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 202022
 

Hi hello what’s up hola *hello in ASL*. Today I was in a video call at work and my former manager gave a shout out to my serial killers, and my friend Carrie pimped out the Golden Girl set in another meeting last week. And these happenings both made me realize that other people are promoting my Valentines more than I am, because I am a lazy businesslady.

So this is me, reminding you that I make Valentine cards: serial killers, porn stars, The Cure, Golden Girls, cult leaders, and kpop. WOW.

Anyway, today let’s ooh and ahh over one of the serial killer sets which used to be my top seller, but this year it appears to be Golden Girls which is so bittersweet because RIP Betty :(

***

I’m so much happier with the new backs!

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 run around 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?

This set includes 16 different designs! Can you even imagine? They do not come with envelopes though because they’re mini-cards. There are so many uses for them! One of my customers told me that she hid all of them around the house for her husband to randomly discover as he went about life. I thought that was so cute!

The backs include the names of each hellion in case your recipient isn’t as up to speed on their murder shows as you and me. So I guess you could even say that these are EDUCATIONAL TOO!

They could even be used as gift tags! Party favors! (REMEMBER PRE-PANDEMIC PARTIES??)

What are you waiting for?? Go grab a set!

I also have sets for vintage porn stars, cult leaders, Golden Girls, The Cure, and you can find several kpop sets in my KPOP SHOP as well!

Jan 192022
 

Why can’t we just have a normal house? – Drew, 1/15/21

Hello from the other side of yet another stupid house DIY project. For the last year, I have wanted to do some kind of wild lighting on the ceiling above the staircase. Originally, I wanted to do a cloud ceiling but then it got super popular on TikTok, so…pass.

Then I was going to try and go the “galaxy illumination” route with one of the thousand of celestial projectors that Instagram is always shoving in my face. I actually bought one even, but it was super terrible and not at all what I wanted.

Then we went to that 27 Club cafe in Cleveland and they had a small corner area decorated for Xmas with iridescent cellophane. The operative words here are “cafe” and “Christmas” but as you know, my main aesthetic is “instagramable cafe” so this got the interior design school flunkee wheels turning in my head.

(Honestly can you imagine if I had actually become an interior designer? Like who would my clientele be, aside from every cafe in South Korea and like, Lady Gaga.

Actually, this sounds very promising.)

So I told Henry, “Ok this is my vision and it’s what we’re doing so you have no say in the matter. I said we’re doing it and we’re doing it” and the next thing I knew, he had ordered a roll of iridescent cellophane and got to work on the small ceiling space at the top of the steps.

I knew I wanted strips of LEDs under it to provide some sort of illumination, but once he held the cellophane over top of the strip, it just looked really bad.

Immediately I thought back to the OG cloud ceiling idea and wondered what it would look like if we got some of that fluff/stuffing/batting whatever the fuck it is and covered the strips with that in order to mute the lights a bit.

So Henry ran to the store right before the Big Snow Storm started on Saturday and came back with a huge bag of that shit. “They didn’t have anything smaller,” he shrugged.

And it’s a good thing actually because once he started in with the cellophane, I realized that it would actually better if we just covered the whole ceiling with the stuffing first, not just the parts where the LEDs were showing.

LOL YOU CAN SEE HENRY’S UNDEROOS.

While Henry was doing all that, I managed to find 4 tickets stubs from various Cure concerts I’ve attended over the years. Sadly, I don’t have the one from the very first time I saw them, in Canberra, Australia, and this is something that haunts me to this day but I will share it with you:

The whole band, including ROBERT SMITH, signed my ticket that day when I got to meet them before the show. When I came home and went back to work at stupid WEISS MEATS, it was SUGGESTED TO ME that I LAMINATE the ticket to PRESERVE IT.

But instead of PRESERVING IT, it fucking TURNED THE ENTIRE THING BLACK because the ticket wasn’t some plain ol’ Ticketmaster bullshit. It was actually really fancy and had fucking gold foil in it which is what made it burn, I guess, I don’t fucking know. I have a VIVID MEMORY of falling to my knees on my office floor in a very dramatic fashion (even more dramatic than two years later when Henry would call me there to tell me that I wasn’t approved to get a Nissan Altima, but we could get a SENTRA instead – ughhhhh) and cried, “Nooooooo!” And then I had the  bright idea to stick the ticket in the freezer, because maybe it just needed “to cool off.” Like it was a fucking Hypercolor t-shirt.

Spoiler alert: that did not work.

Luckily, I have photographs and actual video footage to prove that I met The Cure, which is way better than a signed ticket stub, but still. That ticket stub was so fancy.

Oh well.

I also don’t think I have a physical ticket from when I saw them at Riot Fest in 2014, either.

But it was a true feat that I was able to find these 4 stubs in basically less than an hour. I’m an organized pack rat.

I will forever appreciate (even though he probably doesn’t think I do) that Henry takes me lofty ideas and puts them into fruition. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say, “Oh, I would love to do this or that in my house but my spouse won’t let me” and I do totally understand that if you’re sharing a space with someone, you have to do a lot of compromising so that it’s something you both feel comfortable in. The fact that Henry just rolls with it never fails to amaze me. I mean, unless this is also his secret aesthetic??

Lol.

I have the LEDs set to a slow color fade and it just really alleviates the whole little corridor area up there. And it’s also functional because prior to the LEDs on the ceiling, we had a pink lightbulb in there so it was always super dim and moody and you couldn’t really appreciate all the stuff on the wall but I also knew that going back  to a plain white light would ruin the whole vibe.

So now it’s the best of both worlds!

This is my new chill zone to sit after video meetings, where I can just ooze into the chair and stare at the wall or ceiling or floor or MY FUCKING NAVEL IF I WANT TO and just let myself decompress and calm the FUCK down. Breathe, Erin. Just goddamn breathe.

This table is still my favorite.

I think what I like most about where I live is that nearly everything in it is DIY/customized. Literally no one else in the entire world has a table like this!

THE AFOREMENTIONED PINK LIGHTBULB.

I needed filler for this one spot on the wall where the spacing was off between two pictures, so Henry made me this little enamel pin display.

Oh shit, and this damn painting! It’s actually pretty sentimental to me and here’s why:

It was August of 2005. Henry and I were visiting Christina in Cincinnati and I was excited because we were going to King’s Island for the first time ever while we were there. However! There was an eBay auction that I was heavily invested in for a Robert Smith painting. It was literally someone’s art class project, but I loved it and knew that I needed it in my collection. The problem was that was obviously pre-smartphones, so I couldn’t stay abreast of the auction while at King’s Island, and actually wrote a reminder on MY WRIST (which proves how dire this situation was because I can’t stand even lightly grazing my wrist with a feather, let alone writing on it with a pen) to leave the park at a certain time that evening so I could go back to Christina’s and use their computer to hopefully emerge victorious as the highest bidder.

Well, I obviously won! But I remember it being very stressful. And this is also memorable because during that same weekend trip, I noticed that I was suddenly averse to all things sweet and was having mad cravings for condiments. This was when I started to suspect I might be pregnant and SPOILER ALERT, I was! So I always associate this painting with that weekend, which was a very weird weekend, indeed.

Back  to the present: now that Henry has found his groove with the cellophane/stuffing combo, he has ordered more supplies so that the cloud ceiling can spread its way along the ceiling above the steps. What a fucking clowntown shitshow this house is, lol!

Jan 172022
 

I didn’t do anything fun to announce my fave reads of 2021 like I did for 2020 (see: no motivation; Zombie In January) but here is a list of my favorites in no particular order. Also, I already wrote up lame reviews for each one throughout the year, so this is literally just a list with maybe a few thoughts peppered throughout, but please note that if someone were to ask me, “SAY* ERIN, CAN YOU RECOMMEND A BOOK FOR ME TO READ” I would 100% refer them to this list. These were SOLID 5 star reads, you guys.

*(After I typed this the other day, I felt inspired to be more “1950s pure” in my blog writings. You’re welcome.)

  1. Know My Name – Chanel Miller

52692538. sy475

(Pro Tip: You should also follow her on Instragram.

2. Writers & Lovers – Lily King

45289222. sy475

I fell in love with Lily King while reading this. It was sublime.

3. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett

The Dutch House

Because of my own family sitch, I related a lot to this and it gave me big throat lumps and wet eyes.

