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.

Mar 252021
 

Hello. In today’s tour around my dumb house, we will focus on the nook in my bedroom where I used to do my painting when I was actually inspired to do art. I still have paint ALL OVER THE DESK TOP like I’m trying to prove that I actually used to do creative things.

OK, so let’s look at some of the shit on the walls and on the desk and I will type out a few descriptions because that’s just how we’re going to do this.

Here are some clowns (I think these ones were gifted to me by friend Patty but I have three other clowns that are vaguely similar and those ones might be from her?!? The perils of having tons of clowns in your house –  the origins become murky!

Behind them is the Father Day’s portrait I made for Henry a few years ago which he is apparently too embarrassed to take to his office, that’s fine. He never took Chooch’s art piece either. That is what I would call UNGRATEFUL. Maybe that’s just me!

Here we have the blue jay tealight holder that was used as a centerpiece at the table I was sitting at when I went to a MORMON WOMENS CONFERENCE for an essay I was writing for a class at Pitt. This was one of those things that made my inner-self scream WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO but then ended up being such a memorable and interesting experience. I loved that class and the way it pushed my boundaries. Anyway, the Mormon missionary who invited me to the dinner was a total gem and every time I look at this (which I have since dusted and scraped of wax residue after looking at this picture), I am filled with such warm memories!

(Henry was totes shocked that I didn’t convert after this, tbh.)

Behind it is a silver box that I bought in Canberra, Australia! It holds my sacred charm bracelet and my Pappap’s diamond pinky ring that he wanted me to have when he died but then my family played a two decade long game of keep-away because they thought I’d pawn it. I HAVE NO SOUR GRAPES ABOUT THAT OR ANYTHING LOL.

Also behind it is STEVE FROM THE HIPPO from a previous THINGS AROUND MY HOUSE post maybe you remember if you’re a LONGTIME READER. (Or at least have been reading for the past year because this post was from almost exactly a year ago lol.)

Limited edition screen print from the DGD 10 year anniversary tour. That was a….very strange night because it was after I finally knocked Jonny Craig off the pedestal of my heart and started to see him for what he really is: a toxic man who manipulates, abuses, assaults and turns women into addicts. But, he was there that night because the BIG DRAW of this tour was that the two former singers (Jonny and Kurt Travis) were reprising their roles alongside current singer Tillian Pearson. Back when I decided to paint this wall pink, I knew that this print was going to be the centerpiece.

That prayer card is from my birth dad’s funeral – morbid much? I have a collection of prayer cards – the one in the picture below is from my Aunt Cecilia who died when I was like 1 or 2 and I have no memory of her aside from the fact that the furniture in our guest room in the first house I grew up in was hers and the whole room had that really heavy, antique-y scent to it. I also remember that there was green and pink taffy-like candy in one of the desk drawers and I ate it, thinking I was really showing my mom who was boss because I feel like I wasn’t supposed to be hanging out in that room, only to find out later that it was literally sticky tack. Also, fun fact, Cecilia is my confirmation name.

Also, Fall Out Boy concert ticket from before they became MTV and I Heart Radio darlings, and an ICP concert ticket which makes me laugh every time I look at it, what a night.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my beloved Marcy, nee Marciples von Schlugenhusen. I miss her every single fucking day. Above her is a bumper sticker from the Day After Day soap pop-up at Ader Error in Seoul:

Chooch and Blake Pumpkinhead.

I kept this china cup that I found when I was cleaning out my aunt Sharon’s room a few years ago. I only just recently moved it from a curio cabinet to my desk and that’s when I noticed that there was still a Chinese price sticker on it. I have a VAGUE recollection of Sharon mentioning that she had been to China, but I asked my mom because I am a SRS BLOGGER who likes to collect the FACTS. My mom didn’t have a lot of information to provide aside from yes, Sharon had visited China and it was before I was born, so sometime in the 70s, I’d imagine. Sharon worked in the Sports Medicine department of the University of Pittsburgh for-fucking-ever (all the way up the early 2000s) and according to my mom, this was a work-related trip and she was accompanying Dr. Freddie Fu, an orthopedic surgeon so world renown, he has his own Wiki page.

This is so interesting to me! One of the many times I have wished a close relative was still alive so that I can ask questions for my imaginary book.

(Fun fact: whenever I would butt into adult convos as a kid, my Pappap would ask, “Are you writing a book? Well, leave this chapter out.” Lol. I think about that probably once a week, not gonna lie.)

Marquis de Sade painting from an unknown painting, taken from my grandparents’ clown room. The piece above it is from an artist in Seoul. I bought it from her in Insadong on our first trip!

Here is a photo of my bro Corey and me at the world’s largest cuckoo clock in Sugarcreek Ohio!

Chooch with Bradley Walden from Emarosa; another beautiful photo of Marcy <3

Framed photo of my Pappap that I used to keep on my desk when I worked at the shitty meat factory so the owners would be constantly reminded of the family I came from; a REALLY DAMAGED Polaroid of the time my BFF Christy “married” my brother Corey in our basement and I was the flower girl. Fun fact: SHE WAS ALREADY MARRIED TO MY OTHER BROTHER RYAN!! They married one summer before Corey was born, on a hammock in our backyard. I have a vivid memory of Ryan coming out of the house with some kind of snack – Twizzlers maybe? – and when I reached for me, he withdrew his hand real quick and snapped, “These are for my babe!”

Dance Gavin Dance lyrics handwritten by Tillian! The mat is custom-made by Henry.

Popcorn container from Everland in Korea! I use it as a purse and then people are like I LIKE YOUR PURSE OMG and Chooch gets mad.

Some reading material! One of my lovely Instagram friends, Tousled Elegance, sent me this AWESOME Cure comic several years ago – let me just tell you that it’s not easy for people to find Cure memorabilia that I don’t already have, so this was really exciting!

Well, that’s it for the former art nook. I think I am going to hang more pictures on the pink wall though and I definitely want to get a neon strawberry sign to complement the Dance Gavin Dance 10th anniversary print!

Um, I was going to make some empty promise that one day my blog posts will be exciting again but then I remembered that they never really were, pandemic or no pandemic oh hahaha ugh.

Mar 232021
 

A BITE

The other day, I had this blast-from-the-past memory of biting some bitch on the face. I was pretty sure, like 90% positive, that this was a real event but still decided to text my mom to confirm. And yes, it’s true: when I was 3 or 4 and we lived in my step-dad’s house in Castle Shannon (HATED LIVING THERE*), I bit the little blond-haired bitch that lived next door to us and luckily it was not Connie, who was a girl I was actually friends with (there is a picture of us both in overalls, sitting with my step-dad at a picnic table in his backyard, and we actually look like we could be sisters).

*(For some reason, my dad had a blue lightbulb in the light at the top of the steps and there have been numerous times over the years when a light of that same shade has triggered me. My mom started dating my step-dad real soon after my birth dad died and I think even though I was still so young, moving into his house was still a big upheaval for me and I just never felt comfortable there. NOT EVEN WHEN CONNIE TAUGHT ME HOW TO MAKE MUD PIES. I’m really getting side-tracked here.)

Back to the bite:

My mom can’t remember the girl’s name, but she is certain I bit her face because she dared to do something to my beloved stuffed dog, Purple. (To this day, YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH MY PURPLE, OK.) Because this was back in 1983, life went on with nary a Go Fund Me or passive aggressive Facebook post. Probably our moms yelled at each other over a fence for a minute and then went back in their kitchens in time to pull out the pot roast.

(OH EW OMG I HATED POT ROAST – ANOTHER REASON I WENT MEAT-FREE.)

My mom mentioned that my victim also had an older brother and something inside me snapped.

“WERE THESE THE SAME KIDS THAT LEFT ME TO DIE IN THEIR TREEHOUSE?” I asked my mom AND SHE SAID YES. OMG you guys I think about these motherfuckers a lot because I am still high-key afraid of heights because of them!! One time I was at a playground with Chooch and I became paralyzed with fear after I climbed up on some higher level and then needed to climb back down AND I LITERALLY COULDN’T.

I mean, obviously I eventually did. But it took a bunch of taunting kids to push me over the ledge (like, literally).

Oh shit, I am so glad that I bit that bitch’s face. I bet if she has kids now, they’re real big dicks.

