Aug 182022
 

Today is a great day! First, my NCT127 bias has released a solo MV and it is exceptional as expected. Jaehyun is such a secret weapon. Oh my god, the tone of his voice. Scoop me up, I’ve melted.

And then! It’s my KING’s birthday! G-Dragon! Kwon Jiyong! Is it weird that I’m over here in America, thinking about how much I hope he’s having/had a great birthday? Being his fan has been a wild ride. I love him so much!

How can you watch this and not want to stan?!!

In other news, this week has been d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g. I am so run-down from all the shit we did over the long weekend (even took a Covid test because I panicked, but no – I’m just good old tired I guess). I have so much to recap still but am zapped of all energy, ESPESH in my brain. I think my age is finally catching up to me.

I’m looking forward to having NO PLANS this weekend. I just want to go for a cemetery walk, read some books, get some lingering house stuff done, annoy Chooch, nag Henry, maybe watch a horror movie – you know, HOMEBODY THINGS.

That’s it for now. Look for copious coaster recaps in the near future. Wow, so exciting.

Aug 042022
 

I posted a bunch of these pictures on Insta and my friend Maya said, “Lots of genuine happiness showing through in these…” The Internet and social media definitely have so many negative contributions to life, but without it, I may never have made such true, real friendships, like with Alyson, and Bill & Jessi who we also had the opportunity to spend time with earlier this summer. It sucks that there is so much distance between us but when we get the chance to reunite, it’s literally a party and Maya is so right – you can tell that my smile is real in these! And Henry is, well, Henry.

Alyson and Ryan are both FitBit users so they understood my need to meet my step count for the day and suggested that we take a stroll through the nearby Greeley Park. I kept thinking of the metalcore band Greeley Estates and it was making me nostalgic for Warped Tours of yesteryear. Anyway, this park was so beautiful and forest-y.

Henry looks exactly the same in both shots lol.

I was really this happy all weekend!

The main attraction was the FAMOUS BATHROOM that serves as a backdrop for wedding portraits and the like. I can confirm that, for a public restroom, it really had the most majestic facade. Here’s a picture of NO PICTURES, PLEASE Henry.

Alyson snapped this one – we tag-teamed him and he was not pleased, lol. Two people obsessed with taking his picture? Oof!

I mean, I was drunk, but I didn’t think Henry was – this picture says otherwise!

Serious contemplation.

You guys, I love them so much, lol!

Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube People.

We had such a fun time running around like dummies, watching Ryan climbing a tree (Henry, alleged Tree Climber Extraordinaire according to his mom, suddenly “didn’t feel like” climbing the tree. SUSPISH.), and sitting on cannon things!

Henry found one of his beloved TOBY TREES so we all pretended to be pre-teen Henrys, tokin’ on Tobys. (I still don’t really know how/why anyone would smoke these?? I surely never did as a kid?!)

When we came back to the Wilson abode, Ryan and Alyson got to work on some clandestine dinner which turned out to be 순두부찌개 (soondubu jjigae)!!! I could NOT believe it and came very close to crying because it meant so much to me that they were willing to cook something Korean for me (ugh, apparently Henry was their consultant on this matter, but I give Alyson and Ryan all the credit!). I actually haven’t had any kind of 찌개 in quite some time so it tasted extra good and heart-warming!

Honestly, it turned out so great and was the perfect “I’ve been drinking all day” dinner!

And then a FRUITY PEBBLE CUPCAKE! It was so rich, a real chunky boy! Bigger than my fist! The cake itself was lemon, which is my second favorite cake flavor, next to almond, so I was super content. Korean food and a cupcake? The perfect birthday dinner!

As if that wasn’t enough, I was then gifted with the most recent GOT7 album and I screamed, especially when I pulled my bias Youngjae’s photocard! This was Ryan and Alyson’s first time watching a Kpop album unboxing and they were like WHOA.

“No one buys it for the actual CD,” Henry mumbled.

“Yeah, it’s all about the photobook and other surplus items they throw in,” I explained, holding up a sheet of stickers.

Ryan admitted that this was pretty smart marketing and now I want him and Alyson to do a whole boxed set with a photobook and stickers when they record their metal album about the notary stuff. (Alyson let me see her song list and it is EPIC.) She said she wants one of the pictures to be her angrily stamping papers.

I’m high-key obsessed with this album coming into fruition now.

Day One was so much fun! In honor of my new GOT7 album, I will end this with their member Jackson Wang’s new solo song, Cruel, which just came out last Friday and I watched it before we left for the weekend while Henry was doing all the work packing the car, and maybe this is why he forgot our entire toiletry bag and therefore had to make an early-morning Rite Aid run the next day.

 

Aug 022022
 

Ahhh I’m so excited for these upcoming recaps but also sad because it means the weekend is over. OK, lemme set this shit up for:

I always get depressed on my birthday – not because of AGING, although that’s NOT GREAT. I feel like I whine about this every other year so we’ll skip the history of my birthday depression this time and go right into the remedy: planning something fun so that I have a thing to look forward to. This year, Chooch would be missing my birthday because he chose Mexico over me, so I decided that I wanted to go somewhere for the weekend just to get away and have All of the Fun. I can’t remember why but my friend Alyson and I were engaging in our patented giddy texts – probably something about Hot Naybor Chris or Henry crossing the street, who even knows with us! And it got me thinking that I haven’t seen her in way too long! I had to go back in my blog to find the exact year, and I’m pretty sure it was the winter of 2014 when she was in Pgh to see a band she loved/was friends with and I hung out with them later in her hotel room, where we drank good wine and ate chocolate made by BOBBY BLITZ’S wife.

That was her third time here in Pittsburgh, visiting, and we had only gone to visit her in New Hampshire ONCE so it was definitely our turn. I asked her if she’d be up for it and she said YES and when my birthday weekend was one of the options she suggested, it felt like it was meant to be!

We’ve known each other since 2005, where we met on LiveJournal and I am so thankful that our long-distance friendship has managed to stay solid over all of these years. It’s not often that someone else scream-laughs over the same senseless shit as me!

We left Friday morning and the plan was to get to our hotel in Nashua around 9pm that night and meet for breakfast in the morning, but if you read my liveblog, then you know I managed to stretch Friday out until near-snapping point and we didn’t arrive until 1AM. LOL, sorry Henry.

When we got to Alyson’s Saturday morning, I ALMOST cried. ALMOST. I was just so emotional! Every year, I would write, “MAYBE <INSERT NEXT YEAR> WILL BE THE YEAR WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN!” and finally, 2022 was the magic year. YEAH. BOI.

The only request I had for the whole weekend was BREAKFAST AT PARKER’S MAPLE BARN. Alyson took us here in 2013, where she famously grilled Henry about TED NUGENT. 

I was irrationally mad that Henry and I both wore purple. Especially since his shirt is the shade of purple I like most. Ugh.

First we had to sit in the quarantine room and wait for a table. The hostess even came and SHUT THE DOOR and I started to panic because there was no handle on our side of it!! But then Alyson got the TABLE READY text and Henry strode right up to the door like he had built it himself with tools he carries around in his trunk, and wrenched it right open. We were so in awe.

J/K, no one cared.