4. Yolk – Mary H.K. Choi

Yolk

My third Mary H.K. Choi novel, and the one that solidified her as one of my current favorite writers. Please read this.

5. Goodbye, Vitamin – Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin

I laughed out loud but also cried out loud. Also, after reading this, I realized that whatever subgenre of literary fiction/contemporary fiction you would categorize this, it’s clearly my favorite genre/style. I should ask my library to match me with similar books, shouldn’t I?

6. Crying In H-Mart – Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart

Surely you’ve heard of this, if not already read it. It was one of the most hyped books of 2021 and deservedly so! Zauner is an exquisite writer, and her story is raw and real. Bonus: if you’re a Korean food aficionado like I am, you will really really really love all the references and food talk. But um, be prepared to cry at least a little. Unless you’re Henry. He is going to read this and I bet he won’t cry.

7. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman

Anxious People

I fully expected the follow-up to Backman’s “Beartown” to be in my top reads of 2021, but when I read Anxious People, it knocked “Us Against You” off the list. Backman is a master of writing an “assemble cast.” Every single person in this book was multi-dimensional, memorable, and loveable in spite of their flaws. I only just recently saw that this was turned into a Netflix mini-series and I’m excited to watch it, but also nervous because I could not get past the first episode of the Beartown series on HBO.

8. What Comes After – JoAnne Tompkins

What Comes After

If this book was on Facebook, its status should just be “It’s Complicated.” I read this while we were on our rollercoaster road trip over the summer and had to keep scrounging the car for napkins because I was crying so hard. Found family tropes always get me.

9. Razorblade Tears – S.A Crosby

Razorblade Tears

This was a wild, emotional, violent, funny, scary, intense, sad ride. Henry loved it too!

10. In My Dreams I Hold a Knife – Ashley Winstead

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

OK Ashley Winstead. I see you. Looking forward to reading the one!

11. Cackle – Rachel Harrison

Cackle

I just had a straight-up bitchin’ time reading this. The writing was hilarious, the small town fall vibes are cozy, and the characters are v.memorable. (RALPH FOR BEST SUPPORTING CHARACTER.)

12. Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith 

Build Your House Around My Body

This book has so much going on, it is so rich with culture and folklore, and something that I will never forget. It deserves a re-read.

13. Butter Honey Pig Bread – Francesca Ekwuyasi

Butter Honey Pig Bread

When I read books as intelligent and masterfully written as this one, I am so fucking glad that I never wanted to be a novelist because how?? This one blew my mind. I want to buy my own copy just so I can hug it and then re-read it until I can quote from it in my sleep.

***

Well, that’s a wrap. Best 13 from 2021. (I think I had 13 in my list last year too!?) Gotta use this as an excuse to repost a NCT127 “Favorite” video for the 87th time, lol:

 

Jan 162022
 

We’re supposed to be getting some big snowstorm today at some point so Henry is at THE STORE right now while it’s still clear out there and I’m just sitting here watching my fave YouTube channels, thinking about all the things in my head that I want to purge. I’m feeling vulnerable to the nth power lately so this is likely to be A Mess.

It’s our busy greeting card season so the house is imploding with card-making materials, and clutter really does a shitty thing to my mental well-being. Add to that the fact that Henrys grandkids are next door acting like hellions and getting screamed at by their parents and I already feel like I have cabin fever without a single snowflake having fallen.

We are still in the middle of the THROW AWAY FROM THE ATTIC project but it is way too cold this weekend to do work up there so we’re focusing on the Cure section of the house which is almost complete.

This is a passage from a book I read last week and while I’m not in academia, I fucking FELT THIS. I have recently been in a situation at work where I am made to feel this way quite regularly and I thought I could just brush it off but after feeling like shit in a recent meeting in the beginning of the year and trying to bottle it up, it all came pouring out of me yesterday like the most emotional geyser and Henry had to sit with me while I bawled my face off and did the shudder-breathing and my heart was racing so fast and I realized, “is this worth it?” It’s a job. Not a career.

It started in the beginning of this project I was dumped into, when one of my “colleagues” made some shitty comment about how formal education is better than institutional knowledge and ok, ouch. That cut deep. I have always felt inadequate in that department, having never finished college (“oh, I’ll go back once my kid is in school,” she said. “Oh I’ll finish it one day real soon,” she said.) but I feel that I work hard and learn fast and maybe I’m not down with all the cliched and eye-rolling business meeting lingo which basically just makes people sound like they’re expelling empty air and not saying anything real, and maybe I’m not as smart on paper as everyone else there, and maybe I don’t show everyone there my true outgoing personality because I feel so self-conscious about everything else that by the time it’s my turn to speak up, my voice wavers and everything I say is utter nonsense and if anyone who knows me outside of that capacity ever witnessed it, they would say, “This is not the Erin that I know.”

So I guess this year my only goal is to work on being ERIN RACHELLE in every area of my life and stop keeping my head down at work because I feel like a STOOP every single day. Or just find a new job. Lol. Whichever happens first.

(Aso I think I have just reached my WFH limit. I’d like to go into the office at least once a week and feel like a normal human again. I am dying for in person meetings again. Fuck these video calls, I am going to spontaneously combust one day. Hopefully ON VIDEO.)

Oh and in addition to this (stupid, avoidable) stress, I watched the whole season of Maid on Netflix and it triggered so much from the beginning of the very first episode. When I was a kid, I had flashbacks (didn’t know they were real at the time) of my mom running with me in her arms down the steps and out of our first house, with my birth dad chasing right behind her. I was LITTLE then, like still a baby. And I’m seeing it from a third-person POV, like a movie, which is bizarre. But yeah, my mom is a survivor of domestic violence and then I also briefly experienced it when I was a teenager and in a relationship with Psycho Mike. What if I hadn’t gotten out of it??

Every episode of that show made my pulse gallop and I cried so much and felt sick to my stomach. I hope that it helps people currently in an abusive relationship realize that abuse comes in many forms and gives them the courage to leave.

Thanks for letting me share.

On to better things:

Oh never mind. Someone wasn’t prepared and didn’t get enough LED lights so our project is on hold and now I’m frustrated, anxious, and angry so no, I don’t have “better things” to move onto right now.

Let me take a squirrel break. Brb.

Ok I saw my Chubbs on the porch and then Mr Gray Guy popped over for some hazelnuts and then Henry redid the LED lights so it might work now but we’re taking a kdrama break.

I needed a picture of myself wearing blue for some anti-human trafficking campaign thingie so that is what this is. OK??

Henry went to the store and came back with a cinnamon roll-edition Snickers for us to share and I feel moderately better now.

I’ll never forget at the dinner we had after my Pappap’s funeral in 1996, my cousin Ginny (whom I believe is some kind of math genius as a profession) leaned into me and whispered, “Chocolate is good for depression.” My friend Christy was right next to me and heard it too so it’s one of those things we always jokingly reference over the years but damn if it isn’t true.

Speaking of Christy, everyone featured in this picture has agreed to participate in a recreation of it at some point, probably when it’s not gross winter.

PRO TIP APROPOS OF NOTHING: if I have a candle in a pretty container, I like to repurpose it as plant pot once the wick has burned down.

In case you were wondering, the snow has officially started. I hope my squirrels are ok.

Chooch took the T to the mall earlier today with his friends. Whenever he makes a purchase, Henry gets a text because it’s some BABY CREDIT CARD that chooch is so embarrassed about having but none of his friends have credit cards so….? Anyway! He made an $11 purchase at Macy’s and we were making guesses for what we thought it was because dude never shops at Macy’s?? We both settled on either a hat or a face mask because he keeps misplacing his masks and then it becomes everyone’s problem because Ugh Teens. When he came home, he had a frog-face kickball in his arms. That is what he bought at Macy’s.

Last night, Henry and I stopped to get mediocre coffee at Dunkin Donuts on our way home from whatever errands we were running, and this happened:

Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru lady: Have a good night.

Henry, to her: You also.

Henry, to me: I say “you also” now.

If I sent out a family newsletter, I’d include that huge development.

Well, I am going to go and plan a potential roller coaster trip for the future because that usually helps me decompress. I might need more chocolate soon though.

