May 242020
 

It’s weird not being able to do anything this Memorial Day (well, safely, anyway – I’ve seen all the gross viral videos of RULL ‘MURIKUNS celebrating their RIGHT TO MASS CONVENE WITHOUT MASKS AND ANY REGARD TO SOCIAL DISTANCING – yeah, your God will keep you safe. Good luck with that). But you know, that’s why I write about literally everything my family does, so that I can fondly revisit things like, oh I dunno, past Memorial Days and laugh at our lameness and remind myself that we can still make a memory tomorrow, just safely away from people and probably indoors lol. Henry is currently in the kitchen trying to recreate some of the Kelly Family cookout dessert / side dish staples for us to pig out on tomorrow.

And who knows, maybe next year, we’ll be able to do something dumb again like the time we dragged Janna with us to a petting zoo and then ate at a trucker restaurant.

But for now, we will continue to be safe without being whiny entitled assholes!

PLEASE ENJOY THE MEMORY!

****

Let’s Go to the Petting Zoo: Memorial Day 2015

After the dinky Memorial Day parade last Monday, Janna came over and we all took a joyful trip out to Living Treasures in Donegal. Janna strode through my front door with the remnants of her lunch, which included A DRINK.

“WHAT’S IN THAT?” I demanded to know.

“Iced tea,” she answered in that indignant tone she’s been getting with me all of a sudden.

“WELL, YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT IN MY CAR,” I said calmly, I have no idea what would give you any idea that I screamed it.

So then a few minutes later, we were all ready to go after Henry yelled at us repeatedly because that’s all he does these days is yell yell yell. As I was putting on my seat   belt, I noticed that Janna was in the backseat with that damn drink!!

THAT BITCH!

“JANNA WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THAT DRINK!?” I asked without the slightest hint of hysterics.

“It’s nearly empty!” she whined, and then she SHOOK IT and droplet of ICED TEA EJACULATED ONTO THE BACKS OF MY CAR SEATS!

And here we all thought CHOOCH would be the first to spill!

IMG_4826.JPG

We brought Spoon with us for #spoonselfies. Henry was #thrilled. My #LenoChin is out in full force. #hashtag

So, Living Treasures is better than a petting farm but not as great as a zoo. And it always seems like a WOW SO GREAT idea to go until I remember how far of a drive it is (like 90 minutes or something equally as absurd which is basically anything more than 20 minutes). They have goats and sheep and ducks but also VARIOUS MONKEYS and LIONS and OTHER THINGS. Other things like BEARS! So it’s pretty cool, but I always get so sad seeing those guys behind glass.

I’m one of those bleeding heart PETA motherfuckers.

We had some “just pay half” coupon that was good for four people so Janna was our charity case for the day. I wanted to make her pay us back, but Henry was like, “Erin.”

Once Janna passed the Robitussin pat-down, we were allowed to enter the zoo-thing.

Henry bought Chooch a big bag of feed, and 99% of it wound up on the ground each time he would attempt to feed a thing. Their snouts would get within three feet and Chooch would scream, drop the feed, and pull away his hand. Henry was like YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT!

But I kind of had to get behind Chooch on this one because I am TERRIFIED of feeding animals at petting zoos ever since that time a camel deep-throated my hand back in 2007.

YOU DON’T FOOL ME.

There’s a reason Chooch has been calling camels “cannibals” since he was a baby, you guys. That’s not just a cute mispronunciation!

Here’s Chooch, still in a good mood.

Here’s Chooch approximately 5 minutes later, decidedly NOT in a good mood anymore. That kid switches as fast as I do and it’s kind of remarkable. (Or annoying. That too.)

Chooch and Janna had an argument about the peacock and now I can’t remember what it was but HE SURE TOLD HER. He gets so sassy when he’s overheated and tired.

OK I just asked Chooch, whose memory is much more plump and nubile than mine, and he said it was because we were petting a kangaroo, and he commented that it was so soft. Then Janna petted it and said it was soft, so Chooch flipped out and yelled, “I KNOW, JANNA. I ALREADY SAID THAT.” So then Janna cried, “I was just AGREEING with you, CHOOCH!” We are like a traveling troupe of hostile situations.

I have no idea where he gets this.

(The peacock keeps coming to mind because I think <em>I </em>had an argument with Chooch over the peacock. We all had our turn with Chooch’s temper that day.)

Another one of these little fuckers bit my side while I was taking this picture.

OMG IT’S DOGE! MOMMY TAKE MY PICTURE WITH DOGE! WHAT DOES DOGE EAT?!

Babies.

There was a white buffalo there and as we all started to walk away after the requisite 19 seconds of visually admiring the [insert living treasure], I noticed that Henry was hanging back.

“Wow, Henry is really into the buffalo,” I thought to myself. Then I noticed that he was TAKING A PICTURE OF IT and seriously, how often does Henry care enough about turning a moment into a keepsake? Like, rarely ever. But then I put two and two together because I’m great at basic mathematics and I realized that it was a Ted Nugent reference and he was posting it on Instagram for Alyson because she loves to pump him for info regarding The One Time he went to see Ted Nugent in THE NINTEEN EIGHTIES and allegedly knocked over some broad in a wheelchair like a hungry llama bum-rushing the Living Treasures zookeeper.

The only way to exit Living Treasures is through the gift shop. Well played&lt; LivTreas. Janna had to go to the bathroom of course and asked us where it was so I pointed at some random, clearly off-limits staircase and she was like, “OK thanks” and started to walk up them but then Chooch and I started laughing so she figured out that it was A TRAP. Then Henry played the Nice Guy card and showed her where the bathroom really was while Chooch threw a myriad of fits because we wouldn’t buy him all the stupid educational shit that he wanted. God! Go learn with your own money!

I think the girls behind the counter thought we were shoplifting because the three of us just kind of roamed around aimlessly while waiting for Janna and I don’t know how to “look casual.” I always accidentally look like I’m suffering through meth ticks, and I repetitively pull my phone out of my purse and then put it back, pull it out, put it back, TRY TO LOOK CASUAL, whistle, ACCIDENTAL EYE CONTACT WITH CASHIER, kick imaginary rocks, FURTIVE GLANCES ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE. I’m a shop owner’s nightmare.

“LET’S WAIT FOR HER OUTSIDE,” I thought I said in a normal voice but it sounded like it came out of a tin can, so who knows.

Much sad. Very pout.

