Aug 082018
 

For the last year or so I have felt like such a jerk every time I grab a straw at a cafe because I kept meaning to buy reusable straws – we always mean to do good things, don’t we? And even though the straw ban hasn’t fully hit Pittsburgh yet, I finally got off my ass and ordered a pack of reusables from Amazon. And by that I mean I complained to Henry about how we need to make a lifestyle change and then he bought some. He ended up getting the hard plastic ones and not the stainless steel which I was thankful for because I’m not sure how I feel about stainless steel straws and just thinking about one in my mouth makes me taste pennies.

YES, I KNOW PENNIES ARE COPPER, GOD!

The straws arrived over the weekend and I was so excited! Except that Henry apparently had only bought them for my use and had secretly planned to keep using throw-aways this whole time because fuck the environment, kill the sea turtles, right Hank?

Au contraire!

When we left the house on Sunday to go shopping, I realized after we got about a mile from home that we were probably going to stop for iced tea/coffee at some point because that’s usually what happens when you live on the edge like we do, so I screamed, “WE FORGOT TO BRING STRAWS!” to which Henry calmly replied, “Oh well, we’ll just start another day, I guess” and I was like, “THE FUCK WE WILL, TURN THIS BITCHIN’ CAR AROUND.”

And he did. And I ran in the house and got two straws for the road.

As expected, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts after he flirted with all the old lady cashiers at the craft store (they all know him in there because he’s there so often buying supplies for our greeting card line, if they only knew what we were actually doing* with all that cardstock, OH HA HA HA!).

*(Plaster it with the faces of serial killers and porn stars, natch.)

While Henry was placing our order through the drive-thru speaker, I kept hissing, “Tell them not to give us straws” but he refused. So then I was like, “OK well tell them at the window that we don’t need straws.”

And what did he do?

HE TOOK THE STRAWS FROM THE BROAD WHEN SHE HANDED THEM TO HIM.

“WE DON’T NEED THESE!!!!” I shouted, and I do mean motherfucking hollered, to the shock and horror of both Henry and the DD girl (as in Dunkin’ Donuts, not cup-size, come on now, guys).

“Oh,” Henry said in tone that quietly implied he was completely defeated in his home life. “We don’t need these.” He handed the straws back and the girl was like, “Okay,” in a tone that loudly implied she thought we were fucking weirdos with some oddball reverse hostage situation going on inside the car.

I gleefully slammed my perma-straw into my never-right DD iced “latte” and then we went across the street to the cemetery for a walk.

Of course, I finished my drink while we were walking and actually remembered to take out the straw so I didn’t accidentally throw it away. I rinsed it off using one of the cemetery water pumps (obviously I washed it for real when I got home! Stop lecturing me!) and then tried to get Henry to carry it.

“OH NO! I KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN! I AM NOT CARRYING YOUR FUCKING STRAW!” he yelled and I was like, “MY PAPPAP IS BURIED IN THIS CEMETERY SO YOU BETTER WATCH YOUR MOUTH HANK, HE ALREADY HATES YOU!”

Anyway, now I need to get a travel pouch to keep a few straws in but I haven’t found one yet that really calls my name (i.e. something that is totally obnoxious and looks like a pencil box for a 2nd grade Korean girl and yes, I looked into obnoxious pencil boxes but they all seem to be a tad too short, wah).

I don’t ever bring a purse out with me on my lunch break walks, so yesterday I had to openly carry a straw with me like a tiny baton, which I twirled back and forth across the fingers of my left hand, like some amateur majorette in a utensil parade. This was AFTER I put the straw in my gallon water jug*, thinking that it would be buoyant, but no, it sunk to the bottom and then I had to use chopsticks to fish it out because yes I keep a pack of super adorable chopsticks in my desk and use them whenever I’m eating something other than Cream of Wheat.

*(I’m also trying to find a really good refillable water jug. WHY DON’T THEY MAKE G-DRAGON ONES?!)

And this has been a story about straws.

And jugs (DD ones and water).

And chopsticks.

Yo, anyone reading this: Do you use reusable straws? If so, WHAT KIND OF STRAW SATCHEL DO YOU USE? Or do you just shove one in your pocket, lint be damned? I can’t decide if I want one that’s gaudy and immature as mentioned previously, or something like a small and mysterious cross-body pouch that will make passers-by wonder if I’m carrying secret papers from the ISA.

Aug 012018
 

I don’t have the mental endurance to talk to people IRL anymore so it’s all you, Blog. These are some topics I would have broached to people this week if I had energy to form words:

Recently, I started hating the guy who lives on the other side of Hot Naybor Chris. I mean, yes, I hate Henry, but I’m talking about the guy on the other side.  It’s him and his hick-wife and their little child-thing and they never used to bother me but then one day I realized that they NEVER FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE ME when I say hello to them.

“And I’m the OG resident of this street! I’ve been here since 1999! THEY SHOULD FEEL PRIVILEGED TO RECEIVE SALUTATIONS FROM ME!” I ranted the one day and Chooch solemnly agreed while Henry was like, “Well, maybe they don’t hear you or maybe they don’t believe in hellos or…” because he fucking white knights everything and I can’t even stand it.

The worst part is that guy has like three noisy cars that he constantly works on in his garage and in our shared driveway and at first it was humorous but now he’s been there for about 3 years and those cars still need fixed all the time?! WHY?! I think he has some kind of compulsion and maybe he’s breaking them on purpose just so he can work on them some more.

“I know people like that…” Henry began, stepping into his armor and mounting his white steed.

What makes me even more mad is that dude always says hello to HNC’s wife, and maybe you recall the huge blow-out they had two years ago in the driveway?! (Honestly click  that link and watch the video if you haven’t already because it’s chilling and hilarious at the same time.)

So maybe I need to tell him that I’m going to shove a metal rod so far up his ass that it comes out of his mouth, just like she did, and then that’ll break the ice enough for him to say hello to me?!

Everything about him is starting to piss me off to the point where I’m resorting to my old PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE WAYS of talking about him loudly while he’s outside.

“THOSE PEOPLE ARE SO FUCKING WEIRD LIKE CAN THEY NOT WAVE BACK TO THEIR NEIGHBORS” or “GOOD THING I DIDN’T WANT TO PARK IN THE DRIVEWAY SINCE THE BODY SHOP IS SO BUSY TODAY.” Honestly, I quit parking in that weird driveway years ago, but if I wanted to, there would have to be a BIG CONFRONTATION which I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet since Blake & Haley are entitled to a spot down there but his jacked-up cars are all over the place. Now it sounds like we live in a West Virginian holler but it’s literally two duplexes next to each other in the city.

Finally, I snapped last week and as Henry and I were crossing the street from where we do actually park, I screamed, “I’m calling the mayor to tell him he’s running a mechanic business in the driveway!”

“Yeah but…he works on his own cars so that’s not really a business?” Henry said, fluffing his chainmail merkin.

Speaking of mayors, we were at the Hollywood Theater Saturday night watching our good friend Jessi perform with the shadow cast. Before the show started, the MC gave a shout-out to the mayor of Dormont, which is the town right next to ours, where the Hollywood is located.

“DORMONT HAS A MAYOR!?” I hoarsely whispered to Henry, totally shook at this revelation.

Henry dished out his “yeah, everyone has a mayor” on a bed of condescension.

“WHO’S BROOKLINE’S MAYOR!?” I screamed, but quietly-screamed, because we were indoors, after all. #insidevoice

“UM, PEDUTO!?” Henry cried incredulously, and then it clicked that, oh yeah, Brookline is part of Pittsburgh! I guess I just assumed that Peduto was like, All Mayor, but now I am learning that no, other towns have their own mayors so I spent a large part of the day Wiki’ing various mayors in Allegheny County and aren’t you guys all super confident in my ability to cast a thoughtful vote on election days?

This new information will be helpful the next time I get the fiery urge to call a mayor.

***

Fun facts: I’m stupendously bad at pinball, I forget pretty much all multiplication tables past 3, I have two scars on my face (chicken pox scar on my cheek, eyebrow ring scar on account of having to get it SURGICALLY REMOVED), I tweeted that thing about the Dormont mayor AND THE DORMONT MAYOR LIKED IT.

Synonyms for Erin Rachelle Kelly: imitator, fake, all kinds of low-life.

But yeah, this is a real “article” that I found by clicking on a referring link to my blog and boy was that a sweet surprise. I mean this has to be fake, right? Not as fake as me, but still — who comes up with one fact for a selfie spoon, let alone 7?!

They at least credited my blog as source though, so…good?

***

It was raining this morning and kind of chilly so I figured I would wear my windbreaker so I could put up the hood to extra-protect my hair but then I couldn’t find it and I realized that I left it at work last spring, in my desk closet thing. So I grabbed Chooch’s windbreaker even though it’s just slightly longer than a crop-top on me, because it has a hood and fits OK in the sleeves. The whole time I was walking to the the trolley I was like, “WHAT IS THAT SMELL, IT’S GROSS YET FAMILIAR” and then, when it was too late to turn back, I realized that it was the jacket and what I was smelling was the stench of a 12-year-old boy and I was like gagging on the whole way to work, it was awful.

And then once I got to work, I started smelling vitamins and started choking back vomit-burps because I HATE VITAMINS – I can only take them in gummy or sometimes gel form. Henry recently bought me some women’s health vitamins from GNC and the first time I took them, I immediately ran to the bathroom and puked and now I can’t even think of them without a green pallor taking over my normally super-blushy cheeks. Anyway, Henry is now taking women’s vitamins because “I PAID LIKE $20 FOR THAT BOTTLE, BLAHHHHH!”

During this mysterious vitamin-huffing moment, I had a flashback to when I was a kid, like maybe 8 or 9, and my mom used to go to what the family called “The Fat Doctor” even though my mom wasn’t fat, but he was some nutritionist or something, probably not, who would distribute some kind of “fat pills” to his patients. My brother Ryan and I would have to sit in the waiting room and it reeked of vitamins in there and even worse, THE WATER IN THE WATER FOUNTAIN HAD THE METALLIC TASTE OF PENNIES AND VITAMINS AT THE SAME TIME! Oh, my god, I might have to puke…I just had a flashback-tasting of that water.

One time, we were getting ready to leave and some lady walked in. She was pretty overweight and Ryan was at the age where he just said whatever was on his mind because 4 year olds give no fucks about a filter. My mom knew it was about to happen and even though she was in the process of slapping her hand over his mouth, he had just enough time to blurt out, loudly, “MOMMY, THAT LADY’S FAT.”

