Jan 172023
 

There’s this trendy waffle joint that opened in Oakland somewhat recently, like within the last year. I drive past it whenever I take Chooch to school and I always whine about wanting to go but then we never do because Henry and Chooch don’t get stoked about things like this the way that I do.

I got over it after a while but apparently Corey mentioned to Chooch at some point recently that he wanted to go so then suddenly it became appealing to Surly Teen.

Chooch and I were both on Monday in honor of MLK Jr Day, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try some Smashed Waffles with Corey.

First of all, I was sulking because when I looked at their menu online the other day, there was a waffle under the SWEET SECTION called the John Lemon, which was, you know, lemony. I had my heart set on that one and the Cereal Killer because you know me and Fruity Pebbles as a topping.

But then we got there and IT WASN’T ON THE MENU. Chooch pressured me into choosing the SEASONAL WAFFLE so I did and immediately after paying for our order, I looked up on the digital screen just in time to see a picture of the HOT CHOCOLATE WAFFLE so I cried out, “Is that the seasonal waffle?!” and Chooch was all, “Yeah, that’s what I was trying to tell you.”

BITCH, WHEN?

I 100% would NOT have ordered the seasonal one had I known it was HOT CHOCOLATE, which was essentially just a waffle with chocolate syrup and marshmallows?!

I was BIG PISSED about this, and then I was even more annoyed because the seating options were not ideal and Chooch and I tried in vain to get Corey to grab a recently vacated table next to the window but some dumb trio of girls practically knocked him over and managed to claim it even though COREY WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO IT.

They just wanted it more, I guess.

So we stuck with our sad wobbly table by the restrooms. Don’t worry – I complained about that AND my ordering regrets the whole time, in perfect Erin fashion.

The waffle itself was actually pretty good but the hot chocolate one just really set me off. I wish I had done with Corey and Chooch did – they both got a breakfast sandwich AND a sweet waffle. My two sweet waffles were very unsatisfying. This was 100% more of a “fun snack” during an outing than a lunch. It just didn’t cut it for me and I had to make toast when I got home later!

I did get a pretty delicious latte though but now I forget which one it was – I think it ad honey and cinnamon in it!? It was pretty wonderful, to be honest.

Every time a young person walked past the window, Corey would blurt out, “do you know them?” to Chooch since we were on his school turf. I love how when I do that, Chooch gets so bitchy, but it was SO COOL AND FUNNY WHEN COREY WAS DOING IT. Ugh, Chooch.

After that, we walked around for a bit even though Corey was lowkey worried about his car getting towed, lol. Once Chooch and I realized that Corey had never been to the top-ish of the Cathedral of Learning, we were like, “Oh no, you gotta do it, let’s go” and it made me laugh a little that Chooch is so well-versed in the inner workings of the Cathedral when I’m the one who actually went to Pitt and had classes there! The Secret Life of Chooch. I know he also hangs out around the CMU campus too…? It moderately concerns me that I have no idea what he’s doing after school, because it’s definitely not “immediately coming home.”

“What if we could see your car getting towed right now?” Chooch said to Corey, which made him belt out one of his signature SUPER BOISTEROUS BELLY LAUGHS in the VERY SMALL observation area of the Cathedral.

Damn, this view never gets old. I love the Cathedral of Learning so so so so much. It was the best part of Pitt.

This rando’ storage nook was open!? Corey tried to get me to take some marketing award that was stashed in there.

I felt like I had chocolate on my face from the HOT CHOCOLATE waffle, but I guess I didn’t after all.

CATHEDRAL SELFIE! Not pictured: MY DOUG PIN.

Sadly, none of the nationality rooms were open that day so we couldn’t show Corey all that funnery that takes place on the lower levels of the Cathedral. I love taking people there when they come to Pittsburgh to visit. The Cathedral is just, ugh, so good. But then when we left, I stepped off the sidewalk slightly and it caught me off guard to where I thought I was going to fall so I overcorrected myself too zealously and tweaked my back and now my already-effed back hurts even worse than usual. Yay, 40s.

That was a really fun afternoon! But then a few hours after we came home, THE HAWK CAME BACK and was perched on the telephone pole in front of my house so I was freaking the fuck out, telling it to go fuck itself, clapping real loud, stamping my feet – you know, the usual things that you do when you’re trying to get a fucking hawk to fuck right off because you’re protecting your squirrel family. Henry came home from work while I was out there staring the fucker down (this had been going on for 20 minutes by then) so Henry joined me but his role in all of this is more of a WILDLIFE OBSERVER, like he will stand there calmly with his hands clasped behind his back, smiling dreamily, lost in the awe-inspiring moment. The opposite of me, obviously.

