Nov 232018
 

Look man I was just happy to have some days off work where I didn’t have to trudge to the damn trolley in premature winter temps. Plus, we’re leaving for Tennessee later today (Dollywood!) so I was content having nothing to do on actual Thanksgiving. My mom and I are both pretty meh about the holiday so I don’t mind that she doesn’t want to host anymore.

But then Chooch pulled out his vegetarian cookbook the night before and was all, “Papa*, I’m going to find some recipes for you for tomorrow” and then I was like, “Oh shit. The kid. We should probably do something for the kid.” Lol.

*(What Chooch calls Henry when he’s trying to pretend like we’re like a wholesome family.)

So then Henry was like I GUESS I AM GOING TO THE STORE THEN and set off on Thanksgiving Eve to procure the tofurkey which is usually sold out because he waits too long. I remember way back in the day when we had to drive like 45 minutes to some weird health store to get one because regular grocery stores didn’t sell stuff like that and I got made fun of for eating it but no one bats an eye. Changing times, etc etc.

The first half of the day consisted of Leslie Sansone walking workouts (lol), kdramas but no family drama, watching Henry cook & clean, looking at Kpop idols, freaking out over a mystery bruise on my thumb, and planning all our amusement park trips for 2019. It was splendid! (Not the bruise part though, I’m mildly alarmed by it.)

I was in such a good mood that I even felt inspired to decorate for Christmas:

Chooch was all excited when I told him I decorated and then said, “…oh” when he saw it.

Since there was just the three of us and we’re going away this weekend, Henry kept the spread the simple: a tofurkey for Chooch and me (he made gross chicken for himself because he doesn’t like real turkey), whatever garlicky mashed potato recipe Chooch found, and a completely revamped version of the broccoli rabe & white bean casserole recipe that Chooch also requested, because Henry couldn’t find broccoli rabe at 8pm on Thanksgiving Eve so he used regular broccoli and brussels sprouts instead and it was delicious.

(I don’t even know what broccoli rabe is and I know for damn sure Chooch doesn’t either, so this made no difference to us.)

Henry kept yelling at us from the kitchen to start eating but we were like NO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR YOUUUUUU IT’S THANKSGIVING.

But it was really because we needed him to plate our Tofurkey.

Oh Lord, we got so giddy right away and Chooch had a Code Red laughing fit which caused him to flee the table in search of a Kleenex, so you know Henry was in a great mood! That combined with the fact that the same NCT 127 song was playing repeatedly in the background really completed the mood. Look at Henry’s delirious face! I think deep down, he’s thankful for us, lunacy and all, even if he sometimes must feel like he’s living in an asylum.

Tofurky looks like a giant hotdog butt.

After dinner, Chooch and I continued our tradition of watching birthday party videos on YouTube (4th year!). We found a whole slew of new million subscriber families to hate! I called the one birthday girl and all her friends “a bunch of bitches” and Chooch was like “Aren’t they like three?!”

OK now for the Friday Five portion, which is FIVE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Korea (Henry and Chooch rolled their eyes when we went around the table and “gave thanks” and this was of course the first thing I said and whatever because Chooch just kept saying “Bambi” over and over and now that I think about it, I don’t think Henry said ANYTHING!?
  2. Having a job that I like – yeah, I know, I complain about it at times, who doesn’t complain about having to leave the house to go to work?! But when you’ve had jobs that have made you sick to your stomach and have panic attacks while paying you pennies, getting one where you feel comfortable and needed is really something to be thankful for.  Thanks, job!
  3. The willpower to get in shape – when I first started dieting in 2012 I was just about 200 pounds.  I did WW for a bit and got myself down to about 170 but it was a struggle. I had no energy! I was miserable! I can’t remember when I started spending my lunch break hour walking around downtown, but that helped me get my energy back and also kept my weight stable so I wasn’t gaining, but I also wasn’t really losing anything either. Since starting my own routine in 2016, being more mindful of what I eat and when I eat, and keeping up on those lunch break walks (even in the rain, even when I’m sick, even when it’s cold), I’ve managed to get myself down to 145. I never felt “unhealthy” even when I was heavier, but I do FOR SURE feel more “able.” Sure, I still have major body image issues that I need to work on, but baby steps!
  4. Eternal Youth! – I’m going to be 40 next year, I have a shit-ton of gray hairs, but my brain refuses to accept that and still spends most of its time thinking about concerts and amusement parks and Kpop idols. I was talking to Amber about this at work the other day, how I’m trying to fit in a few days in Tokyo during my birthday Korea trip next summer because I want to go to DisneySea and how Henry is like dreaming of the day when we can plan a vacation that doesn’t include an amusement park, and Amber said, “I can’t believe you’re going to be 40. You’re like, ageless, to me.” YES.  I’m thankful that I have managed to maintain that part of myself because goddamn does it make life fun! Except for when you watch so many vlogs about roller coasters and are constantly hearing people talking about the “head chopper” elements and then you go to bed and have a horribly vivid nightmare that you’re watching a movie where some girl is walking down the steps of some Victorian mansion and gets her head lopped off by her dad, completely out of nowhere, but then it turns out to be YOU, you just had YOUR head chopped off, but later in the dream, you realize that your head was put back on, but apparently your ear had also been cut off and that was put back on much more jankily than your head, so it’s all bloody and it BURNS and also it’s not aligned properly with your head and you are FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS. I mean, that’s just something that might happen.
  5. Henry & Chooch, le duh – Come on, this is a given. I have a guy who is mild-tempered and goes along with all my crazy ideas, he gets totally engrossed in every k-drama with me to the point where he’s mad when I start a new one without him (he’ll still watch it though), he sends me kpop-related texts on Kakao throughout the day (I made him download Kakao awhile back and it’s the only way we text now unless I’m mad at him then I use regular text and he’s like, “wow you must be mad”), he does whatever he can to make my life easier, and well, he’s just the best and I’m glad we’ve lasted together all these years because I can’t imagine many other people who would be like, “Yes, let me completely change the way I cook for you because now you’re on a make-believe Korean diet and sure, let’s go to Party City for new home decor so our house can continue to look like Pee Wee’s Playhouse and OK, let’s talk about going to some random town in the Netherlands so you can spend Easter 2020 at some weird amusement park.” Lol. And then Chooch! I couldn’t ask for a better kid. He is such a mini-Erin that it’s actually scary at times (or, “all times” if you’re Henry). He’s independent and self-motivated when it comes to school (he’s basically a genius but has ZERO COMMON SENSE though, oh my god, he is street-stupid), a mini-politician when it comes to the neighborhood (everyone knows him!), and he is SO ENTERTAINING. Janna was over here on Saturday for Kpop Fitness Night and afterward, he effortlessly had us cracking up just by being him, sitting there making his dumb Rainbow Loom bracelets. No, our life isn’t perfect, and we do all bicker with each other like normal TV families, but we never go to bed mad at each. (EXCEPT FOR LAST NIGHT BECAUSE WE GOT A BUNCH OF CARD ORDERS AND HENRY AND I DO NOT WORK WELL TOGETHER IN THE GREETING CARD FACTORY.)

Anyway, that’s my Thanksgiving 2018 recap and obligatory “thankful” list. I’ll end here with a video of Mini-Erin stalking his nemesis Larry:

ETA: Chooch just woke up and said, “Well, I see the dining room table is back to its old self” and I screamed “WELL, WE HAD 80 MILLION CARDS TO MAKE LAST NIGHT OK, THANKS FOR THE HELP!”

Oct 102018
 

For reasons that I will get to in a separate post, we once again found ourselves roaming around NYC last Sunday, the day after the BTS concert. Why is it that every time we find ourselves in NYC, it’s completely spontaneous and unplanned?! I don’t know, but it’s kind of fun and I can’t say that I hate it.

We were in Queens when our original plans shit the bed, so we shrugged and moved on. I mean, at least it happened in a city that has a billion things to do! And I know it’s kind of dumb, maybe not something you would choose to do above all else while in NYC, but there is this ice cream place that I’ve been following on Instagram for a while and it’s on my bucket list. (And yes, my bucket list is like 75% ice cream joints.) So that became our jumping-off point. I mean, at least we had something to start with!

This place also happens to be near Chinatown, so we decided that we would go there first and get lunch.

And then something miraculous happened: we walked around for about 20 minutes while I coveted, and I do mean biblically so, all of the exotic fruit being sold on the street. CHERIMOYA! LYCHEE! RAMBUTAN! SAPOTE! GOLDEN DRAGONFRUIT!

Oh, Chinatown, you fucking snake, you.

Of course Henry was all, “WE ARE NOT BUYING FRUIT. I AM NOT GOING TO CARRY FRUIT AROUND WITH ME ALL DAY. NO, KEEP WALKING. I’M NOT BUYING IT.”

Something amazing happened to us in Chinatown, you guys. We found a place to eat that we all agreed on, before any domestic violence broke out, and in record time. It was almost surreal. This almost never happens. We usually walk until our feet are praying to be lopped off by the Nighttime Sickle-Wielding Ghoul.

Are we finally learning how to coexist with each other in public as a family?!

No, it was probably just a fluke.

It also helps that Henry isn’t one of those manly MUST EAT MEAT bastards. He’s super compliant with Chooch’s and my vegetarian needs and is usually the one who finds good veg places for us to dine. In fact, he’s the one who spotted Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegan from across the street (probably also because my eyes are bad). It was crowded when we walked in, but I was determined to suck it up, butter(substitute)cup. So many times I panic at the sight of a crowded restaurant, but when we walked in, I realized that not only was this place vegan like the sign boasted, but it was also DIM SUM. Uh, hell yeah I want that vegan dim sum, bitches, and I will stand here in everyone’s way until a table is cleared for me.

Things were looking up right away though when we got the coveted corner table. Even though Chooch was a dick and wouldn’t let me sit where I wanted because he’s 12 you guys and 12-year-olds are perfect fucking dickheads, in case you don’t have children/have never been around children/wear a child-repelling amulet.