Jan 152022
 

And here is the last half of the books I read in December. I almost forgot to come back and do this. #ASeriousBlogger

8. The Haunting of Ashburn House – Darcy Coates

The Haunting of Ashburn House

Um, I could not for the life of me remember reading this at first, but then I read the synopsis and was like, “Oh yeah, that book.” Despite the fact that it’s apparently not very memorable to me, I’m pretty sure I found it to be at least somewhat decent. There were creepy moments for sure (um, an entire upstairs without electricity and a hallway of old family portraits? Yeah, eff that noise) and a cat that I was pretty invested in. It was frustrating the amount of times the main character, who had just moved into this haunted house, went into the attic like it was no big deal. (OK maybe only two or three but that was two or three more times I would have, for sure).

Wait, more things about this book is coming back to me now and I remember that it actually had a pretty decent back story and that I loved the ending. Yeah, this book was good. Lol.

Did I sell it? Lol.

9. The Dead & the Dark – Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark

I really liked this YA supernatural mystery. Great small lake town vibes, catchy dialogue between the characters, and an interesting mystery that held my attention during a month where a million different things were on the sidelines screaming LOOK OVER HERE! I liked that the main character had two dads, if that makes a difference.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this one. It was good. I would read more from Courtney Gould. The end.

10. Butter Honey Pig Bread – Francesca Ekwuyasi

Butter Honey Pig Bread

OK seriously, the five-star reads came THROUGH in December, though. This book!!!!!!! It was exquisite. The chapters are split between two Nigerian twin sisters, and their mother, who is believed to be an Ogbanje (non-human spirit that brings the family bad luck). There is a lot of trauma-exploration in these pages, and it was quite painful to read at times. All three women are written with so much care and depth that I felt for each of them like they were my own family and just wanted them all to find peace and happiness.

It’s a real ride. I think Taiye was my favorite character to follow. It was fun to read about her culinary experiences in different countries.

I’ve read numerous novels now by Nigerian authors and I think this has become one of my favorite genres. I don’t know what else to say about this because it’s so layered and complicated, but just know that it is brilliant and will stick with you for a long time. I remember finishing it and just exhaling bigly and then of course I started to cry every time I thought about it afterward. Because that’s who I am!

11. Yearbook – Seth Rogen

Yearbook

I’m not some big diehard Seth Rogen fan by any means, and even for me, his memoir was wildly entertaining. Henry and I both listened to it on audio because it’s narrated by him and like, 100 other people. It’s not your standard “I was born in [insert date] in a small town in [insert country]” type of chronological bullshit. No, this is a collection of stories from his life, some from his childhood that have shaped him, some drug-related ones that make you wonder how he isn’t fucking dead, and some insider industry bullshit that definitely does not make me envy him at all. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but mostly, I was just smiling real big on my morning walks, feeling like I had friend along telling me outrageous stories.

Oh! I should note that the sole reason I was even inspired to pick this up was because MAGA freaks started leaving bad reviews on it before it was even published all because of his very public Twitter feud with Ted Cruz (lol) and his outspokenness about Trump. Had to give him my support, and I’m glad that I did because this was a real fun time!

12. Cursed Bunny – Chung Bora 

Cursed Bunny

First, let’s take a few seconds to appreciate this poppin’ cover. I want to decorate a room based on this palette.

Second, let’s remind this blog author that she should stop picking up short story collections because they just aren’t her cup of tea.

OK, only some of the stories weren’t for me this time around. The author has an MA in Russian and East European area studies from Yale University and a PhD in Slavic literature from Indiana University (per her Goodreads author profile) and you can reallllly tell. I do not say this in a bad way at all. There was a lot of folklore sprinkled in these pages, and those were sadly the ones that I liked the least which isn’t surprising to me because I generally just don’t like folklore all that much. I actually took an Indo-European Folklore class at Pitt because I thought it would be fucking cool, man, but it was kind of…not. Lots of boring-ass stories that all had the same meaning.

(I remember the first day of this class SO VIVIDLY because I had just super recently found out that I was pregnant and my friends were like, “OK but you are very early into the pregnancy so you shouldn’t make any announcement until you’re at least through the first trimester” and I was like, “Mmm, OK, I hear your sage advice” and then in my first class in the fall semester, when it was my turn to introduce myself, I was like, “HELLO I’M ERIN AND I’M PREGNANT” lol. My friend Sarah was in that class with me and was like, “OMG you did not. just….” lol. OH BUT I DID, Also, most of the students in that class were young – I was 25 – so they were like horrified and didn’t know if they were supposed to be happy for me or what. Say your name, but make it awkward, was the assignment right?)

So, there are some stories in this collection that have that same feel, but there were some that I was like, “WTF is happening, this is cray and I love it” like the very first story (The Head) had me laughing and also feeling disgusted at the same. I also loved “The Reunion,” which was a beautiful ghost story set in Poland, “Home Sweet Home,” about a couple who buy a haunted/cursed building, and the title story which was just a real solid revenge tale.

13. The Witch Elm – Tana French

The Witch Elm

I had always avoided Tana French because I didn’t feel like getting involved in a series, which I think is what she normally writes, right? Anyway, then I found out that The Witch Elm is a stand-alone so I gave it a shot. Oof, this was a big boy! And DENSE. The thing that happens doesn’t even happen until like, page 150 or something so it’s a lot of wondering, “OK but where are we going with this?” However, Tana French has a way of writing characters and their conversations that made me literally not even care if the thing happened or not because I was just generally invested in everyone by this point.

ESPECIALLY HUGO.

This was a solid mystery but also a strong family drama. I came so close to giving it five stars but I felt the ending was just a bit too dragged out. However, I will definitely be reading more from her and I guess at some point will dig into that Dublin Murder Squad series that is so beloved by many.

***

OK guys. That’ll do it for 2021 (except for one more post about my faves of the year) but my resolution for 2022 is to do one book wrap-up a month with just my rating and only go into more detail for the ones I REALLY SUPER LOVED or had otherwise some type of strong feeling for. Because reviewing books is not my jam, but I do like to memorialize here the ones I read.

Now I have to go assist Henry, who is currently attempting to cover the ceiling above our staircase with iridescent cellophane, lol, pray for us.

Jan 142022
 

You guys. It has been two whole days since the thing I’m about to tell you has happened but I still have not calmed down. I wanted to write about it that very same day but I couldn’t sit still long enough!!

OK, OK, remember how to tell a story, Erin. Back up. Start at the beginning. Give the people some background. If you are a long time reader, you might remember me mentioning from time to time an older gentleman in my neighborhood with a proclivity toward public profanity. In the past, I have (cruelly, I know) referred to him as Tourette’s but in my older years, trying to be the best version of myself, I have been trying to refer to him as Angry Guy but…you know, old habits. So if you happen to go back and read any of my older posts about him just remember me: I KNOW I’M AN ASSHOLE AND I AM TRYING TO BE BEST (lol).

I see this dude everywhere in Brookline and I even know where he lives because I was on a walk one time and saw him up ahead and took a detour just so I could follow him. Hey, I had nothing else going on that day! Or…any day. Ever.

Sometimes he’s in a fine mood, like when I saw him while I was standing outside of CVS and we had a discussion about FACE MASKS. Sometimes he is…not in such a fine mood, like several weeks ago when he walked by my house yelling at someone (or no one) on the phone:

The best part of this was when I originally went to start recording, he was still walking toward my house and MY FUCKING FLASH CAME ON. Henry was like, “Oh my god” and slithered further into the house, lol.

One time, he appeared on the scene of a hit & run that happened in front of my house and it was honestly the most exciting part of the whole incident for me.

Let’s just say that this guy has been a big enough part of my life that when I say to my friends, “Hey, you know that one guy…” and they are like, “Yes, the one who you videotaped wrestling with a lawnmower that one time?” And I am like, “Yes, him.”

So, now the story can begin for real.

It was Wednesday morning,  still pretty early, like around 6:30AM. I had to walk to the post office on Brookline Blvd to drop off some Etsy stuff. I was really pissed off about it too because Henry was supposed to take it and mail it, but WHATEVER.  I was about a block away from my house on my return walk, still steaming and fuming over Henry’s laziness, when I noticed that several cars had stopped, including a small school bus. That’s when I realized that there was a man in the middle of the road, just standing there.

IT WAS HIM. THE GUY.

I started to walk faster because I needed to be a part of this action, and how. By the time I arrived on the scene, the school bus driver had gotten out and was leading THE GUY back to the sidewalk. He kept saying he was fine and she was like “Ok but you can’t stand in the road, someone will hit you” (it was still dark out!) and he was like, “I just need to get to Dormont.” She said asked if he needed a ride and after he said yes, she goes, “I can’t drive you, sir, I have kids on the bus.”