Finally, Janna emerged from the gift shop, freshly ‘Tussed and carrying a cold bottle of water. Chooch flipped out because why was she able to buy water but we wouldn’t buy him water? IT’S  BECAUSE WE ARE TRYING TO KILL HIM SLOWLY! Henry calmly explained that it was because we were going to stop and get lunch and then as we walked across the parking lot, Chooch very seriously asked if we were almost home.

BOY, YOU DRUNK BOY. YOU DRUNK. BOY.

DRUNK.

 

Luckily for Chooch, we only drove a few miles down the road before stopping at Tall Cedars which I knew immediately was The One. I know it’s kind of out-of-character, since I was born choking on a silver spoon, but I love me some trashy roadside food-slingers. And this was just that. Bar on one side, “dining room” on the other, parking lot full of pick-up trucks.

“I am going to eat the FUCK out of a grilled cheese,” I said, fists pumped.

No one got the daily special (I know you’re shocked that I didn’t eat that shit up) but I couldn’t wait to ask about the deserts! Surprisingly, “potato/potatoes” is spelled correctly.

 

Chooch was still in a sour mood when we got there, especially because he wanted to sit by me but Henry and Janna were like, “Ew we don’t want to sit together” so Henry made Chooch move and he was like WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LET ME BE MY OWN PERSON.

Yeah Henry. Stop making it all about you!

Oh my god, it took our food so long to get there and I think it’s because HENRY stopped our waitress as she was running herself ragged to and fro the kitchen so that he could add on an order of wings, and I’m not lying when I say that it really changed the tone. She went from calling us all hon and basically doting on us to thinking we were entitle CITY FOLK so thanks a lot Henry. Acting like he deserves wings because it’s Memorial Day or something.

Chooch’s Holy Burger.

Actually not pouting, just making faces.

Chooch’s hair was all greasy from the profuse sweating he had been doing all day, so it was super pliable. Every time he would rub his hands through it (which he does often since he is so stressed), he came out the other end looking like a different 1980s New Wave singer every time. It was fantastically entertaining. And we needed all the entertaining we could get since it was taking SO LONG for our basic grilled cheese and burgers to be served.

Janna was fighting with her roommate and that seemed to cheer up Chooch because he loves conflict.

And then I got blueberry pie, Janna got lemon meringue (because that’s what Chooch told her to get), and Chooch got red velvet cake. Henry got NOTHING because he had already treated himself for the month with his AUXILIARY WING ORDER. Hope it was worth it, Memorial Day Hank.

Then it was time to pay and Henry told Janna to just give him $4 for her part of the check, which he was going to use for the tip, but then she only gave him THREE DOLLARS because the ‘Tussin is rotting her brain, you guys.

On the way home, we drove past this junk yard which I remembered from the very first time Henry and I went to Living Treasures in 2004 (a/k/a That Time I Made People Match Up Poop With The Animal It Came From* on LiveJournal) and he voluntarily told me that he has a fear of FALLING FROM THE SKY ON TO METAL.

I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT, EVER. Now he barely ever offers up self-fact nuggets and I can’t imagine why.

Somewhere along the way, the cherry cider episode happened, too.

And that was our Memorial Day. It was OK. Better than being at work, I guess.

*(I was even more obnoxious back then, if you can believe it. The winner of that contest (my pal Kevin!) got a t-shirt with my face on it, you guys. I’m an asshole.)

May 222020
 

This week’s list is here for you with no intro because who cares.

  1. Another quarantine work week in the books.

This week was fine but hectic. I had so many check-in calls this week (yesterday especially) that Chooch was like, “Honestly, how are you supposed to do your actual work?” and I was like, “One day when you’re the big boss of some nerdy tech company, remember that and be good to your minions.” I don’t know why I dislike these calls so much, I guess because I feel pressure to act like I’m all fine and dandy and not bursting out into tears over a commercial that I remembered from 1999. You know how it is. However, yesterday in my video call, I discovered that I could use my own pictures as backgrounds so I got to talk to one of my groups from Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul. That was fun. But then my cat Drew was like, “NOW THEY CANNOT SEE ME SKULKING AROUND IN THE BACKGROUND” so I went back to my typical background of “Cluttered House in Brookline.”

(Meanwhile, Chooch was just on a call with one of his classes and he goes, “I already know all of this. I’m leaving.” AND HE LEFT THE CALL! JUST LIKE THAT! He didn’t even say bye! Motion to be more like Chooch? Aye!)

We had one department-wide call as well and the director ended the call with something like, “I miss you guys and hope to see you again” which made me burst into tears. I mean, I don’t mind working from home, don’t get me wrong, and I for sure don’t miss the trolley, but I do miss things about the office, like saying hi to some people and rolling my eyes at others  (don’t worry, it’s to their faces, so it’s not a secret). I miss my jack o’ lantern of weird snacks. I miss Sue bringing in Fig Bars and personally delivering a blueberry one to me because she knows they’re my favorites. I miss all the cute stuff on my desk (OMG did I turn off my marquee?!!? Oh well, batteries are dead if not lol).  I miss my lunch break walks even though today it’s raining and kind of warm which means the stench of piss would be in full effect downtown. I miss walking over to my old side of the floor to tell Glenn and Todd dumb stories about my neighborhood (it’s not the same when I have to email them!).

2. Produce Attack

Ever since the whole situation with Slut Life started and Henry gave HNC my phone number so that we could corroborate the facts on how Slut Life almost ran me over,  I will get occasional texts from him, always neighborhood-related. Lately, they have been things like, “I have some baked goods from La Gourmandine, do you want them?” and like, yes, yes, I do. But since I said yes once, it opened the floodgates to a whole new game of grocery sharing. The next day, he texted: “I have some extra romaine lettuce and celery – do you want it?” and no, I don’t, because I hate celery and romaine lettuce is my least favorite salad leaf, but I didn’t have the heart to say no, so he brought it over and did a socially-distanced hand-off with Henry on the porch (wow, that sounds erotic yet sad).

