May 142019
 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re not exactly the traditional kind of family so I didn’t wake up to a food tray full of french toast and mimosas atop my chest or a bouquet of flowers, or…shit, Chooch didn’t even get me a card! But Henry got up early and CLEANED THE HOUSE (well, he straightened up) which was really all I ever want, so that put me in a good mood and I didn’t even care that Chooch didn’t write me a cheesy poem or that he immediately ran next door to Blake’s house.

I did, however, accuse him of not wishing me a happy mother’s day but Henry was like, “That was literally the first thing* he said when he came downstairs” but when he said it, he was hugging the cat so I thought he was saying it to her, for some reason?

*(Actually, the first thing he said was,”It’s Janna’s birthday today.”)

I almost didn’t even realize it was Mother’s Day this past weekend until a few days prior when Chooch told me that he was making me a coffee cup in his ceramics class at Gifted, but he was pissed off because they didn’t get to use the kiln in time or something, #excusesexcuses.

Originally, my brother Ryan and I were going to take our mom to lunch or dinner on Sunday, but she was feeling under the weather, so Henry, Chooch and I went with the Korean Food Backup Plan and I chose Green Pepper for the venue in which Chooch could shower me with gratitude and reverence.

I just really needed some bibimbap in my bibimbelly, and it was wondrous.

The TV in  the restaurant had a variety of Kpop videos, K-drama clips, and other Korean sundry playing which made the experience better, in spite of what some of the restaurant reviews said. (eg. “Food was great. The Korean music videos playing on the TV were a different story.” How about fuck off then?) Anyway, one of the videos that came on was “your Dog Loves You” and the whole video was just…well, dogs. Chooch got SUPER emotional and kept fanning his face and then eventually he gave up and let the tears flow. It was adorable but also a super great reminder on Mother’s Day that no matter how many times people shout “HE LOOKS JUST LIKE HENRY AND BLAKE OMG,” he is all me aside from his looks. So there.

OMG now I’m tearing up writing about Chooch tearing up.

Henry took this hideous picture with his terrible phone. But at least I’M WEARING MY G-DRAGON PIN!

After lunch, we walked down the street to Pink Box and gorged on Asian breadstuffs. I love Pink Box. As usual, Henry picked the best one (pineapple bread stuffed with red bean) so I kept stealing bites of his.

Sweet red bean is so underrated in America.

The rest of the day was spent lazing around because it was gloomy and rainy and every time I eat bibimbap, I’m in a food coma for most of the day. It was a good opportunity to watch a movie, which says a lot because I have to be IN THE MOOD to watch a movie. Literally, all the planets have to be aligned, my brain chemicals have to be perfectly balanced, the weather has to be a certain way — I’m really particular about watching movies. Wait, let me back up – ever since Chooch saw End Game with my mom a few weeks ago, he has been dying to talk about it freely around the house but neither Henry nor I have seen it. I’m one of those people who hate knowing spoilers even if it’s for something I have no desire to watch. I know nothing about Marvel; in fact, when Chooch told me that Batman dies at the end of End Game, I yelled at him for telling me. Yeah, I totally fell for that! Henry said that I could get away with just watching Infinity Wars or whatever it’s called before seeing End Game, but no–it’s all or nothing with me.

But then I was talking to Carrie about this last week at work and she was like NO, YOU WILL LOVE IT, THOSE MOVIES ARE SO GOOD and just listening to her talking passionately about it made me get emotional (see above, re: Chooch and the dog video) and suddenly I felt ultra-inspired to watch it. I asked her where a good starting point would be and she suggested Iron Man, so we watched that Saturday night.

“Is she in all of them?” I asked Chooch.

“Pepper Pots? Yeah, she shows up in more of the movies,” Chooch said.

“But no, I mean, her specifically. Gwyneth Paltrow.”

Chooch had to look it up for me but he confirmed that yes, it’s Gwyneth Paltrow all the way through. GOOD BECAUSE I HATE RECASTS. I think that’s one of the reasons I gave up with super hero movies. To me, Batman is Michael Keaton, for example.

Anyway, I liked Iron Man! So then we watched the first Avengers movie on Sunday afternoon (with Drew, a/k/a Jinjoo, her new Korean name, who was exhausted, probably because I keep changing her name).

I had a lot of questions during Avengers and also a lot of anger (“YOU TOLD ME HE’S IN ALL OF THEM AND NOW HE’S DEAD?!!?”), but I liked it, so I asked my work friend/Marvel expert Nate to give me a list of all the movies I need to see in order, and he delivered! Chooch is so excited about this and I guess it’s nice to throw a bone to the kid who made me a mother in the first place, right? Even if it means sharing MY DAY with him? I mean, kid’s 13 so I better start savoring these last bits of attention he’s giving me. Ugh.

All in all, it was a good day even though no one bought me Taemin’s latest album (still waiting since February), the weather was less than desirable, and Game of Thrones was a shit show that left me feeling extremely disoriented and disappointed.

One final note: I’m really grateful that my mom and I are on good terms again, even if it was enduring the trauma of my aunt Sharon’s illness and the devastation surrounding my grandparents’ house that ultimately had to bring us together; you know what they say about “reasons” and “everything happening.” I was just texting with her yesterday about the time in 1999 when I used the corporate AmEx to “invest” in an “internet mall” after getting something sent in the mail about it and thinking, “wow, this is relevant to my interests of sitting around at home and getting rich quick doing nothing” and when my mom found out that I charged $3000 to her company card, I had  A LOT OF ‘SPLAININ’ TO DO. To be fair, the internet mall people told me that I would make that back plus some in no time so I figured that by the  time my mom got her statement, I’d be sitting on roughly $500,000 and could just chuck her some spare change to cover the bill, right? Except that American Express freaking called her when they saw what appeared to be a fraudulent charge and apparently, I was very “lucky” that there was a loophole since I used a corporate card to essentially invest in another company (or something? It was boring so I quit listening) so they were able to cancel the transaction, thus ruining my changes of becoming a self-made millionaire.

“That was around the same time I use that card to my buy myself that big purple hand chair from Archie McPhee,” I said, and my mom’s response was “Lolol” but probably she was seeing images of cold hard cash being flushed down the toilet.

Anyway, my point is that I’m grateful I was able to have that text-convo with her yesterday and it’s always great to remind her of the WONDERFUL DAUGHTER I’ve become (i.e. I don’t spend her money anymore, lol).

Apr 252019
 

I guess I should thank my kid for acting like a smart-ass teen simmering in a vat of sarcasm for the last 8 or so years, but it still is super startling to me that he is officially a teenager as of today.

For as much as we butt heads & word-snipe at each other, I’d like to think that we have a tight relationship and he hasn’t reached that point yet where he’s ashamed to be seen with me and Henry (I just verified this with him right now). It’s been a wild 13 years but wow, you guys, he’s really grown into such a cool homie.

He sent me this text ^^^ yesterday – like, how fucking sweet, amirite?! Granted the present was a load of banana bread that the Teen Center ringleader made, but still! He said he was originally going to give me the loaf that he had already taken a chunk out of, but then decided to give me the full loaf instead. WOW, SUCH GENEROSITY.

Everyone at work always wishes me a Happy C-Section Incision Anniversary on this day because it’s wildly known that I am super neurotic about my phantom incision pain. IT IS REAL AND I HAVE IT.

I was mad that he didn’t even have the decency to dry his dumb-ass 1970s John Ritter hair.

(As I type this, Chooch randomly has the 1980s Music Choice channel on TV and “Spring Love” by Stevie B is on but he keeps having the audacity to TALK OVER IT so I yelled, “I don’t care if it’s still your birthday, I’m trying to listen to this song so STFU!” and he murmured “Wow.”)

What else can I tell you about 13-year-old Chooch…he still loves dogs and asked every dog-walker we pass if he can pet their dog. He is desperate to get a job because he wants to build a gaming computer so he hoards every cent he gets. He loves the lottery (Henry played his birthdate for him and Chooch screamed I HAVE TO CHECK THE NUMBERS earlier tonight like a fucking 80-year-old). He still gets along better with adults. He calls everyone a dingo. He is super independent – during his spring break, he and his friend Haojie rode their bikes to one of the malls six miles away and let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck but at the same time I was like YOU DO YOU CHOOCH because I never would have thought about leaving my neighborhood when I was 13!

However, he’s also as dense as a loaf of fucking potato bread because when they decided to take the trolley home from the mall, he couldn’t find the trolley station and I was like it’s in the giant parking garage past Eat n Park, so he sent me a screenshot of a map of the area and asked me to DRAW IT?! Nate heard me bitching about this at work and came out of his office holding up the satellite view on his phone and said, “YOU MEAN THIS PARKING GARAGE, ERIN? THIS SIX-STORY PARKING GARAGE IN THE MALL PARKING LOT?” I mean, if he couldn’t see that, perhaps he shouldn’t be riding his bike miles away from home?

Anyway, they eventually found the fucking thing and I told him not once, not twice, not thrice, BUT FOUR TIMES to make sure they took the red line.

They took the blue line.

“Don’t worry,” he texted. “The driver told us what to do.”

They actually made it home, somehow.

Oh, another thing about him is that he is really charitable, like he’ll buy his friends drinks from CVS or give a homeless person a buck, but god forbid don’t ask him for one of his French fries. We had a HUGE fight over this last week which resulted in me shrieking about how I shared my body with FETUS-HIM for nine months and then spoonfed his pathetic baby-ass for however-the-fuck long but he won’t give me one fucking fry?!

He gave me two after that.

We walked to Scoops for some birthday ice cream after dinner, and I realized that this might have been the first year we didn’t get him a cake?! Is that weird? Do I get some sort of parental penalty for that oversight? Maybe I can buy him a Hostess cake from a gas station on the way to King’s Island on Saturday, or a cake pop from Starbucks? I don’t even think he cares. He got to have a sopapilla at his birthday dinner and I’m pretty sure he prefers that over cake.

I can’t wait to have patbingsu on my birthday….in Korea, hahahaha, whaddup, Chooch?!?