Then Henry did something really stupid and said, “Usually when there is one hawk, there is another nearby—oh look, there it is!” and then pointed across the street at the church where another MUCH LARGER HAWK was perched ON THE FUCKING CROSS and as if on cue, turned and flew toward us, landing on a tree right across the street. SO NOW I HAD TO FUCK WITH TWO HAWKS.

While this was happening, Chooch left the house to go to the mall. When he walked down the sidewalk under the telephone pole where Hawk #1 was sitting, the hawk looked down at Chooch and did this antagonizing bob and weave like he was going to dive on him!? I HATE THESE FUCKERS SO MUCH!!!!

“Can’t I call the mayor?!” I cried to Henry, after he said that the game preserve, etc. wouldn’t do anything if I called because, once again, these assholes are FEDERALLY PROTECTED.

“No, you can’t call the mayor!” Henry yelled.

So then I had a great idea. I suggested that we get Blake to pretend like the hawk tried to take his toddler Milo.

“And then I can call the mayor and tell him that he needs to get someone to Brookline to remove the hawks and release them in some mountain in West Virginia, probably,” I explained, the plan coming together to quickly in my head.

“But the mayor will want to see Milo and then he’ll wonder why he doesn’t have any wounds?” Henry questioned, always trying to find PLOT HOLES in my stories.

“Well, of course Milo won’t have any wounds, because I stopped the hawk from reaching him!” I yelled, like try to keep up, idiot. This story is brilliant actually because I get to be a hero AND have the hawks evicted.

I’m going to talk to Blake about this, get him up to speed so that he can corroborate my story once the mayor and the news crews get here. Probably Biden too.

Jan 012023
 

Hello from 2023! I hope everyone reading this had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve! We’re not super big party animals and are always content with it just being the three of us. I considered inviting some people over, but I honestly would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to any of my friends on their way home. I just don’t trust NYE drivers.

To be honest, my only plan was to just indulge Chooch by playing some of his dumb games, drinking enough wine to get a slight buzz while doing some Kpop cardio dance with Henry (it’s so hilarious watching him attempt body rolls) and then ringing in the New Year while watching the live YouTube stream of the SMTown SMCU Palace concert.

You…would have had to be there. But it was actually so much fun.

First, though, Henry and I went to Target and bought some clearance Xmas shit. I love Xmas bunting/garland SO MUCH so I got some of that for next year, and also a Valentine/hearts one which I immediately strung up in the Cure corner upstairs. This will be for permanent, year-round enjoyment, btw.

Then we picked up Chooch from his last night of work of Dunkin’. Yep, he gave his notice last week. It was just so stupid because he chose a Dunkin’ where his friend also works, so that they could work together but then the manager consistently scheduled them apart (hmmm…wonder why, lol) and also the Dunkin’ is close to his school so it was convenient for him to get to, but super inconvenient for us because one of us* would always have to pick him up so that he wouldn’t have to catch a bus downtown at night.

*(It was always Henry except for one whole whopping time when I offered to do it only because it was the night of our Christmas party and I needed Henry to stay home and finish things haha.)

Chooch is actually considering going back to the McDonald’s he worked at last year. I will be sure to keep you posted because I’m sure you can’t stand the suspense.

Anyway, back at home, we ate vegan frozen pizza and played some Happy Dinosaur game with Chooch and it was very frustrating. I won somehow and that made Chooch extremely annoyed.

Paused to do some Kpop Cardio….

Then played Don’t Be a Dik Dik.

The only family group picture of the night, look at us, to quote the venerable poet Ame Bibabi as we do all day long in group chat at work,  p-p-p-p-partying til we die, with our chins up high.

I won this stupid game too. Chooch had enough of us and went back to his room to watch instructional videos on some of the other games he got for Christmas. You guys, I’m glad Chooch is so into tabletop games suddenly, but they seem very hard, way over my head. I hope he can find a good group of people to play this shit with him because it ain’t me.

The SM thing officially started at 10 but the first hour was some reallllly boring panel on sustainability and SM’s tree-planting initiative and I’m happy for them, I am, but this should have been separate because the actual concert didn’t start until 11pm and it was STILL GOING ON AT 2am when I finally cried, “OK, I GIVE UP! I CANNOT STAY AWAKE ANY LONGER!” and we sadly went to bed, missing one more performance by both NCT127 and NCT Dream, EXO’s Love Shot (I was at least able to see a video today), two more NCT U performances and the comeback stage for Girls on Top which I was able to also watch today so that was ok.

And SM also announced a SuperM comeback for early 2023, I’m assuming they’re waiting for Taemin and Baekhyun to come back from the military and not replacing them because that would be stupid, but we’re all wondering what the fuck Lucas’s status is?!?! They put him on hiatus over a year ago for accusations of gaslighting (???) that it turned out weren’t even true and still, nothing. Like, let the man out of the penalty box already!! Netizens are speculating that he’s been replaced in SuperM with TVXQ’s Changmin and I’m not going to lie, that would be legendary but….I would rather have Lucas.