But then he called me earlier this week and I missed the call so he left a voicemail that said to call him, which is the worst kind of voicemail ever because OMG did he find my blog?? So I called him back and he explained that pre-corona, he used to volunteer with the food bank and got to know some lady there, and now she was across the street in the church parking lot, handing out extra food to anyone who needed it and I didn’t want to say no, so I just thanked him and said I would try to make it over there, but hello, I was working. So I didn’t drop everything and run over there, you can understand, especially when we have food and I didn’t want to, you know, take food away from people who might really need it. So I didn’t go out there, but then Chooch, who was in the front yard making a sculpture out of nature for his sculpture class, came in and said, “Chris wants you to call him.” THE FUCK. So I called him and he was like, “Yeah if you’re going to go over there to get food, you better do it now because she’s getting ready to leave” and I was like, “Oh that’s OK, I’ll catch her another time, I’m good for now” so then he texted me a bit later and said that he got too much stuff for her and would I like some apples and two peppers and potatoes?

UGH.

Henry thinks this is wonderfully hilarious and that I deserve it after all the years I’ve hassled him with the fake HNC bromance.

So he brought he produce over and then an hour later said, “Hey I got this blueberry crumble cake but only wanted a pc*, do you guys want the rest?” and then sent me a picture of it.

AND THUMBPRINT COOKIES!

AND THEN SOME TYPE OF BUNS WITH PEPPER IN IT!

I mean, I do appreciate the baked goods, though. It’s the neighborly contact that I’m not down with. I hate when people call me! It makes me feel very attacked.

3. A TAEMIN MUKBANG*!

In case you don’t know, I have a fetish where I love to watch G-Dragon and Taemin eat. I will for real sit on my couch and watch video after video on YouTube of eating compilations. Drinking, too! The other day, Taemin gifted his fans with a video of him eating at a restaurant and it made me squeal like a little fucking middle school bitch, you guys. Ugh, his joy of eating is so contagious – how can you not sit here and smile like a lunatic while watching him shovel it in?! (Meanwhile, Henry can eat the smallest, softest morsel of food in my presence and I will shriek, “OMG YOU ARE SO LOUD! UGH, YOUR MOUTH-SOUNDS ARE DISGUSTING!! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!!?”)

***In Korea, there is this phenomenon where people will post videos/livestreams of themselves eating tremendous amounts of food, usually with the microphone clipped to their collar so you can really hear the chewing. It’s call “mukbang” which literally means “eat room.” Some of these people make millions of dollars off it! My favorite mukbang channel is this small girl who just absolutely binges, it’s amazing.

I hate this picture so much.

4. BANANA SHIRT!

I bought this banana shirt. Some of the bananas have boobs. I’ll probably still wear this to work though, if we ever get to go back.

5. Row that fucking boat out of my head

For the past week, I have QUITE INEXPLICABLY had “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” stuck in my head. Sometimes I will let the “hallelujah” part slip out of my mouth and it’s very concerning.

The first time I heard this song was when we had to sing it in kindergarten. For a really long time, I thought the song was about my classmate Mike S.,  because he was the only Michael I knew at the time so clearly he was the only Michael in the whole world and for fuck’s sake, row that damn boat so we can stop singing this song, Mike!

My mind’s jukebox also has “It’s a Small World” and “Gloria” by Laura Branigan queued up to play at a moment’s notice, so be jealous you’re not in my head, guys.

****

Well, that’s all I feel like writing about on the spot. I’ll sign off now with a rare of my cats in the same spot:

 

 

May 182020
 

I feel like I take way more pictures of Drew than Penelope but that’s honestly just because Drew is more in-your-face than Penelope, who spends most of the day sleeping in her hidden nooks and secret hides-holes. But I guess because it’s warming up, she’s been out and about more and I have been trying to take as many snaps as possible so it doesn’t seem like I’M PLAYING CAT-FAVORITES.

So here is a mini-photo album of Penelope, little baby Peeeeeeeen-lop, over the past few days.

Sitting pretty!

Chooch is so fake-mean to her (he’s always like “Drew is the best” and makes vomit sounds when he sees Penelope and he calls her a rat but that’s really just to deflect the fact that he knows she’s prettier than his beloved Drew–we have weird competitions in this house) but she is always like LETS CUDDLE ANYWAY and spends a lot of time in his room watching him play Fortnite with his dumb friends.

Thinking about which plant she’s going to Hulk-smash first.

And here she is getting book recommendations from one of my favorite Booktubers, BooksandLala.

Ok, Penelope says thanks for looking! Now it’s time to pester Henry for dinner!

May 082020
 

Here are some things (FIVE to be exact) that I will be talking (TYPING) about today. Put your reading glasses on. (Speaking of, I need those now I think.) But first, random picture of Drew and a dead plant in a pumpkin planter.

  1. Geromino Jeff

The other night, I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, when OUT OF THE BLUE (or, in Korean, kapchuggi) I had this vivid flashback to the time my ex-boyfriend Jeff  told me this story about how when he was super little, maybe like 4 or something, he was in the backseat of his mom’s car, and somehow, as she was driving down the road, he managed TO FALL OUT OF THE CAR?! This was clearly the 80s when kids graduated from car seats at age 1 probably, so I’m sure he was just popping a squat in the back without the confines of a Graco straight jacket holding him inside a cushioned bucket, so I guess back then something like this happening was more plausible. If I remember the story correctly, his mom didn’t notice right away so he was just like, chilling on the side of the road, I guess. I think he said it wasn’t a major highway, and he didn’t get hurt, so I imagine it must have been a small, back road in their hometown (he grew up in a hick-ish town about an hour outside of Pittsburgh where you could essentially fall out of your mom’s backseat and not see another car pass you for quite some time while you’re crouching in a field of cattails next to a rotting possum carcass.

Now, me being me, I latched on to this story HARD and made him tell it to me over and over like it was my favorite page in the Fucking Bedtime Stories for Young Adults Who Should Still Probably Be Living with Their Parents book. That’s my sociopathic personality—Ruby—winning out against the other more reasonable, empathetic ones.

Sometime after this, Jeff and I went out to dinner with his mom and stepdad, and my dad. I was 19 years old and had much less of a filter than I do now, so without even thinking about it, I blurted out that Jeff had told me the story of how he barrel-rolled out of a moving car except that I start cracking up so bad that I could barely finish saying it and I was also crying & choking because my giddiness comes at me HARD. In my dumb head, I assumed that Jeff’s mom would join me in laughing at this hilarious memory, but she was HORRIFIED and said, “That was one of the worst moments of my entire life” and then the tone grew super somber except that I still wanted to continue laughing so now I was in physical pain trying to use all of my power and brain-drawer of sad memories to stifle it.