But then as one of the hostesses was gathering our menus, she was talking on the phone / bluetooth the whole time about what sounded like personal matters. I was like, “Wow, I don’t want to say this out loud and bring down the mood, but this broad is being super rude.” When we got to our table, Henry kept going on and on about “was there in a hole in the floor?” and finally I snapped, “OMG what are you talking about??” and he was shook that we didn’t see the other hostess behind the register, laying on the floor.

“Oh, was that who our hostess was talking to?? I thought she was on the phone. I was going to say, wow she’s so rude” and Alyson said she was thinking the same thing!

I dunno, I just asked him about it again and his story is awfully convoluted. I have no idea what was happening. “Maybe there was a downstairs,” I don’t know,” he just said exasperatedly so now he has the hostess standing on steps to a storm cellar instead of laying prone on the wooden floor.

We saw SAID HOSTESS a few minutes later, walking about like she hadn’t just been allegedly lying on the floor, so I’m not sure what the hell Henry thought he saw. But now I’m obsessed with knowing.

The main reason I wanted to come here was for the maple coffee – I had never even *heard* of or considered the possibility of maple coffee before  my first visit to Parker’s and scoffed a few years later when STARBUCKS came late onto the maple scene.

It was just as divine as I remembered!

We all had delicious breakfasts but I think Henry won the fast breaking game by choosing DEEPFRIED over grilled when the waitress asked him how he wanted his side of French toast cooked. Holy shit I never want non-deepfried French toast ever again after tasting that.

Henry, post-bathroom emergence.

Henry took this so it is v. unflattering toward me but I need every picture of Alyson and me together so I did not delete! Also, one of the signs is in Korean! It’s the one on the righthand tree, all alone.

Basically the same picture but this filter always tickles me.

Alyson took this of Henry exiting the gift shop, where we bought maple syrup for Chooch and some candy.

After breakfast, we went the long way back to Alyson’s so that we could stop at a nursery called The House on the Side of the Road, I think? It was so cute! They give you small bags of freshly popped complimentary popcorn to eat while plant-perusing!

I bought these two babies and Henry said he was surprised that was all I walked away with. Trust me, I was eyeing up so many more!

Back at the Wilson Residence, we finally met Ryan, who put mimosas in our hands and we proceeded to have the most relaxing / sloshy afternoon, chatting about everything, watching Alyson angrily highlight a misspelling in her cocktail recipe book, and watching the wildlife in their backyard. Also spying on their neighbors, so you know I felt right at home!!

I brought Alyson some Narcisi wine because she was the only person who thought my brother Corey’s and my obsession with this place was funny. She and I alone killed this bottle, plus I took copious swigs of all the delicious frozen drinks she was serving up to Henry.

Yoooo, I was plastered! I drink so infrequently these days that even one drink hits me hard. But, it was my birthday and we weren’t going anywhere, so I kept drinking!

Then, and I can’t even believe this happened and Henry swears he didn’t tell him to do it, but Chooch Facetimed me from Merida!! He was at the beach with his friends and he even let one of them talk to me! I was probably slurring but he’s used to me being weird on the phone so he probably didn’t notice. Alyson got to talk to him too!

This is a good spot to end Part 1!

Jun 232022
 

We had already decided a few days prior to Father’s Day to go to Kennywood that evening for some night ride action. Originally, we were going to try and eke out a day trip to King’s Island but that’s a lot of driving and Henry didn’t have the luxury of having the next day off like Chooch and me. So he made the executive decision to ax that idea.

It actually turned out for the best because now that we’d be home most of the day that Sunday, Chooch and I were able to finish that stupid gem art project in time to present it to Henry while it was still Father’s day and not Labor Day.

(I originally said Flag Day but that happened a week before Father’s Day lol who knew?)

Plus, by the time we gave Henry his dumb gift, I was READY to go to Kennywood. I was like, “SET ME FREE, MOTHERFUCKERS!” Could not wait to get out of the house.

This will mostly just be photos of FAMILY TIME because I’m getting super wrapped up in mortality lately and want to remember every single moment I spend with these two OMG I’m so panicked about TIME.

We all squeezed on the Kangaroo! I do want to say one thing, that while I love the new LEWK, etc of the Kangaroo, the new queue is unfamiliar and makes me feel disoriented.

Keny Kangaroo: Bites & Pints Edition. I hate that Chooch is basically the same height as him now??

Chooch wanted to do the Bites & Pints thing that Henry and I did last week even though he’s picky as hell but he swore that OMG it wouldn’t be a waste, and Henry was like, “OK fine you and I will share it” but then they ended up not using it all so GUESS WHO’S GOING BACK TO KENNYWOOD THIS WEEKEND.

Deciding what he wanted from the German booth.

OK this wasn’t on the Bites & Pints thingie but I wanted to get this ever since I saw Coaster Spot eat these when they were at Kennywood earlier in the season: FRIED MUSH at Rogue BBQ. This whole fucking basket was $8 (actually the sign said $7 but the impersonable broad who took our order charged us an extra dollar) and so filling that I only ate like 4 and gave the rest to Henry and Chooch. They were GOOD though and I would get them again.

Some older lady also ordered them and tried to return them because she “ordered the fried mushrooms and these weren’t mushrooms.” LOL, she was That Day Old when she learned that mush isn’t mushroom’s nickname.

Dude this guy at Ghostwood Estate was NOT fucking around with people. He called out every single person who ducked under the railings instead of walking all the way around and he was NOT happy about it.

He called out this one young black girl who blatantly ignored him when he told her to go back and walk the whole around. Then he called out an older WHITE NERD GUY who was SO OFFENDED at being told he was breaking the rules when he was, you know, breaking the rules, and stamped his way all the way back through the empty queue like he was told. As he passed the line attendant, the same teenage black girl who had previously been called out decided she didn’t want to be in line anymore, so she backtracked and ducked under the railing again to leave.

The white guy cried, “Are you going to yell at her too?? Are you going to treat us equal??” and I was like, “Guy you are NOT even trying to passive aggressively make this a RACE issue, on JUNETEENTH no less.” I wanted to point out that she already BEEN called out the first time around, but then he was already moving past me in line by then. It was super annoying though. I get it, no one wants to be called out but you can’t fucking stand there and be pissed that someone is doing their job. I wish more park employees would do this shit and then maybe less people would be brazen enough to line jump!!

Anyway, I won.

BABY. The main reason why we came back later in the day was because we wanted those sweet, fine Phantom night rides, boy-o.

Chooch is the worst. His pose is sooooo fake, just so you know.

NOAH’S ARK SELFIE. The family in front of us took their picture here too and Chooch was like, “NO” before I even said anything, lol.

LOL Father Henry living his best life eating some type of meat food.

Henry rode Sky Rocket without us because we wanted to wait for the front.

The ride crew that day was sooooooo obnoxious but I loved them. Chooch 100% did NOT. When we came back, the main guy was like HOW WAS THAT RIDE and I was the only person who screamed, lol. He gave me a shout out though!

I just want to give a shout to Phantom. We rode it so many times and just straight-up marathoned it once the sun went down. I swear to god I don’t remember it ever running this good but this bitch HAULS ASS this season.

OK, I swore that I wouldn’t write another Kennywood novel, so I’ll end this by saying that it was a really great Sunday evening and so far this season has reinvigorated my love for Kennywood. I was falling out of love with it over the last several years but it’s got my attention again. It still has a lot of flaws, but I have faith. (Bringing back the old train scenery could win some points!!!)