So right away, we started fighting about this and Henry was like ENOUGH. Wow, dad has spoken.

And then our waitress hated us because she thought I asked for meat (I most certainly did not) and she got all defensive and said, “NO! NO MEAT! WE DON’T SERVE MEAT HERE AT ALL ANYMORE!” and I felt like everyone had set down their chopsticks to get a better listen at the dumb tourist who came into the vegan dim sum joint looking for meat.

And then she hated me even more because I had Henry call her back over after I decided I didn’t want the Buddha’s Delight I ordered because I knew it was going to be too much food and I just wanted to fill up on dim sum instead and she was like APPALLED, like no one had ever changed their mind in the history of restaurants existing, ever.

Luckily, the food was amazing and Henry is still talking about it, a week later. I love that he isn’t too burly and gratuitously masculine that he can’t set aside his carnivorous tendencies for an hour to nosh on some finely prepared soy and seitan. I didn’t take pictures, but we got a wonderful assortment of steamed dumplings, some type of bun stuffed with this wonderful sweet faux-meat, spring rolls, something with taro, sweet rice balls….we were fucking stuffed and happy.

Chooch went rogue and got some kind of faux-chicken lo mein and the Chinese family next to us kept complimenting him on his chopstick skills. I was so proud!

And then Henry sent Chooch and me a selca from the restaurant bathroom, which made us lose our minds because HAHAHAHA since when does Henry take bathroom selcas?!

He’s not even smiling, this is killing me all over again!

After lunch, we walked to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, which I follow on Instagram and drool over daily. I just really love the cereal-as-dessert concept and the novelty  has not worn off on me yet, even though it’s been 10 years (10!!) since my brother Corey and I were launched into sugar shock when we ate at Cereality in Philly and by “ate at” I do mean binged our way into checking off “Gluttony” in Deadly Sin Bingo.

(For those of you too L-Z to click that link, my cereal bowl was called The Devil Made Me Do It and it was comprised of Cocoa Puff, Lucky Charms, malt balls, and chocolate syrup. And then I had to drive for 6 hours back to Pittsburgh.)

So yeah, my love affair with sugary cereal goodness runs deep, so this latest trend of Fruity Pebbles-on-everything is something that really fucking speaks to me like a Leprechaun yodeling in tongues or a Bee Gees record playing in reverse.

Milk & Cream is somewhere in between Chinatown and Little Italy…maybe? That’s what it seemed like. I do not know NYC well at all so when someone asked me on Instagram where this was, I just ignored that part of her question and answered the rest. That’s what you call The Erin Way.

So at Milk & Cream, you pick your base ice cream (vanilla or cookie dough) and any cereal from the laundry list on the wall, which is blended together and splooged out of a soft-serve machine.

I of course chose vanilla and Fruity Pebbles, with a Teddy Graham topping. Chooch went with vanilla and Apple Jacks with a strawberry drizzle. Henry shared mine because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it (I think my new diet has shrunk my stomach, and I’m not complaining) but then later on, Henry whined about how he wanted to get his own because he was eyeing up the Cap’n Crunch option which I didn’t notice because my eyes hone into Fruity Pebbles first, always, and now I’m pissed that Henry didn’t speak up and be his own person because I would have liked to try his Cap’n Crunch creation too! Cap’n Crunch is my second favorite cereal, ugh, you fucked up Henry!!

Just look at those specks of Fruity Pebbly goodness! And the ice cream itself was thick and rich, way more dense than I expected after watching it splooge through the soft-serve machine. Suffice to say, I couldn’t finish it and Henry obediently finished off the sloppy seconds. I don’t think I save any Teddy Grahams for him, lol.

While I would highly recommend this place to anyone who loves the ice cream and cereal crossover special, it fucking killed my stomach and gave me a sugar headache, so I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like absolute trash. I think I should have waited longer after eating lunch!

God, I even fail at eating ice cream. This is where I am in life, you guys. Sigh.

(And of course they have their Halloween specials available now so I want to go back and feast on some dumb Boo Berry brain freeze. How quickly the stomach forgets!)

Jul 152018
 

Dear e-diary,

Remember how I wanted to walk to the new-ish paleteria in Beechview on Friday to get some refreshing paletas, but then I ended up puking all day instead? Well, you’ll be happy to know that my own person doctor, Henry, diagnosed me with a 24-hour stomach bug and I felt A-OK when I woke up on Saturday! Which meant a Mexican popsicle celebration, naturally.

Here is a short review.

It was something like 90 degrees on Saturday and humid as the air between Trump’s ears, but I insisted that Henry and Chooch walk, not drive, to Alquisiras, where we would then be rewarded with an array of delightful Mexican flavors in frozen form. Chooch brought his scooter and I hate that thing so much but whatever.

It’s only about a 20 minute walk to Beechview, but if you take the longer way it’s all level. Henry argued with me about this and I was like, “Look motherfucker, if you want to be walking up steep ass motherfucking Pittsburgh hills*, be my guest, but I’ll take the nice leisurely route and get there 5 minutes after you.” He can’t bear to be without me, and Chooch was like OH, I’M NOT LUGGING THIS SCOOTER UP A HILL, so it was MY WAY OR NO WAY.

*(Hey, San Fran, I’ll see you out there with your steep-ass fucking streets but Pittsburgh has the country’s** steepest street of all time, so stop hogging our limelight.)

**(Some people claim it’s the steepest in the world, but I think I read there is street in New Zealand that actually holds that record.)

There were so many paletas to choose from and it was a legit struggle. I kept going back and forth between walnut, chili mango, and red currant, but I eventually asked Walnut to mouth-prom because I love nuts, man. It was SO GOOD too but now I’ll just have to go back and try all the other flavors and I can’t really be mad about that.

Chooch got strawberries and cream and was clearly so ready for this picture.

Henry was like, “I’ll just stick with ice cream because I’m square.” He chose pistachio (always a good choice) but then whined later that he wished he had gotten a paleta instead so I guess we have to bring him back with us next weekend, ugh.

Prince of posing in front of murals.

Other things happened on Saturday too, but the one thing that stands out the most is that Henry proved that HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW ME AT ALL. We were getting ready for bed that night, totally exhausted from a really good Kpop Kardio hour and lots of subtitle-reading (we started watching Roommate because a new episode of Are You Human Too hadn’t yet been released and we needed our Seo Kang Joon fix and by “we” and “our” you know I mean “Henry” and “his.”). We had the a/c on in our room but it was still kind of muggy in there and I was complaining about how I was too hot.

“Well, you’re under the covers. Take the covers off,” he suggested like I hadn’t already considered this!?

“Yeah, I can do that a little bit but you know I how I have to have my feet covered at all times,” I said.

“……no?” Henry answered with hesitation in his voice.

“Yes you do!” I cried. “Like, everyone knows that about me.” And when Henry didn’t answer, probably because he was flipping through the Rolodex of Erin’s Issues in his head, I tried to help him by dropping clues. “You know, because I don’t want to get my feet lopped off…”

“WHAT?!” he yelled. “By who!?”

“The man with the sickle!” I yelled back, like how was this news to him?! I’m sure I even mentioned this on LiveJournal before and I KNOW I have discussed this with some of my work friends too.

“Oh my god,” Henry sighed. “I don’t even want to know.”

I was so offended that this wasn’t one of those super important facts that he seared into his brain, but I still gave him the run-down about how ever since I was in second grade and we moved into our new house on Gillcrest, I was always terrified to look out of my bedroom window at night because it faced the backyard which was surrounded by woods and our neighbors’ tennis court that was always illuminated just enough at night to make the shadows come to life in ones mind, and I would sneak peeks out the window and swear that someone would be out there, creeping around in the backyard, waiting for me to fall asleep with my feet outside of the blanket so he could lop them off with his sickle and run away with them in a sack slung over his shoulder.

“It’s the same reason why I would always stand at my door, run and leap into my bed at night, so I wouldn’t be standing close enough for the man under my bed to grab my ankles,” I told Henry.

I think he was sleeping by then though.

But yeah, nearly 39 years old and I will never succumb to the man with the sickle! YOU’LL NEVER GET MY FEET, MOTHERFUCKER. Take Henry’s.

Apr 272018
 

Isn’t it crazy when you can not see someone for years and years yet somehow fall right back into a comfortable groove when you do? That’s how it is with my friend Alisha, who I saw for the first time last summer since 2010, and again last Friday when she was in town visiting from Arkansas.

I was so glad that she carved out some time for me on this latest visit, especially when I texted her a picture of a Julian Baker concert flyer and her immediate response was, “YES LET’S GO TO THAT” and within minutes she bought tickets. I forgot what it felt like to have a friend who wants to go to shows!

But first, food. Alisha picked me up from work and we skipped all the frou-frou salutations and went right into our routine of her being annoyed and exasperated and me being totally giddy – ugh, I missed our dysfunctionally perfect yin and yang!

Alisha’s British-voiced GPS led us to Apteka, an Eastern Europe-Yinzer-Vegan joint across from the Allegheny Cemetery that my friend Sarah recommended to me over a year ago and I never made it there because kimchi or GTFO. However, Alisha is vegan so I thought this would be a grand time to check it out and I was happy that it wasn’t crowded yet and the staff wasn’t off-putting as they sometimes can be in a niche vegan eatery, leaving me feeling not inked-up enough and half-assed in my veg-ways. (Which brings us back to kimchi, which I know is made with anchovy paste but I still eat it because I never signed a contract, OK? Korea has changed me!)

Apteka is cafe-style which is kind of annoying when you walk into a place for the first time and they’re like BAM HERE IS THE MENU STAND HERE AT THE COUNTER AND I WILL STARE AT YOU WHILE YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT OUR WEIRDO MENU GOOD LUCK WITH THE POLISH.

Alisha had a million questions and the Apteka girl very patiently answered her. She asked what the waitress recommended and she blew through the menu so fast I felt like I just been lead through a polka.