Later on, Jeff’s stepdad asked me how the job search was going which was great because I told Jeff earlier in the day to make sure no one said anything about that because I didn’t want my dad to know I quit my job because then he would figure out that my mom was paying my bills, so it was a great dinner.

Anyway, the whole point of this was that when I remembered it the other night, I started involuntarily cackling, like side-splittingly, to the point where Henry woke up and mumbled, “What” with a sludge of reservation in his tone because my laughter scares him lots. So I told him the story and he slurred, “Yeah, you told me that before” and fell back asleep WITHOUT EVEN A TINY CHUCKLE. Wow, Team Jeff’s Mom, I guess.

2. Zoinks

Wednesday night, Chooch and I went on a stealthy nighttime stroll around the neighborhood. There are less people out at night now which makes social distancing easier but it’s also sketchy because, you know, Brookline. So we stick to the sidewalk on the main road to be safe DON’T WORRY! On our way back, we were in the middle of a conversation (thankful I have a teenager who still talks to me but also sometimes he talks too much; I’m never satisfied) when a car full of young people drove by and screamed something in jibberish at us from their open windows. Look, I’m a highly sensitive person, so not only did I scream, nay—shriek, but my feet fucking left the ground. Like the force of my startled yelp boosted me into the air long enough for my fucking feet to pedal the air.

“Did you just actually SCREAM? Oh my god, you’re so embarrassing,” Chooch muttered.

“Why, did you know them!?” I cried, hand still clutching my pearls.

“No! But now what if you inspired them to turn around and do it again? Oh my god, I hate you. You’re like Shaggy from Scooby Doo!” and then he kept yelling ZOINKS at me and I was like STFU.

It was scary, OK?!

Not as embarrassing as the time Henry and I were walking and some kid yelled out of a moving car (without falling out of it, a la Jeff), “Your shoe’s untied!” and I was like, “OMG thank you so much!” and bent down to tie my shoe which was not in fact untied because it didn’t even have laces.

“You’re an idiot,” Henry muttered and left me there to figure it out on my own.

3. Fufu for MeMe

A few weeks ago, I read this book called Slay and in this book, there was the briefest mention of a Ghanaian comfort food called FUFU, which is a soft bread-like foodstuffs made from plantains and cassava, which is then used as a serving device for soups or stews, such as PEANUT STEW. I of course latched on to this, the greater message of the book flitting out of my brain like a spurned butterfly of social consciousness. I started sending Henry recipes for it, which then turned into him watching one YouTube video after another of Ghanaian women churning out fufu on their stovetops, until he was finally ready to commit to the cause.

And this is how, Sunday evening, our house was ALIVE with appetizing African aromas. Henry was unhappy with the consistency of his final fufu, but it tasted AMAZING. You just plop a fistful of it in a bowl and pour whatever soup or stew your heart desires (I mean, you have to make it first, don’t just expect your heart to conjure it up, unless you’ve got that kind of magic, and if that’s the case, do you need a roommate?) around the fufu hill. To be most traditional about it, you should pull pieces of fufu from the mound and press them down into tiny bowls in which to scoop up the soup.

The fufu was a fucking delight, but the stew was the real winner here. It was filled with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, some other things probably, with fresh peanut butter used in the stew-y part, and garnished with peanuts.

I mean, it doesn’t make for the most attractive meal, but WE EAT WITH OUR MOUTHS, NOT OUR EYES.

In one of the books I read earlier in the week, they had Persian jeweled rice so now I’m hounding him for that and he’s all, “ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER? I NEED ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER FOR THIS?” Lol. No one ever said being with me is easy.

4. Subway Update

Henry is slowly but surely making progress on my massive Seoul subway wall art. I think he now he has all the lights in place, but they haveto be adjusted so that they match the colors of the lines they’re representing, and he still needs to get a sheet of plexiglass to attach the actual subway map to, then he has to build a frame for it, and finally attach the sound box thingie that will enable it to play the actual subway jingles at a press of a button.

Pray for him.

    5. Nightmare Nun

Wednesday night, I had this awful dream where I was a kid, maybe 7 or 8, and I was speed-walking along a street in my old hometown, Old Clairton Rd, with a mom who wasn’t actually my IRL mom, and a man who was a plain-clothed priest. We were in a hurry yet trying to remain inconspicuous, because presumably someone was after us/me. I kept hearing this low, demonic grumbling all around me, coming from the trees and empty houses. We were headed toward my old middle school and then turned down a road that I used to drive on all of the time when I still lived out that way yet I can’t remember the name of it. There were people standing outside of their houses on this street and they were yelling things at us, but the priest kept shielding me from them and was shouting, “DON’T LISTEN TO THEM” over and over and this when I realized that something was wrong with me, and I was crying but they kept dragging me along with them, down this residential street which was never scary to me at all in real life because it’s like the quintessential suburban utopia, houses with actual flower boxes hanging outside of their windows and shutters painted thoughtfully to match the aesthetics of the rest of the house – you know these houses. WHERE FAMILIES ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND EAT DINNER TOGETHER, probably. But whatever.

In real life, when you get to the bottom of this street, there’s an intersection with other residential streets, and then they all spill out onto one main road that take you past the police station. But in my dream, there was an empty parking lot at the end of the road, one that hadn’t been used in some time, so there were cracks in the pavement with weeds growing through them. I know this because I was walking with my eyes down. We all stopped here in this parking lot and I turned around to say something to my mom, but before I could finish, she started to scream and as she screamed her mouth grew wider and wider until the red-tinged silhouette of a nun came out of her mouth and FLEW INTO ME WHILE YELLING A BUNCH OF SCARY JIBBERISH and in real life, I woke up SCREAMING THE JIBBERISH THAT THE NUN WAS SAYING and my cat Drew woke up on my chest and looked at me over her shoulder like, “THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU” and as I waited for my heart rate to go down, I realized that the jibberish the nun was saying was the SAME JIBBERISH THOSE KIDS SCREAMED AT ME EARLIER THAT NIGHT FROM THEIR CAR.

****

Welp, that’s all for me. Gotta get ready for my loathsome Friday late shift. :(

Apr 282020
 

My mom just texted me this old picture of my Pappap (left) with his dad and brother. I somehow never knew this but apparently my great-grandfather has bought a baking company and my Pappap used to help out. My mom said that Chooch reminds her so much of my Pappap, especially now that he’s developing this love of baking, and that is pretty much the best thing my mom has ever said to me. If my kid reminds her of my Pappap (her dad and my favorite person in the whole entire world), then we are for sure doing a fine job over here.