Anyway, here’s to thirteen happy years with my little BABY-WABY and also 13 years of having a battle-scarred, incision-twingey body thanks to my little BABY-WABY. I hope we’re always close and that when he’s an adult and I’m dead or whatever, he thinks back on his childhood fondly and tells his kids stories about how his mom was so fucking super cool and SACRIFICED HER ABILITY TO COMFORTABLY WEAR A CROP-TOP EVER AGAIN. I mean, I hope he tells them about how his parents took him everywhere and how their friends treated him like he was their friend too and how his mom was the cooler one but the dad was alright too.

(Ugh now Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back” is on this stupid music channel and I might be crying.)

Apr 232019
 

We’re not a religious family, not even the faux-religiosos who go to church just on holidays in order to look good or meet some kind of biblical quota, I have no idea what I’m talking about here. And Chooch is past the age where he requires an Easter basket, so even the materialistic part of the holiday is kind of just over for us.

(Actually, we got him an international snacks subscription box so someone else can prepare a monthly Easter basket for him, basically.)

However, as I mentioned before, I do really like the idea of Easter because how can you not associate it with spring and that heart fluttery-hope that comes on the heels of the end of another depressing winter?

So while we lack the bonnets and the Easter egg hunts (although Chooch did go next door to Blake and Haley’s and hid some plastic eggs while Calvin was sleeping — Chooch loves his little nephew so much and it’s pretty heart-warming, not gonna lie), I still always request that we do SOMETHING to celebrate. Usually it’s just dinner out at a Chinese restaurant, and then there was that one time we hosted a Pizza Party for Jesus Christ for some of our friends who didn’t have any family in the area. God, that was a good time.

Last year, we were in KOREA for Easter. *sobs*

For this year, I figured we’d just do the Chinese restaurant thing again but then one night, right when I was on the verge of slumber, I had the best idea: Henry could recreate the famous Inkigayo sandwiches that the kpop idols love to eat, but we’d call it the EASTERgayo sandwiches!

A brief background on the Inkigayo sandwiches: In South Korea, all of the main broadcasting stations have their own weekly music show, kind of like TRL was for MTV I guess, where all of the groups and artists perform their current hit song. One of those music shows is called Inkigayo (it means “popular”) and it’s become public knowledge that their cafeteria makes this sandwich that’s only available to staff and kpop idols, called the Inkigayo sandwich (natch). The idols supposedly go nuts for this layered handheld meal, but also there is legend that they use the sandwich as a vessel in which to secretly exchange numbers with each other, since dating is verboten for many of them (literally, some kpop groups have a no-dating clause in their contracts).

Of course, the legend focuses on G-Dragon, because he is a legend.

Goddamit I miss him.

I even made Inkigayo greeting cards for my Hello Hanguk shop! I called them InkiHELLOs, lololol I love myself.

Anyway! I thought it would be cute to make these sandwiches and have a picnic or something, but when I told Chooch the idea he was like WHY U SO CRINGE.

But Henry was like, “Whatever. Just send me the ingredients.”

Um..

I was just excited because I was able to read this without the translation. Me and my toddler-level Korean vocab!

There are all kinds of variations floating around out there, and now three convenience store chains in South Korea have started making their own and they’re all apparently completely different from each other. But the one above seems like it is the most true to the original? Hard to tell unless we ship Chooch off to JYP so he can start his idol training.

We decided to go with a nice, sturdy potato bread that wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the layers. And we even eschewed Hellman’s for the more Asian-centric Kewpie mayo (it’s Japanese, not Korean, but still felt more legit than using something American):

Image result for korean mayo

Plus, that mayo is a billion times better than our shit here at home.

Watching Henry slather on each layer, I had my reservations. I mean, we used up nearly an entire loaf of bread on this, so I hoped it wasn’t going to be all for naught.

Just in case, I threw some fruit in the basket and proposed that we swing by Pink Box for some baked goods and boba tea.

God, I love Pink Box. Asian breads are so underrated.

We found a picnic shelter in nearby Schenley Park but of course I had to take a lame picture first, not that anyone seemed in much of a hurry to dig in to some ‘gayos.

Chooch’s first bite produced some not-great reactions…

…but then by the second bite, his face transformed into this mischievous smirk and I could tell he didn’t want to admit it, but after he finished chewing, he said, “OK, holy shit. That’s actually REALLY GOOD.”

This morning he said he wished he had one to take to school today for lunch. Even with all that bread, it’s still probably a healthier option than anything in that gross cafeteria!

His official review was, “Great sandwich, cringey name.”

I can’t explain it, and it looks like crazy talk on paper, but it was one DAMN FINE sandwich. We all scarfed ours without ever putting them down on the plate. I mean, how we didn’t have at least one choking victim is beyond me.

(I even brought out the nice tea sandwich plates that I got for 99 cents at Goodwill, lol.)

Henry went light on the mayo and I think that was the trick:

  • the cabbage salad was so crisp and bright, and the apple really added a nice touch (HE ALMOST FORGOT THE ADDITION OF THE APPLE, IT’S A GOOD THING I WALKED INTO THE KITCHEN THAT MORNING TO SUPERVISE/MICROMANAGE).
  • the egg & potato combo was moist (not sorry) without being wet and drippy. Henry left the crab meat out of Chooch’s and my sandwiches, but he added it to his and said it was fine. I liked that the potatoes made it chewier.

I know that you’re wondering about the strawberry jam and I actually wish there was MORE. It really added the perfect, final touch! It was a light, sweet bridge between two picnic-y salads and it didn’t aggravate my gag reflex as expected!

It makes sense to me  though, as someone who welcomes the addition of jam on her grilled cheeses. I’m fine with any flavor on a standard grilled cheese, one with cheddar or some American slices, but my all-time favorite grilled cheese is dill Havarti on pumpernickel with FIG JAM.

Oh sweetly-spanked Mussolini, I would drop my tears onto one of those right now if I could.

(Sometimes Henry will make that one for me with raspberry preserves in lieu of fig jam and it is a comparable substitution.)

Look, I get the appeal of places like Melt but sometimes I just want a simple-sized grilled cheese (i.e. something I don’t have to eat with a fork) with super classy ingredients, OK?

My mouth is crying.

We were going to do an Easter photoshoot so the bunny ears came along but who even cares anymore. We were punch-drunk off our EASTERgayo sandwiches by this point.

After our lunch, we promised that kid that he could look for geocaches but instead of just staying in Schenley, we left and went to neighboring Frick Park, where Chooch took us down a fucking deer trail into peoples’ backyards and we were like, “YOU’RE GOING TO GET THE COPS CALLED ON US, DUMBASS” and have I mentioned lately how much I hate geocaching?

He only ended up finding two because he sucks at directions and my shoes got ruined because I thought we were going to woods that had cement paths and Henry was like, “THAT’S CALLED A SIDEWALK” but whatever. I was woefully unprepared and I hate walking in mud. Like, a lot.

Some rando fairy town in the woods. This made me laugh because earlier that morning, I accidentally stumbled across this holistic girl’s YouTube channel and before I knew was happening, I had watched six videos, added a bunch of reiki mushroom powders to Henry’s Amazon cart, and a had an intense craving for a kombucha float (made with like, vanilla oat milk ice cream, probably). Henry was like, “This bitch be annoying” but I liked her simply because her voice was soothing and she sounded like she lived inside a mushroom in a forest full of fairies. So when we found this dumbass display in Frick Park, I started cracking up because she probably has a similar set up next to her squirrel wigwam.

Meanwhile, Chooch was looking up geocaches in Seoul. “Look how many are in Hongdae!” he cried, and I was like, why? Are you pre-planning all the ways you’re going to ruin my birthday trip?

HE PRACTICALLY RUINED EASTER WITH HIS GEOCACHING SHENANIGANS.

Hoooooo lawd, I hate rooting around nature for Tupperware.

Anyway! That was our Easter. Only one tiny complaint was that it was cloudy and on the chilly side, but at least we didn’t fight at all! It was an Easter miracle.

(Those EASTERgayos, tho…)

Apr 212019
 

A Chooch For Every Year: 2006-2019

My LITTLE BABY (lol) is going to be THIRTEEN on Thursday, and even though we’re going to be celebrating his big day of birth at King’s Island next weekend, I still wanted to do something small & casual so that our close friends and family could be there too. He’s teetering on that crazy-emotional Not a Kid Anymore But What Am I precipice where he irrationally thinks that we don’t care about him so…fun times!

I thought a small surprise dinner the weekend before his birthday would be perfect, and I made real life invitations to send out too because, you know, how do you invite people to a party when you’re not on Facebook anymore?

And even such a small event still gave me pee-jigs and puke-feels all day leading up to the surprise.

Chooch has been craving Mexican food like a pregnant lady binge-watching telenovelas (he actually is binge’ing* Jane the Virgin and yes I know they’re not Mexican but it’s kind of funny because it basically is a telenovela and in fact, he’s sitting next to me as I type this, trying to give me recaps of the last episode he watched and I truly, sincerely don’t care), so it seemed obvious that we should make Old Mexico the location of the festivities.

*(That word is so weird—like, how do you even spell it. It doesn’t look way no matter which way I’ve seen it and I wish it wasn’t a thing.)

And then the night before, Chooch told us he was going on a hike the next day with the Teen Center and I panicked because WE HAD TO BE AT THE RESTAURANT BY 4:15 AND HAD ACTUAL RESERVATIONS AND THIS LITTLE SHIT WAS GOING TO RUIN HIS OWN PARTY! It ended up being fine, and they got back way earlier than expected, plus he was with his friend Liam so I suggested that he ask Liam to come to dinner (he knew we were going to dinner, but not that a bunch of guests were going to be waiting for him) and Henry was like “GREAT, ERIN” because Henry hates socializing with Chooch’s friends but I like Liam! He was allowed to go so that was cool.

Anyway, everyone managed to get there on time (except for Wendy but I knew ahead of time that she would be late so I wasn’t mad!) and he was so shocked! I was also shocked that everyone who RSVPd really came! MY MOM AND DAD WERE BOTH THERE YOU GUYS. This has never happened. I almost cried, and my dad paid for my mom!! (They divorced like 20 years ago or something but have grown amicable over the years so it wasn’t really that huge of a deal, but now Chooch is like, “MAYBE THEY’LL BE LIKE XIOMARA AND ROGELIO!!” which is a stupid Jane the Virgin reference, so it Chooch tries to do some Grandparent Trap action, that’s not my fault!!)