WELL, WHY DID YOU ASK THEN?

SO I SAID: “I can drive you! My car is parked just a block away.” I’m like, panting as I’m saying this, so excited to make additional contact with THIS FAMOUS GUY.

He said, “Oh really young lady, thank you! I just need to go to Eat n Park” and in my head, I’m like, “Yeah I know” because sometimes on my morning walks, I see him sitting in Eat n Park with OTHER (PROBABLY) WEIRD PEOPLE!! So I know that when I see him walking by my house in the mornings, that is where he’s going. ONE TIME CHOOCH AND I WERE THERE AT THE SAME TIME AS HIM! And it was like a week after Chooch rode past him on his bike, and the guy got scared, jumped dramatically and screamed, “YOU CRAZY GUY, WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU!” and Chooch was so excited to have gotten yelled at by him. (It’s a Brookline thing.)

So the bus driver and I got him to stand safely on the corner and I ran, and I mean I RAN, all the way down the block to get my car, and the whole  time I’m going “OMG OMG OMG.” And the sitch was still fresh enough that a bit of traffic had built up so people in their cars were watching and I was like “YES! LOOK AT ME! NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, BUT SUPER ADORABLE FLUFFY BLUE COATS!” and I could feel their eyes on me, wondering what the root of the conflict was but knowing without a shadow of a doubt that THIS YOUNG LADY was the literal LIFE SAVER!

AND THEN HE WAS IN MY CAR!!!!!!!!!!!! (Well, not right away. First, I pulled up to the curb and rolled down the window and said, “OK here I am!” and he just stood there, and now cars were getting angry and having to pass me, and he’s still looking at me like, “WHY ARE YOU STOPPED HERE” and I’m like, “Are you ready?” and he’s like, “OH, ARE YOU THE GIRL” and four years of being called THE GIRL at dreaded Weiss Meats poured over my head like a bucket of icy PTSD, but that’s neither here nor there.)

HIS NAME IS DAVID!!!!!!!

While I was navigating the back streets of Brookline to get back onto the main drag, we made casual small talk about the weather. I told him I had almost slipped on ice on my way to the post office. “DID YOU?” he gasped, and he seemed genuinely very concerned about this. He thanked me again for doing this and I brushed it off. “It’s no problem, I only live right there across the church so I’m not going out of my way,” and then I said to him, casually, “Say*, I think you used to live a few houses up from me, didn’t you?” because he totally lived next door to Hot Naybor Chris a long time ago, and he said, “No. Never. I never lived on Pioneer.” Wow, OK, DAVID.

*(Also, LOL I have never started a sentence that way in real life and wanted to see how it felt to act as though I did. It felt a little like Leave It To Beaver.)

Anyway, it literally only took me like 2 minutes to get him to Eat n Park and when he was getting out of my car, he said, “Thank you again, young lady. I hope you become a millionaire someday.”

!!!!!

And the fact that he kept calling me Young Lady made me start imagining him as the white rabbit AND I AM ALICE.

Alice with White Rabbit | Area Arts

OK IS THIS WEIRD? THIS IS WEIRD. EVEN FOR ME. Not the mood I was going for.

Hang on.

Alice In Wonderland Rabbit High Resolution Stock Photography and Images -  Alamy

We’ll go with this one. (You guys, I think this image is from ALAMY.)

(ALSO THIS WAS THE BEST VERSION OF ALICE & WONDERLAND, FIGHT ME. I was obsessed with Carol Channing.)

I kept trying to call Henry right after and he wasn’t answering so I was texting him 911 and when he finally called back, I blurted out: YOU WILL NEVER GUESS WHO WAS IN OUR CAR and he was like “are you effing kidding, this was the emergency?”

I’d like to point out that Henry and Chooch both had a first guess of “Buddy” (the squirrel), which speaks volumes to how rich my life has been lately.

Well, that’s my story about how I got to be a hero for once, suck it, Henry. Sorry it was so harried, I have residual adrenaline and needed to just type it out without any care or thought. Oh wait, that’s my procedure for ALL blog posts.

(On a serious note though: he did seem coherent like he knew his name & was able to talk normally, and I kept asking him if he was OK. He said yes, so I’m hoping that maybe he just needed to get some food, and because I’m a creep, I know that other people would be joining him so if he needed medical attention, they would be able to do something??  But I have seen him since and he seems fine!)

(On another serious note, I hope this hasn’t reignited my penchant for picking up hitchhikers. Probably not. At least not until we’re on the other side of this pandemic.)

Jan 122022
 

Yo Brenda I’m really excited to tell you something today: sometime last month, I finagled Henry into doing low impact walking workouts. He is very picky about the ones he will do: No Gina B., but he does enjoy himself some Leslie Sansone. However!! The one he seems to like the most is MY BOY, Pittsburgh’s Own PAUL EUGENE.

It must be the matching beards.

In the beginning, he looked just like he does in that photo up there (also my arms are 100% not that thin, that is one hell of an iPhone optical illusion), but gradually he has begun to enjoy it and actually is motivated! He doesn’t act like I am forcing him to do it anymore and he even PUTS FORTH EFFORT!

And I’m excited to announce that starting January 1 (what? cliché you say?), Henry has been doing Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution workout series with me! This is my 4th time doing it (I only officially made it the whole way through twice though) and can attest that it is a wonderful kick-start if you’re trying to make physical changes to your body. It has made me feel SO STRONG and by the end of the program, I was able to do rock star jumps and all kinds of other crazy shit that I never would have imagined possible. (Still suck at push-ups, but there is this one version called the wheel pushup where you get into a back-bend position and do push-ups that way and somehow I was able to do those and felt like a motherfucking Ninja Warrior, bitch.)

I am extremely stoked about this because you guys – Jillian is my queen and also because Henry admitted to me the other day that he likes it! Even though I’m very annoying and quote parts of it like it’s a movie I grew up watching every night on VHS, but he hasn’t yelled at me to stop yet! I have made gentle suggestions over the years that he joins me when I’m exercising and I always get the “I MOVE AROUND ALL DAY AT WORK, MY JOB IS NOT EASY” and I get that, I do, but I also think that there is something to be said for good old-fashioned strength  training and cardio workouts. You know? I’m not fucking bikini body, TRUST, but a regular exercise regimen has really improved the quality of my life. And I’ve seen it change Chooch’s life too, and I want Henry to be the healthiest version of himself as possible!

We are almost done with level 1 & 2 and will be starting 3 & 4 this weekend, and I’m so excited that he’s made it through the first two weeks! The beginning is the toughest part, but as Jillian says, “If you have a WHY, you can tolerate any HOW.”

I’m so stoked about this that I even quickly considered switching professional gears and becoming a life coach, lol, can you imagine? Me? Coaching people on their actual LIVES? No one can fully control what happens in life, any one us could get hit by a bus tomorrow or garroted by the modern day Ted Bundy, but at least we’ll die with the knowledge that we could do a burpee.

LOOK HOW MOTIVATIONAL I AM. I’m going to put that on business card.

We still do Paul Eugene on our Jillian “off” days. Henry enjoys Paul Eugene workouts so much that when I said, “I’m going to buy us Paul Eugene merch. Which color do you want?” he actually took some time to peruse his options. Chooch came downstairs and when he saw us wearing our fresh PE merch, he shook his head in embarrassment, said “No,” and then went right back up to his room. SOMEONE’S JELLY. Maybe I’ll get him a shirt for his birthday. AND THEN WE CAN WEAR THEM TO AN AMUSEMENT PARK TOGETHER! I always wanted to go to an amusement park in matching outfits.

Jan 102022
 

As previously mentioned, Henry and I have been going through the tedious and boring chore of cleaning out the attic. Not surprisingly, some historic gems have been unearthed, like this shirt I bought in 1998, perhaps from Hot Topic back when Hot Topic was just regular old mall goth as opposed to whatever den of commercial crap it’s become over the years (don’t they literally seel Spongebob merch there?? 1990s Hot Topic would have never…). Or it might have been from Slacker, which was (is? I think it still exists) a shop on the Southside where you could get cloves and BDSM accouterment, lol. I definitely bought clothes from there on several occasions during my Fake Goth phase but I mostly bought novelty cigarettes to smoke with my purple cigarette holder.

I was really into smoking back then.

What a brag.