Oh my god, it was awful.

He also called out a small person, and an entire sidewalk of black people while we were at a red light in Clairton. AREN’T KIDS GREAT.

Now I wish The Fat Doctor was still alive because I’d like some of those pills. #shameless

Also, I don’t know why I was smelling vitamins other than: another mini-stroke.

***

Speaking of filterless children, boy I sure despise them. Yesterday, I got stuck sitting on  the trolley behind a couple and their boy who was like 3 maybe? I can’t figure out ages of children. He was at that age were screaming in fits is a compulsion. Like, he didn’t accidentally touch a hot poker or anything, he just…felt like belting out a blood-curling bellow right then for no reason other THAN HE COULD. And his parents were just like quietly discussing who did what on Facebook around his bucking body and I was like, “HE IS DOING THIS BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ENGAGING HIM. STIMULATE HIS FUCKING MIND, PLEASE.”

It was so bad that I got off a stop early because fuck that shit.

Today, I got stuck sitting IN FRONT of them this time, and he fell at some point and hit his dumb face or something and started shrieking and I was like, “HAHA good you deserve that” but then the joke was on me because I had to sit there while it sounded like he was perched on my shoulder, crying in my ear.

And annoying dad and daughter were in front of me! But they were super quiet in comparison.

I eventually moved to another car but I should not have to do that because there should be a caboose designated for parents and their unruly children, like A CRY ROOM AT CHURCH.

Question: Why don’t you just listen to music?

Answer: BECAUSE BLOCKING OUT SURROUNDING SOUNDS IS WHEN YOU SET YOURSELF UP FOR A STABBING.

***

I was out on my break yesterday and I got caught in a rainstorm because when I checked the weather on my phone, it didn’t say it was going to rain AND THEN SPOILER ALERT IT FUCKING RAINED. I stood under a bridge across from PNC Park for a while in an attempt to wait it out but then eventually I was like, “Well it’s now or never” and I ran for it, even though my calf is still broken from last week! It hurt! Anyway, I ran several blocks until I could at least see my building and then I stood under an awning and called Henry, who, wait for it, WHITE KNIGHTED THE FUCKING WEATHER ARE YOU GODDAMN KIDDING ME? Can I please just complain about a thing in peace?!

***

Speaking of that jerk amateur car mechanic neighbor, my cat Penelope has a major crush on him for some reason and loves to sit on the back porch and watch him work. I called her out on this one day and Chooch was like, “Maybe she has a mechanic fetish” and I was like, “Chooch!” and he shrugged and said, “Would you rather I have said kink?”

OMG.

***

OK you’re dismissed.

Jul 272018
 

Wow, just wow, I have been a mental mess. It’s becoming harder and harder for me to have conversations because my mind and mouth are suffering from an extreme disconnect, like get these two into a mediation stat, you know? This afternoon, I went over to talk to our new-ish admin person, Margie, about something and I could not for the life of me form a sentence. She was looking at me, like, “THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY TO ME, DEAR” and it was like we were lounging uncomfortably in the Black Lodge and I was showing her how sometimes my arms bend back. (Props if you get that reference.) The whole time, the coherent Erin that I hold hostage in my head was screaming “COME ON USE YOUR WORDS, ERIN. YOU CAN DO THIS.” And then I yelled at the admin lady for not immediately knowing what I was trying to say. YOU’VE BEEN HERE LONG ENOUGH NOW, MARGIE.

Also, I’ve been getting headaches lately, should I see a doctor don’t answer that I’m terrified of doctors and won’t go anyway HAHAHAlolUgh.

Anyway, here’s some five things for you to chew on.

1. When I was in middle school, I read a Lucille Ball biography and the only thing that stuck with me was that she had rheumatoid arthritis and to this day, I think that’s what I have anytime I have even the slightest twinge (or “twingle” as I originally typed) of pain. I literally can’t remember anything else that was in that book.

2. One of the IT guys at work yesterday was talking to me and out of the blue he blurted out, “Where’d you get that picture of Tony Stewart?” and I was like “WHO?” and then I realized he was talking about the painting of Tony Stewart that I’ve had on my desk for three years. “Oh, that thing? I painted it,” I said, and he was all “OMG!!1111” which made me laugh because I literally painted it as a joke one day when I was being my usual asshole self and latching on to an ESPN alert I received telling me that TONY STEWART KILLED A MAN. And then Henry got all White Knight-y about it so I took that to mean Henry loves Tony Stewart, so I painted him a picture of Tony one day while he was at the store and THEN HE DIDN’T WANT IT because he doesn’t appreciate me or my “art” so I took it to work and it has been on my desk ever since and now people who don’t know me think I like Nascar. Anyway, I told the IT guy that I painted it as a joke and he was like “OK crazy” and left.

        SUB-THOUGHT: After this Tony Stewart revelation happened yesterday, my friend Alisha sent me a screenshot of her Facebook memory for that day because this is what my friends do now that I’m not on Facebook, send me screenshots, and this particular memory was from like 9 years ago when I did Blogathon, which was when people sponsored me to blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours for charity. (Hold up while I google Hashimoto’s Disease to see if I have that because people are talking about that on YouTube right now.) (I’m back, I think I probably don’t have that.) Anyway, Alisha came over during two Blogathons and let me torture her because she is a good friend so I decided to look up old pictures from Blogathon to send her in case she needed a trigger in her day, and the first one I found was a picture of a book page and without even looking I knew exactly that it was because I had become obsessed with the word MISCEGENATION and played the Dictionary.com pronunciation of it over and over and then found a way to make it my ringtone. So last night, after work, I randomly put my phone up to Henry’s ear and played the Dictionary.com soundbyte and he was like, “FUCK THAT WORD, FUCK IT RIGHT IN ITS ASS.” Dude barely remembers anything but HE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT WORD! Thanks for letting me share my obsessions.
    3. You guys, if you ever wake up one day and think, “You know, my English-speaking self is really craving a good Korean drama to binge,” PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND WATCH “ARE YOU HUMAN TOO.” Henry and I are shook. We’re actually watching it in real-time (it’s still currently being aired in Korea) so we go through withdrawals after we finish the two new episodes that come out every week. Henry texted me Monday morning and said, “NEW EPISODE TODAY” and I was like, “Yeah no shit, I get alerts too, Henry.” God he always has to co-opt everything I love. But honestly, I feel actual heartache while I’m watching this show, which is about a robot, because the robot is the most perfect, sweetest thing of all time and I want a robot just like him OK FINE I JUST WANT SEO KANG JOON THE ACTOR WHO PLAYS HIM. YOU GOT ME. I keep trying to entice Lauren to watch it so I’ll have someone at work to talk about it with. Here is the trailer, get into it!
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuVQXkx7eEE&t=5s
    4. “It’s like someone poured a bunch of fat into a garbage bag and said, ‘OK, here’s Erin Kelly!'” I said sourly on my nightly walk with Henry today, because I am having A VERY BAD BODY DYSMORPHIC DAY and have been slinging my tagline “3-6-5-So-Fat*” much to Henry’s chagrin. Honestly, I am so trigger-prone lately. I saw a post on Instagram that was all “I’m not saying that thigh gaps are something to strive for BUT OMG LOOK AT MY THIGH GAP” and I was like, “Go fuck yourself. IN YOUR THIGH GAP. LITERALLY.” It sent me on a spiral and then I’m YouTubing crash diets and Henry’s all, “Look, I’m not a doctor but this military diet seems dangerous” and I’m like “I WILL FUCKING CUT YOU, NOW GO BOIL ME A FUCKING EGG WHILE I EAT THESE FIVE SALTINE CRACKERS, MOTHERFUCKER.”
    *There’s a song called 365 Fresh so listen to it and then hear in your head me singing the words 365SoFat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gPQenyj1nI

  • *Also on our walk I decided that the solution to all my problems is that I need to get into a good old-fashioned fist fight and Henry quickly and adamantly  opposed this. I wanted to start with the guy at the red light revving his Small Weener Car engine what a cocky motherfucker. I HATE GUYS WHO DO THAT.

5. It’s looking like we might be getting another department on our floor so some of us were talking about what that could mean and Amber was like YOU MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE DOWN THE GLENNS, and by that she means the various posterboards hanging up, displaying all of my Glenn-artistry when I used to print out sheets of his employee photo and turn it into recent dead celebs which I have since stopped doing since the end of 2016 because we lost so many Greats that year that it was just becoming too depressing. So then I had the idea that I could turn each individual Glenn into jewelry because Henry and I were just talking about how we (read: he) should start making pendants again. “AND THEN I CAN SELL THEM AT THE TABLE BY THE KITCHEN JUST LIKE GAYLE USED TO DO WITH HER BEAD JEWELRY!” Lauren, Amber, and Margie were like, “Wow. That is a great idea” but their facial muscles weren’t forming the appropriate gleeful expression that mine were. I filled in Glenn and said, “I’ll give you one for free, but you have to pay for any others you want” and then I walked away before he could kill my joy.

And this has been the Friday Fiver. Maybe this weekend I will do some shots and write the next great American novel but really it will just be a 2,000 word post about Warped Tour BOY WON’T YOU FEEL FOOLED.

Also the formatting on this is all out of wack but I assure you, I might have brain issues lately but I DO know how to count.

Jun 092018
 

I used to write on here a lot about mental health and my own experience with being bi-polar, and being open about it was something I prided myself on because, after all, it’s not something to be ashamed of.

Have I been suicidal? Yes.

Have I been hospitalized? Yes.

Have I been over-medicated? Yes.

Have I self-harmed? Yes.

I don’t get into it very often on here anymore, but with two recent high-profile suicides shining a light on the issue again, all I see are tweets and Instagram posts reminding people that it’s OK to ask for help.

And this is great!! I love that there is so much love being spread on social media because it helps counter all the inevitable comments and obtuse beliefs that people who kill themselves are selfish or “deserve” it. I don’t care how rich you are, how wonderful your spouse is, how many exotic vacations you take – that doesn’t make a person exempt from mental illness. That shit doesn’t recognize social status.

Today I snapped and ranted about something to Henry:

When you reach a certain point of depression, numbness and ambivalence take over and frankly, maybe you don’t give a shit about asking for help because talking is so goddamn exhausting or you’re afraid you won’t be heard, or you don’t want to burden someone else. Asking for help is not an easy thing to do either. I’ll admit that I mostly just ride it out and those around me are none the wiser. #actingskillz

But second of all, can I tell you how many times in my life I have cried for help, and was met with eye rolls, smirks, flat out derision? Called a drama queen. Accused of “just wanting attention.” Told to “get over myself.”