Tommy and Jessy brought this big birthday balloon with them which was a GOOD CALL because I brought nothing. No party artifacts. No birthday ephemera. No Eyes Wide Shut masks.

After we got to the table, I asked Chooch if he was surprised and he said, “I mean, the hostess asked us if we were with the table of 15, so…”

FUCK.

I think he was still surprised though. In my head, he was surprised.

This was his first time seeing Tommy after THE PRANK. Tommy signed the card “and Charlie” which was the name he was using to prank Chooch with last week, haha.

Wendy made me take this picture of her and then I threatened to put it on our department’s wiki page and she was like, “Oh god, please don’t” and then I told my parents, “This is my friend Wendy, we work together and she’s like my boss, I guess.”

I was so happy that my parents and brother Ryan were there! My other brother had to work, and another person who had to work WAS BLAKE. He tried so hard to get someone to switch with him but it was a no-go and he was pretty bummed out, but Haley, Calvin and Lily were there to represent the Robbins side of the family!

I was so happy that everyone seemed to mesh well with each other, because you never know with dinners like this – they could be awkward!

Also, Henry never looks at us the way he looks at Calvin!?

e

I think it helped that half of us were drinking margaritas. Patty asked me to go check the parking lot toward the end of the dinner to see if her ride was there, and I have to admit that I have no recollection of how I got from the dinner table to the front door of the restaurant, so…

Also, I rarely drink anymore so it really doesn’t take much.

Liam got fish which was an interesting choice I thought for a kid at a Mexican restaurant. I got the vegetable plate with rice and I thought I would be food-shamed over it because again, who goes to a Mexican restaurant for undressed vegetables but I knew that anything else would make me sick for the rest of the night, so I went for it. When it was served to me though, everyone was like, “Whoa, that smells so good! What did you get?” and it was literally just Mexican rice and a boatload of fajita-esque vegetables and it was SO GOOD. I scarfed down that whole plate, felt fulfilled, and didn’t want to puke later that night!

Thank you, Old Mexico!

OMG Wendy talking to my dad, lololol.

Patty and Jessy just met that night but hit it off!

This might be favorite picture of the night: Chooch and his soon-to-be sister-in-law Haley, and believe me, they are definitely sibling-ish!

Chooch and his pal, Patty! She volunteers at the nursing home she used to be a resident at, and she said some of the residents remembered Chooch from when we would visit and he would play piano for them, so they asked her to relay their birthday wishes for him and I thought that was so sweet. Look, I’m really grateful that Patty was able to leave there and go back to her own house, but I do miss when we used to visit her there. Some of those people were major characters!

Chooch with Jessy and Tommy! Tom is his frenemy for real, but they’re like family to us even though we don’t see them often anymore. I was so freaking happy that they could make it, because they live pretty far away.

Wendy and Summer with my family!

Chooch and Janna—man, she has been there from the beginning and is basically family to him. I actually confirmed the date of his dinner with her first before I even made invitations because it was imperative that she be there, duh.

Poor Liam had no fucking idea what he signed up for. He thought he was just tagging along to a quiet family dinner with his friend, lol.

And then Chooch ordered a sopapilla, not knowing that it was going to turn into A THING because he didn’t grow up with the horror of being birthday-shamed by the staff at ChiChi’s like the rest of us did. (RIP, ChiChi’s, and also the people who died because of your poisoned green onions.)

(OMG that fucking corn sidedish they had. WHY, CHICHI’S, WHYYYYYY???? COME BAAAAAACK!!)

One of the waiters gave Chooch a handful of whipped cream to the face and I died. If anyone deserves whipped cream to the face, it’s certainly my kid.

This happened after Jessy commented that Chooch looked the same as he did when he was younger except without the constant ring of ice cream and dirt around his lips and he was like HOLD MY LEMONADE.

This kid will forever make a mess at dinner,

What a great turnout! I think he really felt loved and at the end of the day, this was all I wanted from that dinner.

On the way home, I told him that Chronica couldn’t make it because Chris was flying home from Calgary that day and her flight was delayed. (She ended up not getting home until after 10PM, sadly.)

“Chris and her stupid countries!” Chooch cried.

And when I told him that Kara had tickets to the Beer Barge, he scoffed, “Really? Kara chose BEER over ME?”

Anyway, I’m glad that we pulled this off without any drama and minimal stress so that now I can selfishly focus on King’s Island which you have to know is really more for me than anyone else, lol. LOOK, HE WOULDN’T HAVE A BIRTHDAY IF NOT FOR ME, SO.

Jan 232019
 

Henry had to work because I guess Faygo doesn’t recognize the importance of Martin Luther King Jr., but Chooch and I had the day off. We had lunch plans with Janna but first Chooch got all involved in some pirated version of Heathers he found on YouTube and I was like “Oh ok so I’m watching Heathers with my kid” but then I quickly was like, “Wait should I be watching Heathers with my kid?” It’s funny how you don’t realize how inappropriate/crude/parentally alarming things are until you watch it with your pre-teen.

Chooch’s main takeaway was that Christian Slater isn’t all that great.

WELL OK BUT YOU WERE BORN IN 2006 SO…

Janna came and picked us up around 12:30 (she originally thought I wanted her to pick us up at 12:03 and thought I was being oddly specific when really she’s a number-dummy) and we headed off to Lawrenceville via some weird scenic route. Originally, our plan was to go to B52, which is a vegan place that Henry refuses to go to not because he’s some big burly bacon-eater, but because he just knows that the clientele within those walls is going to be pretentious AF.

And deep down, I know this too.

So we arrived around 1:00 and there was a 30 minute wait because every yuppie vegan in the area who had the day off had the same idea as us. We gave the hostess our name, figuring we were there so we might as well just deal with the wait. Some weird bitch came in and started asking us all these questions about the wait and where to leave her name and there were two other people standing closer to her so I don’t understand why she couldn’t just ask them—oh yeah, because they looked like stuck-up douches and we looked like regular people without a list of French films about incest shoved up our asses.

Eventually, the hostess with the weird bob, 1980s Babysitters Club glasses and super red lipstick came over and said that some space opened up at the counter if we wanted to sit there instead of continuing to wait for a table, and we stupidly said yes, which was such a mistake because it was awkward at the counter and I couldn’t get comfortable long enough to even concentrate on the menu. I kept hoarsely whispering to Janna, “I hate this. I hate it here. I’m so uncomfortable. They don’t even have what I wanted* on the menu today. Let’s just leave OMG should we just leave Janna can we leave?” and Janna really picked up handsomely on my hints and said, “Yes, we can just leave” so we did and I was like DEUCES MALORIE (that’s what I imagine the hostess’s name was).

*(Vegan mousakka! Do you know how rare that is?! Real mousakka used to be one of my favorite foods after I had it in Greece when my aunt Sharon was like YOU WILL NOT LIKE THAT but bam bitch, I did.)

Anyway, we left and Janna was like, “Thank god, I hated sitting there too” and so many more people had lined up after us that we figured we had probably lost our spot for a table by then anyway, so fuck off B52. I don’t get why vegan eateries have to be soooooo uppity and uncomfortable. The only place I’ve been to that wasn’t like that, that didn’t make me feel like I needed to have pixie bangs or a neck tattoo or a Schwinn with a wicker basket as my primary means of transportation, is Zenith. Long live Zenith!!

We went down the street a bit and hit up our backup plan, Ki Ramen. I mean, after driving around for an eternity because Lawrenceville needs to trade in some hipsters for parking spaces, for real. It’s a huge reason why we don’t frequent that area more often.

Anyway, Ki Ramen was OK. It was weird because we walked in and stood there for a while before some waiter came over and asked, “You guys eatin’?”

Um, yes, that was the plan.

Apparently, we were in the wrong dining area? I was so confused! There were people eating in the room we were standing in, but the waiter took us down into a glorified garage (seriously, there were big wires coming out of the concrete walls) and at first I thought he was seating us AT ANOTHER COUNTER but at the last minute, he slid the menus down on the last empty table in that room. Thank god.

We started off with cauliflower wings – they were delicious!

Janna and I both got curry ramen. It wasn’t the best ramen I’ve ever had, that’s for sure. I mean, not to be a spoiled brat, but I’ve had ramen in actual Asia, so…

LOL, I cringed so hard when I typed that. Keeping it!

You think I’m bad, Chooch is like the biggest ramen snob ever and was definitely not impressed with his ramen.

But, the service was pretty quick which was nice because we were fucking starving.

Chooch-Eating-Ramen is my favorite Chooch, I think. He has such chopsticks-wielding pizzazz.

Chooch said this looked like our cat Penelope. :(

When the waitress brought our checks, the one she gave me was waaaaay cheaper than what it should have been. It was like half of what ours should have really been and there was that split second when I wanted to be an asshole and not say anything but this blog ain’t called OH HONESTLY ERIN for nothin’, OK?! I am stupid-honest! So I waved the waitress over and told her she brought me the wrong check, thinking that at the very least, maybe it would bring me some good old-fashioned Karma, but so far all it brought me was two shitty days in a row at work and $40 out of my bank account.

I was bitching about this to Henry who said, “Yeah, but even if you had kept the wrong check, you paid by credit card so they would have just charged the difference to the account later when they realized what happened,” and oh I’m sorry, I forgot that Henry teaches a class on Restaurant Check Fraud at the community college.

See also: STFU Henry.

Apparently, this was Chooch’s “take it easy” pose.

The post-lunch plan was to go to a cafe and get caffeine and dessert. We decided on Black Forge because Janna had never been there and I don’t go there as much as I should, but first Janna had to get stuck in a one-way street cesspool downtown, causing Chooch and I to have a million laughing fits until she tried to back out of a parking lot into oncoming traffic and then we weren’t laughing anymore.

But, she did eventually get us to Allentown in one piece, and then tried to park in a lot designated for the police at the local police station, lol. Fucking popo and their own private, convenient parking lots. Pfft.

Allentown has murals, you guys. We live for murals.

I have one pose, and this is it.

At Black Forge, Janna and I attended Chooch’s lecture on gender equality, inspired by the fact that Black Forge’s bathrooms are designated for “Wizards” and “Witches” but both genders can be either of those things, and also included a reference to “old men holding their dingalings in the bathroom.”