I have been feeling so down all day [week? Month(s)?] but this photo put the air back in my sails. I love it so much.

Happy Tuesday, pals.

Apr 232020
 

It’s no secret that I collect religious things (my bathroom decor is very religious, if you’ve ever visited you may have felt inspired to genuflect in front of the commode, Janna always does that I think). One of my favorite pieces is this creepy and hopefully haunted last rites box that I purchased from a flea market quite a few years ago (8 maybe? I’ll let you know in a minute when I copy and paste the old blog post about it because copy and pasting is how I write these days).

I remember Henry was pretty against me buying this because it was during the Poor Years but I stamped my foot probably and lo, it’s been hanging on our wall ever since like the saddest conversation piece (literally no one has ever asked about it lol).

It came with the original (so the seller said) last rites accoutrement that the priest would use when he came to, you know, deliver the last rites, the holy peace out, the heavenly DEUCES.

Anyway, please enjoy the story of how this beauty came to live in my house. (And i was tight! It happened in 2012. March, specifically.)

————-
Last December, I found the most majestic religious artifact this side of the Vatican
: a Last Rites shadow box with a statue of Saint Rita inside. (Coincidentally, this is how my Saint Rita obsession started.) Of course when Henry heard the asking price, he kept walking. Erin and her stupid collector’s quirks, right Henry? You asshole.

Sunday morning was warm and gorgeous, so we decided to kill some time at the flea market before the 12:30 Pens game (no comment on that).  Everything was fine, Henry and I acted cordially to each other, even allowing our hands to graze at one point. Even Chooch was obedient and seemed content with the pack of Pokemon cards and 25¢ Happy Meal toy we let him buy (I would totally not have been content with that at age 5, for the record. – Silver Spoon Girl.)

And then it happened: several rotted-teeth Steeler fans parted at just the right moment to allow a sliver of the most wondrous wood-encased sight to peek through. Henry was the one who saw it first; I almost kept right on walking but he stopped me and pointed to it.

It wasn’t the Saint Rita, but a Pieta; still,  its level of divine beauty paralleled it, for sure. And it was the same man with the dancing eye-mole who was selling it.

“$75,” he told Henry, who then walked away. But not me. I stayed there, lightly running my fingertips down the side, drooling just the tiniest bit and feeling a sense of longing I haven’t felt since I was Scott Dambaugh’s 8th grade science partner.

The man noticed that I was still standing there and he came back over to tell me its history, how it was over 90 years old and belonged to his grandmother who had it built into her wall; he opened it up and showed me the spoon that was used to pour holy water over the foreheads of the sick and dying.

Meanwhile, some man began encroaching on us and I felt myself moving closer to the box, shielding him from its availability, readying my foot for the impending crotch-kick it was about to perform.

Turns out he was only looking at some stupid baseball memorabilia on the table behind it. KEEP IT MOVIN’, BUDDY.

The seller left me alone with my painful materialistic yearning to snatch money off some dummy buying something lame.

Determined, I gave it one lingering caress with the promise that I’d return, then I did my Phoebe-run down the walkway to Henry, who was several tables away by this point, looking at rusty tools and vegetables, which is all he cares about.

“I only have $50!” he yelled when I careened to a halt in front of him, pouty-lip and sad-eyes at the ready. I was really starting to lay it on thick (he still owed me for making me miss the Sleeping With Sirens show at the beginning of the month! I don’t forget this shit) so he sighed and said, “See if he’ll take $50.”

“You!” I wailed.

“This is all you! I don’t want that thing, you do!”

OH REALLY THEN WHY DID HE POINT IT OUT TO ME. I would have probably walked right past it! He just likes seeing me hurt, that’s why.

I snatched the money from him and stalked back over to the guy’s table, stood sentinel next to the Last Rites box and waited for him to finish a much-lesser transaction.

When I proposed the new price of $50, he shook his head, dragged his hand over his eye-mole, and said, “No, I couldn’t. I gotta get at least $65 for this because it’s my sister’s in North Carolina and I gotta send her some of the money. These things are worth a lot of money,” he went on. “Just shipped a really rare Saint Rita one to Philly for $125.” (MOTHERFUCK!!!!!)

And then my lip went out and the tears fell down. I was kicking myself for getting him to spend $2 on cookies moments earlier. Then I’d have $52! $52 might sound more enticing to Dancing Eye Mole than $50. “Oh sure, you can have it for $52! That is so much more lucrative for me than $50!” he’d surely not say.

But when he saw my newly distressed state, all the tears and such, he sighed, looked up at the sky and said, “Get him to give you 10 more dollars and it’s yours.”

“OH THANK YOU!” I said in my best Shirley Temple voice, swiped away the tears and galloped over to Henry.

“No,” he said immediately.

“IT’S JUST TEN MORE DOLLARS!” I screamed. “I have a $20 at home that you can have!” (Of course I had no intention of actually giving him that though.)

“No,” he said, holding firm. “I have other things that need paid that are more important than that.”

“But you OWE me!” I hissed.

He just kept walking though, so I fell back and walked alone with my arms crossed.

“Do you want to get some incense?” Henry suggested.

“…..”

“Do you want to look at the stuff inside?”

“…..”

“Do you want me to throw away your coffee cup?”

“…..”

“Oh come on, don’t do this,” he pleaded.

“…..”

He could have asked me to marry him at that moment and my reply would have been a resounding, “…..”

I made Chooch walk real fast with me back to the car. My plan was to leave without Henry until I realized he had the car keys. By the time he had left the parking lot, I had totally wore him down with my pouting and he angrily drove to the closest ATM and got out $10.

It had started raining by the time we made it back, and as I raced over to the man’s table, he was just starting to pack everything up.

“WAIT! I’M BACK! HERE I AM!” I shouted, huffing and clutching my chest.

As he was removing the candle holders and putting them inside the box with all the last rites accoutrements, he reiterated that it would have been mine for $50 if it was his and not his sister’s. Yeah yeah, just give me my fucking treasure!

He placed it carefully into my arms like a baby, and I whispered to him, “I will give it a good home.” And then I tiptoed back to the car, mouthing the words, “Don’t drop it” over and over.

As we left the lot, the shadow box resting handsome-awkwardly on my thighs, Henry mumbled sadly, “Now I don’t have any money to get pretzels.”

(Don’t worry, he dug up change.)