The amateur explanations and justifications are cool too: “Is your period due?” and “You’re probably just hungry” are among my favorites.

You hear these things enough, and you tend to build walls. I’ve lost so many “friends” (good riddance!) for trying to be honest about what’s going on in my head, how I don’t want to go to their party because the thought of being in a room with strangers makes my throat feel like it has hands around it.

This is why the suicide hotline is available. I know, but sometimes you might just want a familiar shoulder to cry on.

So if someone is trying to open up to you about why they’re sad or feeling flat-out hopeless, try not to judge and rank the severity of their problems because what might sound like something that’s easy for you to shrug off might feel like a ton of bricks on that person’s back. And maybe they’re really struggling to explain it to you. It’s not easy pulling these vague thoughts and abstract emotions out of our hearts and brains and transforming them into some perfect, understandable, familiar package, like spun sugar on a stick.

Sometimes are all I can muster is an “I don’t know!!!” followed by a geyser of tears when someone asks me what’s wrong.

Yes, I talk to Henry about this a lot and he always holds my hand while I wade through through the muck and mire. And I take daily walks while running through the mental list of why my life is worth living, things to look forward to, memories that make me laugh. It’s a struggle, it requires effort, and the sooner we can get everyone on the same page where this is a real problem, not a “phase,” and it’s not going to go away if it’s ignored, then a ton of lives will be saved.

While there is definitely much less stigma than when I was diagnosed in the 90s, it still sometimes feels taboo to talk about, in my own experience, and I know I have definitely made some people uncomfortable with my honesty and bluntness on the subject. So too often, I keep my mouth shut.

What makes it easier to succumb to the sadness is all of the rampant hate in the world. Just walking around the streets of Pittsburgh on my lunch break, the prevalent vibe seems to be ANGER. People screaming at each in traffic, on the sidewalks, into their cellphones. So much anger and hate in the news, too.

I mean, we do live in an age where the go-to Internet roast is telling someone to kill themselves and the current US President is one of the biggest bullies of them all, so clearly there is a lot of work to be done.

Until then: Be patient. Be kind. Be open-minded. Be outspoken. Let’s all turn our phones off more often and paint a picture, write a letter, read a BOOK.

After all, we’re all going through this together.

May 142018
 

We’ll start this party with an obliggy keyboard kitty.

  • Henry and I took a leisurely stroll through Brookline Sunday morning which is the least he could do since I made my own breakfast on Mother’s Day (confetti waffles, bitches, and don’t get too excited because they were the toaster kind). Walking down the Boulevard almost always offers some form of entertainment, whether it’s the old man who totes his 1980s boombox around with him in a backpack and dances on the sidewalk1 or watching Yinzers yell at each other outside of Zippy’s and then you get closer and realize they’re not actually mad, their voices just sound that way from all the cigarettes and hard Pittsburgh-living. First, I pointed out the creepy Jesus picture that was a curious part of the window display at Jo’s Salon. “Isn’t that the same one we have in our bathroom?” Henry observed, trying to keep up with the word count I had already set for our walking conversation. “No! That’s SEXY Jesus! Duh.” And Henry mumbled, “Sorry.” Moment later, a fire truck was pulling out of the station, so traffic stopped to allow for this to happen, obviously. This is probably one of the things they teach in Drivers Ed. “Yield to Fire Trucks.” I don’t know. But of course there was that ONE CAR who was so pissed that no one was moving, so the driver just laid on the horn. Like, relentlessly. He could have actually had had a heart attack at the wheel and was slumped over, for all we knew, but instead everyone on the sidewalk was super pissed at this overzealous display of pushiness. One guy walked by and said, “The Jagoff2 Convention must have let out early” and I just started cracking up so bad because what a perfect representation of Pittsburgh, if ever there was.
    • SIDE BAR1: I was on my lunch break a few weeks ago, standing at the curb waiting for the light to change, when suddenly, “GLORIA! GLORIA! i THINK THEY GOT YOUR NUMBER! GLORIA!” was blasting in my ear. I looked to my right and sure enough, there was Brookline Dancer, dancing in place next to me on Liberty Avenue! What a joy to see him downtown!
    • SIDEBAR2: Jagoff is Pittsburghese for “jack off” or “douchebag.” I am such a teacher.
  • I got KCON tickets for Chooch and me on Friday!  It was yet another Ticketmaster clusterfuck and I really wish someone would find a way to destroy them because $50 service fees?! Go fuck yourself, Ticketmaster.  So, I’m going to be living That Cloistered Life for the next couple of months, but it will be worth it because I get to see Pentagon! I’ve been so obsessed with them lately and I even made Carrie watch one of their videos at work last week. I sit behind her now and I was holding my breath while she watched it because I half-expected her to be like THIS IS DUMMM like my OLD NEIGHBORS did. But instead, she said, “Not gonna lie, that was pretty cute. They are pretty adorable. And it has a good beat!” You know what I said? I very calmly and seriously said, “Thank you.” Because I wrote, directed, produced, and sang on that shit, obviously. And choreographed it too. I already posted the subject video on here, but here is an acoustic version of it that they just performed on a music countdown show last week! I LOVE THEM THEY’RE SUCH LITTLE ANGEL BABIES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV1L7AmEkcs

  • Henry recently found out that my mom still cooks for my brother even though he doesn’t live at home anymore, and I just started cracking up because it could not be any more clearer that my brother and I are related. In my mom’s defense for not forcing us to learn how to cook, I brought up the fact that my dad used to make me clean the house all of the time because I guess he thought it was going to make me turn into a good wife for someone someday, but instead it just made me hate cleaning so now I never do it because, again, I hate cleaning. “Maybe he was just trying to teach you how to live independently!” Henry cried in disbelief of my casual dismissal of this whole thing.
  • Last Friday on the trolley, some broad started clipping her nails. I know, right. Immediately, like even faster than I was able to realize that human bits were being clipped, the guy across from her said, in the most Kevin from The Office way, “That’s really gross.” So she said, “YEAH WELL I HAVE A MEETING” (bitch, ok, so?) and then HE said, “You couldn’t do that at home?” So SHE said, “NO I HAVE 3 JOBS AND IF YOU WOULD MIND YOUR BUSINESS I’D APPRECIATE IT” and he calmly monotoned, “OK” and then she continued to clip her nails. I ALMOST SAT IN FRONT OF HER TOO. I still think about that, to this day (three days later).
    • Also, I doubt she has three jobs but OK, I exaggerate a lot too when I’m in a public confrontation. BITCH WHATCHU LOOKING AT I JUST GOT OUTTA JAILLLLLLLL.

I call this “RIP My Feet.” Would you believe people used to buy my art?

  • Yesterday was the last day of the Walking Challenge, you guys! I managed to get 30,000 steps every day during the final week except for last Monday, where I only got 27,000 (as previously mentioned.) This morning, it felt so great to not immediately put myself in walking mode, and I quietly wept with joy as I ate my breakfast, in a seated position. But then things took a turn. Carrie was entering her steps for this last week and realized she missed a day earlier on in the competition. No, I don’t mean that she crashed out in a gin bath for an entire day and accumulated zero steps, I mean that she just “somehow” missed entering her steps for one day. I was internally fuming about this. WHAT A DUM-DUM! I was thinking in my head while concocting different ways to humiliate her when the results come in tomorrow and we’re even further down in the standings. Maybe I could start calling her Lou Jr.? New Lou? But then something inside me, some niggling sensation of paranoia, made me check my own steps and sure enough I MISSED A DAY TOO! 4/20 TO BE EXACT AND NO IT WASN’T BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY FLOATING ON A CLOUD WITH MILEY CYRUS. We have to manually type in our steps on some confusing firm-provided page thing and I guess I just didn’t go back far enough on the first week. And then I realized, “THE FIRST WEEK?!” That’s the week that the Top #25 Mini Challenge happened and I came in 4th overall for individual walkers, so I went back and looked at the numbers AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN 3RD. Motherfucker!! Carrie pointed out that it was moot because the prize was still the same regardless, and she’s right but UGH CITY! I wanted to fucking scream into a pillow! But then I started crazy-laughing because think about it — I missed entering a 20,000-step day AND STILL PLACED and MY TEAM WAS STILL IN 3RD THAT WEEK! So, I guess that’s kind of cool. I’m still mad at myself though. I was bitching about my snafu to another co-worker by the bathroom when Sandy walked by and just started laughing because I AM CONSUMED and she knows it and if we’re being honest here, SHE EGGS ME ON.  This challenge can fuck off. I’m going back into retirement.
    • Now that I think about it, really sounds like my team was sabotaged.
  • Today, I got a news alert that Margot Kidder died so I texted my brother Ryan and said, “Wasn’t it a Margot Kidder autobiography that you were holding in one of the Evil Bastard scenes?” and Ryan said, “Oh wow, I usually have a good memory for that kinda stuff but I have no idea lol. I forgot about the Evil Bastard videos” and I AM SO OFFENDED. NO SCRATCH THAT, I’M BETRAYED. “The Many Ways To Kill An Evil Bastard” was like, my crowning cinematic achievement in high school and Ryan was the main lead!  Um, let’s just say it’s a good thing YouTube wasn’t around in the 90s or my 11th grade English teacher would have been even more mad about that scene in my group’s Longfellow video presentation where I spoofed her getting thrown off her horse, which is a real thing that happened, she was thrown from a horse, and in one scene of our video, I wrapped bloody gauze around my head and knee, borrowed crutches from a friend, and hobbled down the hallway moaning about how all I wanted to do was read some Longfellow but then I got thrown off my horse instead AND SHE WAS SO MAD ABOUT IT!? Everyone in the class was all “hahahaha” and she was all “F F F F F F.”
    • See also: this is how I learned that I can’t walk with crutches.

And we’ll end with this quote that I jotted down in here last week because I didn’t want to forget and planned on elaborating, but now I can’t remember what Henry and I were talking about because all I can remember from the past several weeks is the sound of my feet hitting the floor.

“I’ll put an ad in the paper. ‘Must —‘”

“Be Korean?!” I interjected.

“‘–pay your own way‘,” Henry finished with a frown.

I think I wanted to go somewhere and he said he didn’t want to go? I mean, that could be anywhere, literally.

May 072018
 

It’s been awhile since I did a “fun fact” post thingie and I’m feeling super open and loose-lipped today (loose-fingertipped? SINCE I’M TYPING?) so why not.

