Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

Jan 182020
 

This was intended to be a Friday Five but then I went all in after work yesterday on putting the finishing touches on my cult & spiritual leaders Valentine minis which have been plaguing my brain since I first decided last year that I wanted to make them. Hopefully people like them, so look forward to that – should be posted on Etsy later today!

So anyway, here are five things that I have been putting off memorializing on this piece because I’ve had bloglock over the last few months – I think I still enjoy writing in here but I can’t be sure, and then there’s the lack of motivation because all of my energy is funneled elsewhere, so maybe the blog-era of my life is finally winding down? Here is where I perform a big, lazy shrug for no one to see.

  1. My Neglected Son–Wait, I Have a Son?

Several months ago, Chooch and I were on one of our nightly walks — you know, the ones where he oscillates between talking about school drama and new math (he had a math test the other day and practically swan-leapt out of the house, fucking weirdo) — when he so very casually mentioned that he had been interviewed by “some broad” at the teen center.

“For what? What about? Who was she? Where is this being published?” I asked in the spit-fire nature of an interrogating mom.

He shrugged. All I could glean from him was that it was something about the head of the teen center, Caitlin. And they wanted quotes from him because he’s “basically the face of the teen center.” Um, his words.

Well, on the first of January, I received an e-newsletter from the teen center – apparently he signed me up for this so now I can have evidence that I’m marginally involved in his teen center activities.

In the newsletter was this graphic:

CHECK OUT THAT QUOTE FROM RILEY, 13-YEAR-OLD 8TH GRADER…Yes, that is my son, putting his parents on blast for allegedly neglecting him and never being home. WOW JUST WOW OK SON. We get home at 6pm everyday, like most working parents, yet he stays at the teen center until 9pm anyway because he’s obsessed with being there! He even eats dinner there even though Henry makes dinner at home!? I called him out on this and he shrugged. “They took it out context,” he explained. “I also said that you guys aren’t home after school because you’re busy working hard.” YEAH, THAT SURELY SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING HE WOULD SAY.

So, that’s cool. One Saturday, Henry and I walked past the teen center while Chooch was in there and I said, “Should we go in there and officially announce ourselves as his parents so they know we exist?”

Henry considered this, then said, “Nah” so we continued eating our cookies from the bakery while walking home, and YES WE GOT COOKIES FOR CHOOCH TOO even though he is the one who abandons US but that’s fine. I’m not bitter.

Fucking teen center kidnapped my son.

2. Guy on Road

I was walking to the ATM the other night when I saw some commotion at this one intersection a block down from my house. Some guy was standing in the road directing traffic, and as I got closer, I noticed that another man was lying prostrate on the road with a small crowd of people around him, wailing, “I am in so much pain” and I’m not sure exactly what happened but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that he was trying to cross (AT THE CROSSWALK) and some OMG-IN-A-HURRY car came barreling up the hill and hit him. I HATE crossing the street here and I have to do it every morning on the walk to work (actually, I could walk on the other side of the street but then I would have to cross extra times and I am bad at crossing streets except that I just admitted to Henry that I have become better at jaywalking since working downtown because Pittsburgh is like the unofficial capital of jaywalking, not sure if we should be proud of that). Anyway, I can’t tell you how many people barely – BARELY – stop at the stop signs at this 3-way intersection and I have nearly been clipped numerous times after already establishing my right-of-way by making it to the middle of the walk. I usually have to do this really clumsy deer-run to the other side every morning because nothing makes me more nervous on my walks to the trolley than morning commuters because you know, they’re in a big hurry to turn the bend and sit in traffic at a red light.

Actually, there is something that makes me more nervous and that is having a brick fall on my head which recently happened – not the “falling on my head” part but bricks did in fact fall from the top of a building that I habitually pass by but luckily it happened late at night when no one was standing there. It was roped off by police tape for a few days and when I found out why, I did a cartoon *GULP*.

Anyway, back to the man. On my way back from the ATM, the whole rescue brigade was there by then and the street was lit up by emergency lights which is nothing new for Pioneer Avenue. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but I sure hope that guy didn’t die.

Unless he was a bad man. Then die, motherfucker. Get what you deserve.

Random Drew.

3. Geomi-Nim

I know I mentioned at one point that I had obtained a pet kitchen spider and named him “Geomi-Nim” which means “Mister Spider” in Korean but I don’t have a Korean keyboard on my work computer so I can’t type it properly. Well, he had a good long run (at least two months, I think?!) in four different locations in the kitchen, but I guess he ultimately either tired of me screaming Korean vocab at him and packed his shit and left, or he died. Because he’s been gone for a month now and hasn’t resurfaced, which makes me sad but Henry is just happy that he can use his container of sesame seeds again without being a literal homewrecker.

Anyway, here’s a picture I took Geomi-Nim in his third property. I miss him and his beautiful webs.

Also, I have no idea what gender he was because I refused to Google; look, having one mild-looking spider in my house is one thing, but I do not want my computer screen filled with threatening photos of spider species. Henry said that he thought spiders were genderless but I was like, “OK, explain then Charlotte, then” and he was like, “………that was a cartoon.”

4. ANGRY MEETING

Earlier in the week, we had a meeting to go over a new thing that is happening. During this, someone said, “But what about *boring work thing*?” and the person in charge of the meeting was like, “What are you talking about” and then I said, “Here is my idea for a work-around to *boring work thing*” and person in charge was like, “No that is dumb that won’t work” IN SO MANY WORDS so I was like, “OK” and went back to shutting down because this is my work life lately. Shrinking into the corners and hoping no one will look at me, lol.

About 10 minutes later, GLENN said, “Can’t we do *INSERT EXACTLY WHAT I HAD PROPOSED*” and person in charge was all, “Huh! Let’s test that out!” and I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open, thinking IS NO ONE REALLY GOING TO SAY ANYTHING so I did what I do best which is drop down to elementary school age, flap my arms in the arm, and whine, “THAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME THING I SAID THOUGH?!!?” and person in charge was like, “No, it wasn’t?” and I was searching the room with desperate eyes, willing someone to stand up for all that is right and take my side WHICH IS ALWAYS THE GOOD SIDE but no one did so instead of dropping it, I pressed on and said, “No, that’s the same thing I suggested and you said it wouldn’t work” and Lauren was like, “Maybe you said it a different way, I think” AND NO I DID NOT. Meanwhile, Glenn was over there wading in Smug Lagoon with a handful of old people butterscotch candies, looking so pleased with himself and I was like, “I WILL NEVER LET THIS GO” and true to my word, I spent the rest of the day fueled by that fire and made sure to tell everyone who would listen.

“I’M NOT SAYING I’M GOING TO LIGHT A FIRE OR ANYTHING, LORI, BUT MAYBE DON’T GO OVER NEAR GLENN’S DESK LATER,” I fumed, and Lori was all, “OMG you’re mad.” But Nate and Cathy consoled me afterward and both confirmed that I did, in fact, suggest the same thing, and Cathy, who always wants to give people the benefit of the doubt, said that maybe person in charge just understand fully at that time what the issue at hand truly was (she definitely didn’t, so I will agree with Cathy there). I usually don’t show my temper at work but this really set me off, primarily because it brought back some really bad, negative feelings from a former position I once held there and I didn’t like it. Bad memories. Stay in the past.

I mean, in what world does GLENN have a good idea, anyway!??!

I’m OK now though. I was invited to be a part of a brainstorming session for something else and the other people involved in this will not be so dismissive of my suggestions, so I am looking forward to that.

5. The Ring

Sometime back in 2003, Henry and I went to Salem, MA for a little vacation. This was still early into our relationship – we had been together for about 2 years at this point, I guess, and sometimes I look back on those times and think, “How did we make it to 2020?” Oh, I jest! Only a little. Anyway, while there, I bought this ring at one of the little witchy shops and I loved it, but then almost immediately after purchasing it, I accidentally wore it into the shower once and the soap/shampoo left the once-clear stone completely cloudy, so that you could no longer see the witchy design it was meant to magnify.

I complained about it a ton back then, off and on for at least 5 years I would bring it up, because I would still wear it sometimes in spite of the soap scum, which was in the underneath of the cabochon so I couldn’t reach it. I tried using a q-tip to scrub it but it was too big, I tried soaking it in jewelry cleaner, I tried witchy spells to cosmically cleanse it, but nothing worked! Henry. when asked for help, would  smoosh his mustache up while inspecting it and then shrug.

The other day, I wore it because like I said, I paid money for the thing so I’m still going to allow it to decorate my finger, you know? For some reason, I felt inspired to once again bring up my plight to Henry.

“Hmm, let me see that,” he said, taking the ring off of me. And then he got out one of his tool-things, popped the cabochon out from the prongs, polished its underside, and then put it back.

JUST LIKE THAT.

HE COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS 17 YEARS AGO?!!?!?

“I literally did not know that this was even a thing,” he said defensively, confused as to why I was yelling at him instead of thanking him.

So this leads me to believe that Henry just blocked me out for much of the early years, so should I be happy that he listens to me now, or pissed that he didn’t listen to me then? THAT IS THE QUESTION.

Actually, I think he just hadn’t learned to fear me yet in the beginning. He’s learned a lot over the years about my INNER WITCH.

And I think that’s all I got for this belated Friday Five. Today I will be focusing on Valentines, Korean-learning, and reading. I got two books from the library on Thursday! ALL BY MYSELF!

 

Jan 162020
 

I needed background music while Chooch and I were having reading time on Sunday, and Kpop wouldn’t work in this sense because I always find myself focusing on the words to see if I can figure out any of the Korean (#obsession). So on a whim, I put on a dark synthpop playlist on YouTube. A MILLION MEMORIES AND WARM FEELINGS CAME OVER ME.

So, I’ve gone through a lot of music phases; some of them make me feel uncomfortable when I think about it because of the weird time of life it was, like when I was into very cold, angular indie-experimental stuff like Blonde Redhead and Deerhoof; I actually shudder when I think of those days. But when I was very heavy into synthpop, it was the very, very, very beginning of my relationship with Henry. I was obsessed with this label – A Different Drum – and used to buy all sorts of compilations from them. Henry, in an effort to win my heart, used to make me CDs of synthpop that he ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED OMG. Can you imagine Henry, 35-years-old at that time, living alone in some weird apartment, burning synthpop CDs for me? I mean, it’s kind of cute.