Oh shit, one more thing! The musical performers that evening was a coverband called THE GEMSTONES, literally after I spent the last week working on a GEMMING PROJECT. It was like the universe taunting me re: GEMS.

“Do you think they hand-placed each gem on their outfits?” Chooch mumbled.

Jun 192022
 

Ever since I started thinking of Father’s Day gift ideas last month, I knew with absolute certainty that I wanted to do something with THE HENRY DOPPELGANGER, see also Mii Henry.

(I have referred back to THE PICTURE numerous times since it was captured last September, so you probably are like, “OK Erin we get it” but in case you are lost, please refer HERE.)

I considered getting a shirt made that had his head and the Mii head multiplied all over it but I also know that he would NEVER wear it. So, a gag gift-turned-rag, basically.

But then I remembered that I had seen an Instagram ad last year for this thing called Paint Gem, which is basically like a paint-by-number thingie but you use gems. I remembered that they offered custom portraits because I had considered getting one of Robert Smith for my beloved Cure wall but then got distracted and forget about it.

What a perfect gift, I thought! I texted Chooch and he was like, “IDK” when I asked him if he would help me do it. Love that response. Well, I was doing it regardless of Chooch’s participation. So I made my little photoshopped image, replacing the background with a rainbow splash, and placed the order. This was in mid-May.

What I didn’t know, and what the website didn’t disclaim, was that it was being shipped from China. I should have known this since I am a sucker for IG ads and I would say that 75% of what I purchase via Instagram comes from China. Which is fine, whatever, but it would have been nice to have some transparency. Because in most of the other cases, I know this going into it so my expectations of a quick shipping are low.

Then I started to Google the company and there are threads all over the internet about how it’s a scam, so even better.

BUT! I did get the product. And to be fair, it did have tracking too but if you have ever ordered anything from China, you know how frustrating the tracking can be. So, the product arrived on Monday and I was panicking because that gave me less than a week to complete it and hello, I had no idea it was going to be THIS LARGE:

Please excuse the mess: this is my old desk in the bedroom where I used to sit when I was a fake painter. It’s pretty much the only place in the house where I could work on this in privacy, and then throw a t-shirt over it in the interim. Basically, I had to be upfront with Henry and say, “DO NOT LIFT THAT T-SHIRT ON MY DESK” and basically I had to just trust that the honor system would work. Luckily, Henry isn’t a snoop and actually respects things of this nature so he never peeked.

This photo doesn’t even show all of the baggies of gems that came with this damn kit!

I’m about to send off a strongly worded email to the company too because their little Instagram videos are false. This isn’t relaxing. It’s frustrating!! They give you this pen-like tool which you dip into a plastic macaron-shaped container filled with super frustrating wax that only sometimes adheres to the pen, and then you use the tip of the pen to pick up one gem at a time to stick down on its designated spot on the adhesive-coated canvas.

But the video shows that you can attach a thing to the other end of the tool which allows you to pick up a line of multiple gems so you can theoretically apply five+ gems in a row. THIS IS A FALSEHOOD. That tool attachment does not work. Chooch, who came onto the scene four days in on Friday afternoon only because school is out now and he was “bored” while I was working (my actual job, not gemming), was like, “They lied. This attachment is a lemon.” Plus, even if it DID work, you would have to use the TWEEZERS they supplied to turn each gem over so they’re all facing the same way before trying to pick them up in a row.

Good fucking luck.

I love that I thought of this gift idea as a way to troll Henry but the whole thing ended up trolling ME instead.

One good thing is that this thing was very easy to transport – once the gems are pressed down, they don’t fall off – so I was able to bring it downstairs to work on it during downtime at my real job. I’d set out little blocks of like 5 minutes here and there, shake some gems into the tray, and power through.

The one good thing was that I was able to get through a few audiobooks!

I really thought that this was going to end up being a late gift; I mean, even by Friday night we were only about halfway done. But then I stayed up late, and Chooch took over after I went to bed, and we took shifts on Saturday too. I was up until 2AM on Saturday, giving myself a hunchback and forgetting to hydrate, and then Chooch stayed up even later after that. So by today, I was like WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO THIS.

It also helped that some of my friends knew about this and would ask for gemming updates, so that kept me motivated too. The downside was that it was sooooo frustrating and physically painful that I was starting to take it out on Henry.

I mean, this isn’t news to anyone, lol.

Today, around 1:30PM, I did like 87 eyeball scans of the damn thing and realized, “HOLY SHIT. WE DID IT, THERE IS ONLY ONE GEM LEFT” so I ran to get Chooch who was adamant about getting to put in the last gem, which was annoying since he left me do this all on my own from Monday – Thursday. But I’m a GOOD MOM at moments, so the maternal side of me took over and left him do it. Ugh. It was gem code “4” in case you were wondering. One of the billion shades of pink/peach/flesh gems that came with the kit.

And this is it! We made Henry leave the house so I would run it down to the dining room table and cover it with a dish towel. Then we called him back and he was actually SO SCARED to unveil it. All he knew was that we doing something that involved him and he was terrified all week, I’m sure.

It cracks me up that this stranger is just innocently living his life somewhere, maybe NY which is where we saw him, completely unaware that some creeps in Pittsburgh spent the week gemming his face. Glenn, after telling me that there is probably therapy or counseling I could get after I told him about this big PROJECT, wondered if Bizarro Henry in NY has a BIzarro Erin who tortures him…

I WONDER.

Anyway, Henry was actually impressed! He kept running his fingers over it and asking all these questions like we actually spelunked into a mine to dig for real gems and didn’t just order baggies of gem-shaped plastic from China.

“We were going to also frame it for you,” I said, “but this has all been too much so you can do that part yourself.”

“That’s fine,” he sighed, sobering at the reminder that my kindness only lasts so long. And then I spent the rest of the day crying about how bad my back hurts, etc etc because of ALL THE WORK I PUT INTO HIS PRESENT.

Happy Father’s Day to Henry, though, for real, the only guy I would give myself a hunchback over by spending 278293 hours gemming my life away. I love doing these things for him because he is a top-notch dad and really endures so much that we throw at him! I’m excited for him to frame this and hang in on the wall. I already know exactly where it’s going.

[PAINT GEM REVIEW: Would I recommend? I think so but only if you’re prepared to sink into the unknown abyss of China tracking numbers. I think that if you’re ordering something that has no deadline, and you’re able to work on it only when it’s convenient/you’re bored/it’s a rainy day, etc, then sure. This is a great project. Their tools could use a bit of tweaking but I do overall really love the final product. In fact, I was super impressed with how cool it turned out! This custom kit cost about $50 with free shipping. I think it does make an amazing and unique gift but please please please order well in advance so you’re not burning the midnight oil, flinging gems into the air because you accidentally pressed down into the GEM TRAY too hard. 

Another thing: I wish I had known from the get-go that they supply you with WAY MORE gems than you actually need; I wouldn’t have been on my hands and knees, frantically groping around for dropped gems using an iPhone searchlight. Once we realized that we had more than enough of every color of gem, it became a free-for-all for Chooch and he was basically just spilling them all over at his leisure.]

Jun 102022
 

Get it? 57? HEINZ 57?

I apologize for this. It was dumb.