Apr 182020
 

I’m not going to pretend that I would have watched this Global Citizen live event if SuperM hadn’t been one of the performers but I did end up keeping it on afterward and maybe I even shed a few tears.

Lady Gaga is a mega angel for organizing this and even if she wasn’t personally responsible for snagging a SuperM appearance, I am legit thankful that it happened because everything is so sad and bleak so seeing SuperM singing “With You” made pieces of my heart find their way back. Look at these guys! Look at the joy they exude! They are precious babies and Kai is putting together Legos! TAEMIN IS COOKING, FOR GOD’S SAKE! Henry’s response to this was, “But…Taemin can’t cook..??” Lol – he knows way too much about Kpop idols.

Anyway, please do yourself a favor and watch this. It is so uplifting.

Even JANNA watched it!

Apr 122020
 

(Stay-At-Homeaster? Quaranteaster? Easter Homeday? No? OK, I tried.)

Today was great. I hope everyone who celebrates Easter was able to find a way to connect with family, do the church thing online, eat a pandemic Peep, etc.

I will do a more thorough recap later, but for now, here’s our obligatory Easter family photo, with me catching flies as usual.

Super awkward, that’s us! But, at least it gave me a reason to actually do something with my hair other than air-dry it & throw it in a bun, haha ughhhh.

Apr 012020
 

What a wild month. March started out slow for me because I got sick on the very first day of the month and WAS TOO SICK TO READ FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS.

But on March 3rd, I was ready to really dive into my first book and it was a real unexpected treat! More on that soon.

In more wildness, the Carnegie Library announced on 3/13 that it would be closing at the end of the day on 3/14 and stay closed until 3/31, in an effort to stay safe during the coronavirus crisis. Obviously, props to them for being responsible. But selfishly, I was SCREAMING. I had to go to their website the night before and check to see which of my “want to read” books are currently available at my local branch, made a list, and walked there the next morning with a canvas bag.

People mass-buying toilet paper while I’m out there scooping up books from the library.

And, as with the previous two months, I had another book coincidence to make it a three month streak: two back-to-back books mentioned the act of kneeling on uncooked rice.

KNEELING ON UNCOOKED RICE!

Also, the Spanish Flu was referenced in several of these books and I fucking swear….this universe.

Anyway, let’s get into it!

  1. Blue Monday – Nicci French

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I picked this up because I kept seeing it all over BookTube and Good Reads. I figured it would be a good filler book, a light “thriller,” but I was absolutely blown away by this. The characters! I’m so glad this is a series because I grew so attached to them. Anyway, the book is centered around Frieda, a psychoanalyst who has some issues of her own (like insomnia). Her relationships with the side-characters and the dialogue between them was just as compelling as the child-kidnapping main plot of the book. She is fascinating and I can’t wait to read more from this series (I hope that the Ukranian handyman, Josef, and his comedic relief make more appearances!). I think this would be good for people who like Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books.

Fun fact: Nicci French is actually the pen name of a married couple, who also write separately.

2. The Troop – Nick Cutter

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OK, shit. Goddamn. This book. Wow. A boy scout troop is on some small isolated Canadian island for a weekend camping trip with their Scout leader, but then some mysterious stranger shows up, on his deathbed, his body wrecked, ravaged, and infiltrated by lab-created parasitic worms. BODY HORROR GALORE. Probably the WORST book for me to read while recovering from a stomach bug, but, you know, I said I was looking for a book that would actually SCARE me. Well, this scared me and also made me involuntarily dry-heave. Since I was working from home several days during that first week of March, I decided to see if I could find this on audio book as well, so in addition to reading, I listened to parts of it if I was doing particularly mindless work at the time, and I really enjoyed it! It helped to have the physical copy of the book though because there are transcripts of lab experiments peppered throughout the book, newspaper articles, interviews…it was helpful to read along for those parts.

And remember last month when I was bitching because of that one book, Kill Creek, was so nauseatingly descriptive? SO IS THIS BOOK. Except that by nauseatingly descriptive, I mean that the writing is SO FUCKING GOOD that I actually felt like I was going to puke. I 100% couldn’t eat while reading this and I’m not going to lie: there were chunks that I had to skip because it was animal-related and just…written so skillfully that it was like watching it on TV. Nick Cutter is GOOD.

Henry was sitting next to me on the couch when I was reading this page and HIS HAT FELL OFF AND LANDED ON MY SHOULDER, CAUSING ME TO SHRIEK SHRILLY AND JUMP IN THE AIR.

After I read it, I found out that Nick Cutter also writes under the name Craig Davidson, the author of Saturday Night Ghost Club, which I read last month and also loved! His Nick Cutter alter-ego is definitely more gross, though, ha.

3. Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

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My favorite BookTuber, Kat from Paperbackdreams, is always going on and on about how this is her favorite book, so I finally picked it up. It was interesting to me because it follows a British girl in her last years of high school, preparing for college, and I know next to nothing about how the UK school system works so I learned a lot about that, for instance, I was like, “The fuck is an A-level” but now I know.

I think this book would have had more an impact on me if I was younger, and having that post-high school crisis; but as it is, I’m 40 years old and far-removed from exams and college applications (although I guess that will be my reality in a few years with Chooch), but I still really enjoyed this story. It brought back some belly-aching sensations though when the main character, Francis, has a falling out with her best friend—isn’t it amazing how, no matter how long ago high school was, those sick feelings in the pit of the stomach can be recalled almost instantaneously. Or is that just me? Lol.  God, anytime a memory pops up of some teenage confrontation, I feel nauseated like it just happened yesterday.

Oh, the one thing I really loved about this book is the broad LGBTQ+ representation, and the fact that this book doesn’t involve the two main characters falling in love (not a spoiler, it’s mentioned very early on in the book). That was refreshing! A boy and girl simply….being friends. We love to see it.

Bonus: a smidge of Korean shows up in!

<3

4. Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman

For as short as this book is (around 170 pages, I think?), it wasn’t a quick read for me. I could only read so many pages at once before losing interest, and it made me sad because I had high hopes for this book based on what I heard about it. I’m going to chalk it up to bad translation, maybe? I think something must have definitely gotten lost.

The premise is that this 36 year old Japanese woman has been working in a convenience store for like, 19 years. There are little dips into her childhood and she’s portrayed as perhaps a blossoming psychopath. So she gets this job at convenience store, becomes obsessed with the comfortable predictability of her days, the safe routine, and essentially uses it as a “manual” to act like a human. She is basically faking it to make it, and when she is eventually forced to leave her job, she has no basis of knowing how to live or act anymore.