Those CDs remind me of cozy winters, so even though it was unseasonably warm over the weekend, it still brought back waves of comfort as I curled up on the couch and read a book.

But then I had an idea!

I typed in “Synthpop workouts” in the YouTube search bar and was sad to see that there really isn’t much of a goth/synth cardio niche on YouTube. Look, I have been considering (only half-jokingly) of making my own amateur workout videos for some time now. My only problem, aside from being extremely awkward on camera, is that I have a difficult time moving while narrating what’s coming up and singing out motivational filler. I would want to do just super-casual and fun walking workouts, because those are my go-to videos on YouTube when I need to boost my step-count, I’m too tired/sore/sick for high-impact cardio, or I still have some energy to burn off after doing a strength-training workout.

I’m kind of obsessed with constantly moving. I don’t even watch my K-Dramas without walking in place (here is that part where I make a subtle hint for Henry to finally buy me that treadmill). But the walking workouts on YouTube are…eh. There’s Leslie Sansone, but her shrill Janice-from-Friends laugh gets to me. There’s Jessica Smith, but she always uses that generic cardio music which doesn’t help motivate me. I really like this one broad, Gina B, because her walking workouts are all themed to things like, “Walk to the 80s!” or “Disco Walk!” – so it’s fun because you’re doing these upbeat walking/cardio workouts to good pop music from past eras, and it helps keep you interested. IT DOES THAT FOR ME, ANYWAY.

But man, I would be so down for a synthwalk. Even the real morose dark synthpop still has that thumping bassline which, I truly believe, would translate well to simple box steps, grapevines, step-taps – whatever walks are in the arsenal.

So the other night, I cried out, “I WILL JUST MAKE MY OWN SYNTHPOP WALKING WORKOUTS!” And Chooch and Janna will be my back-up walkers (Chooch already said no and Janna doesn’t know yet but I guess she’ll find out if she ever reads this; say yes, Janna) and we will all black – maybe gowns? Robes? Stompy boots, for sure. And we’ll light candles everywhere, and in between the higher-energy tracks, we’ll do body-weight moves to a slower-tempo funeral dirge, maybe hoist a weighted plank, a move we will call, “The Pallbearers.”

Fun fact about the above song: I once listened to it on repeat for an entire 8-hour shift at this one shitty job I had where I worked with like 8 people in a basement until midnight, and then I genuinely wanted to fucking kill myself afterward. No hyperbole here.

This could be a good cool-down track. PASS THAT INVISIBLE ORB OF ENERGY.

I have a vision of Janna crying at some point, to help keep the ambiance in the room aligned with the tragic vibe of this Mind Side Out track, so perhaps this will be the portion of the fitness video where Henry burns her with a candle off-camera.

I was telling my co-workers about this on Monday and they were like, “Wow. Glad you found your….calling.” I mean, I’ve attempted and failed at making writing, photography, and art a career,  so hopefully fitness figurehead is where my true talent lies!

NO I TAKE IT BACK: My favorite Depeche Mode song would be the PERFECT cool-down song:

 

See also: Wendy 1999 for a scintillating story sort of about this song.

“So what, are you just going to use your phone to film this?” Chooch asked me in that AWESOME judgmental tone of a middle schooler bracing himself for impending parental embarrassment. But the fact that he’s thinking this far ahead means that he BELIEVES IN ME!

Anyway, hopefully this comes into fruition once I conquer my inability to say motivational things without stepping on my foot. I think it’s going to be way better than my idea from 2004 to open a Crucifixion-themed restaurant.

ETA: I was just filling in Chooch re:The Pallbearer move.

“You made me pause my movie for that?” Chooch snarfled, and Henry Buttinsky was all, “Where are you getting this ‘weighted plank’?” because when he’s not White Knighting, he’s standing in a corner with a needle, punching holes in my logic.

“I mean, it’s just going to be, like, a board with weights on it,” I shrugged, like what else would I use? An actual coff—-

OMG I NEED AN ACTUAL COFFIN!

Jan 142020
 

My Korean study sesh was canceled for Saturday because Jiyong had to do real work instead of the weekly charity work she does on me, lol, so I suggested to Henry that since we didn’t have any obligations, we should HAVE A DATE DAY. Wow. But then the Teen Center was closed on Saturday and Chooch caught wind of our plans to go to a cafe (I’m trying to ease Henry into enjoying coffee, it’s his new years resolution as decided by me) and so he was like, “THAT SOUNDS GREAT, I’LL GO TOO.” Personally, I think it’s adorable that Chooch still wants to spend time with us so I wasn’t about to withhold an invitation.

However, Henry felt way more strongly about this than I did. “OK WELL THIS WENT FROM A DATE TO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TWO TO SIT THERE AND MAKE FUN OF ME.” And he was all butt-hurt about it but then it didn’t matter anyway because those two pissed around so much that afternoon and then went to get father/son hair cuts (lol), so by the time that was done, it was 3pm and Chooch and his friend Marky had made plans to go see Star Wars at 5 so there went my big plans for a date day.

Instead, Henry and I went jeans shopping and we did actually stop at a cafe on the way home, but it was just Crazy Mocha because I desperately wanted a chai latte. I recommended a pistachio latte for Henry, because he’s still not ready for straight coffee, and he can currently only stomach the stuff if it’s iced. Turns out it was 70 degrees on this random January day (awesome and not awesome all at once) so an iced latte was actually a pretty refreshing choice, and I guess he thought so too because he drank it without complaining, but who knows with him. He’s very different from me, whereas I would be bitching about it and probably would have hurled it against the side of a building within the first 30 seconds of deciding I didn’t like it.

In weekend K-drama news, I finally finished watching Third Charm which I started all the way back in the fall of 2018 when it was still on air, but DRAMA FEVER went away unexpectedly after I only watched one episode, so then like 6  months went by before Viki, the streaming service I currently use for my Korean TV needs, picked it up. The problem wasn’t that I lost momentum, but it was that…the show just didn’t appeal to me. HOWEVER, one of my favorite actors, Seo Kang Joon, is the lead in it and I felt like I had to see it through even though there was zero chemistry between him and the love interest. So I kept giving up on it for months at a time, before finally powering through the second half of the series. There was one episode near the end were bad things happen to every character and it’s just an hour-long montage of people ugly-crying and it did nothing for my mental condition. Anyway, now that show’s in  the bag so I can peacefully continue watching the other ones I have on my list without Third Charm on my mind.

For instance, I’m watching Melting Me Softly, and it’s wonderful! I love Ji Chang-wook so much so when it was announced that he had had a new drama, post-military discharge, I was on board. The premise is that the PD of a variety show and one of the girls who sometimes volunteers for the show’s challenges, agree to be frozen for 24 hours in the name of the science. This was in 1999, and then of course something goes awry, and 20 years later, they’re finally unfrozen. And, as with most k-dramas, there’s the evil CEO plot line, so it’s not all chuckles, but the chemistry between Ji Chang-wook and Won Jin-ah is terrific, and it’s got Choi Bomin from Golden Child in it and he is just a fucking joy.

In the episode I was watching on Saturday, they went to Pocheon Art Valley! I HAVE BEEN  THERE! I love when this happens!

Anyway, yeah. Melting Me Softy is a great k-drama but I’m not sure if it’s on Netflix. I think you can get Viki for free but there are a ton of ads you have to suffer through and it sucks because one time I forgot my log-in and had to watch a show as a guest and it was terrible, the amount of ads.

Image result for melting me softly"

Oh yeah, I forgot about how I pulled Chooch out of bed on Saturday morning so that he could go to the library with me and show me how to retrieve a book I ordered (“The Vegetarian” by Han Kang). Since I signed up for a reading challenge, I’m actually really amped about this. I’ve read three books so far, am halfway through a fourth (“Nocturnes” by Kazuo Ishiguro and just started a fifth (“Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli, don’t hate, I needed something light and teenagery!), so I think I will probably end up meeting my 30 book goal for 2020 which I know is not anything spectacular but for someone who has only just climbed back onto the Literacy Wagon, it’s a big deal.

But remember: I became a vegetarian in 1996 because it felt like a challenge to prove my family wrong; I’ve been an obsessive walker since 2012 because of the walking challenge at work; I drink a gallon of water a day since 2018 because Henry frowned and said, “Do you really need an entire jug of water?” when I hoisted one onto the counter of a gas station on the way home from KCON in Newark.

I guess it’s the Leo in me.

(roar)

So now, every time I return a book to the library, it feels like a game and I’ve just leveled the FUCK UP BITCHES.

On Sunday, we really did have our…family date day. Chooch wanted to go to the main library in Oakland and I was on board with that because that’s the best one. He wanted to look for Switch games and to get a new card (his third one, ugh) and then after that we went to Coffee Buddha so we could hang out and read our books like real cool people while Henry played Boggle on his phone (he’s learning all kinds of new three-letter words). Anyway, Henry got a nitro which I had a feeling he would be OK with, and I was right. We’re making progress, people.

We had pizza for dinner and it was OK, but then I was like, “Shit I better exercise again” and I heard Henry mumble to Chooch so I yelled, “WHAT DID YOU SAY” and he was like, “nothing” but then Chooch the narc said, “He said you exercise too much.” I took that as a compliment, thank you very much.

Honestly, that was the extent of my weekend, which was….comfortable. It was a comfortable weekend, and I liked it very much.

Jan 122020
 

What’s up, Diva cups, I’m checking in on this cozy Sunday night to regale you with another non compos cards  Valentine commercial!

The Cure is my all-time favorite band, as in: cash in your savings account and fly to Australia to see them after they hastily announce that they’re not going to tour again after that but that was in 2000 and you have since seen them like 6 more times because Robert Smith lied but that’s ok!

True to form, this is a cringefest so get your groans ready.

The set contains 16 different mini-cards, just like the kinds we used to pass out in elementary school except much cooler because, you know, The Cure.

Henry was like I DON’T GET IT and I’ll tell you why – it’s because he’s not actually a “fan” of The Cure.

This set is now available in my shop and I am so happy about it! Part of me wants to track down all my old friends from the long defunct chatroom I used to frequent in 1998/1999 called Darkchat and send them all one of these cards (and by frequent I do mean I used to stay up until like 5am private messaging with all of my goth paramours). God, those were the days! Now when I tell people that The Cure is my favorite band, the general response, “I don’t know who that is.” Well, just break my goddamn heart.