It was so awesome seeing all of the stages with EXO and SHINee members though!! I honestly thought it was a great concert.

At one point, I was having a conversation with Henry about Kpop agencies and Chooch did one of his perfectly timed snark drive-bys, in which he said, “Wow that was so deep and inspirational” and then retreated back up to his lair.

What an absolute brat.

Anyway, I just really want to share these SMTown videos because they made me ugly cry lololol. I love it when the SM artists collab.

It’s not the same without Taemin though, that is FOR SURE.

And my favorite collaboration of the whole thing was this one with Jeno (NCT Dream), Kai (EXO), Karina (Aespa) and Seulgi (Red Velvet):

I hope my favorite Kpop cardio channel, Give Me Five Thailand, does a routine for this song!!! It makes me nostalgic for Friday nights hanging out at the South Park skating rink but 100% not skating. It just has such a chill, 90s r&b flow. I never knew I needed these four to collab on a song together until now!! Also, I love that Henry also stayed up until 2, watching this with me.

On that note, 2022 was actually pretty great, and I don’t have any resolutions for this year. I just want to get through it in one piece and hope the same for all of you too!

Dec 302022
 

Oh hey let’s try to put Xmas 2022 to bed before 2023 happens.

We were originally going to host this year but then Corey offered to try his hand at it for the first time ever and we HAPPILY said ok!

You should know that Corey is totally like me in the sense that he is severely lacking in a lot of basic life skills. OK, he’s probably definitely more of an adult than I am, even though he’s 10 years younger, but when it comes to KITCHEN STUFF, we are motherfucking TODDLERS. The days leading up to Xmas were very stressful for him and I could tell by the CAPSLOCK texts he was sending from Trader Joe’s that he was on the edge. Even little decisions like “elderberry lemon or rhubarb soda? I’LL GET BOTH” had him spiraling out.

The biggest hurdle for him was conquering the SPINACH DIP recipe he found on TIKTOK. He ended up getting the wrong cheese and asked me if aged parmesan would work instead of mozzarella, as if I would know?!!?

It turned out great, whatever he did to it! And he had it arranged so nicely, I was v. proud of him! Food placement is my forte, food prep not so much, so the fact that he pulled off BOTH was very impressive to me!

Henry made the ham for the meat-o’s (le grossioso) and a vegan beef Wellington for me and Chooch, and my mom made all the delicious sides.

OK, so Henry didn’t make the version I sent him because it included a mushroom pate layer and beets, meaning that Chooch would not be partaking, but this basic ass version was still incredibly delectable. I have never had a real beef Wellington and my only frame of reference for it was Gordon Ramsey forcing the cooks on Hell’s Kitchen to make it, resulting in 99% of them getting it thrown back at them to the tune of “YOU DONKEY!”

Corey wanted to try it too, which resulted in Henry having to cut it for him….

….something he’s been doing since 2004. :)

BUT YOU GUYS YOU GUYS WAIT YOU GUYS: Henry made the earl grey pie again!!!

Apparently, he realized while making this one that he left out a step when making the one for the pie party – he forgot to mix in the whipped cream. This didn’t change the taste too much but it did make it fluffier. I liked how the OG one had more of a butterscotch pie-texture, but it was still good. Also, he went rogue on the first pie and added orange zest and juice to the milk while it was steeping and forgot to do it this time. Also, he didn’t have pistachios so he had to borrow some of Buddy’s walnuts.

Actually, this pie was basically completely different, now that I think about it!

Still fucking delicious though.

Wow. Happiness!

I got to sit in this chair from my Pappap’s house!

Then it turned into game night. Chooch brought really complicated games with him, forgetting that the Kelly Sibs like simple stuff. Mysterium was not that.

We took a break to do the Christmas Crackers I brought over. We have never done this before and apparently didn’t do it right at all, plus we all thought that they were going to explode with confetti so it was super anti-climatic except for Henry hitting me in the head:

Ryan got Chooch Code Words for Xmas, so we played that next. Chooch was really getting pissed at Corey for deviating from the directions, which was hilarious. Chooch can be a real dick when he’s in charge.

Clandestine shot of my mom!

A nice sibling picture. I was mad at the first attempts because my enthusiasm wasn’t being matched. This was the most I could get out of them!

It was such a fun night, and the only note I can end it on is…..

WEENER HAM.

Dec 292022
 

Hey-o, happy Thursday. Today I want to be sharing the homemade presents I prepared for my sibs and mom. I’m still on this kick where I want to repurpose the wallpaper that was salvaged from my Pappap’s house, and when my mom made me swear I wouldn’t spend money on Christmas gifts for her, I had an idea to use the wallpaper as the mat / background on a framed picture of the Gillcrest house.  I decided to make one for both of my brothers too since they both recently moved into their own homes and could probably use some personal effects like framed pictures.