I got him a cake from Potomac Bakery. Normally, they have specialty cakes and they’re actually pretty decent. I was hoping to get him a lemon or raspberry one but all they had in the display was a handful of generic birthday cakes. The woman behind the counter was SOOOOO SURLY too. Like hello, please don’t work in a bakery if you’re going to have a bad attitude and I say this because I have honestly never had a run-in with a pleasant person in that bakery. Young or old, they’re all assholes. And their shit isn’t even that good, they need to get over themselves!!

Anyway, I chose the best-looking birthday cake from the slim-pickins and I guess personalization wasn’t an option because the dumb bitch didn’t offer and at that point I was stewing in CUSTOMER DISSATISFACTION so I paid and left.

Fuck you, Potomac. If Henry hadn’t taken MY CAR to work that day, I was going to go somewhere good—like Pink Box—for a specialty cake. So really, Henry did this to himself.

I took the idiot cake home and did my own personalization. I asked the cats what name I should use and they were emphatic that I use their name for Henry: Him Man.

I fucked up the H but then I got the hang of it. I could easily do this professionally, I know that’s what you’re all thinking.

Wow, Henry didn’t even put on a nice shirt for us. That’s fine.

We didn’t sing Happy Birthday. He’s lucky he even got a candle! OR A CAKE!!

Anyway, the cake was…fine. I’ve had worse. But it’s no Bethel Bakery. The frosting had the French buttercream texture down pat, but he flavor and sweetness was LACKING big-time.

I know what you’re all wondering right now: WHAT DID YOU GET THE BIG GUY FOR HIS BIRTHDAY? Well, nothing, lol. But listen, listen listen: I’ve been so focused on his Father’s Day gift that I let this one slip by. Trust me, he doesn’t care – he was just happy that we remembered, lol. To be fair though, I did ask him if he wanted to go out to dinner or anything and he said NO. So he had a bowl of yogurt and Sugar Spell Scoops for dinner. Hey, he’s an adult. Whatever.

And he was happy that so many people wished him a happy birthday on Instagram! I think he felt loved :) And he should, because – ugh – he is!

Just think, in three years, Chooch can make a SIXTY THINGS we love about Henry list!

May 122022
 

This year’s Mother’s Day was pretty ok! Chooch had to work so that was not cool, but he had a card and present waiting for me before he left!

It fucking kills me that he called me “Mother” since we’re such a casual family. So faux-formal! Janna said she was pleased to see that he finally mastered the art of properly addressing envelopes. Same! But then later that day, Henry said that Chooch actually came downstairs the night before and whispered, “Just to double check, it’s my name that goes on the envelope, right?”

OMFG the kid is such a scary genius but cannot grasp the concept of envelopes.

Sigh.

Also that card was JARRING. I was expecting sound and a pop-up, but not the LIGHTS and for some reason it really scared me.

Also x2 can we discuss the “(maybe?)” he dropped in after the “your son” part.

He also got me this really cool incense burner thing where the smoke billows down like a waterfall. He said it’s popular on Tik Tok but that’s not why he bought it – he already knew about it, of course, because he is Internet Hipster. Apparently there was another gift en route, which I ended up getting the next day and found out from Henry that Chooch paid an extra TWENTY DOLLARS of his McMoney  to have the shipping expedited, and it still didn’t arrive on  time, so now I want Henry to quietly  transfer $20 back into his checking account because that was so sweet but also very unnecessary!

Anyway, he got me the Glitch Mode NCT Dream album!!

I was so impressed because it was the RENJUN version and that’s my Dreamie bias! So I posted on Instragram about how sweet it is that Chooch knows my biases, etc only to find out when he came home from work that night that he had no idea and just chose one at random.

“I thought Haechan was your bias,” he said.

“HAECHAN IS MY OVERALL NCT BIAS ACROSS THE BOARD BUT RENJUN IS MY NCT DREAM BIAS DON’T YOU READ MY BLOG??” I cried, while Henry just sat there all smug because he knows all of my kpop preferences.

Henry got me a Kohl’s gift card and this delectable spread from 350 bakery. Dude. The one in the middle is blueberry pancake poptart which is my new favorite thing ever. The cookie sandwich up there is FRUITY PEBBLES (I get why they made it into a sandwich because cream = milk I guess but I honestly would have preferred just the cookies as standalones) and I have to plug their cinnamon buns (that sounds deviantly sexy) because they are legit some of the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever had. I know, I know, “but Orems!” Orems are the OG Big Daddy of Pennsylvania cinnamon rolls, but they are really a different type of cinnamon roll. These ones are smaller, denser, and wear a thick and luscious cream cheese icing hat.

I like your style, 350 cinn.buns.

Then Henry and I went to a cemetery in Beaver. We tried to  take selfies but OMG SUN.

There was an entire squad of baby squirrels in this cemetery and we spent SO MUCH TIME feeding them (yes, we travel with walnuts in the car because we’re always going for walks). Oh my GOD, I could have just moved right in (preferably as a living person, not a corpse in the ground) because I was having the best time watching them chirp and chase each other.

Some of the headstones had really nice art / landscapes imprinted on them. “When I die, I want my headstone  to have a picture of cats, squirrels, roller coasters, and Korea. And grilled cheese,” I said.

“Wow,” Henry murmured. “That’s…a lot.”

(Actually, I want to have one of those GREEN BURIALS so I can come back as a tree and then squirrels can play on my branches, OMG what a delightful notion. But then some assholes like GARY & SONS will probably just come out and savagely cut me down one day. Because that is my luck.

Then today, my final Mother’s Day gift arrived. It was this cute squirrel necklace from Henry, which I sent to him on Instagram a few weeks ago and said GET ME THIS FOR MOTHER’S DAY. I mean, I really cook, plate, garnish and serve this shit right up for him. I don’t fuck around anymore. THIS IS WHAT I WANT, BUY IT FOR ME.

And of course my Mother’s Day gift to myself was STRAY KIDS TICKETS, BOY-O. Overall, it was a good one. Henry could always stand to do more though. I mean, I’m a leo with extremely high expectations. So.

Apr 252022
 

Well, guys, it happened. The day has come where MY LITTLE BABY, MY LITTLE PRECIOUS LAMBY, MOMMY’S LITTLE SWEET BOY CHEEKS—ok ugh sorry I was even making myself sick—has turned 16. I’m kind of numb, not gonna lie. I haven’t cried yet at least. But I did drive him to school  this morning (usually he takes the bus) and he was actually a delight. We made fun of the dreadful radio DJs together, mocked the bitch who got picked to play Escalation, and he even said THANK YOU when he got out of the car. I did almost cry a little then.

Henry and I got lucky with this one. I mean, we’re not perfect parents, but we don’t suck either. We’ve always put him first and done everything possible to make sure he has everything he needs and I am not being jokey or sarcastic at all for once when I say that it has been so cool, fun, and rewarding being his parent for the last 16 years and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like as an adult!

OK I lied! I can definitely wait. Let’s put the brakes on time for a bit, please. Sheesh.

I know I’m always like, “OMG CHOOCH’S ATTITUDE. CHOOCH KNOWS EVERYTHING. CHOOCH IS ANNOYING. UGH CHOOH NEEDS TO CLEAN HIS ROOM” but in all honesty, all that shit is normal teenager baggage and I don’t really give him as much credit as he deserves. Because the kid is just amazing, really. Consistently maintains a 4.0 with no nagging needed. Got a job at McDonald’s in October and not only does he never call off (he schedules time off though, but doesn’t dick them over), but he asks for more hours. He’s always getting involved in stuff too, like various hikes and excursions at the teen center, a ceramics class he signed up for on Thursdays, etc.

