knows.

Anyway, I posted this picture of Chooch on Instagram and ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS LIKED IT because OH YEAH THEY FOLLOW ME.

Yes, I screenshot this bitch 5 seconds after it happened. I live a very full life.

Anyway, we are going to the first amusement park since 2019 tomorrow so I feel better knowing that Chooch is at least 1/2 way to ClubVaxx.

3. The Subject of Selcas

To the horror of many, I am trying to post more selfies and also attempting to stop being so rigid and averse to having someone else take my picture, which is why I have been asking Chooch  to take some of me occasionally if I’m wearing a cute shirt or whatever. I’m doing this because there are YEARS UPON YEARS where I shied away from the camera in general and only shared very curated selfies because I am/was so self-conscious and vain, but now there is like….no evidence of my existence.

First of all – I’m not perfect. I’m not a model. But…that’s not a secret?! So, I’m trying to have fun and live my life and share more so that one day Chooch can show his family pictures of GRANDMA having fun at an amusement park or whatever instead of being like, “Here are 8734984739823 pictures of me and yr granddad (GrandHimMan??) at Kennywood but none of PRINCESS GRANDMA because she wouldn’t let us take any of her because she FELT FAT that day or HER GRAY HAIRS WERE STANDING OUT TOO MUCH.”

Like, get over it, Erin.

P.S. Selca is Korean for selfie OMG I TEACH YOU GUYS SO MUCH.

4. WHEN WENDY MET BUDDY

Wendy stopped by my house yesterday to drop off Chooch’s birthday present and of course she had stuff for me too, LIKE  THIS ACCURATE COFFEE CUP!!

It was exciting because aside from Blake & Haley (who had no reaction to the changes to the house) and the Landlord and his appraiser (SEE #5), no one has really been here to see the changes we made! I was very happy to show Wendy all of the stuff we did around here in the past year, especially the kitchen! BUT the best part was right as Wendy leaving – she opened the door and said, “Oh! The squirrel is here!” And sure enough, Girl Buddy was camped out in front of the Bistro, noshing casually on her peanuts. She adjusted her position slightly so that she could look up at us.

“She’s not even running away!” Wendy said, “this is so cool!”

“Yeah, she’s very accommodating,” I explained. “She lets us use the porch as long as we don’t get in her way.” And then I got to show Wendy how I hand-feed her walnuts! In my head, I was like, “COME ON BUDDY, TAKE IT – DON’T MAKE ME LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE” and thankfully, she took the walnut from my hand because if she hadn’t, Wendy certainly would have reported back to the rest of the group at work that I’m a liar.

What I think is the funniest though is that both of my cats were at the window, watching Wendy get out of her car and as soon as they saw that she was walking up our sidewalk, they bolted at breakneck speed. Yet Buddy was just like “‘Sup” when she saw Wendy. Lol.

Brief intermission to drool over the latest batch of Sugar Spell pints: Funfetti Chip, Mother’s Day Mudslide (POSSIBLY MY NEW FAVORITE?), White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. OMG.

5. THE HOUSE TOUR

On Mother’s Day, HNC called Henry to see if he got an email from the landlord re: BRINGING AN APPRAISER OVER. Henry was like OMG OOPS MISSED THAT EMAIL and yes, it’s true, an appraiser was scheduled to come over the very next day and I started panicking, not because the house was a wreck because it’s almost always presentable now that we essentially started from scratch during the pandemic and uncluttered the fuck out of it, but because DOES THIS MEAN HE IS GOING TO TRY AND SELL AGAIN??

This happened a few years ago and it was so scary because we were 100% in no position to buy a house and you guys, our rent for half of a house is ridiculously cheap. Like, I had no idea how cheap it was until people around me started looking for apartments to rent in the city and told me what the average rent is and I was like OMFG I COULD NEVER AFFORD THAT, WE HAVE TO LIVE HERE FOREVER.

Now we ARE in a good position to buy a house but I don’t FEEL LIKE IT right now??? I’ve talked about this before and it’s super boring so let’s skip this part of the story.

I wanted Henry to ask the landlord what the meaning of this was but he was all calm about it and said HE IS PROBABLY JUST TRYING TO TAKE OUT A LOAN OR SOMETHING CALM DOWN but hahaha do you know me? The next morning, I had my monthly check in with Wendy at work and instead of saying hello, I blurted out I AM SO STRESSED OUT. Anyway, Henry had to come home during his delivery route and park his big ass Faygo truck across the street in the church parking lot because I threatened to not open the door for this lady, so per usual, Henry had to come home and be the adult for both of us.

The LANDLORD was in tow and I was like OH THIS IS FUCKING GREAT because he hasn’t been in this house in actual years so he didn’t  know that it looks like a literal clown car of interior decorators came in here and turned the joint into a Crayola box.

I took refuge in the bedroom, pretending to be ON A WORK CALL, while Henry waited at the front door. I knew JUDGEMENT DAY had come when I heard a woman scream, actually scream, “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS!!!!”

Chooch, who was in his room “in class,” poked his head out of his door and made a face like, “and you were so worried.” Henry said the landlord didn’t really say anything, but also didn’t seem angry that we painted so much (we’re technically not supposed to paint) and if anything, he was probably happy that we made his dumb property look so good and impressed the appraiser.

She did have to come into our bedroom while I was on MY WORK CALL and I am such a bad actor, I just stood there in the middle of the room with a dead phone up to my face, while she waved and mouthed, “YOU’RE FINE I JUST HAVE TO PEEK, I’M NOT TAKING PICTURES!” She seemed really nice and now I’m kind of sad that my weird reclusiveness prevented me from actually talking to her and enjoying all the compliments she was apparently SHOWERING HENRY WITH.

When I heard her ask him, “Are you the artist of the house?” I almost dropped my WORK CALL act and slid down the steps headfirst to insert my ACTUALLY….into that moment.

Then I heard Henry ask the landlord, ever so casually, if he’s trying to sell the places again and Landlord said, “No no no! I’m just looking to get some seed money to acquire more property.” THANK FUCKING GOD. I did not want to be looking to buy a house with a landlord-lit fire under my ass.


And I will leave you with pictures of THAT BABE WONHO because he has really been flourishing since we brought him home in January!

Look at those new leaves!!

May 132021
 

I remembered I bought these pjs the last time I was in KOREA DID U KNOW I WAS IN KOREA I WAS IN KOREA.

KOREA KOREA KOREA.

Look don’t think I don’t already know I’m fucking obnoxious.

But anyway. The pjs. I bought them in HONGDAE and then promptly forgot about them but then I saw a picture in my KOREA PHOTO ALBUM on Flickr which I definitely only look at once a day and thought wow those pjs would look nice in my kitchen.

Unfortunately, no one else was home today to wear them in my stead. Sorry.

May 122021
 

I was planning on recapping the remaining books I read in April but then Wonho went and dropped the official MV for my favorite song on his new album and I was like STOP THE PRESSES and now I’m writing here today to not tell you to read books but to WATCH THIS VIDEO AND SUPPORT OUR (ex)MONSTA X BIAS Wonho because he has worked so hard and been through so much these last few years and this SONG IS FIRE. I usually am averse to Kpop collabs with Western artists but who this Kiiara broad is (my friend Veronica and I both had to google her lol), she really complements Wonho on this track and I approve. Thank god he didn’t go the Halsey-route, ugh.