It was a great learning experience. I felt so enlightened.

The last time I was at Black Forge, their punch cards featured Trump and various members of his shitty administration, but now that most of those people have been ousted, their current cards just feature a bunch of Trump’s degenerate visages. I really fucking hate that man so goddamn much, that Black Forge could sell gas station swill and I would still happily support them.

But as it turns out, their coffee and other beverages are fantastic and they sell pastries made at the nearby vegan restaurant Onion Maiden, which is actually another vegan place that doesn’t make me like an outcast. But it’s also very small inside and gets crowded fast so you have to be strategic when planning a meal there.

Totally worth it though and now I’m kicking myself for not just suggesting we have lunch there that day!

In case you were wondering, which you weren’t I know, I got the My Dying Chai which may have been the best chai latte I’ve ever had, Janna got something mocha-y, and Chooch had to be difficult and inquire if the hot chocolate came in different flavors because he is spoiled rotten by the baristas at Muddy Cup who will make any fucking kind of fancy-ass hot chocolate your imagination can concoct as long as they have the syrup there (and they have the most extensive syrup collection I’ve ever seen), so the barista at Black Forge was like, “………flavors?” and then realized what he was asking so she was like, “Yeah go for it, bro” and he went with strawberry because I think he felt panicked since he didn’t have a list to reference, but he said the final product was “really fucking good” and I was like, “I will take your word for it” because I don’t play that backwash game.

Wow, that was a good way to spend the day off. It was only like 10 degrees and the perfect day to stay inside, but I’m really glad we went out and braved the bitter winter.

***

Later that evening, I made fun of Henry which caused Chooch to laugh so hard that he vomited and then I made the mistake of looking at it, so I started dry-heaving really bad and then Henry was like CLEAN THAT UP to Chooch, so then Chooch was dry-heaving while he was mopping up his puke, and this made me dry-heave even HARDER to the point where I was for certain that I was going to throw up, so I had to push Henry out of the way and run to the bathroom, where I could still hear Chooch dry-heaving from downstairs so then we were like gang-gagging back and forth, this terrible volley of vomit-coughs, and my eyes were watering so bad and eventually I FELL TO MY KNEES and screamed, “STOP MAKING THAT NOISE, CHOOCH, PLEASE!!!” because his hoarking was contagious. This went on for a solid five-minutes, passing puke-scares back and forth and Henry calmly muttered, “You two are fucking idiots” while the cats were like, “DO YA’LL HAVE HAIRBALLS TOO?!”

My abs were actually sore the next day from my fake bulimia bout.

Anyway, that’s just a little glimpse of what it’s like to be in this hell house.

Jan 212019
 

I know, it’s been nearly a week since I dropped a Valentine advertisement up in this bitch so you were probably feeling relieved but I am here to strip you of that relief because I have some Kpop valentine sets to pimp. So please indulge me for a few minutes while I gush and show off my new additions. I’m trying to be more pushy active with promoting my wares.

In addition to the two multi-fandom sets and the BTS set I made last year, I have a brand new set for 2019! 16 new designs! Woo!

  • 4Minute
  • Key (from SHINee)
  • NCT127
  • Winner
  • Got7
  • TOP (BIGBANG)
  • Taemin (SHINee)
  • Crush
  • BIGBANG

  • Ten (NCT)
  • E’Dawn
  • Dean
  • Pentagon
  • (G)Idle
  • Momoland

These babes join the two original sets from 2018!

Set #2:

KPOP Mini Valentine Set #2 comes with 16 unique designs!

  • 2NE1
  • Jin (BTS)
  • Bae Suzy
  • BIGBANG
  • Winner
  • Taeyang
  • Blackpink
  • SNSD
  • BTS
  • Kard
  • GOT7
  • F(x)
  • Mamamoo
  • T-ARA
  • U-Kiss
  • Red Velvet

I really enjoy making cards because I get to let my cringe-iness run loose & piss on some fire hydrants and postal carriers, you know?

Each set of 16 comes packaged in a little Valentine bag.

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

Set #1:

This set contains 16 different designs: Sistar, Wanna One, Hyuna, two different Taemins because I love me some Lee Taemin, G-Dragon, Wonder Girls, IU, BIGBANG, Vixx, Twice, Got7, Gfriend, BTS, Apink, and EXO.

Those VIXX and Twice cards have been redesigned, FYI!

One of my past customers told me she hid the serial killer version of these mini cards all around the house for her husband to randomly come across throughout the year and I thought that was such a fun idea!

Set # includes:

  • BIGBANG
  • G-Dragon <3
  • Taemin x2
  • Gfriend
  • Hyuna
  • Got7
  • BTS
  • EXO
  • IU
  • Wanna One
  • VIXX
  • Twice
  • Wonder Girls
  • Sistar
  • Apink

ALL OF THESE FOR ONLY 8 BUCKS! (Plus shipping. I’d walk them to your house free of charge if I could.)

They come packaged in an adorable little V-Day treat bag:

I’m obsessed. As a Kpop fan, I would be so damn stoked if I came across these and would (and will) give them to all of my work friends who will 100% not understand.

(Chooch  gave these card sets his stamp of approval, btw.)

These also look great all smeared out across a G-Dragon table. I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, amirite.

Any mini-card you see in this blog post can be made into a full-sized card (some are even listed that way already in my shop) so if there’s anything you see here that you want just one full-sized version of, just ask!

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

Hey, any ARMYs out there? Well, I got you covered with a full-BTS set, as well!

BTS set:

When I was designing the other Kpop mini Valentine sets, I kept thinking of all these different BTS ones I wanted to make, but the whole point of those sets was to have a variety of different Kpop groups representin’, you know? So then I thought, well, why not just make a series of all BTS designs?! You can never have too much BTS.

So I activated my Cringe Mode and got to work on 16 new designs! (Technically, 15 new designs – 1 of the 16 is available in one of the variety packs). Then I waited until my nail polish was sufficiently chipped before taking pictures of the result.

Chooch was so full of groans and disappointed head-shakes over the corniness of this particular set, which means I succeeded!

This J-Hope one, though.

Anyway, this set includes one design of each member alone (Jin and RM have two, though because I accidentally played favorites I guess), one of Cypher, and then a ton of the whole group.

I’m so excited about these collections! I love Valentines Day even though Henry is the worst when it comes at being romantic, and the thought of passing out little Valentines a la elementary school days is just so appealing to me! I might pass these out at work and force everyone to listen to a BTS song or 17.

(I’m hoping to make an entire BIGBANG set as well, because they are my ults.)

Interested? This set, the three other kpop variety sets, full-sized cards for all occasions, and Kpop Idol Pendants can all be purchased over at my Kpop card store on Etsy: Hello Hanguk!

Again, each set is $8 plus shipping (about $2.60 domestic, but I do ship worldwide). Daebak!

Thanks for your (Valen)time!

Jan 012019
 

On Sunday, we went to the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland because I’ve been on this “must see the Christmas decorations” kick and figured that would be the last chance. I like to visit the Cathedral every so often because it brings me great peace which is funny considering that whenever I was an actual student there I felt sick to myself every single time I walked in that place. Lol.

(Afterward we went to Sumi’s for some Korean 빵 and boba tea. The girl working was listening to Wanna One and Henry kept trying to get me to talk to her but I wouldn’t because I am the epitome of awkward shut-in when it comes to spontaneous social interactions.)

Anyway, these are the last pictures I took in 2018 because I worked dumb late shift from home on New Years Eve and instead of going to any parties I opted to stay in and watch rollercoaster and Winner videos because you know what, THAT IS WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY which leads me to my 2019 resolution which is CONTINUING MAKING MYSELF HAPPY.

A few years ago I realized that the key to (my) happiness was being selfish. Yeah, I’m a selfish person when I need to be, I say no way more now than I used to, and I don’t feel guilty for opting to make more time for myself. It makes me less stressed which in turn makes me more bearable to be around (mostly, right Henry? Lol).

2018 was a real rollercoaster (lol) but this was the first time in years that I made it through a year without it giving me the proverbial bad taste in my mouth. Yes, politically and socially shit is more fucked than ever. But on a personal front, 2018 didn’t do me too dirty.

Of course I had my lows. How can you highs without the lows? I basically don’t want to remember the month of June at all but at least I can say that I made it, I moved on, I grew (a little bit?).

But man, the highs were so high that they made the lows seems like super distant memories. We went to goddamn Korea, the trip of my dreams, and my life was changed.

We went to NYC twice, and a bunch of awesome amusement parks beyond Kennywood like Everland, Holidayworld, Knoebel’s, and Dollywood.

Overall, when I think of 2018, one word comes to mind and it is F-U-N.

So why fix something that’s not broken? I want to fill 2019 with even more fun! More amusement parks, more trips, more Kpop concerts (we’ve already got two coming up!).

Another thing that will continue into 2019 is my obsession with overall wellness. It was New Year’s Day 2013 (OMG that feels so long ago) when I was tipping the scale at 200 pounds and FINALLY got the wake-up call to make changes. My journey has been extremely slow and my methods have changed over the years, but the bottom line is that my main focus is always on my health/fitness, and I’m happy to say that even though it has taken me since last spring to get myself into the “healthy BMI zone” whatever the fuck that even means, the mindset and routines are cemented into my brain now. Sometimes I’m SOOOOO near-sighted when it comes to this part of my life and I get all stressed out over gaining a pound or two when the bigger picture is that I have lost over 50 pounds and am way more physically active than I have ever been!

I don’t give myself enough credit for that. So this is me, I don’t know, giving myself credit. As cringe-y as this makes me feel!

But the whole reason I brought this up is because Chooch has willingly, on his own, decided that he’s ready to make lifestyle changes too! I’m so excited about this! We started working out together (he’s now a huge fan of Jillian Michaels lol) and I’ve been helping him make healthy food choices. He’s even agreed to eat the same things I eat for dinner now which makes Henry happy because he used to have to make us separate meals since Chooch is so picky and I’m so Korean (lol). In just a week, Chooch has already noticed a difference in himself and has begun to look forward to our workouts! It’s a really great feeling to know that I’m contributing to what hopefully become lifelong healthy habits for him and not looking for the easy way out, fast fixes, and crash diets like I used to do because I didn’t have anyone in my life who was like, “Lose the Slim-Fast and try actually eating healthy meals.”