So I was telling Henry about this biting incident and he was like, “Yeah that doesn’t surprise me at all” and I had the audacity to ask why. He gave me A Look while projecting a reel of “me biting Henry” moments into the space between us. I CAN’T HELP IT, IT’S MY REFLEX OK I START CHOMPING LIKE A ZOMBIE. I bit his stomach the other night actually. We weren’t even doing anything, just watching TV and for some reason, my inner bully was like “MUST BITE HIS STOMACH” so I did.

Recently, he accidentally kicked Drew when he was walking through the kitchen and I was like I WILL AVENGE YOU, DREW so I got on my hands and knees and tried to bite Henry’s calves while he was cooking and he was like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU STOP IT and I was like NO I HAVE TO DO THIS FOR DREW and he was like SHE’S NOT EVEN LOOKING!!

Wow, now that I’m typing this all out, it occurs to me that maybe I have a problem.

A BURN

The other night, I was changing into my PJs when Henry yelled OMG WHAT IS THAT. Naturally, I started to panic, wondering if my Devil tail was now visible to human eyes. “What?!?” I screamed, trying to look at myself over my shoulder.

“ON YOUR LEGS!!!” Henry yelled, coming closer to inspect. I’m starting to wonder if he’s found cancerous moles on me or something, and he was getting more concerned the more he examined me. “You have circles all over your skin. Are these….burns?”

And then it all made sense, and I started laughing. “Oh! It’s probably from the heating pad. I sit on it while I’m working.”

“YOU SIT ON THE HEATING PAD??” he cried.

“Yeah, because I’m cold and it keeps me warm.” Um, le duh, amirite?

“You sit on that all day??” he asked. “Do you realize how hot that is?” Then he looked at the circles again and yelled, “THESE ARE BURNS, ERIN!”

I dunno why but this cracked me up a lot. The heating pad has these circle thingies on it and now my butt and thighs do, too.

A BOP

Gotta love fan-made videos!

This song has been in my head for weeks. Wonho has quickly become one of my faves. OH TWIST MY ARM, here’s another song from his new album!

(I actually hate the word “bop” and prefer “jam” but FOR THE SAKE OF BLOG POST NAMING CONVENTIONS, I went there.)

Mar 212021
 

Hello from my couch in Brookline. Today was v. nice, much sun, etc. so I made Henry go on a cemetery walk with me. It had been a while since we pounded pavement in that beautiful Calvary Cem, so that is where I chose to go. We stopped at Bae Bae’s first for some cold bev and LITERALLY THE BEST SNICKERDOODLE AND DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I HAVE EVER STUFFED INTO MY BIG FAT MOUTH. Henry is like part of some sacred snickerdoodle blood line and even he said PROBABLY when I asked him if it was the best he’s ever had.

Henry never gets very superlative up in this piece so that’s gotta be like the best review Bae Bae’s will ever get, sincerely.

Anyway, I had literally been crying about ten minutes prior to being like TAKE A PICTURE OF ME IN THIS HOODIE because look, I had found this hoodie way in the back recesses of my closet the other day and it just so happens that I bought it in 2007 when I was looking for the perfect top to wear with the pink tutu I had made specifically to flounce around in at Chooch’s 1st birthday party and I was like AT LEAST 70 pounds heavier then and this hoodie barely fit.

I mean, it actually didn’t really fit well at all – I could barely lift my arms because it was so snug.

But now it is all loose and even a little too big but super cozy and it brings back the best memories of when I was trying so hard to be a scene kid even though I WAS A NEW MOM not willing to admit that that ship had gon’ and straight SAILED.

So yes, please enjoy some pictures of me trying desperately to “pose” when my natural instinct is to put my arms up and do a weird tilt. The amount of times “why can’t you be normal” runs through my inner monologue on a daily basis is actually really sad – JUST LET ME BE ME, SELF! Ugh. I have so many personalities constantly arguing with each other on the inside should I be alarmed or nah.

Or jump. I’m also a big advocate for jumping poses. But that’s probably because Jillian Michaels has me trained to jump on cue.

I hate my mouth so I wanted to cover my mouth in all of the pictures but Henry was like STOP BEING WEIRD and it made me wish Chooch had been there (he had to say home and work on a powerpoint about STDs lololol and I suggested that he use pictures of the STD cookies that me, Blake and Janna made several years ago and he was like DAD SAID THE SAME THING. ALSO, NO.) because Chooch takes really good pictures of me (I mean, as good as you can get when you’re working with someone who has a Leno chin and resting&active ugly face.

Henry took this action shot of me pulling pine needles out of my hand. That was fun.

I’m also a fan of “RUNNING TOWARD THE CAMERA” shots.

HERE I COME.

Henry was like WOW YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD RUNNER I BET YOU WOULD LOOK GOOD RUNNING IN A WEDDING DRESS—

lololol jk he def did not say that.

Although now I’m laughing because my ex-friend Keri always said she imagined me being a runaway bride but instead I just get to be a never-bride hahahahah I’m not crying I’m laughing.

Me and my man JC. His hand was actually broken so it was very awkward to hold.

Here I am covering my mouth again and Henry was not a fan of the pose. Also, I was sitting on a tree butt.

Anyway, here’s a trip back to 2007 when I first wore the hoodie and it barely fit and I hadn’t lost a single pound of baby weight yet and my legs were THICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC.

I don’t miss 2007 at all but I do really miss those Draven shoes, like a lot a lot a lot..

OK thanks for joining me on this photo-journey. I hope you had as much of an OK time as I did.

OH one more thing!!!! I fixed an Easter decoration that had fallen down in front of a grave so pass that shit on to God or whoever.

P.S. Bonus picture of Dumb Henry a/k/a Him Man.

Mar 202021
 

I’m tired and sad and have no intro other than: here are some words and pictures.

  • One day last week, I was at my usual spot at the front window, talking to the squirrels because that’s my life now. I’m like Gorillas in the Mist except more toward Squirrels on the Porch. ANYWAY!! You know that I call all t he brown ones “Buddy” and all the gray ones are “Mr. Gray Guy” because I am so fucking original, can you stand it. So this one particular instance, one of the Buddys was here and I was half-hanging out the window talking to him. Right as I was saying BUDDY, YOU’RE SO CUTE in my (according to my housemates) creepy squirrel tone, I looked up and made direct eye contact with some man who was walking by and had no idea that there was a squirrel on the other side of the porch pillar so it looked like 100% I was cat-calling this dumb man. That was fun.
  • Henry and I went to some fleatique place last Saturday and I wanted this painting SO BAD but it was like 10 feet tall and $2000. Then I got my stimulus and Henry joked that I could go back and get it but then quickly yelled JUST KIDDING IT WON’T FIT IN THE HOUSE. I mean, we could hang it horizontally but OK.

  • But then we went to Global Market in Squirrel Hill and I got this glorious elephant mobile from India which really adds a “pop” of color lol.

  • Henry, looking at the “13 years ago today” pictures on Google drive on his phone, asked me, “Wtf are these??” I glanced and said, “Oh, that’s the homeless guy I picked up at a gas station & drove to a diner at midnight, and the others are pictures of the cleaning guy I was obsessed with at my old job.” Henry was like, “They look like they were taken at a mental institution.” I mean, that old job really was in a super dismal building, and in the basement of it no less. I really hated working there.
  • And here is a conversation that Chooch and I had the other day:

Me: I can’t remember what I used to feed you for breakfast & lunch when you were little. Do you remember?

Chooch: No.

~a pause~

Me: …I might not have fed you.

Then we both cracked up at the same time. At least we can laugh about these things?!

  • Oh shit, St. Patrick’s Day Sugarspell Pint Pre-Order! I don’t like 3/17 but I love the shamrock-y flavs. Pot o’ Golden Milk is my fave because it’s A GOLDEN LATTE. I really love turmeric even though it’s a really dumb word to say.

  • This cute picture of Chooch matching the wall and Drew matching Chooch:

  • Oh! I can’t believe I forgot to mention that 2 weekends ago we got takeout from a brand new African cuisine place that MAKES FUFU!! They also had puff puff but the ones we got were over cooked so bad that we couldn’t even eat them so overall the experience was just so-so. Also I prefer the version of fufu that Henry makes because the recipe he got for it uses plantain and cassava and this place only uses cassava. It was still good! But I like the texture of the plantain one. I guess there are all different kinds of ways to make fufu & it varies by region. I dunno, I’m still learning!