Alisha ordered the thing I was going to get so then I had to stand there and stammer, and of course I was unable to pronounce anything on the menu (is it nuts that I was trying to imagine what it would look like in Hangeul to help me sound it out?!) so I just pointed and said, “Lima bean.”

Because the thing I got had a lima bean purée and it was shockingly not phrased more dumb or pretentious than that because you know how nauseating menu descriptions can be in these types of places.  Let me see if I can find a menu…

Kluski Slaskie

baby lima bean + winter bitter leaves + potato dumplings + fried buckwheat + marjoram (GF)

I didn’t even notice that my meal had marjoram on it and I guess it doesn’t matter because I didn’t even notice it while I was eating it to even wonder what even is it. That was a weird sentence.

(GUYS, I LOOKED IT UP. IT’S MINT.)

Alisha also ordered a pot of some kind of tea for us to share. It tasted like ground. Maybe it would have been better with sugar but do vegans eat sugar? I didn’t see any.

Alisha also ordered the Kanapki which was three pieces of small toast, each with a different spread on it. One was for sure carrot and that was the only one I liked.

Guys, that’s my plate at the bottom there and it was so fucking good – those potato dumpling dickheads were so fucking divine and I wanted so much more, and the fried buckwheat was WHAT THE HELL WHY HASN’T HENRY BEEN CRACKLIN’ BUCKWHEAT FOR ME ALL THIS TIME levels of tasty. And that lima bean puree? I didn’t have time to grab my bathing suit before diving into that bitchin’ legume lagoon.

That’s Alisha’s crap at the top.

Somehow, my dinner was considered a “large plate” and hers was “small” and cheaper yet seemed so much bigger and she was still working on it a good twenty minutes after I had licked the last lima smear from my plate.

To cap off our meal, I ordered dessert for us to split, and again, I could have eaten 5 plates of these.

My Apteka verdict is that the food was bomb and inventive, and even had a level of comfort to it that vegan joints sometimes lack. But, for the price I paid and the amount of food I ate, I was a little unsatisfied. I was ready for second dinner less than an hour later. Even still, I’ll probably go back again because I liked the atmosphere, the staff was great, and I want to try the other things on the menu — I’ll just be prepared to eat my arm later on.

Afterward, we went to the Carnegie Library lecture hall to see one of my favorite female vocalists, Julien Baker. Ugh, I have been dying to see her live for years now but something always comes up when she’s here. I thought I was going to end up going to see her alone because I don’t know anyone else who likes her and Henry was a hard nope, but it ended up coinciding perfectly with Alisha’s visit. She was my concert buddy when she lived in Pittsburgh back in the day and I was so excited to have another good music night with her!

Alisha was all frenzied because she wasn’t sure if we were allowed to park in the lot she chose, and then she was mad because we walked some totally long-ass way to get to the lecture hall when we could have taken a much shorter route, but I was selfishly happy about this because I needed the steps since it was week one of the Law Firm Walking Challenge (OH, I HAVE AN UPDATE ABOUT THIS TOO, CHECK BACK LATER) and I was kicking myself for planning an evening of DINNER and a SEATED CONCERT. Alisha was miserable because she had a bad cold and here I was, walking her around Oakland on a super chilly April night.

When we arrived, she was immediately annoyed because the young girls checking tickets at the door were all googly-eyed over my knack for accessorizing and then we stood in the bathroom waiting for the two occupied stalls to open up and then the bathroom door slowly started to open on its own and we were like WTF SCOOBY, GHOSTS!? but here it turned out Alisha had leaned on the handicap door opening button.

And then a few minutes later, we realized that only one of the stalls had been occupied that whole time, so that was cool.

“I should have known it was going to be a night full of stupid things,” Alisha sighed, insinuating that my presence draws this stuff out!?

Whatever!

Anyway, we found some good seats nice and close (BUT NOT TOO CLOSE) in the first row off the floor. Alisha was whining about why it hadn’t started yet and I was like, “Because it’s only 7. We have another hour.”

LOL Alisha thought it started at 7 that whole time and was so angry that now we had to sit in this growing-more-stifling-by-the-minute room. She amused herself by spying on a man who apparently looked at me twice after I said “bless you” to Alisha so she was convinced he was obsessed with me but clearly I think she was obsessed with him! He kept pretending like he was waiting for someone but then no one ever came…

Then people attempted to speak to Alisha and I thought she was going to will herself to incinerate into a pile of Arkansas ash.

“Why does this always happen? I was doing so good all these years and then I’m with you for like a minute…”

“And the awkward social situations come back?” I laughed, and she emphatically agreed.

It really was an interesting mesh of people there that night though. Lots of punk rock college lesbians, little girls, and old guys.

And us.

Tancred was the opener and I really don’t have much to say about them because I have tried so hard over the years to like them, especially when I got more into that Bledfest-type of scene, but I just can’t. The singer is fine but her voice doesn’t evoke a single emotion from me and the lyrics are kind of middle school diary.

But Julien though….

She performed mostly alone until closer to the end of her set, when her friend came out to accompany her on violin. I didn’t take any video and this picture is actually Alisha’s, because I kind of felt paralyzed with regurgitating grief and realized at one point that I was barely breathing.

Julien has this poignant and measured way of singing the most delicate, whispered notes and then, before you have time to prepare yourself, she is lurching her head back and full-blown power-vocals are roaring out of her small frame and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. She will leave you fucking breathless.

So, there’s this thing about me that you should know, and it’s that, as much as I love words, the lyrics of songs usually come secondary for me. It’s the music itself that heals me first and foremost, it’s what gets my heart started, the tears flowing. And then it’s the tone of the voice singing against that music. I have to laugh a little bit because when I was super into the post-hardcore and screamo scene, people would ask me how could I tell what they were saying? And I would say, “I can’t, and it doesn’t matter, because it’s still touching me.” And now, I get the same question because 99.9% of what I listen to is in Korean. And again, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter to me what they’re saying, because the music, and the sound of their voices singing in that perfect language, fills my heart with joy that I haven’t felt in such a long time.

But yet, Julien is the rare exception for me. Because I AM listening to her words. And they are slicing through my wrists like a rusty razor. To write the songs she writes…and to sing them with such brittle sincerity and honesty…you have to have a lot of pain in your life. I can’t imagine standing there on a stage in front of so many adoring fans, stripping down to your bare, aching soul, letting us all watch you relive whatever you were going through when these songs came to fruition. She gave us a gift that night, and I will forever cherish it!

This is one of my favorite songs. Careful, she might break your heart.

And then we thought we were going to have to live in the parking lot because one of the parking ticket machines wasn’t working right and traffic was all backed up and we blamed Henry for not driving us.

“You never asked?” he replied to my text. WELL, HE SHOULD HAVE JUST KNOWN TO DO IT!

And don’t you worry – I came home at 11pm and still managed to eke out 20,000 steps.

Mar 272018
 

Here are some photos from our morning at Namdaemun Market, which is a sprawling traditional market. You can get everything from fresh fish to Supreme knock-offs, street food to G-Dragon posters, unless you’re with Henry who will act like a tight-wad dad every time you want to buy something and then throw all the money at you when you remind him that it’s your money and he’s just holding it. NOT THAT THIS HAPPENED.

You gotta allow for one blow-out a day when traveling with your family, I guess.

Once we got that out of the way, the rest of our time in Namdaemun was swell!

My favorite part was when Henry asked someone from the tourist information center where the market was and in the politest way possible, she circled it on the map instead of just flat-out saying, “You’re standing in it, dumbass.”

Being a Tuesday morning, it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded, but i can only imagine what this place is like on a weekend.

The lady selling dduk kept saying, “Cute, so cute” to Chooch. Later in the day, we were in one of many subway stations of the day (Henry is turning us into mole people because he always second-guesses himself and then we have to stop while he stares at the subway map for so many minutes), Chooch was going to sit down while waiting for the train, but two older men sat down first. There were still two empty seats so they were like, “No, sit! Sit!” and I shooed him back over there because people were being friendly and that is always such a relief to encounter in a foreign country! So he was sitting with these two ahjussis, and only one spoke a bit of English, so he just kept saying, “Handsome boy!” to Chooch and asked him general questions like his age and where he’s from, and then he would relay the gathered intel back to his non-English-speaking friend. Then another ahjussi came over and they were saying “Handsome boy!” to him and pointing at Chooch. We all got on the train together, but our stop was before theirs so they waved and said goodbye to Chooch which was just the cutest thing in the whole world. I love old guys so much (insert Henry joke) because I see my Pappap in so many of them.

“I wish the guys here in their 20s would say ‘Pretty girl!’ to me as much as you get ‘handsome boy’ said to you,” I whined to Chooch and he was so disgusted.

Anyway, back to Namdaemun!

Ugh, handsome boy.

When we first got to Namdaemun, we walked through this narrow alley full of street food vendors and actual restaurants. An elderly woman started excitedly calling out to us in Korean, waving her arm toward the doorway of her restaurant while pointing at all of the dishes she had available. She was so adorable, but it was only 10:30 and we weren’t ready for lunch yet.

However, we kept her in mind and instead of filling up on fried goods, we made our way back to her alley and she happily ushered us inside and suggested various tables for us to sit. She had so much energy!

What a great decision. I got mandu and dduk soup and it was exactly what I needed. I don’t know what Henry got, and Chooch ordered sticky noodles which came with a whopping dollop of gochujang, but that kid powered through like a champ. He is really trying! We were so worried about what he was going to eat here because he is notoriously picky, and he usually will pout if we go somewhere he doesn’t want to be.

One of the ahjummas brought him a fork, lol.

This place was LEGIT. Each table had a freaking pot of kimchi.

As we were leaving, I turned around to take a photo, and that sweet lady totally was waiting for it. Look at her back there smiling!

Be back later!

Sep 112017
 

Here is one of those stories that starts out with, “Henry was so mad!” when I’m telling someone in real life, and then it takes 30 minutes to get to the part that made Henry mad.

