Nov 052021
 

I mean, it’s November 5th at this point so like, let’s wrap up the October nonsense, Erin. Look Linda, I am CLINGING, OK? Because I swear to god as soon as Halloween happens, it’s like “fuck fall, bring on the shitty Xmas songs, snowstorms, and crippling seasonal depression” you know? NO. WE HAVE TO FIGHT BACK. SAVE AUTUMN! Ugh, I just hate this so much. I want to be able to enjoy and cherish November but winter-harbingers make it so fucking hard. I know if I turn on the TV right now, I’m going to be blasted by some obnoxious Old Navy Christmas sweater commercial and I just don’t have the strength right now, Mary. I really don’t. This morning on my walk, I had to wear a full-fledged winter coat and I am in tears just thinking about that.

We had like, two solid weeks of decent hoodie weather, though if you’re my kid, you will argue that a hoodie is still all you need even though it was 27 degrees (FAHRENHEIT BECAUSE AMERICA) when he left the house for school this morning so I’m really excited that my favorite season of “ARGUING OVER WEARING A COAT” has come early this year.

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Anyway, I still have some pictures from actual Halloween to share and some crybaby thoughts to spill so, bundle up, baby. Literally. It’s fucking cold!

My pal Patty sent me this cute witch hat earlier this year and honestly, what better day to wear it. I wanted Drew to pose for adorable pics with me but she is rude.

Literally will never look at the damn camera!!!

When it was almost time for trick or treating (it starts at 5pm in my neighborhood which is way too early if you ask me), we got Trudy primped and moved her over to the window. I made sure her robe was covering her boobs so she wasn’t being too obscene for the children.

No one seemed to notice her anyway :(

I spent two hours being my typical uptight NO ONE IS COMING TO OUR HOUSE Halloween self. I hate this street!!!!

We had ONE KID who came to our house of his own volition. AND NO, IT WASN’T ONE OF HENRY’S GRANDKIDS! Henry had to actually text Blake and tell him to send the kids over before they left to go elsewhere for trick or treating and at first I was so excited because I thought, stupidly, that this was the first time ever that they had the good sense to send the kids to us but NO it was only because Henry told them to.

UGH!

Then there were two youngish kids walking in an entire parental parade, seriously there were a ton of grown-ups all for two kids, and when they started to pass our house, I whipped open the door and stood there sadly with my bowl of candy, making eye contact with one of the moms, who told her kids to go to my house. UGH FINALLY.

Somewhere in the first hour, a group of 4 teens started to walk past, likely going a few streets over to the next neighborhood, but I once again flung the door open and yelled, “COME HERE AND GET CANDY.”

Henry was on the couch behind me, mumbling, “Oh my god, you’re so embarrassing.”

The worst part was that ONLY TWO OF THEM came the door. The other two stayed on the sidewalk, in a silent protest of Naw, I’m Good, while the other two were now on my porch, looking all nervous like  they were about to meet a Hansel & Gretel fate.

I mean, I was wearing that stupid hat after all.

“No one ever comes to my house!” I cried, while telling them to take more candy.

“Oh, well, Happy Halloween,” the kid in some non-descript box costume said in a tone so sad & soothing, like someone wishing an orphan a Merry Xmas. It was absolutely pathetic. I hate myself.

I hope that one day when they’re older, one of them will be all, “Hey Chad, remember when we were on our way to get high in the alley behind the laundormat on Halloween and some crazy broad chased us down with a bowl of candy?”

Then there was the kid going solo, dressed as clown, too busy making a Tik Tok on my sidewalk to notice me frantically shaking the candy bowl in his direction. And for the finale, there two way older – probably too old – kids who I verbally accosted and were kind enough to come to my door. The girl was dressed as some orange furry thing and was like, “LET’S TALK ALL NIGHT!” and she was with Michael Myers, who REJECTED ME.

“No thanks, I don’t really like chocolate,” he said.

Rejected by Michael Myers. A new low.

Then I spotted more people down the street. I started to run down the sidewalk with my candy bowl but Henry stopped me. “Those are adults!” he said. “And also, our neighbors.” He said this in a tone that didn’t sit well with me, like he was implying I was an idiot or something. NO, JUST HAVE BED EYES, BUT THANKS.

Wow. What a fucking Halloween night. So great. Woo hoo.

Just when we were about to call it, there was a knock on the door and I was like HOLY SHIT, THE FIRST KNOCK ON THE DOOR ALL NIGHT??? But then it ended up just being Henry’s grandkids, back from the “good trick or treating,” looking for seconds. Ugh, just take it all.

Fuck Halloween. I’m handing out candy somewhere else next year.

 

Nov 012021
 

You know, I can’t really complain about this year’s HalloCation. I mean, staycations are never really my thing because of course I’d rather be going somewhere, but I think in my old(er) age, I’m finally starting to listen to my mind and allowing myself to slow down a little. I mean, OK, just a tiny bit. I did a shit ton of walking and exercising all week but I ALSO WATCHED TV YOU GUYS! And sometimes I was even sitting down while watching it!

I won’t recap every day because that would be a snooze, but I went to the cemetery 4 of the 5 days so let’s enjoy some FOTOS I took as proof that I was at the cemetery in case my parole officer asked me.

I went to Homewood Cem on Monday and the day was SO BEAUTIFUL! The whole week was originally supposed to be a wash out but it sure did start off nice and October-y. I walked around for a good bit, tried to get the squirrels there to love me by way of the peanuts in my pocket but they sadly do not know who I am, all the while listening to “Clown in the Cornfield” on audio. I saw my first ever black squirrel in Pittsburgh there too! It was so exciting that I was suddenly (kapchuggi) Alice following the white rabbit as I trampled off the path and into the sodden death-grass.

Then I came home and recorded this adorbs interaction with Drew and one of the baby Buddys!!

What a nice day.

Tuesday I think it rained all day and I am not actually sure what I did aside from fuck around with cats and squirrels, read, exercise, and oh look I did what I said I wasn’t going to do and I’m recapping each day STOP THAT ERIN. IT IS NOT IMPORTANT.

Wednesday was nice though! I mean, the weather was cold and gray, but I had lunch with my mom and Corey at First Watch. Corey of course was late and I was starving, but my mom wasn’t looking at the menu at all and acted surprised when the waitress came to take our order even though we had been  there for 10 minutes at least but now Corey didn’t know what he wanted either and I was just like gritting my teeth each time (there were THREE OF THESE TIMES) when the waitress was like OK I WILL COME BACK because I had known what I was ordering an entire day in advance because us vegetarians/dietary snowflakes need to scope and scour online menus immediately after a restaurant is chosen.

This is just how it goes.

So yeah, I knew for hours upon hours that I was going to be jaw-hugging a veggie burger at approx. 1PM on Wednesday October 27th.

The fourth time the waitress came back, I looked at her with pleading eyes and whined, “They’re getting on my nerves!” She laughed and said, “Wow, you’re hungry.”

In the end, my mom also ordered a veggie burger and Corey just got a BLT!!!!!!!!!! ALL THAT MENU ANALYZING!!!!!!!! FOR THAT!!!!!!! A BLT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HEAVY PANTING. BREATHE, ERIN. BRING IT DOWN, ERIN.

Seriously though, it was a really nice time and something that we need to do more often. Another thing about OLD(ER) AGE ERIN is that I am panicking about not spending enough time with my family.

I took a stroll around Jefferson Memorial after dropping off my mom. WALKING AFTER A MEAL IS A GOOD DIGESTIVE AID. These are things OLD(ER) PEOPLE need to consider.

We watched Scream that night because somehow I failed Chooch and he made it fifteen years without ever watching it?! I think he spent more time IMDBing the cast though.

“OH THAT’S WHY HE LOOKS FAMILIAR HE WAS SHAGGY!”

That was the first time in YEARS that I watched it in its entirety (usually it’s just on in the background) but wow, it really holds up, Rose McGowan is still a queen and I covet her wardrobe, and Skeet Ulrich still makes me scream SKEET ULRICH.

Hey, you know who else makes me still scream their name ever since the late 90s? SCOTT SPEEDMAN OMG I was so stoked that he was in season three of You. Was he in it enough, though? FUCK NO. I needed more Scott Speedman. I kept screaming into Henry’s face “SCOTT SPEEDMAN BETTER NOT FUCKING DIE!”

I finished that season at some point while I was off last week and I liked it well enough, but it was kind of boring compared to the other two seasons. THE ENDING WAS V. SATISFYING TO ME THOUGH AS SOMEONE WHO HATED A CERTAIN CHARACTER. No spoilers.