  • Penelope always looks either angry or morose.
  • You guys it’s 6pm on Saturday and I have a legit headache from the hours I spent stalking squirrels today. Henry told me I’m “so weird” but you have no idea how close I am to TAMING ONE OF THESE BUDDYS AND HAVING HIM CUDDLE WITH ME WHILE WEARING A CUTE LITTLE SWEATER AND BERET. At one point, I was in the backyard while five of them were frolicking in the tree branches watching me like I was crazy. One literally sprawled out on his stomach on a branch like “lessee how dis is gon’ play out.”

I don’t want to type anymore. Goodbye, my guy(s).

Mar 192021
 

I know that donating to charities or fundraisers, or patronizing Asian-owned restaurants and shops isn’t something that’s feasible for everyone, especially while we’re in a pandemic, so I’ve really been over here trying to think of ways to help support the Asian community (this of course is in addition to BEING ALLIES, educating ourselves/friends/children/families, and curb-stomping hate speech and hate crimes when we see it!!). And I realized, duh, 75% of the content I watch on YouTube is made by Asian creators so today I am going to be sharing five of my favorites because watching their videos not only supports them financially, but you might actually learn some things about their culture as well.

  1. Ashley Choi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8-k8-FlJGY

Ashley is a (sometimes) Kpop idol living in Seoul and her vlogs are so adorable. They’re called the Adulting Series and they make Henry laugh because she has the same amount of adulting skills as me. She’s good friends with another Korean vlogger I love – Joan Kim – and I honestly have added so much to our past Seoul itineraries based on the cafes and boutiques they frequent in their vlogs.

Ashley was in a group called Ladies Code and now she does radio work, but a few years ago she had a solo comeback and this song still makes me smile so much!

2. Ur Mom Ashley

OK PLEASE JUST LISTEN TO ME. I am lowkey obsessed with Ashley and her siblings Amber and Andrew because they remind me of me and my brothers when we all still lived at home. It was CHAOS in the best way and watching these videos has been bringing so much joy and comfort to my life these days.  I literally laugh out loud so hard and then the cats get secondhand embarrassment. Sorry, cats, but ya’ll need to lighten up!

3. Strictly Dumpling

Do not watch Mikey’s videos on an empty stomach OMFG. This guy eats the best food and he can fucking CHOW DOWN, it’s actually remarkable to watch. Plus, he travels all over the world to eat said food, yeah boy.

4. CupofTJ

In case you couldn’t tell, my YouTube niche is food and travel lol. TJ is one of the cutest and most personable food &t travel vloggers out there, I promise you! And in the video I’m sharing, she meets up with MY FAVORITE SEOUL YOUTUBERS, Sarah & Kyuho, so consider this a 2-for-1 deal, OK?!

5. Fancy Nancy

I found Fancy Nancy on YouTube several years ago when she was living in Korea (she was teaching there) but now she’s back in the States and still amazing so you should go and watch her! She has a lot of daily vlogs but also a good bit of (pre-COVID) travel vlogs too. I’m obsessed with travel vlogs but there are A LOT OF REALLY ANNOYING TRAVEL YOUTUBERS out there. Fancy Nancy is not one of them!

I could do a post on some of my favorite Asian books too if anyone would be interested in that. Reading IS SUCH A GOOD WAY TO LEARN more about other cultures and people’s experiences!

Please please please remember that we cannot sit here drinking our matcha lattes, using our Hello Kitty waffle maker, reading manga while unwinding with a BTS MediHeal face mask AND IGNORE THE FACT THAT ASIANS ARE BEING MURDERED, THREATENED & BULLIED IN AMERICA. We cannot consume their media and eat their food and then not say shit. NOT ON MY WATCH.

Mar 182021
 

Something I think about a lot from the last year in quarantine is the time Chooch tried to make bread, when we still had energy and drive in the early days of STAYING HOME. I feel like even though it was only a year ago, it deserves a repost because it was originally posted in a week-long isolation recap and who even reads that crap, amirite.

**********************

 

“Chooch, we’re going to make bread today.”

“……without HIM?” (HIM = Henry, clearly.)

“Yes! Someone posted recipes on Twitter. It looks easy.”

“Well, THAT’S something I can tell I’ll be quoting you on for the rest of my life.”

OK, scratch that idea. I just went back to the recipe I saw on Twitter and realized that there was way more to it than just this:

Apparently, the rest of the recipe was in the comments. It’s involved. Do we have baking powder? What is kosher salt? Something about sitting in a greased bowl for 30-60 minutes? I’ll pass.

In good, non-COVID news, Taemin has black hair again! Also, I really wish I was going through this pandemic hell in S. Korea, not the fucking dumb US. God, can we screw this up anymore? FORGET I ASKED THAT. DO NOT HOLD ANYONE’S BEER. GET BACK INTO ISOLATION.

UPDATE, 12:09:

Chooch is making the bread on his own. Where the fuck is the baking powder, he asked, gesturing to the open cupboard full of UNLABELED CONTAINERS OF WHITE POWDERS.

‘This could all be cocaine for all we know!” I cried. Now Henry is on speaker phone. He is very unhappy about how this Friday is progressing.

Apparently the baking powder is in a plastic container that says “baking powder.” I would have hung up on Henry’s ass by now.

OMG IF I HEAR “BAKING POWDER” ONE MORE TIME. This call has dragged on for like 11 minutes. Henry just yelled, “I have to go! I don’t have time for this!”

Lol, I found the baking powder immediately  and now Chooch is mad. He dropped the butter on the ground so I told him  to just wash it off but then we both looked at it and I said, “Um, just throw it out.” Then we fucked up because I dumped all the water in at once, before Chooch had a chance to “mix the dry ingredients” and then apparently even the water was supposed to be added gradually? Why? It’s all going to end up in the same place eventually anyway?

I feel like we made some progress because after stirring it for a bit, it resembles real life dough! I got bored though so now Chooch is doing the rest alone.

12:44PM This might go down as the worst idea ever. The dough is like melted paste – is this right!?

The recipe never told us what to do with the butter. We used our collective noggins to assume that it was for greasing the bowl, so then Chooch made me wash out the Pam that I had originally (handsomely) spritzed it with. We are now letting the dough sit for 30-60 minutes. Is it going to expand into a carb-loaded Jabba the Hut and suffocate us? TIME WILL TELL.

1:50PM: Time to cook this gooey blob! I just noticed that the recipe on Twitter said to HEAT A GRIDDLE. THE FUCK? I was like “Can’t we just use the oven?” and Chooch was like I don’t know so I was scrolling through the Twitter comments and I said, “Oh look! This person asked, ‘Can I use an oven'” and Chooch goes, “Yeah that was me. That was LITERALLY ME.”

I have a headache.

Good thing we have those fire blankets.

YOU GUYS I’m positive we didn’t make these as intended but, against all odds, they taste fucking delicious. The first one came out the most normal looking. The rest are like, dough scraps but still delicious.

We made a penis-shaped one for Henry!

A half hour later, I glanced in the kitchen. “I guess we should just leave this for him to clean up?” And then Chooch and I scream-laughed our faces off. I think we’ve reached peak isolation. It has to be all downhill from here.

Oh wait, but then Henry told me that he ripped his pants today and didn’t realize it until he went back to the office and one of his coworkers said, “Nice underwear.” Yes, this is my favorite part of today’s isolation.

In case you were wondering if beverage deliverymen are essential during a pandemic, that would be a yes. Henry still has to work and his skin is basically burning off his hands from manic-application of hand sanitizer.

5:00PM: Henry just came home and is so mad. “I’m not cleaning that!” he yelled, but now he’s in there cleaning it. Chooch let the “dough” dry on the rolling pin and Henry is very upset about this. Also, he tried the bread and threw it back on the plate. Chooch and I were so insulted, but then I took a bite, and you know, now that they’ve been laying there for a few hours, I can tell that um, these actually aren’t fully cooked, lol. It’s pretty raw, is that why my stomach hurts do you think?

Chooch reminded me that there wasn’t egg in it at least.