It makes me wish I knew Japanese so that I could read it as it was originally written because I really feel like this book had to have been better than this. Especially because a lot of the blurbs on the back cover talked about how funny it was and that was lost on me, yo. I gave it a 3 on Goodreads, but I think maybe a 2.5 is more accurate.

5. The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevado

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YES. YES YES YES. This is 100% a book I never would have picked up on my volition, but I saw that the audio book was available on Overdrive and I kept hearing about how wonderful the audio version is because it’s read by the author herself. Yeah boi, this was a real gift. It’s written in slam-poetry format which should have deterred me because I don’t like a poetry, but hearing it read by Elizabeth Acevado was so compelling.

It’s a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old Dominican who lives in NYC, her secret love of writing, her strained relationship with her ultra-strict and religious mom, her bond with her twin brother, her questioning of religion, her falling in love. I recommend the audio book but also getting a physical copy because it’s fun to read along since it’s written in prose.

6. Evvie Drake Starts Over – Linda Holmes

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I picked this up 100% based on the cover. I kept seeing it in the current best sellers display at the library and I finally snatched it up. I mostly listened to the audiobook though, because I had two back-to-back work from home days early in March so I cruised through it then. It was…fine. Predictable. The dialogue was nice but I admittedly didn’t enjoy the narrator too much. Her male voices were questionable, like they were all suddenly royalty. It was a nice feel-good read but it won’t stick with me.

7. Red, White, & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

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I was LOVING this at first! It’s a Post-Obama America. We have A DEMOCRATIC WOMAN PRESIDENT. Her kids are BIRACIAL – MEXICAN! Haha, fuck you, Trump! The First Son has a years-long feud with one of the Princes of England, Henry. It’s a classic hate-to-love trope but what I hated was that it goes to “love” way too quick. And then the character of the First Son, Alex, starts to get super annoying and I honestly began to wonder why Henry settled for him.

There’s a little bit of politics here, some seriously fun side characters (who were way more interesting than Alex, to be honest), and the obvious WHAT WILL THEY THINK ABOUT US dilemma. What I didn’t like was that it was awkwardly smutty. I think that it needed way more faux-hateful buildup – Casey McQuinton gave it away too fast. The second half of the book was just not Fun Times for me, as a reader. I wanted to be rooting for them way harder than I was but instead I was just like, “Come on, Henry, you can do better.”

Which is, coincidentally, what people have been saying to my Henry since 2001!

8. The Incendaries – R.O. Kwon 

The Incendiaries

This is about a religious cult with ties to North Korea. I listened to the audiobook for this but also had the physical copy on hand, which is the best way for me personally to listen to audio books. The narrator had a pretty boring, monotone voice, so that didn’t help, but the writing was really beautiful. Just extremely lovely. I love how the narrative was woven in between three characters: John Leal, the leader of the cult; Phoebe, an American Korean who gets sucked into the cult; and Will, Phoebe’s boyfriend who is leery of what is happening but unable to stop it.

I actually didn’t like Will and so all of his chapters were difficult for me to get through. I kept picturing Penn Badgley because Will reminded me a bit of Joe, the main character from “You.” He was obsessed and consumed with the idea of Phoebe, and of being with her, to the point where it was pretty clear that he didn’t even see her as a person. She was way out of his league, like your typical Prince Henry to First Son Alex. It just made me feel uncomfortable. It was a short book though, so I didn’t have to be “uncomfy” for too long. I think I gave this a 3.5, but R.O. Kwon can really throw down a shiny sentence. I’d read more of her shit, but this one just wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

I AM SEW GUD AT REVIEWING BOOKZ.

9. Here We Are Now – Jasmine Warga

Here We Are Now

Another audiobook and physical book tag-team action with this one, and I’m really glad because the main character’s mom is Jordanian and the narrator used the most beautiful accent when speaking her parts! This was just really cute. Teenager daughter meets her rock star dad for the first time while mom is away in Paris, and goes on a road trip with him back to his hometown because his dad is dying. She finally gets to learn the history of her parents, how they met, why it didn’t work, which one left. I could see this being turned into a Netflix movie – it was really sweet and there are so many super hipster music references peppered throughout so I could only imagine how stacked the soundtrack would be.

The mom character is such a great representative of a strong, independent woman and I loved that part of this book. “It wasn’t enough” is something that she says numerous times throughout the book and that resonated. DON’T SETTLE LIKE PRINCE HENRY DID!

Ughhhh!!

10. The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

This is the second book in the Raven Cycle series – I read the first one last month and I fell in deep. I’m still kind of *scratches head* when it comes to the actual “quest” plot of this series, but THE CHARACTERS. From the Raven Boys to Blue and her houseful of psychics, I’m actually starting to dream about these people now. Obviously Gansey is my favorite, but Ronan’s “he’s gonna snap any minute” brand of shitty snark is the perfect balance of menacing and “WHO HURT YOU??” There is a heart of gold under all of that abrasive armor. And he has a pet raven named Chainsaw, you guys. Come on.

I really regret not getting the last two books while the library was still open. :/ I’m still 16-years-old at heart, OK? Lay off.

It really is the problem. STAY HOME!!

11. Sometimes I Lie – Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie

This was a real fun ride, but I gotta be real: I didn’t quite understand the very last page? But if you’re down with unreliable narratives and a twist that I certainly didn’t see coming, then pick this up! Sometimes I have to stop myself from only reading thrillers, exclusively.

12. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

Well, this was a timely tome, wasn’t it? A new flu from Russia kills off 99.9% percent of the world’s population, but this novel mostly details on the aftermath, fastwarding 10-15 years into the future. It follows a traveling symphony and theater troupe, and it has Walking Dead vibes, without the zombies.

My favorite parts though were when the book jumped back into the past, building up relationships between some of the characters. Pre-pandemic, the main location was Toronto and I was so excited when Spadina was name-dropped because that is MY FAVORITE STREET IN TORONTO and it’s so fun to say!!

The writing was SO GOOD. I listened to the audiobook solely for this one and usually I have issues following along without the print copy, but this was so engaging that I never felt lost. Because of the current state of the world, though, this definitely gave me anxiety. I wouldn’t last a day if this was our reality.