But yeah, as mentioned off and on in this garbage dump of words over the years, I went through a solid goth phase from probably 1998 to 2001, except that it was mostly just the music that I liked to enjoy in the privacy of my own home while chatting with Internet friends on Darkchat who probably were actual legit goths with an Ann Rice and Poppy Z. Brite library, and not a POSEUR like me lol.

I don’t think I ever wore this shirt more than twice. Once was definitely post-Dracula’s Ball. I had been wearing a corseted dress all night and this was my CASUAL GOTH LOUNGE WEAR that I changed into apparently. Probably made sense at the time? I have a vague recollection of changing into it in a parked car at like 1AM.

Anyway, Henry was like WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THIS. For a split second, I nearly put it in the donate pile. But then I reconsidered. There might be opportunities to use it for costumes or photo shoots, see also: it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Of course, I couldn’t resist temptation and had to try it on. You know, just to see if I would feel inspired to dust off my Black Bible goth CD compilation (and then also search the house for something on which to play said CDs…)

I still have the choker that I was wearing in the OG picture and knew exactly where it was too, so recreating this photo was a breeze except that as usual, I was being the Queen of Not Fully Understanding the Assignment and therefore had my hands facing out instead of up.

Wow you guys, I’m happy to report that this shirt is FUCKING COZY. I had no idea! Probably because I was drunk any time I wore it in the past so why would I remember a shirt’s comfort level.

Please enjoy this picture of me with GOTH MICHAEL BOLTON, after me and this broad I was friends with at the time (actually, I had only just met her IRL after sort of knowing her from Darkchat and decided, “Yes, Stranger Lady, I shall get into your free candymobile and attend a goth dance party in Philly and then you will promptly meet some old man who you become convinced is a real life vampire and proceed to sloppily make out with him leaving me to wander around alone and stumble into a veritable DRUG DUNGEON.”

Anyway, Goth Michael Bolton was the sidekick of Real-Life Vampire (but probably actually IT Guy) so I got stuck with him while that broad (with whom I actually stayed friends for several years but she is actually one of the most toxic, habitually-lying people I have ever met) giggled and acted amazed while Real-Life Vampire added HTML to his WebTV email address.

(I actually wrote about this night for a writing assignment when I was taking a creative non-fiction class at Pitt and I got an A but the last time I re-read it, my whole body cringed. I can’t believe I was actually in college for writing lol. )

Speaking of that broad, here she is on another night when we went to this guy SHADOE‘s apartment for dinner and she was like “OMG please let me borrow that shirt, I like this guy so much” and then we got there and she was like, “OMG I DO NOT LIKE THIS GUY” after meeting him in person, yet proceeded to let him tie her up and cut with a huge knife??? IN FRONT OF ME???

Anyway, blood-letting aside, I thought this guy was lovely and we actually stayed friends for quite some time after he found out that she was married and a pathological liar.

It’s also super surprising I even still have this shirt in my possession considering I let her borrow it and she was the most untrustworthy person in the whole world. (Although she did help me get rid of this guy I thought I was in love with from the aforementioned goth chatroom Darkchat and thought that yes, it would be a great idea for him to use his mother’s miles and fly here from Vancouver only for me to immediately feel smothered and creeped out by his constant need to serenade me with Joy Division songs while crying.

My life was very different pre-Henry.

Clearly.

Also, I can tell you that in that picture up there, she was either pouring a glass of Tequila Rose or Manischewitz wine, because those were our go-to alcohols back then, I guess??

Also x2, I was really into cropped rug-like sweaters during those days. I had one that was yellow and my friends Jon and Justin loved calling it the Big Bird shirt. I saw that these were back in style again recently, maybe two or three winters ago, and I almost bought one from the junior’s section of JC Penney’s lol.

Also x3, Shadoe if you’re out there, I miss you. Hit me up. You were a real one. :(

And here’s a close-up of The Choker, which I actually bought from a vendor at the Dracula’s Ball. It’s hilarious to me how much of an impact that one night had on me, evidently. I mean, I have a scar because of it, and if you read the linked post up there, YOU WILL KNOW WHY. #ClickBait

Well, we barely made a dent in the attic cleaning project, so who knows what else I will find? CHECK BACK SOON – lol.

Edited to add this outtake, which cracks me up because you can see my VERY GOTH FitBit:

Jan 092022
 

2021 was still a Not Great Year overall but we definitely curated a nice collection of little memories once we were vaccinated. The best thing about that was being able to safely visit amusement parks again. I know that most of them were open during 2020 but we didn’t want to take any risks by visiting them, even with mask mandates and social distancing. Even after getting vaccinated, it was still kind of weird at first, but we just made sure we slathered on the hand sanitizer and avoided congested areas.

Plus, we got to resume our tradition of CAROUSELFIES! Which is the lamest word I’ve ever come up with but it makes me laugh every time I type it.

Carouselfie.

How fucking dumb, lol.

Anyway, I wanted to share a photo dump of all the carouselfies we took over 2021, starting with this really shitty one that Henry took of us at the Columbus Zoo. You can tell he was out of practice, lol.

This was so bad that I didn’t even print it out for the carouselfie wall, lol.

The first actual amusement park we went to was Hershey Park in May, and the park announced that they were standing down on the mask mandate like, the day before we went and if we’re being honest, I was not OK with that. We still wore ours, but slipped them down for this photo since no one was around. I felt scandalous.

Oh, I should also note that while we went to 19 different amusement parks in 2021, we didn’t take carouselfies at all of them. Some of them either didn’t have carousels (Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags America, Indiana Beach), or we had previously taken a carouseflie on an earlier visit (Kennywood, King’s Dominion, & Cedar Point), or I was pouting over who knows what and said JUST FORGET IT like I did when we were at Six Flags Great Escape, lol. I think also I was pissed off at Carowinds and didn’t even think to look for their dumb carousel because I kind of hated it there, and I was too fixated on the coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure to bother with the carousel but I do have regrets because that one was so pretty! Maybe sometime this year we’ll get another chance?!

Somehow we went to Knoebels a handful of times without ever riding the carousel, but that was rectified in 2021!
 This was at Stricker’s Grove near Cincinnati! I like this one because I’m wearing my cute NOOWORKS shirt and also because Christina and Katie were there and that made it extra fun even though it was approx. 1000 degrees that day.
and this was the next day at King’s Island. I was actually REALLY PISSED when I was taking this picture and I can’t remember why but we can 100% be certain that it was something dickish that Chooch had said prior to mounting our horses.
Chooch and I have a carouselfie from Waldameer, but we needed one with Henry in it too. Can you see the FIFTEEN YEAR OLDness shooting out of Chooch’s eyes like angsty lasers?? (Also, I nearly forgot we went to Waldameer last year!)

Busch Gardens actually has a very small carousel which was disappointing, to be honest. I expected more from them!

I tried to mix it up at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood by sitting in this carriage thingie with Henry while Chooch rode on a horse in front of us. Of course Morey’s Piers had the sweetest double-decker carousel. I miss it there. And look at how perfectly charming everything is in the background!!
Both of the above pictures and the one below are from Seabreeze Park in New York, which was another SUPER CHARMING joint and it was just such a great time. I couldn’t choose just one of these pictures so the obvious solution was: POST ‘EM ALL!
This was from our Labor Day Weekend park-a-palooza where we hit up three smallish amusement parks in New York and it was honestly just such a fun and cute weekend. (Oh don’t worry, there was definitely still arguing, lol.) We’re wearing the same clothes in the next two pictures because….
we came to Sylvan Beach on the same day as Seabreeze. This carousel is in the “park” (it’s almost more like a permanent carnival set-up, very old and kind of run-down but still adorable…and haunted!) but is actually a stand-alone attraction owned by someone with no affiliation to Sylvan Beach. So if you get a ride-all-day wristband (I pity the fool who does, though) it doesn’t include the carousel. I really liked this one because it’s super old and historic.

And the last two pictures are from Six Flags Over Georgia, which we visited over Thanksgiving Weekend. It was a great end to a year of getting our thrills on at as many amusement parks as possible! 2022 is looking pretty uncertain as of now, but hopefully, at some point, we can safely do our thang again.

Jan 082022
 

Today we will be “chatting” about the first half of the books I read in December. We laughed, we cried, we wished some books weren’t owned by the library so we could burn them.