A week later, we looked up allegedly “easy” vegan recipes that we could potentially make during the day since our chef isn’t home, but the first one I put on immediately wanted us to peel a potato and I screamed PEEL IT YOURSELF and started to look for another recipe video but lost interest at an alarming speed and put on a Booktube video instead. But then Chooch found some “Easy Naan-type bread” video but it called for lemon juice for some reason and we don’t have that, so he texted Henry “bring home lemon juice” 8x and Henry responded, “Do you need lemon juice?” because he thinks he’s so fucking funny, about as funny as a fifth grade science teacher from the 70s.

Anyway, Henry came home from work with the lemon juice and suddenly Chooch is a bread baker. I had zero hand in it, which is probably why it turned out ok. He came out of the kitchen with a ball of dough in his meat-mitts and said, “Mom! Look!” and I was like, “Holy shit, that looks like real dough and not that weird-ass paste shit we made last week!” which, to be fair, we determined was my fault because I threw the recipe in the air and just plopped everything together in a bowl at once, and apparently there is a reason why you need to mix the dry ingredients alone and then SLOWLY add the wet shit LITTLE BY LITTLE. Who knew?!

I guess a trillion bakers before me.

****

Sadly, that was the last time Chooch baked bread. I should have goaded him into making Irish soda bread yesterday even though I make a point of not celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, UGHHHH.

Anyway, if you have any easy bread recipes that you’d like to see Chooch try, let me know!

Mar 172021
 

Hello guys. I think we’re all on the same page here because I can’t imagine any racists being able to stomach the writings of this fragile, liberal snowflake so unless you’re here to hate-read I think we’re pretty much aligned in our social stances, but I’d still be remiss to not firmly state that I stand with the Asian community and if I EVER hear anyone slinging slurs, calling it “the China virus,” or flashing even the slightest side-eye at an Asian person, I will fucking throw down.

Here at Oh Honestly Central, we’re regular supporters of Asian-owned businesses but we definitely have been more mindful of ramping up our efforts since the pandemic hit. We (but REALLY Henry) love getting produce at Asian markets. Even just on that sweet potato tip, you guys, you literally cannot find a tastier one anywhere else, and don’t even say Whole Foods. I’m always shocked when I tell people that we shop at Asian markets and then THEY’RE shocked to find out that Pittsburgh has one – but there are actually quite a few here! So if you’re looking to support your Asian community on that ramen and novelty candy front, definitely check to see if your town has an Asian market.

Our personal favorites are WFH Oriental and Many More Asian Market, both located in the Strip District.

What really gets me is when white people make racist jokes against Asians, but then they LOVE THEM SOME SUSHI. White people do this shit to Black people too. You know the types: the broad who slides into her lululemon for her Cardi B-soundtracked spin class but then won’t sit next to the Black man on the bus. The redneck who posts Asian stereotype memes and then chases it down with a double order of General Tso’s. Don’t be that person! But DO BE the person who appreciates and respects Asian cuisine. Restaurants in general are really hurting right now, and Asian restaurants are DEFINITELY suffering. Consider getting some take out this week!

Here in Pgh, we really like Nak Won Garden for Korean food, Tong Garden for Chinese (FUN FACT: Chooch is friends with the son of the owners!), Thai Spoon has my favorite winter curry,  Bae Bae’s Cafe is awesome if you want delicious chocolate chip cookies (possibly the best in the ‘Burgh??) and bingsu, and Ineffable Ca Phe has the best banh mi (a tofu option, even!) and Vietnamese coffee around!

AND HAVE YOU EVER HAD ASIAN BREAD?? Good lord people – check your city for Asian bakeries. We’re addicted to Pink Box and Sumi’s Cakery. My favorite is milk bread, oh fuck yeah.

And don’t stop there! While you’re eating your bibimbap or pho at home, watch some Asian TV! Netflix has SO MUCH to choose from there days! I’m currently watching the second season of Love Alarm and plan on starting Sisyphus this weekend! YouTube is also awesome if you want to learn more about various cultures or engage in some virtual travel. We’ve been watching a lot of Drew Binsky’s vlogs lately and have learned SO MUCH about different countries.

Oh! Read books by Asian authors! ESPECIALLY own voices/memoirs. One that I read recently was Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran. It was equal parts hilarious, superbly written, educational, and also infuriating.

If you’re looking to put your money where your mouth is, NY Mag has a great list here.

When I was a kid and learned the term “melting pot,” I thought that was so cool, that AMERICA was so cool. Because we are a country full of so many different cultures! It’s a beautiful thing and it blows my mind that not everyone sees it that way. Imagine how boring and plain this country would be if we didn’t have so many different people sharing their cultures.

And lastly, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING, BUT ALSO REPORT THE THING!!!!

Mar 162021
 

Oh you guys, you guys, you guys, oh you guys. We took a short road trip to Keystone State Park (only abut an hour away) for some Nature Time and it was JUST WHAT I NEEDED, to quote the ineffable Ric Ocasek. I have been trying very hard to maintain perspective and keep my privilege in check during the past pandemic’d year but trying to remain diligent about social distancing and borderline quarantining in conjunction with DREADED WINTER has really made me crack. So when I saw that it was going to be sunny and mild on Sunday, I screamed at Henry to find somewhere to go and of course he didn’t so I was like “CAN’T WE GO TO  THAT PLACE WE WENT THAT ONE TIME AND THE PARK RANGER WAS LIKE ‘HERE IS A TRAIL YOU CAN TAKE’ AND YOU WERE LIKE ‘THANKS CUZ’ AND THEN WROTE A LETTER TO YOUR MOMMY ABOUT HOW A PARK RANGER PAID ATTENTION TO YOU” and surprisingly, Henry knew exactly where I meant. I mean, after TWENTY YEARS OF DATING, you get the psychic equivalent of synced menstrual cycles.

It started off semi-annoying because we wanted to get lunch from Sheetz first but the app was being a piece of shit and wouldn’t accept my order so Henry ended up having to go in and order in person and apparently they were having a problem with the system because all three of my orders actually did go through lolololol. I love their veggie wraps (it’s the BOOM BOOM sauce that makes it, guys) so I would have gladly taken all three but I guess they were smart enough to know that the others were dupes so they only made one.

PROBABLY FOR THE BEST because I always get it loaded with jalapenos and banana pepper rings which would have made for an uncomfortable car ride home probably.

It was windy on Sunday, which is why Chooch looks like he’s trying to hold his head in place post-decap.

WOO NATURE!

The first 30 minutes or so was dicey because Chooch was being a surly teenager and I was like THIS SUCKS WHY DID WE BRING HIM but then we eventually remembered how to publicly family again.

Chooch found this stick  immediately upon exiting the car and subsequently spawned an unhealthy attachment, as he is wont to do with inanimate objects – he must get that from Henry.

Yeah, from Henry.

There was a public restroom up ahead that  Henry and Chooch stopped at and then after we started walking again, Chooch realized he left that dumb stick at the bathroom and was wavering on whether or not to go back to get it. I mean, we have only been walking for about a minute before he realized so we hadn’t gone that far but I started goading him for being TOO SCARED to go back alone and he was like STFU and ran back to get it. I noticed a set of steps leading down to a little clearing near the water, and it was situated in such a way that you couldn’t really see it from the main path, so I giddily whispered to Henry, “LET’S HIDE FROM HIM.” Henry actually went along with it, I guess because it didn’t require any squatting, crouching, or squeezing between things.

It was HI-LARRY-OUS to watch Chooch run back with his reclaimed stick, continue running right past us, slow down eventually and start looking all around, frantically. Of course Henry was like LET US NOT TRAUMATIZE THE CHILD and ended the game way sooner than I would have liked but it was still super fun, especially when Chooch kept saying he wasn’t scared BECAUSE HE WAS TOTALLY SCARED.

Hiding from and scaring people is honestly my national past time. It gives me THE BIGGEST THRILL. Like riding my own make believe roller coaster in my mind!! (WHILE HIDING BEHIND TREES, ROCKS, CURTAINS, ETC.)

My giddy growler was uncorked at this point and EVERYTHING WAS SIDE-SPLITTINGLY FUNNY TO ME….

