On the last Saturday of August, I met Jeannie, Wendy, and Summer at Pamela’s for breakfast.
This is how I learned through casual conversation that Barb is taking a creative writing class! I was really excited when Jeannie mentioned this but then I blurted out, “She better not plagiarize me!”
Then Jeannie found out that I’m no longer on Facebook and she was shocked, but also happy. “Now we can finally be friends!” she said, since we’re basically the only two people in the world who aren’t on Facebook now.
I started gushing about how great it’s been being off it, no politcal drama, no constant disappointment when you realize how many racists you went to high school with, no more mindless scrolling through the same posts over and over in your feed instead of living life. Yes, I’m still on other social media, but those platforms have never threatened to consume me the way Facebook did.
“It’s really refreshing when you run into a friend and when you ask them what they’ve been up to, you REALLG MEAN IT because you no longer know every single thought and movement of your friends,” I explained. “It’s like, going back to basics.”
Wendy nodded and said, “Yeah I hate it when you’re talking to someone and they’re like ‘didn’t you see my post?'”
I started laughing and admitted that I used to be like that with my blog. “‘Didn’t you read my blog???’ I’d say whenever someone didn’t know what was going on with me.”
“I only read Barb’s blog,” Jeannie said dryly and I almost spit up my Lyonnaise potatoes all over Summer. I WISH BARB HAD A BLOG! (Hint hint Barb!)
You’ll never believe this but the rest of Saturday was spent at home! Henry finally started getting some work done in the kitchen, I went for a million walks, we went and got coffee at one point at Cafe Noir and Henry dropped a chocolate chip cookie on the sidewalk and THEN ATE IT.
OFF THE GROUND IN BROOKLINE. Lord knows how many junkies puked on that square inch of sidewalk. Good one, Henry.
Oh and Chooch also got his hair cut – all of these were accomplished by walking to Brookline Boulevard and when I complain about Brookline, I always have to check myself and remember how motherfucking convenient everything is.
(Just wish they would get a Korean restaurant.)
Off topic: I fucking hate that Sam Hunt “Body Like A Backroad” song so much. Every time I hear it on the radio, I am instantly filled with rage and lunge to turn it off (we had to listen to the radio A LOT when we were trying to win those Shawn Mendes tickets ugh). I was ranting about it to Henry and said that if anyone told me I had a body like a backroad, I would be so offended because what–my body is dusty and bumpy?!
“I think he’s trying to say that he knows her body like he knows a backroad, like the back of his hand. Like, the curves in a backroad,” Henry calmly explained.
DONT BE A COUNTRY MUSIC APOLOGIST, YEE-HAW HANK.
Mannequin Henry: Same.
Saturday night, we watched an episode of Goblin and then I probably went for another walk. I’m training to be the next Crazy Lady of Brookline. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, I probably don’t need much training.
Sunday morning, I was still lounging around in bed when the DJ on the Korean radio station I listen to started saying words that sounded familiar and then I realized that the other day she asked people to write in and tell her how Kpop changed their lives so I did (natch) and SHE WAS READING MY STORY! I was actually in the middle of talking about how tall Lee Gwang Soo is because of course I was talking g about a Korean TV personality while listening to Korean radio, when I interrupted myself to blurt out, “HEY THATS ME!!” Henry murmured, “Oh my god,” Bob’s Burger-style
It was a really special moment for me!
Then we dropped Chooch off at his piano lesson and hit up the Asian markets. Right away, I saw these curious things on branches in the produce section and immediately wanted to buy them. The thing you should know about Asian markets is that sometimes you will see things labeled in English, but mostly the produce is hand-written in Chinese. I can read Korean, but Chinese characters are waaaaay out of my wheelhouse. These particularly fruit-balls were not marked in English, but while we were gawking at them, a Chinese man reached in front of us and grabbed two red bags of the things. Henry asked him what they were and the man just laughed and said, “I don’t know but they taste good!”
That was a ringing enough of an endorsement for me so I grabbed a sack and then Henry found our favorite grocer who informed us that they’re yellow dates. I googled and it said you could eat them just as they are, even though they hadn’t yet turned soft, brown and wrinkly. (There’s an old man ball joke in there somewhere but I’m all out of humor after doing kpop workouts for like two hours tonight.)
We sat in the car and dared each other to take the first bite. Eventually we both went for it and holy shit, new favorite fruit. It had the crunch of an apple, a slight astringent bite of a persimmon, and a wonderfully sweet aftertaste of date.
They are so delicious and addicting!
The moral is: don’t be afraid to ask someone what things are when you’re at some type of ethnic grocery store. This is also how Henry and I discovered that baby taro is the BOMB.
I was just at one of the other Asian markets last week on my lunch break (there’s one that’s close enough for me to walk to, but my favorite one is several blocks farther away and I’d never make it back in time, so sad). I wanted to grab some more candy for the pumpkin at work, but there were some white people there acting like typical American assholes, loudly making fun of the candy and I just didn’t want to be associated with them. Just imagine all the delicious things they’re missing out on.
After Chooch’s lesson, we went to Spirit for their Sunday brunch. I’m not a fan of brunch or buffets (I know, what kind of anomaly am I), but we settled on Spirit because their veg options seemed tight. I was worried that the vibe was going to be off-putting since this place is also a music venue (of the hipster variety) but the atmosphere was dark and on point—exactly the kind of ambiance I like in a restaurant.
Chooch immediately went to check out the bathroom and reported that it was “nothing special, kind of like the ones at the Altar Bar.” Because my 11-year-old knows his music venue bathrooms, guys.
