One of my stupid resolutions is always to “MAKE MORE PLANS” and “DO MORE THINGS” but fuck it, man, sometimes I just want to walk into a planless weekend and see what happens, you know what I’m saying? No expectations. And nothing is really all that enticing to me lately either, if we’re being honest. I knew that Picklesburgh was underway (the above picture is from my lunch break walk on Friday — the closest I got to that fuckarow of Yinzers) and while I appreciate the concept because I do love me some pickles and bizarre foods, my hatred of bridges* and crowds of people made it easy for me to say “baby bye bye bye” to that idea because CROWDS OF PEOPLE ON BRIDGES.
*(I make myself walk across a bridge once a week or so just to try and combat my fears. It helps a little bit but when I’m walking across a bridge, there are only like 20 other people also on the bridge. Not a horde.)
And to be honest, when I woke up on Saturday, I felt extremely unmotivated and dead inside. Nothing new, really, but the “fun Erin” was in there somewhere, cheering me on and telling me not to give up. I told her to shove her pom-poms up her ass and went back to watching Roommate.
Chooch is like, Mr. Brookline this summer and is never home anymore, so it was just me and the cats Saturday morning. But then Henry came home from work and I was like I WANT TO GO SHOPPING so we did that and I bought some new clothes and felt better about life and the weather was nice and Henry was being attentive. THIS IS ALL I WANT FROM LIFE.
LOL just kidding I want so much more.
At some point, Chooch came home with a FUCKING KAZOO that he found at Blake’s and NO ONE STOPPED HIM FROM TAKING IT, THANKS GUYS. He’s been annoying us with it ever since.
“Big Daddy’s going,” Chooch said out of the blue.
“Who’s Big Daddy!?” Henry and I asked in unison.
“Me,” he answered in a tone that implied we should have known that, and then scooted off into the sunset on his stupid scooter, kazoo in his pocket. That kid! He started hanging out at the Teen Center last week, a place that he formerly referred to as THE CULT. He texted me the other day and was like, “GUESS WHERE I AM, THE TEEN CENTER. THEY GOT ME!” But his friend Liam hangs out there and it seems like a really good place for kids, plus they provide snacks and stuff and that’s what it really boils down to. The other day, the snacks were Korean! He was so excited that he took a picture and posted it on Instagram.
“THEY HAD MILKIS!” he told me later, all excited. So random!
If he’s not at the teen center, then he’s at the library. One day, I was like, “Don’t forget your library card” and he goes, “Oh, I have it memorized. Yeah, I’m THAT kid.”
Getting a little off topic here but I love when we take our nightly strolls and he tells me about all the shit he did during the day. He has…some childhood.
Speaking of walks, he didn’t want to go to the cem with Henry and me later on that Saturday, which was FINE, go be your own person, Chooch.
So then Henry and I pretended like we were on a date LOLOLOL.
Me: We need to have more skinship.
Henry: *tries to hold my hand*
Me: Ew don’t touch me!
It was a super nice day and Henry even listened to me when I talked to him about my struggles learning Korean and he was like, “Hey, I can barely speak* English, so…” I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse because hey, my boyfriend’s dumbz0rz.
*(Look, I’m one to talk. I can barely write English anymore.)
Then I played my favorite game called “What If I Walked Liked This?” where I do all kinds of weird walks to see if Henry gets embarrassed but he never does. I was getting super athletic with that day’s walk repertoire but then I had visions of landing wrong and breaking my ankle so I stopped doing that and went back to walking gingerly.
I’ve been playing this game since childhood and I never tire of the fun except that my aging body doesn’t allow me to do the “squatting rabbit” hop-walk for as long as I once could, le sigh.
The rest of the night was spent hanging out together at home and it was good, you know? Those guys really are my best friends but don’t tell them I said that.
Sunday morning started out with an egg white omelete and an early birthday present from my pal Maya – hanguel magnets! I’m still 11 and write my name all over notepads during work meetings or on restaurant placement (usually with variations of “Erin rulz”) so when I opened this package, I had my name spelled out on the fridge within 30 seconds. What a perfect way to merge my megolamania and K-love into one!
And then Chooch straight up screamed into his kazoo which had me flipping through the Yellow Pages a/k/a Yelp for a good orphanage or fire station to leave him. When we dropped him off at his piano lesson, he greeted Cheryl with a hearty kazoo-blow but she said she liked it because Chooch’s charms still work on her after all these years.
I wanted to walk around and look for help wanted signs for that stupod Job Spotter app I have (I have $50 in Amazon rewards so far!) and Henry was like, “This sucks, I hate doing this” only because he knows that eventually I’m going to find a mural for him to stand in front of. Pittsburgh surprisingly has a lot of street art. He doesn’t give me much time so I basically have to keep walking while I’m taking the picture. Look how happy he is in all of his drab colors! Tans and grays for days.
Then I got him to go inside the East Liberty Presbyterian Church with me! I’ve always wanted to go inside but never have, even after driving past it every day for two years when I worked at that old job with Eleanore and Tina (lol). I’d sit at red lights and admire it every day.