Speaking of Henry, he was making greeting cards last night while mumbling Dad comments about Top 40: Machine Gun Kelly has a song that doesn’t sound *too* bad until Halsey comes on & she ruins it & then he has another song that sounds exactly like that one but it’s with someone else.” I want Henry to start a music zine.

This all started because I was on Instagram and saw that Avril Lavigne commented on Britney Spears recent post (of course I follow Brit!!!!) and I was like “But is that really Avril, I thought she was dead*” so then I fell down the rabbit hole of Avril’s Instagram and saw that she has a song with Mod Sun which made me die because he was such a Warped Tour hanger-on back in the day and I think he was part of Jonny Craig’s “entourage” even until they had a falling out. Now it appears he might be dating Avril? I couldn’t tell and got bored with it pretty quickly but not before also seeing that she also recorded a song with MGK which is what prompted Henry’s MUSIC CRITIC outburst.

Also, Avril looks the same so are we sure she wasn’t in a cryo-vat all these years? “Ew she still has that nose,” I scoffed and Henry just looked at me like, “why wouldn’t she.”

Anyway, Henry likes this Wonho song and I think that he is OK with Kiiara.

P.S. OK curiosity got the best of me and I googled: YES MOD SUN AND AVRIL ARE DATING LOL WHAT. Also, here’s a picture of him back when he was Jonny Craig bootlicker:

Jonny Craig & MOD SUN | Cody Smeltzer | Flickr

 

May 102021
 

Oh hello, here I am to talk about my Mother’s Day, 2021. It started out BLAH – we were tentatively going to take a mini-road trip to some state park in WV to get away from the 100% rain forecast here in Pittsburgh, but I woke up FEELING LIKE A HORNET. I think I just have this bad habit of expecting the worst on any holiday because I just assume that Henry and Chooch will fail me (to be fair, they usually do lol).

I came downstairs like a little bitch, haughtily declined Henry’s offer to make me breakfast, and instead showered all of MY GOOD ATTITUDE upon the cats and squirrels, a/k/a MY REAL FAMILY.

When I opened the door to refill Buddy’s Bistro (that’s what I call the crate that doubles as a squirrel shelter so they can nosh on their peanuts and sunflower feeds with a roof over their little furry heads when it’s raining), I noticed a plain white envelope on the doorstep:

LOL Henry is such a dork. And I know it was Henry who made it because of the half-assed punctuation. I was still in A MOOD so I didn’t give him a reaction right away. LOL forever a b-r-a-t.

When I was younger, I could steady be in a bad mood for like, days. Nay, weeks. But the older I get, the more tiresome it is! I only have so much energy and I need that for exercising and going on copious walks, not scowling and hissing at everyone who dares to look at me.

Sigh. My edge is really getting dull as I age.

Then Henry said he was going to Lowe’s and I was like THAT IS DUMB until I realized he was going to FINALLY check out different options for what he needs to finally finish my subway sign – he was originally holding out for plexiglass but the price HAS NOT gone down at all thanks to the pandemic making it a hot commodity. I opted to go with him because it was raining so hard and I was too depressed to stay home and also I wanted to get a new houseplant because it’s Mother’s Day and that seems like something a Mother would treat herself with, right? I got this big’gun pot of California Elephant Ears and named him SETH.

Because of The O.C.?

California?

No?

I was annoyed the whole time we were at Lowe’s and the only thing I could think of that would make me feel better at that precise moment was boba so we went to Squirrel Hill because I wanted Kung Fu Tea but they were CLOSED for MOTHER’S DAY but it was OK because Pink Box is across the street and even if that was closed too, there are like 4 other places on that street alone that could have curbed my boba cravings and we also ordered vegan sandwiches at Allegro and went for a short stroll in the rain while waiting for it so that was nice I guess.

Came home and Chooch was like “OMG LOOK! IT’S A MOTHER! ON HER DAY!” and then thrust a homemade card at me which made me laugh because he signed it Sincerely.

I like being his MUM even though he eats in his room which breaks HOUSE RULES but whatever I guess let’s all just whatever we want, ugh.

Meanwhile, I told Chooch (and Henry because Chooch never does shit on his own) that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was the ability to be able to work out to my beloved Jacki Sorensen aerobics tape that I have been unable to use in what feels like 20 years almost because it’s a VHS and Henry was like I CAN DO THIS and was trying to find a VCR to borrow so that he could convert the tape to a computer file and put it on a USB so that I could use the Roku to play it so he asked Hot Naybor Chris who probably thought Henry found his old VINTAGE PORN stash and needed a VCR to have a viewing party and he said he would see if he could find one at his camp whatever that means but then Henry was in the attic looking for something completely unrelated and found my old VCR that we didn’t know still existed!!

So I was able to work out with Jacki last night while wearing my beloved Jacki shirt that my mom got when she attended the actual Jacki Sorensen Danceathon in 1984 at the old Civic Arena!!

I have been a BIG FAN of Jacki Sorensen ever since the 90s when I found my mom’s old VHS of one of her aerobics workouts and even tried to make some of my friends workout with me in my basement when they were sleeping over and I was DRUNK (maybe it was THIS NIGHT???).

The tape came with me (as did the shirt) when I moved out in 1998 and over the years, I used it as sparingly as possible because I was so afraid it would just snap one day. Now that everything in the world seems to be on YouTube, I would check every now and then to see if anyone ever uploaded it but NOPE, NEVER NOT EVEN A LITTLE CLIP.

Then I was doing a walking workout on this one guy’s channel that I really like and one of the songs he used was this one:

I SCREAMED. This song is used in one of my favorite segments from that damn Jacki Sorensen tape and it was at this point where I found the VHS, slapped it on Chooch’s desk, and said, “ALL I WANT FOR MOTHER’S DAY IS FOR YOU TO FIND A WAY FOR YOUR MOMMY TO ENJOY THIS AGAIN.”

“What even is this?” he murmured and then promptly forgot about it because he has teenage dementia.

So I had to coax it out of the recesses of his memory and finally, to Henry he said, “Oh yeah. She wants some weird tape converted to a DVD or something” and no, THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID, but OK close enough.

And Henry made my wish come true yesterday and I was SO HAPPY and also I still cannot do the “Tom Jones” move which is in like every segment almost. But who doesn’t love a workout that warms up with Barbara Streisand and cools down with Barry Manilow?!

This is what the VHS sleeve looks like but god only knows what happened to mine over the years, it probably disintegrated at some point in the attic:

Amazon.com: Jacki Sorensen's Aerobic Dancing Encore [VHS]: Sorensen,Jacki:  Movies & TV

And that was my Mother’s Day.

P.S. It just now occurred to me that Kung Fu tea had some sort of Mother’s Day promotion happening via their app that I was prepared to take advantage of but then they were closed because it was Mother’s Day. What kind of shady fucking mother-crushing shit is that.