So a few months ago, maybe the end of May, beginning of June, I was walking down Brookline Boulevard when I noticed that the old BBQ joint had newspaper taped to the windows, with coffee cups and burgers hand-drawn all over. There were also random “P”s drawn on it, and a word bubble that said, “Coming soon.”

I was mildly excited, but really how often do I patronize any Brookline establishments? I figured it was going to be another meat place, because that’s all that seems to ever go into that one spot. BBQ meat. Southern soul meat. Meat meat. Whatever the latest meat trend is.

But then one day as I walking by, I was looking at those “P”s and I thought to myself, “THOSE Ps LOOK FAMILIAR.” It eventually occurred to me that it looked similar to the font used by this sandwich shop in Dormont that Chooch and I like.

“CHOOCH, I THINK PARKER’S IS OPENING A LOCATION ON BROOKLINE BLVD,” I screamed to him as I flung open the front door, all out of breath from my courageous journey home to desperately deliver to him this wild speculation.

Chooch was excited, because we love Parker’s! But we still weren’t sure this was a thing that was happening. I kept stalking them on social media until finally, weeks and weeks after my first Velma-in-an-orange-turtleneck hunch, there was an official announcement on their Facebook page that they were moving to a larger location in Brookline. I love being right! Save me a seat in the Mystery van, yo.

This commenced a summer-long waiting game. The “coming soon” was never replaced with a date, but eventually, two peep holes were made in the newspaper on the windows, into which Chooch and I peered around cupped hands, like two little orphans hungrily ogling a porridge shop.

“You guys are pathetic,” Henry sighed, not giving in to any peeping desires.

“We love Parker’s!” Chooch yelled.

“You wouldn’t understand!” I spat. “You’ve never been there!”

“Well, you two have only been there like three times and act like you’re regulars there,” Henry tried to reason but I saw right this and determined that HE’S JUST JEALOUS. HATERS GON’ HATE. SHAKE IT OFF.

#WhatWouldTSwiftSay

“Twice, actually,” I said, and Henry just threw his arms up to the Heavens and walked away in defeat.

I don’t really know why Chooch and I had only gone to Parker’s twice though, because we really enjoyed our experience there: the sandwiches (with pop culture-friendly names, like the Regina George, Shooter McGavin, Piano Necktie…), the ambiance (group convos galore!), and most importantly: the proprietor, Parker himself. Every time (ALL TWO TIMES) Chooch and I were there, he looped us into the counter conversation and made us feel like we were a part of something.

Being included in the reindeer games is basically all I want out of life, so this made Parker’s extremely appealing to me.

And yet, we only went twice. I think it was mostly because we usually eat out for dinner, and Parker’s is one of those joints that closes early, like at 3pm. And on weekends, if we’re going out for lunch, we’re already out and about in some other area, not in our neighborhood.

Excuses, excuses.

And it’s not like the old Parker’s was so out of the way. It was actually probably the same distance away from our house as the new one is. Brace yourselves for my super high-quality map that I drew today at my desk specifically to illustrate to…someone, I hope…exactly where my house is in relation to each location:

The first time Chooch and I went to Parker’s was Black Friday, 2014, and then a year later with Janna.

Two whole times. But you’d think we ate there so much, they named a grilled cheese after us. Or at the very least that Parker kept my senior picture in his wallet like my favorite waitress from Denny’s did when I was in high school. Oh, Maryann.

I was off two Fridays ago, because that’s the day we left for Chicago (much later in the day than planned, though). I went for a walk that morning and saw some people going into Parker’s! I rubbernecked on my way past and sure enough, the lights were on and there people at some of the tables! Some broad from the deli next door was outside smoking a cigarette.

“Looks like they’re finally open!” she said in the expected husky bray of a Pittsburgh smoker. “I been waiting all summer for this!”

“Did you ever eat there when it was in Dormont?” I asked.

“No, I never even heard of it before!” she coughed.

“It’s so good!” I said, calling on my old telemarketer’s enthusiasm (I was a fucking excelsior telemarketer back in the day). “And the guy who owns it is so nice!”

The broad said she was even more excited to check it out now, and I waited until she was out of earshot to call Henry and giddily tell him this transgression.

“YOU ONLY ATE THERE TWICE!” he yelled.

Sadly, we were gone that whole weekend, and since they close at 3 every day, we didn’t get a chance to check out the new digs until this past weekend. I was SO EXCITED to wake up Sunday morning and walk there.

“Wow, you and Chooch must be so happy to visit your old stomping grounds,” Henry said, tufts of sarcasm unfurling from his flaring nostrils.

I mean, yeah. Yeah, we were.

We were practically skipping, locked arms, with a rainbow underfoot.

We walked in around 9am and I was totally floored by the design of the space. It is DOPE. Exactly the type of place that Brookline needs! I was still in the middle of looking all around and silently saying, “WOOOOOOOOOW” when the man himself, Luke Parker, came out from behind the counter and said to Chooch and me, “Where the hell have you guys been?!”

LOL HENRY WAS SO MAD! All that build-up, acting like we were regulars, and the owner actually remembered us! Henry was like, “HOW. HOW HOW HOW.” Oh my friends, it was so satisfying! He even came over and talked to us (i.e. just me and Chooch) about the trials and tribs of moving to this new spot, adding to the menu, needing to hire more people — it sounds like the first week was a success and they haven’t even had their official grand opening yet, as far as I could tell. I’m so glad for the whole Parker clan!

“You two must have really made an impression,” Henry mumbled.

Somehow, the breakfast sandwich I ordered tasted even better than I remembered: egg whites, avocado, sprouts, tomato and mayo on a whole wheat bagel. Plus a cup of delicious Zeke’s coffee, which I spilled over myself because I didn’t have the lid on right and Henry was all, “Haha, serves you right.” I’d last through approximately one coffee order if I ever got a job as a barista.

I’m excited to frequent this place more often, especially now that it’s in an area where I do most of my walking. Even if I’m just popping in for a cup of coffee. I want this place to succeed so badly. I’m going to bring all my friends here. Who wants to go?

I’d tell you that if you ever stop there for a pop culture sandwich, to tell ’em that Erin & Chooch sent ya, but we’re not on a name-knowing basis there yet.

YET.

I’m not giving up on my grilled cheese namesake dream. My goals are askew.

Sep 102017
 

On Saturday, we had donuts and coffee at some point while in Chicago. I’m not a big donut connoisseur by any stretch, but that might be because Pittsburgh doesn’t really have much to offer in that vein. (Although I still haven’t tried Duck Donuts and that place seems appealing to me.)

(And please don’t say BUT PEACE, LOVE, LITTLE DONUTS because I fucking refuse to support an establishment owned by a homophobic bigot piece of shit. It saddens me how many pieces have seemed to either overlook that or have forgotten. But I never forget!)

I wanted to try Firecakes though because they’re reknown for their donut ice cream sandwiches. Unforch, we stopped here right after eating pizza and I did not have it in me to find room in my stomach next to all that cheese. Ugh. I always have big plans of visiting a city and eating all their trendy food and then end up only eating two meals. 

(Honestly, aside from breakfast in Indiana that morning, the late lunch pizza was only sit-down meal for the day in Chicago.)

If there is anything pistachio on the menu, I will snatch that shit up without a secondary glance. This Sicilian pistachio old-fashioned was a DELIGHT. My donut preference is light and non-messy. Nothing filled. I hate filled donuts! And I’m not big into chocolate-y ones either. I like ones that get most of the flavor from the actual donut dough, and that’s how this one was. Not too sweet, with a gentle, light-handed pistachio nuance. #doucheyYelpreview

I didn’t want to share, but I did because I wanted to try Henry’s which was good but messy and filled. :( It was butterscotch praising, which I almost ordered but now I’m glad I didn’t because that pistachio was everything I wanted in that moment. 

(I just stared dreaming at the photo of it for a couple seconds into the Inappropriate Zone.)

Chooch got a red velvet but I didn’t try his because, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, I think I’m over red velvet. We had a long, good run together though! 

Later that evening, we hit up Goddess and the Baker because it was the only non-Starbucks cafe open at that hour within walking distance. Henry hated  it immediately because he hates coffee and everything about that scene. Chooch was down though because he’s a hot chocolate aficionado. 

I got a pourover and later had major order-remorse when I noticed the specialty drink menu — so many interesting flavored lattes that appealed to me! I’m really into honey, floral, and maple—not all in one latte, but you know…if I wander into a coffee joint that has those options beyond your standard pumpkin spice and caramel, I will happily overlook the pretentious third wave coffee klatch I’m inevitably walking in on. 

(Speaking of, there is a place here in Bloomfield that has an impressive list of housemade floral syrups and maybe I’ll stop there today—YOU DONT KNOW MY SCHEDULE!)

That pourover was delicious though. However, while I was waiting for it, some suspicious guy walked in, came right up to me because why wouldn’t he, and said something like, “Excuse me, miss” and then a bunch of words in a tone entirely too low for me or most normal-eared humans to possibly hear. I panicked because he had a very questionable aura to him so I blurted, “I DONT HAVE ANYTHING IM SORRY” because I assumed that he was asking for money or my pledge to Christ. 

There was a moment of uncertainty where I was braced for a knife in the gut, but then he nodded and walked slowly back out onto the street. 

I kee expecting this sign to say “eat now caffeinate later” and that would just be so fucking wrong. 

Overall, I would go back to both of these places in Chicago (they each have multiple locations, too) and probably would try to save room for a donut ice cream sandwich next time because I have The Regrets. 

Thank you. This has been a coffee and donut intermission. 

Jun 102017
 

I started off the day learning the hard way that you musn’t spray canola oil on a hot pan. If I hadn’t already lost most of my eyebrows during the Great Overplucking of the 90s, today would have been their funeral fo sho. 

I was running around screaming about the injustice of it all, like who is supposed to know that would happen?? when Henry calmly said, “Well, everyone. It says it on the directions.”

“The PAN has directions?!” I cried. 

“No! The can of cooking spray!”

“Srsly? Why does a can of cooking spray need directions? Like, who would read that?” I said indignantly. 