Usually Henry is like “N-O! THAT SPELLS NO!” when I’m like, “Go inside this spiritual thing” because he’s scared of church stuff. If I had to label myself as something under the God spectrum, I’d say I identify most with atheism. However, I used to be extremely religious as a kid (I eventually realized it was because I was treating it more of a history lesson, if that makes sense) and I actually do believe in the devil even though OMG you can’t have one without the other.
But man, the day my pappap died, I was done with God.
Hoo-boy, I could do some talking about that, but this is not the blog post for that. All I’m trying to say here is that I LOVE ME A GOOD CHURCH.
I’m known to openly weep in churches, I know that’s hard to believe because I’m so rotten.
Turns out this particular church is super progressive so that made me even happier that we were killing time there.
YES! The amount of time and energy some people expend bitching and worrying about another person’s gender makes me want to lose my mind.
After Chooch’s piano lesson, we went to nearby Mellon Park for a Caribbean festival! I follow this one guy on Instagram who makes vegan Puerto Rican cuisine, but only sells his food at various street markets and festivals, so I haven’t been able to catch him because going to things like that always sound a great idea until we get there and hipsters are mowing me down to get in line for kombucha. But then he posted a picture of BREADFRUIT and you know me and my strange fruit/vegetable palate. I needed this, and I was prepared to fight the Yinzeriest of all hipsters for a spot in line.
We parked across the street at Bakery Square, and Chooch was immediately distracted by a foosball table set up on the sidewalk because apparently he plays this at the cult, I mean, THE TEEN CENTER, and is like SO GOOD AT IT, you guys.
“I’m really good at foosball too,” Henry bragged, and Chooch and I were like, “OK yeah sure.”
“I played it all the time when I was in THE SERVICE!” Henry barked, like it suddenly put him on another foosball level because he had a crew-cut while playing it? “I PLAYED IT FOR FOUR YEARS!”
“You liar, you weren’t even in the SERVICE for four years because you went AWOL after three!” I laughed.
“IT WAS THREE YEARS AND EIGHT MONTHS AND I DIDN’T GO AWOL!” he cried all defensively. Oh god, this just doesn’t get old.
No one played foosball that day though.
The festival had only been going for about 90 minutes when we rolled up and luckily it wasn’t overly crowded yet. There were only about 8 people in line for the coveted SaludPgh stall, and I was happy about this. I hate waiting in line for food. Almost no food is worth waiting for me in my opinion. I GUESS I’M NOT A FOODIE. DELETE MY AUXILIARY FOOD BLOG. CANCEL MY FOOD REVIEW PODCAST.
Anyway, the guy behind SaludPgh is really nice and more importantly, awesome at making food. I didn’t know what most of things were on his menu and I truly didn’t care because I was there to give my palate some Puerto Rican culture. I love ethnic food so much, and even more so when it’s vegan.
Here’s what we got:
- picadillo/”beef” & ackee/plantain pastelillos – both of these were delicious but I think I liked the picadillo better. j/k I want both of them in my maw again.
- potato stuffing which was sweet and smoky, extremely hearty and satisfying, and I could see this being a good addition to any holiday dinner table or summer cookout. WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT WE SHOULD BE CELEBRATING WITH THIS STUFFING.
- quimbombo! This is what I came for and that breadfruit was insanely good, kind of like a yam-ish….? But less dense/carb-y. WOW, MY FOOD BLOG IS REALLY GOING TO BE MISSED. Also, I’ve had a crush on okra since middle school. Hopefully his co-worker doesn’t find this and send it to him.
- arroz con gandules – I barely got to eat any of this because turns out Chooch imprinted on pigeon peas
- vegan pepper steak – even Henry was like, “You can barely tell this isn’t real meat” and I was just like, “Yeah” because I can’t remember what meat tastes like. This was very good and moist! When do I get to have this again?!
The verdict? A+, vegan Puerto Rican food is bomb. Pastelillos aside, everything else on that tray only cost $10 and it took three of us to finish it (Henry got his own $15 meat tray at some other booth for carnivores and I’ll just tell you now that Chooch’s and my tray was way more satisfying and varied and CHEAPER than Henry’s. And you better believe Henry bitched about that too, haha. Come over to our side, Henry! Dance under a shower of soy with us! Wear “animals are ppl too!” bracelets with us! Sacrifice a privileged white male under the full moon with us!
Chooch discovering a love for pastelillos. Look, this kid is the pickiest little bitch at the Picky Eater ball, but he was chowing on everything in that tray. I think Chooch found his favorite ethnic cuisine.
Later that evening, we went to Las Palmas in Beechview so I could get candy for work and then we stopped at that paletas joint again to try more flavs. I got red currant this time, Henry got chili mango, and Chooch went with the ice cream version of the walnut paleta I had last week.
The rest of the night was spent watching Taemin videos because my friend Veronica and I were messaging each other on IG about our favorites and then I screamed REALLY LOUD when Taemin ripped open his blazer in a video that I’ve seen a million times and Blake & Haley are now thinking about moving out from next door and I think one of my cats is moving out with them.
It was a great weekend and I was sad to see it end, but also happy that I was able to allow myself to have a good weekend. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself but shit, these last several months have been rough. But things aren’t so bad when you live with your besties, you know?