  1. You Should Have Left – Daniel Kehlmann

Loved it! I think this is translated from…German? I could look but, eh. I have January apathy. This book is very short and is a great take on the haunted house trope, which is my fave fave fave horror theme but also the one that gets ruined the most, IMO. For every great haunted house book out there, there are sure to be 500 shitty ones waiting in line behind it.

I actually saw a preview for the adaptation for this not too long, with Kevin Bacon. I mean, Kevin Bacon is IN it, I didn’t watch the trailer with him on my couch.

One of the booktubers I hate-watch totally bashed this book and was all, “Wah, I didn’t get it, this was dumb” but I thought it was great. The main character is an author who moves his wife and young kid to some semi-secluded airBNB situation so he can work on his book, parts of which are interspersed throughout. There are also sentences that abruptly cut off, and the booktuber was all THAT WAS SO ANNOYING I DIDN’T GET IT but it was pretty clear that the pages were suddenly (kapchugi) ending because something was going on in the house and the book was meant to be the writer’s journal.

If you like horror, and books similar to House of Leaves (which I never finished when I tried to read it years and years ago but now I own my own copy and am determined to try again this year!), then I think this would be a home run for you.

2. The Push – Ashley Audrain

If you like multi-generational takes on motherhood (pretty specific) then read this book. I had no idea what it was about when I picked it up other than it was considered a thriller (a little, sure) but it was riveting. It also contains a child character that I fucking despised about as much as the little bitch from Baby Teeth, the only difference being that The Push was a phenomenal read and Baby Teeth was trash.

OK, I just checked Goodreads and this is being touted as more of a psychological drama, and that I can get behind. I had so much empathy for Blythe, the mom in the present-day chapters, that it actually physically gave me a headache to read the bullshit she endured. There is some very uncomfortable honesty re: motherhood in these pages too and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ashley Audrain.

Also, I listened to the audio of this, which was narrated by Henry’s voice crush, Marin Ireland lol. But really, she is an awesome narrator and I wonder if I would have liked the book as much if I read it without the audio. I know a lot of people who say audiobooks don’t count as reading, and I think this is a huge slap to the face of the vision-impaired, and also sometimes, audio just makes a book pop. It’s comforting to have with me on my daily walks and I will continue to read books both ways.

3. Comfort Me With Apples – Catherynne M. Valente

This was OK. Very short and Stepford Wives-ish. A little bit of horror, and also gave me slight Alice in Wonderland vibes, where everything looks so shiny and perfect at a glance but is actually terrifying and uncomfortable and get-me-the-eff-out-of-here-y. I definitely didn’t get the hype though and just rated it a very pleasant and mediocre three-stars. Middle of the road for me, fam.

4. Nothing But Blackened Teeth – Cassandra Khaw

This is very short and not terrible, but not great. I would suggest just watching a Japanese horror movie if you’re looking for legit scares or even thrills because this was mostly just about a group of frenemies arguing and being jealous of each other..

Can you tell that I am burnt out from writing “reviews”? Lol.

5. The Good Lie – A.R. Torre

Real talk: I thought I would hate this based on the cover, lol. It just looks like something a housewife would buy in airport before getting on a plane to Orlando, you know?

But this hooked me straight from the first chapter. A great psychological thriller that kept me guessing. Two main characters (a psychiatrist who specializes in violent tendencies, and a high-profile defense attorney who has lost a son to a serial killer) who felt real and flawed and kept me totally invested in this story to the very end. This was my kind of thriller.

6. Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith

Well. I’m impressed. Where to even start with this. It’s Vietnamese folklore, fantasy, horror, mystery, with a revenge tale woven in through it all. Officially a new favorite author.

The writing was graceful, witty, atmospheric, lush, and vivid. It was nearly impossible to not visualize every scene happening, and um, sometimes that wasn’t for the best, ha! It has some seriously creepy and gross moments too that had me shuddering (if you have a fear of snakes, pass on this one maybe).

I read this book and listened to it on audio simultaneously because it is really beneficial for me to hear how names are meant to be pronounced, and the narrator really did this story justice. Vietnamese is such a beautiful and intricate language and my eyes alone would never be able to replicate the full effect of actually hearing the words being said aloud. Yet another advantage of audiobooks!

It was such a great experience overall and I will be revisiting the characters in my mind for years to come. Every single character was fleshed out and popping with personality. I felt so immersed and couldn’t wait for the chance to keep reading.

Didn’t think I’d read another solid gem before the end of the year; love when a five-star read comes in at the buzzer! Highly recommend this!

7. Let It Snow – John Green / Maureen Johnson / Lauren Myracle

All I wanted was a Chrismas-y book to read in December and this one looked, dare I say, cute. I’ve read John Green before, and one Maureen Johnson book, and liked all so I thought this would be a good time. HA.

All three authors write their own story, and each are connected / have overlapping characters / same setting. The best story by far was Maureen Johnson’s. I’d give it a 3. John Green gets a 2. Whoever Lauren Myracle is gets a 1 because that last story was god awful, the characters were annoying AF and I have no idea what the actual point even was. Only the first story gave me even slight Christmas vibes and this story also had the most solid characters.

I heard that the book is way better than the Netflix movie adaptation, so we know what I will NOT be watching. Never ever ever. What a shitty time this was.

***

To summarize, I would recommend:

  • The Good Lie
  • You Should Have Left
  • The Push
  • Build Your House Around My Body

4 out of 7 ain’t bad! I’ll cover the remaining 6 sometime soon-ish. This weekend we are hopefully cleaning out the attic which is actually an entire third floor that could be used as an extra room which it was before HENRY MOVED IN and stored all his computer pieces and other assorted junk up there and then it just seamlessly turned into the room where things went to die. I just want to go up there with 89878678 garbage bags and throw everything out, to be honest. (Unless it’s something of mine, lol.)

Jan 062022
 

Today’s post is brought to you by photos in my phone &, well, random stuff lately AS THE TITLE SUGGESTS.

Henry and I were both off the Monday after Christmas so we spent a good chunk of the morning at the mall exchanging and returning stuff because somehow I bought a hoodie for Chooch at Zumiez that was actually a girl’s hoodie which is fine because fuck gender rules, except that the hoodie was cut short and how I didn’t notice this when I bought it is beyond me but Chooch liked the hoodie so I just needed to exchange it for a bigger size; hilariously, Henry was also returning something – he tried to be all cool a few weeks ago by TREATING HIMSELF to a denim jacket at Vans and was so confident about it that he didn’t even try it on. As soon as we got home, I looked at the  tag and laughed, “You know this is a women’s jacket right?” and it did not fit him AT ALL. What a stoop. So he returned it and I got shoes, lol.

Wow, I wasn’t planning on regaling you with all that consumerism, yet here we are. Gotta get that word count in.

Then later we had to go to Target. I really wanted a smoothie bowl for lunch so that determined which Target we would be going to, which meant we would have to go through the Liberty Tunnel. And as luck would have it, an accident or something happened right as were about 3/4 of the way through the tunnel so traffic came to a standstill. At first, I didn’t even notice because we had started listening to Seth Rogen’s “Yearbook” memoir-ish thing and it was entertaining enough to distract me until eventually I noticed that we hadn’t moved in some time and that this wasn’t just the ordinary red light I figured it to be.

About 10 minutes into this traffic standstill, someone near the front of the tunnel unfailingly began honking their horn, creating a beeping chorus ripple effect among other frustrated drivers throughout the tunnel. Because beeping always works in these situations. The honking collective forms a giant crane which then lifts the obstacles blocking traffic into the air so that we can all freely pass. Everyone knows this. Crazy that no one has been able to make that actually happen yet.

“These are all the stupid unvaccinated fuckers,” Henry mumbled, and for once I heartily agreed with Henry’s hypothesis.

Another 10 minutes passed and Henry noted that several people farther back behind us had gotten out of their cars and were milling about. Henry went on a lengthy rant about carbon monoxide, etc and how stupid these people were, and it was around this point where I had become super slap-happy so maybe those fumes were seeping into our car, I dunno. I would have asked Henry but the only thing worse than being mansplained is actually asking to be mansplained. I made a mental note to google it later but then I forgot and now I just don’t care,

Two guys separately walked past our car toward the front of the tunnel. This was amusing to me because what were they going to do if traffic started moving while they were so far from their cars??

Meanwhile, round three of Project Honk was playing out.

Eventually, the Tunnel Investigators began their return trip, stopping at every car to announce their findings.

“Accident!” they were saying in tandem, like wow really no shit. I’m pretty sure we all figured that out in between pondering the meaning of life for the last 30 minutes.