  1. I had frozen custard for the first time in 1997 at Century III Mall with a garbageman I met at a Steve Miller concert that summer. I was 18, his name was Justin, and we had nothing in common.

2. I sent this screenshot to Henry today and said “I HAVE ALWAYS HATED OLIVER NORTH” and he was like “why” and I was like “YOU HONESTLY DONT KNOW?!” So I had to tell him the story about how back in the day, whenever he was getting in trouble for whatever bad thing he did, Days of Our Lives was always getting interrupted to show news coverage!!! “Yeah I knew it had to be something stupid,” Henry mumbled, leaving me all fired up.

3. Another time when I was a kid, pre-Oliver North hating though, I was at Kennywood with my dad’s goddaughter Kristen. She was a year older than me and nice. Seriously, I can’t say a single bad thing about her. So we’re at Kennywood and about to get off this ride called The Enterprise which is like a Ferris wheel that starts out on its side but then starts spinning really fast as it stands up so you’re going upside down and nothing but centrifugal force is keeping you alive. So we’re getting off this thing and as I’m stepping off, the car swings back into me and catches the back of my heel (I just asked Henry what that part of the foot is called and he thinks it’s the Achilles’ tendon thing but look, we’re not doctors). Yeah so this huge chunk of amusement park metal clips the back of my foot-thing and CUTS IT so I’m crying and like, “Oh my god did it take my foot?! Did it take the whole foot?” But no, my foot was still there. Anyway, I just remembered this the other day because I was walking in place while watching a k-drama (I’m currently watching Evergreen and it’s lovely) when I walked into the coffee table backward and CLIPPED THAT SAME BODY PART off the bottom of the table and it was like flashback city up in here, double the pain because I had the present injury to tend to while the memories of the past Enterprise-wound came flooding back and I was screaming. Just screaming. Henry was like “You’re fine” and then I realized I only had like 20,009 steps so I stopped screaming and started walking again.

But then! A few days later, I was watching another drama (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo — excellent!! Highly recommend!!) when the main guy is wearing shoes that are too small and his SAME BODY PART gets all cut up and he’s bleeding back there through his socks and it reminded me of later that night when I got home from Kennywood and my SOCK (it was peach and like, netted if that makes sense) was STUCK TO THE NOW-DRIED BLOOD ON MY ‘THAT BODY PART’ and I had to soak it in the bathtub to get it to peel off so then that was twice in a week that Present Day Me was writhing in phantom pain, and oh hey here we go for round three.

[Korean drama sidebar: If you have ever watched a Korean drama, you might know that the “Wrist Grab” is something that the men do to their women, which sounds sooooooooooo 1950s, women are subordinates, get back in the kitchen, etc etc., but it somehow comes off as SO HOT AND ROMANTIC. “I wish you would grab me by the wrist like that,” I sighed over the weekend, and a sardonic guffaw mouth-farted out of Henry. “Yeah, I can only imagine how fast you’d backhand me if I did that!” But then we were in the kitchen later that weekend, and as he turned to leave the room, he grabbed my wrist and started to pull me with him. My kneejerk reaction was to resist and then knock him out with a frying pan, but then I realized what he was doing and we both started cracking up BECAUSE THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR US AT ALL. Good effort though, Henry. Sorry I almost murdered you.]

4. I have smrobably referenced this on here before but when I was in middle school, I went to Lake Chataugua with my friend Liz and her family. Liz’s younger sister Jane accidentally said “smrobably” instead of “probably” and for some reason, this has been a permanent resident in my vocabulary bank since 1992 and Henry absolutely hates it because it will come rushing out of my mouth during even the most serious conversations. I can’t help it! I love how it sounds! Anyway, Liz and I have had infrequent contact since high school, but she DM’d me on Instagram last week to tell me that Lost Boys is playing at a theater down the street from her in Boston and it made me think of her, so I of course told her about how Henry rues the day she ever invited me to her lake house because I have been verbally assaulting him with a fictional word for years, and when I told him I told her, Henry was like, “What did she say? I bet she doesn’t even remember it” and I slowly said, “Well…she hasn’t responded to me….” and I started to feel bad for myself because I have this knack for latching on to very minute moments that everyone else seems to forget right away but I carry it with me against my chest like a badge of friendship for the rest of my life even though it’s clearly insignificant to everyone else involved. So then I just felt dumb because of course Liz hadn’t answered me in a day — she was probably thinking I was confusing a memory of someone else with her, and how awkward. But then a day later, she did respond and said she would have to tell Jane what I said, and that’s how I know she remembered BECAUSE I NEVER SAID I GOT IT FROM JANE! So there, Henry. I was so smug after that, but you smrobably already figured as much.

5. BONUS FACT ABOUT HENRY: Henry is very specifically judgmental about people. It’s never in an ‘Oh honey, I’m so much better than you” social-status kind of way, but more of a “Do It The Blue Collar Way or GTFO” sense. For instance, I was watching one of my favorite Korean vloggers tonight and in her new video, she was doing an unboxing and while maybe someone else would hate on her out of jealousy because she’s getting free shit sent to her, Henry honed in something that probably no one else noticed or gave a shit about: the way she was handling her box-cutter. “OH, THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO GET CUT. YEAH, SHE’S GOING TO CUT HERSELF. IDIOT,” Henry angrily huffed in a very Ron Swanson-type of way. He hates seeing people use tools incorrectly. This is why I’m not even allowed to use a regular kitchen knife so he can’t really complain when I’m waking him up at night holding out an apple for him to cut for me because the apple is too big for the apple slicer and not only that BUT I AM AFRAID OF THOSE THINGS AFTER ONE NEARLY SPLIT MY HAND INTO EIGHTHS!!

Well, now you know more about me and I’m laughing because one time some girl I knew on the Internet, only vaguely, decided I wasn’t paying enough attention to her and started yelling (you know, in all caps) about how all I ever do is write about myself, and I was like, “I mean my blog is called Oh Honestly Erin, so….”

Mar 032018
 

I’m not gonna say “people keep asking me” because that implies that I actually talk to people, but the question of why I don’t really go to shows anymore has come up in conversation twice over the last several weeks, and I guess I just didn’t realize how much of my blog was dedicated to show recaps for awhile there! Thinking back, the last show I went to was in October which seems like forever ago. I still check my favorite venues regularly but there just really isn’t anything I want to see (except for those Balance & Composure farewell shows in Philly but Henry was like DO YOU WANT TO HAVE MONEY WHEN WE’RE IN KOREA OR DO YOU WANT TO KEEP TRYING TO DO ALL THESE DUMB ROAD TRIPS? and I was like, “Touché, motherfucker.”).

So here’s a – hopefully – quick explanation on why my show attendance has really waned over the last 6 months.

  • The aforementioned “money” thing. I have been dead-set on saving money for Korea. Contrary to some people’s belief, Henry and I are not made of money. I might work at a law firm but I am definitely not bringing home a lawyers salary! And even though the shows I was going to were pretty cheap, not big venue concerts, that still adds up. Plus: merch. I had to slow my roll on the vinyl-buying front or else I’d never be leaving Pittsburgh.
  • I was tired of spending so much time alone. It was still worth it to go alone if it was one of my favorite bands but oftentimes I was going to shows even if I only had a moderate interest in it, and the anxiety I had to work through to get there was wearing me down. It was a catch-22 because then of course the music would energize me. But still, it was getting to be too much on my nerves!
  • My exercise addiction made me start saying no to more and more shows because I didn’t want to be standing around all night. I guess there are worse things to be addicted to?
  • I’m just not connecting with that type of music anymore. I still like it! But I’m not connecting on an emotional level like I was before where it felt like it was repairing me. I have changed a lot over the last year. So, ITS NOT YOU ITS ME! I still love that scene but…more so as something that used to be a big part of me. I will always love it for the memories. I think it’s good to change things up, and looking back, I have loved so many different types of music and I really like that about myself. Staying stagnant is boring! Ya gotta open your heart and mind to new things every now and then.
  • Liking music from another country means I can’t just pop on over to Mr. Small’s or Smiling Moose to catch some Korean indie act. I have to save my monies and pray that the groups I like will do a world tour and then fight to get tickets before it sells out. And then also plan to travel to Chicago or Toronto because Pittsburgh is like unknown to Korean music agencies. So yeah, my calendar isn’t exactly full of upcoming kpop shows!

But the biggest reason, if we’re being truthful, is that I just can’t keep supporting a scene that turns a blind eye to misogyny and abuse. More and more bands that I once loved are being exposed for ignoring accusations against a grimy, slimy bandmate, whether it’s someone who baits and takes advantage of underage girls or someone who is known for domestic violence and rape.

Even Mike Fuentes from Pierce the Veil was exposed for gross past behavior and was asked to step away from his position as drummer.

I love Pierce the Veil and this was a hard one, man. But still – good riddance Mike Fuentes and much respect to the girls who were brave enough to step forward.

But then there’s Jonny Craig who has not one but three exes who have spent years presenting evidence of his abuse – one of his exes alleges that he held her down on a bed and tried to shoot her up. What a motherfucker – if I ever see this pig again I will happily spit in his face for all the pain and suffering he’s caused multiple bright and beautiful women. Jonny Craig, constantly dodging that bullet, continuously finding miracles to keep him in the industry.

(Actually, his exes banded together and started a petition to have him removed from Sony. Please go sign it!)

I cannot keep supporting a music industry that lets monsters like him walk away without consequences. The fan bases are largely comprised of ignorant, uneducated bros and girls who try SO HARD to be “one of the guys” that they’re single-handedly perpetuating the “victim blaming” culture.

So, it was becoming exhausting to keep track of the bands I could no longer support and I was also tired of being let down and disappointed by these guys that I once had some level of respect for. I’m not a huge social justice warrior or whatever they’re calling us liberals these days, but I also have a conscience and morals and just as easy to stop supporting these trash bags, you know?

It seems poetic that this year will be the last Warped Tour. Yeah sure, I’m sad but also relieved because that place is a breeding ground of bro-type behavior, savage misogyny, and date rape waiting to happen in the parking lot or on a tour bus.

The line-up was just announced the other day and I admit, it is completely underwhelming. Even Chooch was like, “Eh.” It’s really disappointing that once again, Falling In Reverse has been invited back in spite of Ronnie Radke’s numerous (numerous!!!) domestic offenses. I been, he’s even served time for some of those offenses, but that’s cool Kevin Lyman — roll out that red carpet for him.