“People like YOU are the reason those directions are there,” Henry sighed. 

(I know you guys: how does Henry “tolerate” me? He must be a “Saint.” “Job is going to shake his hand when he gets to Heaven.” Because our relationship is something he “tolerates” or “puts up with.”)

Honestly though, that flame went up SO HIGH. This is what happens when Henry takes too long waking up and I take breakfast matters into my own hands. :/

It’s all his fault. Just like it was his fault for failing to buy me a bag of coffee for work, creating a MAJOR CRISIS last Friday which culminated in Catherine and I colluding in a dangerous k-cup robbery from Lori’s office which I tried to reason was ok because one time she told me I was welcome to the candy she keeps in the one drawer and her k-cups were one drawer beneath that one, so…And then Catherine was so fraught with guilt that she left a dollar on Lori’s desk. The much anticipated conclusion to this is that Lori returned to work on Wednesday amd Catherine FLEW into her office before Lori even set her purse down, blurting out her confession and waiting to receive penance. There was a tense moment when we weren’t sure if Lori was going to throw a stapler and yelled, “Cash me ousside!” but turns out she had used up all her fucks on games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals and had little left in the tank to use on a stolen k-cup. She even gave Catherine her dollar back (had I known, I would have stolen that too!) Then when Todd got to work later that day, he said, “Oh yeah, I’m telling Lori you stole from her” and I was like OMG SHE ALREADY KNOWS! EVERYONE KNOWS! I’M A DIRTY THIEF!

I mean…

Ahem. 

SUBJECT CHANGE. 

Here are some pictures from this day, Saturday, June 10, 2017. 

We moved Chooch’s keyboard out of his bedroom and onto the backporch. Well, let me rephrase that: Henry and I kept saying that’s what we were going to but Chooch is the one who finally did it on his own accord because he was tired of waiting for his parents to finish watching Running Man and take care of him. 

Last night, I walked past him and saw that he had found the music for BigBang’s “Haru Haru” and decided to try and learn it! The coolest part is that he realized one of the notes was off and FIXED IT. He’s really good at playing by ear, which is something he definitely didn’t get from either one of us. 

He played it for Henry and made him guess what it was. Henry knew it was Bigbang right away but not what song because Henry never knows song names except for Ted Nugent ones. 

Early afternoon, we went to Kohl’s so I could buy new jeans and for the first time in years I didn’t have an emotional breakdown in the fitting room, 고맙습니다, Korea!!!!

Anyway, the whole point of mentioning Kohl’s is that there were these two middle-aged women loudly airing their dirty laundry RIGHT NEXT TO THE LAUREN CONRAD SECTION so I had to stand practically butted up against them, enduring their not-even-interesting drama. They were there every time I came back around and at one point I said loudly to Henry that they should take their lame bitch fest out to the parking lot instead of polluting our ears with it, because that’s how I handle conflict with strangers: passive aggressively, with loud immaturity. 

It was honestly the only time I was mad all day though so that’s pretty huge. I’m usually mad MANY times. 


I imprinted on this red leaf banana thing at some nursery we went to today. 

“Who imprints on a banana leaf plant?!” Henry cried. 

Um, me — I literally just said that?!

Henry wouldn’t buy it because it was $80 and that’s like a lot for a plant I guess? I literally do not know the value of a dollar. 


Chooch chose a plant for himself and mused, “I’ll name him A-ha, because I want to take him on.” OK, 80s kid?


Pet cemetery visit:( Chooch and I got really emotional and Henry didn’t know what to do so he just walked away because he doesn’t love animals. 


Obligatory ice cream from Yough Twist down the street from the pet cem. “Ugh I forgot this place has the inferior sprinkles!” I cried with my head back, dramatic damsel I am. 

“What’s wrong with them?” Henry and Chooch asked in tandem. 

“Well in addition to not being properly rainbow, they have a chalky taste,” I snapped because duh, just look at them. 

Beneath the inadequate sprinkled shell sat a perfect black raspberry & vanilla twist though, so once I hate-ate the sprinkles, I was good to go. 

Henry and Chooch also had ice cream, blah blah blah. 

Drew is like, “No really, you can trust me. I’m just gonna sit on them and help them grow.” 🙄


But seriously, these little propagations are coming along swimmingly in spite of PENELOPE digging them up once a week. 


Henry made me a snack plate with pineapple, kimchi, and pickled daikon – it was so refreshing. So refreshing that I went back for more pineapple which I then left out on the kitchen counter.  

“You left the pineapple out,” Henry said when he was visiting the kitchen later on. He sighed and put it away. 

Which is the exact outcome I expected, so why bother putting it away myself?

*******

In other news, G-Dragon’s new music is the most wonderful thing I’ve heard in so long and it made it to #1 on iTunes in 39 countries including the US which is crazy to me because most Americans I know are incredibly narrow-minded & ignorant when it comes to anything that’s not in English. Omg so weird and inferior. 

I still can’t believe I’m going to see him next month! I was thinking about it on the trolley yesterday, trying to imagine how I will react when I first see him, and I started to cry openly in front of people which sadly isn’t the first time that’s happened on the trolley. Dat bi-polar life, y’all.

******

It’s 8’oclock now and Chooch has stains all over my treasured Howard Jones shirt. Should I cry, laugh, or burn down the kitchen for real this time? I JUST DONT KNOW. GOODBYE. 

Jun 072017
 

I can’t believe how good this oatmeal tastes,” I said enthusiastically yesterday at work. 

“Ooh, what did you put in it?” Lauren asked. 

“Nothing,” I shrugged. “I just followed the directions on the box for the first time.”

****

OK, let’s back up.

Typically I eat cream of wheat or oatmeal everyday for lunch at work because it’s instant gratification and I can barely handle much else, other than slopping some fruit salad (pre-made by Henry) into a tupperware thing and praying that it doesn’t leak in my bag on the way to work.

If I’m feeling particularly whimsical, I will add some sprinkles to it. If Gayle has honey at work, I might add that too. Usually I have a bruised banana that will find its way into the hot slop, too.

I always tell Henry when it’s time to buy me more instant cereal for work, but sometimes — this is going to be hard to fathom for some so make sure you swallow first if you’re eating or drinking — I will go to CVS during my lunch break and buy it myself.

I KNOW.

ME!

I CAN DO THAT!

Recently, something crazy was going on with me and I tagged along with Henry to the boring grocery store (as opposed to the magical Asian markets, which I happily visit every weekend). I knew that I needed to restock on my work lunch stash, so I bought kids oatmeal (complete with dinosaur eggs, thank you) and some healthy oatmeal thing that had flax seed and whatever in it.

Turns out, that healthy oatmeal is a kind that I’ve bought before and I HATE IT! It turns out so watery, basically just warm cloudy water with grain things floating in it. Disgusting! Two days in a row I suffered through this sad-sack lunch, complaining about it at length to Glenn who had the Don’t Care glaze over his eyes, until something occurred to me yesterday.

“Maybe I should try to make it the way the box says to make it,” I said mostly to myself, reading the directions at my desk.

“Well, how have you been making it?” Glenn asked hesitantly, probably wishing he could recall his question.

NO TAKE-BACKS.

“Well, I dump it into my mug and then fill it up with the hot water from the spout on the coffee maker,” I said. “But then it just stays watery! Nothing happens!”

“Oh my god,” Glenn mumbled, and I couldn’t tell if that meant he was shocked my method didn’t work, or if he had just looked at a really great picture of G-Dragon.

So in the kitchen, I followed directions. I dumped the oatmeal into my cup. I filled the now-empty paper oatmeal pouch up to the line with water (not from the hot water thingie though – I’m not that dumb, you guys! Plus there is a warning sticker on it). Then I poured it over top the oatmeal and baked it in the microwave for two minutes.

And it exploded like a fucking 5th grader’s volcano science project. I had to take the glass thingie out of the microwave and clean it, ugh! Aaron walked by when this was happening and I sheepishly said, “I made a mess…”

“Is that your banana tea?” he asked, because one time he saw me cutting up a banana in the kitchen (with a plastic knife, don’t worry) and putting it in my coffee cup and then for the next year, he secretly thought I was literally adding bananas to my tea and expressed his concern (and disgust, probably) to Jeannie, who later told me about it and we had a great laugh.

Ugh, yes it’s my banana tea.

After I cleaned up the mess (burning my hand in the process), I took the remnants back to my desk and was amazed at how wonderful it tasted!

Glenn said I should have taken it out of the microwave every 30 seconds to stir it.

“Well, how would I know to do that if it doesn’t say on the box?” I cried, and he went back to trolling comment sections on fake news sites.

Later, I struggled to get the burnt oatmeal off my Goonies mug and considered just throwing it out and getting a new one, but then Gayle was like, “Just soak it….?” and hello, I know about that dish-washing secret, but the oatmeal was caked to the OUTSIDE of the cup too. I ended up just scrubbing it really hard and now my wrist hurts and I need to blame someone for this but I haven’t decided who yet. Probably Henry for not training me to be a grown-up, which by the way, he threatened to do over the weekend “in case something happens.” Something happens? Like he grows a pair and leaves?! Monica said she always just assumed Chooch and I would just move into Chez Chronica if that happens, kind of like she and Chris are our godparents.

I still should just get a new mug though. A G-Dragon one!

****

Today, I remembered Glenn’s sage cooking advice and stalked the microwave, stopping it every thirty seconds and giving the oatmeal a good stir.

With 45 seconds to go, I had a bad feeling. I could sense something wasn’t right, so I stopped it before the timer got to 30 and IT HAD OVERFLOWN AGAIN!!!!

Another day of cleaning the microwave! UGH. Where is Barb when I need her?!

Still though, it’s amazing how wonderful food tastes when you follow directions.

“Did the instructions give you options based on the microwave wattage?” Henry asked me on the way home from work, as we sat in traffic for an hour and he tried to resign from being my chauffeur.

“Huh?” I asked, scrolling through my Spotify kpop playlist.