I think this set goes wonderfully with all the serial killer ones, the vintage porn star collection, the Golden Girls series and of course all the Kpop varieties in my Hello Hanguk shop too! I’ll repost all of those ones throughout the week in case you missed them last year. I love Valentines so much!

Interested in purchasing a set of The Cure valentines for all the lovecats in your life? Click right here!

Jan 112020
 

I’m not a big resolution-type of gal but with a new year beginning, I did allow myself to think about what is missing from my life, improvements that can be made, etc. I already exercise every single day, so I got that covered. Eat healthier? Already been about that life. My water intake is so ridiculous that it’s a joke around the department (Erin and her water jug) so I think it’s safe to say I don’t need to focus on that. I’M JUST SO FUCKING PERFECT, AREN’T I.

But then I was watching a YouTuber I like talk about books and I was like, “Man. That’s it. I should read more in 2020.” I read a depressing three books last year. Maybe only 1 the year before. And trust me, it’s not because I don’t enjoy reading but because I have myself so convinced that I don’t have time anymore. Well, that’s a crock.

My library card has long since expired and Chooch lost his recently but he still goes to the library a lot because he has his # memorized so he can at least still use the computers there (oh thank god). I figured out how to get one online but then I had to make Chooch walk to the library with me after work on Monday so that I could get a physical card. Not sure what the point was in signing up online because I had to do it all over again, show my ID, etc and the library card number was different than the one I got online, so…

Anyway, I also had a book with me so the librarian checked it out for me and commented on how the cover was unique and Chooch was annoyed because she was one of the librarians he hates, but she was plenty nice to me. Although, I can picture her having a bitchy side, for sure.

The book I got was suuuuper short, like 50 pages (The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami) so I was ready to return it by the next day, and I dragged Chooch with me because I wanted to use the self-checkout and was worried I’d screw it up somehow. Also, I didn’t want to go alone because I’m pathetic. Good thing I brought him because I was trying to scan my card with the barcode facing down, away from the scanner, and Chooch wrenched it from my hand, sighed, and did it for me. Then he scanned the new book I chose (“Mrs Everything” by Jennifer Weiner) and made a big production of handing it to me with a flourish while yelling, “Congratulations, you have a book.”

Thanks, brat.

In the meantime, I figured out how to get a book sent from one library to my local library, and then I got an email on Friday saying that it was in! So Chooch had to accompany me to the library once again this morning to show me where to go to get my requested book, and then he checked it out for me but I was mad because I think I should do it by myself, or else I’ll never learn!! Also, he knows my library card pin so that’s great. It’s only a matter of time before he somehow ends up with my card and then racks up $$$ in fees because that’s what he was prone to do on his own card.

Also, I’m acutely aware that while I really do need the help/company, it’s probably not a good look to be accompanied by Chooch who consistently gets banned from the library due to his inability to keep his mouth shut and is notorious to the entire staff of librarians there, so…cool.

In order to help me stay on track, I started using my old Goodreads account again and asking friends for books recs (I primarily like horror and contemporary junk, I guess). I finished Mrs. Everything today and now I’m about to start The Vegetarian by Han Kang so hopefully I can keep carving out enough time every day to meet my goal! I’m definitely getting dumber as I age so hopefully getting back into my old reading habits will help stall the inevitable for a bit. Maybe?

Jan 092020
 

OK guys, it’s crunch time. January is the saddest month, with February following close behind, so it’s time to plan as much as fun activities as possible to beat the winter blues. We’re already down one weekend, and I must say, no complaints here on my end.

Saturday was GLOOM-HEHEHEHEHEHE-MY. All gray and moist, cold with a tinge of snow. Chooch ditched us almost as soon as he awoke because GOTTA GET TO THE TEEN CENTER OMG. He didn’t know what to do with himself during Christmas break because that damn place was closed. I kept sending him pictures of Drew and me, which really triggers him because Drew is “HIS CAT” but I was like, “I’m her best friend now since you abandon her all the time for the teen center.” If that made him feel guilty, I wouldn’t know because he certainly didn’t come running home from the teen center.

It was super dismal Saturday afternoon and that made me feel very tired, but I still met up with Jiyong for the first language exchange of the year. It was real fun because we talked about the differences and similarities of dating culture. So, one of the things I learned from watching k-dramas is that Koreans use this term called “some” to explain the stage two people are in right before they commit to officially dating. So they’ll say that they’re “in a some.” Jiyong asked with the western equivalent of that would be and I guess “flirting,” although that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to lead to anything since some people are just flirts by nature, lol. And I guess if you wanted to get super old-school, you could say “courting.” So I said that things were so different back in when I was in high school because cell phones weren’t a thing that everyone and their baby sister had – my mom had one but it was literally considered a “car phone” then and I remember it had this bulky vinyl case or covering, it was so strange. I told Jiyong that we would write notes and leave them in the person’s locker, or have a friend hand-deliver it.

“You didn’t have a pager?” she asked in disbelief, because I guess it was common in Korean for teenagers to have pagers in the 90s/00s?! I actually did have a pager, so it was funny to me that she mentioned that because, and correct me if it was different wherever you, Dear Reader, grew up, but in my area of suburban Pittsburgh, it was considered something of a…certain type of status symbol to have a pager, and it also subtly implied that perhaps you were a drug dealer, lol.

I had one (it was a translucent purple Motorola) because I begged my mom for one since I needed to keep up my urban aesthetic and my mom went along with it because she figured it was a way to digitally nag me. I had my pager soooo customized. I would always change the song that played when someone called it and I remember thinking I was SO CLEVER the time I changed it to Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell,” a song I only knew because it was on some movie soundtrack from around that time in the 90s although if I had a pager right now, it would be this song:

Anyway, I guess my first “boyfriend” and I were basically “in a some” because we only “dated” for like a month and in that time, the only time we saw each other outside of school was when we met up at a tennis court near his house so I could teach him to play tennis (look I know I a slut back then but this truly is not a euphemism) but then his super over-protective mom stood in her yard and screamed for him to come home after 30 minutes i.e, the amount of time it took her to realize her son was out with a girl thanks to one of his NARC-y little brothers. But yeah, I think we held hands once in school, maybe? And then that relationship ended when my friend Scott fought him in the boy’s locker room because Scott liked me too and then they both had to go to the principal’s office and I literally cannot imagine Henry ever fighting for me (or getting called to the principal’s office for anything more than being a flunkee) so at least I can say that at some point in my life, I was fought over. THAT IS PRETTY COOL I GUESS, if you’re into Disney Channel teen programming.

Also, back to pagers, I remember being super into calling random pager numbers to see if anyone would call back (I only did this when friends were over, I wasn’t that lonely and conversation-starved back then) which having my own private phone line made it easy to do. One time, this guy called back and said he WAS A COP?! I remember we were so scared – I can’t remember who was at my house with me that time, maybe Christy? But we were just like OMG OMG OMG OMG don’t arrest us.

My mom would always text me with a 9-1-1 and it was so annoying. Everyone knew that 1-8-7 was the real emergency number to use.

SHIT NOW I KIND OF MISS MY PAGER?! I think there’s even a picture of me somewhere with it clipped to my (overalls) pocket hahaha.

Jiyong also recently came back from visiting her friends in DC, and there are lots of H-Marts in that area (the greatest Korean supermarkets in America) so she made me a little treat bag of Korean snacks, bless her. I also think I’m getting better at annunciation?! That’s what she said, anyway.

Aside from that, I feel like my Saturday mostly consisted of incessant blathering about BIGBANG? That….sounds about right.

The next day, JANNA came over in the afternoon and we headed out to Sugar Spell Scoops for some sweet vegan delights before they go on winter hiatus for the month of January. I’m sad but really, I only go here once a month anyway so I’ll survive, and it’ll just make it feel more exciting the next time we go! This is how you look at things optimistically.

I had a scoop each of Pink Peppermint and Maple & Waffles. YEAH BOI. What more can I say? I have had some subpar vegan scoops before (AHEM MILLIE’S) but Sugar Spell is so consistently delicious. They don’t get that weird, dry texture that some vegan ice cream has – I honestly can’t eat most store bought plant-based ice cream. It just always has…a taste.

Meateater Henry even enjoys an occasional animal-friendly scoop. Here, he can be seen eating the Winter Break sundae, which he had made with peanut butter chocolate ripple. It’s filling enough for a burly lumberjack-type such as himself, and the best part is that I can scarf down two scoops and not feel like absolute shit afterward. Maybe I might be mildly lactose intolerant – Janna and I were just talking about this because she thinks she too might be and this is one of the reasons she, as a carnivore, does not bitch when I suggest going to Sugar Spell and not, I dunno, the Milkshake Factory or whatever the fuck.

If you live in or around Pittsburgh, or are coming in for whatever reason, I HIGHLY suggest stopping here. The people who own it are a freaking delight and the inside of the shop is so charming with a light witchy-vibe. Just be mindful that they’re closed for the rest of January and only open Friday-Sunday otherwise. (Just Saturdays and Sundays in the winter though.) Their pints are available at some local stores so you should check their website/socials for that information – LOOK AT ME BEING A RESPONSIBLE BLOGGER.

They also do custom ice cream cakes so that might be a fun change for Chooch’s next birthday, sorry Bethel Bakery.

I love that vegetarianism/veganism is becoming so much more prevalent and accepted in America. I rarely have those awkward moments at work lunches anymore where there’s nothing on the menu for me and I have to ask for something special or just get a house salad, hold the chicken/ham/bacon thanks.

I still laugh though whenever friends become newly meat-free and start asking me questions about tofu preparation and I’m just like, “Please see Henry, thanks.”

See also:

Don’t Ask Me About Tofu

After we filled up on ice cream, we brought Janna back to our house, where we force-fed her with Korean pop culture and she at one point made the mistake of murmuring, “That guy is really good-looking” to which I practically lunged at her while screaming, “WHO?! SONG MINO?!!? YOU LIKE MINO?!” so then I made her watch a bunch of Winner videos and clips of Mino in various variety shows and then I sent her his Instagram profile and then ran into the kitchen to scream, “JANNA FINALLY HAS A BIAS AND IT’S SONG MINO!” into Henry’s face while he was making kimchi (our house smelled like the ocean all day) he mumbled, “OK, I heard” but I’m sorry, this was a big deal for me!

Image result for song mino gif"

Overall, a pretty solid weekend. Cook on, mothercheffers!

Jan 072020
 

I originally posted this 4 years ago but it came up today at work and I felt inspired to re-share lest anyone forget that I’m a dick.