And now he’ll be learning how to drive. Ugh.

Anyway! We had a small cake-eating celebration for him Saturday night. He didn’t want a party, so it was just us, Janna, Corey, my mom, and two of Chooch’s friends. Even that was too much for him! Believe me, if he had left it up to me, and if big celebrations were safe, I’d have had a big blowout in the park like old days or rented out the roller rink for old time’s sake. IT’S HOW I SHOW MY LOVE, OK.

(Those old parties in the park were so legit though! I think the cat one was my fave.)

Well, at least I was allowed to do the whole cake thing which is the part of party-planning that I love the most! HOW CAN I MAKE HIM IRRITATED? That’s usually my first thought in the brainstorming process and then I go from there. Since we were still hot on the heels of our roller coaster road trip, I wanted to use that as the theme for this year’s bitchin’ Bethel Bakery cake.

I love you, Bethel Bakery.

Also, this picture is the first one that came to mind – it’s from Fun Spot Kissimmee (maybe one day I will finish recapping the trip), and Chooch rode this coaster – literally called KIDDIE COASTER – with a bored look on his face the whole time. Way to steal the front row from a little kid who would have appreciated it more!

And then Bethel Bakery had Spanish happy birthday candles! Had to scoop those up as an homage to his upcoming Yucatan study abroad sesh.

Henry: U WILL NOT GET THEM CANDLES TO FIT ON THAT THAR CAKE.

Me: Oh yes I will.

Henry: NO. THERE IS NOT ENUF ROOM. U WILL HAVE TO NOT  USE ALL THEM. JUST SOME.

Me: WTF do you want it to say, Feliz Cum??

Henry: *grumbles*

Me: Bitch move and let me do my thang.

C’mon now, Henry. I will make that shit work.

And then we all sang bizarrely as usual.

Not as bad as the time we sounded like a fucking funeral dirge / Gregorian choir at his laser tag birthday party! I really wish I had video of that, ugh. MOM FAIL.

We let Chooch do the first cut now that he’s 16 (that’s not really a thing, is it? I think Henry just made it up!??!) and it was chaos. I didn’t get a good picture the first time so I wanted him to cut it again but then Henry was all, “HO HO HO HO!” trying to snatch the knife from him because he didn’t like the way Chooch was about to make the second slice so he made Chooch RE-CUT the same area and it was so sus. Like, how much stake does Henry have in cake-cutting, I don’t get it. He was a few seconds away from hollering, “IT’S MY WAY OR NO WAY!”

Close up!

After Chooch’s friends left on Saturday, he actually hung out with me and Janna! However, all we did was shout about roller coaster manufacturers over Janna’s head and I think she was probably like, “Oh my god, if it’s not kpop, it’s coasters. This is so boring.”

As usual, now that he’s not in the one-digits, I had no idea what to get him. (Yeah, NOT a car, lol.) So we’re taking him and his friend Zakk to Cedar Point in a few weeks for the whole weekend which should be not only a fun gift but also a reprieve for Chooch who always has to ride coasters with his MOM.

I also got him some cool Steel City brand Kennywood shirts, an Iron Gwazi blueprint art, and a Coaster Crew membership so now he can be a real coaster dork and attend actual events and scream ONE TRAIN OPS and have the B&M vs Intamin giga debate.

I freaking love this kid even though we act like we’re frenemies most of the time. I can’t imagine how dull my life would be if I never had him.

Speaking of, when I was telling him yesterday that I wanted him to pose for these pictures, he got all bent out of shape about it and retreated upstairs, so I called after him, “You owe me!”

“For what?!” he called back.

“FOR THE SCAR YOU GAVE ME AND FOR RUINING MY STOMACH!” I screeched.

“OK, here we go,” he mumbled.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHOOCHIE CABRERA!! (Shout out to the old-timers who remember when I made a LiveJournal for him when he was a baby and that was the name, lol, OMG I was so lame.)

Apr 172022
 

Listen, Linda. When I woke up at 6:30am this morning in some stupid West Virginian town, I really thought we were driving home where I would then stay out for days upon days.

But then halfway thru the drive, Henry offhandedly mentioned that it was the opening day for Kennywood and that Chooch and I still needed to get our season passes.

“Might not be too crowded since it’s Easter, he shrugged.

We did go home first for a bit! We’re not psychos. And honestly the plan was that Henry would just drop us off so we could pick up our passes and check out the sitch while he went to vacuum out the heavily road-tripped car. I told him I figured we’d just stay an hour because even if it was crowded, I’d have at least liked to walk around and check out all the new changes (mostly fresh paint-related). And there’s all these new murals buffeted the walkway into the park:

Dude. This looks GREAT. I’m not mad about this at all.

Anyway, the park was not even KIND of crowded. We walked right onto the Phantom. Peep the purple!!

Great color choice, obv!

We then rode Exterminator and screamed JANNA!!! through it, because that’s just what one does on the Exterminator (it should also be known that Janna hates this ride lol).

It’s not bias, it’s truth that Kennywood has the best screamin’ swing ride in the world. However, it felt like they were running shorter cycles?! Kennywood, we gonna need longer Swingshot action ok.

Noah’s Ark has changed so many times over the years that it just honestly never feels familiar to me anymore.

But it’s still a must-do if there’s no line.

Show-tying interlude.

I bet you already guessed that we stayed a bit longer than “an hour.” Henry didn’t care. He used the free time to go grocery shopping and then he napped in the pick-up lot lol.

The entrance to the Jack Rabbit is so extra now especially considering that there really wasn’t a legit entrance before.

Someone took Chooch’s souvenir drink cup from the loose article bin instead of theirs and he was SO PISSED because we had just filled ours up and now he obviously couldn’t drink from his. It wasn’t that big of a deal. He still has a cup, it’s just not the one he was given at the season pass holder window and we honestly shouldn’t have been using them anyway without washing them first, so. Cook on, Chooch.

Before the cup incident.

We also rode Racer which was, you know, the Racer. Steel Curtain wasn’t running (shocker) so we hit Aero360 and of course someone on the ride before us puked so we had to wait for them to clean it and then pointedly avoided that area of the ride. This used to be my favorite flat ride and now it feels so foreign to me?! It was still fun but it wasn’t how it remembered it so did it change or do I just go to too many parks, who can be sure. We both agreed that this flat ride also seemed to have a very short cycle.

When we got off this one, chooch asked if Golden Nugget was open and if so, were we going to get any ice cream. It was definitely open and we were definitely getting a cone because last summer we made a BAD CHOICE and got stupid Millie’s (only because they were bragging about their Kennywood-exclusive Eat n Park smiley cookie flavor) so we actually went an entire season with NO GOLDEN NUGGET.

REMEDIED.

Upside of going to Kennywood on a chilly day is not having your Golden Nugget drip down your wrist. (Best amusement park ice cream cone, not accepting opposing opinions 🖐🛑)

Honestly though this is, to quote from my friend Alyson, part of the process. You cannot come to this park and not get the famous square ice cream! It’s a Pittsburgh tradition so if you are an out-of-towner thinking about collecting some coaster creds from Pittsburgh’s Kennywood, DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT A CONE FROM GOLDEN NUGGET. We always choose “all of it” as our topping, pro tip.