 

May 092021
 

Last fall, I bought this charming circus-core shirt from Unlogical Poem, thinking that I could wear it on my first day back to the office if that happened over the cooler months. Um, obviously that did not occur. So, aside from one work video call during which absolutely no one commented upon the adorableness of said WHIMSICAL BLOUSE, I have never had a chance to wear it. And this bitch cost some coinage! So since my hair looked halfway ok today and the temps were unusually chilly for May, I used the upcoming FORGOTTEN HOLIDAY in this house, otherwise known as MOTHERS DAY, to coerce my LOVING son to be my photographer. It took a whopping 60 minutes out of his day and he was such a bitch about it.

I grabbed some “props” on the way out of the house because yes these things are always in reach. Chooch was excited because the elastic of the party broke as soon as I put it on so he thought this meant we could leave but I was I WILL FIX THIS and as I struggled to tie knots in the elastic, I sang my dad’s favorite tune, “They Don’t Make Things Like They Used To,” accidentally leveling up in the BECOMING AN ELDER game of life.

Fuck.

I told Chooch to “try and get some interesting angles” because he was so busy texting that every time I was like HELLO I AM READY, he would barely even look at what he was doing when he lifted up my phone in his other hand to snap the picture. It was pretty annoying and I think 15 year old Chooch is my least favorite edition so far.

Fun fact: these pictures were taken in the Union Dale Cemetery, which is where we used to have all of our traditional Xmas Day picnics before relocating to the Homewood Cemetery which is closer to Pink Box, where we like to snatch up from DELECTABLE ASIAN BUNS.

Another fun fact: Shortly after this picture was taken (another of Chooch’s super flattering “interesting angles,” Chooch pointed out that I had a huge dandelion stain on my chin, like A BIG PEE STREAK that would not come off no matter how hard I rubbed it with my sleeve so of course he was like OH WELL LET’S GO SO SAD. To be fair though at least he pointed it out because Henry would have just let me continue standing there having my picture taken. I mean, he’s taken pictures of me before where I had food in my teeth or my mascara is smeared and he has said literally nothing do you know why it’s because he barely looks at me long enough to notice.

SAY I’M WRONG, HENRY.

I took this one myself because Chooch was making me nervous. Also, I bought that ring a long time ago, like over 10 years ago, at the Mattress Factory and then lost it for many years and recently found it in the bathroom closet and I was so happy but I still don’t wear it very often because the ring part is wood and it looks like it could break at any moment.

Those fucking dandelions. My nose was burning and running all afternoon because of them!!

Wow, more jumping.

Me: What should I do? This?

Chooch, not even looking: Yeah. Sure.

SO FORLORN. I probably thinking about all the roller coasters I didn’t get to ride in 2020.

My friends Kevin and Lizzy sent me this old ass book several years ago!

This is my favorite one because I look content and I wonder if that’s what I really look like when I’m reading a book but Henry and Chooch will probably tell you that no, Book Erin is angry and scowling because she hates being interrupted.

I just really love this shirt so much!!!

I think this one is also a very accurate REAL LIFE depiction of me because I am in a constant state of UGH WHY ME I’M SO BORED UGH and can often be found half-collapsed in ennui, like I just fainted onto a couch.

I don’t know why I kept trying to make this hand-monocle pose a thing but it really wasn’t working and Chooch kept glaring at me.

Jillian Michaels trained me to jump so now I try to jump whenever possible to make her proud. For you, J-Girl.

Some car was slowly cruising by at this moment and I felt like a real dumb stoop.

Another selfie was Chooch was too busy texting his friends that he gets to see in person now at school yet doesn’t talk to apparently.

Oh, these tree pictures were real fun and Chooch and I didn’t fight at all.

I took this of him so he could see what I wanted and do you think he got the idea? NOPE. He just started screaming about how this was all a ruse for me to take his picture after he EXPLICITLY stated that he didn’t want his picture taken. BOO HOO.

Literally was in the middle of talking here but I liked how the rest of the picture looked so oh well, when does my face NOT fuck up a picture. Keeping it.

Oh well. As Phil Collins would say: THAT’S ALL.

 

May 082021
 

I read 15 books in April. Some were super shiny gems! Some were just OK pebbles good for tossing into a pond.

  1. Oona Out of Order – Margarita Montimore

Oona Out of Order

I really wanted to love this book about Oona, a girl who wakes up in a random year of her life every New Year’s Eve. It starts in the early 80s, at a New Year’s Eve party in her friend’s basement, when she’s….18? I think? About to turn 19? I can’t remember, but because we start the book with her as a sprightly young thing, we get to suffer through her freaking out each time she wakes up as a much older version of herself when she’s internally still a young adult.

I should have known that I wouldn’t like this because “time travel” tropes NEVER WORK FOR ME. Probably because I’m a dumbo who just can’t understand and/or follow along but the whole time I just wanted to know: why. Only her mom and one other character in the book know that this happens to her and they try to protect her from doing stupid shit but I just could never really get a good feel for anyone in the book and thought that Oona was actually quite unlikeable but I don’t think that was the intention. I’m not just saying this because I stan Korea but the best fucking character in the book was the Korean American guitar teacher she has in one of the timelines and that plotline is just completely tossed aside. Good job, Margarita Montimore. Dumbo.

Oh also she’s super rich because of time travel / stock market, etc.

Cool cover, tho bro.

2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

My heart is aching at the very memory of reading this tragic, heartwrenching, poetic, violent, painful, sweet book written as a letter from a Vietnamese American son to his mother, who cannot read. I’ve seen a lot of people complain that it lacks a plot, but it’s literally about…life. It’s a book of personal reflection. This is a tough one to explain because it’s SO EMOTIONAL and left my face slick with tears multiple times. If you want action or a neatly packaged plot-climax-closure, then skip this.

But if you’re looking to feast upon some exquisitely crafted turns of phrase while having your heart fisted because you’re a glutton for punishment, then don’t just pick this book up, but grab the audio to really elevate the experience, as it’s narrated by Vuong himself.

One review on Goodreads summarizes my thoughts perfectly: “The author didn’t write this book; he opened his heart and just let it bleed all over the pages. Reading it cracked mine open and turned me inside out.”

OMG my sinuses are burning just thinking about the emotional journey this one took me on, lol ugh help.

3. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett

44318414

Maybe the best book I read in April? I kept putting this one off because I think I assumed it was going to be some dry, historical fiction but then I FINALLY read the synopsis (only after hearing someone rave about how the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks) and I thought, “OK. Maybe.”

HOLY SHIT, WHATTA RIDE. I cared so deeply for the brother and sister that this book revolves around. It’s from the POV of the younger brother, Danny, and spans the course of five decades, with THE DUTCH HOUSE firmly at the center. The Dutch House was the name of the grand estate Danny and Maeve’s father purchased for the family in the suburbs of Philly, but the mom hated the house and one day, seemingly out of the blue, leaves the family. The dad eventually remarries a woman who seems to be more into the house than him, and then eventually kicks out Danny and Maeve. They, Maeve especially, spend most of their lives obsessing over the house, and it becomes a habit for them to park their car outside of it and just…watch.

So many things about this book immediately called to mind my grandparent’s house, which Corey and I affectionately called “Gillcrest” or “116” to the point where I have often thought about getting the numbers 116 in a heart tattooed on me somewhere. And the relationship of Danny and Maeve was so real and pure, it made me so happy that Corey and I are talking again because this book probably would have destroyed me otherwise.

(I’m crying right now, lol.)