I mean, OK, fine, I had to spend money on the frames, but they were 50% off at….Hobby Lobby, ugh. I’m such a sell-out. Much hypocrisy.

(I ended up using a similar picture, but from a different angle for this one and I don’t have it saved on my phone, but you get the idea.)

I love this shot so much because it’s how I will always remember the house. Flowering dogwood trees, sprawling lawn, blue skies. I think that I’m finally, mostly, at peace with the situation but what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and make sure the GROWN-UPS in the family did things differently in my Pappap’s absence. So much of what happened was preventable and it makes me sick that this house is now essentially gutted and in some stranger’s hands. I don’t think anyone is even living there! It’s almost like whoever bought it ran out of money partway into the renovations.

Not-so-secretly, I hope that Sharon is haunting THE FUCK out of that property.

Anyway. AHEM. Here is what the final products looked like:

I gave this one to Ryan: the wallpaper is from the living and dining rooms.

This one was for my mom: wallpaper from my grandparent’s bedroom. As she was watching Corey opening his, she rolled her eyes and said, “You and that wallpaper” and then saw that she also got a picture, so….lol.

Corey got the one using Sharon’s bedroom wallpaper because I thought it would mean the most to him, and also because he inherited some of her bedroom furniture when he bought a house!

My other gift came in the form of indulging Corey in his obsession with recreating our old sibling photos.

I suggested the following, with the idea that Henry could be Santa, but Corey said, “I am NOT sitting on Henry’s lap.” Lol!

I’m pretty sure this was taken at Meder’s, which is a greenhouse/nursery place that used to have reindeer in the back during the holidays that you could feed but then I think they got in trouble for having them or something so that’s no longer a thing, but they still have a Santa photo set-up as far as I know. Even when Chooch was a kid, I preferred coming to Meder’s for his annual Ho Ho portrait rather than the mall.

One time we brought Blake with us too when he was a teenagers and Santa told him to pull up his pants – this was when Blake was a scene kid and wore too-small skinny jeans. Blake was so pissed lol.

Anyway, we settled for this one which was mid but we chose it because Corey actually had the painting of the blue chair in his dining room.

I wasn’t too thrilled about this because I’m Ug City as usual but at least I’m super great at recreating my natural resting fug face with ease.

I think that Corey and I would have continued to ask for more retakes until we got it more accurate (my head is tilted the wrong way.!!!!) but Ryan was like LET US PLEASE PUT THIS TASK TO BED.

So, that was part of my Christmas recap. I’ll be back later to tell you about dinner & games OH BOY!

Dec 262022
 

Another Christmas, here and gone. Amazing how fast it goes , right? I used to hate the holiday season so much but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. And it’s nice, although a bit bittersweet, now that Chooch is older because there is less pressure to crowd the “tree” with useless toys that he will likely never play with. Now he has more appreciation for what he gets and it’s just…nice.

This year, he has a recently-piqued interest for board games, but like the ones that are really involved and require a rapt attention and high intellect. So basically, games that are not for me. We got him a nice little starter collection, I think, and it was just very helpful having an actual THING to go with this year – the last several years, we were lost when it came to buying gifts for him.

Of course, I had fun making up random people that his gifts were from. One of the gift tags came with “From: Santa” always printed on it, so I added an ” ‘s Butt Doctor.”

I also got him a small window hanging of the flag of Tunisia which he inexplicably had become obsessed with and kept thinking that he saw it everywhere in Tennessee over thanksgiving to the point where it became a big joke.

Haha guess you had to be there.

Meanwhile, I had to laugh because Megan and Henry both got me gifts that catered to exact opposite ends of my musical spectrum! These were perfect presents. <3

Drew and Penelope got cat litter paper bags, stockings stuffed toys, and packages of treats! (Ignore the rug – it needed vacuumed bigly.)

Then Henry and I watched all the live performances at the annual Gayo Dajeon show in Korea, and my favorite was this one by NCT Dream:

This song is so special!!  I’ve mentioned this on here before, but NCT Dream was formed as the “under-20” subunit of NCT with the understanding that once a member reached age 19 or 20, they would “graduate” out of the group. So, it was never meant to be a “fixed unit,” you know? Mark (in the middle with light blue hair) was the first to graduate and it was INCREDIBLY SAD. He is also in NCT127, so it wasn’t like he was stranded without a group to fall back on, but it was still sad. Apparently, the fans flooded SM Entertainment with their concerns and dislike for this system, so SM was like, “OK FINE,” brought back Mark, and made NCT Dream a fixed unit. So, this song relates to that and I just love it even though it hurts my heart, too.

Then Chooch was pissed because a Stray Kids performance came on next and he didn’t know who they were, so I said, “Watch this” and I muted it and called Henry in.