Here are a bunch of pictures from my return to Homewood Cemetery which is my favorite cem in the city. Most Pghers will tell you that Allegheny Cem is the best and while I do think that one us special as well, nothing beats Homewood Cem in my PERSONAL AND BEST OPINION. And I saw more black squirrels!!!!

The weather really held off for me on Thursday and I was so happy. Last week actually felt like legit autumn and I was trying to suck it all up because it’s only a matter of time before this mild weather turns into CHANCE OF FLURRIES. Noooo.

Giles has a real nice spot.

I miss taking pictures of Chooch in the cemetery. :(

Here’s a picture of Chooch and Drew later that day.

On my final day of HalloCation, it rained off and on and I was going to just stay home but then it cleared up and I felt inspired to go to a different cemetery after lunch. I had started The House on Needless Street on audio that day and I can only listen to audio books if I’m walking so I felt inspired.

I went to Uniondale, which is another of my old tried and trues, cemetery-edition. This is where we used to have our Xmas picnics before we modified the tradition several years ago, dropping the full picnic for a selection of Chinese and Korean sweet buns from Sumi’s and Pink Box, and then eating them at the nearby Homewood Cemetery. It’s a good tradition, you guys. Now we don’t freeze to death by trying to sit on the cold ass graveyard ground.

So everything was normal and nothing to write home about, until I went to leave. Usually, I would turn to the right and loop around toward the exit/entrance (there’s only one way out of this place) but for SOME REASON, I said out loud, “I will go to the left today.” And then when I came to another point where I could either stay straight or loop around a circle, I chose the circle. It was almost like my car was being guided for me.

I had one last turn to make to put me back on the main path that leads to the exit, and as I made that fateful right turn, I couldn’t see that there was a big stone marker (not a tombstone, but like a pillar) that had started to tip over out of the ground and was jutting out right into the lane. So as I made the right turn, I didn’t swing out far enough and ended up hitting the damn thing with the right side of my car. At first, I couldn’t tell what the fuck happened. The impact was just hard enough that it shook the car and I could see a piece of plastic fly in front of the windshield and land to the left of the car. I got out, shaken not from injuries but from the shock of whatever had just happened and slowly walked around to assess the damage.

Part of the plastic runner at the bottom of the doors had broken – that’s what I saw being flung through the air – and the back door is dented. Not the MOST HORRIBLE scenario, but still not great because NO ONE WANTS TO WRECK THEIR FUCKING CAR. I called Henry immediately and he was like, “OK calm down” which usually would make me snap because OK STRAIGHT WHITE MALE, but in this case I was like, “Yes, please soothe me with your Papa H words.” Also, I was like, “OMG please tell Chooch that you did this” because Chooch can be so mean and I didn’t want him to make fun of me! I feel like a lot of women would be like OMG MY HUSBAND/ETC IS GOING TO KILL ME but I’m like HENRY WON’T YELL AT ME BUT MY MEAN TEENAGED SON CAN NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH!

When Chooch finally noticed it later that night, I flipped out and was like I DON’T KNOW, YOUR DAD DID IT, DROP IT and Chooch was like, “Oh wow OK because I’m so sure YOU weren’t pissed when you found out he wrecked the car!” We were walking into Sheetz when this convo was happening and I was so grateful that I was wearing my mask so he couldn’t see the expression on my face when I snapped, “IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS” and then ran to place my coffee order. LOL. Then Henry came in and Chooch was like WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE CAR and Henry calmly said, “I hit a pillar” and then completely changed the subject before Chooch could ask any follow-up questions, lol.

He’s basically just taking the fall for me in general now, and then frowns at me when no one is looking. Don’t worry, the insurance company knows the truth, LOL.

In my mind though, I want to believe that this happened in order for something worse to NOT happen. Like, what if I had turned right like I normally would and then I hit a squirrel??? I’d rather pay my deductable than commit vehicular homicide against an animal. ANY DAMN DAY.

The one highlight from Friday though was when I went in the background and got one of my main Buddys to come all the way out of a tree and skip around my feet while I handed him a walnut.

“I could have been like that bitch with the gorillas,”  I said to Henry, who just smirked at me while filling out the insurance claim.

Well, that’s all. What a rich vaca. But still, better than work!

Oct 312021
 

Hi hello here I am and it’s Halloween! I have zero plans for the day other than finishing reading Last House on Needless Street, taking rainy walks, exercising, and then watching horror movies while handing out candy to the one or two kids that actually knock on our door tonight. This is the first year that I didn’t make a costume for Chooch because he’s 15 and happily working tonight (I asked him to try and get an earlier shift and he was like ‘why? I truthfully do not care’ so that was cool, my LITTLE BABY IS GROWING UP AND DOESN’T CARE ABOUT DRESSING UP OR HANDING OUT CANDY) so I am going to try and give the Type A Pageant Mom side of my personality the day off and try to, oh I don’t know – relax?? LOL yeah right! I’m the type of person who still exercises when they’re sick or half-crippled with cramps, but OK sure, Ma, I’ll “relax.” LOL.

This has been a really strange Halloween season, actually. We didn’t even go to Spirit Halloween one single time! We didn’t get any pumpkins! I of course had nothing at work to decorate because office life is still on hold! But, we did go to a shit ton of haunted houses, I had horror movies playing in the background all month while I worked, I had a nice Hallocation full of ME TIME and cemetery walks (I’ll recap that tomorrow I guess), so I can’t really complain too much. But I can’t help feeling like I’m this really uncomfortable stage in life where my kid is now too old to give a shit but I myself don’t feel like I’m ready to hang it up so if anyone wants to let me borrow a small child next year for October, that would be cool. I mean, not for sacrificial purposes ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAH. But you know, to construct complex cardboard costumes into which they will be stuffed.

I can think of a lot of ways to blow off steam after a stressful week, but “going to a party” seemed to be the safest, most legal, option.

And then I was thinking that maybe next year I’ll have a Halloween party because I have never had my own Halloween party as an adult for some reason even  though I used to have them in middle school and high school, and we all know I love having parties, but it sucks because my house is small but at least it’s a lot cooler now than it used to me and I wouldn’t even have to really decorate?? Literally none of my friends have Halloween parties (or they do and just don’t invite me and I’d never know since I’m not that piece of shit site f/k/a Facebook, and that honestly sounds like the more likely reason lol) so maybe I will do that. It can be a Halloween/pie party crossover event maybe?? No, pie parties belong in a park pavilion on a Sunday afternoon. We’ll do both, maybe. Or maybe I’ll even do it the weekend after Halloween so that my Castle Blood friends will be able to attend, and then we can properly drag out Halloween, like the fine folks at Trundle Manor used to do! Speaking of that, we’ll end this dumpster dive of a blog post with a reposting of one of their Halloween parties that I went to back in 2012. I still feel so cool and honored that I was invited to this because I am not actually a cool person at all but they thought I was for some reason I guess.

I dunno, holla at me if you would come to my hypothetical Halloween party 2022. Don’t expect me to have an absinthe fountain like Trundle Manor though. Makgeolli fountain, MAYHAPS.

****

Thank god for Trundle Manor. Rachel and Anton are smart as shit, planning their Halloween party in November and prolonging the Best Season Ever by a few weeks. This year’s theme was “insane asylum” so I decided to go as Fatal Attraction Glenn Close. Of course, I didn’t decide this until a week prior to the party, but Henry went to one thrift store and immediately found me a flouncy white skirt for $3. I would NEVER have that kind of luck.

80s Fatal Attraction Costume Idea | Like Totally 80s

And it’s an awesome skirt too, basically like a wedding dress underskirt/petticoat-type frock-thingie. I put it on three hours before leaving for the party on Saturday because it’s probably the closest thing to a wedding dress I’ll ever get to wear, and it felt good OK? All swishy and connubial.

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I made my hair all Alex Forest-esque with a triple barrel iron. None of the pictures I took properly conveyed the true crimped “electrocution victim”-ness of my mane. Short of getting a perm, it was the best I could muster.

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Precious Henry, who didn’t go with me because he “doesn’t do parties,” made an old pot into a functional costume accessory by drilling holes in the sides and stringing rope through it so I could wear it as a purse instead of carrying it around all night.

(Henry wouldn’t have even had to dress up if he had gone! He could’ve just been the Co-Ed Killer Ed Kemper.)

If you have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, in the movie “Fatal Attraction,” Glenn Close has an affair with Michael Douglas and then boils his daughter’s pet bunny when she’s rejected. She also plays the wrist-slitting card to garner sympathy. But (SPOILER ALERT) his wife shoots her in the end.