(LOL @ Henry sleeping in the back of the class)

During one of our Leslie Sansone walking workouts (you guys, they’re so dumb and we make up back-stories for everyone in her walking crew, like this one broad who we have pegged as a chronic adultress), I suggested to Chooch that we start our own YouTube workouts and he was like “big fat NO to that.”

Now that Chooch is a nutritionist, he’s been criticizing Henry’s poor choices. Henry snapped one day and yelled, “OH, AND YOU’RE JUST THE PICTURE OF HEALTH!” Henry is so supportive, basically the manager of our fan cafe.

Chooch made a food-shaming video of Henry eating an ice cream in the car on the way home from the grocery store last weekend and it is EVERYTHING. Chooch’s laugh in this video makes me nearly pee my pants:

The more I reflect back on 2018, the happier I am with how it turned out. There is always room for improvement though so I’m not going to be a slacker during 2019 by any means! I definitely don’t like how easily I succumb to negativity so that’s on the list of shit to work on. Baby steps! My power of persuasion can only get me so far. It’s not actually a super power!

I just asked Henry if he has anything he wants to say about 2019 and he said, “Yeah, 2019 you’re on your own” because that’s his “resolution” that he has been threatening Chooch and me with for the last few days, something about how he’s not going to do anything for us anymore and we’ll have to feed ourselves, blah blah blah.

LOL ok Henry.

Well, here’s to another year of riding roller coasters, staying off Facebook (honestly the best decision!), laugh-puking with Chooch, and maybe Korea again!? And on that note, I’m going to rest for a bit because I have my annual New Year’s fever – it’s the weirdest thing. I almost always start the new year with a fever WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

SHINee Taemin sexiest dance moves

Dec 302018
 

Before I start spraying misspelled words down on this page like a n00b with a machine gun, I just want to say that I hope everyone who may be reading this (even hate-reading this) had a wonderful December 25th, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. It’s such a rough time for so many people to get through and that was definitely heavy on my mind all day.

That being said, our Christmas was very lowkey and minimalistic. We do that wasteful thing every year where we feel like OMG THE BOTTOM OF THE TREE NEEDS TO BE STUFFED so we end up buying a bunch of crap that Chooch doesn’t want or need, just to beef it up, and what’s the point of that? It’s useless. So this year, we only got him several small things like t-shirts, a set of vintage Bambi glasses that I found on Ebay because he’s still obsessed with Bambi, a gaming mouse…things that we knew he would actually wear/use. Plus, he’s 12 now and that’s a really weird age. He’s not into “toys” anymore and aside from a gaming PC (big fat nope) there was nothing that he was specifically begging for. I thought it would be fun to give him “adventure presents,” such as a trip to the Science Center the day after Xmas, because Henry kept promising him for years and never actually took him so I got to be the hero which is my whole purpose as a parent. And also, we tacked on an extra day for our “Erin Bought Winner Tickets So I Guess We’re Going to Toronto Now” trip next month so that Chooch can actually see some sights and we’re going to swing by Niagara Falls too, which he’s never been to. Things like this are far more special than a new video game or whatever, and I think he’s finally starting to appreciate that and he understands that the less money we spend on materialistic junk, the more opportunities we’ll have to travel.

(Henry’s reading this and thinking, “But when will ERIN understand that…?” Lol.)

“Patiently” waiting for Henry to get his ass downstairs so he could start opening shit.

The kid is still really into Bambi, like I said, so he didn’t even care that this was:

  • not actally Bambi;
  • from the women’s section of Target

This fucking ornament came just in time on Christmas Eve, fucking Miles Kimball and their slow-ass shipping. I had to get in it unpersonalized because each hat could only have 8 letters, so I just did it myself. They didn’t have an ornament with two kids on a roller coaster while the dad sat on a bench in the background, so this one will have to do. Chooch loved it and immediately hung it on Trudy’s boob, I mean, bough.

We both love the movie The Lost Boys so when Blvck Cat did another limited run of these shirts, I couldn’t pass it up. Funny story though, I apparently pre-ordered it last September/October and proceeded to forget about it until a week before Christmas when I got an email notification saying that it shipped. What a happy surprise!

We also printed and framed this picture of Henry that Chooch took in Busan – this damn picture made us publicly crack up to the point of tears and you better believe that Henry was not OK with this. I love giving memories as gifts and thought it would be something that could make Chooch laugh on bad days. I made the gift tag say it was from the Ahjussis on the Subway – Chooch said his favorite part of Christmas is looking at what I write on the gift tags, so that made me super happy because it’s such a simple little thing but it somehow became “tradition” along the way. For instance, his ornament was from Dolly Parton’s Big Gigantic Boobs, since Dollywood was the last park we visited.

Chooch’s one big gift this year was Hamilton tickets because it’s in Pittsburgh for the month of January and Chooch LOVES it. I won’t even go into the trauma and stress I experienced trying to get tickets to this fucking thing, but I will say that it was funny listening to my co-workers stress out over it too and I was just like, “Yo, try getting tickets to a KPOP concert, though…”

Anyway, I had a mild nervous breakdown because tickets, even the shitty ones that I managed to snag, were so expensive, but my work friend Lori validated it by reminding me that this is like the Shakespeare of our time and that it’s a major cultural experience for Chooch, so it’s worth it. Then Henry was like, “Um, you paid more for BTS tickets so I don’t know why you’re acting so sick over this?”

Yeah, but it’s different when it’s something for me!

#SelfishErinIsSelfish

“How can we package this so that a really great present starts out as something traumatic?” I wondered aloud, and Henry and I decided that we needed to make a fake minigolf envelope to put the tickets in, so that Chooch would first think he was getting a gift certificate for minigolf which he would HATE after we went to that one minigolf place in Tennessee and he declared that he hates minigolf and never wants to play it again, got mad at us for laughing, and then almost set the place up in flames with the power of his pissed-off mind alone.

So I made this fake minigolf logo which Henry glued to the front of the envelopes that the tickets came in, but I still didn’t feel like this was good enough….

…so then we stuck the envelope in Doll’s hand and wrapped her up in a box for his last present.

When he opened it, he was like, “REALLY” because he fucking hates Doll, but then he saw what was in her hand and his face started to get super red, like, “WE WERE HAVING A GOOD DAY, YOU GUYS, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE ASSHOLE PARENTS” but then when he saw what was inside in the envelope, he was like, “OMG.”

Full disclosure, while Chooch and Henry had a fine day, I still let my dumb emotions and ill-feelings toward the holiday get the best of me and so I stormed out of the house mid-morning, snarling over my shoulder that I JUST WANTED TO BE ALONE so I went for a dumb walk and as I was halfway down Brookline Boulevard, I started to pass the man on foot in front of me and realized THAT IT WAS MY EX-NEIGHBOR BOOTS.

So for half a second, I was WALKING WITH BOOTS.

Wow, that was enough to bring me back down to earth. I went home after that and I was fucking fine for the rest of the day, that’s for damn sure.

Later that afternoon, we decided to go to the cemetery for a walk. Usually, Henry would prepare something small to eat and we would have a quick (and usually, freezing) picnic in the cemetery but we skipped it last year and to be honest, I didn’t even think about doing it this year. THINGS CHANGE, YOU GUYS. It’s OK to eschew “traditions” sometime.

However, on the way to the cemetery, we noticed that Pink Box, a delicious Asian bakery, was open! So Henry squealed the car to a halt and we stocked up on some delicious Asian breads.

This ended up being way better than having our usual picnic because we didn’t have to sit down on the cold December sod to eat, we could take it to go. So, new/revised tradition, maybe!?

Chooch was definitely on board with it!

Freakin’ egg tarts too, son.

It was a really beautiful day, and not too terribly cold either. Plus, we didn’t have a photoshoot like usual so that meant – NO FIGHTING!

Henry took this weird picture of Chooch and me standing in front of the weird maintenance house thing that I’m positive is a hideout for a serial killer.

That night, I was being a spoiled brat and Henry was like WHAT IS WRONG and finally I blurted out YOU DIDN’T GET ME ANYTHING (so, I guess we could consider this a Xmas tradition?) even though he spent all afternoon getting my Mouse Attack light to finally light up:

…and I apparently said to him that if he took us to Dollywood for Thanksgiving, that would be my Christmas present which I don’t recall saying but it DOES sound like something I would say in a moment of sheer desperation. Look, I’m not going to lie and make you guys think that I’m an actual adult because I’m not – I’m a big fat bitch-baby who thrives on GIFTS AND THINGS AND STUFF.

So Henry was like, “Oh for God’s sake” and then three days later, Taemin’s Japanese solo album arrived for me:

Yay, thanks Henry oppa!

Also, no Oh Honestly Family Xmas card for 2018, sadly. We were too busy making cards for other people!

So, that wraps up Xmas 2018. Overall, it was a good one and it was extremely pleasing to see that, unlike his mother, Chooch was satisfied with everything he was given, even the really small things. I guess he has a little bit of Henry’s genes in him after all, lol.

Dec 282018
 

For the first time maybe ever, both Henry and I had the day before Christmas off of work! We definitely wanted to take advantage of that so we left the house late that morning and hit up our favorite Asian market because even though we went to like 4 different stores over the weekend, we only bought party food and ended up not having any actual groceries so that was cool once I realized how much money we spent on novelty food items.

Ugh, I hate grocery shopping.

But I loooove the Asian market! And they had cherimoya which is one of my favorite fruits so it was like a Christmas present for me except that I didn’t know Henry bought one until the day after Christmas because I pay attention to nothing.

Also, pro tip for my fellow meatfree friends in Pittsburgh: the Asian market we go to in the Strip (WFH Oriental) has a great selection of soy-meat products that’s a nice reprieve from the Boca stuff or whatever that you find in most freezer sections.

#NotSponsored

After grocery shopping, we went to Korean Garden in Oakland for lunch, but first, we drove past the Busnegie Museum which totally made me crack up and also means nothing to you if you don’t live in Pittsburgh but it’s a play on the nearby Carnegie Museum, and this just tickles the bitterness right out of my body, I’ll tell you what.

I love stuff like this and the world needs more of it, that’s for sure.