So, Warped Tour taking a bow is most definitely for the best because I for one have felt like a fucking hypocrite for still attending these last several years. Part of me wants to just not go, but I worry that I will regret it. I’ve attended every Warped Tour unfailingly since 2007. I feel like I need to see this through for nostalgia’s sake. Oh, conflict!

The Bledfest lineup was also released and I admit that I salivated a bit. If it didn’t require us to travel for it, I would gladly go to that one again.

That being said, I’m not just like NEVER GOING TO CONCERTS ever again. Citizen and Basement are going on tour later this spring and I am 100% going to that. But, this just isn’t something that I can fit into my current lifestyle as regularly as I did before, and that’s OK. I have new things taking up my time now. It’s a new season of Oh Honestly, Erin, I guess!

Feb 012018
 

Here are some things that I’m currently super into, aside from photobombing 75% of my own pictures with my dumb hand.

  1. Trying to poison my work friends

I bought these “brown sugar flavor” rice crackers at the Asian market last weekend because that box is cute AF. I tried to tempt Lori with one, but she was all, “EW THESE ARE OUT OF DATE!” and I was like, “Oh shit, you’re right” and then I blamed Henry because he’s the one who usually checks for that shit at the store. I was going to throw them away but Glenn was like, “DON’T THROW THEM AWAY. THEY’RE FINE” and Lauren was like, “maybe just put a disclaimer on  them like you did with the [red bean White Rabbits].” I was going to do that but I forgot and then people started taking them on their own and by that point I felt like I was in too deep in my web of lies, so I just LET IT HAPPEN. No one has died yet. I did tell Lloyd that they were out of date and he said, “Well in that case, I’m taking two.” So then it turned into this weird carnival of people who wanted to eat the expired rice crackers, like it was a dare or something. And Glenn even admitted that he liked them. Not that they were “ok” or “not bad,” but that he genuinely liked them! It was still really funny though when Lori pointed out because I got all defensive and yelled, “NOVEMBER WAS NOT THAT LONG AGO!” and “I mean, it’s not like it’s MILK!” Oh, Asian snacks. You make the workplace so much fun!

P.S. Don’t let those bars of chocolate on the box fool you — there is no chocolate in these rice crackers.

2. Etude House Dear Darling Tint

So I kept putting this off and putting this off, but then I got an Amazon gift card from work for Christmas so I decided to finally buy some of this lip gloss I’d been wanting to try for awhile. It came from Korea so of course it took for-fucking-ever and I only just got it yesterday. Worth it. It’s so light and has a subtle grape taste! I love it and am going to buy so many more when I’m there next month. Here I am wearing it. I do not know how to model lipgloss.

3. Sharing old diaries and blog posts with Chooch

I was cleaning out my closet (LOL not really but sort of) and found my very first DIARY, which I have probably already shared on here before but it fucking cracks me up every time I read it (there are only three pages so it’s not like I have to carve out much time for that) because I am still basically eight years old. I let Chooch read it and he was obsessed and then was like, “THAT’S IT!? WHY DIDN’T YOU WRITE MORE?!” Now that he’s older, I’m having fun showing him some of my blog posts about him too, like this one I stumbled upon the other day from when he was sick in 2011. And then he’s all, “OMG was I really like that?” and then we get to have a real bonding moment all because I plastered his entire childhood all over the Internet.

4. Turning Henry into a fan boy

For Christmas, Henry got me a gift certificate for Choice Music (it’s all kpop). In a highly unusual and selfless move, I bought him something as well — the above standing Jimin doll so that we can be matching because I have the G-Dragon set. Jimin if you remember is the BTS bias I chose for Henry and he gets really flustered about it probably because it’s true. I couldn’t wait to show him this little gift, but when I gave it to him, he was like, “Are you fucking serious” and I was like, “You have to take it to work and keep Jimin on your desk!” but he said, “NO.” Ugh! Of course Chooch was like, “i’ll have it” though. Also, I should note that I only bought this because I was almost to my gift certificate limit and was trying to find something cheap.

I’ll tell you what though, Henry is totally a K-Drama whore though. I think Park Bo Young is his drama bias. I can’t start anything new without him appearing out of nowhere and asking, “WHICH ONE ARE YOU WATCHING NOW.” Sigh.

Just kidding it’s awesome and I love it.

5. Slangin’ my greeting cards!

You guys this has been the Valentine season we’ve ever had, to the point where we almost can’t keep up with sales. We keep our inventory low because it’s time-consuming to print and assemble the cards only to have them sit on a shelf for a year because no one buys it – even when we’ve analyzed our sales and determined what are heavy-hitters are, printing those in advance is a sure-fire to jinx sales. What this means is that most of our cards are made to order — it’s just more price-efficient for us that way. But those little sets that I made this year have been a hot commodity! So I think that once V-Day is over, we will try to slowly build up some inventory for those at least. I have been loving this though – these cards are my babies, and it just makes me so happy that there are people out there who like them, and a lot of them are repeat customers too!

This has also been keeping me busy and distracted so that I’m not flipping out or succumbing to depression or having a fit about the wind blowing the wrong way — you just don’t know with me. I’ve been pretty difficult to be around lately. Anyway, what this means is that my brain has just wanted to create create create so I’m also working on a Golden Girls line of Valentines! I’ll do a full post on those this weekend, but I’m pretty excited about them.

6. My K-Kountdown Kalendar!

After some of my coworkers found out about my upcoming trip, they started to question if there was going to be a countdown calendar like the one Lori made me for the G-Dragon concert. When my SHINee Season’s Greeting set came a few weeks ago, I realized that the poster-sized monthly calendars could be perfect for this cause. February 1st seemed like a good time to start, so I brought in the February (Onew!) and March (Jonghyun, RIP) posters, taped them up  to the side of my cubical wall thing, and then made an airplane.

Chris is really blessed that his office door is right in front of this so he gets to see these beautiful faces every time he emerges.

LOL my dumb face. Amber was like, “Aren’t you going to put Henry and Chooch on it too” and I was like THIS IS NOT ABOUT THEM THIS IS ABOUT ME, a la 1988 Diary-Writing Erin.

The only downside to this is that there are some people here who didn’t previously know about this so the calendar unlocked Pandora’s Box and people had questions. Which is great but I have been trying to not be super-annoying about this for the sake of those who sit near me, but it’s hard for me to not be like, “OMG OMG OMG” especially when people are asking me about it! I had hoped to get through the whole day without hearing this, but eventually there was that one HILARIOUS “hopefully it’s still by then” comment. It’s whatever though. Traveling anywhere is a risk. Walking out the front door is a risk.

7. Poet/Artist

My Jonghyun preorder arrived today. I am obsessed with this album, especially the song “Take the Dive.” It’s so bittersweet that he didn’t stay with us long enough to enjoy the success of this release because it really feels like a masterpiece. :(

OK well, I had leftover kimchi bokkeumbap for dinner and now I need to put my head down or go for a walk, I haven’t decided which.

Dec 242017
 

“The holidays” are very scary and vulnerable times for me & I often think back to when I lived alone and realize that it’s a miracle I made it through. Not being dramatic here, but painfully real and honest because the last few months have stirred something in me and I’m just done with being a pretender. I used to be so open on here and with everyone who knew me, and all that caused was me losing friend after friend because no one can handle it. (Can someone give Janna an award for sticking around since we were in 6th grade? This girl has seen me at my fucking worst, has been in the hospital with me, and has watched sadly as I made jokes about the bite marks I gave myself in a fit of hysteria.) Honestly, I am so fucking fake and I am just exhausted with living every single day like I’m in some never-ending poorly-scripted high school play. My social anxiety is sky-high and this is always the time of year when people want to put me in rooms with strangers. And not even strangers — at work last week, we had a little holiday cocktail thing, just for our department. A small department full of people who I get along well with, some of them I’ve known for 7 years at this point, but the thought of being in an open corridor with all of them at once made my heart race. I ran in and grabbed a drink before it got crowded and then motherfucking ghosted. I probably look like a huge stuck-up bitch, but I just can’t handle it like a normal person. I literally do not know how to mingle anymore so please don’t put me in a crowded room, I beg you.

The holidays still are hard for me to get through but now I have A HenryTM to babysit me. I had another very ugly cry and rant session with him last night and the one thing that I took away from it, that I said over and over to Henry, is “I don’t WANT to feel like this.” So today I am going to try to fixate on the good things, because I can’t change who I am, at least not at the moment, and I can’t go back in time and stop tragedies from happening. And I’m going to tell myself what I know Henry has been biting his tongue to prevent from saying, but I have GOT to move past this. And no one is going to make that happen but me, which is 100% something I’ve learned after living with this for 30+ years.

“This.”

I’m not blind to why Jonghyun’s death has triggered me so much. It’s because this could have been me hundreds of different times over my life. It has stopped me cold in my tracks, made me reevaluate my life, what I want from my future, what I have learned from my past. Yes, it’s fucking fall-to-your-knees sad and tragic and I have cried an embarrassing amount of times over it, because it has affected me in some way that only I can understand. So please fuck right off with that “you didn’t even know him” bullshit line. How many times did he tell himself, “Just hang on for one more day, stay here for your family, think of your friends” before that pep talk just didn’t cut it anymore? How much worse than this does it need to get before you’re not scared to let go anymore? I think about this and feel so frantic.

The irony of this all is not lost on me, how something that was able to lift me up after a traumatic 2016 has managed to do a complete 180 and make me feel so sad and despondent a year later. Life is SO FUCKING FUNNY like that.

I’m going to try to be more open, even if it means possibly losing friends, because that is what always happens. It’s just hard when I’m crying at work and someone is like, “What’s wrong?” and it’s just literally me feeling sad for no reason that makes sense to anyone so then I’m just like, “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong. Everything in my life is wonderful but I’m just sad.” And truly, everything in my life is wonderful. I have a great, supportive family; I have a good job working with people I genuinely like; I’m physically well; I have amazing friends who check in with me and are so much to be around; and I do a lot of really fun things. But then these feelings come back and overshadow all the good and all I can see is the bad, the negative, the morbid. I used to be so honest about these issues on here, and I would get messages from strangers telling me that it helped them to know they weren’t alone, that they could relate. I want to do that again, instead of hiding who I am out of embarrassment or fear because this blog is less anonymous now than it was then. If me laying out my demented mind and putting my fragile guts on display can stop just one person from succumbing to utter despair and hopelessness, then the pain it took for me to write this is worth it.