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She doesn’t ever sit in a wheelchair in the movie, but I wish she did so I could have taken one of mine. Oh well.

Saturday was Wendy’s bowling night, so she couldn’t make it there until after 12:30. Luckily, my Castle Blood brood was there so I didn’t have to be That Awkward Girl siccing people for conversation. (Not that I would have had a problem — the friends of Trundle Manor are awesome people.) But still — I don’t like showing up to a party alone, so I made Henry text Ricky and ask him twenty questions about their anticipated arrival to the Manor.

Ricky was standing right near the driveway when I got there, so I didn’t have to walk more than five feet on my own (GOD FORBID). I apologized to him for being such a spaz about things; he put his arm around me and said, “But what else is new?”

Touche.

He deposited me with Dawn, at which point I started drinking, and the night was on a steady high after that.

Chris and Kari were also there, among other familiar Castle Blood faces (including the steam punk professor guy that I have a crush on), plus my friend Patty Cake from work. I recognized a lot of people from last year too, which was nice. Not that it mattered, because once I started imbibing absinthe, everyone’s faces started looking like Dali paintings.

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Dawn & Ricky, being there.

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The drink slinger’s face is glowing green from the absinthe fountain.

For being the second weekend in November, the weather was mild. Last year it was a week earlier and I remember we were all fighting to rub our hands above hobo fires. I survived without a coat, even. But that could be because all the booze I had consumed had formed an invisible anorak around my Alex Forest couture.

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My Castle Blood homies split around 11. Even if Wendy hadn’t been coming later, I wasn’t ready to leave yet. The bands were just about to start playing! I found my friend Angie, whom I met one year ago at the last Trundle Manor Halloween event, and she was stuck with stumbling ass for the rest of the night.

Everything else is kind of a blur. I have a vague recollection of carrying around a mysterious sleeve of Oreos in my bunny boiler pot purse (I think Dawn had something to do with that?) and offering them to random people.

Those fucking Oreos had somehow become my delicious security blanket.

I remember talking at length to a pirate riding a blow-up ostrich and feeling regret when I realized I hadn’t offered him an Oreo.

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And I remember dancing to the Bloody Seamen’s shanties and giving zero fucks about work and anything else, and meeting Gina the Trundle carny, who was very upset that I had a bloody bunny in my pot.

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My phone didn’t capture it, but that big glow was actually a bunch of x-rays.

I had a crush on at least 87 revelers that night. Hey, that’s what happens when Henry sends me out into the world alone. WITHOUT A RING.

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B-movies projected on the side of the house.

It was nearly 1:00am by the time Wendy arrived as Aileen Wuornos. The crowd was starting to disperse, but there were still a ton of crazy asses there (and I mean that in the best way). My favorite was this totally fucked up gay kid who I can only figure was dressed as Lady Gaga from the Love Game video. He came over and told us that he had walked an hour to get there, a bunch of stuff I couldn’t understand because he was slurring so heavily, and that he has a collection of rabbit things in his house and losing his pet rabbit Sprocket was the worst thing that’s ever happened to him. He slurred out Sprocket’s name so many times, I don’t think I’ll forget him.

When I cried about my two dead cats to a drag queen named Curiosity, I knew it was probably time to call it a night.

I am forever thankful that I randomly took a tour of Trundle Manor two years ago and that Rachel and Anton continue to open up their home to me and so many other amazing individuals. Their parties are sick, totally unique and unforgettable. It’s a pretty amazing scene to be a part of.

Came home, poured one out for Sprocket, and then tried to not vomit on Henry as I rolled over him to get into bed. Best Halloween closure I’ve ever gotten!

No one ever did take any of my Oreos. More for me!

Oct 192021
 

Hello. Here I am. Apologies in advance for what comes next because my brain is scrambled today.

My noo’st NooWorks shirt features a spooky design by artist Coco Roy and not like I need much help getting in the mood for “spooky season” (I dunno why I hate that phrase so much) but this really gave me an extra witch-boot to the ass over the weekend. I was so excited to wear it to a haunted house, and several of the haunt people were like OMG I LIKE YOUR SHIRT and I was like, “I know right” because how could you work at a haunted house and not be all about this fine piece of fabric?

Plus, it’s a mock turtleneck!

I didn’t know this until just now but Coco Roy worked on the Netflix movie HUBIE HALLOWEEN as costumer & wardrobe designer! I actually loved that movie (horror comedy usually isn’t my jam but this one legit entertained me) so now I love this shirt even more!

I call this the “Who, me?” pose because the squirrels always do this when I call them, like they’re saying, “Who? Me?” Henry always rolls his eyes over this but I think he’s just jealous because I speak squirrel now and he has yet to crack the code.

I feel like everyone does black&orange or blood-spatter nails for Halloween but I like the green&orange combo for that ultimate monster movie vibe. Black&purple&orange also goes Hallo-hard! Did that sound stupid? I just made that up. Can’t tell if I should high-five myself or not.

Hallo-hard.

Hallo—-ugh, forget it. That was dumb. Edit that part out.

Yeah anyway, um. Speaking of monsters, what is your fave type of horror movie genre? (*crickets*) People always think I love zombies because Chooch went through a heavy zombie phase when he was super young, but I actually would choose vampires and ghosts/supernatural over zombie movies every single time. My top favorite subgenre is probably possession/religious horror.

I wish I had this pillow with me Saturday night when they asked us to film a testimonial after the haunted house. I keep checking that place’s social media to see how humiliated I need to feel but they haven’t posted it yet. Maybe one of the ghosts did me a solid and erased it from that broad’s phone.

Vans 4 Lyfe. I only have 4 pairs of Vans but wish I had 40. They’re my faves. TOMS used to be faves until they want from being scene kid shoes to soccer mom loafers.

Eyeballs 4 Lyfe.

Well, I told you my favorite horror genres but here are some of my all-time favorite horror movies:

  • Lost Boys
  • Suspiria
  • Blair Witch Project (this remains the king of found-footage genre, fight me)
  • Halloween (I’ll take the original 1,2,3, and 4, Mary)
  • Ju-On
  • Monster Squad

These are the first ones that came to mind. I grew up on horror though and my best memories are watching the Friday the 13th franchise with my brother Ryan and having my childhood BFF Christy sleep over and meticulously choosing movies from the horror section of Blockbuster. When I was dating Psycho Mike, I had a membership card to a little hole-in-the-wall rental joint called Firehouse Videos or something (it was next to our favorite 24:7 diner, Home Cookin’!) and they had the BEST SELECTION of Argento films.

But my favorite-favorite was back in the early years of my relationship with Henry, when we would walk several blocks to Incredibly Strange Video in Dormont, where the proprietor Bruce was always happy to see us and he’d know exactly what horror movies to recommend, never action, dramas, comedies – he knew we came there for the horror. It was during these years that we filled up on Asian horror, indie slaughterfests, and some of the scariest student films you could imagine. Then like all other video rental shops, Netflix forced Bruce to close up shop and that was a really sad day for us. Because Netflix and whatever else is out there is great and all, but for all that they offer, I swear to god I can never settle on anything to watch!

This is the face I make when I’m mimicking Henry and he was like TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT SO YOU WILL SEE HOW INSANE YOU LOOK/HOW INACCURATE IT IS so I did and it looks actually more accurate than I ever intended! I was mocking him in the car next night too by way of a pseudo-stand up routine that I made up on the spot about him eating chili and he told me I’m a complete asshole. Not just a partial one. Complete. With all the parts.

If you were driving to a haunted hayride, through twisty & bumpy unlit country roads in the middle of nowhere, what would be playing on your car stereo?

My picks would be:

  • B! Machine
  • The Black Queen
  • Gary Numan
  • 1970s/1980s era The Cure
  • Depeche Mode

I also always love to have gas station coffee for the drive too. When I was younger, I was obsessed with getting seasonally-flavored “cappuccino” from the dispensers at gas stations but it’s been a hot minute since I last, um, “treated” myself to that sugary swill.

At some point, we have plans to repaint this wall a deeper, more vibrant blue but the thought of taking down all these pictures and rearranging them later is exhausting lol j/k like I would be doing any of that myself. Why keep a HenryTM around if you’re not going to use him.

Aside from Henry’s mom, I still haven’t invited anyone over since we redecorated etc etc during the pandemic. I guess at this point I’ll just wait for Henry to hang up the damn Seoul subway sign (he’s getting the spray paint for the frame tonight I think!?!? *allegedly*) and maybe, oh fuck it I am completely anti-guests now, thanks Covid, lol. But if I were actually wanting to be hospitable, this is the way I would come to the door.