When we’re at Korean restaurants, I do not have time to arrange the table for an aesthetically-pleasing picture. Although, it probably would behoove me to actually groom the background so that my food will have some time to cool off – I can’t remember a single time I ate at a Korean restaurant and didn’t singe off layers of my mouth.

WORTH IT.

Anyway, I got soon dubu jjigae, Chooch wussed out and got stir-fried vegetables, and I don’t know what Henry got because who cares. The owner’s daughter was working and she was playing Kpop which enhanced the dining experience, of course. “Fiance” by Mino came on and I wanted to ask her if she was going to see Winner but I wussed out, so I guess that was my stir-fried vegetable moment.

Sigh.

After lunch, we were going to check out the Christmas decorations at the Cathedral of Learning because that place always gets me amped for the birth of Christ or whatever, but it was closed! For some reason, it never occurred to me that the Cathedral would ever close, lol. I thought it was like a gas station.

I was starting to get whiny about this because I didn’t want to spend the day at home but I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money since I accidentally bought those aforementioned Winner tickets with the regular account instead of PayPal Credit like I thought I had selected and that, um, really changed the narrative for Christmas, let me tell you. (Sorry, Henry!)

But then Henry, who usually has nothing to offer, suggested that we GO TO THE ZOO because admission has been free for the holidays! It’s  been a minute since I was last at the zoo, and the weather wasn’t too unbearable (don’t worry, I still complained constantly about being cold), so we went for it and it was the best decision! Barely anyone was there and it ended up being the best time I’ve had at the zoo in years and years.

We even got along with each other the whole entire time! Even though Henry told me that the animals probably looked at me like I was prey because of my coat, because the fact that I’m a walking meatsuit wasn’t already enough to make me prey-esque.

Don’t worry, I’m not the type of person to take a picture of every single animal and then post it on the Internet like National Geographic amateur hour, but this little bebe was too cute to pass up!

This was definitely the best Christmas Eve I have had in YEARS. It was really nice getting to spend quality time with the fam, free of obligations, doing fun outdoors shit! The rest of the evening was super mellow and lowkey, which is just what I needed.

Dec 242018
 

Ever since my tooth saga was resolved, I feel like I have been living my best life. (#dramatic) So this past weekend was full of just straight-up relaxing and enjoying company, so basically what the season is actually supposed to be about!

Saturday night, we hosted a small work reunion. It worked out perfectly because Wendy had been asking me if I was going to have a Christmas party this year and I just didn’t feel like it, in true Scrooge-form. But then I was texting with our friend Sean who left the firm several years ago and we talked about getting together with Wendy, so I offered to host a small soirée at my place. We got BARB to come too and it was a nice evening full of cheese and alcohol and LAW FIRM MEMRIEZ.

I was really worried that other friends would get upset that they weren’t invited, but it really wasn’t a “party,” but more of a casual mini-reunion of sorts, and then I realized that this wouldn’t be an issue anyway since I’m not on Facebook anymore and Facebook is the devil when it comes to making people feel left out!

Even just hosting this little gathering made me miss having parties though so maybe sometime later this winter I’ll think of some random/strange theme and have a proper party because I really don’t see my friends enough.

I was in the middle of taking totally predictable pictures of my snack spread when Wendy and her clan showed up and then I didn’t take a single picture the rest of the night because sometimes you just gotta BE IN THE MOMENT – isn’t that what all the Instafamous bloggers are preaching to their followers in an effort to pretend like they actually have non-curated lives?

I didn’t realize it until that night but it’s been two years since I hung out with Sean, at my last Christmas party, actually, but we didn’t really get a chance to talk much then so he had no idea about my drastic lifestyle change, so that was fun filling him in about our Korean immersion. And then Barb said to me, “I’m trying to figure out who you look like me to now” but she said it in a way that sounded like it wasn’t going to be good. All the info she gave me was that she thinks it’s someone from a soap opera. She watches Days of Our Lives so maybe JENNIFER HORTON!? #IWISH

Do you know how hard it was for me to not talk endlessly all night about my new bias Jinu from Winner, though!?

See the source image

See the source image

Sigh.

The next night, Blake and his fam stopped over so we could do an informal pre-Xmas. His friend is temporarily living with them and he has a kid two weeks younger than Calvin so we had them come over too and it was kind of exciting having some younguns around. They’re both still too young to give a shit about opening gifts but it was fun for the rest of us and that’s all that matters.

Right?

Speaking of presents, Chooch all of a sudden is super into wrapping gifts.

This was the best picture I could get before Calvin was on the move again.

The only lowlight of the whole weekend was GOING TO THE EYE DOCTOR on Sunday, which is basically just like a stripmall eye doctor chain and most of the broads working there are absolutely rude and joyless. I have to find a real eye doctor….But the whole reason I went was because I wanted to finally get a pair of glasses, something I haven’t had since my beloved BIG HUMONGOUS GIANT GREEN SPECS* broke and if you have been around for a while, you might remember that I bought those from Zenni Optical and had to make up a pupil measurement or whatever that is and it was clearly wrong because they were like looking out of fish bowls but I wore them anyway and  basically trained my eyes to see out of them which I AM SURE was just fantastic and eye doctors worldwide would applaud me.

*(Wow, that was six years ago. I have lived six years without any glasses, LOL.)

I only went back to this dumb place because they have this one pair of Candies frames that are exclusive to just this dumb place (I looked online first to see if I could get them anywhere else) and I really wanted them last year because they are black and the insides are bright pink which reflects off my face and I love that and the model is actually called BLACKPINK which hello is a great kpop group.

This time, I actually had a “professional” measure my pupil distance or whatever and I’m pretty sure the term professional should be used lightly because no one in that office seemed very educated but what do I know, I’m a fucking high school dropout.

…so maybe I do know.

The whole time I was sitting in the dumb waiting room, Henry was blowing up my Kakao with pictures of Jinu with curly hair, because that’s the ONLY JINU LOOK I DON’T LIKE.

Ugh, stress.

Oh, I forgot to share this last week. Chooch had his picture taken with his little niece and nephew and Santa, but I was unable to be there because it was the night before THE TOOTH drama finally ended so I was extra-triple-high-strung and decided it would be in everyone’s best interests if I just stayed home.

Look, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that my life was like ruined last week, OK.

It’s so much better now, though!

Anyway, that’s really all I have time to share for right now. We just came home from a really fun Christmas Eve (but really afternoon) around town and I am pretty tired. I have a full night of wine and K-Dramas planned, but first I’m going to watch some theme park vids because I’m an adult and I can do what I want.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Dec 122018
 

“Wow, that’s the quote of the night,” Janna laughed, after I screamed this when Chooch drew a weener in the snow of one of the houses we were walking past Saturday night.

LET ME BACK UP.

Janna came over Saturday night for the annual Lighting of Trudy, and as usual, Henry didn’t get new lights knowing damn well that the lights from last year were probably going to be busted because they just don’t make Christmas lights like they used to!

(Or maybe they do and Henry just sucks at storing them, I don’t know.)

(In either case, we needed new lights.)

(And I made Janna and Chooch walk with me to CVS to get the lights, and then proceeded to stress over what Henry meant when he said, “Don’t get too many lights” and then there were greater-quantity-lights that cost the same as the lesser-quantity-lights and I was going to ask if it was for real but then I realized that the cashier on duty was that terrible maybe-Meth head who never knows what’s going on and Chooch pointed out recently that she has her name scratched off her name tag so maybe she’s also a fugitive!?)

(Anyway, the price was real.)

So then on the way home, Chooch desecrated THE ONE HOUSE on our street that has classy Christmas decorations (I want to leave them a note commending them on the aesthetic appeal of their choices) with a weener drawn in their snow and now I think you’re all caught up.

Penelope was READY for the Trudy-dressing….until Janna arrived and she was all, “A PEOPLE. BYE.” And then we didn’t see her or Drew the rest of the night.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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So basically Henry does all the hard stuff because in order to dress Trudy, one must remove her upper-extremities and I can’t do that.

Apparently, Henry can’t either because he dropped her arm and BROKE HER HAND!!!! Blake and Calvin had just arrived when this happened and Blake was like, “DAD I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THAT TO TRUDY” and Calvin was just like, “This house is effin’ cray, man.”

Seriously, what must it be like for a toddler visiting the Pioneer Nut House?

Meanwhile, I think the only reason Blake stops over is to get his fill of Kpop, which is not-so-secretly loves. He told us that night that he especially likes how the girl groups have like 10 members and we were like YEAH YOU DO.

I have to admit, Trudy is always out and about in our house, we don’t stow her away like a real Christmas tree (I mean, I’m sorry, Trudy! You ARE real! You’re a REAL XMAS TREE!) in the attic or whatever, but we do need to move furniture around so that she has a good spot worthy of a real Christmas tree.

Which she is.

A real Christmas tree.

This year, she is in front of the window after I moved over the beverage buffet and relocated the pink elephant table that holds the giant clown head.

That sentence tells you everything you need to know about my house, by the way.

Anyway, you can imagine how confused the cats were when they came out hours later because a few things were moved over a few inches, oh no.

Isn’t Trudy’s 2018 face beautiful? The starry barbed wire gagging her is an extra-special touch. I think it’s a real glow-up from last year’s gas mask. Janna said that we have to change her face every year and I was like, “Yeah, maybe Henry can just BEHEAD HER” ugh, Henry.

Speaking of Henry the Amputator, he glued Trudy’s hand back on nicely and is now going to fill in the cracks and then give her arm a fresh coat of metallic green. I think he genuinely feels sorry that he maimed her so horrifically.

You can see in this picture that Trudy’s right arm is actually just an empty sweater sleeve. IT’S FINE. Maybe by next Christmas she’ll be put back together. (I’m looking at you, Henry the Procrastinator.)

I used one of my G-Dragon peaceminusone clips to hold an ornament on Trude’s sweater. That’s what you call INGENUITY.

Maybe next year, I’ll just have Henry remove her legs and then we can sit her torso on one of the wheelchairs, but still have the Christmas tree skirt splayed out underneath.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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“Wow, it really looks so cozy in here now,” Janna said upon returning from the bathroom, and I have to agree that Trudy really does add some Christmas comfort to the house.