This was a solid 5 stars for me. Reading it along with Tom Hanks (when I do opt for audiobooks, I usually have the book too so I can read along) enhanced the experience because I could picture everything in my mind, like watching a movie so thank you Tom, for elevating Ann Patchett’s beautiful story to the next level. I love this book so much and I don’t often re-read things but I think this one deserves to be read more than once for sure. MAYBE AS A BUDDY-READ WITH HENRY!?!?!?

4. The Upstairs House – Julia Fine

53487130

Oh this was a weird one!! A story-within-a-story and also one of the most creative and interesting takes on the haunted house trope that I’ve experienced (haunted house tropes are my faves but I have read some really shitty ones!). This is a giant metaphor for post-partum depression and I thought it was executed skillfully and thoughtfully. It’s told from the perspective of Megan, who has just given birth to her daughter, and almost immediately she becomes haunted by the ghost of Margaret Wise Brown, a children’s book author. I loved this! Some of the chapters in the book were about Margaret’s relationship with poet/actress/socialite Michael Strange. I didn’t realize it at first because I’m an uncultured dumbass, but both of these women were real, not fictional, and the author’s note at the end even encourages readers to explore more of their works.

If you go into this expecting a legit horror story, you’ll likely be disappointed. But I thought it was poignant, candid, and laugh out loud funny at times. Julia Fine is a wonderful writer and this really worked for me. Maybe because I can remember how fucking nuts I felt after having a baby.

5. The Honey-Don’t List – Christina Lauren

The Honey-Don't List

Sometimes I need to break up all the hard, emotional reads with a nice, light, quirky romance, and Christina Lauren books always seems to do the trick. Nothing revolutionary here, just a good, entertaining novel about the unraveling of a famous DIY couple’s marriage and their assistants (Carey is the wife’s assistant and James is the husband’s) trying desperately to keep everything from publicly imploding. Of course, Carey and James are like oil and water, AND OMG NOW THEY HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER, GROSS.

It was cute and light and perfect for what I needed at the time.

6. The House In the Cerulean Sea – T.J.  Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Why did I put off reading this book for so long?!?! Oh, I know why – because I mistakenly thought it was middle grade. IT IS NOT. This is the purest, most magical, precious adult book about FITTING IN and FOUND FAMILY that has ever been written, I am not kidding. It was charming, sweet, funny, sad, JUST PERFECT.

It’s about an orphanage of misunderstood magical children and the caseworker who is assigned to spend a month there and basically write the report that will determine the future of the orphanage and the children.

My friend Sadishika called it “Umbrella Academy but make it wholesome” and I can see that! I mean, I gave it five million stars, so…

(Also, Henry read it  before me and kept saying, “WHERE ARE YOU IN THE BOOK? WHERE ARE YOU NOW? HOW ABOUT NOW? DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO MY FAVORITE CHARACTER WAS? WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE?” Henry really liked it, lol.)

7. Foolish Hearts – Emma Mills

Foolish Hearts

This is totally YA but I enjoyed it so much! Apparently it’s a retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream but I am not well-versed in Shakespeare so probably even the most blatant nods were lost on me. However, I really liked the protagonist, Claudia, and really rooted for her. It just gave me all-around good, swirly feelings and actually kind of made me miss high school a little bit too.

Someone on Goodreads recommended it for “ppl who would kill Voldemort in a fuck, marry, kill game” so do with that what you will.

May 072021
 

*(Is this even right, I don’t FRENCH. I KOREAN. Barely.) This week has really been an emotional whirlwind and I am glad to have reached the end. Here is an assortment of FIVE THINGS that happened or are just ON MY MIND (what little I have left of it!).

  1. Unmasked Entitlement

Chooch and I went to Target on Saturday and, more than an entire year into the global pandemic/Great Face Mask Debate, I saw my first display of anti-mask’ing entitlement in real time.

SCENE: Front of Target, at the bargain bins (SOMETIMES THEY HAVE CUTE CONTAINERS THAT I CAN USE AS PLANT POTS). 

Some Broad, sans mask, breezes out of the bathroom. She could be anywhere from her late 20s to late 30s – it’s hard to tell with all the FAKE TANNING and BRONZER seared to her puckered face. She is wearing MARBLED LEGGINGS and a t-shirt, PROBABLY EITHER COMING OR GOING TO A SPIN CLASS. Her hair is a choppy bob, BLEACHED AND CRISPY. She has the gravely voice of someone who has been smoking since puberty and screams at her husband a lot. Not white trash, but more…fake rich trash.

Target Lady, middle aged and looks pretty NO-NONSENSE, like she has put in her time of raising numerous children over the years and is not trying to TAKE SHIT from anyone, especially ENTITLED TARGET SHOPPERS WHO PROBABLY ROOTED FOR THE INSURRECTIONISTS. “Excuse me, you need to put a mask on,” she says to Some Broad.

“I’m just going to be in here for a minute,” Some Broad fires back as she strides past Target Lady and me, heading straight for the Starbucks kiosk. The way she said it was coated in sardonic friendliness and I was like OH SHIT because I know that passive aggressive masked-belligerence tone, usually paired with a stiff smile and GLARING, SQUINTY EYES.

Don’t mind me, just standing here smelling the $3 candle jars….

“Well, you still need one,” Target Lady called after her, standing akimbo behind her sanitation station.

“Then bring me one,” Some Broad shouted snottily over her shoulder as she entered the Starbucks kiosk.

I’m standing there, barely putting any effort into my candle-sniffing ruse at this point and openly spectating, wondering how this will play out.

At first, Target Lady looked like she was going to concede defeat, but then mostly to herself she said, “You know what, I WILL,” and she snatched one of the blue disposal masks from her cart and marched over to the entrance of the Starbucks area. “Here you go,” she said, holding out the mask. But SOME BROAD would not budge from the Starbucks counter. She simply held out a limp hand, standing 15 feet away from Target Lady, forcing Target Lady to enter the Starbucks area and bring the mask ALL THE WAY TO HER.

Then we had the strained “THANKS” and “MMMMMM” exchange, at which point Target Lady turned and stormed away. We made eye contact as she walked past me and I said, “I am so sorry that you had to deal with that” and she was just like “YOU KNOW” with an eye roll. Meanwhile, SOME BROAD (who, now that I play this back in my mind, I’m not even sure she even put the mask on?!!?) proceeded to ask the Starbucks barista, “what kind of iced coffee do you have.”

Are you fucking kidding me. But, I guess getting people to read menus for her helps her achieve the next level of Ultimate Entitlement.

I just really hate people like that. Even if she is fully vaccinated (to give her the benefit of the doubt), we are still required to wear masks inside and this is not an attack on any fucking freedom, I’m so goddamn sick of it. Like my friend Todd said after I told him this story, we were told forever ago that we have to wear shirts when we go in stores, and that has been  going just fine. What’s one additional TINY PIECE OF FABRIC even matter in the grand scheme of things? Is that what you really want to expend energy fighting for? I’m just so sick of selfish Americans.

Imagine the life Some Broad probably leads. I bet she got into her FORD EXPLORER and went home to her suburban McMansion, put on some Kate & 8 reruns, heated up a Lean Cuisine. and trolled her ex’s Facebook. Dumb bitch.