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE LET ME SHOW YOU ALLLL AROUND. Lol, it’d be a 5-minute tour. I live in a duplex.

I got this jacket FOR FREE. One of my InstaPals was unhauling a bunch of clothes after moving into a new house and there were a bunch of people clamoring for this bitchin’ lamé shoulder-warmer but I won out by literally 2 seconds or something. This was over the summer but I had visions of wearing it during the transitional fall weather, over t-shirts at amusement parks and haunted houses. It was so hot for the first part of October that this past weekend was the first time I could comfortably wear it and of course it was actually too cold because god forbid we should have actually fall weather here in Pittsburgh. It goes from like, Indian Summer to CHANCE OF FLURRIES.

Anyway, it turns out this jacket was part of a kid’s dance costume, lol.

I like this one because it accidentally almost looks like my right hand is that one on my shirt.

In other spooky news, I was inspired to check if Philly does their Dracula’s Ball and they are having one this year but it appears to be more of just a concert, and it’s only 2 and a half hours long, with The Crystal Method (definitely have not thought about them in, I dunno, almost 20 years?! OMG TWENTY YEARS, I AM SO FUCKING OLD) headlining. That seems less like a ball and more like a rave for old people.

Probably thinking of more projects for Henry, like, building a squirrel bridge over the road in front of my house so MY SQUIRRELS WILL STOP GETTING HIT BY MORONIC CARS. We just buried a Mr. Gray Guy today :( I heard the *thump* this morning and knew, just knew, in my heart what had happened. I had just been yelling at him from my window to BE CAREFUL but it wasn’t good enough and I had to go out and carry him off the street and place him a box for Henry* to bury this afternoon and then I proceeded to sit here, steeped in guilt and “what if”s all day, alone. I am *not* thriving in this work-from-home environment. Not even a little bit. I’m lonely and my attachment to the squirrels is unhealthy YES I KNOW, THERE I SAID WHAT ALL YOU PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THINKING.

Well, on that note, guess I’ll go make tombstones for the squirrel graveyard in my backyard. I mean, two graves makes a graveyard, right? I hate life.

*(TTGFH**)

**(Thank god for Henry.)

Oct 082021
 

Good morning! Today is Hangeul Day (한글날) in Korea, which is a day to celebrate and commemorate the creation of the Korean alphabet by the great King Sejong in the 15th century.

Obviously I am not Korean but nevertheless, I have a very deep respect and love for Hangeul. The way it sounds and absolutely the way it looks made me want to learn it; while I can still hardly speak Korean, just the ability to decipher Hangeul has made my life feel so much fuller. Learning it made me feel like a code had been cracked and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, honestly.

The first time we went to Koreatown in Toronto, I was in tears because we were surrounded by signs and storefronts smothered in Hangeul and I was able to read it. I kept pointing things out to Henry and he was like “ok I get it cool mmm.”

It’s such a beautiful language and I’m happy to celebrate it today, even as just an American from Pittsburgh.

Anyway, I’d like to share some Hangeul-laden pictures from our trips to Korea. Just look at how pretty those characters are!

This one is really sad – Many families were pulled apart during the Korean conflict and those in the South are still trying desperately to be reunited with estranged family members. There was a TV show to help these efforts and people wrote down their addresses and phone numbers to be posted in Imjingdak. We saw this during the DMZ/JSA tour we took in 2019.

I really hope I get to visit 한국 again someday. Happy Hangeul Day, my friends! Go watch a Korean drama today with subtitles, no dubbing!

Jul 302021
 

Hi from the miserable car ride home. It’s my 42nd birthday today and Henry thought I’d be ok with it being a travel day. He literally does not know me even after 20 years LOL.

The morning was good at least because we were still in Wildwood, but it all went downhill after we checked out and went to Six Flags Great Adventure but I guess that’s kind of expected because how do you top Wildwood? Surprise flight to Korea, or GTFO I guess.

Some broad offered to take pictures of me and Henry at this WILDWOODS sign when we first got there at 7am this morning and I 100% did not want this to happen but didn’t have the heart to say no so she took a series of really ugly pictures of us that will never see the lift of day and I do appreciate her effort but then we had to pretend like we were leaving so we could come back and take real ones but she hung around for so long with whatever baby she had in a stroller, I think she was its grandma, but who could be sure.

I didn’t have a cake or anything birthday-ish today, although Henry and Chooch did stop in some bakery called Let’s Get Baked in some tiny town called Allentown, NJ after we left Six Flags. They got some cupcakes and a cookie. The cupcakes weren’t terrible but I also think they’re taking great liberties by passing them off as such because they had the consistency of cornbread.

Six Flags Great Adventure was the best Six Flags we’ve been to so far, ambiance and ride attendant-wise, but THREE of their BIGGEST COASTERS were down (one of which we knew about going in, but the other two were surprises) and then while we were there, two more went down, so all of the other big coasters had massive lines even though the park wasn’t crowded at all, because where else was everyone supposed to go?! We did get some rides in (Chooch got his Kingda Ka credit before it went down so – yay? I hate strata coasters so this was not a highlight for me).

We left after about five hours and ate dinner at some place in NJ called Club House Diner which was supposed to have a vegetable panini, grilled cheese, and veggie burger option according to their website.

When we walked in, I was like OH FUCK YEAH THIS IS THE JOINT because it was totally my style: all brown and tacky, looking like one of those family restaurants from the 60s that families probably got a little dressed up for. But now it’s just an outdated diner with a modpodge menu and a salad bar that no one in their right mind should be digging into during a pandemic yet we watched Elders going back for thirds and fourths.

But then guess what guys guess what no really guess I’ll wait.

THE WEBSITE WAS OUTDATED and none of the options i mentioned above were on the menu. CHooch was able to order a grilled cheese off the secret menu (sike, everyone knows you can request a grilled cheese) but I was like NO I WILL JUST ORDER SOMETHING I DONT WANT OUT OF PRINCIPLE so I got the “healthy vegetable omelette” made with egg whites and it might have been healthy-ish until the pile of hash browns sidled up next to it.

I ate about half and wanted to die, and then I got even more angry when we went to leave and I walked past the dessert case to see a delicious-looking CARROT CAKE and also a bangin’ apple pie but NO I wasted my “birthday treat” on a shitty cupcake and mediocre cookie. Choices were made.

If it weren’t for the super friendly waitress and the “my grandparents used to love that place” vibes, I would have been super pissed.

Oh also Chooch made my coffee splash all over my place mat when he got up to go to the bathroom so that WAS ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST THIS DAY.

So I made him take a mirror selfie with me after he wasted two dollars in the claw machine on the way out.

Henrys trying to say that it’s not his fault today sucks, it’s because Wildwood left the bar so high, like that’s going to work on me.

Anyway. You know you’re old when you have to pause to think real hard about your age and then it ends with finger-counting, calculator math, asking a friend. But I’ve confirmed that I am, in fact, 42 today even though I’m pretty sure I thought I already was 42 for this whole past year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go buy myself a Mister Softee t-shirt for my birthday.

Jun 202021
 

Hello and welcome to Father’s Day 2021! Since Chooch and I failed at Henry’s birthday earlier this month, I figured we better step it up. I found this LOG THAT GROWS SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS so of course I snatched that up because I love eating mushrooms and Henry likes growing things lately, so that seemed like a win/win.

OMG this fucking log is so HEAVY!! But it didn’t seem like it was “enough,” so I thought we better also do some elementary school caliber Father’s Day art project. Henry doesn’t drink hot beverages so a custom coffee cup was out of the question, but he DOES drink iced tea and iced coffee, so I screamed, “TUMBLER!” at Chooch who was like, “OK that’s great but I’m actually in class right now so if you could NOT scream through the house, that would be so chill.”

You have to know that once I get an idea in my head, it’s all I can think about until the thing is actually tangible so I started working on it right away. We knew that we wanted the background to be pretzels because our Him Man loves himself some pretzels of all varieties.

Remember when I had Henry take a picture of Chooch and me jumping? I told him it was because I needed it for my brother’s birthday and he said he didn’t think anything of it, just figured I was doing something weird as usual, lol.  Also included: Henry’s ult bias Cha Eun-Woo from Astro, a Rip-It can since he sometimes drives a Rip-It van for work and people ALWAYS stop him and try to buy some – it’s so bizarre, Ted Nugent, a water tower from where he used to live in the SERVICE, a plane that was supposed to be an AIR FORCE plane since Henry can always identify military planes in the sky, and GOCHU-JOHN because that’s how he pronounces gochujang. Also the pretzel background doubles as his favorite color – brown.