To try to give myself closure in order to work toward getting myself better, I went full-blown Girl Scout craft-mode last night, because sometimes I just need to be a kid gluing stuff to a thing in order to nudge the grieving process along. So I made this flower frame, which is now hanging in my room, as a reminder to keep getting out of bed and to keep living with the belief that the next day will be better.

It gets better. And if it doesn’t, I guess I will have to try harder to make it.

Apr 062016
 

Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve changed since I was in my 20s. Back then, any little thing that went wrong in my life felt like the fucking sky was falling on me. Don’t get me wrong though: lately my answer to “How are you?” is a very succinct SHITTY.

The only way I survive is to constantly remind myself that in the midst of all the muck and mess, there are still things to be happy about. We can’t always be in a great mood, or dodge drama, but we can always try to have some things on the periphery that help keep us afloat. You know? Should I write that self-book help or naw?

Anyway, here are my current life rafts, if you will.

  1. ICE CREAM DATES WITH GOOD PEOPLE

We met up with Chris and Monica last week for some Sarris sundaes. That was my dinner, and I was OK with it. Of course, Chooch and I didn’t even close to finishing our sundaes, so Henry had to eat them. Monica said, “I don’t even know why you bother ordering anything for yourself, Henry” and he just sighed. This is your life, Henry; just accept it. Some of Chris’s family was also there; Chronica said they were shocked at how well-behaved they were being and then Monica deduced it must have been because they hate Henry. I agreed! Henry looks so mean when you don’t know him.

Chooch’s favorite part was when he “finally” got to have his picture taken with this stuffed bear.

MORE ICE CREAM SOON, YOU GUYS!

2. NEW THREADS FOR TRUDY

Some broad was selling this vintage clown vest on Instagram and I was so sad when she described it as being perfect for a child, because I was hoping to wear this to work and just slowly walk back and forth past Wendy’s office because she loves clowns so much. But then I was like, “Duh, this would probably fit Trudy. Her boobs aren’t that big!” And that is how Trudy went from nude to dude nice clown vest.

3. CAT COUCH

Every single time Henry sits down…

4. GIGGLING OVER REPUBLICAN MEETINGS AT ITALIAN RESTAURANTS

Henry was all, “It’s really not that funny” but I was crying into my rigatoni, that’s how hard I was laughing.

5. GETTING STOKED ON WARPED TOUR!

The line-up was announced two weeks ago and I AM READY FOR JULY. Here’s a picture of Chooch checking out the line-up, and can I just say I love that I have a kid who “checks out line-ups”?! (Emarosa FTW, though. So glad they’re back again!)

6. BRINGING HOME PIECES OF THE BELOVED CLOWN ROOM

One day, I will have my own space to keep alive the spirit of my grandma’s clown room. There is such a big chunk of my heart ground into that room. Instead of being sad, I am pretending that this Red Skelton painting is something of a portal to my childhood, back when I used to sit on the floor of the clown room, listening to Frank Zappa records. Is it any wonder I am the way I am?

And also this beauty that my grandma promised me I could have, and now here it is, and I don’t know how to feel really, but in the spirit of this HAPPY BLOG POST, we’ll go with HAPPY:

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Henry has to re-wire it before we can hang it in our bedroom.

7. INSPO FOR MY NEXT PARTY, LOL

Get stoked, Henry. Also, get some joint cream, because you’ve got lots of food-carving to do.

8. NEW COFFEE FLAVORS

In an effort to be normal, I went to Nicholas on my break to restock my coffee supply. The orange is way orangier than I imagined and I love it so hard. The Rainforest Crunch is OK.  Someone is getting an Erin’s Lunch Break post card about this. (Also, whoever sent me the postcard with the Pee Wee/Texas reference, THANK YOU! Totally made my day!)

Other than that, I’m wearing my tunnel vision glasses, relying on humor, exploring the past, and doing LOTS of emphatic screaming while watching Pens games. We’re going on vacation at the end of the month and lord knows I need it.

 

Mar 172016
 

Chooch gave me back my blog for a second so here’s a quick post before he takes over again with his STORY THAT HAS NO END IN SIGHT. Just kidding, Chooch. Keep writing, bro. I mean, son.

  • HENRY’S SALAD DRESSING: Don’t be gross, this isn’t a euphemism for Henry’s sperm bank donation. Literally, he makes the best dressing for my basic white girl kale that I have ever had. It’s probably best that I don’t know all of the details, but he definitely uses balsamic vinegar, stone ground mustard (the BEST kind of ground, in my opinion), and I think a tiny bit of PURE MAPLE SYRUP which gives it the most subtle sweetness and oh my god, why am I at work right now when I could be at home licking that salad semen off my fingertips, ugh.
  • PEOPLE GIVING ME CHEEZITS: I helped Todd with a support-type question today and he gave me the rest of his box of Cheezits as a thank you and my response was a very Shirley Temple-ish, “REALLY? For ME?” I can’t believe I used to hate Cheezits when I was a kid. Maybe they weren’t made with “100% Real Cheese” back then.
    • And then Glenn dropped a pack of fruit snacks on my desk as he was leaving – I FEEL SO RICH.
  • PEOPLE BEING NICE TO ME: I went to The Exchange on my lunch break yesterday and all the neo-hipster kids working there were very nice to me, so for a few minutes, I was able to coexist peacefully with those whom I do not understand.
    • Probably only nice to me because aw, look at this old broad coming in here to probably look for Carpenters 8-tracks.
      • Actually, I was there to finally buy the latest CHVRCHES record.
        • On vinyl, not 8-track.
    • Then I went to the Pittsburgh Welcome Center to get postcards and the lady there was nice to me too, and the lucky recipient of my very first GREETINGS FROM ERIN’S LUNCH BREAK post card will get to read all about that.
  • A BAND FINALLY ISSUING AN ACCEPTABLE AND APPLAUDABLE STATEMENT REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT: Ricky from Foxing came forward and cleared the air regarding an incident that occurred several years ago when he was 17 and nowhere in his statement did he make excuses for himself or victim blame, and the band is donating part of their tour earnings to RAINN and expressed an interest in opening up a healthy and respectful discussion about these issues. This came right on the heels of the singer of Better Off doing the complete opposite and completely letting down the scene and likely ruining his career on top of that.
    • Bled Fest has removed Better Off from the lineup. They were one of the bands I was most looking forward to see but certainly not anymore.
  • REALIZING MY PURPOSE IN LIFE: So for years I thought this was either manure packaging or starting my own record label but it is now clear to me that I need to start a DIY venue for the small, real small, small-small bands that book their shows basically in the basements of college rape sheds. So I suggested to Henry that we find a small building to soundproof, just has to be in a not-too-horrible area, and then we can be all, “Hey little sad boy emo bands, fuck that basement noise, come play at our venue, it’ll be ready once we evict the squatters” and then Kaitlin can set up a table of her immaculate desserts and all the kids will be like “OMG AND A BAKE SALE TOO?? THIS IS SO DIY!” Henry actually considered this and said, “We just need money to buy a building” which is basically his way of saying “This will never work because we never have money” BUT he didn’t exactly dismiss my passionate idea either. Then Chooch came downstairs and was all “this sounds dumb.” I tried to get him excited by including him. “You can pass out flyers at school and be all come to this show at my mom’s venue, yo” and Chooch said, “No. It’s my venue.”
  • NEW SAOSIN SONG!: For the first time in seven years, Saosin has recorded a new song, and not only that, but Anthony Green is back as their singer! Christina and I loved this band back in the day, and they were my gateway into many years of loving and obsessing over Circa Survive. (Anthony was the original singer of Saosin and left to start Circa Survive in…2004 I think; too lazy to fact check.) This is great because when they reunited in 2014, Anthony mentioned at Riot Fest that they were going to work on new songs, but then it seemed to kind of fizzle out. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT WRITING SONGS.

And here’s a quick Law Firm news recap:

–GAYLE moved into a dark hallway so then MEAN AMBER took GAYLE’S old desk which means she’s like really far away from me now so I’ve been pouting about that all week. Now she sits behind Amber1 so this is super confusing. TWO AMBERS IN A ROW. Currently, they’re back there chatting about BLAKE SHELTON and I’m just like, “Whatever, AMBER2 THE BETRAYER. One day you’ll miss our chats about DANCE GAVIN DANCE and JONNY CRAIG.”

–Amber1 made me tell the infamous Henry at the Ted Nugent Show story on Tuesday, and Todd was like, “Who the hell is Ted Nugent?” so then he started to listen to Cat Scratch Fever and we all had a good laugh. I came home and told Henry and he was just like, “Oh, you told that fake story again? That’s great, Erin.”

–The second issue of the ‘zine was dead in the water for a few weeks (more like OVER A MONTH) but I finally rounded up most of the key pieces I was waiting on so hopefully that will be printed and distributed sometime before the end of the month. This is hard work! And I’ve had some real pressure put on me about it too. Jeez. And then Gayle was giving me all of these suggestions and it was like, you know what Gayle? START YOUR OWN ‘ZINE!

–I sent Todd a video of Citizen playing at Bled Fest and then he started watching other videos and accidentally became obsessed with some hardcore band. Every day, he’s like, “What was the name of that band again?” and I’m like, “I don’t know…” and he’ll say, “Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to watch that video again so I can see their name.” Like, what a flimsy excuse!

–Just now, Glenn got all embarrassed and/or furious that I told Michele he likes Meghan Trainor. “Oh yeah, I just love her” he said sarcastically, and I was like, “Then why did you always listen to ‘All About That Bass’?!” and he was like, “ALWAYS. Oh, OK! I ALWAYS listened to it” and I was like, “OMG yes you did, like every day at the same time, Amber2 and I could always hear it! It was like your Getting Ready to Go Home anthem” and he was muttered something about me being crazy and then left for lunch. It’s 100% true though. And now I can’t stop laughing and I just started choking on a Cheezit.

–Lauren sits in front of me now, in Amber the Abandoner’s old desk, and I wonder how annoyed she is having to hear all of my dumb stories being recited sporadically throughout the day.

Oh boy and here’s a bonus photo of me wearing a Bailey’s hat one time way too long ago, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, even though I don’t CELEBRATE ST. PATRICK’S DAY.

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UPDATE!!! Glenn just came back from lunch and I asked him how the weather is on a scale from 1 to Meghan Trainor. His answer was that I’m smoking crack. And then a few minutes later he called me a psycho.  God, today rules!

Jan 072016
 

Hi guys I’m into things. Here are some of those things.