“Henry, do you know who this is?” I asked.

He looked at the muted TV for .0003 seconds before saying, “Stray Kids.” No hesitation, no question.

“Wow, you’re so cool,” Chooch mumbled. Then went on to complain about how he doesn’t like any of the “new” kpop, just the older stuff. I know he’s mostly just annoyed that it’s become so popular in America. He’s worse than me!

Later in the afternoon, we went to Pink Box for our (newish) traditional Asian buns which we normally would eat while strolling around the local cemetery, but well, you know the weather.

We love Pink Box so so so much! This is so much better than when we would try to scrounge together an entire picnic to uncomfortably eat at the freezing cold (usually!) cemetery. Chooch really likes this new tradition because we no longer do a full-fledged photoshoot like we used to. Mostly because he’s TOO OLD and STUBBORN now.

Yo, it actually wasn’t THAT cold to just pop out of the car and take a quick family selfie but even this made the guys irritated. Wow, just wow, Merry Xmas.

Also: LOL at this being taken at the exact moment Chooch realized he chose his bun poorly. He wanted savory and got a curry green onion and immediately regretted it. Henry ended up trading with him and I took a bite too – it was perfectly fine, but I can see why he would have been a bit taken aback – it was very strong. I felt like it was more so the green onions than the curry though.

Fun fact: I bought this coat for Chooch from Uniqlo several years ago for Xmas and he was like, “HAHA NICE TRY I WILL NEVER WEAR THAT NOR ANY COAT SO DON’T BOTHER” so it’s mine now, I guess.

Wow, what a jump.

We went back home after this, and Henry continued slaving away in the kitchen. We weren’t having Xmas here, but he was still in charge of the ham (gag me), the pie, and the vegan beef Wellington that I selected to satisfy the vegetarian representatives at the table.

The rest of the evening was spent at Corey’s, which I will recap in a separate post because I’m lethargic AF today.

Dec 242022
 

Hello from our house on Xmas Eve! It’s been a pretty chill night. We had Henry’s friend Andrew and his wife Karen over earlier in the evening. Henry made his first ever shoofly pie and you know what? It was pretty good, I can’t lie. And I’m a big shoofly snob.

Traditional “shake every present” night, aka Xmas Eve. I do this thing where every gift is from a random person/celeb/inside joke, for example, one is from the guy who randomly walked into our house last month and then stayed for man hour.

Chooch just picked one up and said, “please tell Haechan that I don’t want anything from him.”

:(

After taking a family portrait with Trudy (originally typed this as Turdy, lol, sorry lady, Mama’s had some wine tonight), I remembered that my photobooth app thingie exists so I demanded that we do this as a family:

Chooch didn’t last long, and Henry did the bare minimum as usual. “This is more something that you and Corey should do together,” Henry mumbled, and you know? He’s not wrong, so I made sure to tuck the selfie stick into the gifts that we’re taking to Corey’s tomorrow. SO LOOK FOWARD TO THAT, I GUESS.

OK, I’m going to attempt to do some kpop cardio while intoxicated and wearing narwal slippers. I might be wishing you all a Merry Xmas from the hospital later, we’ll see.

Dec 232022
 

Baby’s First Xmas Party since 2019! I only invited a handful of friends because this was the first time in years having people over and I was lowkey kind of nervous about it?!

First punches since…well, maybe even BEFORE 2019 because that was the Xmas party where I had a hot chocolate bar instead of punch! It was fun gussying up the beverage buffet like old times,  that’s for sure.

Punch on the left is “Tree-Trimming Punch” and the one on the right is a kid-friendly apple cider party punch for Chooch and his friends Zakk and Haojie, who hung out on the backporch (it’s a 3 season room with a concrete floor, so…not very winter-friendly) after I went through great lengths to clean it during the week and had numerous convos with Henry afterward about putting the kerosene heater back there and then the day of the party, I brought it up again and he acted like this was the first he was hearing of it, which is tres typical of Gaslighter Guy, let me just say. So we had a fight of course and then he had to go to BUSY BEAVER at the last minute to buy kerosene which is a thing that could have happened much earlier in the week had he fucking HEARD ME.

And the whole ass time, he kept rubbing his lips together about how IT WASN’T EVEN NECESSARY, IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT COLD, TEENAGE BOYS DON’T CARE and I was having to astral project my fist to a meditation camp on a planet ruled by Korean unicorns  in an effort to keep it from smashing into Henry’s face instead.

We will…revisit this later. It will come up again, I promise.

I had to pick Chooch’s ass from work at 6 (the party started at 7!!!) so I was severely running behind on setting everything up. Because of this, not everything was put out, I didn’t make labels, the kitchen was in final form. I was a mess, as usual. Haojie was the first to arrive and he brought a platter of vegetable lo mein from his family’s restaurant (Tong Garden in Brookline, it’s fantastic!) which I thought was so sweet! Who knew teenagers could be thoughtful?! Well, I’m sure his parents had a lot to do with that.