Then I wrapped it in the circulars which is his favorite part of the mail and I always throw them out before he gets a chance to see them lol.

He was really scared this morning when I thrust each box at him, lol.  The log had him extremely perplexed but the tumbler made him do his TRYING NOT TO SMILE smile!

Like it says in the caption – when he was admiring his new tumbler, Chooch asked him, “what kind of plane is that?” Henry squinted at it and said, “Well, it’s not American…” HAHAH I think I just googled “war plane” and never even bothered to check what it was actually was.

I was also going to include a picture of Hot Naybor Chris on it but I was afraid that Henry would never take it outside the house for fear of HNC catching him with it and wondering why Henry’s sipping cold brew out of a vessel bearing his visage.

Also, I texted my dad a picture of us at Wildwood from 1985. He might not be my bio-dad, and we may have had some BIG UPS AND DOWNS especially in my teen years, but we get along wonderfully now (actually, ever since I moved out at age 18!!) and though we may not share blood, I definitely share a lot of the same quirks as him, that is FO’ SHO’.

And now we’re about to head out to Cedar Point for today and tomorrow, with the lowest expectations as possible because: Cedar Point. This has to be THE WORLD’S most unpredictable amusement park, honestly. Maybe we’ll even let Henry treat himself to a soft pretzel or two.

Jun 052021
 

I was going to live-blog this day but then I didn’t and now I wish I did.

After we bailed on Six Flags, we drove to Buffalo (maybe the outskirts?) to a vegan junk food joint called Big Mood. Checking out local vegan places is my favorite thing to do when we go on road trips!

Big Mood’s dining room is open but we opted to order online and take the food to a park because it was such a beautiful day. After we placed the order, we had 20 minutes to kill so we decided to walk around the area, which had some pretty impressive motherwhomping mansions. As usual, we didn’t wait for Henry so he had to hustle to catch up. He’s used to it.

We stopped briefly to ogle two bunnies in one of the yards. Henry and I continued walking but of course, Chooch lingered a bit longer. Next thing we knew, he was being interrogated by a man in a car. All I heard was Chooch nervously say, “No, I was just looking at the rabbits. Rabbits. The rabbits in the yard.” And then he ran to catch up with us.

“WTF was that?” I asked, and Chooch said it was the HOMEOWNER who just happened to be coming home AT THAT EXACT TIME, rolling up beside Chooch on the sidewalk to slap him with an authoritative, “Can I help you?”

Leave it to Chooch to make rabbit-watching look suspicious. It would have been better if this happened when Chooch was pulling the waistband of his jeans away from his body to demonstrate to us how big they are (see that previous post where I recommend that he wear a belt and he acted like this was the dumbest suggestion of all time), because to a casual observer who took us for burglars, it looked like Chooch was showing us all the goods he stole and stashed in his pants.

We left that street (it wasn’t even a gated community or anything so dude needs to step off) and rejoined the riffraff on a main street. There was a buffalo statue in front of a building and I said to Chooch, “Go stand by that buffalo.” What follows is real life dialogue from that moment, which is 100% accurate because my phone had been accidentally recording for over 5 minutes after Chooch got yelled at.

C: No

Me: Yeah.

C: No.

Me: Henry, go stand by the buffalo.

C: Yeah, you.

H: I…stood by something today already.

C: I ALREADY STOOD BY TWO THINGS! YOU!

H: You stand by it.

C: No. You didn’t stand by anything.

H: I stood by the…..[indistinguishable murmuring].

C: OK COOL (this is our go-to, ‘fuck you, we’re done talking’ sign-off)

H: *says something provoking that I can’t make out*

C: I literally….It’s your turn. I got the fountain picture. Go.

M: You two are both assholes.

H: I’ll do it.

C: Yeah, now you’ll do it. (As we already walked past it!!)

H: Well, now she’s doing that thing she does where she pouts.

M: That’s not what I’m doing.

It was 100% what I was doing.

Then Chooch found some dried out seed pods from a tree and we talked about that for a while.

Got our food!! I got this Sante Fe chicken sandwich and adored the fact that they call their fake chicken patties “zero clucks.” We drove for a while until we found a good place to sit at a park (on bleachers with like a constant swarm of people milling past us so of course I was like THESE PPL ARE MAKING ME NERVOUS and Henry and Chooch just rolled their eyes because oh look, Erin’s being Erin). Oh man, this sandwich was delicious and FILLING.

Stupidly, we wanted to venture out to the American side of the Falls after this, forgetting that it was a holiday weekend on the tail-end of a pandemic so….yeah. That place a  mad house and we weren’t willing to pay $30 to park so we figured it was time to call it a day and start the drive back home, which was fun for Henry because at this point, Chooch and I were fucking SLAP HAPPY. The only thing Henry hates more than Chooch and I fighting is Chooch and I laughing so hard we are either puking (Chooch) or pants-peeing (me).

Henry had to get gas, leaving us hyenas in the car. Henry’s phone was connected so when he paid for the gas, the text message from the bank popped up on the car screen with a prompt to reply, so I hit the microphone icon and frantically tried to scream FUCK YOU as Henry’s reply to the bank’s text, but it kept coming out like FWAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOOHOOHOOHOOHOOHOHOHOHOUIWUQUP, launching Chooch and me down a laughing spiral for a good hour, making me feel like I popped blood vessels in my eyes; Henry, meanwhile, didn’t laugh once, but did try to kick us out of the car once.

Then we went to the NY Tourist Center which was fanc-ay!

The lighting in the bathroom was excelsiur.

I tried to hide from Henry while he was going to the bathroom but somehow, when I was still outside running to a different entrance to use for a sneak attack, Henry and Chooch managed to leave the bathroom and even proceeded to “fake leave” me behind, nearly running me over in the process when I came flying out of the building. All of this happened after I started to lurch at a man coming out of the bathroom who was definitely not Henry and then I had to play it off like I had just tripped on my way to look blankly at the vending machine.

Went to Six Flags, had more fun at a tourist center. Sounds just like us!

I was even a super sweetie and drove the last hour so Henry could sleep

***

The next day, I mentioned something about the drive home and Henry said, “You mean when you were doing 85?”

I paused. “Well…the speed limit was 70, so.”

“You were doing 85!” Henry reiterated, his tone flecked with slightly more hysteria this time.

“Oh my god, were you spying on me?”I cried, and you can imagine the incredulity.

“My eyes would automatically fly open every time the car lurched forward,” he said, and by now I was bored of the conversation and only like talking about myself when it doesn’t involve someone accusing me of doing something wrong, THANK YOU V. MUCH. Luckily, it’s easy to flip the switch on Henry. You usually just have to point out the window and yell, “OH LOOK AT THAT PLANE” and then he’ll be all concerned with trying to identify it. This also works with birds, cars, 1970s porn plots…

Then Henry and I went for a walk at the Homewood Cemetery on actual Memorial Day and saw this zombie ground hog, which was basically the highlight of the whole weekend for me:

May 102021
 

Oh hello, here I am to talk about my Mother’s Day, 2021. It started out BLAH – we were tentatively going to take a mini-road trip to some state park in WV to get away from the 100% rain forecast here in Pittsburgh, but I woke up FEELING LIKE A HORNET. I think I just have this bad habit of expecting the worst on any holiday because I just assume that Henry and Chooch will fail me (to be fair, they usually do lol).

I came downstairs like a little bitch, haughtily declined Henry’s offer to make me breakfast, and instead showered all of MY GOOD ATTITUDE upon the cats and squirrels, a/k/a MY REAL FAMILY.

When I opened the door to refill Buddy’s Bistro (that’s what I call the crate that doubles as a squirrel shelter so they can nosh on their peanuts and sunflower feeds with a roof over their little furry heads when it’s raining), I noticed a plain white envelope on the doorstep:

LOL Henry is such a dork. And I know it was Henry who made it because of the half-assed punctuation. I was still in A MOOD so I didn’t give him a reaction right away. LOL forever a b-r-a-t.

When I was younger, I could steady be in a bad mood for like, days. Nay, weeks. But the older I get, the more tiresome it is! I only have so much energy and I need that for exercising and going on copious walks, not scowling and hissing at everyone who dares to look at me.

Sigh. My edge is really getting dull as I age.