2. Genesis Sibling Night

My bro Corey texted me last week to tell me that GENESIS is coming to Pittsburgh and thank god he told me because I am so disconnected from the Western entertainment world that I honestly had no idea. We both signed up for the verified fan presale and were both selected, so we got the opportunity to purchase tickets three days before the general sale and BOY WAS I NERVOUS. Big concerts are so fucking stressful to buy tickets for, I hate it so much. And I haven’t had to do this since the SuperM concert in 2019!!

But I like that Ticket Master is all “let’s fuck those bots up their stainless steel assholes” by having legit fans verify themselves and use special links and codes in order to get tickets. IT WAS STILL STRESSFUL THOUGH!!

I took one of the team and offered to do the purchasing since Corey wasn’t going to be home when sales went live, and I was sweating gumballs, to quote my grandma. First, it was saying my code was invalid then it was mad because I was leaving single seats stranded or something and that was a new thing to me, and then when I finally secured two seats and went to pay, it stayed on that “HOLD TIGHT WHILE WE VERIFY YOUR SEATS” screen for like 10 minutes before TIMING OUT and dumping me back into the seating chart page.

I was screaming!!

BUT. I was able to get two slightly better seats because of that.

Floor seats were outrageous, but this was the next best thing, as far as I could tell from the tiny dots I was looking at!

So, five years after THE HOUSE ON GILLCREST drama, my brother Corey and I will be seeing for the first time the band that I think we both grew to love from all the time we spent at our grandparents’ house growing up. The “Invisible Touch” album is definitely the soundtrack to my kitchen! When I listen to that while muddling through my breakfast preparation in the mornings, I feel like I could conquer the world.

All I know is that if/when Tonight Tonight Tonight is performed, I am going to lose my fucking mind.

3. Buddy & the Babies

Remember when I mentioned the other day that we discovered Girl Buddy wasn’t actually pregnant but that she HAD ALREADY HAD THE BABIES? Well, she’s been bringing them around every day now and they are so fucking cute. They look more like pre-teens because they apparently don’t  leave the nest for several months, so she likely had them sometime last fall maybe? Beginning of winter? I don’t fucking  know, I didn’t go to college for Squirrelogy! (Though it feels like I’m currently enrolled.)

Ignore the mess – I have to sweep the porch like 87 times a day because of these brats. They are so messy!!

4. More Vintage Vacation Journal Fun

Literally no one requested this but here is ANOTHER PEEK INTO 10-YEAR-OLD ERIN’S VACATION JOURNAL.

The brother in question was not Corey, but my other brother Ryan. I no longer hate him, don’t worry!!

5. SAY IT AIN’T SO, KWANGSOO

Lee Kwang Soo To Leave "Running Man" After 11 Years On The Show

Henry and I don’t watch Running Man regularly anymore (my ADD is off the charts these days)  but when I saw recently that Lee Kwangsoo is stepping down due to health reasons, I actually cried real tears. He is one of my favorites! Henry and I were just recently watching some clips on YouTube and laughing our faces off – that show is so fucking funny, even if you’re not Korean, the humor still comes through and Henry and I have both laughed until our stomachs hurt while watching some of these episodes, and it was largely because Kwangsoo IS SUCH A FUCKING CHARACTER.

I’ve mentioned it on here so many times, but Running Man was one of the first shows I started watching when I got into Korean culture and it will always be so special to me. During both of our trips to Korea, there were numerous times when Henry and I would be like DIDN’T RUNNING MAN FILM HERE?!? and get so giddy over it. (Well, I would get giddy Henry would just say “heh” and move on with his life.) And when I taught myself the hangeul alphabet, watching Running Man was like unlocking so many doors in my mind because suddenly I could read the names on the name tags, and even some of the words on  the screen!

For those who don’t know, Running Man is a variety show with a fixed cast (Kwangsoo was one of the OG members) and usually they will have celebrity guests on, too. The ones with BIGBANG are the BEST, obviously! It’s called Running Man because in the beginning seasons, the shows would culminate in a huge game of tag, essentially, where everyone would have to try and rip each others’ name tags off.

Anyway, Kwangsoo was the “maknae” (youngest) of the cast and the abuse he endured was hilarious and also painful to watch at times! This show really takes a physical toll on all of the members and I hope that Kwangsoo spends his Running Man-less time taking care of himself and getting some much-needed rest. But oof, he will be missed. :(

And for your Friday Night Viewing Enjoyment, here’s a compilation of some of the best tag elimination / chases over the years! Seriously, this show makes me laugh so hard. America could never have a show like this.

May 062021
 

When Pittsburgh Public Schools originally announced that kids who were not put in any of the mandatory ‘back-to-school’ groups (i.e. kids with special needs, kids with poor virtual attendance, I actually don’t know because Henry is the one who read those emails not me hahaha), the rest of the kids had the option to return to school in May for a hybrid thingie (two days in school, three days virtual). Chooch was like NAH I’M COOL THANKS. So we opted out. But then I started to panic. Did we make the wrong choice? Would it be better for him to return, even if it is super late into the year, just so he can get the feel for a school that he has only been inside of once (for orientation that happened literally two weeks before everything shut the fuck down in March 2020)? So Henry contacted the person in charge to tell them that we changed our mind and that Chooch would be returning to in-person.

Today was the first day for that to happen, so Henry took today and tomorrow off work to ensure that we get him to school smoothly because I cannot be trusted with such a daunting task and we have no idea what bus he’s supposed to take because the STUPID PORT AUTHORITY WEBSITE WAS DOWN. Yes, he has to take regular public transportation to this school which is so fucking stupid but that’s what happens when there is a shortage of school bus drivers because people apparently don’t want to work I guess???

I decided I would go along for the ride because I’m late shift today and wouldn’t it be SO NICE if Henry and I had A BREAKFAST DATE AFTERWARD?

But first, we had to get Mr. Miz(rable) to school. I thought it would be fun for Henry and I to both walk him to the front door of the school, Chooch ensconced in a parental posse, but he wasn’t too KEEN on that suggestion. Instead, we had to park halfway down the block and release him into the wild.

Chooch’s school is pretty much on the University of Pittsburgh campus, so it was actually very reminiscent of the times Henry would drive me to class when I was at Pitt and I would basically roll out of the car and hide behind a bush until it was safe to come out. God forbid anyone think my DADDY was dropping me off at school!

After we dropped him off, we went to Polish Hill and walked around for about 30 minutes, waiting for Kaibur Cafe to open at 8:00am. It was pretty cold this morning and Bitch Baby Henry was only wearing a t-shirt (and pants, don’t worry) so he was like OMG I AM SO COLD and I was like “Bitch, maybe check the weather once in a while, that’s why I’m wearing a sweater.”

See also: in our weekly team meeting at work, the common topic is ALWAYS WEATHER so that is usually how I know what to expect, like the time I said a few weeks ago that it was going to snow and Henry was like BULLSHIT and I was like OK WAIT AND SEE and then it snowed and I was like THANK YOU, WEEKLY TEAM MEETING.

Henry was such a little cunt about sitting on this horsie. “UGH IT’S COLD AND WET OMG I’M SUCH A PUSSY BITCH NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW THAT I CRIED FOR MY MOMMY EVERY DAY WHEN I WAS IN THE SERVICE.”