Then Janna came around 7:05 after saying she was going to come EARLY because she had to “use [our] broiler,” whatever that meant. She made really delicious sweet potato rounds with melted ricotta cheese and craisins and WALNOOTS that she had to borrow from my squirrels, ugh. (Don’t worry – I opened a fresh bag for her, I didn’t take them from the squirrels’ food bowl outside, lol.) Also, it was hilarious when she asked Henry if he had any walnuts, because he frowned, sighed, and said, “Ask your friend.” When she asked me, I whipped open the doors of the beverage buffet to reveal the squirrels’ stash, lol.

Do I have walnuts. Ha!

The only thing I sort of made was a gingerbread dip, but that entailed me walking away as Henry was setting up all the ingredients for me and then never returning until it was time to “fold” in the Cool Whip. I thought I could handle that part so I wrenched the spatula from him.

“What are you doing?” he cried.

“I’m folding it,” I said, like, le duh.

“That’s not folding, that’s punching!” and then I was dismissed.

Also, in the back you can see the kimbap that Henry made which I asked him to stack in the shape of the Xmas tree and he clearly didn’t understand the assignment. It’s fine. At least they tasted good.

Megan’s “thing” is making super creative cheese balls for parties and I was so honored to have one of her creations on my party table! OMG it was so good but no one wanted to be the first one to dive in so she made me do it. I went straight for the head.

Holiday booze.

I wasn’t paying attention but this coffee table party spread was devoured and I never had a chance to replenish it because I was so caught up in telling terrible stories about myself and showing Picasso-esque nude portraits painted of me and Henry by death row pen pals.

Dude you guys, I saw a YouTube video for gochujang caramel cookies and knew Henry had to make them. They were fucking AMAZING. Maybe I’m the only one who thought that (although there was only one left) but I was obsessed and can’t wait for the next opportunity when “I” have to bake cookies for something because it will be these. If you don’t know what gochujang is because you’re not all about Korea like me, it’s a fermented spicy red pepper paste that is used in a LOT of Korean dishes. It has a very distinct and unique taste and I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but it’s like a delicious, moist sugar cookie with ribbons of a sweet gochujang caramel swirled throughout. It doesn’t hit you until the end when the heat creeps in. I love these so much. I love gochujang in general though! I put heaping dollops of it on my bibimbap.

Now I want bibimbap.

Gochujang Girl. Also, not me wearing a shirt to my party that I only just bought that day.

There were only 14 people (including us and Chooch’s friends) there that night but it got REALLY LOUD at one point (Henry said it was mostly because of me and Corey). Blake, who lives next door, was out for part of the night and there was a babysitter over there, so I’m sure that was awesome for whoever it was, maybe Henry’s ex-wife LOLOL.

Wonka!

I spent the whole evening sitting on the church pew in the “new corner” of the living room and I have to say – it was more cozy than I expected and it was fun to get a new vantage point since I’m 99.9% of the time sitting on the couch.

Lori posing with Trudy.

Law Firm Squad!

This was the first time I REALLY got to talk to Wonka’s wife, Jess, and it was excellent. We need to have a couples night because literally the only time I ever see them is during one of my chaotic gatherings.

The vacant wheelchair tells me that this was around the time we lost Wonka and Corey to the back porch, where they decided to try and hang with the teens. It was around this time when I noticed Henry lighting the kerosene heater, so I got REALLY obnoxious at this point, yelling, “OH HO HO LOOK WHO’S LIGHTING THE KEROSENE HEATER EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT GOING TO BE COLD OUT THERE!”

Henry just frowned deeper into his mustache, while Wonka said, “No, it’s REALLY cold back here!”

“I told you it wouldn’t be a problem until the adults went back there,” Henry mumbled. Apparently Corey was trying to turn on the heater himself and Henry had to intervene which is even funnier to me because Corey is just the boy version of me. We have very little life skills.

I loved that all of my friends inter-mingled with each other. I have always prided myself on having totally inclusive gatherings where everyone is introduced to each other and ends up with new friends. I have been to two of Megan’s parties so far and hers are the same – totally chill and not awkward which says a lot because my social skills bend just far enough backward to where I can create awkwardness in almost any sitch.

Although lately, I feel like I’m starting to get a bit of the old me back. I’m a Leo for Christ’s sake but only the people super close to me would know it. In the past, I used to present ALL LEO TRAITS to everyone I met. Loud, outgoing, maybe even a little bitchy…bring that Erin back, please.

Megan tried to leave at 11 and I held her hostage for another hour. It’s what I do.