It’s so instagrammable too!! You better tag me in that shit.

We got in line for Sky Rocket but it was one train ops so the line was kind of long-ish. I was like, “dude we rode some of the best launch coasters in the world this week, do we really want to end with Sky Rocket” and Chooch was like, “no, no we don’t” so we ended the day with another ride on Phantom and yeah, that coaster still ranks top 10 in my heart. It is SO GOOD. I get so stupidly happy when the enthusiasts include it in their Top Whatever lists. It deserves the recognition!

So one hour turned into three – what a great way to spend an Easter afternoon!

(Also this ended up being park number 8 since last Saturday, I am SO FUCKING TIRED AND MY FEET ARE WORTHLESS SLABS OF BRUISES AND BLISTERS.)

(Actually I don’t have any blisters but I wanted the alliteration.)

(I do think I have nerve damage or something happening in one of them though.)

Feb 162022
 

Hello, it’s me looking old AF! Time for my annual “boo hoo Henry shat the bed on Valentine’s Day again” pout sesh. Actually, it’s FINE. I’m over it. And I’d rather have someone who does everything I tell him to do on any given day than just on holidays. I mean, it would be nice to be given some romantic garbage on the designated love day or whatever, but WE CAN’T HAVE IT ALL.

It’s kind of funny to me though because for like two weeks leading up the 14th, I kept cornering him with a shiv to his  jugular, hissing things like ,”YOU GOT ME SOMETHING FOR VALENTINE’S DAY RIGHT” but I guess it didn’t get through to him because it took literally HALF A DAY to TEXT ME “Happy Valentine’s Day.” A TEXT!!!

And then he done knew he fucked up so he WENT TO CVS (I’m assuming) on his way home from work and got me some Barbie journal kit, chocolate, and some gift card that he made that said a bunch of shit about being a fuck up and that I can spend $$$ to buy myself something….bitch like I need your permission?! I have a job!

Then he mumbled about how he was going to get me an NCT Dream something or other but “they didn’t *mumble mumble*” and I was like, “OK bro, just stop.” Jesus.

Truthfully, I like it better this way because I can use this as leverage to get my next project started.

And yes, I even wore a cute heart shirt for nothing!! (Well, not entirely for nothing. We had a team meeting that day so at least I looked Valentine-y I guess.)

Honestly the best part about Valentine’s Day was the Sugar Spell Scoops pint drop!!

I think Mint To Be is my current favorite?!

My real Valentines. ^^^^^

This was how happy we were the evening lol. I didn’t even let Henry do a walking workout with me! There was a Paul Eugene Valentine workout we were going to do but then I was like, “Fuck off, I don’t work out with haters” and I DID A DIFFERENT WORK OUT. BOOM, SHOWED HIM.

I did plan advance for the Annual Disappointment by buying myself these cuties!

Oh well, I guess after 20 years, you’d think I’d stop expecting a Valentine’s Hail Mary from Henry (is that right? I don’t fully understand sports sayings but love to use them, inexplicably lol) but you know, deep down, I AM JUST A DUMB GIRL WITH A STUPID BIG HEART UGH. More importantly, WHAT SHOULD I BUY NOW THAT HENRY HAS GIVEN ME PERMISSION TO SPEND MONEY LIKE IT’S 1955??

ANOTHER NEON SIGN??

A RING FROM THE KOREAN JEWELER WHO DESIGNED HYUNA & DAWN’S ENGAGEMENT RING?

A CASE OF THESE NOODLES FROM INDONESIA??

OK, let’s move on now. 2/14 is in the past and on the bright side, we’re that much closer to SPRING. Everything feels better in the spring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have NCT videos to watch because I love them more than Henry hahahaha.

Dec 312021
 

Since we did the whole “Zenith pre-made vegan meal” thingie for Thanksgiving this year, I wanted Henry to actually do some cooking for Christmas and of course nothing NORMAL because why would we. So I did that fun game that I do where I think of a random vegetable and then a random country, and google them together to find fun international cuisine. You can imagine how much Henry loves this. But it was also a reason to have my beloved fufu and peanut soup again, which I became obsessed with early in 2020 when I read a book that mentioned it and I fell down a Ghana food rabbit hole.

Henry was fine with this, having made this pairing twice now and coming out the other side with a memorable, edible meal both times.

I also wanted mashed ube in lieu of your standard Pilgrim fare of mashed potatoes.

Of course, Henry had a hell of a time finding the two main ingredients he needed for the fufu and the ube: cassava, and well, ube. On Christmas Eve, he ended up snatching up some Japanese purple yams and was going to just use those for the mash instead which was NOT IN THE AGREEMENT, but you do you, Chef BoyRDick.

Also, I had recently watched season 2 of Emily in Paris and one of the episodes featured a storyline where Emily had to work on a marketing campaign for leeks and I was like, “Ooh I could go for some leeks” which is how “Sri Lankan leek stir fry with faux lamb” inserted itself onto the menu.

Those Portuguese sweet potato rolls from Thanksgiving 2020 were bangers so that was added to fill the obligatory “Christmas dinner roll”, er, role. We ordered some boxes of Trinidadian sweets from local vegan pop-up ShadoBeni. Korean street food tteokbokki and a Field Roast vegan ham were necessities. And a Russian apple cake called Sharlotka was the featured dessert.

As a last minute buffet-padder, we bought some lotus mooncakes, red bean mooncakes, and mochi cakes from Pink Box on Christmas. Seriously Diane, don’t knock the Chinese desserts. They are GOOD.

Also as a last minute thing, we decided to expand this from a 3-person dinner to a 6-person dinner, feeling that this was a safe number, and invited my brothers Ryan and Corey, and my mom. I was actually surprised that my mom and Ryan accepted the invitation! We have never had a “family” dinner at my house before, so I was feeling kind of nervous about it!

Anyway, I’ll spare you the gory details but at one point that afternoon, I smelled that sickening stench of hot rubber and ran into the kitchen to find Henry having an absolute war with the fufu mixture. Apparently, he followed a different recipe this time which led him astray. Basically, fufu is a dough made of cassava and plantain, or one or the other. Fufu has different versions based on various African regions (I think Puerto Rico also has their own fufu style) but Henry likes to use both cassava and plantain. Anyway, whatever this recipe had him doing resulted in him straight up burning out the blender and then trying to use a SIEVE to separate the non-ground chunks from what he was able to salvage from the fufu mixture. This set him back a good hour and resulted in him not having enough to use anyway, and then it got all clogged up in the sink and he was FUMING. Like, Henry doesn’t often get mad-mad, but he was MAD on this afternoon, lol. He ended up making rice to go with the peanut soup instead.

Then, the sweet potato rolls gave him hell and ended up not baking thoroughly but we still ate them and they tasted good; however, he only made enough for everyone to have ONE like we’re fucking peasants.

THEN!! Everyone arrived and we were eating when I realized that HENRY DIDN’T MAKE THE FUCKING PURPLE MASHED POTATOES after all that searching for ube and then triumphantly returning with a comparable substitute, only to make them at all! And also, I had asked him to make SPAETZLE even though he’s not my PAPPAP and no one could ever make spaetzle as good as John W. Stonick, but I at least would have liked for Henry to try!

“After the fufu incident,  the last thing I wanted to do was fuck with more dough,” he said to me and everyone at the table gave me a “Yeah, Erin” smirk.