“Never mind,” Henry sighed.  But then he had the audacity to ask me if I was trying to microwave the oatmeal IN THE POUCH, like I’m so dumb that I didn’t know to dump everything into a cup or bowl first, I AM SO INSULTED.

“It was so weird, it looked like it expanded somehow!” I gushed, as though I was telling the Story of Oatmeal for the very first time, to a bunch of pioneer people sitting on logs around a cauldron.

“That’s because it literally did expand. It absorbed the water, you idiot,” Henry sighed.

WOW. No need for name-calling!

“Anyway, who knew oatmeal needed to be baked. I guess I’m a baker now.”

“You’re not a baker. You cooked it in a microwave.

I’m going to try and bake other things in the microwave this weekend. Baked beans, probably.

May 282017
 

Friday was one of those days where you hate to complain because when the words come out of your mouth, all you can think is “WOW THIS IS PETTY.” But I was stuck in that “wrong side of the bed” mindset and every little thing was under my skin. 

It was raining. I had to walk to the trolley in the rain. Some asshole car splashed me in the face. I was sitting on some yellow stain of ill repute. I got talked over a million times at work until I eventually just went silent for awhile. Everything was annoying. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away even after visiting Gayle’s Pharmacy. My umbrella blew inside out as soon as I went outside for a walk. I was so vicious to Henry on the phone but he took it like a champ because this is his norm. 

Stupid stuff, but sometimes that shit builds up and I can’t just brush it off everyday. Some days I just lack the resolve and gotta let the hate flow. This was that day. 

After work, Henry and I were supposed to meet our friend Jason and his girlfriend at the 68 show at Smiling Moose. They ended up having to cancel earlier in the day, but we still had tickets and a babysitter, so our plans were the same. 

Except that by the end of the work day, I was DONE. My headache was still there. I was hungry. My hair was frizzy from the rain. I forgot to bring a shirt and shoes to change into and I just felt UMCOMFORTABLE. I had no joy left in the tank.

From the moment I got in the car, I started bitching. Henry was calm as ever because he knew the nucleus of this bitchfest was hunger. Feed the girl, save the world. 

Originally, we were going to eat at the Moose before the show, but I knew all day that this wasn’t happening because I forgot to ask earlier in the week if I could leave work early and I knew by the time we got there it would already be packed since it was Friday. 

And I was right. 

FUCK EVERYTHING! LIFE SUCKS!

I mean….now, now Erin. Let’s not be petty. 

So we canvassed Carson St and I haughtily shot down every one of Henry’s suggestions with a flaming arrow of estrogen and hanger – that mix you fuck with only if you want to die. 

Henry kept trying to make me laugh and I was like YOUR JOKES ARE NOT SUPPRESSING MY HUNGER. Maybe put a fucking punchline inside a bowl of bibimbap, dumbass! UGH!!

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to blow off the show even though at one point I had been genuinely looking forward to it, because I wasn’t sure if a crowd was going to exacerbate my total bitchfaced attitude or what. 

“Let’s just go home!” I yelled and Henry calmly said, “Ok. Whatever you want. I’m just glad to be spending time with you” and then I had to pause to puke in a discarded pizza box because bitch, please. 

Driving out of Southside, Henry suggested we try Onion Maiden, a metal-themed vegan restaurant we had been wanting to try since it opened but then forget about it every time we’re looking for a place to eat. 

You know how it is. 

So we rolled up to Onion Maiden and the dinner rush hadn’t yet hit so at least I didn’t have to be overwhelmed by a crowded restaurant on top of everything else. 

It wasn’t the Korean food that I was craving, but they at least had some Korean-inspired menu items. 


We started with a plate of cashew cheese, chutney, mini baguette, apple slices, and “Killing Yoke” deviled (faux) eggs. That’s what’s up.

Henry shared his order of Graves at Sea with me, and also ordered Coffins (I had a bite and immediately had ordering remorse). I got the Kimmy Gimmler of course because: kimchi. 

It was great but definitely wouldn’t have held up as a dinner entree on its own. Luckily, we had that cheese plate and tots too or I would have been ready to eat my arm an hour later. 

Henry got some vegan donut for dessert and I had the cheesecake special: The New Rose, which had like, rose, beets and hibiscus or something. 

It was good BUT—not as good as the raw cheesecake I had at this one vegan restaurant in Cleveland. I can’t remember the name of it now. Earth Something, probably. 

Props to the punny menu. It lifted my spirits and smothered the fury rising up from my belly. I was in a much better mood after that!

(Zenith is still bae, though.)

Aug 122016
 

We took Henry’s mom to the Grant Bar for dinner on Wednesday, which is down the street from Mr. Small’s and has THE BEST COCONUT CREAM PIE ON EARTH.

I’m not kidding. I’m a coconut cream pie savant, having studied all types of crust, custard, and creamy caps (I prefer a whipped topping over a meringue, for your information). I know a good coconut cream pie. I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been underwhelmed, I’ve been satiated, but rarely have I been WOWED. That old dude at Grant’s knows what’s up. Honestly, I can never even remember how I felt about the actual food every time I’ve left that joint, because it’s the pie that stays on my mind.

THAT FUCKING GOLD MEDAL PIE.

“You’re going to love this place,” Henry said to Judy as we walked in. “Everyone here will be your age.”

And sure enough!

We had a great time at Grant’s except that I hated our waitress. I mean, she wasn’t THE WORST but she was definitely stand-offish and having a rough night and I’m sorry, but if I’m afraid to ask a waitress questions, then what’s the point, why didn’t I just go to a fucking vending machine for dinner.

First of all, I asked for cole slaw in lieu of a potato product for my side, and she MIGHT HAVE TOLD ME at that time that all sandwiches COME with a small side of cole slaw, but instead, she brought me like three servings of cole slaw and I was like, “Oh. OK, wow.” I mean, perhaps I would have asked for cottage cheese instead!

Second of all, I decided after we ordered our food that I wanted some type of beer so that I could calm my nerves because I was going to the show alone and walking into the venue is always the hardest part for me because NO FRIENDS, SO SAD. I didn’t have a drink menu but Henry pointed to a sign on a wall that had some kind of dumb beer special on it so I was like excuse me can I have that and she made a huge deal about needing my ID and then took forever to come back to check it and I was so frustrated because she made me feel like I was abusing my power as a customer by ordering a bottle of beer and I’M SORRY I HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY AND NEED THIS RIGHT NOW PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME FEEL WORSE.

Third of all, I realized she reminded me of an old boss and that just made it worse.

Meanwhile, Judy was all, “LEMME TRY SOME OF THAT BEER” and took a swig.

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She wasn’t impressed.

She shrugged and made an “eh” expression and Chooch leaned over and said, “That moment you make the Trump face” and it was PERF.

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“I was always more of a whiskey and water person,” she said matter-of-factly.

And then we got the last three pieces of coconut cream pie!! Henry had to settle for lemon cream so he acted like a little pussy bitch about it.

I wish you could taste this pie right now. I wish I hadn’t eaten a grilled cheese so I could have had two pieces of pie and Chooch could have gotten apple instead, I don’t give a fuck. I wish that old man pie baker lived in my kitchen cupboard.

Apparently, Judy’s mom made a killer coconut cream, so we all braced ourselves  and waited for her to denounce Grant’s limp-writ

Because I was going to a show, I didn’t get to watch the Olympics with Judy that night and I was pretty sad about that. But we got some swimming action in last night! She kept talking about Linda Lasky and I was like, “WHO IN THE FUCK IS SHE TALKING ABOUT’ so I googled her and all I found was a bunch of basic, non-medaling women. Eventually I realized she was referring to KATIE LEDECKY.

The fuck.

Also, she doesn’t care WHAT color Ryan Lochte’s hair is, because MMM MMM MMM. He’s darling! Also, it’s “Lockie” not Lochte. She was very perplexed when he didn’t medal and kept murmuring, “Lockie, what happened to you?” over and over, and it was so depressing.

Judy’s favorite swimmer is Esther Williams. I hadn’t heard of her and when I looked her up, I realized she is old as fuck—so old she’s dead.

Then it switched to gymnastics and she was filling me in on a lot of the things I had missed during the week. “And there’s Aly and….the black girl.” Oh Judy.

Henry took her home today at work, so I had to watch all the swimming stuff without her so no surprise Phelps got a SILVER. NOTHING FEELS RIGHT!!

I just realized I’ve been watching TV all night on the non-HD channel. I’ve been spending way too much time with Judy.

Mar 212016
 

As opposed to Sunday, when we ate each others’ bitter words and empty threats because welcome to the cuckoo house!

I mean, anyway.

Pictures of ice cream cones from Millie’s kept popping up in my Instagram feed last week, because they were having a grand opening. I decided that it was imperative we go and get some on Saturday because we’re whores for ice cream and god forbid we’re left in the dust. It turns out that Millie’s is in the old space Oh Yeah! used to be, which is kind of funny since it was only a few weeks ago when Chooch and I did a drive-by and saw that something new was moving in there.

The menu is not very extensive, but it’s all homemade and I heard one of the ladies there telling a customer that they only thing that’s not locally sourced is the almond extract that they use to make their waffle cones. So if you’re into that type of thing, Millie’s is the place for you.

I think that’s great, I guess, but all I really care about is one thing: UNUSUAL FLAVORS. And they definitely had a few. I went with one scoop of fig because figs are my spirit fruit; and also a scoop of the sweet ricotta, which was littered with pistachios and cherries. You guys, it was so dreamy.

Chooch really lived large and got one scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate. Slow down, Chooch. Your palate’s getting a little too mature there.

And Henry got a scoop of the spiced rum banana in a bowl even though I tried to coax him into the orange marmalade poppy seed. NO ONE LISTENS TO ME ANYMORE.

Henry forced me into letting him taste the ricotta and he liked it so much that he had to go up and get a scoop for himself. I was unreasonably irritated about that. I guess because my #FOREVERFAT stigma would never allow me to go up for seconds at an ice cream shop!