1.Not giving blood. Amber2 gave blood today at work and then tried to thrust her vamp-wound in my face and I thought I was going to pass out. Then I made the mistake of telling her, Glenn and Todd that I donated blood ONCE in high school and honestly did pass out. “Someone had to help me walk to the nurse’s room. It was like a big scene,” I said. “Wow, that’s hard to believe,” Todd said and I think he was being sarcastic. Glenn tried to get me to donate blood by saying, “They brought their best leeches.” That was the second time in two days I almost puked at work. The other time was the day before because it was the first day I was wearing my new, non-trial pair of contacts and I had such a headache from my eyes struggling to adjust,  that I had to bury my head in my arms for a few minutes in the afternoon because I really thought I was in for an unfortunate lunch reunion at my desk.

2. KpopX. Yes, I’m still kpopping. I kpopped so fucking hard tonight too, you have no idea, and my goddamn gums are tingling somehow. I kpopped something in my neck the other day so that wasn’t good. Here is my current favorite KpopX routine, because hello, apples:

3. Making a Murderer. Yes, I’m basic. I’m obsessed just like everyone else. I mean, I’m already done watching it but that doesn’t mean I don’t spend every free minute reading Reddit and hounding my co-workers to watch it. (I heard that Lou has watched it but I try not to speak to Lou, so…)

4. The Law Firm Zine. I think I already mentioned this but I’m making a zine for the department at work and I am really pouring my heart into it. For literally no reason whatsover. I have two pages done so far with three more in the works. It’s going to be a real fucking stunner when it’s finished. I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW EVERYONE.

5. Anticipating the new Basement album. They were on hiatus for some time and now they’re back and I’m excited. Did I say enough? You should watch this video and let the sounds enter you in whichever way you see fit.

6. Making plans to stay alive this winter. New year, same drill: keep busy so the winter depression doesn’t kill me. So far, there are several shows on tap, Corey and I have a pb&j and Mattress Factory trip planned for next month (and Kara too if she’s interested—KARA??), and some lame YouTuber has taught Chooch about geocaching so I’m apparently doing that with him this weekend while Henry hangs back and reupholsters the bar stools with fun fur, because I’ve projects for days, you guys. PROJECTS.FOR.DAYS. (That’s inaccurate. Projects for years.) Last night, I could hear Chooch in his room, cracking the fuck up, so I assumed he was watching one of his idiot YouTubers, but later I found out he was reading the blog post I sent him about the time we went geocaching (LETTERBOXING—I’m a purist; get that GPS jizz out of my face) when he was three. FLATTERED.

Um, other than all of that, I’m just sitting here, making Henry watch music videos with me on YouTube because I’m 16.

I guess that’s all. I’m always the lamest version of myself in January.

Fuck you, January.

Feb 032015
 

Here is where I start to blog about how there aren’t enough hours in the day and then stop myself because am I really that cliché. But for real. I come home from work and I have all of these things I want to write about, but instead I dutifully eat my dinner and then exercise (Paul Eugene has a Funky Standing Abs workout that is equally funky and stand-y!) and then paint. And then it’s 11:30PM and I’m staring at the computer screen with glazed eyes, wishing there were more hours in the day. And then my fingers start typing that exact sentiment, and well, here we are. Back to that again.

Painting commissions are keeping me busy and I will never not be grateful for that, but something always must suffer and right now, that’s the blog.  So, I am going to post some pictures from my phone that I want to be remembering forever and always, even though they’re backed up to about 17 different social media sources and also that ominous cloud thing. It’s hard to believe that I was able to have a fucking baby pre-Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (Don’t worry, I at least blogged the subject to death.) Literally only 8 years ago, I had a Motorola Razr and had to beg Henry to let me send the occasional text, which would send him into mustachioed rant about exorbitant data charges. This almost makes me want to have a do-over with another baby. I’m rambling; it’s late.

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On  the last Wednesday of January, I went to Tana with Corey and Christy for an Ethiopian feeding-frenzy (oxymoron?) and some smooth jazz, which Corey will never let me live down for saying. IT WAS SMOOTH THOUGH, ALRIGHT? While we were there, Janna texted me because there was a shooting/standoff one street down from her parents house! It made me think about how suburbs are just as fucked up in their own right as the more urban areas. That town has seen a lot of domestic violence over the years and it’s pretty traumatic, really. I mean, for a town called Pleasant Hills.

Anyway, aside from that, it was nice evening of eating with our hands and reminiscing. A+, super fast shipping. (And by that I mean, Christy got me home in one piece.)

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The ghost of this idiot kid is now walking around your house. Hey, you looked.

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Chooch is still going strong with piano lessons! Cheryl has been teaching him some pop songs along with the traditional lessons, and I can hear him at night, practicing “Say Something” while quietly singing along. Also, it’s nice that Henry and I get an hour to tool around the east end of town while lessons are happening, but the last few times we’ve mostly just argued because WHY DOESN’T HE JUST KNOW WHAT I WANT?!!?

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This made sense to me at the time.

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SO MUCH ALASKA! ALL OVER MY TV! ET TU, MTV?!?!?! (Not shown in this picture but seriously MTV has a reality show called SLEDNECKS and it makes me want to walk into the Viacom headquarters and poop on their floors.

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Trying on Henry’s glasses while wearing my contacts and then trying to take a selfie, that was fun.

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Thanks for the heads up on a blog post from two years ago, modeljoanie! #smittyisstillacunttho

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The surprise pictures I find on my phone.

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I have the best customers! Even when Henry fucks up an order (seriously, probably less than 3 times since 20007…so, not flog-worthy, I guess), people still come back. I’m so proud of these babies.

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Oh god, we ate dinner at Mendoza Express on Saturday and Chooch was all, “EXCUSE ME” every five minutes because he LOVES ASKING WAITERS QUESTIONS. One of his questions was, “Excuse me? I think the bathroom door is locked?” BECAUSE CHOOCH LOCKED IT ON HIS WAY OUT. Idiot. Then the waiter (see also: owner) tried to teach Chooch how to roll his r’s. It was not a success.

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Back in the day, my friends would send me ridiculous photos and then I would write ridiculous flash fiction to go along with it, and I am dying to do that again, but then that brings us back, once again, to the whole hours/day quandary. Life is such a fucking Catch 22, which my friend Lisa had to write a paper on in high school and I think of her every time I say Catch 22, which is a lot, because life is one.

I can’t make you listen to the new Title Fight record that came out today, but I wish you would. #trust

Jan 082015
 

Right before Christmas, Henry had a bunch of my old 8mm tapes transferred to DVDs. It was pretty much the greatest/worst thing he could have done, because I am a sucker for nostalgia. And once it baits me, I’m tough to reel back in. He picked ten tapes at random, because he had a Groupon. One of those tapes happened to be the oldest one in the box, and it started with one of the Christmases from when I was in middle school. So, maybe 1991? 1992? Henry was dying because even with my back to the camera, my body language was a neon sign for This Girl is Pouting. “Oh good lord, were you kids spoiled,” he muttered while I smiled sweetly at the memories of these past Christmases. But then the video switched from my family’s house to my grandparent’s house, and for the first time in 15 years, I heard my Pappap’s voice and tears simultaneously sprung forth. Just seeing my parents, Susie and her then-husband Mark, my grandparents and my great-grandma sitting around the table, while Sharon supervised us kids opening more presents, and hearing everyone laugh at whatever hilarious joke my Pappap had made….it started out like a kick to the gut, but then, surprisingly, I was able to watch it without tears in my eyes, while making fun of my pre-teen self. For years and years, I clung to the past in a really unhealthy way, wishing that my Pappap hadn’t died (OK, I obviously still wish that; that hasn’t changed) and that our family hadn’t broken apart like Pangea, that we still all got together for holidays and I hadn’t been basically banned from my grandparent’s house.

So we’re watching these videos and Chooch is getting super pissed.

“I bet your Pappap gave you like, a lot of money for your birthday, didn’t he?” he asked angrily.

“Not really,” I answered casually. “But, we were usually in Europe for my birthday….”

“Oh my god, I hate you,” Chooch cried. “Like, really hate you.”

I’m not going to lie. While there was certainly dysfunction under my own roof, and my relationship with my grandma was strained at best, my Pappap did everything in his power to make sure that I had a charmed childhood. And I love him so much for that. He’s the reason why I try to give Chooch interesting/weird/cool experiences. I might not have a lot of money, and I certainly can’t take him to Europe every year for his birthday, but I will still do whatever I can to give him good memories.  My Pappap kept me from turning into a spoiled brat (OK, I have my snobby moments even as a poor person) by being a kind, humble man.

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This was taken one of the last times I was over there, in 2010.

*****

Once my grandma’s health began to decline about 10 years ago, so did the house. It was just her and my aunt Sharon living there, in this house that could comfortably shelter multiple families, and they just couldn’t keep up. Occasionally, they would call Henry over to make minor repairs, but there were larger issues that weren’t being addressed, landscaping that had been overlooked for years, a pool that hadn’t been maintained since the late 90s. You get the picture. Just like our family, it was falling apart.

When my grandma died in 2011, we thought for sure the house was going to be taken. My mom and Sharon have been in a world of financial struggle for more than a decade, and I couldn’t imagine how they were going to afford to keep the house. But Sharon continued living there, alone, and it just seemed like they kept dodging bullet after bullet that the bank was firing at them. And even though I am so removed from them and the situation these days, I was secretly glad that they were somehow stealing more time. Because this house was all we had left of my grandparents and the memories of The Good Days. The BBQs and pool parties and sleepovers and Christmases on the porch where there was usually one person mad at another person, but it was still so much better than this, how it is now, this nothingness, where we’re no longer a family but basically just a bunch of strangers with chunks of matching DNA.

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*****

Two days ago, I was at work when Corey texted me a Realtor.com listing.

Sharon finally did it. She put the house on the market.

I could taste the bile rising as I scrolled through the pictures of peeling wallpaper and dust-coated glass tables. I sat at my desk, willing myself not to cry. I will never be able to put into words how much this house means to me, how all of the best memories of my childhood were born under that roof, in that pool, among the woods in the backyard. It was my happy place. It was where I sought refuge in my teen years when my dad and I hated each other. It was where I would stop on my way home from school to sit at the kitchen counter and help my grandma with her puzzle while the Guiding Light theme song bleated out of the small kitchen television set. It was where my friends and I would hang out in high school, watching the hockey game and horror movies on that huge wraparound couch in the game room. Sometimes I think, if my memories of that house are this beautiful, it must be like looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for my mom and aunts.

I know. It’s a house. It’s just a house. No one died.