Here in my hand please find a copy of “The Dead Hour” by Denise Mina which I plucked from a Little Free Library moments before this photo was taken. IT BETTER BE GOOD because I had to carry it around with me for the rest of the walk.

I’m sure Chooch is fine but I kept saying “DO YOU THINK CHOOCH IS OK” every three minutes. I mean, he’s a pretty social kid and pretty much immediately made a group of friends last fall and I think at least one of them is also starting back IRL today so I was like, “DID YOU TEXT DANIIL AND TELL HIM YOU’LL MEET HIM AT LUNCH OR WHATEVER” and Chooch just glared at me so I’m not sure what that means, but we at least took him to get his hair cut last night (super last minute, true to form) so he won’t be walking down the halls looking like the Partridge Family today.

He refused to take his Frozen hand sanitizer though so Henry to give him a normal one.

Wow, so artful. But also, I can see my work building and I’m kind of sad. But also kind of still not ready to go back? LOL, I’m such a hypocrite, forcing my kid to go back to real school (“It’ll be good for you to slowly immerse yourself back into a routine!”) while I’m over here panicking about when we’ll get the official OK to return to the office.

I would like to make a cute mosaic on our front porch I WONDER IF THE SQUIRRELS WOULD LIKE THAT.

Then we ordered our food at 8 and had to sit in the car while waiting for it because it was chilly outside and some dumb guy walked by pushing a stroller, dog on leash, toddler trailing behind. Henry said, “What do you think that kid’s name is?” and with no hesitation at all, I blurted out, “Zephyr.” So then Henry kept laughing which was off-putting because he never laughs at anything I say because only MANS IS FUNNEE, and he kept hoping the guy would call his kid so we could find out but he never did but also he looked the kind of dad that would say, “SONNY BOY” instead of the kid’s name.

Then we brought our breakfast home and I’ll tell you, my vegan tofu scramble sammy was good but not $13’s worth of good.

And now I will walk to the post office and then eventually log onto work while doling out duties for Henry because STAY AT HOME is my FAVORITE HENRY. And hopefully Chooch checks in with us at some point?!!? I forgot to yell “DON’T GET BULLIED!! MOMMY LOVES YOU!!” out the window when he got out of the car UGHHHH.

May 042021
 

Pictures of my cats, paired up with some sentences. So blessed.

Trying to figure out why the squirrels like the windowsill.

  • My brother and I signed up for the Genesis tour presale which happens tomorrow and hopefully we get tickets! I absolutely hate big arena/stadium concerts because the process of buying tickets is so stressful and icky. I can only hope it’s better than trying to get kpop tickets! I’ve seen Phil Collins once when I was in high school, and I saw Mike + the Mechanics several years ago, BUT NEVER HAVE I EVER SEEN GENESIS.

  • I started watching Shadow & Bone on Netflix, with major skepticism. I couldn’t finish the book series because, contrary to popular opinion, I really don’t like Leigh Bardugo’s writing. Everyone’s all OMG HER WORLD BUILDING but I couldn’t picture anything (and HONEY my imagination is GOODLY) and I felt all the characters were flat AF. I think I gave the first book a 3.5 because Booktube gaslit me but that second book was a SNOOZEFEST. I just can’t be bothered to pick up another Bardugo book. But the series so far is pretty decent! First of all, holy shit, they made Mal seem like an actual person but with more than one dimension! And they’re weaving the Six of Crows storyline into it which I didn’t read that duology but those characters are THE SHIT so should I attempt to read it??!!

  • There was this vegan joint we wanted to eat at when we were in Columbus last week but then I realized that morning that they’re closed on Sundays so I was super sad, and THEN USA Today featured them in a list of the Top 10 vegan BBQ places in the US so now I’m super mad.

  • You guys! It’s Asian Read-a-thon month! I read a ton of Asian authors to begin with but I try to read ALL Asian for the month of May and I’m so excited about my TBR! If you are reading this and would like some good Asian recs PLEASE ASK ME because I love to recommend books!

  • Henry just sat down and literally started reading off a recycling chart to me as if I’m not writing in my blog. He gets ruder and ruder as he ages, ISTG.

  • Henry cleaned and fluffed my old chaise lounge that I’ve had since I first moved into this bitch ass house in 1999. We moved it onto the back porch last December after we scored the church pew, and I had dreams of transforming the porch into my cozy reading nook for spring time and that was all good and grand until I realized that HENRY’S GRANDKIDS’ PLAY ROOM IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL so unless they’re not home, I guess I won’t be relaxxin’ and maxxin’ on the porch with a book. Ugh kids seriously. Between the ones next door, and what sounds like an entire nursery school in the house behind us, I am already craving those closed window winters again. *CRIES IN ANTI-KID*

  • I told Chooch that all I want for Mother’s Day is the ability to use my mom’s old Jackie Sorenson aerobics video that I’ve been obsessed with since I was in middle school and took with me when I moved out of the house at 18 but now I don’t have a VCR anymore and I want to somehow transfer the tape onto something else that will enable me work out to the fucking fantastic soundtrack of FOREIGNER, ENGLAND DAN & JOHN FORD COLEY, AND BARBARA STREISAND. I know he will fail because I asked him the other day to remind me what I wanted for Mother’s Day and he was like, “………………………”

  • Friendly reminder that Seungri still hasn’t been charged with anything and BIGBANG is the greatest Kpop group of all time.

  • You guys! We made reservations for our first amusement park since December 2019! We’re going to Hershey in two weeks and I AM SO FUCKING READY TO RIDE ROLLER COASTERS AND TELL HENRY THAT HE’S BREATHING HEAVY WHILE WE’RE STANDING IN LINE! I know Chooch is ready to dust off his coaster credit Excel spreadsheet, lol.

  • Here is an excerpt from my first vacation journal (which is still sitting out on the coffee table so I skim through it every now and then for, what do they call ’em, SHITS & GIGGLES: Orlando July 8, 1989 TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE. I’M GOING TO MISS IT. I WANT TO FEED THE DUCKS BEFORE WE GO. SO FAR I DIDN’T SEE THEM YET. WELL, THE DUCKS CAME. WE FED THEM A BUN. THEN WE WENT TO PERKINS FOR BREAKFAST. WE BROUGHT THE DUCKS PANCAKES AND FRENCH TOAST. WHEN WE CAME BACK THE DUCKS ATE EVERYTHING! THEN I WROTE A NOTE TO THE NEXT PEOPLE WHO WILL LIVE THERE TO FEED THE DUCKS.

Wow, on that scintillating literary note, I am signing off. BYE BOY.

May 022021
 

Good morning, it’s the first Sunday in May (also Henry’s mom’s bday, shout out to Judy!) and I have some thoughts and photos to share.

I got my second Pfizer shot on Thursday! In less then two weeks now, both Henry and I will be fully good to go! Anyway, as I previously mentioned, we went to different vaccination sites and even though I got my first shot nearly a week before his, he got his second shot two days before me because the place I went to was scheduling the second dose for 4 weeks out instead of 3 ughhh. Anyway, this time henry got a FUCKING PIN to boast his newly vaccinated self, a tote bag, AND AN AQUA MAN BANDAID.