When I was showing Megan and Eric my Cure wall upstairs, Eric said he felt like he was at the Mattress Factory and that was top tier compliment, honestly. I love the Mattress Factory and most of their exhibits are totally my aesthetic.

There was one point where Corey innocently asked, “Did you get a ring yet?” and I felt so triggered that I snapped, “WHAT? WHAT RING???”

“Oh my god,” he murmured, backing away from me slightly. Then he held out his phone and showed me the feed from his Ring security camera and I laughed, “OH! HAHA, THAT RING.”

I sincerely thought he meant an engagement ring, not that that’s something that has been on the forefront of my mind for 20+ years or anything.

:I

Megan and I “jabber” all day long at work, so it’s been nice to see her more out in the real world lately! Three times in a little over a week this month alone!

I billed this party as a “casual Xmas get-together” and I think it lived up to the description. It was super caj.

Until Chooch hijacked it and turned it into game night. Janna was visibly anguished when she saw Chooch pull out Scattergories. I am a real treat to play that one with! Jess escaped the madness and hung out with Henry, Ricky, and Dawn in the dining room for this portion of the night and I don’t blame her. It got so rowdy, especially with Corey’s bombastic laugh and me screaming at Janna lol.

P was the letter for one of the rounds and I answered PUNK ASS BITCH for “something in the room” and pointed emphatically at Janna when I screamed it. GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS!

Corey answered 9/11 for “Something made out of metal” and I still don’t understand it, but it felt very dark. He was taking this game to some sinister places, that’s for sure.

I don’t know what was going on here, but Chooch looked like a bookie and was acting totally manic.

SHUT UP, JANNA.

(LOL, j/k Janna!)

At some point, it had started snowing really bad?! I felt pretty awful about that.

Wonka wanted a picture of the three of us sitting on the couch like old times and I was happy to oblige! We used to have so much fun here back in the day, with the exception of a few bad seeds who used to hang around. It was really fun to reminisce about some of those random Internet people who I lured over here to hang out (THAT IS HOW I MET WONKA!!!!).

Then I wanted to do one where we were all “Doing Something,” which is how I pulled something in my side and then Jess said it’s actually possible to break a rib by doing stupid, minimal movements so then that sent my hypochondriac mind into a tailspin.

Jess & Wonka!

Dawn and Ricky! I love it when I get to hang out with them outside of the Castle but I didn’t get to talk to them much because Henry stole them!!! But, a bunch of are making plans to go to Castle Blood for the St. Patrick’s Day event that they’re having and I’m excited because I love going to the Castle but I especially love bringing fresh blood with me!

From the moment Corey set foot in the house, he homed in on the Feliz Navidad balloons and said, “I need my picture taken there before I leave.” I Think he said it like 4x!

I love this one because Taemin is part of it!

I would leave those balloons up forever if they’d stay a’puff.

Then Corey accidentally knocked over an ice cream cone planter I got at South of the Border and was so upset about it but it’s totally fine and can easily be glued back together – he is seriously obsessing over it though and even texted me about it again today!

I made those cookies. They’re just the Nestle Toll House ones though where the dough is pre-made and you just break it off and cook it haha. I added Xmas sprinkles though and everyone said they were delectable.

So there.

Anyway, the party came to end around 2am, and I can’t remember the last time I had a party that went on this late! It was so much fun, so great to bullshit with old friends and new friends, while drinking punch and pigging it out on party food.

Chooch is already planning the next party (a game night, I have passed the torch to him) so I’m looking forward to more chaos in the future!

Dec 202022
 

We were so caught up in everything else going on in life that we barely got Trudy trimmed in time for our party on Saturday! We attempted this on Friday but of course, all of her lights were dead, as they are every year, so we went to Target at 9pm that night and managed to get two boxes of lights even though everything in that section was majorly picked over.

Lo, Dame Trude in all her ‘Tude

We were pretty skimpy with Trudy’s accoutrements this year, to be honest.  Lights, garland, Santa hat, done.

But she still looks smashing! She’s a dish, after all.

I still love this buffet so much and I’m sorry but pink and green are totally Christmas-y.

Hat tip to Chooch.

I added the stars to this wall while watching the last episode of Harry & Meghan, in case you were wondering. I had no opinion of them before but by the first minute of the first episode, I was all in. Totally on their side. Fuck the royal family.

나무

This section needed refreshed so badly. I really loved the cat head wall, but it was time for a change. Now it acts as a better transition between the dining room and living room.

Like I have any idea what I’m talking about, haha.

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

Thank you. That has been my Xmas decoration tour.

In other news, I went into the office today because my work friend Chris is in town from Singapore! Chris left the Firm back in, I want to say, 2015? He was one the most charismatic people in our department and it’s never been the same since. Anyway, he came back last spring!! But the catch was that he’d be working out of our Singapore office. But really, what does it matter considering none of us really work in the office anyway so it’s not like we’d be seeing him either way.