And then Chooch made us play Heads Up and then we made Janna watch roller coaster vlogs on YouTube and now my new goal is to hook her up with REECE from INTHELOOP but she thinks he’s too young like that’s a problem?

Dec 062018
 

It’s that time of year again when everyone is stressed to the max about Christmas hoohaw so why not add in some additional holiday stress at work too!? I was thinking about what my team should get Boss Amber this year and instead of just being normal and buying a card at the store and stuffing it with a giftcard or something, I decided to make her work for it.

LET ME BACK UP.

This past year, we started using Docusign in our department and my group acts as the backup for the people who usually send shit through it. Since we use it so irregularly, it’s a pain in the ass for us and we are all very vocal and crybabyish about it. It’s just one of those things, you know? Every job has one! Anyway, Boss Amber is always annoyed with it too whenever she has to use it so I thought, “WHY DON’T WE SEND HER XMAS CARD THROUGH DOCUSIGN” and my work friends were like WHY ARE YOU SUCH A JERK, BUT YES LET’S….WAIT, HOW. Don’t worry – I made it work and then I forced them pose for a totally cringey picture (my original idea was to buy a nice frame and put a giant picture of us in it for Amber’s desk but that was meant with a a barricade of frowns) which we we planned to send her today before our holiday lunch, along with a gift card, through Docusign.

Glenn’s wife Amanda took this for us! Glenn was actually on his way out for the day because he was sick but here I am, forcing the guy to tangle himself up in garland in the cold weather first. Anyway, I wasn’t satisfied with how the garland looked in this so I demanded a do-over.

Lauren was like, “Should we be….touching each other?” Amanda was like, “I mean, do you want to?” We all just looked at each other, like, “Nah” and continued standing together like strangers. Look, we have boundaries, OK.

This was the final version, a motherfuckin’ Cringemas miracle. Carrie was like, “Did you come up with that? I thought so” – lol. I photoshopped that Jethro Tull record into Glenn’s hand because one time he sent me Jethro Tull videos and said, “This is what real music is” and I have been making offhand comments about it ever since, in fact, I just made one last week and he told me that I should really consider letting it go.

Never.

My thought bubble says that because it’s what I’m always saying on Monday except not just in my head, but out loud to everyone who will listen. One time Amber was off on a Monday so our meeting was canceled and I was so happy BUT THEN SHE RESCHEDULED IT FOR THE NEXT DAY.

Now I’m questioning why I put together this Xmas gift for her!!

Anyway, I added the picture of us to a word doc and put something like “We hope you have a great Christmas __________” so that when Amber electronically signed it, it would complete the sentence with her Docusign signature.

We all signed it (via Docusign, so our signatures are all weird and formal) and then once that was complete, we all ran outside of Amber’s office and waited for her to get her notification. When I heard her say, “What the hell is this?” I knew the game had started!

So now we were all crowded around her office, laughing at our brilliant idea, and I noticed that she HADN’T SIGNED IT YET because she was too busy smiling at the picture so I had to force her to complete the process and she was just like, “WOW.”

Yes, Amber. WOW. I did that.

We also “spruced” up (OH HO HO HO) Dead-Again Bob Ross and used this as the picture for the Amazon gift e-card.

God, we’re such great minions.

Then today was our holiday lunch (which Todd didn’t know about until Amber sent an email telling us when to meet at the elevator bank, lol) and I was so excited because we went to the Yard and they have the Impossible Burger now and I have been dying to try that except  I guess not that urgently because I’ve known for a while now the various places around town that has it on the menu but am super lazy and ambivalent when it comes to food.

Clearly.

Anyway: worth it!

And after that, we went over to Santa’s House to have our now-traditional picture taken with the Big Guy! Everyone thought they were off the hook since we did this last year, but Cathy moved back to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg since then so we had to get an updated picture with her in it!

Everyone was grumbly about it but brought out their best (forced) smiles when it was time for the picture. Amber and Cathy were not thrilled about having to sit on Santa’s knees but the “photographer” was like, “I can’t fit everyone in the shot” and it’s like, “Maybe….turn the camera then?” They kept telling me to lean in and now that I’m looking at this, I don’t understand why I had to lean in.

Anyway, it’s awkward and cute and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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!”

Nov 012018
 

Man, this was one of the most apathetic Halloweens ever. I was trying to keep in good spirits because historically, this has always been my favorite holiday but it felt like no one was in  the mood. I mentioned this previously, but Chooch was just like *hands in the sky* as far as costume ideas went.

(Maybe he should have been the Cure’s “Edge of the Deep Green Sea” PROPS IF YOU GET THAT REFERENCE.)

Finally the night before, he texted me when I was still at work because of course I was late shift the night before Halloween and not home jerryrigging together some elaborate costume for him because he is TWELVE NOW AND I AM SUPPOSED TO NOT BE CARING ABOUT THIS SHIT ANYMORE. So he texts me and says he’s going to be One-Punch Man and: “I need yellow pants, a yellow jacket, a bald cap, and red boots and gloves.”

“Oh and a cape.”

UM, THE FUCK YOU DO.

By the time I came home from work, it was 8PM. Still no decision. I was like, “DON’T CARE DON’T CARE DON’T CARE” because I am retired.

But ugh, I felt bad for him because he was struggling and I know that this could potentially be his last time trick-or-treating, who knows, so I sat there and secretly brainstormed about relevant things, and “Hereditary” popped into my head because we watched that last month and loved it so I showed him a picture of Peter as King Paimon and he was like, “YES. YES, THAT IS THE WINNER.”

And it was so easy! All I had to do was pull Henry out of bed and send him to Burger King for a crown (“I can’t just walk in and ask for a crown,” he mumbled, trying to get out of it. “THEN ORDER AN ICED TEA, MOTHER FUCKER” I yelled, and he was on his way.) which we then spray painted gold (always have gold spray paint on hand, have you SEEN my house?).

Right before Chooch left the house yesterday for trick-or-treating, Henry bandaged his nose and I thickened his eyebrows and gave him a mole.

THAT WAS IT. BYE NOW.

This was almost as easy as the Kevin Bacon costume, and definitely cheaper! Plus, Chooch’s friend Trevor said it was an amazing idea for a costume, and this may have been the first time ever that someone Chooch’s actual age knew what he was supposed to be. So that was another win.

(Although I still think the one Top 40 song title idea I had for this year would have been good but BLAKE made me question it. MAYBE ANOTHER TIME.)

Since Chooch is way beyond the age where it’s acceptable for MOMMY to  tag along, this was my first year staying home and passing out candy since he was born, you guys. (I stayed home last year too but I didn’t pass out candy because I got drunk off soju instead and pouted.)

(And the only reason I still went with him two years ago was because he was Bullet with Butterfly Wings and could barely see where he was going, so he needed parental helpers with him.)

Sorry, I get distracted by thoughts.

Earlier that day, I had walked to CVS to get candy. There were signs that said some of the candy was Buy 1 Get 1 (in Korea, they call that 1+1 so that’s what I say in my head when I see dumb American BOGO signs) but the date said 10/27 so I decided not to chance it and only grabbed one, plus a bag of some other not-on-sale assortment. When I got in line, I noticed that there were more displays of the 1+1 candy, so I decided I would inquire about the validity once I got to the register.

And then I saw it was the weird, probable Meth-head lady who started several months ago and she has ZERO personality, like even less than me, so negative personality I guess, and she just makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

(Or, as Chooch’s neighbor friend would say, “uncomfy.”)

And she’s kind of dumb too. There, I said it.

But still, I pressed my luck and asked, “Is that buy one get one candy sale still good for today even though the date on it says 10/27?”

She looked at me like I was the one on the Meth.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I reiterated my question, this time making large gestures and using smaller words.

She seemed to understand now.

“Oh, no. That’s…..no, that’s not,” she slurred.

OK then.

So she started ringing up my candy.

“Oh, this one is buy one get one, so you can go get another if you want,” she said to me, in a tone that did not imply at ALL that we had previously discussed this.

I just looked at her and then slowly said, “Yeah, that’s what I was asking you.”

“Oh, I didn’t know what you were asking,” she said, staring at me blankly.

?!??!?! Isn’t this like Basic Cashier 101?!

There was a line behind me now so I quickly ducked out of line and grabbed another bag of candy from the big 1+1 display.

“Oh, it has to be the same kind,” she said BUT DOES IT THO?! It was the same price, from the same display, part of the same sale!?

Again, there was a line so I just sighed and grabbed a second bag of glow-in-the-dark-wrapper Kit Kats as quickly as possible because fuck it all, man. I hate shopping.

There is no big ending to this story, I was just thinking about it and how annoyed I was when some choosy girl picked one of the Kit Kits out of the bowl last night and I swear to god DISGUSTEDLY asked me what kind it was and I wanted to be like HEMLOCK but I just sweetly told her that it was regular with a special CHILDBLOCKING wrapper SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT, HONEY.

Because when that happened, it made me start thinking about my annoying time in CVS all over again and it’s just a vicious cycle!

Anyway, I was excited for like a second to hand out candy last night since it’s been so long since I last did this. I got my first customer before it was even 5:30, like slow down little ma’am, you know? But then she turned out to be Asian so I was like “HERE HAVE 5 SNICKERS AND AN INVITATION TO BE MY LITTLE SISTER.”

Sorry, that was creepy.

I quickly remembered that I’m not a huge fan of kids though so this was a good acting challenge for me. I thought I was doing SUPER good but Henry, who was being a couch spectator, sneered at me and said I sounded fake as hell, especially when some dumb kid fell on my porch and I asked him, apparently in Robot Staccato, if he was OK.

OK, I admit that portion of the night was pretty fucking awkward.

And I never once asked anyone who they were supposed to be because I didn’t care, not even a little.

The kids were few and far in between, but I performed a spirited variation of the Running Man while waiting.

“This is my ‘waiting for trick or treaters’ dance,” I said to Henry.

“Then you’re going to be doing that a lot,” Henry mumbled, because our street hardly ever gets trick-or-treaters.

I diligently paused my K-Drama every time I saw someone approaching – I had the front door open because it was warm last night. This was mostly fine except for this one time when I saw someone coming so I jumped up and grabbed the bowl just as the person had reached my porch and was straight peering into my house.