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I was joking the other day at work about how trouble follows me everywhere I go in that department, and why when I am clearly such a sweet, innocent, demure human being!? And it got me thinking about other jobs I had, where I was a holy terror on purpose and gave no fucks about it, because what was the worst that was going to happen? I was going to quit after three days and my mom would still pay my rent.

Rinse and repeat.

But if I had to pick a place that got the best version of Asshole Erin, it was definitely Echostar.

PICTURE IT: The year was 1998. I had recently lost the only steady job I ever had, as a telemarketer for Olan Mills Portrait Studio—which, coincidentally, is how I met the guy who got me to take the only bus ride of my life, which I mentioned last week. Joey was one of my cold calls (as opposed to those on the coveted and golden PAST CUSTOMER LIST) and after letting me pant my way through the whole portrait package spiel, he laughed and said, “Well, that sounds really great, except I don’t need it because I’m a photographer.” Turns out, he was in Pittsburgh going to the Art Institute for photography, and we REALLY HIT IT OFF over the phone. Like, instant connection. This is how people used to hook up back in the day! Over the phone, on sales calls. Anyway, my supervisor was starting to catch wind that I was no longer trying to make a sale, or at least, not the kind of sale I was being paid to make, so I quickly gave him my number and then we proceeded to stay up all night on the phone when I got home that evening and before I knew it, we were making wedding plans, moving to Montana, and buying a sheepdog. I mean, until I actually met him and then it was “……” But I still got on a bus with him and went to his place on the Southside, because I’m fucking smart.

OK OK, so our Olan Mills telemarketing branch got shut down (thanks, Internet) and my mom was started to put pressure on me to find something else. There was another telemarketing job after that, where I sold a credit card terminal to a tattoo shop and then got a free (and shitty) tattoo out of it, because back then I had A Personality and it was impossible for me to not make friends over the phone. Now I won’t even ANSWER the phone. So by this point, I had myself pigeon-holed to the telemarketing industry. It was apparently the only skill I had attained somehow. That’s a little known fact about dropping out of high school: you’re spilled out into this holding cell while everyone else is running off to college like normal, functioning humans, and you’re given two options: drugs or telemarketing. I had a mild interest in drugs back then, but then my friend Brian got me a job at Olan Mills and totally ruined that plan.

After quitting the credit card terminal place, I applied at Echostar (Dish Network), which had just opened a huge call center in McKeesport and it was like A Really Big Deal for us people who weren’t qualified to do anything much greater than bag groceries. It was so new that the call center wasn’t even finished, so the training classes were being held in this really old joint called the Peoples Building, and it was such a shady area that we had to have security guards escort us from the building to the parking garage every night. (Evening classes, ya’ll.)

What I will always remember the most about this job is that I started on the Monday directly after returning from Philly, where I had attended the Dracula’s Ball with my friend Cinn. I almost didn’t show up for my first class at all because my eyebrow piercing had become so infected from all the glitter I was wearing that evening, plus the fact that the new hoop was shoved in forcefully by some guy who looked like the guy Happy Gilmore shot with a nail gun to the point where I PASSED OUT IN HIS SHOP and woke up on a couch with him standing above me, holding a paper towel saturated with my blood, saying, “Wow, look how much you bled!” So all of these factors led to an eventual infection which caused my eyelid to swell up and I had to walk into this class room with my hair covering one side of my face, looking like I was trying to hide a black eye. But then I was like “Fuck it” and just started flaunting it and that was how I made a bunch of friends in that class on my very first day, by being the youngest person in the class who had a gross piercing story to share as an introduction.

(I ended up going to the emergency room right after class that night, where a doctor had to cut the ring out of my face while a nurse watched on and said, “This is exactly why I told my daughter she’s never getting pierced.”)

At the start of this first class, our trainer Mike had us go around the room and say our name with a descriptive adjective that started with the same letter. I fucking love these things because I’m a nerd, so when it was my turn, I shot out of my seat and cried, “EFFERVESCENT ERIN!” Everyone in the class laughed at  my enthusiasm, and that was basically the start of Mike’s infinite disdain for me.

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There were lots of tests and POP QUIZZES.

The class was a month long. We had to learn all about the company, customer service, operating the company’s computer system, and all of the various cable packages they offered. It was kind of like telemarketing and support combined: we had to help customers with issues they might be experiencing with their service while trying to upsale them at the same time. I was kind of torn, because I used TCI for my digital cable and I was obsessed with it. (This was pre-Comcast.) I loved TCI so much that I turned down a pretty nice apartment when I found out that the cable used in that area was ADELPHIA.

P-U.

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I sincerely wish I had stayed in touch with these people. They were fucking nuts.

So my heart was never really in this job from the get-go. (I mean, how much of a heart could one really put into this sort of job, anyway?) Class quickly became less of learning and more of an opportunity to hide behind computer terminals while passing notes and giggling with my new friends, Bobbie (a girl), Roniece, and Letecia.

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These girls though. They were the only reason I kept coming back to that class, night after night. One time, I arrived in tears because my pet frog Hubert had died that day. They helped me eulogize him on our break, and it was the sweetest thing that I will never forget. THEY WERE MY RIDE OR DIES, obviously, except that no one said that in 1998.

We were totally the bad kids, and very quickly we became A Class Divided: there was us and a handful of the other younger people plus some of the soccer moms (surprisingly) and then there were the Others, made up of the older women and the people who were surprisingly actually there to learn. They would get so fucking irate every time Mike would have to stop class to chastise one of us. It got really bad too, and if us Bad Kids wound up in the same place as some of the Others during our dinner break, they would get so ruffled and tight-lipped, like we had just sleazily oozed over the threshold, flicking our switchblades open and closed, popping our gum, and making cunnilingus Vs with our fingers.

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It was like being in college after all! Lol, j/k.

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One of the girls in our group got bitched at by Mike because he found out that she was sneaking out onto the fire escape to smoke. So then he had to have the building manager come up and lock the door to the fire escape, which made us scream dramatically about, “BUT WHAT IF THERE IS A FIIIIIIIRRRREEEEE?!” while cracking up behind his back.

There is one moment that stands out the most for me though, and that was the day we were learning how to add notes to customers’ accounts. The company was smart enough to make sure we were on a training server, so all of the customers were Jane and John Does. Trainer Mike was having each one of us take turns going into the fake accounts and adding notes based on the scenarios he read to us, so after the note was “published,” it would show up on everyone’s computer. I quickly realized that if I skipped ahead, I could add fake notes and then everyone else would see them by the time we made it to that particular account.

I quickly alerted my homegirls about this and we all giddily forged ahead and began adding childish notes, the only one I for sure remember was “Our trainer sucks ass.” NOT SAYING THAT WAS MINE.

But it was mine.

Needless to say, when the rest of the class, and Mike, stumbled upon these, there was a major uproar. The people on our side laughed and appreciated the effort of our antics, while the nerdy ones were appalled at our juvenile behavior and began clucking and whatever else old bitches do when they’re mad at the Youth of Today.

Mike was furious. I mean, this was his breaking point. You could practically see his pupils turning into boiling point thermostats, the veins popping out of his forehead like someone REALLY WAIST DEEP in some late night viewing of The Erotic Network, the LARGE FONT letters queuing up in his brain before exploding out into a “I DON’T GET PAID ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT” rant.

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When Mike eventually regained his composure—kind of—he pounded his fist against his desk and demanded that whomever did this, speak up.

Of course none of us did. And he definitely could narrow down the suspect pool to three. But Bobbie, Roniece and I just hunkered down lower, our faces red from stifled laughter.

Then he started threatening us.

“If no one comes forward, then the whole class will suffer!” he roared, and this made the Other Half of the class pivot in their seats, thrusting their fingers at the three of us, screaming about life’s injustices and their inability to get a good Echostar education thanks to our disruptive behavior and basic tomfoolery. Still, we wouldn’t take the blame.

(This morning, I was actually telling Henry this story, and through tears of laughter I said, “Can you believe those bitches were so upset over that? What losers.” 

“Yeah, imagine being concerned about your job,” Henry dryly replied.)

Mike then told us that the CEO of the company, Charlie Something-Or-Other, was coming to town to deal with this, that the fucking CEO OF THE COMPANY was flying in from COLORADO just to YELL AT OUR WHOLE CLASS.

Like, OK sure, Mike. We all knew he was coming in because the grand opening of the Pittsburgh location was that weekend. But still we were sure surprised the next night when fucking Charlie himself made a guest appearance in our dumb classroom, and proceeded to lecture us about respecting Mike, how he puts a great deal of effort into employing the BEST TRAINERS to provide the rest of us with the knowledge we need to succeed within the company. Mike stood to his right, hands clasped behind his back, looking smugger than a motherfucker grading Echostar tests.

It was fucking surreal. I loved/hated every moment of it. I think we were simultaneously proud that our actions warranted such a dramatic response, but also stunned that we didn’t get fired when we probably should have.

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Hilariously, that one lady back there in the pink turtleneck was the wife of some dude who worked at my family’s drywall company, so she would go home and tell him about all the shit-stirring I did, and he in turn would go to work and tell my mom. The phone calls I got from my mom was fantastic. “What are you doing over there?!” she would cry. “Please don’t embarrass me!” But that dude’s wife was actually cool as shit; she was on our side and thought the whole situation was hysterical. When the “Goody-Goodies” started to rally against us, she gave me a big pep talk outside on the sidewalk and told me that they were just angry old women who had no joy in their lives and to not let them get me down. I mean, these broads went full-throttle Mean Girls on us, which was stupid because we weren’t directing any of our antics against them. We were just a bunch of goofy idiots who were bored at studying the various remote controls that came with the satellite dishes. I was nineteen — of course I didn’t take this job seriously!

But you know, looking back on it — wow I was a fucking douche bag.

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This was my life for a whole month.

Somehow, we all managed to make it to the end of the month-long training course, but the real victory is that we all PASSED THE TEST. It was time for us to move to the newly-built call center and begin our live training, head-sets and all. But first, we decided amongst ourselves that we should celebrate during our last class.

Even Trainer Mike was on board with having a party, but he was definitely partying for much different reasons.

I volunteered to get a cake, which was no skin off my back because all I had to do was call Mommy and tell her to deal with it.

“What do you want it to say?” she asked.

“I don’t know….;this class sucks’,” I joked. Then we went on to talk about other things, probably me whining about all the things I wanted her to buy me.