I didn’t get anything other than that weird UFO bandage again but this time went so much more smoothly and I almost was able to walk right in without waiting at all, AND the volunteer who checked me out after I received the jab was my old Girl Scout troop leader, Donna!! So that was really nice to see a familiar face!

I requested Thursday and Friday off from work just in case I had a bad case of “second dose” like a lot of people had but aside from soreness from the actual jab and slight chills and fatigue that night and a bit the next day, it wasn’t really anything to complain about and honestly the fear of getting COVID and infecting others GREATLY OUTWEIGHED the fear of having a fever or whatever for 24 hours. Please please please don’t skip the second shot!

Meanwhile, Henry has been on a zoo deep dive ever since we went to the Columbus Zoo last weekend. “Apparently the largest zoo in the world is the London Zoo,” he reported after one of his research sessions.

Coincidentally, a few days earlier I had skimmed my baby’s first vacation journal for shits and giggles, even holding Henry hostage on the couch as I read aloud countless passages penned by a 10-year-old me. But by doing so, I discovered that I have actually been to the London Zoo and have no recollection and the following entry KIND OF jostled free some dormant memories and I immediately felt like shit:

Please allow me to tell you what I was able to READ BETWEEN THE LINES: not so much my mom, but my Grandma was EXTREMELY controlling of my appearance. Look, when I was 10, I had braces, two chins, an unruly rat’s nest of hair. I was F-to-the-RUMPY, you guys. And my mom used to insist that I pull the sides of my hair away from face with the aid of these shitty barretts (sic) that HURT MY FUCKING HEAD. Apparently, she told my grandma to make sure that I wore them on vacation and my grandma could be so fucking mean, so while it looks like Sharon is being the asshole in this situation, I can 100% promise you that she was trying to protect me from my grandma’s emotionally abusive wrath and as I read this last week, as a 41-year-old grown-ass woman, I felt so fucking small all over again.

I know that I am very privileged in that I got to travel to all these great places as a kid, but the psychological price that I paid has left me with an everlasting emotional debt. No fucking wonder I don’t remember going to this goddamn zoo because I can guarantee you that what I left off the page is all the puke-inducing sobbing I probably did while left alone in the hotel room that morning.

OMG I know that Henry and I bicker here and there when we travel but I fucking PRAY that we have left Chooch with more good memories than not so that when he’s an adult thinking back on these trips, he will just smile instead of feeling like a worthless piece of shit.

But in funnier vacation journal entries, here’s one from the same trip where I recount all of my self-diagnosed maladies:

We had a “match the baby picture with the co-worker” contest at work (apparently this was something I suggested several years ago and the Event Committee used it!?) and I came in second place which is annoying because NATE came in first place AND I GAVE HIM SOME ANSWERS!! Oh well, I was still happy with my $20 Amazon gift card, which I used to buy these cute solar-powered ball thingies for the porch and a 10 pound bag of “backyard critter” feed, lol.

Well that’s all for me right now. I’m having a great weekend watching Henry get stuff done but now it’s time for my second walk of the day. I gotta go go go!

Apr 302021
 

You guys know I spend most of my life walking around the ‘hood because I’m an obsessive step counter. Well, sometimes I take pictures too and I have no idea why because I never do anything with them BUT I VOWED THAT I WOULD SHARE THEM ON HERE THIS WEEK. I’ll never get married so this might be the only vow I make.

Anyway. Enjoy.

K BYE!!!

Apr 292021
 

Wow wow wow wow the first “big time activity” we’ve done in over a year! And we chose YOU, Columbus Zoo! Congrats! Henry and I at the time of this both had the first Pfizer shot (now we have both!!) and I know, I know, you’re not “fully” Covid-immune until two weeks after the second shot, but I still felt better about going here than I would have with no doses.

Man, let me tell you though – the social distancing was NOT happening up in this bitch. Thank god most of it was outdoors or I would have legit flipped out. I will say that mask-wearing seemed like it was definitely being enforced, and in some of the indoor exhibits, there was zoo staff on hand reminding (sometimes in vain) everyone to stay 6 feet apart.

I took advantage of pretty much every sanitation station we walked by, much to the chagrin of my Target-wounded hand.

OWIE.

Chooch is a big animal lover and we thought a little day trip to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio would be a nice way to celebrate his birthday: a little bit of travel-lite, some cute animal peepin’, A SMIDGE OF FAMILY TOGETHERNESS. What 15-year-old doesn’t crave more time with MOMMY AND DADDY. Lol. To be fair, Chooch is only mildly ambivalent when we’re all out together in public. I have no basis of comparison because by the time I was 15, I don’t think I was EVER out in public with my whole family.

It looks un-crowded in these pictures but don’t get it twisted. I have no idea what the point was in buying tickets in advance and reserving a time because the ticket booth was open and while it wasn’t PACKED, it definitely was crowded. Well, at least in the beginning of the day. But the crowds seemed to disperse by the afternoon and we were able to enjoy ourselves a bit more (when we were in the reptile house, it was pretty bad and people were NOT following instructions and while there was a CLEAR LINE that most people were standing in, there were still Those Dumb Fucks completely oblivious to what the rest of us were doing who just strolled on past and wedged themselves in between people.

Also, WOW it was White Trashville there on that Sunday. I think I mentioned it in my liveblog that day but it was like every other mom had just been released from prison. Pretty rough broads swarming the zoo paths. Luckily, we didn’t have any super seriously bad run-ins with any of them but there was this one particular family that definitely had us side-eyeing each other and picking up the pace. I also saw a guy spit his chew over a fence into an exhibit while holding his baby, so that was AN IMAGE.

But mostly, I was content with taking in the beauty of the zoo because it was NICE AS FUCK. Way better than the Pittsburgh Zoo!!

They had a carousel! Of course it was an upcharge but we had to do it.

This was actually an annoying experience because some jack ass kid kept SHRIEKING in line and I have to listen to children SHRIEKING all the livelong day next door to us so I was not pleased.

“KIDS FUCKING RUIN EVERYTHING,” I cried to Henry, who would generally take this moment to don his bascinet and kick his steed before saying, “OH KIDS ARE NOT THAT BAD” but instead, he surprised me by agreeing.

“I know. The zoo should have Adult Day.”

WHOA.

It was Henry’s job to take a carouselfie but he took like 87 horrible ones.

This is literally the best one. That’s what happens when you give someone who doesn’t use an iPhone the task of taking a carouselfie. It literally looks like he used my old Blackberry from 2008 to take this.

The theming of this zoo is off the…chain? Do we still say that? They even have a small amusement park section which doesn’t open until May and it was really torturous to be able to see A WOODEN COASTER THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO RIDE AND NOT ONLY THAT BUT THEY WERE TESTING IT TOO! SO WE HAD TO SEE IT RUNNING!!! Ughhh. So close to that coaster cred…

Oh shit, Chooch and I did something really nice at one point. Well, I did. So, we decided that we weren’t going to eat lunch there because we wanted to get take out from a nearby vegan place afterward, but we needed a snack. Henry was in line to get us soft pretzels, so Chooch and I found a table out of the way and plopped our asses down. Meanwhile! A group of 4 people with BLESSEDLY NO CHILDREN sat down on a nearby bench with food from a Mexican food truck. They had huge burritos and other shit in containers that required them to hunch over and eat from their laps so I murmured to Chooch, “Oh I feel bad, they’re trying to eat actual food on that bench while we’re hogging this table, we should give them our table” and of course Chooch was engrossed in his dumb group chat probably NOT telling them about how he was spending the day with his super chill ‘rents.