UGHHHH!!!!!

Meanwhile, Chooch and I had a huge argument on the way home because I casually mentioned that I thought the little dab of marshmallow at the bottom of the waffle cone was a nice touch, and Chooch spat, “There wasn’t any marshmallow in that cone!” And then Henry was all, “It was probably just ice cream” and I said, “OH OK, DRY AND STICKY ICE CREAM?!” and then it was a big fight by this point.

Later that evening, I found THIS:

I WIN, MOTHERFUCKERS.

I’ll definitely go back to Millie’s (sooner rather than later) but I won’t pretend like I don’t miss the weird vibes and one-way window on the bathroom door of Oh Yeah. It’s going to be hard for any ice cream shop to usurp the empty spot they left in my heart. Ugh, that place may have been sorely mismanaged, but their add-ins were ON POINT. And their interior had way more personality than Millie’s, which is your typical, unoriginal bright-lights and candy-colored stripes.

Click that Weekend Picturepalooza thing down there for some Oh Yeah memories….(BONUS: there are also pictures of Marcy on this old blog post!)

Weekend Picturepalooza

To counteract the afternoon ice cream splurge, Henry made me this delightful plate of color for dinner, featuring his SEXUAL SALAD DRESSING!

Usually Henry ladles me plates of browns and beiges so this was a nice change.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Chooch got some kind of rare baking bug up his ass and hounded Henry all day to let him bake something. Henry found a recipe for sopapilla cheesecake squares that seemed safe enough for a nine-year-old to follow, and if you didn’t already know this about my child, he LOVES sopapillas. Like, I could probably slide a sopapilla under his door on his birthday and do nothing else, and he would probably be happy.

LOL, OK let’s not  get carried away.
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It was actually quite delightful. Henry said that Chooch very competently did most of the baking, and that Henry really only handled the oven part. I’m impressed! I would have quit before Henry had all the ingredients all lined up. One of my friends commented on Facebook about how at least now they know I won’t starve when I’m old and this is a really good part. Stay in the kitchen, son.

In other news, I just did some hip hop tabata workout that I found on YouTube and for the last three minutes I thought there was an alarm going off somewhere in the house but it turns out that’s just the ringing in my ears.

That might be the ice cream alarm.

Feb 182016
 

Henry and I have many recurring arguments, usually over his unwillingness to put the seat down or let touring bands crash at our place.

(He at least picks up his socks now, either that or he just stopped wearing them since I retaliated by throwing away every sock I found of his on the floor, and now he just doesn’t have any left.)

The other night, we live-acted another episode of The Things We Fight About Most: Season 15, Episode “Henry Eats An Orange Again.”

We were standing in the kitchen together, peacefully co-existing, when it happened. The initial SQUIRT SMOOSH SMACK SLURP of his teeth and tongue tag-teaming in a juicy mastication match, wet nectar spraying through the air like a carefully choreographed money shot.

I’ve never felt more uncomfortable around someone eating a piece of fruit; it feels like walking in on your parents fucking. This should be done in private or at least not until others in the house are provided a pair of ear plugs. He sounds like he’s performing oral sex in citrus porn EVERY TIME HE EATS ORANGES. Must be how some of you feel when you hear the word MOIST or OINTMENT, like nails on a chalkboard that’s also being used to administer a pelvic exam on you.

Just imagine his beard glistening with post-coital orange jizz interwoven between those grizzled bristles.

I just can’t stand it.

And every time, it comes as a shock to him, being called out for being the sleaziest Sunkist gourmand this side of the fucking Green Door.

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UGHHHH go fuck yourself with that orange! YOU ALREADY SOUND LIKE YOU ARE.

Feb 142016
 

You know how some people can be together for a decade+ and still want to swathe themselves in sequins and put on matching UNDERGARMENTS for Valentines Day? Henry and I are not that couple. In fact, I can’t remember the last time Henry wore sequins. :( So I don’t even stress over February 14th anymore. Especially after I baked him a cake one year and painted him an adorable ode to our polarizing feelings on music festivals, and he never does anything for me. NOT BITTER. Not even a little bit.

This year, my Valentine is Chooch, and we’re spending it with Never Shout Never at Mr. Small’s.

But then yesterday, Chooch ended up having his own pre-Valentines play date, so Henry was like, “Well, do you want to go to dinner or something?” SUCH ROMANCE!!

I decided that since this was the best he was going to do in the Valentine department, that we should go to Zenith since it’s my favorite and he never wants to go because he has it in his head that it’s a breeding ground for “pale, peaked* vegan hipsters.”

*(Pee-kid, not peeked—don’t get it twisted!)

His exact words. I have rarely encountered this human subset at Zenith, but full disclosure — I’ve never been there for their Sunday brunch so for all I know, that’s when all the vampire-complected Bon Iver fans come out to play, half-decapitated on their infinity scarves.

It’s almost as though I majored in Stereotyping.

We got there sometime after 5 because we’re nearly at earl-bird status, and I was smug to point out that there were only three other tables of patrons there, and none of them were boasting any offensive air of pretension about them.

One Man, Four Cups.

I’m not a big tea-drinker, but one of the things I always have to do at Zenith is order from their extensive tea menu. It’s part of the process! Kara will tell you. She knows. If I had spent half the time studying textbooks as I do that fucking tea menu…well, I’d still be in the same position I’m in now. Never mind. I forgot that I didn’t get far in life because of a different kind of stupidity. Hahahaha. Oh god.

I was torn between the Earl Grey Lavender and Maple Vanilla, so I asked the waitress for her opinion. She got all stressed out and called over to the proprietor, Elaine, for help.

“I don’t do anything lavender,” Elaine brusquely called over, scrunching up her nose. “So yeah, Maple Vanilla.” Elaine is my homegirl so I went with her choice, and it was a smart one because I’m currently chugging my Sunday morning coffee and crying that there’s no maple.

Elaine brought the pot over to our table. “Now, don’t pour this right away,” she said. “I mean it! I tell people all the time that it’s not ready, and then I go back in the kitchen and I can SEE them pouring it! I’m like, it’s gonna taste like crap!” God, I fucking love her.

OMG it’s a salad. You’ve never seen a salad before. Henry had to finish mine because I’m really picky with salads.

“Look at those lamps back there,” Henry casually pointed out, and I gave myself whiplash in my attempt to beat all of the invisible people around us in a race to see it first. Up in the corner, there were two majestic holy lamps dangling like carrots, begging me to buy them.

“YOU HAVE TO ASK HOW MUCH THEY ARE!” I cried, to which Henry responded with his patented “get real” smirk. I mean, why else would he point these out to me if he didn’t secretly desire to furnish our home with them!?

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“I bet they’re $100 a piece,” he quietly guessed, before stabbing the rest of my salad with his fork.

“Well, you could be wrong!” I frantically said. “I thought that our wheelchair was going to be $500 and it was only $40!”

“Why would you think that wheelchair was FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?” Henry asked in disbelief. Because I’m an idiot, OK? Is that what you want to hear?! The value of the dollar confuses me.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Kara was 100% encouraging this purchase. It’s a wonder that Henry hasn’t tried to get me to stop being friends with Kara yet. (Jokes: No man controls my life.)

Our waitress reported back that the lamps were $80 for one, $150 for the pair. Henry thanked her and kept shoveling food in his mouth without giving me a definitive answer and I was losing my mind.

I was annoyed that Henry ordered the Moroccan stew, because that’s what I ordered and I wanted him to get the seitan so we could share. He’s so fucking selfish. He apparently didn’t “feel like seitan and asparagus” on this night. At least he ordered a different kind of vegan cake though, so we could share the chocolate blueberry and strawberry almond. Seriously, there are times when I consider stopping by just for tea and cake. Their actual food is always good, but those cakes. Those goddamn cakes.

Maybe I should have my birthday party there this year.

Meanwhile, guess whose puppy-dog eyes won the war of the majestic holy lamps!? I think once I cried, “IT CAN BE THE FIRST FUCKING VALENTINES DAY PRESENT YOU’VE GIVEN ME IN 10 YEARS,” he was overcome with guilt and decided that $80 was a small price to pay for an evening free of me pouting, slamming doors, and breaking glass objects.

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So this guy came out with his ladder and Henry was all upset  because he didn’t want the man to have to do this during dinner hours and kept saying, “I’ll just tell him we can come back for it” but I was like, “You shut your face, he looks very happy to be shoving tables out of the way and untangling wires.”

(He kind of didn’t.)

But I needed to leave with that lamp that night. I had already imprinted with it.

“Where the fuck are we even going to put this?” Henry asked, the regret of pointing the lamps out in the first place rising up in his eyes like mercury in a thermometer.

“In our bedroom, duh.” It’ll be the perfect complement to the crucifix collection I’m starting on the wall behind our bed. Sometimes he just doesn’t think.

Here’s Henry acting like a Big Help by doing nothing more than standing with arms akimbo.

“Now you screwed us all up!” Elaine joked, standing by the kitchen door as Henry walked back to the table with one of the lamps. Now they had to find another lamp for that corner. But that’s what happens when everything in your restaurant is for sale, I guess! Anyway, they said it’s from Woolslayer in Bloomfield, whatever that means.

My favorite part of Zenith has always been the post-meal store perusing. This was way less fun with Henry. He wouldn’t try any of the vintage dresses on for me like Kara does. :(

On again, off again.

I don’t think there has ever been a time I visited Zenith and left without taking a picture in this bathroom.

There were other things that I wanted to buy but Henry had that steely look of DON’T EVEN etched all along his weathered face, so I just figured that I’ll wait for the next time I’m there with Kara.


“You should have bought them both,” I said on the way home, knowing as soon as the words came out of my mouth that it was going to stir the pot in a big way.

“You’re never happy!” Henry cried. “You get one, you want two. If you got two, you’d want three!”

He’s not wrong.