The next day, and I remember this vividly because it was a bad day, I had to leave my apartment to go to the mall and pick up the cookie cake. But first, I realized that I forgot my car keys, and how I realized this was that I was unable to open my car door with the CORDLESS PHONE that I left the house with instead of my key chains. And then I couldn’t open the apartment door because my apartment key was on the keychain so I had to call my mom (on the cordless!) to come and open my door with the spare key she had. Even back then, I was a spaz about being late. I have ALWAYS been a spaz about being late.

(Hey 1998 Erin, never change.)

By the time I had my keychain, I was in pedal-to-the-metal mode and floored it to the mall, where I said, “Nah!” when the Original Cookie people asked if I wanted to see the cookie cake before they put it in the bag. Then, several feet away from the stupid Peoples Building, I merged into the right lane and didn’t see that there was a car in my blind spot so then I had to pull over and deal with THAT nonsense.

And so I was late. And in a really shitty mood. Which didn’t get much better when Bobbie lifted the lid of the cookie cake to reveal that it boasted a delicious declaration of This Class Sucks.

“Fucccccck,” I whispered. “I thought my mom knew I was joking!” And then I played back our conversation and realized I never told her what I actually wanted the stupid fucking cake to say.

I was nearly about to cry because everything kept happening! But then I was like, “Fuck it, I’m probably going to quit this job anyway, so who cares.” And it turns out, Mike definitely didn’t care! He came over, swiped off the “cl” with one swift motion of his finger, and then started cracking up.

I guess we kind of made up that day, over pizza and unfortunate cake sentiments. But honestly, I think he was just really fucking giddy about never having to deal with us hooligans again.

I mean, look at how innocent I was! This was also when I was going through a heavy goth phase, in that I spent most of my free time in a goth chatroom, listened to goth music, and had goth Internet friends. I never went full-fledged goth, but LOOK AT HOW PALE I WAS. So I would go to my training class every night and teach all of my new, normal friends things about Dracula’s Ball, Sisters of Mercy, and Darkchat. Their response was always, “Giiiiiiirl.….” paired with the raised eyebrow of skepticism.

I did end up quitting right after we “graduated.” It just wasn’t for me. I saw Bobbie once afterward, when we met at Nigro’s, a lounge down the street from Echostar. And the next summer, I hung out with Roniece and it will forever be known as The Night I Died On The Street In Front of a Strip Club In Braddock; but earlier that evening, Roniece’s grandma saved my friend Keri from possibly dying from a bee sting, so the day was clearly full of second chances. I kept in touch with Leticia the longest out of all of them, and dragged her to the Denis Theater twice to see “white people movies” which she bitched about on the way there and then gushed over the way home. (“Shakespeare In Love” and “American Beauty” lol.) I even visited her a few years later when she had a baby. But eventually, I lost touch with her too. I wish I could remember their last names so I could Facebook-stalk them.

Anyway, the moral to this story is that I am not even close to being a troublemaker at my current job, even though Todd thinks I’m a “bully.” So there.

(I think I actually am kind of a bully though.)

Jan 062020
 

Sorry fiends, but it’s that time of the year when CEO Erin Rachelle comes out of hiding and begins acknowledging her greeting card business. I’ll try to not be too annoying about it, but I AM working on a new set of mini-cards for the 2020 season that I’m pretty stoked about so hopefully I’ll be ready to share those soon! But until then, let’s revisit my best sellers, the mini-sets of serial killer love cards!

Stop looking at my tacky, chipped nail polish for a second and peep these mini serial killer Valentines instead! In the past, I was selling these as six-card perforated sheets, but let’s be real – you guys want more. I get it! So we made them just a TAD smaller and now you can get SIXTEEN of these babies (SIXTEEN!!) in a set for only $8!

I love these cards so much because they bring back fond memories of Valentine parties in elementary school, when we all got to fuck a shoebox with a glue stick and crepe paper and then we all got to run away, stuffing Scooby Doo sentiments into everyone’s “mailbox” even if we didn’t like the person because THE TEACHER SAID. My favorite part was the candy and cupcakes though. I was a fat kid.

And then in fifth grade, I was the fat kid with a perm.

AND BRACES.

FML.

But I somehow still got Valentines so I didn’t hate the damn day.

Even now, as a grown as adult, I like passing out Valentines at work. I passed the serial killer ones out one year to mixed reviews. My one co-worker received an Albert Fish one and sent me an email that said, “OMG I just Wiki’d that guy. He was so terrible! Why would you give me that card?!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Surprisingly, no one reported me to HR.

Life is all about taking risks, you know?

Each set comes packaged in these adorable little bags. I’m obsessed with them. (Please note: bags vary year to year, depending on what’s available to us! I’m also on the prowl for a more eco-friendly option. Might not be as cute, but either is global warming. So…)

These are perfect for the true crime buffs in your life, and with all new TV shows and Netflix documentaries focused on murder, these are super timely and relevant. I’ve had customers purchase these sets to turn into garland for their mantle, and another customer bought both sets to hide around the house for her husband to randomly stumble across throughout the year. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT. Every day can be Valentine’s Day with these little cards!

This set features some old standbys as well as some brand new designs that I made specifically for this set:

  • Harry Powers
  • Ed Gein #1
  • Gary Ridgway
  • Richard Speck
  • Charles Manson
  • HH Holmes
  • Richard Ramirez
  • Ken & Barbie Killers
  • Lizzie Borden
  • Aileen Wuornos (new design!)
  • Ed Gein #2
  • David Berkowitz (new design!)
  • BTK (new design!)
  • Zodiac Killer (new design!)
  • Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Jerry Brudos (new design!)

I should have taken new pictures for this blog post because my current nail job is much neater.

Nope…I just looked at my nails. Not that great.

Aren’t I great at product photography!!?!?!?

I’m so into these little guys. Please purchase some! If you mention that you came from Oh Honestly, Erin, I’ll throw in a surprise freebie! (Not frisbee, which is what I originally typed. That would jack up the shipping fee considerably.)

There’s also a healthy selection of regular Valentine cards over at my Etsy too in case the minis aren’t your cup of (laced) tea. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. Cook on, mothercheffers!

Jan 042020
 

Hi hello 안녕. I waited a full day before posting about this otherwise it would be all in CAPS and a grammatical garbage dump, even more than usual. 

But let me walk you through a thing here.

Thursday night, I was getting ready for bed and checking twitter like I normally do after my shitty Duolingo Korean lesson, when I saw that this one vlogger I follow, JRE, tweeted that BIGBANG was playing Coachella.

Now, at first I scoff-laughed and figured he was just tweeting his hopes and dreams. But then I was like, “But…what if…” so I went to Coachella’s Instagram…

and…

Image result for coachella 2020

마이

갓.

오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓!!!!

“HENRY,” I said sternly, standing above him as he lay in bed, which is his absolute favorite thing ever, playing the, “Does she have a knife or not” game.

And then I just fucking started screaming and he was like, “WHATTTT??” and then grabbed his phone. Once he confirmed it was true, he started looking up Coachella tickets (first weekend is already sold out) but I was like, “Look, we’re not going, and it’s ok.”

BIGBANG is my fucking ULT, and while I would love to see them live, I just…don’t want it to be at Coachella. I hate even saying the name of that damn festival. We went to Coachella in 2004 to see The Cure and it was quite literally the worst music festival I’ve ever gone to, and I don’t want to sully the first time ever seeing BIGBANG by being surrounded with thousands of starfuckers in the weed-scented desert. Not gonna happen. Also, you know the guy behind Coachella is just the absolute, right? Like, Greenpeace has his name on a list and it’s not a Nice List.

But also, this just happens to be the same time we’re planning a spring break vacation so we potentially won’t even be in the country.

Now let me tell you why I’m so excited about this. BIGBANG has been on hiatus since the beginning of 2017, when one-by-one the members entered the military for their mandatory service. Time away could be the kiss of death in the kpop scene, which is notorious for being extremely fast-paced, which groups having multiple “comebacks” a year. And then their youngest member, Seungri, became mired in a “scandal” at the beginning of 2019, and the investigation has delayed his military enlistment. Regardless of whether he has actually done the things he’s been accused of (I believe he didn’t), the Korean media has pretty much smeared his name into the ground enough that he officially “retired” from the industry and was released from his contract.

The last year has been straight terrible for BIGBANG fans, and even with the release of the other 4 from the military at the end of 2019 (T.O.P. was released in July), it really felt like this was it, that they were just done as a group. But then this Coachella announcement came out of nowhere and VIPs are fucking foaming at the mouth right now, me included. BIGBANG IS COMING BACK! And if they’re coming to Coachella, maybe that means they will do a proper US tour (Blackpink did last year) and that we could possibly GET NEW MUSIC?! G-Dragon, save us from this boring fucking music industry!! All the end-of-the-year Korean music stages have been soooo lackluster without BIGBANG.

Even if nothing happened last year with Seungri, he would be in the military right now and wouldn’t be able to perform them anyway, so I really feel like they had always planned to do something as a 4-piece while waiting for him in order to keep relevant. So….I will hold on to the hope that once his investigation is officially over and he completes his military service, he will be able to rejoin BIGBANG and all will be right again.

And for anyone who is like, “But why not BTS?!” Please understand that BIGBANG is on a whole other level. They transcend “kpop.” They are rough, edgy, musical powerhouses who get on a stage and whip it into submission. I put on loops of their live performances when I need cheering up and it never fails to entertain me, no matter how many times I have watched. They are INSANE and I hope those who do attend Coachella realize how lucky they are to stand before actual Korean gods.

I texted my friend Jiyong yesterday morning and told her.

“Bigbang? OUR BIGBANG?” she responded, and it made me feel important, to have something with her that’s an “our,” lol. When I met with her today for our weekly “Watch Erin Struggle To Speak Korean” session, we excitedly speculated over what this could mean for BIGBANG’s future. Please lord almighty don’t let this be a one-and-done farewell type scenario.

Also, for the people who are like, “Kpop groups don’t sing,” please acquaint yourselves with the legendary BIGBANG:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here watching BIGBANG Youtube while waving my BIGBANG light stick in Henry’s face. I mean, it’s Saturday night after all.