Then Henry said he was going to Lowe’s and I was like THAT IS DUMB until I realized he was going to FINALLY check out different options for what he needs to finally finish my subway sign – he was originally holding out for plexiglass but the price HAS NOT gone down at all thanks to the pandemic making it a hot commodity. I opted to go with him because it was raining so hard and I was too depressed to stay home and also I wanted to get a new houseplant because it’s Mother’s Day and that seems like something a Mother would treat herself with, right? I got this big’gun pot of California Elephant Ears and named him SETH.

Because of The O.C.?

California?

No?

I was annoyed the whole time we were at Lowe’s and the only thing I could think of that would make me feel better at that precise moment was boba so we went to Squirrel Hill because I wanted Kung Fu Tea but they were CLOSED for MOTHER’S DAY but it was OK because Pink Box is across the street and even if that was closed too, there are like 4 other places on that street alone that could have curbed my boba cravings and we also ordered vegan sandwiches at Allegro and went for a short stroll in the rain while waiting for it so that was nice I guess.

Came home and Chooch was like “OMG LOOK! IT’S A MOTHER! ON HER DAY!” and then thrust a homemade card at me which made me laugh because he signed it Sincerely.

I like being his MUM even though he eats in his room which breaks HOUSE RULES but whatever I guess let’s all just whatever we want, ugh.

Meanwhile, I told Chooch (and Henry because Chooch never does shit on his own) that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was the ability to be able to work out to my beloved Jacki Sorensen aerobics tape that I have been unable to use in what feels like 20 years almost because it’s a VHS and Henry was like I CAN DO THIS and was trying to find a VCR to borrow so that he could convert the tape to a computer file and put it on a USB so that I could use the Roku to play it so he asked Hot Naybor Chris who probably thought Henry found his old VINTAGE PORN stash and needed a VCR to have a viewing party and he said he would see if he could find one at his camp whatever that means but then Henry was in the attic looking for something completely unrelated and found my old VCR that we didn’t know still existed!!

So I was able to work out with Jacki last night while wearing my beloved Jacki shirt that my mom got when she attended the actual Jacki Sorensen Danceathon in 1984 at the old Civic Arena!!

I have been a BIG FAN of Jacki Sorensen ever since the 90s when I found my mom’s old VHS of one of her aerobics workouts and even tried to make some of my friends workout with me in my basement when they were sleeping over and I was DRUNK (maybe it was THIS NIGHT???).

The tape came with me (as did the shirt) when I moved out in 1998 and over the years, I used it as sparingly as possible because I was so afraid it would just snap one day. Now that everything in the world seems to be on YouTube, I would check every now and then to see if anyone ever uploaded it but NOPE, NEVER NOT EVEN A LITTLE CLIP.

Then I was doing a walking workout on this one guy’s channel that I really like and one of the songs he used was this one:

I SCREAMED. This song is used in one of my favorite segments from that damn Jacki Sorensen tape and it was at this point where I found the VHS, slapped it on Chooch’s desk, and said, “ALL I WANT FOR MOTHER’S DAY IS FOR YOU TO FIND A WAY FOR YOUR MOMMY TO ENJOY THIS AGAIN.”

“What even is this?” he murmured and then promptly forgot about it because he has teenage dementia.

So I had to coax it out of the recesses of his memory and finally, to Henry he said, “Oh yeah. She wants some weird tape converted to a DVD or something” and no, THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID, but OK close enough.

And Henry made my wish come true yesterday and I was SO HAPPY and also I still cannot do the “Tom Jones” move which is in like every segment almost. But who doesn’t love a workout that warms up with Barbara Streisand and cools down with Barry Manilow?!

This is what the VHS sleeve looks like but god only knows what happened to mine over the years, it probably disintegrated at some point in the attic:

Amazon.com: Jacki Sorensen's Aerobic Dancing Encore [VHS]: Sorensen,Jacki:  Movies & TV

And that was my Mother’s Day.

P.S. It just now occurred to me that Kung Fu tea had some sort of Mother’s Day promotion happening via their app that I was prepared to take advantage of but then they were closed because it was Mother’s Day. What kind of shady fucking mother-crushing shit is that.

 

Apr 262021
 

Please allow me to gush a little about my WITTLE BABY-WABY, MOMMY’S #1 SON, MY PRECIOUS ANGEL. Lol, ugh. But yes, our boy turned fifteen yesterday and we celebrated all weekend as best and as big as we could in these fucked up times.  Sometimes I wonder if, from the other side, it looks like we spoil Chooch. But honestly, aside from snippy teenage attitude (what teenager DOESN’T have it??), he deserves so much more than we’re able to give him. Kids have been hit so hard during the pandemic, and I am so thankful that Chooch was able to adapt to not only starting high school at a brand new school, but doing so by maneuvering through all the awkward hiccups of virtual learning. Not only has he made a group of new friends, he has been a hit with his teachers while tackling advanced classes and maintaining a 4.0. He is the coolest nerd I know. Honestly.

Plus, he’s my favorite roller coaster riding companion, Henry hassling partner (we call him “Him Man” almost exclusively now, in case you were wondering if I ever refer to Henry as “dad” when I’m talking about him to Chooch; nope, I use the term that our cats use for him), stay at home buddy, begrudged photoshoot subject, neighborhood walker. Don’t get me wrong – he’s at an age where he’d prefer to hole up in his cave and play his dumb computer games (he got  promoted to a “helper” on some server and got to have someone banned for saying the n-word, so I approve of this job!), or chill at the Teen Center with his friends, but he’s not opposed to joining us for family outings. Not to mention the fact that his little niece and nephew look at him like he’s a magical being.

I am also not ashamed to say that I’m pretty positive most of my friends like him more than they like me, and I can’t really blame them! He’s got personality dripping off him in iridescent waves.

So yeah, I always want to do big things for him on his birthday! I want him to have awesome memories of his childhood birthdays, just like I do.

Of course I was hoping that the state of things would be better this year and we could have a party for him, but that still wasn’t the case. So we decided to at least get him a small strawberry cake from Sumi’s and have Blake and Haley come over (I was nervous about this – no one has been here in over a year!) Saturday night. It was a super last minute thing, because we had already planned to take him to the Columbus Zoo on his actual birthday, so it was kind of a surprise non-party in a way? Of course it went from “just cake” to “we should go to Party City and at least get some decorations” to “WE SHOULD DO A JOJO SIWA THEME!” Of course Henry the Skeptic was like, “Yeah, if they even have any Jojo Siwa stuff there” like, OK Father Time, you don’t know anything because not only did they have an entire Jojo section (it was super picked-over though, but most of the empty racks seemed to hold hair accessory party favors and I don’t really think we needed bows, lol), they even had a singing Jojo balloon which I could tell by the fearful glint in Henry’s eyes that he was hoping I wouldn’t think it was necessary but I was like “PLOP THAT SHIT IN THE BASKET, BROTHER.”

But then, we had to listen to go off in the backseat on the entire drive home:

My Instagram caption is true: Never had I heard a Jojo Siwa song until that day.

Luckily, Chooch rarely leaves his room so I was able to decorate without him knowing anything was going on, lol.

I accidentally broke the tall candles because I’m a brute, but Haley said later that night that she thought they were meant to look crooked, so all’s well! Also, had to go with Peppa Pig candles because there weren’t any Jojo Siwa ones :(

Drew was 100% not a fan of the balloons. Henry had to stash them in the attic before we left for our day trip yesterday so she wouldn’t go into shock – she gets so stressed out over everything. :(

Henry didn’t understand why the tablecloth says “Bows make everything better” because he’s a 55-year-old man.

Then Blake ended up being late (I know, I know – but they live next door, how long could it possibly take them to come over; except that there were coming here straight from somewhere else) and we could only stall Chooch for so long. Of course, he ended up coming downstairs before Blake was able to get here so he saw his non-party spread and was like, “WHAT IS ALL THIS.”

“THIS IS ABUSE.”

He secretly loved it though! And besides, he’s always complaining about not having a damn cup to use, so now he has his very own Jojo’s Juice vessel.

This just in: when Chooch and I were on our afternoon walk a little while ago, he got his “Evaluation” from that server thingie he’s doing and they said “We have no critique because everything you’re doing is awesome.”

OMG I hate him but also, now I know how Glenn feels whenever I get showered with over-the-top kudos at work.

I forgot to get a picture of Chooch blowing out his candles so I made him redo it and also Henry wasn’t even in the room because he was too busy holding his newest  grandbaby and doing weird Him Man cooing. G-to-the-ross.

Mm, that Sumi’s cake though!