The buffet was pretty lit (Chooch hates it when I say that because I’m apparently not supposed to know that word since I’m A Mom) and there were more meatless options than anything else, really. Three different types of salads, hummus, yogurt, rice pudding, lemon beignets (God yes),- pizza bar, quiche, French toast sticks….just all kinds of wondrous brunch fare.
I think it was the first time I actually ate my money’s worth too. It may not seem like it on the outside, but my stomach is way too small for buffets.
I didn’t eat anything the rest of the day. :/
We had THE WORST service though, considering all our server had to do was bring us our drinks and check. It was ludicrous how neglected we were. Other people were annoyed too, and some broad at a table nearby crumbled up her check and walked out because all she cared about was the sausage and potatoes and it was never refilled or something, I don’t care about other people’s problems.
The bottomline for me is that I enjoyed the ambiance and food enough to give it another try but we better have a different server and my fucking coffee better actually be bottomless like the menu says, considering this is the most important part of a meal for me and I didn’t get my cup until I WAS ALMOST DONE EATING ARE YOU KIDDING YOU HAVE ONE JOB LADY!
(Side note: Chooch thought he was so cool because he ordered a Snakebite, which was some kind of ginger-spiked OJ. We didn’t think he would like it, but he drank the whole damn thing.)
Forever making him stand in front of walls.
After lunch, we went to visit Patty, who gets to come home on September 24th! This is huge news and I’m so stoked for her! She’s been at this particular long-term care facility for nearly a year now and she has made so much progress. (Unfriendly reminder for cancer to go get fucked.)
In the activity room, Patty strong-armed Chooch to play something on the piano for all the elderly women sitting around the table. He finally sat down and plucked out this little ditty from memory like it ain’t no thang:
I sent this to his piano teacher yesterday and she was so thrilled! I love how great the two of them work together. When I went to get him on Sunday, I caught the tail end of her teaching him the drum parts to Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue.” She is so fucking cool!
After Chooch entertained the ladies, we went to an empty rec room and played Joking Hazard while Henry sat down and IMMEDIATELY fell asleep. At one point, some man in his nineties came in and rifled through the newspapers on the table near Henry and I started cracking up because that dude looked like he had way more energy than our slumbering hero. I told Henry later that while he was sleeping, one of the orderlies came in and asked us if we wanted her to take him back to his room, and he believed me.
“They could have taken me to a room,” Henry said with a shrug, and then got this far-away look in his eyes as though he was fantasizing about having a secret room in a nursing home where he could sleep as much as he wanted without Chooch and me waking him up because we need fed or burped or whatever.
It took forever to get home because nearly every way out of the city is under construction. Henry kept shouting, “FUCK YOU!!” every time he’d come upon another road closure. He’s usually on his detour game, but not on this day. I was actually starting to feel anxious, like we were in a bad horror movie. Welcome to Pittsburgh, where there’s NO WAY OUT.
We did eventually make it home and I went for a…WAIT FOR IT…walk. This time, I walked around a part of Brookline I don’t generally visit, and on one of the streets, I heard these kids yelling about a hug, but you know me, I ignore the frequency of a child’s voice.
But the yelling persisted, and that’s when I realized that these two little kids in a yard across the street were asking me for a hug.
But their screams were getting louder until finally I stopped and gave them an air-hug from across the street, because that’s the kind of dick I am. They weren’t buying it and demanded that I give them a real hug.
Look. It’s 2017. Even if I enjoyed the act of hugging another human, it gets tricky when that other person is not a kid, but a KID STRANGER. Who knows what someone would think if they happened to look out their window. Sad, right, that we even have to think that way in this day and age.
I decided that we could at least high-five, so I crossed the street and walked over to them. Their yard was bordered by a retaining wall, so I was pretty much eye level with this little brother and sister pair of hug-obsessers, who appeared to be maybe 3 and 4. But after high-fiving, they GANG-HUGGED ME. I had no chance! The little boy was actually hanging off me and I was like, “WHOA HAHA OK DOWN!” and had to actually pry these children off me torso.
IT WAS HORRIFYING.
The girl happily asked me where I live and I stupidly told her and then stopped myself because WAS I BEING KID-NAPPED?! I had no idea what was going on, but they were so friendly and I think they wanted to keep me and I wasn’t down with that. I told them I had to go home and, in my own awkward way, tried to coax them further back into their yard. “Uh, don’t come out into the street. Try to, like, you know, stay safe,” I mumbled as I turned to walk away. And then the boy started crying, like legit wailing, “No don’t go! Come back!” and my anxiety went through the roof. The voice in my head was all, “FUCKING RUN. RUN RUN FUCKITYFUCKFUCK RUN!” Was that his signal for the rest of the neighborhood kids to fall from boughs and emerge from manholes, pulling their ropes taut and cocking their BB guns?!
Eventually, he stopped screaming and when I risked one last furtive glance over my shoulder they had gone back to calmly playing whatever they were playing before they spotted the naïve-looking girl with the Pusheen wallet hanging off her shorts.
And then my hand instinctively reached for said wallet because WAS THIS A PICKPOCKETING PLOY FROM BROOKLINE GYPSIES? But no, everything was intact.
Super creepy though.
Now I’m wondering IF THEY WERE ACTUALLY GHOSTS???
And then the weekend ended with Game of Thrones, while Chooch diligently and slightly obsessively organized his backpack for the first day of sixth grade. I know summer isn’t technically over yet as far as the calendar is concerned, but it might as well be. :(