Still, it’s been fun having him back even virtually, seeing his name in my inbox, etc. So, when I found out that he’d be in the Pgh office today, I was sucked it up and went in. It was just Margie, Amber, Lucas, Ethan, Sue, Aaron, and Sharon who were also there, but it was so nice and actually felt like a normal day. We went to lunch at McCormick and Schmick’s where I totally imprinted on our waiter who I SWEAR ONLY MADE EYE CONTACT WITH ME EVERY TIME HE ADDRESSED THE TABLE, HELLO FUTURE HUSBAND.

He is from Buffalo and loves being outside in extremely cold weather for sporting events so that might be a deal breaker. I haven’t decided yet.

At one point during the afternoon, Chris came over to Lucas’s office to ask for his insight on a conflict check he was working on, and then Ethan was chiming in, and I felt this intense wave of familiarity and comfort. I Jabber’d Amber, “This feels like old times” and she said she was thinking the same thing.

I like my current position a lot but days like today make me miss being on the other side of things. I wish I could do both, but I tried that for like 3 years and it just wasn’t sustainable – my brain still feels partially melted on one side from it.

Sorry. Boring work stuff.

It was dark when I left at 5:30. How absolutely depressing, so here’s the new NCT Dream MV to bring the colorful, happy vibes back.

Nov 262022
 

Our thanksgiving 2022 was quiet, small, and nice. We didn’t want to have a big dinner because there’s only three of us and we would be leaving the next day for Tennessee and the leftovers would perish. So we ordered some kind of lentil loaf thing from a local vegan place (they changed their name to something that I literally cannot remember but they used to be Tupelo Honey in Millville). It was good but Henry didn’t cook it right so it came out like stuffing and not so much a loaf. We also got pumpkin bars from them, and then Henry cooked a fake ham, Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes. It was all we needed.

And of course, each other! Lololol.

I told Chooch that I invited Vlad to dinner and he actually went into panic mode.

Nov 022022
 

…and not even a manic one, either.

Hello from 2 days post-Halloween. I was off that day as tradition goes, but this might have been one the least-Halloweenie Halloweens that ever Halloweened for me. It makes me sad that Chooch does not care at ALL about Halloween anymore so I have no one to dress up, and I certainly don’t dress up because I never get invited to any Halloween parties nor do I go to any Halloween event because stranger danger.

The most I did was wear my Cedar Point HalloWeekend shirt which I’m sorry, I thought it was PRETTY SICK OK.

I literally spent all day fussing over the squirrels.

포도 (grape) time!

At one point, my cat Drew and I were at the window watching two of our Buddies eating lunch. Drew looked at me and said, “Hey look–it’s 2 Buddies 2 Buddies 1 Porch” which was a HILARIOUS parody of NCT127’s latest hit, “2 Baddies” (1 Porsch) so of course I had to make a reel.

God, Drew. What a genius.

Trick or treating started at 5 and true to form for my stupid street, I got barely any customers and of the 5 I did get, well, all 5 of them had to be lured in off the street by my pathetic desperation. Literally, I kept Swan Lake’ing out of the front door, plastic pumpkin pails of candy in both hands, singing, “I have candy!!” And then I had to keep stopping myself from saying “trick or treat.”

No, Erin. THEY say that. THE KIDS say that.

BUT NONE OF THEM DID! Two of them were too young, one was maybe 9 or 10 and seemed nervous that I was begging them to take my candy, and then the last two were older teens, probably in high school, who acted like they were doing me a favor by going five steps out of their way to get candy.

You know who did come around for trick or treating action though? My furry woodland pals.

God fucking love them.

Where was Chooch during all of this, you ask? Oh, he was starting his new job at Dunkin’, four days early. Yeah, he went to work when he wasn’t even scheduled because he doesn’t pay attention but they let him stay even though no one was there to train him? Then the next day he was prepared TO GO BACK but somehow caught on that his actual first day is Thursday. What is his problem?? Why can’t he just pay attention??

Well, that was Halloween 2022. I didn’t even eat that much candy because I started Noom again last week and didn’t feel like logging it so I just avoided eating it. I guess that’s the whole point of logging food.

Wow I’m so boring. Goodbye.

Aug 182022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 042022
 

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

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

Henry looks exactly the same in both shots lol.

I was really this happy all weekend!

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

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

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

Serious contemplation.

You guys, I love them so much, lol!

Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube People.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Aug 022022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

J/K, no one cared.

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

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

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

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

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

It was just as divine as I remembered!

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

Henry, post-bathroom emergence.

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

Basically the same picture but this filter always tickles me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a good spot to end Part 1!

Jun 232022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deciding what he wanted from the German booth.

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I won.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 192022
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good fucking luck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I WONDER.

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

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

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

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

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

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