Duh.

Just as they were about to get to our car, traffic at the front of the tunnel started moving, so the guys began hollering, “WE’RE MOVING!” Henry luckily had his window down a little from when we were originally trying to determine what the Tunnel Investigators were reporting, so I leaned across Henry’s gut and screamed, and I do mean KPOP-concert level screamed, “YEAH!” out the window. Henry shot me that stern WOULD YOU KNOCK IT OFF! scowl that he’s perfected over the last two decades of not only being a dad but also my BOYFRIEND lol.

This whole scene was cracking me up so bad that I spit all over myself from all the laughing I was doing. Henry meanwhile was harboring big regERTZ for choosing a Target that required us to traverse through the tunnel in the first place, but honestly – it’s not like we were late for a hot date. Although now I was hungrier for my smoothie bowl which ended up being not great. I paid extra to have it made with coconut milk instead of coconut water, and had selected turmeric and something else that I forget now as add-ons and THEY DID NOT ADD THEM nor was it made it with coconut* milk – I could tell. What a rip off.

*(LOL I originally typed cococunt – this is my new word.)

LOOK AT THESE THREE LITTLE BRATS! Actually, they’re not so little. They’re pretty fucking fat and I slip sometimes and call them Chubs. Then I feel bad. Also, ignore my crappy porch/yard. It’s winter and we don’t care about it right now.

Henry got a new Roku speaker for the TV and the first thing he did to test it was put on the video for NCT127’s “Kick It.” KPOP DAD IS ALWAYS ON DUTY.

Meanwhile, in Penelope and Drew’s world:

  • it’s always Halloween.

  • opening a book is an invitation to plop down across me.

  • exceling at the worst hiding spots.

And now for some random photos from my camera roll:

I didn’t decorate that much this year for Christmas, but I will definitely miss how cute  the buffet looks! These glass Christmas trees could almost pass for year-round decor though, DON’T YOU AGREE.

I got this plastic hand from Castle Blood last October and it’s always in the pocket of my jean jacket, which I have been able to wear fairly regularly during this mild-ish winter. Anyway, I noticed recently that I subconsciously hold onto it when my hand is in my pocket, and it is actually very comforting to me. It’s like an emotional support hand and I highly recommend that everyone get one!

I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of their holiday LED strands after Christmas when everything was 70% off and a lot of them could easily be used all year, like these pretty stars!

I sent this to Chooch the other day lol. Leslie Sansone really said that in one of her videos!

Hey speaking of Leslie, I’m gonna peace out here because it’s almost time to exercise.

Jan 052022
 

Korean YouTubers DKDK made this short-n-sweet doc on G-Dragon’s impact on not just the Korean music industry, but also international fashion. I watched it on my lunch break today and cried real tears because there is something magical and mystical about G-Dragon that just completely overwhelms me. I think a lot of have idols in our lives, be it an author, a film maker, one of the Beatles. I definitely have a handful of people who would render me absolutely star-struck and speechless if I ever had the good fortune to meet them, but there is something about G-Dragon that elevates him above even that for me. I promise you  that this isn’t just me being some basic fan-girl. I am genuinely fascinated of and inspired by him.

When I first got into Kpop, it became clear very quickly that the boy group BIGBANG was like, the kream of the krop, the k-top of the kpop. So naturally, the name that was the most prevalent in that scene was G-Dragon. And I remember thinking, “Who is this G-Dragon and why is he that great?” So I started watching BIGBANG music videos and of course I didn’t know who he was so now I’m googling “Who is G-Dragon” and “Why is G-Dragon so great” and now I’m watching guest appearances by G-Dragon on Korean variety shows and I’m watching an actual CNN interview with BIGBANG from like, 2012 or something, and oh, here are a bunch of solo G-Dragon performances and wow, people fucking love this guy and then bam – I got sucked in. I was under the Kwon Jiyong spell. I got it. It made sense. This man is the literal definition of charisma and swag.

And I don’t care how “worldwide famous” a certain other Kpop group is, because G-Dragon will always be the King and he single-handedly paved the way for the rest. And honestly, he is their idol, too.

There is one thing that this excellent video doesn’t mention and I think they were actually remiss to leave it out: G-Dragon’s utter respect for others, and his consistent 90 degree fold when bowing to others, regardless of their age or status in relation to his own. He just seems like he was really raised right. Good job, Umma & Appa Dragon.

But yeah, please watch this and maybe you can understand why I love him so much!

Jan 032022
 

Hello Internet. It is 7:24am and Henry and I are departing our house for Cleveland. We both have the day off work but Chooch went back to school today so I thought, “What could we do that’s fun but doesn’t take us too far away” and then through the power of YouTube I accidentally stumbled across a vlog where some vegan went to a cafe and got pink vegan cinnamon rolls AND A PINK LATTE. Come on, we all know I’m not above novelties foods and bevs, so I was all over this like a Jersey Shore girl and a Plan B pill.

Unfortunately, upon more research I learned that this joint – the 27 Club – is owned by Machine Gun Kelly which is v. cringe but I want the latte so am choosing to ignore this gross fact. Shh.

Besides, we’re listening to Taemin in the car to ward off the sleazy MGK vibes.

Gee wiz guys it’s 11:05 and I forgot I started a LiveBlog lol. But we’re done with 27 Club and I am here to say it was…worth it ugh. Lol. I will post more about it on the way home because now we’re going to West Side Market, supposedly. Henry went rogue and made the unilateral decision.

12:16pm: We just left a pointless stop downtown CLE and are en route to Otani Sushi and Henry is stressing me out because he has to USE A BATHROOM like ASAP and I’m over here like plz stop talking about this.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the cafe, which was actually a pleasant experience as I said above.

Henry enters the building.

Little known fact about me: I never was a fan of Biggie. Tupac or GTFO.

Barely anyone reads this so I’m confident that it shall remain a little known fact!

I got my pink latte with almond milk and salted maple syrup and it was actually VERY nice. I know it’s all about the beans but also the type of syrups a cafe uses can make or break the place you know? This maple flavoring was very mellow and not cloying at all. So even apart from the fact that it’s adorably pink, this shit tasted great too.

I guess henry liked his cold brew. Who cares. (I just asked him and he said yeah and also it made him remember the LIQUIDITY of it which exacerbated his need for A BATHROOM lol).

I’m really glad that we went there before they took down their Christmas decor because yes.

All of the stools had various dead singers on them. Ours had Amy Winehouse on one side and whoever was on the other side looked like Jonny Craig at first and I could tell Henry was trying not to make any OFF COLOR jokes about how too bad Jonny made it past 27 wow did I really just do that for him? Oh well. I forgot to look at the picture more closely before we left so I never did actually see who it was.

Was Henry enjoying where he was right then, Y or N.

You guys – these vegan cinnamon rolls were made fresh upon ordering, came out piping hot, with this banging pitaya icing. I LOVED THEM. Of course I shared with Henry, who only expressed mediocre feelings toward them. I think he was in pink shock though.

Um I also bought a hoodie because my eyesight might be fledgling but it’s still 20/20 when it comes to design. This hoodie is THE LIMIT. I’m also obsessed with the 27 Club’s logo. Ugh.

12:30pm: NEWS ALERT – Henry just RELIEVED himself at a REBEL gas station. He is so happy now.

Also our Waze is still set to Korean so Henry nearly missed a hidden cop up ahead lol.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience at 27 Club even though it had the equivalent cringe factor of, say, visiting a vape shop owned by Jonny Craig.

Ugh I bought a bottle of Voss water earlier at Sheetz and I will never buy it again. It tastes awful and I think it’s the AQUAMIN that’s in it whatever that is?? It reminds me of, and this will mean nothing to you, the water fountain in the office of Dr. Lewis, the “fat doctor” my mom used to go to in the 80s to get probably unsafe “diet pills” and my brother Ryan and I would always have to sit in the waiting room with all the other “it’s this or Jazzercize” desperate broads. Ugh the water fountain there had the grossest vitamin infused flavor.

1:22pm: just had an underwhelming visit to my fave vintage joint, Flower Child. I mean it was still fun to walk around but there was nothing that really caught my eye and felt worth arguing with Henry over until he acquiesces and agrees that, yes Erin, we really do need yet another swag lamp in the house even though there is literally nowhere else to put one.