Also, I was so stressed that I barely took any pictures of the food, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

I love decorating the buffet for holiday meals! This was prior to setting all of the food. “All” of the food, like we had “so much.” LOL.

This was when we were still waiting for Ryan to arrive. It occurred to me then that he had never been to my house before, and I have lived here since 1999! It’s not that Ryan and I don’t like each other. My family in general is just not very “OMG FAMILY HANGOUT TIME!” with the exception of Corey and me – we have always gotten along like BFFs who enjoy touring seriously stupid places and acting like world class assholes. And then not only has Ryan never been here, but he also thought I lived on a completely different street, so that was fun, lol.

Also, being his inaugural visit was somewhat of a shock to the senses for Ryan, who just kept laughing and saying, “There’s just so much to take in.”

Everyone seemed to like the peanut soup the best which made me doubly sad that the fufu didn’t turn out because you have not known the true extent of peanut soup’s deliciousness until you scoop it into your gaping maw on an edible airplane of FUFU.

I wonder how hard I will have to beg Henry to do a fufu redo on New Year’s Day….

I realized after the fact that I had barely any pictures and had to resort to photographing half-scavenged plates and platters, lol.  Anyway, this apple cake was really light and delectable. Big fan.

My favorite part of dinner wasn’t the tteokbokki or the sweet potato rolls, but the part where Ryan regaled us about the time he and several friends were nearly murdered by the cartel in Mexico and you might think I’m exaggerating but this is a true story and is actually hilarious since they made it out alive but to hear him tell the story sounds like he’s giving a synopsis for a new movie in the Hangover franchise. And you know it’s a funny story when my surly fifteen-year-old who thinks all adults are the worst and totally stupid actually laughs out loud numerous times without even bothering to play it off.

Aside from the food follies, if there is one thing I wish I could go back and time and do over, it would be the moment my mom asked to take a picture of us siblings because in hindsight, I would have said, “ACTUALLY! Here, use my phone.” Or better yet! “Here, let Chooch take the picture with my phone.” Or the best option even: “Here, let’s go stand somewhere nicer and have Chooch take multiple pictures with my phone.”

But, it is what it is and this picture, blurry as it may be, is still better than no picture!

Corey stuck around for booze & game hour.

Penelope waiting for everyone to leave. The cats HATE COMPANY. Lockdown was some of the best months of their lives, really.

Yeah, the official verdict is that this was a nice ass Christmas. Lowkey but still semi-social, and just tiring and fulfilling enough to have us ready for bed by 10:30pm that night!

Dec 292021
 

I’m not trying to drag out the Xmas content I swear. I’m just really feeling shorter blog posts these days. Or, my mental capacity is feeling it, should I say? Lol. The winter depression is knocking on my door and I am running out of energy using my mind power as a barricade.

First of all, I want to talk about how difficult Chooch is to shop for now. All he wanted was a bike, so Henry took him to get one after Christmas (last night actually; I opted to stay home and do Kpop cardio because I knew it was going to be a stressful shopping trip and judging by Henry’s harried state upon return, I was correct). But I was like, “WE HAVE TO HAVE PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE!!” So we just bought him an array of hoodies from various stores including one from Zumiez that I honestly have no idea how I couldn’t tell straight away was a girls hoodie because when he pulled it out of the box and held it up, it was pretty obviously cut much shorter than any regular hoodie, lol. It must have been a theme on that year’s shopping excursion though because Henry was all “IMMA TREAT MYSELF” and bought himself a denim jacket that was on sale at the Vans store, only to find out that it’s a woman’s jacket and doesn’t fit him. (I told him to try it on when we were there but he was adamant that he could “tell” that it was going to fit, oh ok.)

Hilarious how it felt like we had nothing under the tree but my credit card statement and checking account tell a very different story. Fucking Christmas. I swear to god if the world is safe (relatively speaking) next year, we are going away for Christmas and not buying any gifts. Just souvenirs and amusement park admissions.

I still had fun making up stupid gift tags for all of the presents (one gift was from Heavy Metal Geocacher, lol) but it just didn’t feel as Christmas-y as usual. I guess that’s what happens when the kids get older, le sigh. Chooch actually was in a fine mood though and didn’t get all pouty like I would have when I was his age because leave it to me to always find some kind of a flaw in every gift (lol I am DEFINITELY not like that anymore, though, right Henry?).

Meanwhile, Henry paid attention and got me some really great things this year, including this necklace personalized with my favorite Korean word that you may already know if you read this thing regularly because I love to word-drop it whenever possible!

But I will explain it anyway because I’m nice, ugh. It’s pronounced “kapchugi” and it means “suddenly, out of the blue.” We watch a lot of Kdramas and it’s a word that is said a lot and I just love the sound of it, and the fact that it means “Suddenly,” which is such a great, dramatic word in English too.

I had to put my own chain on this though because Henry went for the shortest option available which was “newborn baby choker” length. I don’t have a fat neck at all but that chain was not it, bro.

Henry also got me the new Jennifer Aniston-backed hair product line, Lolavie. Jennifer Aniston is my ULT BIAS. I know it’s super basic, but I have been utterly smitten with her since the debut of Friends in the 90s. I know, me and a million other basic broads, right? But she is just the epitome of a beauty to me, because she genuinely appears to be the sweetest, kindest, most un-celebrity-est person in America. She just seems so down to earth and to this day, I fucking Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. And I also harbor a huge grudge against this couple I used to be friends with waaaay back in the day who belittled me for liking her and said she has a, and this is so hard for me to even type because it’s NOT TRUE and they can both get fucked, “horse face.” Honestly, fuck those people. They had a baby and named her after one of the lamest characters on Days of Our Lives – Chloe Brady!

ANYWAY. When Jennifer Aniston started posting about this new hair stuff several months ago, I wanted it ASAP. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, because of course Jennifer Aniston, aka The Best Jen (Jennifer Lawrence is my #2 Jen) would do the right thing.

This is how my hair looked after letting it air-dry!!!

It’s amazing and sorry Henry, but I will now be using this $$$ brand $$$ exclusively, no more drug store hair prods for this bitch’s head. (Actually, it’s not really as exorbitantly priced as you would expect from a product shilled by an internationally beloved actress.)

Lastly, Henry also got me something that I really NEED: an NCT light stick! There have been murmurings around the K-nets that NCT127 might be doing a North American tour in 2022 and if this is true, I want to be prepared!

And then we went to Pink Box for Asian sweet buns and family fun time at the Homewood Cemetery, which I already posted pictures from here.

This was probably one of the least argumentative Christmases we’ve had so I am very happy about that. But I will note however that SON OF THE YEAR has a job and did not get Henry and me anything! What a jerk.

At some point I will also recap Christmas dinner, which consisted of numerous international fare and my immediate family being at my house altogether for the first time in the history of me living here (which is a long time, since I have lived here since 1999 lol ugh).

(Oh yeah, and I got Henry the Stheart beanie that he’s wearing in the pictures featured in the link above! He is so hard to buy anything for so my main gift was trying to be nice to him all weekend. I semi-succeeded. He didn’t ask for a gift receipt at least.)

Dec 272021
 

Henry and I both miraculously had Christmas Eve off…but then Chooch had to work. Because of course he did. We mostly just ran around picking up last minute things and then relaxed the rest of the evening. I love Christmas Eve because the house is usually pumping out cozy vibes.