Like when we came upon some signage with BAT INFORMATION on it and inspected the neighboring BAT HABITAT and Chooch said, “What if a person fell out, like Lost Boys” and then Henry started to say, “When I was a kid—-”

and I cut him off to say, “A VAMPIRE FELL OUT OF YOUR HOUSE?” and then I couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of Young Henry hiding under a couch from a vampire. (I was about to type here what Henry actually said but I couldn’t remember so I just asked Chooch, who originally tried to walk away as soon as I said “vampire” because this whole scene was so annoying to him, but then he heard me out and said, “He never got to finish his sentence because you cut him off and then wouldn’t stop laughing!”)

You guys, I laughed every bad feeling and thought out of my body that afternoon, I really think I did. I mean, I was SO SET OFF that I had to keep squatting down to keep from peeing my pants and then I was sobbing at one point because that’s what happens when I laugh too hard – my brain gets confused and starts thundering, then HOLA!!! HERE COME THE TEARS!

There were other people around too and they probably Really Wondered about me. Like, Really Really.

And then out of the blue, Chooch said to the surrounding trees, “And thanks to the Vampire Act of 1892, we never had to worry about vampires again” and now I was practically puking, why was this so funny, this dumb  comment about vampires next to a stupid lake in some place called KEYSTONE STATE PARK.

AND THEN THERE WERE PEOPLE FISHING AND I ASKED HENRY IF HE KNEW THEM AND NOW I WAS READY TO BE ADMITTED INTO A STATE HOSPITAL. JUST GO AHEAD, TAKE ME AWAY.

I had to pretend like I was interested in reading this plaque so I could hide my ugly laugh-contorted face from passers-by. These poor people, thinking they could come out to KEYSTONE STATE PARK for a nice peaceful stroll and here I am, emitting my shrieky cackle into the air, sending volaries of birds ca-cawing off to the horizon.

And by the way, fuck off, Harry Miller.

j/k sir, you seem nice.

Then I started laughing again, imagining a young Hank being terrorized by Eddie Munster; I had to bury my head in Henry’s side, so he asked, “What are you laughing at?” but I couldn’t answer so Chooch sighed and said, “Seriously? She’s still laughing at that dumb vampire comment from like 20 minutes ago” and it turns out that Henry had no idea that any of this had even happened. Like, I had just been acting like a live-action commercial for laughing gas for all this time and he just didn’t notice?!

Tried to take a selfie of Henry and me right here but couldn’t my face to relax so I looked like claymation, lol.

So Chooch took one and I look so dumb because I was on the precipice of more laughter. OMG my face hurts at the memory of all the laughing I did that day.

Then Chooch noticed that Henry had somehow acquired a walking stick too, and was complaining about it because Chooch is the only person in the world who can have walking sticks, so I said, “but he needs it for slaying vampires” except that it came out as, “HE NEEDS DGDDSDAUGDAUUDHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAOMGOWWWWWWWWW!!!!”

I can’t believe they didn’t push me in the lake.

Then we had to stop at the same Sheetz that got all 3 of my veggie wrap orders so that I could pee before my giddiness caused me to give birth to a pee-baby, and it occurred to me that it was the first time I peed in a Sheetz since before the pandemic and that was a weird thought.

***

Later that night, I tried to explain the vampire thing to Henry but I was laughing so hard all over again that I couldn’t breathe and then I started choking and Henry just stared at me.

What a great excursion! It almost felt like things were normal again. It also reminded me of when Chooch and I were so fucking giddy in Jongno and Henry was so angry haha.

Mar 142021
 

I’m relaxing after spending some time in The Great Outdoors with my fam, so I thought, WOW WHAT A GREAT TIME TO WRITE ON MY BLOG. Last week was pretty OK and I have some photos to prove it, so…shall we? Literally, all of my week consists of is: work, cats, squirrels, exercise. Rinse, repeat. But I was able to scrounge up some other shit to memorialize, lucky you.

First, on Tuesday I got the new SHINee album in the mail (it arrived during my dreaded weekly work meeting so that was nice timing) and then later that day, I got a big box of delights from Olive Young – straight from Korea! They were having a big sale and I always justify buying extra in order to hit that free shipping sweet spot, lol.

OMG these almonds (well, not this flavor specifically, but the brand) are SO POPULAR in Korea. We maxed out on the honey butter flavor both times we were there and they were building an entire store for these almonds when we were there the second time! I hope we go back again because I want to go to that store and buy all the flavors. We brought back a bunch last time but IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. I don’t remember them having this baked corn flavor last time so I giddily added it to the cart and can now confirm that they are delicioso. (There’s actual dried corn kernals in the package too!)

But anyway, this SHINee photo book is absolute fucking art. I am in awe of the photography within these pages. I got the Onew photocard! My friend Nate was asking me about the album the other day at work and totally opened Pandora’s Box because I just started typing uncontrollably and then he Googled Onew I guess because he was happy to tell me that he and Onew are the same height. So then I shared with him one of their recent live performances of Heart Attack and he asked, “I bias his yellow sweater. Is that how that works?” LOL.

Of course the Taemin pages are my faves but can we take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is Onew? I  think if Taemin wasn’t in SHINee, Onew would be my bias. He is also disturbingly underrated as a vocalist.

The twin to my own bird photo!

It was sickeningly spring-esque on Wednesday, so Chooch and I went for a much-needed lunch break walk. The weather has just been so shitty this winter that I have not been motivated to go on lunch break walks and have instead been doing walking workouts in the house, or walking in place while watching TV. This makes me sad, because when we were working in the office pre-pandemic, there was very little that kept me at my desk for my lunch break. Granted, there were times when I came back sopping back because my iPhone weather app lied to me and I left without an umbrella, but I always got my fucking steps in.

ANYWAY. We went to Muddy Cup which is a place we love to support because every one who works there is so wonderful and their coffee is fantastic, but more often than not they have been fucking up our orders lately. This last time, I didn’t realize I was overcharged until after we left – the owner added a $3 iced tea to our order! I was going to go back and tell her, but then I got distracted because some young guy zoomed past us on his bicycle, blasting “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears which made me shout, “I LOVE THAT SONG” and Chooch said, “Wow. I feel like I’m in an 80s movie” and then I was in a great mood and forgot all about the overcharging but now that I’m typing this and reliving the injustice, I’m getting angry again. Is it too late to go back and complain!?!? It’s been 5 days. Lol.

A few minutes later, we were walking past a bookstore and I always like to stop and call out all the books I’ve read because it infuriates Chooch, and that is when I noticed….

THIS BOOK CALLED “HEAD OVER HEELS”!!!!!

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!

That I’m going to fall down a set of steps, probably.

In more consumer news, I finally took the plunge and bought a variety pack of this cereal that I kept getting ads for on Instagram. I went as far as adding them to my cart a few weeks ago but I am a very wishy washy online shopper in that I often need some sense of justification before completing a transaction. I don’t really buy much on a whim, which kind of goes against my Leo/bi-polar-ness. But then my friend Bridget mentioned this cereal on her IG stories last week and I was like BUT ARE THEY GOOD and she said she genuinely likes them and that was the push I needed. They arrived the other day and I am happy to report that this cereal REALLY IS GOOD. I mean, they’re not “AS GOOD” as the cereal brands they were created to replace, but they are just sweet enough without making you feel like you’re eating diet food, and because the protein count is so high, I am so satiated and not looking to lunch at 9:30am like I normally would be after having a bowl of regular cereal for breakfast.

I approve, and now I want to try the other flavors.

Also can we talk about how pleasing the packaging is!??!

Obligatory Penelope picture and BUDDY VIDEO!

 

Mar 132021
 

My eyes and brain are no longer teammates: I read that highlighted part up there as “a young girl eats potpourri out of her dead best friend.” This is where I am in life right now. Almost inspires me to start writing flash fiction again?

Have a happy weekend, everybody.

Mar 112021
 

Not a whole lot happened, but some things did happen, and here are those things.

I started watching Ginny & Georgia on Netflix. I never heard of it until I saw it featured on Friday and I thought to myself, “OK I could go for some light family sitcom bullshit right about now” but wow that show had some dark moments! Anyway, I did that thing that I always do when I’m watching TV which is spend an absurd amount of time on IMDB and HOLY SHIT that show has a ton of Degrassi grads on it! So many that there is actually a BuzzFeed article about it?!