So he was like WHAT IS HAPPENING when I got up and approached the bench-group, and offered up our table to them.

“I mean, you need it more than us – we’re just waiting for pretzels!” I laughed and they were like OMG THAT IS SO NICE WE APPRECIATE IT THANK YOU and I felt so smug in my good-deediness and absolutely could NOT WAIT for Henry to come back with the pretzels so I could tell him but when I started to tell him, he interrupted me and said, “Yeah I saw.”

UGH.

LITTLE RED FLYING FOX BATS!

Oh man, I love bats.

And this weird bird thing in the Australia section!

Every time I wanted to take a picture of Chooch on one of these animal statues, there were ALWAYS DUMB CHILDREN SWARMING AROUND. Seriously. Kids ruin everything. Oh! There was one nice kid that I had an interaction with in one of the first exhibits because I couldn’t find what I was supposed to be looking for and she pointed it out for me (it was some kind of rat and it was cute so I was like THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME, I COULD NOT SEE IT and then I had to go cleanse myself of the INNOCENSE by walking through hellfire.

A ladybug, just passing through.

Oh! I want to give a shout out to the Columbus Zoo for the super organized and socially-distanced set-up of the stingray exhibit, where each group got their own mat to stand on and the line moved super expeditiously and it was just an all-around non-stressful and pleasant experience unlike the reptile house which I considered ducking through an emergency exit to escape the COVID-ignorant crowds.

Just us and the Hanna Fam.

Overall, I would have enjoyed this zoo so much more in non-pandemic times I’m sure, but it was still a really great day and my criteria for that is pretty simple: did all three of us get along? Yes, yes, we actually did. Therefore, it was a great day.

I want to go back and ride that fucking coaster though!!!

Apr 282021
 

My friend Katrina sent me these rad nail wraps because they reminded her of my kitchen and while I did a not-so-bang-up job applying them (I’m always in such a rush!), I think they’re so awesome and really do serve as an homage to my favorite room in the house!

I love the fact that my nails match the kitchen. So ridiculous!

In other kitchen news, I had this roller skate rug art custom made for one of the cabinet doors because I am bothered that the doors on that side are still blank (god forbid) and I think this is a good start! I was always skating in the 80s (I mean, me and everyone else except for Henry who was roller skating in the 70s and then too busy SERVING in the SERVICE omg I wonder if he ever attended any SERVICE sanctioned skate soirees then?! I’ll ask!*) so now when I look at this, T’Pau’s “Heart & Soul” immediately starts playing in my head because that was the song I chose TWO YEARS IN A ROW for my birthday skate at VIP in South Park, which was an OUTDOOR ROLLER RINK and POOL you guys. It was so fucking fabulous.

*(Aaaand that would be a no. I called him because I’m downstairs and he’s in bed,  and he LOVES those kinds of phone calls because he knows it’s not going to be good.)

Anyway, this is such a cop out blog post but hear me out! I was going to do a recap of our zoo trip but then I spent way too much time doing SQUIRREL STUFF because Girl Buddy BROUGHT HER BABIES OVER TONIGHT which is crazy because I actually thought she was pregnant (god I’m so fucking rude) but it turns out, she must have had the babies last year because they didn’t look tiny, more like pre-teens, and Henry’s google search results told him that baby squirrels don’t leave the nest until they’re old enough to live on their own so THIS MAKES SENSE and I will update you more about that later, and then also I had to exercise, and then also my brother Corey derailed me by bringing up the time my squirrel-hating neighbor had a complete psychotic break in the driveway and threatened to shove a metal pole up another neighbor’s ass until it came out of his throat, and I recorded it from the kitchen window and then he sent me the video which he’s kept on his phone since I sent it to him in 2016 and that cracks me up, and the first thing I noticed was how TRASHED our old kitchen was which brings me back full-circle to this post. Which is to say, I love you, Kitchen. I promise to keep psychotically fussing over you and cleaning you and keeping you all glowed up with LEDs and neon lights and I will tell you every day that you are my HONEY BUNNY.

I am clearly in a great state of mind, hahaha. Ugh.

Also, tomorrow I go for my second Pfizer shot and when I tell you I’m nervous, please understand it’s mostly because I’m concerned about parking – it was a pain in the ass the last time! OK I’M GOING TO WATCH SOME ROLLER COASTER VIDEOS NOW AND MAYBE READ WHILE TRYING NOT TO THINK ABOUT PARKING.

Apr 272021
 

We painted the wall behind the couch in preparation for the day when the subway sign is finally ready to be hung (Henry changed course AGAIN and is now “looking into” a “new way” to mount the damn thing) and while we were at it, I decided to finally do something with this narrow strip of a wall that used to just have random art on it.

My actual thought process was “Maybe if I hang these carouselfies on the wall, I’ll feel less depressed” – Erin’s Guide to Decorating (pg. 187). I honestly just don’t even care anymore how ridiculous it looks over here. I am fucking bored out of my mind and I have no other creative outlet anymore (see also: IN A RUT, STUCK).

Obviously not being able to go to amusement parks in 2020 was super depressing, but I have so many fun pictures from years and years of past theme park’ing, and looking back on those old memories actually made me feel better instead of more depressed.

Somehow.

(Or, somewhoe, as I originally typed.)

Henry and cat litter cameos!

The flowers are from some weird cardstock wreath project I bought from Oriental Trading specifically because I wanted to stick the flowers on the wall. I was originally going to paint flowers on the wall, but I opted for this route because it allows me to easily change it up in the future. WOW I AM REALLY USING THAT PETRIFIED BRAIN IN MY DUMB HEAD.

It took me at least an hour to put all the flowers together while watching roller coaster videos on YouTube. Chooch walked past me a dozen times as I sat here, being engulfed by a piled of cardboard craft pieces, and he never even said anything. Like, I don’t know, “what are you doing?”

As shitty as the pandemic has been, the one silver lining for us (ugh that feels weird to say, like how could there be ANYTHING positive about this?!) is that it kind of forced us to fix the way we were living. I know this is going to sound weird because clearly I am NOT a minimalist when it comes to decor and people would probably consider our house super cluttered* as far as the walls go, but we actually DEcluttered over this past year, if you can believe it. We got rid of so much unneeded shit and now everything else has its own place and if someone would come here right now and knock on the door, I wouldn’t freak out. (OK I still would scream and hide on the steps and make someone else answer the door because SOCIAL ANXIETY but I wouldn’t embarrassed that anyone was seeing the inside of the house. (Unless they went into the basement or Chooch’s room, lol.)

It was also fantastic when we came home Sunday night to a clean house after being gone since early morning. When people say that your mental state is directly affected by the condition of your house, it is so fucking true.

*(I was on a video call at work a few weeks ago and one of my co-workers called my house “organized chaos” and another agreed that “it feels like it should be too much, but it just works” – I was HUMBLED. Also, did you know that I used to want to be an interior designer? IT’S TRUE! This was back when I was 19 or 20. I dunno that I would have gotten much business outside of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, though.)