Anyway, it was a very rapid-fire cake-eating sesh because the kids were in that weird limbo right before bedtime where they were super slaphappy with drunk-eyes but could easily lose their shit at any minute and I never realized just how NON-CHILDPROOF our house actually is until two toddlers were let loose and trying to grab everything while their parents yelled at them and the  baby was wailing and it was an actual hellscape. Like, I felt absolutely exhausted after they left and I didn’t even have to do anything but stand there and watch. I feel for Blake and Haley, bigtime. Three kids under the age of 4 is super ambitious and insane but one day when the kids are older, it’s going to be pretty cool.

Oh yeah, I had to make Blake cut the cake since Henry was holding the baby and I certainly wasn’t about to break my decades-long cake-cutting boycott.

But poor Chooch! He just wanted to eat his fucking cake in peace, haha. I think he still had a nice evening though. I wish we could have safely given him a bigger celebration and I did consider trying to arrange something outdoors but honestly, I thought better of it, what with so many of us THIS close to being fully vaccinated, why not just wait.

I swear to god though, if things are safe next year, you better believe he’s getting a sixteenth birthday blowout!

Apr 092021
 

I really love Easter so much and this year’s bunny day did not disappoint. The weather was perfection (in the low 60s and sunny!) and we actually all got along even though Henry’s chewing and breathing was really beyond extra that day.

First, we had to wake up Chooch and give him his “basket.” Chooch is definitely my kid, in that he is nearly 15 and still wants TOYS and FUN and all the things his little niece and nephew next door are enjoying as toddlers. We decided to fill a small basket with what Chooch claims to be the only sponges he can use to wash the dishes which is clearly just an excuse to not have to wash the dishes. I plopped in one piece of candy for good measure and then at the last minute, I added a bath bomb that he had gotten earlier that day when he was at the store with Henry (not pictured).

Of course it took us forever to get him to wake his ass up. I left the fake basket on the dining room table for him to find, totally exposed so there was no fun involved. He actually took it all in stride, and laughed a lot, so I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of the GREAT JOB Henry and I have done raising him that he didn’t act like a petulant shit when that was “all he got,” or if he’s been conditioned over the last decade to know that there was something better in store if he just rides it out—probably the latter, lol.

Then I needed to get him BACK into his room because Henry left DOLL on his computer desk with one lone Easter egg. OMG for a kid who never wants to leave his room, it was surprisingly hard to get him to go back into it! Granted, the reason I used was probably a bad one: I told him that our new Easter tradition was going to Church with Blake, Haley and the kids and that he needed to go change into something nice, which made shit hit the fan. he became INEXPLICABLY distraught at the prospect of suddenly having to go to church after all these years of living in the lap of heathenism.

Finally got him to go into his room, where he hurled himself down on his bed and proceeded to cry some more. God, this kid!! We should have kept him in Catholic school! Why did we ever pull him out? Oh right, my blog. LOLOLOL.

Anyway, I had to point out DOLL to him just to speed shit up and that set him off even more. “OMG YOU MADE ME GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS JUST SO I COULD SEE DOLL?? UGH!” and he stormed off back downstairs without even realizing that DOLL contained an Easter egg, because DUMB HENRY stuck the egg up her dress instead of just setting it in her lap like I told him to, so then I had to carry DOLL downstairs and thrust her at Chooch, who refused to take her and instead gave me this bewildered look, like “I’m used to you acting insane but you are being TRULY STRANGE this morning” so then I had to EXTRACT the egg from DOLL’s dress and chuck it at Chooch, who finally started to realize that this was an effort to make Easter fun for a surly teen. Except that now DOLL’s egg message didn’t make sense since he was supposed to open it IN HIS ROOM, but now he was in the dining room so he asked, “All of the eggs are hidden in the basement?” Ugh. This dumb scavenger hunt WAS NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

We only hid 8 eggs the night before, just on the first floor, so this hunt should have been over relatively quickly but instead my DENSE SON dragged it out for nearly an hour because he is sooooo obtuse! We were giving him all these dumb hints and he was just standing in the middle of the room, looking lost.

Although, to be fair, one of my hints was “Something you could find at the circus” and he cried THAT COULD BE LITERALLY THIS ENTIRE ROOM!

Anyway, all of the eggs contained a piece of Russian candy and a “coupon” for things like “trip to the Columbus Zoo” and “Dad takes out garbage for month of April.” (In response to that one, Henry wrote out a coupon that says “Geocaching with mom, no less than two hours!”

I hate geocaching.

After he found all of his idiotic eggs, he was sitting on the church pew (oh the irony) watching TV so I ran upstairs to get his real basket, which I’m not entirely sure he was expecting after going through the rigmarole of collecting Easter coupons.

I wish I still got an Easter basket! I am fully planning on giving Chooch an Easter basket (and any future partner/spouse he might wind up with) for the rest of my life.

Later that afternoon, we drove out to Economy Park, which we haven’t to been to in quite some time but the playground is cool because it has this big electronic game that Chooch and I always think we are obsessed with until we get there and remember that it’s broken. The road to the pavilions is closed so we had to park at the playground and walk for about a half mile (??? I’m really bad with measuring distance!), all of which was without Henry who had to go back to the car when we made it out of the parking lot because he forgot the BUNNY PLATE I bought specifically for our EASTERgayo sandwiches, so he ended up being way behind us on the walk which was hilarious to me and Chooch but probably actually super peaceful for Henry.

You might remember that I deemed these sandwiches our “new Easter tradition” two Easters ago. They are based off the Inkigayo sandwich in South Korea, which is a multi-layered sandwich served in the cafeteria to idols performing at the Inkigayo weekly music show. The idols love them so much that various convenience stores in Korea attempted to recreate them and let me tell you, we ate some v. tasty ones on our last trip! Anyway, there are several variations floating around the Internet.

Here’s my OG post about it if you’re interested!

Easter 2019: Idol Sandwiches & Crappy Woodland Treasure

After lunch, I made these lugs pose for family pictures with me. I also *tried* to coordinate our clothes so we were all wearing Easter-y pastel shades, which made Chooch happy because it meant he could wear his pink/salmon hoodie and not A DRESSY SHIRT OMG BOO HOO.

 

You guys, we got Henry to jump!!

Oh man, what a GREAT DAY, honestly. I mean, I almost threw up on a spinny thing at the playground afterward, but it was still just a wonderful holiday. I love you, Easter.

Apr 072021
 

I know there are vocab purists out there that will argue that EVE only applies to the EVENING before whatever day, but I’m going to be talking about everything that happened on Saturday, pre-Easter, that was note-worthy OH WELL!

Don’t worry, there’s not too much to talk about, haha ugh covid.

In the morning, Henry and I went to some new Russian/Turkish/Easter European market that opened in Robinson. There is one right down the street from us too but this one is brand spanking new (I just literally realized that this refers to a doctor slapping a newborn?? Wow, tons of things suddenly make sense when you’re in your 40s, I guess) and 3x the size of the one by us. ALSO THE YOUNG GUY WORKING THERE WAS SO FUCKING CUTE.

I mean, they had lots of candy! We wanted to get some additional things for Chooch’s, Calvin’s, and Lily’s Easter baskets. (Henry, the laziest grandfather of all time, hadn’t even considered getting Calvin and Lily baskets, that was all me. See? I’m OK sometimes.) Hershey’s and whatever is all well and good but I do love adding some international candy flava to the holiday mix, yanno? I don’t think Calvin and Lily care yet (they just wanted their toys), but Chooch was like, “Fuck yeah, some kind of Russian juice box, thanks Easter Bunny!”

I bought a bag of these sugary corn curls based on the packaging alone, but holy shit are these GUD.

Literally thought these were BBQ-flavored marshmallows but Henry was like, “USE YOUR BRAIN, DUMDUM THOSE ARE FOR S’MORES.”

Wow.

But I bet somewhere in South Korea, you can find BBQ-flavored marshmallows.

Speaking of Korea, this joint had a decent Lotte Choco Pie selection!

I also bought some filberts, almonds, and pecans for my Buddys and Mr. Gray Guys! They LOVE filberts. The one Buddy takes them across the street and buries them at the church. Whatever makes you happy, Buddy. (It’s actually the Buddy that let me feed him outside the other day! I can tell which one he is because he has a little smattering of tawny spots on his left side by his butt, lol. I am so fucking pathetic. Please send help. Or a friend. I need a friend. A human one.