Then there is this one girl who was in one episode and at a glance she reminded me of someone, and then I finally realized it was the “girl from that Superman show. The new-ish one. The one that was on the WB or whatever…you know…..SMALLVILLE!” I screamed at Henry. Wow, that one almost gave me a stroke from all the mind-strain. So then of course I had to look up Smallville to find the name of the girl (Kristen Kreuk) because I wanted to see if they were related (they are not). THEN a few minutes later I was looking up another person from Ginny & Georgia and he was in a movie or show with….KRISTEN KREUK. Literally, this is a person who I haven’t thought of since I used to wear whatever those fake UGGs were called in the early 2000s and now she was coming up twice in 10 minutes, I was screaming.

Man, what were those fake UGGs called? I remember my friend Stacey made fun of me for wearing them because she said I didn’t seem like the type, but they were so comfortable to wear to haunted houses!!!

EMUs!! They were called EMUs, lololol.

AnyHOO, I binged that whole mothercheffin’ show over the weekend and have none regertz. NONE REGERTZ.

On one of Henry’s many trips to The Store, he came back with “toys” for Chooch and nothing for Drew and me. That wasn’t really a memorable moment but I liked this picture and wanted to INCLUDE IT IN THIS BLOG POST OK?

(In case you ever wondered, yes, I type EXTRA HARD AND ANGRY when I’m CAPSCREAMING.)

I don’t remember how it happened, but Henry and I ended up watching a “Top 100 Kpop Videos as of March 2021” video countdown on YouTube. We’ve watched these in the past – it just shows you a couple seconds of each video with stats at the bottom, like what number the video peaked at, what position it was in last month, etc. It’s really annoying now though because the more popular BTS gets, the more their psycho fans go back and stream every single video so they are ALL OVER these countdowns. (And Twice. And Blackpink.) Henry and I were getting so angry about it (especially considering these isn’t a single SHINee video on it anymore – don’t worry though, BIGBANG is still representing!) that you would have thought we were watching a sports thing if you had walked by because we were both standing up in front of the TV (wait, I think only Henry was, but I was lurched forward on the couch, high anxiety), SHOUTING OUR GUESSES and acting like true ridiculous dumbasses. When it got to the Top 10, I was screaming shit like, “IT BETTER NOT BE ALL BTS!” and Henry was like, “THERE WILL PROBABLY BE AT LEAST ONE MORE BLACKPINK!” and I started screaming all the BTS songs that hadn’t appeared yet and every single one of my guesses was in the Top 10 (BTS-wise) and that brought us to the #1 spot. I remembered that only the Hyuna version of Gangnam Style had appeared on the list thus far, so I yelled, “WAIT! IT COULD STILL BE PSY!”

AND THEN IT WAS!!! IT WAS PSY’S GANGNAM STYLE!!! Henry and I were screaming like the Pens just won the Stanley Cup, we were THAT happy it wasn’t BTS, lol.

However, seeing some of those older BTS videos made me yearn for their pre-Americanized era. I used to really like them so much! And I still have nothing against them, just their toxic fans.

Then Henry and I went to Target and talked about our old Riot Fest memories for some reason and then I couldn’t remember the name of the band La Dispute and spent the whole ride to Target and the entire time walking around Target trying to remember but all I could think of was the one song where he screams CAN I STILL GET INTO HEAVEN IF I KILL MYSELF and anyway, I clearly remembered at some point that it was La Dispute since I already said it. Try to keep up.

But man, we had some really good times at Riot Fest! Too bad it got shitty.

The next day, Henry was “at The Store” again and someone knocked on the door! I was scared!! But I thought maybe it was just HNC so I opened it cautiously. It was not HNC but some older Yinzer lady holding a CLIPBOARD. Oh boy. My favorite.  She was collecting signatures so her boss could be a judge or something, I don’t know, I’m a really bad listener. Her approach was very LOOK I DON’T WANT TO BE DOING THIS which is honestly something I could appreciate because I feel like that would be my lead-in too. I mean, she wasn’t asking for money or for me  to sign up for some fly-by-night utility company that would up forwarding my calls to a local tattoo parlor (this is a true story and the guy who owned that place was NOT HAPPY because this was back when I didn’t have a cell phone and people used to actually call my house a lot, see also: pre-Henry, when I had a life). While I was signing her dumb petition, she peered around me and in her thick smoker’s voice, she croaked, “WHOA YOU HAVE A REALLY COOL HOUSE. YOU REALLY DO!” and I was like “Wow thanks I’m so glad that the first person to see my DIY updates is some rando collecting signatures for her boss with a matchbook law degree. But still, I was happy that someone saw  it and liked it! However, she went next door after that,  to Blake’s, and I heard her says, “OH, AREN’T YOU A DOLL!” to one of Henry’s grandkids so now I’m not sure I can trust this lady’s opinion.

(J/k but they do sound like lil monstas on the other side of our wall lol.)

Henry was cleaning the bedroom and I was like LET ME SEE IF THERE ARE ANY CLOTHES THAT I CAN GET RID AWAY. Negative. I’m a clotheshorse. I love all of my clothes and will not part with them. However, I thought that maybe I could reorganize my dresser drawers since my method of putting away clothes is balling them up and punching them into an already-overstuffed drawer and then using the HIP-BUMP method to close it. So I dumped the first drawer out on the bed and Henry was like “here do it like this” and I thought that he would just DO IT FOR ME but sadly this story DOES NOT HAVE A FAIRY TALE ENDING because he only demonstrated on two shirts and then went back to his own stuff?!!?!? SO I HAD TO FOLD EVERYTHING MYSELF?? IT TOOK ALL DAY! (He said it was only an hour but this is *my* sob story not his, so.)

Then I wanted cauliflower pizza for dinner so that is what Henry made me:

And that was my weekend. It was OK! The weather was fairly decent I think but I can’t remember because it’s Thursday now and who cares.

Mar 092021
 

Henry went to bed early and I’m bored & wanted to blog but also am lacking the brain power for that shit but then I thought HEY ERIN U HAVE NOT DONE A THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE POST IN A MIN so I forced myself to get off the couch, spun around with my eyes closed in various rooms and then took a picture of whatever junk my eyes landed on.

Hello. This bell is something I bought for no good reason from some antique place on the south side in 1998 and then had the BRILLIANT IDEA to keep it in my car (1995 Eagle Talon called Cassie Layne* named by my friend Kenny who said I looked like some soap opera character of the same name) to use as a makeshift horn after my actual car horn died (it sounded like a sick mule for a few mths first though).

*(Wow it took me this many years to actually look that shit up – presumably because I didn’t have an iPhone to Google that shit the second Kenny said it – but no, no I really did not look like her.)

Next to the bell is a lightbulb filled with Chooch’s baby teeth. Duh.

In the kitchen, we have international candy! Henry is so happy that my candy purchases stay in the house now and aren’t being swept away from and into the law firm office where it’s enjoyed by…next to no one. And that’s pre pandemic lol!

Here is a piggy bank that Chooch made when he was taking pottery classes as a…7-year-old? 8? Who can keep track anymore.

And speaking of Chooch, here is a picture from the time we went to Gayle’s wedding!

I made that frame for it and that stupid baby doll falls off so much, it’s annoying.

Well. I guess that was five things. I also guess that five is ingrained in my head as some important number WHY I WONDER.

DID SESAME STREET TEACH ME THIS?

kbye!

Mar 082021
 

I am really a great blogger and book reviewer, don’t you think?

Anyway, here are the remaining 5 books i read last month while they’re still fresh on my mind, LOL,  that’s a joke, nothing stays fresh on my mind longer than 20  minutes these days.


8. Theme Music – T. Marie Vandelly

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Hot damn, I was REALLY looking for a legit creepy horror novel and this bitch served. The premise is that the main character, in her 20s, discovers that her childhood home is for sale. Oh yeah, this is also the place where her father ax-murdered her entire family in the kitchen when she was a baby, sparing her. So she does what ANY of us would do and…you know, buys it.

Her boyfriend is like THE FUCK OUTTA HERE when she finally fesses up and tells him the history of the house, so he won’t move in and now their relationship is strained and oh yeah, her dead family is all “yo welcome home” and walking around with their heads caved in and shit. The descriptions were SICKENING and GORY and painted a gloriously grotesque scene for me. Also, it’s narrated by the main character and her thoughts are twisted and often HILARIOUS. I love when a horror story can effortlessly weave humor into the narrative without coming off as cheesy or slapstick.