I cried IS THIS FOR COCAINE and Henry was like, “um I don’t see how, but ok.” Then he just strolled off into the sunset next room, leaving me to wonder.

There weren’t even really any JESUS pictures that I needed. Oh well. Next time maybe.

Here are pictures from when we went to the Arcade which was completely empty and the restrooms were locked, causing Henry to cry because this was at the height of his bathroom urgency and even Starbucks down the street was closed lol.

As of 1:31 I hate Henry because he SNEEZED with no warning and now he’s sniffling ughhhhhh.

Meanwhile we’ve been to Cleveland approx. 50x and I still never know where anything is.

2:09: Hi. We’re at Otani Japanese because they have veg/vegan sushi options and henry is being a big cry baby because he wanted WONTON SOUP and i allegedly shamed him somehow? But then he had a big RISE-UP moment and called the waiter over to add it to his order, like ok cool Henry, snap those big boy pants suspenders.

LOLOLOL it’s WONTON SOUP time:

Oh shit hello vegan sushi:

Hey wanna know something hilarious? After we devoured this, our waiter came over and asked, “are you guys vegan?”

“I’m vegetarian,” I said, scared that he was going to say, “ok because actually that one roll has actual tuna in it” but apparently they have an entirely separate vegan menu with EVEN MORE OPTIONS than what’s on the regular menu and it would have been nice if the host had given us that with the other menus. I just really thought the menu looked odd because I had sworn when I looked at the website a few weeks ago, I had seen a shit ton of vegan sushi rolls that had me gurgling my saliva but then I just assumed that maybe I had gotten restaurants mixed up in my head because that’s definitely an Erin Thing to do.

LOOK AT THIS SHIT. I’ll be coming back to Cleveland sooner rather than later, I guess.

4:16lm: at a rest stop outside of PA, henry decided to treat himself to a Blizzard. Of course I chose for him (snickerdoodle) and then spent a solid minute having an internal convo with my alter egos about how ridiculous of a word “snickerdoodle” is. Then I started imagining Chooch working at DQ and instead of just handing Blizzards upside down to customers, throwing it in the air and then drop-kicking it over the counter because that would be a very Chooch Thing to do.

Anyway, this Blizzard was not snickerdoodle? It had chocolate slivers in it? What the hell?

I mean it was still good because Blizzards gon’ Blizz (…what?) but that was no snickerdoodle I’ve ever tasted.

Ok well we should be home in about a half hour so goodbye.

Jan 022022
 

2021 is donezo but I haven’t even sat down to figure out what my favorite reads of the damn year are. I will probably get to that later this week (I’m sure you are just FRAUGHT with anticipation). However! I can for sure tell you my favorite songs and if you know me even a little, you for sure won’t be surprised by any of these.

1. SHINee – Area

I love Onew’s parts in this song so much and it also reminds me of when we bought our new car, which I named Jinki after him IN CASE YOU DIDNT KNOW. I also you have to know that if SHINee has a new release, it’s guaranteed that at least one of the songs will be my favorite of the year come on now.

2. Taemin – Advice

I mean….Jesus. Also I love this because the piano reminds me of Chiodos so it’s like a collision of my old life and new life.

3. Taemin – Just Me & You


The choreo in this though, my lord. As of this posting, I believe there’s 332 days left before his military discharge.

4. NCT Dream – Life Is Still Going On

Sharing a live version because these boys are no joke. Haechan is my ult NCT bias but this is the song that solidified Renjun (blond hair/blue vest) as my NCT Dream bias. (And you’re reading this and saying HUH? Lol.)

5. WayV – Actuon Figure


I mean, it’s so drippy.

6. NCT 127 – Favorite

If you live in this house, you probably hear that opening whistle in your sleep, that’s how much I’ve listened to this song since IG came out last fall.

7. Sunmi – You Can’t Sit With Us


I literally have never not loved a Sunmi song. This was a high point of 2021 for me.

8. CL – Lover Like Me

THE QUEEN. I loved watching CL shine throughout 2021 and this song was definitely my favorite. She even performed it on the Kelly Clarkson show and looked SO AT PEACE with herself that it made me cry. She deserves all the recognition.

9. Kai – Mmmh

I remember watching this video the day it came out – a Monday morning – and being like WOW IS THIS TOO MUCH FOR A MONDAY MORNING? as I proceeded to watch it again lol.

10. Wonho – Ain’t About You

We are huge Wonho supporters in this house. He is so great and you should support him too by watching this video.

11. Youngjae – Vibin’

I’m still broken up over Got7 but this solo release from my bias Youngjae was like swishing a toothache with hot bourbon-spiked tea: it hurt but felt so good all the same. Sigh. His voice, his face, his smile. Gimme.

12. DPR Ian – Scaredy Cat

Ok I lied, one non-Kpop song for good measure because this video is amazing. (DPR is korean but not technically Kpop.)

Jan 012022
 

Well, made it through another year. Funny how you look at it that way the older you get, lol. Like every year, 2021 had its ups and downs but hopefully everyone had some salvageable and memorable moments! For me, I still felt mostly isolated from “normalcy” since we still weren’t able to return to the office, but on the family front, things were pretty awesome! We didn’t do any BIG TRAVELS because it still didn’t feel safe or right and none of us wanted to deal with airports/planes, but we managed to get in quite a few road trips and we made a lot of fun and happy memories even with a surly teen!

I think I will always associate 2021 with amusement parks. We went to 19! Three of them we visited twice so it was really like 23 trips to amusement parks this year. And the haunted house season was a banger too. It really reignited that old flame in my heart and I felt like a teenager again.

Also, I moved to a new position in my department at work and have really been enjoying it; I feel like I made the choice and feel like I’m being utilized to my full potential now. Plus, I cultivated some meaningful relationships with the neighborhood squirrels, bought a new car, and paid off my other car for the first time ever (usually we just trade in) so I would say 2021 was a year of good personal growth for me.

Somehow I feel like I’m hungover right now but I literally only had two small glasses of Christmas spiced wine last year for our SUPER WILD NYE PARTY. lol jk out night was like this:

  • Big car crash in front of my house around 1pm so presumably not DUI-related but also a big reminder of why it’s best to stay in on NYE, pandemic or not! Also, the strip of road right in front of my house is like a veritable vortex for wrecks. I dunno what’s up with that because it’s not treacherous – it’s a straight road. But alas, the amount of wreckage we’ve witnessed is bonkers. Sadly, Henry was at work when this one occurred so he was unable to play civilian hero. Our neighbor George the Hero Understudy finally got his time to shine.
  • I logged off work at 5:30, ate a bowl of cereal for dinner because Henry was napping ugh
  • Finished my 157th book of the year
  • Lit a candle and then wondered what would happen if I touched the lighter to Henry’s bare calf – branding happens, evidently lol. He was like I CANT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT like real bitch you’ve known me intimately since the year 2001, 2000 of we’re getting technical, and this is something that shocks you?
  • Chooch came home from work, also eats cereal for dinner. We know how to nutrition.
  • Forced Henry to take a walk around the neighborhood while loudly talking about how I don’t like talking about my sex life, while passing people on the sidewalk; feels like I’m on drugs but am not. This is natural.
  • Came home and forced Henry to do a NYE photoshoot of which Chooch wanted no parts.
  • Henry made ube brownies; were delectable.
  • Drank two glasses of wine then made Henry do 5 Kpop dance cardio routines and a 25 minute Paul Eugene walking workout.
  • Chooch came back in the house from an evening of Pokemon Go’ing and screamed IS THAT WHERE SHE BRANDED U when he saw Henry’s leg. Then I pressed on it real hard and asked Henry if it hurt and he cried YES IT HURTS YOU FUCKING BURNED MY SKIN.
  • Watched an SMTOWN live video streaming event on YouTube that started at 11pm.
  • Made it until 12:15am before desperately crawling up to bed.

And yeah, that was NYE 2021 and frankly I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. Team Stay At Home ftw!

Well, here are some pictures.

Hair change.

Wardrobe change!

And here’s a deluge of ME&HENRY pics because that’s just what you need lol.

I look like a maniac in every shot but THAT IS WHO I AM AND I AM TOO OLD TO CHANGE NOW.

Well, I have a headache and am about to slurp down a smoothie bowl and prepare to restart my Jillian Michaels Body Revolution which I am slightly addicted to and like to do about twice a year (it’s a 12-week program) and I’m going to try to get Henry on board with it this time around. NEW YEAR NEW YOU, HENRY.