Not a last minute Xmas thing, but earlier that morning I started screaming about wanting a new toilet seat which is such an adult “want.” This in addition to receiving my first ever car title in the mail a few weeks ago has me feeling like I’ve matriculated into legit adulthood with no fan fare or at the very least A CAKE, and I feel GYPPED.

I also bought plants while there so yeah, lots of grown up things happening around here. I feel like a stranger in my skin these days.

Of course, Henry guessed at what kind of toilet seat to get and it was wrong so he had to go out again to get the right one but I had enough of boring home stores for one day so I stayed home and did Kpop cardio, thanks.

Later that night, I started “primping” the house for Christmas evening because my mom and brothers would be coming over for dinner and I wanted to look at least relatively Christmasey, not like you can really tell the Christmas lights apart from  the “year-round” lights in my house, lol.

I love decorating the buffet!

Chooch was wrapping some stuffed animal he won at an amusement park for one of Those Kids next door but Henry was like, “I am not giving one of my grandchildren a reused gift” like suddenly Henry is the author of etiquette handbooks.

“Did Santa come yet?” Except that the cats call Santa “Him Ho” in our house.

Holidays make Penelope tired.

It didn’t really feel like a legit Christmas Eve because the weather was in the 50s and Chooch was so tired from working that he didn’t even feel like playing any games NOR did he even beg to open just one present like he normally does. I guess he is also becoming an adult, just like me. Sigh.

Henry and I unwound that night with an episode of Hometown Cha Cha Cha (no, we still haven’t finished this series! We’re not good binge-watchers!) and then crashed around midnight. It was a long day but we were so happy to not have to work!

Anyway, I will leave you with this brief walk-thru of the living room and dining room as seen on Xmas Eve.

Dec 252021
 

Hello! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and happy Saturday to everyone else! Henry is currently in the kitchen whipping up a holiday dinner so I thought I’d pop in and say hello and post some pictures of us doing the traditional cemetery thang. We actually…didn’t fight??!! Even though Chooch hated his flannel??? And it was raining??? And I only hated every other photo of me??? Tis the season, truly.

I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

Anyway, here we are. I love my little family. We get along mostly.

Eating our sweet buns from Pink Box! It’s an Asian bakery right down the street from the cemetery and blessedly open on Christmas. They have really delightful treats there. I had an almond taro bun, Henry had red bean (always) and Chooch’s was pineapple cream. We also got some extra delights for after dinner!

We had to retake one of these because even after FIFTEEN YEARS chooch still managed to have crumbs on his face.

Making Chooch uncomfortable from both sides

Henry was like “why do I have to do the jumping ones with you.” BECAUSE I SAID.

On the way home I randomly mused that the Pittsburgh skyline looked different to me.

“Maybe it’s because of the strange music playing,” Chooch piped up from the backseat.

It was Pink Floyd on the radio lol.

Dec 102021
 

Mr. Sometimes I Like My Family has been yammering about wanting to see the Festival of Lights at Oglebay this season. We had gone once when he was much younger, actually it was the night after our beloved cat Speck had passed away, so that trip was more of a means to comfort him (not distract though – he brought a framed picture of her with him) and less of a “Yay we’re a family that loves the Christmas season, let’s chug some egg nog and jingle some bells.”

Anyway, we kept trying to plan for this on a weeknight when it’s less crowded but idiot Chooch and his idiot j-o-b kept fucking up plans. We finally were able to go on Wednesday, and left as soon as I logged off from my idiot j-o-b.

(JUST KIDDING, JOB, I LOVE YOU. PLEASE DON’T CAN ME. I NEED YOU BIGLY.)

We stopped at Sheetz for MADE-TO-ORDER dinner which is always fun because who doesn’t like building sandwiches from a screen at a glorified gas station. Henry got a cookie and I made him give me half so he was being a bitch boy about that. Then Chooch was watching videos on his phone in the backseat WITHOUT HEADPHONES which I hate so we fought like cats and dogs until Henry made us stop.

“Well, he’s being annoying!” I shouted at the same time he was also stringing together a bitchy, disparaging sentence about me. Then he fell asleep because aw, boo hoo, widdle baby so tired, get up early for him school, workie workie at McD’s, wah.

Oglebay is about an hour or so away from Pittsburgh, in West Virginia. I guess it’s like a resort or something but my only run-ins with the place involved Girl Scouts and learning about nature shit. They have a little zoo there. That’s the only thing I have ever cared about. Apparently you can ski there? I learned this because every time I asked, “are we there yet” Henry would mumble some words about how we “hadn’t gone up the mountain yet” and I said, “oh ok calm down mountain man, I wasn’t aware of any imminent incline in terrain” and he snapped, “wow how do you think people ski at Oglebay??? It’s on a mountain!!”

I didn’t know people skied there. Maybe that’s where the disconnect lies.

Then we argued because according to Oglebay’s website, they advised AGAINST following GPS and instead provided their own written directions to use and it was apparently my responsibility to read him the directions. I started to but it was boring so I just glazed over some of it lol. He wasn’t a fan of my navigational decision making skills so he started mouthing off but obviously we made it there just fine or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about it now would I????

Once we started “going up the infamous mountain” which was definitely just more of a hill, I started incessantly chanting, “Chooch, wake up. Chooch, wake up. Chooch, wake up” which is the equivalent to sticking your hand in a wasp’s nest, let me tell you. So now he’s in the backseat bitching, and I’m like, “No, YOU stfu!” and Henry is like, “I AM GOING TO DRIVE THIS CAR OFF THE MOUNTAIN” and then I’m like, “IT’S NOT A MOUNTAIN!!!”

Wow, and now you were basically just along for the ride. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Yeah, so….we made it to Oglebay and it was, you know. Pretty lame. We paid the suggested donation of $25 and then Henry spent pretty much the whole time counting all the ways we could have bypassed the entrance gate while still seeing all of the lights. He should start a YouTube channel. Hank’s Hacks: How To Have White Collar Fun on a Blue Collar Salary.

I got really mad because there was some dumb AMURRIKKKKA light display and the people in the truck in front of us PULLED OVER to get a longer patriotic gaze at the dumb thing and I started raging about how they were probably sobbing into their trucker hats while chanting the pledge of allegiance.

Then we pulled over at some welcome center thing and looked at fake light-up flowers. That was pretty cool.

I was dying because “You’re a Mean One” started playing from the Christmas tree as soon as Henry approached it LOLOLOL.

We made fun of Henry A LOT that night. It was so much fun. Worth the suggested donation of $25.

Chooch was so gung-ho about SEEING THE LIGHTS and then he barely even cared. I told him he had to write a report about it on my blog and he was like “you have a blog?”

I like how it looks like I’M HAVING AN IDEA.

Chooch was so put out when I asked him to take this idiotic picture.

Then we got ICE CREAM. It was OK, but very expensive, I felt like. It wasn’t even, like, designer ice cream or artisanal or whatever the fuck they call the fancy FARM TO TABLE trendy hipster stuff. But it was OK. The guy at the ice cream counter legit hated us though. I can’t tell you why exactly but it was a vibe that he was sending with extra stamps to make sure it was properly delivered.

Well, that about concludes our feeble attempt at Family Fun Night Looking at Xmas Lights. It was pretty lame but we had fun laughing at Henry and acting like basic city assholes in the NOT-MOUNTAIN of West Virginia.