But…the memories. The nostalgia. The scents and the feels and the sights of that crazy velvet wallpaper and the gaudy opulence of the clown room — it’s not just a time capsule of my childhood, but also a veritable set design for the strange aesthetics of the 60s and 70s, like if you could walk into the word “Groovy” and pop a squat. Their interior decorator (yes, they had one; his name was Herbie) definitely went for Liberace Lite.

When I show people pictures of the house now, they’re like, “Are you fucking kidding?” But this was normal to me. This was real life. This was what I grew up in. I thought every house had hidden rooms under the steps where Pappaps kept a collection of Cameos brought back from the War, a house-wide intercom system, a master bathroom with Roman-esque pillars, a basement with three separate game rooms: one with a bar, one with a pool table and arcade games, one with a poker table and furniture made from barrels.

Corey said that he spoke with Sharon that day and that she seemed OK, like she had finally come back down  to earth and understood that this is what she needs to do, that it’s time. And even though it hurts so bad, like an entire limb is being taken from me, I know it’s the right thing, too. And I hope that once Sharon is out of there, she can finally let go and start living life again. Maybe this is what she needs to do to finally start healing. Because she hasn’t been the Sharon I used to know, not since that traumatic night in 1996.

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******

Corey and I are trying to gently convince Sharon to let us come over for one last time. We just want to look around, run our fingers over the curios and crystals, take some pictures. I just want to breathe it in one last time before some asshole buys it and completely remodels it.

A few years ago, I posted the only pictures here I could find, taken from 2007-2008. It’s mind-blowing to me how a house that was once so open and inviting (it was surprisingly warm and cozy in there, like a sanctuary) turned into a bolted-up, secretive fortress. I haven’t been inside there since 2010, and that was for about 30 minutes before Sharon was shooing me out.

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This painting was supposed to be mine. This was all I wanted, plus all the old photo albums. I don’t care about the money. I would rather continue living in pseudo-squalor than taking their handouts.

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Chooch in the Clown Room, standing near a sharp-edged glass table, wooo parenting!

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Master bathroom, one of my favorite rooms as a kid.

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Someday I hope to have a house to cover in strange wallpaper.

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Sharon wasn’t home one day so my grandma let us take pictures of Chooch in the gameroom. Sharon is real weird about me being in the house, like she expects me to start pocketing the Lalique and Lladro. (Not gonna lie, I wouldn’t mind giving all of those clowns a new home.)

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His shoes were on the wrong feet—parental duties on lock.

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My friend Evan always liked to play chess at this table back when we were in high school.

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My grandma let Corey and I have a photoshoot in there one day until Sharon caught wind and made us feel so tense and nervous that we eventually just left.

Someday, before the house is gone, I want to break in and take more pictures and just get one good, long look at what seemed so normal to me as a kid. I spent some of the best days of my life at that house, watching “Golden Girls”, “Empty Nest” and “Hunter” during Saturday night sleepovers, eating grilled cheese, and playing PacMan in the game room while “She Bop” blared out of the jukebox. Until I convince Sharon to let me in, I’m going to tear through every last photo album I have for more pictures. I feel absolutely panicked about this.

Spending so much of my youth in that house stimulated my imagination and cultivated my eclectic tastes.  I owe so much of who I am today to that strange, magical place on Gillcrest. It was my refuge.

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I came home from work the Day the House Was Put on the Market and was looking through an old tin of mixtapes, in hopes of finding the one I had just written about the other day. It’s been a good 10 years since I had rooted around through this tin, and  the first thing I saw when I removed the lid was this picture of my grandparents from 1991 and my heart split in two:

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Sometimes I believe in signs, and this was one of those times. I feel like this was their way of saying it’s OK. That we don’t have to keep that house in the family to keep their memory alive.

Nov 182014
 

Last night, right as I was falling asleep, “Jackie Blue” came on the radio. Do you know this song? It’s old, like from the SEVENTIES OMG, and it’s by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I have been obsessed with this song since high school so as soon as it started playing, I cried, “JACKIE BLUE FUCK YEAH!” and started dancing in bed which is something that Henry totally LOVES when he’s already sleeping, but who cares.

“This song makes me think of when I was 17 and went through a phase where I wore shoelaces as headbands!” I laughed, but Henry just mumbled some sleep-stifled sentiment into his pillow, so since he didn’t care to listen to my stories, I am ready to shoot them from my fingertips like smoking words from a phalanges-cannon. His loss is your gain, Blog a/k/a My One True Friend.

  • Back when I was 17 and wearing shoelaces in my hair, Lisa and I used to frequent a pool hall called Cue and Cushion. I’m really not sure how this all began, and for as much time as we spent there, we never really got good. Every time I would ever get a ball in the pocket, I would make an obnoxious gesture toward the pocket and say, “Skilllllllls” while every one else would groan, “Shit shot.” There was this one guy we befriended and I can’t remember his name but I can see him very clearly in my mind, especially how his face went from friendly to “You are dead to me” when he expressed interest and I was like, “I am dating a psychopathic fire-starter whom I love very much and will never betray!” Which was actually true. I never cheated on Mike once, yet he would constantly accuse me of. Also, I remember him being in his 20s and I was saving my cradle for Henry to rob at a later date, obviously. BUT I DIGRESS. I would ask Lisa if she remembers his name, but I’m lucky that she even remembers being friends with me back then, let alone some random pool shark’s name.
    • I have a photo of myself with this guy and I’m wearing a striped velour shirt that I bought from Contempo after it changed from Contempo Casuals but before it became Wet Seal. I’m wearing that shirt under overalls because that’s how I did it back in 1997, holla.
      • Speaking of photos, Lisa and I hung out at Cue and Cushion so often (and were probably the youngest people there on most nights), that we became friends with the proprietor, Lou, who hung our senior pictures up on her bulletin board.
  • Thinking of Lou got me remembering all of the other mom-types that loved me and Lisa back in the day, like Maryann from Denny’s, who kept a picture of me on her key chain (Henry rolled his eyes at this) and then there was a broad who worked at a diner that we called Home Cookin’ because that’s the generic name that was on the outside of it (it was in a shopping center) but really it was called Russitano’s. We NEVER called it that but then when I met Henry, it turned out his mom knew a bunch of the waitresses there and he would correct me every time I called it Home Cookin’. Probably because he couldn’t stand that he wasn’t included in my antics back then and hearing me calling it Home Cookin’ forced him to think about me having a life that GOD FORBID didn’t include him. Anyway, I can’t remember that lady’s name, but she used to let us go behind the counter and get our own drink refills. God, I miss that. I think it eventually changed to the Plaza Cafe, back when I was 19 and getting grilled blueberry muffins and coleslaw with the aforementioned Psycho Mike and then it moved down the street and now it’s something else but it seems to rarely be open so why bother.
    • And then all of this made me think of the disgusting amount of time my friends and I spent at various diners but mostly Denny’s and how the hell did they never kick us out when all we were ordering was coffee and essentially loitering.
      • One of my favorite Denny’s memories was going there for dinner with Brian, Chooch’s godfather, when we were…20? 21? He saw someone he knew sitting at a booth across the restaurant, so he told our waitress to send that table the sampler platter and to put it on Brian’s check. Because that’s the Denny’s equivalent of sending over a bottle of champagne at a classy restaurant, I guess. Brian spent the rest of our time there waiting and waiting for some acknowledgement from his friend, but then later, some kid that we knew from high school stopped by on his way out and thanked Brian for the nice gesture. The waitress had delivered it to the wrong table and Brian was SO PISSED but I was dying. Then, when we were walking through the parking lot of my apartment complex afterward, Brian tripped over a speed bump and I cried, “THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF ALL TIME!” Probably we went inside and sent Janna fake emails from a fictional man named Tyree, because that’s what we did for funtimes back then. I mean, I would never anything like that now.
      • Speaking of coffee, it’s funny to think about how we would go to actual diners and restaurants (like Denny’s and Eat n Park) when we wanted to hang out and have coffee with friends. There were no Starbucks or really any other coffee houses in the suburbs where I grew up that I can think of, aside from Gloria Jean’s in the mall. Which leads me to my next topic…
  • Ever since I had Dark Matter coffee at Riot Fest, I have been straight feenin’ for it. I finally buckled and bought a bag of the Mastodon-collaborated coffee, Black Blood. It’s a limited release and aged in Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whiskey barrels. I’ve been in a Keurig rut for YEARS so this inspired me (Henry) to get off my (his) ass and buy a french press. My first cup of that steaming Black Blood reminded me that Keurig’s K-Cups are essentially the mp3s of the coffee scene, and I’ve gone back to vinyl, you guys. I’m just sorry that I was led astray for so long. Convenience, etc.
  • Long-time readers might remember Eleanore, an older broad I used to work with at another job. I found her on Facebook about a year ago, but then I forget all about it until over the weekend, when I fell down the Old Job rabbit hole on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about: you find one person on FB that you used to work and then suddenly you’re scouring their friend list for other co-workers and then you accidentally send friend requests and it’s a whole big thing. Anyhow, I was reminded of Eleanore’s Facebook presence so I was scrolling through her shit and hearing her voice in my head reading all of her status updates out loud and then DYING at the amount of times TINA (OMG TINA HAHAHAHAHA) has posted to her wall saying “Hello dear friend, I miss” but in Tina-type, it’s more like “Hekjllo Dar friend i mis u.” Anyway…it turns out, and this is not funny at all, that Eleanore had a stroke two years and is no longer working. She seems to have bounced back, but that is still really sad and scary. I ended up having a dream last night that I went to visit her under the pretense of caring about her but in reality, I knew that she had three wheelchairs in her house and I wanted to buy one from her. OK, fine, I’ll tell you the truth: at first in my dream, my intent was to STEAL ONE. I have only stolen something once in my life and it was magnet made out of peanut shells that I took from Lechter’s, a home goods store that used to be in the mall. I was around 4 or 5 and I fucking swear to god, I was so racked with guilt after that, that I don’t even take pennies from Take a Penny trays at gas stations, even if I need one. OK, back to my dream. So I was going to steal one of these beautiful wheelchairs similar to the blue one I already have, but then I woke up in real life and forced myself to go back to sleep so that I could finish the dream by offering to buy one. I don’t know if I was successful, because then I was eating an ice cream cone that I didn’t like so my friend Jeannie let me have her ice cream cone, which was PEACH MELBA, so when I woke up this morning, my first thought was, “Wow, I forgot how much I used to love peach melba ice cream when I was a kid.”

And I will end this with a picture of me and Lisa at Denny’s (of which I have many).

(Pictures. Not Denny’s.)

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