OMFG BIGBANGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

Jan 032020
 

It’s a rainy day, I’m working late shift, and a T-ara playlist is blasting behind me on YouTube. Overall, not the worst Friday. Here are 5 things off the top of my head that I feel like memorializing on this damn thing:

  1. SPOILED FUCKING BRATS

Last week, Henry ordered some shit on Amazon and Chooch and I were bugging out because he usually only buys greeting card-making supplies (like double-sided tape and envelopes, boring and boringer) and end of the year shit to use up his FSA (like bandaids and thermometers, lame and lamer); but this time, the stuff was for us! Allegedly, one of the things was a case for Chooch’s Switch and nail polish for me! I couldn’t believe it because I had JUST announced that I loved the nail polish I saw an ad for on Instagram and Henry rarely takes note of these purposely-planned outbursts! However, when the packages arrived over the weekend, we were pissed because:

  • the Switch case was not the one Chooch showed Henry
  • the nail polish was not the cool one I saw on Instagram,  just some rando L’oreal one that I added to the cart years ago because it was one of my favorite shades that I couldn’t find in the store anymore.

So of course, Chooch and I ran our mouths about this because we’re bitch babies and Henry flipped out and ranted about how we’re fucking spoiled brats who don’t deserve anything and I know there are at least two people hate-reading this blog who have set down the voodoo doll long enough to applaud Henry for calling us out but here’s where they’re going to be RILL MAD: Several days later, it was New Years’s Eve and Henry called on his way home from work to say he was going to the store. He asked if we needed anything and Chooch screamed in the background, “Ooh, toy! Tell him to get me a toy!” so I said, “Chooch wants a toy. Get me one, too.”

AND HE DID!

To be fair, they were on sale for 75% off at Rite-Aid, but what a nice surprise! Chooch has played with that damn dinosaur a concerning amount for a 13-year-old, and I haven’t made any bows yet but I’m going to this weekend because then I’ll be a third of the way to competing my exercise costume!

(Literally, as I’m typing this, another fucking Amazon shipment came, this one was A HEATING PAD. Now we have THREE. Henry says it’s because I keep using them as heated blankets and breaking them, haha I would never.)

2. NYE

Did you guys do anything crazy on New Year’s Eve? We just hung at home, indulged Chooch by playing games which is honestly all he wants from us as parents, I swear, I got drunk off two glasses of wine and then made Henry exercise, and then we watched some of the end of the year kpop shows on YouTube. We put regular TV on for the ball drop, but it was anticlimactic as always and a far cry from the time I ran around outside wearing a pig mask, screaming HAPPY OINKIN’ NEW YEAR and causing Henry to lock me out of the house, haha.

3. When the Camellia Blooms

As you know, I primarily watch Korean dramas. I like being able to yell, “WE WERE THERE!” when I recognize scenery, I love the sound of the language and the moments when I’m able to understand without the aid of subtitles (rare, but it does happen!), I love the storylines (there is almost always a serial killer arc that comes out of nowhere even in the midst of the cutest rom coms), but mostly I just the acting/characters. I grow so attached to even the most remote supporting cast, more so than I do with American TV shows where I’m usually willing some of the main cast to die. Anyway, I am here to say that without a doubt, the best one I watched in 2019, IN MY OPINION, was “When the Camellia Blooms.” Holy shit, there are so many quality characters to latch on to with this one and I have been hounding Janna to watch it (JANNA DID YOU START WATCHING IT YET??). It’s on Netflix, guys, no excuses – go watch it! IF YOU CAN READ A BOOK, A MAGAZINE, FACEBOOK, THE BACK OF A CEREAL BOX, then there is no reason why you can’t watch a TV show with subtitles. Just speaking to all the GLENNS out there.

Henry and I watched the final episode last week and I had to hide my face with a pillow because I was crying so hard—that’s not to say that this show is a sob fest! I just get really emotional. Please watch this show. It’s absolutely lovely and I need to add the town where it was filmed to my Korea 2021 trip, haha, knock on wood.

4. I’M A HOOT

I pride myself on the quality of my greeting cards and my customer service (I literally go too far above and beyond, it’s a problem), and whenever I get good reviews, I am so thrilled! Today, I got a really good one that made my EFFING DAY because I am stupidly giddy when I write the descriptions to my products:

THANK YOU, CUSTOMER LAUREN! It’s nice to be appreciated! And this is really the only time I put those writing “skills” to use anymore, so it’s good to know that people are reading it, as I sit here tip-tapping away in my brokedown Internet diary.

(Honestly though, the quality of my cards is really really really good!)

5. COOK ON

You know how people are always like “but ok, go off” on the Internet? Or maybe I just run with a certain e-crowd. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was reading replies to something on Twitter on the way to work and someone was like “but ok, cook on.” I LATCHED ON TO THIS SO HARD. COOK ON! It sounds so great and it’s still kind of shitty without using swears or whatever which I guess that’s something I’m trying to dial back – my swears. So now I say this ALL THE TIME to Henry and Chooch and they are so tired of it that they literally grumble now and walk away while I’m yelling, “OK COOK ON!” after them. The other night, I said it to super haughtily to Henry and I swear he said “cook off” to me and I couldn’t stop laughing but then it turned out he only said “fuck off” which was way less funny and when I tried to give Chooch a recap of this convo the next morning, he scowled and said, “Yeah I know, I heard you last night. You were like, screaming about it and it wasn’t that funny.” WOW.

Anyway, the other day, out of the blue, I screamed, “OMG MY BLOG SIGN OFF CAN BE ‘COOK ON, MOTHERCHEFFERS!'”

“No,” Chooch said, never looking up from his Switch.

“……………………..” <—-that was Henry’s response when I ran it past him.

Whatever – those assholes are just jealous because I have such a colorful vernacular.

Well, on that note, COOK ON, MOTHERCHEFFERS!!!!

Jan 012020
 

See also: It’s 2020! HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 

A few months ago, I started seeing people post on Twitter about the best/worst things of the decade and I was like holy shit it never even occurred to me that the decade was ending??! And then I started thinking about my own personal decade and 10 years doesn’t seem that long but shit, I am a very different person than I was in 2010. For starters, I went into 2010 unemployed and in the lowest financial rut of my life. I started working at the law firm in April that year but it took years for us to climb out of the hole.

I started the decade mourning the metaphorical loss of a supposed best friend and it took me half of that decade to realize that she wasn’t a friend at all and suddenly, my life went on!

I left Facebook in 2017, which seems like such a minor thing, why would I include it here but look – I had always been SUPER into social media attention. I used to live for blog comments, Facebook likes, adding to the virtual friend collection—come on, I’m a narcissistic Leo. But I finally matured a little bit and realized that NONE OF THAT MATTERS! Now I write what I want to write, post as much or infrequently as I like, set my phone down for longer than 5 minute increments god forbid…I realized people were looking at me like I was a character and not an actual person and that’s when it suddenly seemed really appealing to dial it back some.Sometimes I even think about quitting this blog altogether and going back to old school journaling, but….writing with a real life pen on actual paper makes my hand cramp.

Now that I’m off Facebook, I stopped comparing myself to other people who post perfectly curated scenes of their life online, and instead I focus on my own life so that I too can do the things I want to do! There was no visit from Lady Luck here, no cheating the system. Just staying patient and positive, and being careful with spending, and that’s what got us to Korea when, just as recent as the beginning of 2010, we could barely afford to go to, I dunno, the county fair. I wish I had known at the beginning of the decade that I was capable of changing my life. I was chained down by really terrible depression and low esteem, that I really didn’t think my life could ever be “OK.” When people say “it gets better” – it really does, but what’s missing from that sentiment is that it’s probably not going to get better unless you want it to and are willing to put in the hard work. And it is HARD WORK. I really think that I had hit my rock bottom back then, and now that I know what that feels like, I never want to go back, therefore, I will never take anything for granted.

What else?? I still live in the same place but I finally realized that the all-white walls were seriously killing me so now my house looks like Pee Wee could film on location here and if you knew me in high school or when I lived in my first apartment, this makes so much sense because my living spaces were always an explosion of color, lights, toys (I had glow in the dark Slinkies hanging from the ceiling of my first apartment)…it’s just who I have always been and sitting here writing in my blog with blinking lights all around my periphery is just, I don’t know, comforting to me.

Health-wise, I entered the decade weighing around 200 pounds. I didn’t feel unhealthy and my check-ups were always fine, but I felt really uncomfortable in my skin. Finally got off my ass and did something about it (there are no magic pills or shakes that are going to make the pounds off, you gotta move and actually pay attention to your damn diet!) and am entering 2020 in the 130s which is something I never thought I was capable of. Now exercise is a huge part of my daily life and maybe Henry will say I’m borderline obsessed, but I guess that’s just my personality.

OK, now I’m thinking about how I lost all 4 of my original cat crew  over the last decade and I’m starting to get depressed so I’m just going to say that the 2010s had its moments but I’m ready to start a new decade as an Older Person.

So that was my decade in a nutshell, and I won’t miss the first half of it at all. AT ALL.

2019 as a whole was a really nice year for me personally (I mean, politically and globally, we were fucked as ever so nothing new there). My only goal in life is to have as much fun as possible without, I don’t know, losing my job or whatever. I think we managed to cram in a lot of fun into 2019 (for Henry, my version of fun loosely translates into STRESS for him, or PAIN, like driving 13 hours to Silver Dollar City with a half-broken back):

And here’s my Top 9 Instagram posts, apparently:

The more I think about it, the more I realize that 2019 can honestly be filed away in the FUCKING FUN drawer. Of course, not every day was great. I still had flip-outs but I think I’m doing OK at managing my moods. (Somewhere Henry is reading this and muttering, “You might want to consider putting in some OT, ‘babe’.”) Having things to look forward to is what helps me get through the work week and combat the Sads. I know it’s not a cure-all, and maybe it’s really not much more than a crutch, but even just having small road trips on the horizon really keeps me giddy.

Not trying to jinx anything, but I think 2020 has the potential to be pretty great and I’m going to make sure I work hard to steer it in that direction! Hopefully kpop will be better this year; 2019 was super traumatic and depressing in that scene. Also, I hope 2020 is a better year for the environment. I’m going to try and make more changes to my own lifestyle as well for the environment’s sake. I keep getting angry at myself because I always forget to bring a damn canvas bag with me when I go to CVS and we have TONS OF CANVAS BAGS so there is literally no excuse. The last time I went to CVS was for a jug of milk and a bottle of Coke for the holiday party we were having and I was like, “NO I DO NOT NEED A BAG” but then I had to carry those damn beverages home and I only live a few blocks away but that shit got heavy after a while!