Later that afternoon, Henry and I went for a stroll at our favorite cemetery and it was OK except that I was wearing a pair of TOMS that I got last summer and hadn’t yet broken in, in an attempt to, you know, break them in, and my one heel was sah-creem-ing. Then we went to pick up our Trinidadian vegan Easter dinner from ShadoBeni, who introduced us to the famous Doubles a few years ago at a farmer’s market and I had been obsessed ever since. How lucky Pittsburgh veg/vegans are to have this awesome guy here cookin’ up delicious meatfree Trinidad cuisine!  There was no way that I could wait an entire day to eat this so Henry prepared it that evening for a pre-Easter dinner and it was ALL SO GOOD but hoo boy, I had to roll myself away from the table afterward.

You guys. Doubles.

OH YES.

It is so messy and sloppy and spicy and ugh, just SO FILLING AND DELICIOUS!

This was after Chooch and I were like YOU ARE CHEWING SO LOUD, lol. Ah, family dinners.

Apr 042021
 

Happy Easter Sunday to those who care about that holiday! And if not, happy beautiful spring day in April!

We had a lot of quality time together as a family today (which is happening less and less the older Chooch gets – ugh, teenagers!) and I will definitely be recapping our Easter happenings soon. But first, here are some pictures I took after our Easter lunch at a playground!

Hey, it might not be cherry blossoms in South Korea, but these are still beautiful and give me HOPE THAT THINGS ARE GONNA GET BETTER.

He looks so freaking tall here and I hate it. Remember when he was *this* small on Easter??:

Petal Face.

(That’s my beloved sea-glass from Busan around my neck, FYI!)

Wish I could always use flowers as a mask! This picture was actually an accident but I kept it because I look v. srs. which was 100% not how I actually felt all day. Also, you can see my eyebrow piercing scar, which I often forget exists but this was a nice reminder and now I’m reliving that ER visit in my mind and cracking up. I think I have referenced it here once a long time ago but perhaps I will write an updated account of my eyebrow-piercing-gone-bad, because it was a Bad Idea from start to finish—lemme know if you want the story, haha. I mean, I have nothing else to blog about!

My signature dumb, unflattering pose.

Today was just really nice. Easter continues to be my second favorite holiday (behind Halloween, obv.).

Feb 242021
 

I used to be friends with this one broad who was SO UP IN MY RELATIONSHIP with Henry that it was kind of gross. And every holiday she’d be all, WHAT DID HENRY GET YOU – like bitch step off. Jesus. It was frustrating because Henry and I don’t *always* exchange gifts and she was giving me a complex about this, like he must not love me. But you know what that they say: better to have someone who does little things for you every day than big things on holidays – I think someone said that? Maybe?

Anyway, my point is that we don’t go all out for each other every Valentine’s Day, although some years are more inspired than others (like that ONE TIME I baked him a cake and will never let him forget it). This year, I did zilch for him, but LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL BANGLE HE GOT ME!

Full disclosure, he knew I wanted it and went through this whole rigmarole of measuring my hand before ordering it, lol. It felt like redemption though and here’s why: I love this jeweler (Martha Rotten) so much. I bought a doll-head ring from her probably about 8 years ago and it is sooooo chunky and eye-catching, and you know, totally my style. So then one time several years later, Henry and I went to Riot Fest in Chicago and she was a vendor there!! I got to gush to her face about how much I love her work and even pointed out the ring and yelled “I HAVE THIS ONE!” and she was like “OK cool story” but in a nice way and I was psychically pleading with Henry to let me buy something but this was back when we were less financially secure so Henry answered my silent pleas with silent LOOK of his own and I was like OK WE WILL BE BACK! but of course we never came back because wasn’t it enough that we drained our accounts for a three-day music festival in the mid-west, Erin? GOD!

But every once in awhile, I revisit her Etsy shop and drool over the new(-to-me) additions. When I saw this planchette bangle, I was like I WANT THIS and sent it to Henry.

It just arrived the other day and I am obsessed. I love big, heavy jewelry so much! (This is going to make Henry’s head explode because my actual Day Of Valentine’s present was a new FitBit but I freaked out because it was too big and I was uber-aware of it on my wrist so he took it back lol. I don’t want my FUNCTIONAL accessories to be clunky!!)

Ew, ignore my awful nail polish.

Also arriving on the same day as my bangle was the F21 clothes I got Chooch during their President’s Day sale. I mean, someday when we have places to go again, we’ll at least have lots of new clothes and accessories, because online shopping is like my pandemic sport.

Anyway! Last night, I was like, “Put on this shirt and stand in front of the door” because shit is SO EXCITING around these parts.

Actually these are just tigers probably BUT IT’S MY BLOG AND IF I WANT THEM TO BE BENGALS FOR THE SAKE OF A BLOG POST TITLE, THEN BLAH BLAH BLAH.

He’s just lucky I didn’t make him put on the tiger robe too….(why didn’t I make him put on the tiger robe too!?!??!).

Welp, that’s all for me (except that the latest news in the Kpop world is that G-Dragon and Jenny from Blackpink are dating OMFG!!!).

Feb 142021
 

You guys, Sugar Spell Scoops has returned from their much-deserved January hiatus, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Their cupid-approved comeback featured 6 flavors, but I managed to repress my inner pig and only ordered 4. I try to reason that I’m giving other people a chance. It is literally Pint Panic during these pre-orders, you guys. Their ice cream is highly sought after and their winning reputation has been growing with each release. So, if you don’t sent a reminder on your phone and sit there hitting refresh like you’re trying to buy Blackpink concert tickets, then lolololol have fun eating your SO Delicious.

Be My Valentine is their Feb 14th spin on their famous Dunkaroo flavor, which was the first scoop Chooch ever got from Sugar Spell and I remember having flavor-remorse that day because I of course liked my choice but after he gave me a taste of his, I was straight up coveting it. So now I always make sure to snag a pint when it’s part of a pre-order! This version has chocolate Teddy Grahams and pink funfetti buttercream frosting swirls which honestly disengages my self-control and I just want to sit in a dark closet with my pint and spoon it into my slobbering mouth with my bare hands.

Chooch proclaimed Burnin’ Love as his favorite – it’s chocolate ice cream with mini chips, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Woo boy, that subtle throat burn is perfection! Also, I have said this on here before and I’m not just being hyperbolic but Sugar Spell makes the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had and it’s even more incredible when you remember, as that rich chocolate pillow of flavor melts on your tongue, that this IS VEGAN.

AMBROSIA!!! I was determined to get this one because my mom made ambrosia for every summer cookout we had when I was growing up – to this day I’m always like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” if I go to someone else’s party and they don’t have a big fucking bowl of ambrosia (or strawberry pretzel salad! If you can’t have both, at least pick one!). I did a whole post here last summer about summer picnic salads. It is actually stupid how on point this ice cream version is.

Perfect Matcha is obviously matcha, but also stawberry rose ice cream topped with rose petals! It’s mine all mine because neither Henry nor Chooch like matcha (well, I think Chooch is ok with matcha but he doesn’t love floral flavors in food) and oh baby this is so refreshing. It’s just the right amount of rose without leaving you with that cloying, accidental perfume inhalation taste in the back of your throat, you know what I mean? Sometimes, floral-flavors can be too heavy-handed, or they can just catch you off guard and leave you with a choking fit in the middle of a temple on a Hare Krishna compound when you imbibe water without knowing it had been steeped with an entire rose garden even though your FRIEND JANNA tried to warn you.

Ah, Sugar Spell – welcome back. You were missed!

Next up in vegan food pre-orders,  Onion Maiden’s occasional pop-up The Ramen returned this weekend, and I excitedly pre-ordered two bowls of spicy ramen for Chooch and me, and then the Flower People cheesecake which we will get to in a second….but first – RAMEN CLOSE-UP:

Now let’s get into this cheesecake! It’s made with ube & peach cashew cheesecake, with a soft helmet of cashew cream, chamomile, raspberry dust, and coconut.

It was so rich and dense that I willingly shared it with Henry.

We ordered two pieces though so you might catch me eating while crying in the shower because I’m going through some emotions lately HAHAHA ugh.

Anyway – back to Ambrosia Talk. Whenever Sugar Spell announced that as a flavor, I started a conversation on Instragram with Amanda (Sugar Spell’s mastermind) about how nostalgic this is and she told me that her grandma used to make a variation of it called Frog Eye Salad, which I have never heard of and became immediately obsessed as soon as Amanda mentioned that it contains PASTA.

She sent me the veganized recipe she uses and when I passed it on to Henry, he was intrigued enough to make it last night. I am here now to tell you that it is delicious and the pasta gives it the BEST texture!!

SO GOOD! And it’s not overly sugary or heavy so it makes a nice snack or a breakfast side (I may have done both today lol).

Here’s the recipe Amanda sent me if anyone is interested!