It kept me guessing all  the way to the end – REALLY enjoyed this one a lot!

9. In a Holidaze – Christina Lauren

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After Theme Music’s carnage, I was looking for some levity and Scribd had “Holidaze” by Christina Lauren available. I’m not a super big romance person but I did read another one of their books last year and LOVED IT.

This is kind of like a Groundhog Day-style scenario where a young woman (I think she is in her mid-20s) keeps reliving the same day except that she’s able to make changes, but anytime she makes the wrong choice, something inevitably falls from the sky and lands on her head, causing er to once again wake up on Day One.

What I loved the most about this book is that the main character, her younger brother and her divorced parents have decades-old tradition where they spend Christmas vacation with family friends in a cabin owned by one of the families, and that dynamic is EVERYTHING. It makes me so sad that I don’t have anything like this in my life! Anyway, the book starts with the owners of the cabin telling the rest of the crew on the last day that they can no longer afford the upkeep of the cabin and are going to sell it.

Yes, there’s a romance involved, but what I enjoyed the most is the effort that goes into trying to change the timeline in order to keep the tradition from dying.

I’m actually crying as I remember how it ends. It was so pure. This book is wonderful. I think I’m obsessed with Christina Lauren and I have two more books by them waving to me from my Scribd shelf so I gotta get on that shit soon.

10. These Vengeful Hearts – Katherine Laurin 

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Is it weird that I can almost never remember characters’ names, even if it’s only been like a week since I read the book? Because I can’t remember a single person in this book and also this book was not great. Like, I think even if I was 14, I’d be like, “This book is not great.”

There’s a secret society at this high school called The Red Court and students can ask them for “favors” (eg. “make me homecoming queen;” “publicly shame my cheating girlfriend” etc) but then they eventually have to “pay” by carrying out usually really half past-bullying more toward legit crimes against a “target.” Our main girl has a plan to infiltrate the court and find out who the Red Queen is in an effort to take them down for paralyzing her older sister.

But then OMG is she ENJOYING the power? Dun dun dunnnn.

It was dumb. Sometimes I crave a good YA thriller and this wasn’t it.

11. The Winter People – Jennifer McMahon

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I kept seeing people compare this to Pet Sematary except that it was really boring, the writing was kind of bad, and not a single character had any, well, character. It’s a split timeline and I surprisingly liked the one set in the 1800s better than present day.

But yeah, this wasn’t scary and then the present day characters were soooooo annoying and I 100% just wanted everyone to die. It was also shockingly difficult for me to follow the present day story line. I couldn’t keep track of who everyone was and then when the big “reveal” happened, I was like “Huh?” because I couldn’t follow how everyone was supposedly connected.

This one booktuber that I think is so lame gave this a 5 and that should have been the biggest indication for me to run far away from this book.

12. Eight Perfect Murders – Peter Swanson

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This was pretty fun! I didn’t enjoy it as much as his other book, The Kind Worth Killing, but it’s perfect for anyone who loves a good murder mystery! The premise is that a string of murders have been connected to a blog post written on a book store’s website about EIGHT books featuring PERFECT MURDERS, try to keep up, guys.

The book is told from the POV of the man who wrote the blog post, who is also the co-owner of the book store. I kept picturing Joe from the TV adaption of the book “You” – if you know, you know. I gave it a 3 – it was fun, immersive, but it didn’t BLOW ME AWAY. His other aforementioned book had me screaming, but this one had me politely clapping.

I feel like this would be a great book to read on a plane. Sigh.


And that was how my February went. Henry has been obsessed with audio books lately so he tore through a bunch of books too but I’mnot even going to ask him to review any because we all know how that will go:

“I liked it.”

“It was good.”

“Eh.”

“I can’t remember.”

“To [sic] many big words.”

“Yes.”

Mar 072021
 

February was a really bad reading month for me. I got duped and double-crossed left and right by booktubers and book covers — it was not a fun  time. There was some good ones, but no 5 stars, that’s for sure! Here is the first half of what I read because I still read a lot even though I said I wouldn’t but I have clearly needed the escape so back off OKAY?? Everything sucks.

  1. Siege & Storm – Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

OK, I’m just going to say it: Leigh Bardugo’s writing is not great. This was book two in the Grishaverse series and while I moderately enjoyed the first one, now I’m wondering how much of that was actually my subconscious attempting to convince myself that I liked it because this series is SO HYPED in the book world and has recently been adapted into a Netflix series.

This was a fucking CHORE TO READ. Books should not be a chore to read! Not even the ones assigned to us in school! I realized that not only do I not give a shit about a single character (like, some of them die and I just continued reading, unfazed), but I also HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. I only JUST read the first book last year and my memory is not THAT bad, but I was like, “Who dat? What now?”

One of my FAVORITE YouTubers, this American girl who lives in Korea, LOVES this series and I DON’T GET IT. Cari was the inspiration for me to get back into reading last year because she had a video of her favorite Korean authors, and she has never steered me wrong before, but SO MANY BOOKTUBERS were also in cahoots with this one because I was completely pulled down into their insidious hype.

Cari, I’ll stick with your Seoul cafe suggestions and skip the book recs from now on, I think, THANKYOUV.MUCH.

2. Fever Dream – Samanta Schweblin

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Uhhhhh. This was WEIRD. Fever Dream indeed. It’s translated from Spanish (the author is Argentinian, I believe) and we’re basically just reading someone’s novella-length novella. The whole book is told from the perspective of a woman in a hospital bed, talking to a young boy who is coaxing her to describe her interactions with who is presumably his mother. It’s one of those books that, even for its short length, is NOT an easy read. I felt really tense and uncomfortable and also confused, but it was definitely something that will stick with me. It was unique, to say the least, and a great example of environmental issues masked as horror.

3. None Shall Sleep – Ellie Marney

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Silence of the Lambs for kids. 100%. I have nothing else to say.

4. What Happens At Night – Peter Cameron

LOL, this was when I was trying to take actual pictures of the books I was reading so I wouldn’t have to copy/paste from Goodreads because that part of the process really irritates me for some reason. Anyway, I did this for two books then forgot to do it again oh well.

But this book was wonderful!!! The ambiance was CREEPY without anything overtly CREEPY even happening?! It gave me big Twin Peaks vibes, because this American couple is visiting some other country in the dead of winter in order to adopt a baby. I don’t think they ever specify the location, but I got a very Russian/Eastern European flavor from the details, and the locals they encounter are basically emitting SOMETIMES MY ARMS BEND BACK vibes – if you know, you know.

The names of the couple are never revealed, they are known only as “the man” and “the woman” and you get a sense of marital discord straight away. They’re staying in a super sus hotel, inhabited by a bartender who stares into space, an old woman who is fancy AF and all up in your biz, a bizarrely boisterous businessman….and the longer the couple stays in the hotel, the more estranged they become. I just can’t really explain it but I had goosebumps while reading it and whisper-laughed “wtf?” when I finished it. Recommended to me through my local library’s recommendation service and I’m starting to feel like these librarians know me too well.

David Lynch-meets-Wes Anderson, kind of?

5. Heiress Apparently – Diana Ma

I wanted to like this one so much more than I did. It was fun, but just didn’t really fulfill the wanderlust hole in my heart.

6. The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters

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If you’re looking for a balls-to-the-wall haunted house book, this ain’t it, boo. But if you’re looking for gloriously sweeping writing that you can really immerse yourself in, pick this up. I was worried because this is set in postwar England and I’m just not usually interested in that, but it ended up not mattering at all because I was super swept up in the story of the Ayres family, and their crumbling estate obviously tugged at my heart and reminded me of my own grandparents’ house and the state it was in and how hard we tried to fix it. I felt a huge connection with this stupid house!!

Anyway, this book is pretty long but it’s not dry at all. I enjoyed every second of it, never felt bored, and actually became so engrossed in the relationships between the family and their doctor that anytime sometime creepy would happen, I would be totally caught off guard. There was one moment when I was sitting on the couch, broad daylight, reading it when an envelope slowly slid off the back of the couch and tapped my shoulder, nearly sending me into cardiac arrest.

Sarah Waters is a masterful writer!

After I finished it, I saw that there was a movie adaptation from several years ago, with Ruth Wilson who I like, so I put it on and lost interest pretty quickly. The book is better.