****

I started writing this post last night, but then I was interrupted by an evening of violent vomiting. Henry thinks it was food poisoning since I woke up feeling fine; not food poisoning from Zenith though, because we both ate the same things. “It’s probably whatever you had for lunch,” he suggested with a tinge of accusation in his tone. This is a strong possibility, considering I made my own lunch and god only knows what goes on when I step into a kitchen.

However, what I think actually happened is that I brought something home with that lamp, some type of holy spirit, and it literally was exorcising me last night. Thank you, lamp. I feel less demonic than usual today.

 

Sep 162015
 

While I’m trying to sort through my cluttered, unsophisticated 15-year-old’s diary full of thoughts on all the bands I saw this past weekend, let’s talk instead about the VENDORS.

Music festivals are RUDE. You’ve already spent Heaven’s rent on a ticket (and if it’s more than a one-day festival, plan on eating lots of pb&j for the next month since you just sacrificed  your grocery money) and now there’s all these food vendors and merch tents lining up to take your car payment too.

I mean, unless you do a better job at planning for these things than I do. Which, thankfully, Henry does. He had been saving for months! What a novel idea that I didn’t even consider.

The downside to this is that he had been hoarding actual cash money so that we wouldn’t have to use our debit cards at all that weekend. I say “downside” because that money was in HIS wallet so I had to constantly ask him if I could buy things and I felt like Chooch, begging for every shiny thing.

What a strong, independent woman I am!

I’m so used to going to Warped Tour, where we’re at the mercy of the venue-provided food options. And it’s overpriced bullshit food too, like chicken tenders and nachos that cost $10. A vegetarian’s nightmare. But Riot Fest is a foodtruck Valhalla, and almost every food vendor has vegetarian fare for all of us plant gourmands. I was really sad last year because I felt like I didn’t have time to take advantage of this bevy of meatless options lining the perimeter of Humboldt Park. This year, I vowed to eat a shit ton of foods!

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Aaaaand….I failed to eat a shit ton of foods. I’m sorry, but food < music. All three days, we grabbed something quickly for lunch before hitting the stages, and if there was enough downtime in between bands at some point, I would declare that a second feeding was allowed.

Henry didn’t like this rigid feeding schedule that I put us on, but shit gets real out there in the field, OK? Those food lines get so long after a certain point in the day and that’s time that I just don’t have to waste.

Day One:

As soon as I saw the Dark Matter tent, I was ON IT. I have been smitten with this coffee ever since last year’s Riot Fest, and I occasionally order bags of their coffee online—they’re the reason I drop-kicked my Keurig to the curb and bought a French press. God love them.

Henry handed me some cash and took off for a porta-potty, leaving me to approach the Dark Matter tent with way too much enthusiasm. There is something about Henry’s presence that keeps my exuberance dialed back (I think this is also known as STIFLING), so anytime he leaves me alone, I can get kind of over-the-top.

Like a dog off its leash.

“I LOVE YOUR COFFEE,” I yelled at the guy in lieu of saying of hello. I don’t even know if he is the Dark Matter guy. I don’t think he was expecting to be yelled at in such a positive matter that soon after the gates opened. “I’M FROM PITTSBURGH AND SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF SITTING AT WORK, DREAMING OF DARK MATTER.”

“Oh wow, that’s really cool!” he said after I finally shut the fuck up. “Here, take some stickers and a pin,” he insisted, pointing to the free shit along the counter. And then, after filling up a cup for me, he said, “Wait right here,” before walking to the back of the tent.

Henry had returned by then and asked me why I was still standing there.

“I don’t know, he told me to wait here,” I shrugged, dreamily sipping my cup of wet happy. And then the Dark Matter guy came back and handed me a free t-shirt!

God, I love Dark Matter.

And I love Riot Fest.

AND I LOVE YOU.

(I didn’t bother giving my nails a fresh painting for Riot Fest. They barely hold up during a regular show, let alone a three day fest.)

Quickly scarfed down a vegan taco from Tica’s Tacos. It was OK. It had a plantain on it and plantains are good. But all I cared about was chewing that shit up quick-like and running to the next stage. Henry ate ribs or something. I’m not sure.

I made a mess of my taco.

I was really excited about Puffs of Doom after Googling them when the Riot Fest food vendors were announced.I was going to get some banana Nutella concoction but at the last minute decided that my mouth was feeling particularly contrary to bananas that evening (I have flip-flopping taste buds) so I yelled “NO GET THE PEACH ONE” to Henry who has to do all of my food ordering because I get anxiety. (I hate decisions!)

I’m OK in actual restaurants though. I just get nervous when there is a line of hungry people behind me waiting to order their food and here I am, being in the way as usual, god forbid.

And there’s another tangent no one cares about.

The peach thing was just OK. I split it with Henry and usually I want to eat all of things for myself. He ended up getting some delicious white chocolate dessert egg roll thing and split that with me and it was much more delightful than my peach puff.

Henry had fries for dinner because it was the shortest line and Faith No More was about to start; I had nothing because in case you missed it, Faith No More was about to start!  Food was the last thing on my feeble mind at that point.

I had a late vending machine feast at the “hotel” – generic chex mix and half of a Snickers. Concert lyfe,  y’all.

Day 2:

Older than Henry!

We got some Connie’s deep dish as soon as we arrived at Douglas Park. I know, I know, it’s no Giordano’s or whatever, but it got the job done.

Later I had Guinness ice cream because I love beer-flavored food but not beer-flavored beer. It was really good. That’s my Yelp review.

Dinner was another hectic scramble because we had a very small window of time and everything was crowded except for that idiotic Puffs of Doom place and some Billy Goat burger stand next door. So I had a savory artichoke puff which I ate so fast because I was in such a hurry to get to Billy Idol’s stage  that I don’t even remember what it tasted like. Spinach artichoke dip inside of a puff pastry, I’m going to wager.

Day 3:

Again, we got there before any of the bands started, so we hit up the Fat Shallot, where Henry got some type of weener and I got a grilled cheese. It wasn’t too fancy, but it got the job done. I don’t know why I was so excited about the food vendors being announced, because I knew that this was going to be a weekend of eating out of necessity and nothing more. To be honest, I probably could have gotten by on protein bars. Goddamn Henry, throwing wrenches in my festival schedule with his annoying habit always having to eat.

We spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon at the two smaller stages because the lineup over there was tight as fuck. Dinky Donuts was in the vicinity, so Henry bought a bag of chili cinnamon ones and they were so moist. MOIST MOIST MOIST.

Warm and moist.

I loved them.

 

We split curry fries later that night while waiting for Snoop Dogg.

I know, we really lived it up.

As far as merch goes, there was so much I wanted! One of my favorite Etsy sellers, Martha Rotten, had a booth there. (Not to burst your bubble, but her name is FRANCENE not Martha.) I was excited to meet her in real life, and we had the most awkward exchange of all time, because ETSY PEOPLE ARE AWKWARD. I should know. I’m one of them.

Anyway, I own one lone Martha Rotten piece:

dollring

I was really trying hard to add to my strange jewelry collection (she has a pewter Last Supper cuff that I had my eyes on) and I think that Henry was actually going to cave and give me money (Weak, Dependent Woman Almost Gets Permission From Big Man, story on page 6) but you know what happened next? I suddenly turned selfless and decided that I would just buy something from her shop at a later date, and instead just bought my KID things because I missed him so much and like my mom before me, I know all about buying a child’s love.

We bought him this cat shirt from Harebrained Designs (they’re partners with Period Panties, lol):

And one of my favorite t-shirt companies of all time, Choonimals, was there again! I’ve been following these guys for years, ever since they first started popping up at Warped Tour. This past summer, they actually partnered with Warped Tour and not only sponsored the two main stages, but also designed the 3D commemorative ticket for 2015. I love their animal designs so much and as usual, it was tough to choose one, and I started to get real gushy at this booth too, like the t-shirt version of Dark Matter coffee. “I GO TO WARPED TOUR EVERY YEAR AND JUST LOVE CHOONIMALS AHHHHHHH” as I shoved my bulging eyeballs back into their sockets. Henry was like, “OK PICK A SHIRT SO WE CAN LEAVE BEFORE THIS MAN CALLS THE COPS.” We ultimately settled on this one for Chooch, which he’s excited to wear for picture day:

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It was cute — he was like Choonimals!! as soon as I pulled it out of my Epitaph bag.

Last year, this artist–-ChuckU—was there and I was drooling over his prints but Henry was like POOR PEOPLE DON’T BUY ART, MOVE ALONG. This year, I finally talked him into buying one of the cat designs for Chooch, who already has the best cat art collection in his room.
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Some of my other favorite vendors were there again too, like Then Now Always (I bought one of their necklaces at Riot Fest last year and every time I wear it, I feel happy) and KoalaCore (the best t-shirts!) but Henry kept reminding me of his blue collar status and also the fact that we’re going to Philly this weekend and we don’t want to sleep in the car, do we? I hate having his gruff voice of reason in my ear CONSTANTLY.

(Don’t even make me calculate all the money he spent on beer, though! But, I guess he had to numb the pain somehow.)

Stheart was there again too and I was straight casing their tent; I think I was alarming them. I just really wanted Henry to buy himself one of their slouch beanies because I like him in beanies but I like him best in SLOUCH beanies because then he looks slightly more my type. He was so close to picking one out but then was like “NOT RIGHT NOW” so I guess I’ll just get him seven of them for Christmas, along with a closetful of fitted flannels, gray jeans, TOMS, a neck tattoo, and The Artist In the Ambulance on vinyl.

***

Today at work, I low-key cried at my desk because my body is nothing more than a giant flesh-chalice of  emo blood and I can’t even go to a club show without collapsing into a melodramatic lump of post-show depression, so how do you think I’m handling the first week after three entire days worth of music? NOT VERY GRACEFULLY.  I will try not to be too ridiculous with my music recap posts. NO PROMISES.

Henry’s response to my “I JUST CRIED AT MY DESK, WAH RIOT FEST” text was “oh erin.” He must have been too tired to type out “honestly.”

I’m very fragile right now. Handle with care.