I opened the door and thrust the bowl at him, but he waved me off and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I have the wrong house. I’m looking for my aunt” and as he turned to leave, Henry said to me, “Why would you think that was a trick-or-treater? He was an adult. HE HAD A BEARD.”

I’M SORRY, MY EYES ARE BAD AND MY HOPES ARE HIGH.

I told some little bitch to take two and she took like 6 and I was starting to get angry when I realized two things:

  1. I was STILL going to have like 90 pieces of candy left over;
  2. She probably was below counting-age.

My last customers had very deep voices. I don’t know what they were dressed as, but they definitely had costumes on and they were very polite to me. I dumped fistfuls into their reusable Trader Joe’s shopping bags and as I came back in the house, Henry incredulously asked, “Were those guys your age?!”

I just shrugged. Who cares. They were in costume and said trick or treat, so they broke no HalloLaw in my book. YOU KNOW!?

Meanwhile, Henry was like where is our son, because it was past 7:30.

I joked and said he was probably at the Teen Center because that’s always the best guess. A few minutes later, Chooch came stumbling through the door around 8, like someone’s dad coming home from the war. It was super dramatic. He flung his sugar-swollen pillowcase over his shoulder and onto the chair and started jawing off about this house and that house, and taking a different route, and losing the neighbor kid on purpose because he didn’t want to get stuck with the kid’s weird stepdad, and now he had no one to hold him back, and then he went to the Teen Center—

“KNEW IT!” I cried.

“Well, my bandaids were coming off and I went there to get new ones!” he yelled in defense.

As usual, mostly no one knew who he was supposed to be, and he said a lot of people were concerned that his nose-injury was real.  He was proud of that.

He also went to Coco’s house! Remember the dog we helped catch over the summer and it was a super big deal even though Henry doesn’t believe that it was because he was too busy at home, sleeping? Well the owners of Coco recognized Chooch and in addition to his candy, they gave him a pencil and a ruler which I think they just randomly grabbed from a junk drawer so that Chooch would feel rewarded.

Well, it worked, because he was so excited to show us.

Who knew King Paimon was such a dork.

And then Chooch and I watched the finale of last season’s The Walking Dead (#omg) so all in all, not the worst Halloween.

Still, I hope Chooch marries someone who won’t get in my way when it comes to being a Halloween Costume Grandma, because I STILL HAVE IDEAS.

 

Oct 232018
 

It’s been a minute since we were last at Knoebels (like, 4 year’s worth of minutes!) so I started hounding Henry about going there again, probably while we were on our way from Holiday World in August, ha! Look, I really like amusement parks, OK? Especially the small, quirky ones and Knoebels for sure fits that bill.

The last time we were there was for their Hallofun event thingie, similar to what so many other parks do anymore: make the park spooky and continue to grab that cash into autumn. But what I like about Knoebels is that they don’t go for the high tech animatronic tricks or the low-brow gore – they are old school, like the way your church decorated for Halloween in the 70s and 80s and as you’re strolling about the park’s perfectly-foliaged paths on a clear autumn day, you sort of feel like Laurie Strode walking home from school, except that Michael Myers isn’t watching from behind a hedge.

And you’re probably wearing normal jeans, too.

I’m doing that thing again, aren’t I. That thing where I ramble and make no sense because I’m so excited to share pictures of another fucking amusement park. Le sigh.

What I’m trying to say is that stepping into Knoebels is like stepping back in time. I mean, my phone barely works there so it’s REALLY taking it back to some other decade.

Another reason why I love this place is, obviously, THE RIDES. Two outstanding wooden coasters, one small steel coaster, one wooden bobsled coaster, two dark rides, one of the biggest carousel’s in the world, and a handful of carnival midway stomach-churners.

But back to those wooden coasters…The Phoenix in particular is what made me want to go back so badly, especially after visiting Holiday World and getting bit by that coaster bug. Because for as great as those coasters were, I just kept thinking about how much I missed the Phoenix. I could barely even remember what it was like to ride it, other than that it gave me the extreme giggles. And really, isn’t that all you need to remember?

So I made Henry leave the house around 7:30 Saturday morning, even though he argued that it only takes 3 and a half hours to get there and the park doesn’t open until 12. But I guess he forgot that he has to stop to piss every 30 minutes, and then took a wrong turn, so yeah, it was a little after noon when we rolled up in Elysburg, PA. My work friends kept asking me, “Where is Knoebels?” and I was like, “Um, that way” and probably pointed the wrong way. But then I looked at  map finally because I had this great idea that we should also go to Philly the next day before coming home, because it’s “right by Philly and I want to go to Big Gay Ice Cream again” was my compelling argument, and Henry said, “KNOEBELS IS NOT ‘RIGHT NEAR’ PHILLY” and I was like, “Yes, it is, are you dum—-*looks at map*—-oh, it’s really not that close to Philly.”

I always forget that Pennsylvania has a northern part too.

Knoebels is one of the last free parks in America, which means any fucking Joe can waltz right on in and perhaps he only wants to take a whirl on the Paratroopers, he can just go up to one of the many ticket booths and buy whatever amount of tickets he needs. Rides range from like $1 to $3.50, I think? So if you know you’re not going to ride a lot, then skip the wristband and just get a book of tickets.

Henry LOVES this concept because it means he’s not a big fat waste of money like he normally is at amusement parks.

Another perk? DOGS ARE WELCOME. There were more dogs there on Saturday than babies probably and it was so goddamn precious, especially when they were in costume! Chooch wished he had more hands so he could pet more than 2 dogs at a time.

Chooch and I got wristbanded by an old man who asked me if my knuckle tattoos were prison tattoos and then looked at Chooch and said, “Did your mom kill a man?” What an early highlight!

Now that we had our wristbands, I ran straight to the Phoenix except that I couldn’t remember where it was because I hadn’t been there in five years, so a lot of zig-zagging was involved.

They turned the Phoenix’s tunnel into a jack o’ lantern! Chooch and I were endlessly excited about this!

We made it to the Phoenix before too much of a line had formed.Henry had us convinced that it was going to be SO CROWDED THERE and guess what? Well, it was, but not very many people were actually riding anything other than the train and antique cars so we never stood in line for more than 10 minutes except for the Flying Turns which was about 30 minutes because that’s still fairly new and a novelty.

Oh shit, you guys. Chooch and I grabbed the backseat for our inaugural ride and as we cruised through that tunnel, I was instantly reminded why I love this ride. It is fucking CHARMING and somehow extremely entertaining in spite of its simplicity – there’s nothing fancy about this track but there are so many humps that deliver major giggle-inducing airtime. Plus, it’s a lot smoother than I remember!

And it won the Golden Ticket Award for the world’s best wooden coaster of 2018!

I wanted to get all the coasters ridden ASAP in case Henry’s baseless prediction of it “getting so crowded” came true. Flying Turns was supposedly a 45 minute wait but I wanted to just get it done since we were right there and who knows, the line could get even longer! However, they had all three cars running, so the line moved steadily and we ended up only waiting about 30 minutes, as previously spoiled. And miraculously, no one in line with us was annoying.

They have the area around the line all decorated creepy-cutely so that kept us entertained.

My genius son didn’t get this one:

So, because this ride relies on gravity, all riders need to get weighed prior to boarding because each seat can’t exceed 400 pounds. You and your riding partner stand on a big metal square and get weighed with little fanfare — no one can see the results but the ride operators so it’s not a big deal, but I remember 4 years ago, standing in that line and PANICKING because I didn’t want to get weighed. I was telling Chooch about that because he didn’t remember riding it and I mentioned that I was around 40 pounds heavier then, and he was like, “REALLY?!” and I stopped for a second to let that sink in, but yeah, I’m 35-40 pounds lighter now than I was in 2014 and that’s really hard for me to wrap my head around because in my mind, I’m forever-fat.

Anyway, this is the world’s ONLY wooden bobsled coaster and it’s ridiculously fun! Also, a little precarious and I imagine all those anti-science people out there will think it’s God’s Will that keeps the cars from flipping over and nothing that has anything to do with physics, but OK. The rest of us know what’s up.

Here’s a quick video from some theme park Youtuber to give you an idea of what a cool ride this is:

I highly recommend the trip to Knoebels if you’re a coaster aficionado or desperate to feel like a Winter Olympian without putting forth any effort whatsoever.

Next up was Twister! Which we got lost trying to find! Knoebels is not the easiest to navigate, but I kind of like that because it makes it feel like something new every time, like a labyrinth with moving walls.

Anyway, look at that burly beast back there. He is a beaut, that one. I love the walk up the ramp where dead bodies hang from the rafters – it reminds me so much of the way my mom used to decorate our front yard when I was a kid.

I mean, for Halloween.

Not for some witchy sacrificial offering. OR WAS IT.

(She did just text me about the Mon City Witch Festival, so….)

Look at the skeletons!

In theory, Twister should whip Phoenix’s ass because it’s so much bigger, but this is a classic example of how bigger ain’t always better, baby. Don’t get me wrong, this coaster is fucking faster and, you know, twisty, but it lacks the personality and flair that the smaller Phoenix has in spades. We actually only rode this twice that day, which is kind of bonkers when I think about it now, but we were so preoccupied on riding the Phoenix until our eyes popped out.

Waiting for last seat on Twister.

The ride operators kept screaming FORTNITE and that was annoying but Chooch felt like they were sending him a signal.

Yeah, for a Dork Club meeting.

The last coaster we had to scratch off the list was Impulse, which is the newish steel coaster that wasn’t there yet during our last trip. It’s similar to Kennywood’s Sky Rocket except it doesn’t have the powered launch.

Here, you can see part of it:

(And dogs!)

The ride operator there at that time was dressed like a mad scientist and he was so funny in a dad-joke way. I always appreciate a good, entertaining ride operator. Papa H took pictures of us being adorable on it:

Overall, I’d give it a 4/10. I’m just not that into steel coasters anymore and this one was only thrilling for that first drop, and then the rest was just upside-down bullshit, but the real slow kinds of corkscrews and rolls, you know? I don’t like that. So, we only went on this one once, but again, the wait time was only about 5 minutes.

I’ll be back with more Knoebels photos because they are a’plenty!

(PS I lied – there is also a kiddie coaster but it’s not amazing like the Wacky Worm so I easily forgot about it. #kiddiecoastersnob)