7. Ice Cream Man, Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles – W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo (illustrator)

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After The Little Stranger, I needed to cleanse my palate with something light and short, so I picked up this horror graphic novel. The illustrations were EVERYTHING and totally my style, and the stories were decent too. I think I will definitely continue this series, especially because I always say I want to read more graphic novels and then I never do.


I don’t feel like recapping the other 5 so I guess look forward to part 2? Lol. Lemme know what you’ve read recently that you really loved!

I got really caught up in watching Ginny&Georgia and I’m itching to get back into that so peace out, pee spout.

Mar 052021
 
  1. Henry’s Pelican Rescue Club

Did you guys know that the Greek island Mykonos has a pelican mascot names Petros? I didn’t either until I was watching a YouTube video about Mykonos and there was this big ass friendly bird  hanging around a cafe/bakery-ish place and all of these people were treating him like he was a local and he was going inside the place and back behind the counter like he owned it and no one even did a double take. At first I was screaming “WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THAT” because I am le Dumb at times and Henry calmly said, “That’s a pelican.” I guess I have only seen cartoon pelicans before because for some reason that would not have been my guess.

Anyway, now my curiosity was piqued so I started researching this pelican and ALLEGEDLY as the story goes, back in the 50s a fisherman rescued a pelican and then he became a mainstay, like a tourist attraction, just chilling and being super adorbs to all who passed by. THEN IN THE 80s HE DIED (some people say he was hit by car, I will fucking murder that car if it’s true) and Jackie O., who adored the OG Petros, gifted the island with a new one. NOT SURE if this pelican is still Petros v2.0 but they do apparently have quite a long lifespan, so maybe?

Totally out of the blue, or kapchuggi as one would say in Korea, Henry offered a bit of his SERVICE life to me (these always come in pieces at the most surprising moments.). EVIDENTLY, when he was in PANANA (I can’t even type this without hearing Van Halen in my airy head), HE TOO SAVED A PELICAN!!! According to Henry, he and his SERVICE bro-skis came upon a pelican that was caught in fishing line so they (probably emphasis on “they” and not “Henry”) untangled the pelican and took it to a vet.

“OH MY GOD, WAS IT OK!?!?!?” I cried in horror.

“Well, yeah, I wouldn’t have brought it up otherwise,” Henry scoffed, like I should have known better than to ask.

Of course, days later, I’m still thinking about this shit and I’ve got questions. Like:

  • How did they know where that was if they didn’t have an iPhone to google NEAREST VET IN PANAMA THAT WILL ACCEPT A PELICAN?
  • Who was the actual hero
  • WAS TIM THERE
  • Who carried the pelican?
  • IS HE CERTAIN THE PELICAN WAS OK????
  • Did he get a badge or medal for these heroics?!!?

So I texted Henry just now and demanded that he give me more details. His response?

“That was over 39 years ago and we had been up all night drinking. That’s about all I remember other than what I told you.”

Wow, way to keep a diary, Henry.

(He did confirm that there was no reward for his extracurricular bravery, though.)

He provided this picture of his bro-skis en route to the beach that day! Wow. Those shorts.

MORE INFO: The only other detail Henry can provide is that the guy in the blue shirt is EARL and he got KICKED OUT OF THE ENTIRE SERVICE FOR SMOKING WEED.

The rest of the blog post is all downhill from here, I’m afraid.

2. Actual Ice Cream Sandwich

I have kind of started letting myself watch travel vlogs on YouTube again even though it hurts because BITCH, WHEN but I’m bored and there’s nothing else to do but dream, you know how it is, we’re all in this together! Watching these travel vloggers makes me think back to when I was younger and going on trips with my family, and I honestly can’t remember STREET FOOD or NOVELTY SNACKS or anything like that being “a thing” for travelers to experience in the 80s and 90s. Granted, we always went on chartered tours, but you would think that after visiting Amsterdam like 4x back then, I’d have eventually partook in a stroopwaffle!? You know what I mean? But it was never a thing that was offered to us! Just cheese! So it made me wonder if the whole “foodie” part of traveling just wasn’t as popular then as it is now?

I mean, of course we had regional food in every place we visited, it’s not like we were eating, I dunno, taco salads in Italy or whatever, and we definitely gorged on gelato. But I don’t remember any of the “tourist destinations” being food-based. I’m not making sense, I know. In my slush-brained head, I know what I mean, but life is eroding what semblance of coherence I have left.

The only thing that stands out to me, and I was so excited when I remembered this the other night, was this one time when we were in Taormina, Sicily. We had free time one night so my aunt and I were strolling around, she was probably trying to pick up men and I was probably trying in vain not to look fat, when we stumbled across this street vendor who lured us over with the promise of ice cream. What he was selling ended up being Sicily’s version of the ice cream sandwich – literally ice cream tucked inside a bread bun. I remember thinking, “THIS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE GREAT” because I was 12 and basically a hormonal monster who hated everything on principle.

But it was motherfucking fantastic. Sharon and I were OBSESSED with it and I couldn’t wait to go home and tell everyone about it and by that I mean that I scooped some low quality freezer section vanilla onto your basic Wonderbread hamburger bun and made my family try it.

Of course they were like, “This….ain’t it” and I was so mad because HOW COULD I GET SO FUCKING WRONG.

I felt inspired to look up videos about this delicacy and made Henry watch it with me.

“Oooooh, brioche! They use brioche, yeah that makes sense,” I said, because I’m sure I didn’t know THE FUCK a brioche was when I was 12, ok.

“Yeah, that would make a big difference,” Henry sighed.

3. Fudge Factory 

Speaking of ice cream, Henry was perusing some ice cream shop on Instagram and salivating all up in his face-fur. But then he angled his phone to show me the pictures and suddenly I too had drool pooling in my face-fur….wait.

The name of the place is The Fudge Factory, which I’ve never heard of, so I asked him where it’s located, and before he had a chance to answer, I screeched, “UP YOUR BUTT!!!!!” because that is my standard response anytime Chooch or Henry asks where something is, and this TIME IT ACTUALLY MADE SENSE!

I was wheezing!!!! Now I had tears of laughter commingling with the Homer drool in the nooks and crannies of my chins. Even Henry KIND OF laughed, the type of laugh that he tries to stifle lest he encourage me further. So then I had to run upstairs and replay the whole scene for Chooch, who laughed out loud and then quickly tried to take it back because, you know, teenagers can’t think their parents are funny.

4. SHINee video

Probably no one will watch this but I’m still sharing because it’s FUCKING HEART-WARMING. The part where the one girl asks, “Why are there only 4 of you now?”

OUCH MY DUMB HEART.

Even aside from that though it’s fun to watch them relive their journey from debut to now. Their career has been legendary. SHINee for-fucking-ever.

5. I Saw a Person!!

I bought Girl Scouts from one of my old high school friends, Felicia. She mentioned on IG that her daughter was selling them, thank god, because I didn’t have any cookie hook-ups this year! Of course, her daughter wasn’t selling the ones I really wanted (the maple ones that Kara texted me about and got me all hyped for!!)

Funnily, Felicia and I were also in Girl Scouts together and her mom was our troop leader. I’ve only really seen her once since high school (she came to one of my pie parties – AND HER MOM DID TOO!) so it was nice to not only see a real life person on my front porch, but also one that I’ve known since literally first grade.

Anyway, we chatted for a few minutes and she mentioned that she runs one of the Texas Roadhouse franchises and I fucking swear to god as she said it, we both in tandem looked slowly down at the crazy collection of peanut shells under my front window and started cracking up. Thank god we follow each other on IG and she knows all about my squirrel exploits, lol.

But yeah, I am fucking starved for human interaction (aside from the dumdums I live with) so I almost clutched her arm and begged her not to leave.

God love Girl Scout cookies, but man they really get skimpier and skimpier with the quantity each other, don’t they? DAMN.

“But it’s for a good cause, Erin!”

Ugh, whatever. I only ordered three boxes: Tagalongs, Samoas, and Lemon Ups or whatever they’re called. I got to have one samoa, one tagalong, and three of the lemon ones before Henry and Chooch devoured the rest like trash compactors for cookies. Jesus.


BONUS: SPEAKING OF BUDDY, here he is eating his walnuts and watching SHINee videos. He has the best life!

Now to get through Friday late shift. What a drag.