And if you’ve stuck with this blog til now, thank you! I will try to be less annoying/better at proof-reading in 2020 but I can’t make any promises. My brain is fried and I’m usually blogging from my phone in bed or on the trolley, but I will make some attempts to be more disciplined like I was during the LiveJournal years when I refused to hit “post” until I read the damn thing 17 times and then also made Janna proofread it but no one’s got time for that.

On that note: cook on, mothercheffers.

Dec 312019
 

Our “tradition” used to be having a lunch picnic at the cemetery, and then taking fancy pictures of Chooch, but it started to be more stressful than fun. Henry would spend all this time whipping together, I dunno, egg salad sandwiches and whatnot, and then we’d sit on a blanket while shivering, getting  bread crumbs on our gloves, and then Chooch and I would argue once it was time to do the photos and you know what? Fuck it, man. Last year I declared a moratorium on the picnic portion of our “tradition,” and we somehow ended up at Pink Box in Squirrel Hill, a Chinese/Taiwanese bakery, where we got those good, sweetly-filled buns and, well, still ended up at the cemetery. But it was a lot better now that we just had some bread to hold while walking, so just like that, a new tradition was born.

Of course, now that we nixed the picnic, this year’s Christmas weather was downright spring-like: 50s with the sun shining! The cem was actually pretty rockin’ too – joggers, bikers, and small groups of tombstone gawkers were out in full force. It was really, well, lively.

I got the yam bun, boiiiiiii. Henry always opts for red bean, and I think Chooch got a custard.

What a relaxing, bun-full day!

First thing Child Genius does? Steps on the ice.

We were really giddy. Well, I mean, Chooch and I were. Henry was bitter and muttering to himself because it was but another year of having his wish list ignored by Father Christmas.

HENRY’S WISH LIST FOR SANTA

  • quiet time
  • quiet time
  • naps
  • quiet time
  • naps part 2
  • muzzles for Erin and Chooch
  • quiet time

Perfect cemetery weather.

I love these stupid-asses.

Back at home, we spent time with the girls, who were also struck by the Christmas spirit and actually acted like they liked each other!

Oh, did I mention that Henry gave me the ultimate Christmas present by agreeing to start exercising with me? I’ve been going easy on him by putting on low-impact walking workouts and strength training, which is how I found out he can’t do grapevines or step-touches, which is hilarious and helps me get an extra ab workout from all the laughing. So that’s how we ended Christmas: exercising and watching When the Camellia Blooms, which we have since finished and I really think this is in my Top 5 favorite Korean dramas, wow. If you have Netflix, why aren’t you watching it!? GO. And, Happy New Year!

Dec 302019
 

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but this Christmas just felt so….peaceful. I used to be so sad about not having family dinners anymore, but this year, my brother Ryan organized a pre-Christmas dinner at Calabria’s on the Sunday prior to Christmas. I suggested that we also invite our dad because he and our mom have been friendly over the last several years and they were both at Chooch’s birthday dinner last year, so I thought, why not, right? So Ryan cleared it with our mom, and our dad accepted the invitation!

It was really nice and actually didn’t feel as surreal as I imagined it would. Everyone talked and there were no bad vibes, even though it was the first time brother Corey and I have seen each other since Christmas 2016 (long story, but that whole business with my Pappap’s house and my aunt Sharon’s death that consumed almost all of 2016 really created a lot of waves and brought up some bad feelings). I appreciated that we could all be adults and sit at the same table together without any tension because life is too short so yeah, I’m going to show him a picture of Trudy 2019 on my phone even though he didn’t ask.

Our waitress was abysmal but it made my dad and me exchange smirks behind her back so that was fun.

It was really cool to have some semblance of a normal family dinner. If someone would have told me 20 years ago that one day this would be happening, I would have broken a rib from falling down an elevator shaft while laughing. I’m not saying that I’m trying to parent trap my divorced parents, but I’m not NOT saying it either, if you know what I mean. I have this daydream of my mom finally selling her house and moving down the street (literally) into his house. It doesn’t have to be romantic! They could be roommates with history, lol.

Anyway, this was an awesome way to kickstart Christmas though. Props to my bro Ryan for organizing this! Maybe next year I’ll see if everyone wants to come here for some strange broken family dinner thing.

I fucking threw a fit at one point though because I cannot wrap a gift to save my life. It’s pathetic.

“You know, my mom really failed me. She didn’t teach me how to cook, or how to wrap a gift, two things she’s fairly good at,” I sighed, kicking the roll of wrapping paper.

“I think it was me she failed,” Henry sighed.

I spent a good 25 minutes on Christmas Eve trying to get a picture of the cats together.

Waiting for Ho Ho!

I had a YouTube video of the Seoul subway jingles playing over and over while Henry was wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and I think I actually saw his will to live snap in half.

We kept waiting for dumb Chooch to go to bed so we could wrap up Doll with a light switch, because all Chooch wanted for Christmas was a Nintendo Switch. For once, we bought it nearly a full month in advance instead of waiting until Xmas Eve which is our usual MO. We had Chooch convinced all day that we tried to get him one but it was sold out everywhere, which was a partial truth because it WAS sold out at most places. Chooch, in desperation, goggled and found a Target in West Virginia that had one and wanted us to drive there that day to buy it, LOL, dream on, Sonny Boy.

Christmas morning finally came and Chooch was in great spirits! We had Doll, his actual Switch, and his Switch-related gifts hidden under the coffee table. I waited for him to open all of his filler gifts before saying, “OH WOW, LOOKS LIKE SANTA BROUGHT ONE MORE.”

He was like, “Oh wow. Doll. OK, good one, guys.” I waited until right before the tears appeared to give him his actual Switch. It’s my right as a parent to eff with his emotions on Xmas, OK?! IT MAKES HIM MORE APPRECIATIVE.

Probably.

Literally the easiest Christmas ever. Thank you, Nintendo. Also, thank you greeting card side gig, for the extra $$$.

One of my presents was from the spider that was living in our kitchen for a hot two months! I had named him “Geomi-Nim” which essentially means “Mister Spider” or “Spider, sir” in Korean. Anyway, it was a huge South Korean flag which Chooch, I mean, Geomi-Nim, thought would be a great addition to my desk at work, except that it’s so big, I could potentially tent myself in with it. The ultimate privacy screen!

He also got me set of South Korean flag pins.

“$10 for both of those gifts!” Chooch proudly exclaimed. “Yeah, I tell prices.”

Anyway, it’s tradition for me to put ridiculous “from”s on the gift tags. This year included references to Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution. G-Dragon’s dad, the Seoul subway jingle, Onetrainops and Legend & Molly (coaster vloggers), etc etc.

At our Christmas party, Chooch asked Janna for wood for Christmas so that he could build a chair and now I regret not wrapping a tree branch.

He will, too.

OMG we haaaaate it when Henry eats bananas! IT IS NOT CUTE. I even have a “sexual banana time” jingle that I sing for these occasions. So when I saw this dishtowel online, I checked out immediately. Then we went to Branson, Missouri and Chooch and I exchanged Looks when one of the stores we were in had it because we didn’t want Henry to see it — the perils of purchasing trendy dishtowels.

Aside from Chooch’s damn Switch, we tried not to exhibit gross consumerism this year. We would much rather not blow our cash on things and save it to go places so hopefully 2020 will be action-packed with fun trips – that’s all I asked Santa for.

We spent way too long trying to take a last minute family photo to whip into some lame Christmas not-card (I posted the final version here on Xmas) and we surprisingly didn’t fight about this, whereas when we attempted to get this done the day before, you’d have thought the earth split into two and Lucifer himself rose up and dove into my mouth, that’s how guttural my yells were when nothing was going my way.

But it gave me another excuse to wear my favorite Lip Service blazer so it wasn’t all that bad.

So, this was the first half of Christmas! The rest of the day was just as great because I was with Henry and Chooch and the planets must have been doing the right thing because we were all amazingly in great moods and no one sniped at anyone all day?! This almost never happens. I think maybe we might all like each other.

Dec 292019
 

Our Thanksgiving dinner to go set notwithstanding, it had been a minute since we last dined at Zenith, which is a damn crime because it’s not only my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Pittsburgh, but also one of my favorite restaurants in general all around. I mean, how many places do you know where you can eat a vegan fish sandwich, drink of pot of whichever tea you choose from the broad collection in a cabinet, and buy an antique mental institution wheelchair?

We don’t eat out very often, but even for as infrequently as we visit, the family who runs the place still remembers us and they really make it feel like you’re dining in their home—it’s so cozy and intimate and there is not even a HINT of pretension swirling around the rafters.

I’m not sure I have ever been here during Christmas, now that I think about it…HAVE I BEEN?! My memory is getting foggier and muddier, and I’m not handling it very well. Did I tell you that a few weeks ago, Margie at work asked me when CHOOCH’S birthday is, and with the UTMOST CONFIDENCE, I answered, “June 6th.”

THIS IS NOT CORRECT! That is Henry’s birthday! So I laughed and said, “OMG no that’s not right! It’s April 6th.”

Margie laughed it off and started to change the subject but then the blood began bubbling behind my cheeks as I realized that I WAS WRONG AGAIN. I could have just let it go but what if Margie has some ironclad memory and would always remember that it’s April 6th and then there would be this whole thing where she sees his birth certificate and notices a different date and then puts two and two together that Chooch was kidnapped and NO WONDER ERIN HAS NO MATERNAL INSTINCTS SHE IS NOT A MOTHER.

Sorry. That took a turn. I’m waiting for Henry and Chooch (?!?!) to finish making dinner and I think I’m light headed.

Foodwise, Henry actually enjoys Zenith. I know, it’s hard to imagine him not double fisting some bratwurst but he doesn’t mind going meatless every now and then. (He does not like tofu, though.)

However, Henry usually clenches up the whole time we’re there because I usually find some obscure thing that I need to have, like this hanging lamp from a church that I bought straight from the ceiling of the dining room as Henry and I ate dinner. Or the time Kara and I were having lunch there and whoa, who invited this clown to join us? Oh, right – me.

(Also, apparently I HAVE been there while the Christmas decor was up. My blog serves as my memory now so it’s a good thing I’m all about the HONESTY on here, lol.)

I’m not a big tea drinker but it’s part of the process to pick a fancy tea at Zenith. On this visit, I chose maple vanilla and it was AMAZE. I think sarsaparilla (REALLY THIS IS HOW THAT’S SPELLED?!) is still my favorite that I’ve ever had there.

Oh, and for those playing along at home, Chooch burnt dinner, which was a french fry recipe called “Hume Fries” from his new “The Good Place” cook book. We blamed Henry though because Chooch was supposedly only in charge of cutting the various carbs and Henry was responsible for the oven part.

Henry’s salad. I always appreciated how colorful the Zenith side salads are. None of that soggy, wilted iceburg lettuce and cherry tomato bullshit.

Henry opted for the seitan teriyaki entree – he’s a big fan of seitan, and I am too, honestly. That shit is the meat substitute that God wanted us to have. If more people would open their hearts to seitan, the world would be such a better place! HAVE YOU EVEN TRIED SEITAN WINGS?!

BBQ tofu sandwich – I don’t eat very much bread on my daily diet, so sometimes I crave sandwich buns. This was one so soft and honestly it was almost as good as the BBQ tofu spilling out of it, which btw was the perfect texture: firm but with a nice, springy bounce, like what Henry’s imaginary mistress Cheetah Girl’s boobs were probably like in the 70s.

Chooch got the black bean burrito but I didn’t take a picture of it because you know what a burrito looks like but also because he fucking gutted it immediately so it was basically inside out and looked like a Mexican crime scene.

Oh, and he also ordered an appetizer of buffalo hummus and pita “for the table” and holy shit you guys, is that what buffalo chicken dip tastes like?! I never had it before because I don’t think it was a popular party food yet back when I still ate meat, but I guess the hummus was supposed to be flavored the same and it was honestly the best hummus I’ve ever had and look, I live down the street from Pitaland and also, I’ve been to Greece, so.

If you go to Zenith, save room for whatever vegan Bundt cake option they have going on that day because it will blow your meat-mind, yo. Personally, my favorite will forever be the lemon poppyseed but the chocolate hazelnut hunk up there was *FRENCH FINGER-KISSES*

Chooch and I ditched Henry once the cake plate was licked clean and we walked around to explore. I’m always on the prowl for new things to add to my mishmashed collection at home. There is this old-fashioned pram hanging from the ceiling and I have had my eyes on that for years but I didn’t hound Henry for anything on this visit because we are planning an Easter trip and I am trying to be responsible with my monies but shit, it’s tough when you want everything.

One of the Zenith people came over while Chooch was tapping on an old typewriter, and I thought he was going to be like DO NOT TOUCH but instead he told us that he just recorded a song using the sounds of a typewriter as the background and I thought that was really cool and wanted to ask him if he has it online anywhere but then he distracted me by asking me how long it’s been now so I’ve been coming there and I had to think for a second but wow, it’s been over 10 years now. My first visit was with Kara in 2008!

If you ever go to Zenith, after you polish off the slice of cake that I told you to order, make sure you don’t leave without checking out the bathrooms. There are two, but the door on the left is my favorite. It’s owl-themed! I’m still a little sad because this room was originally painted blue, but it’s been green for so long now that it’s grown on me. I mean, it’s a room full of owls! The only thing better would be a room full of…G-Dragons.

Obligatory selfie.

Obligatory selfie part 2.

Such a selfie station. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been peeing in this bathroom long before Instagram was even a thing yet.

I keep saying that I want to start collecting these old light up Santas (and Easter bunnies!) but then I never do anything about it. Obviously I would keep them year-round in my house.

Ugh, the most nostalgic Christmas trees! My OCD would always flare up anytime the ones we had growing up would be missing lights. I wish I had kept one.

And that was our lovely Saturday afternoon at Zenith, a place that I do not visit nearly enough. One of these years, I will have my birthday dinner there like I have been saying I want to do for the last 10 years. (OR SOMEONE COULD PLAN THAT FOR ME, I DUNNO, JUST A THOUGHT. MY BIRTHDAY IS JULY 30, EVERY YEAR.)

Dec 282019
 

My favorite thing about hosting shit at my house is that we (we = Henry, mostly, but I do stuff too!) REALLY CLEAN THE HOUSE. And then sometimes it will stay like that for a few days afterward! So by Saturday afternoon, I was less stressed about entertaining and more preoccupied with basking in the niceness of this shanty.

Chooch’s friend Hoajie came! This was good because sometimes Chooch starts to get annoyed being around so many adults, especially if they’re not paying attention to him. I don’t know where he gets that from.

Trudy was ready to meet new people!

We were still putting food out even after people started showing up and I was mad because I always like the table to be IN FINAL FORM. Henry made a big Christmas tree spinach crescent roll thing which eventually went on that Christmas tree tray and then straight into Chooch’s and Hoajie’s stomaches.

Ugh, those Rice Krispies treats were a fucking bitch. Chooch was supposed to help me make them but he ditched me that day for the Teen Center so then Henry had to take over after I started crying out of frustration because I didn’t know where to start, lol. Anyway, you just essentially replace marshmallows with white chocolate. Then you have to make a form out of parchment paper and I was like, “HENRY” so he basically did the whole thing but I decorated they were refrigerated, so he can’t take all the credit.

Aaaaaand….no one ate them. I made Janna take some home and we pawned some off on Blake the next day. Then I took one to work for Margie and she was like THIS IS SO GOOD and I was like YES I KEPT TELLING YOU PEOPLE ON SATURDAY!!!

But seriously: GAME CHANGER.

Jiyong brought a selection of mini jeon (Korean savory pancakes)!!  I was like, “Here you can just set this down on my lap” but ultimately I allowed her to put it on the table for everyone to enjoy. They’re: sweet potato, shrimp, chives, kimichi and corn. SO GOOD.

Janna was late of course, which made me turn to Jiyong and say, “This is why I wasn’t concerned when you said you were going to be late, because I knew that Janna would still be even later” and I think that made her feel better since it was her first time in my house DID I MENTION THAT YET. I was so nervous to invite her because our friendship is still in the blossoming stages and I don’t want to scare her off, and I especially don’t want her to think I’m some raging Koreaboo.

“Well, you kind of are,” Henry said, but luckily I feel there is so much shit in my house (clowns, weird art, horror movie memorabilia, THE CURE) that it really just makes me look like I’m some eclectic collector of junk.

Anyway, back to Janna being late. She texted me earlier and asked if Chooch could come out and help her carry her stuff in and then she also texted Chooch as well and guess who went out to help her – NO ONE OOPS. I forgot all about it and I guess Chooch did too because around 8pm, there was what appeared to be an audible struggle on the other side of the front door and then in stumbled Janna, arms full of fig-and-brie bread, spinach dip, and a huge ass jug of wine.

She was like, “Thanks, Chooch.” Hahaha.

That La Croix can really jacks up the aesthetic of this table.

We’re an anti-La Croix family but Wendy loves it so Henry made sure to bring some home from work for her. This is how I found out that JANNA ALSO LIKES IT?! I’m triggered. I saw this tweet last year and I have never resonated so much with anything on the Internet ISTFG:

That is the realest, right there.

“It’s like a special treat,” Janna said, sipping on her PAMPLEMOUSSE oh my god Janna I don’t even know you anymore.

Chooch coerced everyone to play Likewise and one of the categories was “gross drink” or something and literally everyone wrote LA CROIX on their paddles, even Wendy, who sadly said, “I disagree with this but knew everyone else would write it and I wanted the point.”

Wendy, Shawn, and Summer! That’s not a real mouse under the wheelchair, by the way. It’s one of the dozens of toy mouses the cats leave strewn about the house, the only indication that we even had any cats since they’re like STRANGER DANGER whenever people are here.

We were talking about G-Dragon at one point and Shawn was like, “wtf is a G-Dragon” so even Wendy was like, “OMG YOU DON’T KNOW” and I started gushing about him and then the subject of Korean military service came up and you could tell Wendy was getting her duct tape ready in case Shawn started going off the rails and embarrassed her in front of Jiyong, but I think it was a good conversation about Korean culture that really made Jiyong feel more included. This was her first American party and I give her so much credit for coming to it! Her English is great but I worried that she would feel left out.

She wasn’t scared away by Trudy (in fact, she wanted to be sure that Trudy was in our picture)! I’m really glad she met some of my friends because I would love to take our weekly meetings beyond just sitting in a cafe and me struggling to learn Korean, lol. It would be cool to invite her along when Janna and I go to, I dunno, the Mattress Factory or something. And then we can get Janna to start watching Korean dramas and start a club.

Ugh, Janna had just polished off a can of La Croix and then I had to stand this close to her.

Janna has the new iPhone 11 and Chooch is obsessed with it, fine, I am too.

Margie and me, standing uncomfortably. Margie brought several dozens of Christmas cookies baked by her uber-talented daughter (baker of the G-Dragon cookies!) and Chooch kept raving about how the peanut butter blossoms were the best he’s ever had and GUESS WHO DID NOT GET TO TRY ANY OH YEAH THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE.

We made everyone try faux-kielbasa and they were like, “Mmmm.”

Janna stayed for a few hours after everyone else left and Chooch and I were soooo hyper.

I used Janna’s phone to take pictures of my still-clean house because I was obsessed. I wish it could always look this dreamy! HENRY MAKE IT SO.

I dunno what Chooch is doing here.

The dopiest. (Henry was so tired, lol.)

I love that Janna looks like she’s in a hostage situation here.

Blake stopped by when he got from work at 11! I was SO PISSED AT CHOOCH because his ONLY JOB was to invite Blake and Haley AND HE TOLD THEM THE PARTY WAS SUNDAY. So then the morning of the actual party, Chooch was talking to Blake and was like, “Are you still coming to the party tonight?” and Blake was like, “I have to work. I thought it was tomorrow?!” so HE NEVER REQUESTED THE NIGHT OFF WORK. THANKS CHOOCH.

Janna’s like, “Can I have my phone back yet, or…?”

I forced Blake to partake in the hot chocolate bar. He was impressed.

This is my signature pose.

Anyway, we ended the night with me trying to make Janna watch this hot chocolate bar DIY YouTube video that I like to heckle while Chooch was trying to talk to her about the Holocaust at the same time and she seemed very torn and also like she was maybe about to snap. We almost broke her, you guys. My house is so manic.

Overall, it was a good night. Keeping it small and casual helped me to not have a full-blown anxiety attack but I still had some real strange vibes following me the next day. I gotta work on kicking this social rut. I miss the old Erin who packed her house with people. Maybe I’ll have some sort of themed party later this winter and expand the guest list. Another gross vintage food party, maybe!?