A KIND REMINDER TO STAY HOME. COUGH IN YR FUCKING ELBOW OR BETTER YET JUST HOLD IT IN FOREVER. DONT JUST WASH YR HANDS, CUT THEM OFF.

13. Confessions – Kanae Minato

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THIS BOOK, WOWIE WOW WOW. A teacher’s 4-year-old daughter dies and it turns out one of her students did it (not a spoiler). The book is broken up into various narrators/parts and I swear to god, each part made me gasp and I couldn’t wait to see how it could possibly end.

My only complaint was that it was short and I wanted so much more, but apparently there was an Oscar-nominated short film made a few years ago and now I need to find that.

14. My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

Loved this one too! Man, I was on a real good streak there for a minute. This book is another shortie–the chapters just cruise on by. I highly recommend the audio book for this one too because the author is Nigerian and there are lines here and there, primarily when the mom gets worked up, that are written in the native language (Igbo? Maybe?) and it just really adds to the story to be able to hear those parts spoken.

This played like a movie, or a Netflix series, in my head. So vivid. I cared about both sisters, but shit I just wanted all the best for the main, non-killer sister. This is such a fun, quick read, and I want a sequel.

15. Lock Every Door – Riley Sager

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This book is always coming up on BookTube and I’m glad I was able to snag it on the library’s last day pre-lockdown. It wasn’t a game-changer in the Thriller World, by any means, but it was FUN. If you read my Friday Five from last week, you know that I compared it the old made-for-TV movie Nightmare on the Thirteenth Floor so there was a moment where I was ready to be disappointed, but then the plot pivots a bit and the twist is…a bit more realistic? Maybe? I mean, crazy shit happens in real life every day, so sure, we’ll believe it.

I added another Riley Sager book to my queue, Final Girls, so we’ll see if this was a fluke or nah.

16. The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle

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This was real interesting. I didn’t think I would like it because it’s set in the 1920s which doesn’t do it for me, and it’s also an homage to Lovecraft, whom I never much got into. But it held my attention and I was rooting for Black Tom. What a smartly written novella that combines Lovecraftian themes with the intense racism of the 1920s.

17. We Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls

Yeah, I’m done with this guy. I read “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” last month (or in January?) and I wanted to like it so much but it just kind of read like a really bland middle grade book. But I always see people recommending his books so I wanted to try one more – no. His style just really isn’t for me at all. His characters have no depth. Literally no development at all!

The premise of this book is so great: the singer of a small-time metal band from the 90s basically screws over the bandmates and goes on to become this mega-star while the rest of them, specifically the guitarist and co-founder of the band, Kris, are left in the dust. The whole book is about Kris’s mission to confront him, but it turns out that there’s devil shit at play and demonic obstacles in the way.

I just didn’t care. These characters like cardboard to me, and the cheesiness is just off the charts. I threw it across the room when I was done and then felt bad because it’s a library copy. :/

Other than that, I thought the cover was nice and I liked that the edges of the pages were black?

~~~~~~~~

Man, my desire to get back into reading couldn’t have come at a better time. I have so many books to devour that I almost don’t care that I can’t leave the house.

Almost.

Mar 272020
 

Hello from Week 2 of Covid House Arrest. Things are still weird but I’m grateful that I have a job that allows us to work from home, where I can stay safe with Chooch who is mostly fine to be around, I guess. We both have our moments. Then Henry comes home and creates all of the waves. Anyway, here is a weekday recap because perhaps one day when Chooch is an old man, he will want to reflect on these times with his grandchildren who will shake their heads and ask, “You mean people in 2020 didn’t have Pluto pods to retreat to while the Space Medics eradicated the virus harbingers with lasers?” and Chooch will be all, “No, things were super primitive back then. Civilization had a lot of rebuilding to do post-Donald Trump.”

MONDAY

Oh great. Another week of no structure/routine/discipline. Chooch and I scream randomly now for no reason and respond to each other with aggressively curt “ok cool”s. Welcome to Hell House.

I decide early on that I won’t lose myself to news alerts. This lasts about 36 seconds and I’ve circled back to Chest Pain City.

Chooch lit crackers on fire and threw them outside into the rain. This is where we are now, activity-wise. Setting food aflame. Can we consider this some sort of school experiment? A home-ec/science crossover event?

“Put your headphones back on and listen to your dumb audio book,” Chooch spat after I told him to do something worthwhile.

My team at work has an email thread going where we’re sharing pictures of our pets but mine are sleeping in their secret spots so I share a picture of my non-furry pet instead – he is so happy!

He was in the middle of menacingly saying “what are you going to do with that?”

Henry forwarded both of us a text from the school and we both responded with CAPSLOCK’d shittiness, unbeknownst to each other. Mine was “OH FUCKING KAY.”

Chooch went outside to kick a soccer ball against the house and it hit him in the face, so I’m just going to go ahead and call that as my highlight.

Henry has been home for over an hour but is “napping.” Now we’re screaming MAKE FUCKING DINNER up the steps.

He finally came down and made dinner. I can’t remember what he made. Everything has melded together in my mind. I have to constantly look at my phone to see what day it is.

My friend Veronica alerted me to this!!

TUESDAY

Today is my mom’s birthday. Unrelated, Henry found her toilet paper and dropped it off on her porch. Weird timing, but happy birthday! Enjoy your toilet paper!

Meanwhile, Chooch and I are decidedly office nemeses now. I was trying to listen to an audiobook (“Station Eleven” – super good and um, very timely) but I kept hearing his stupid YouTube videos playing in the other room, even over my headphones so there was a lot of TURN IT DOWN!!!s happening. And he was like, “I can hear your stupid audio book through your headphones!” and I was like, “I HAVE TO KEEP IT LOUD TO BLOCK OUT YOUR STUPID SHIT AND THE BABIES CRYING NEXT DOOR!”

Then I had to call into a meeting and Chooch kept screaming, “SHE SAID YOU’RE ANNOYING!”

“I have it muted, dumb-stick,” I scoffed. Like, does he think I was born yesterday?

It really was a super long meeting though. In other work news, one of the group emails I was on featured a discussion about what cozy clothes we were wearing and I had zero will or desire to participate. I’m basically feral at this point. Don’t talk to me.

No wait, talk to me! I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT ANYMORE!

On my break, Chooch and I ran laps around the empty church parking lot across the street. I’m too afraid to venture anywhere farther than that.

Then we looked up allegedly “easy” vegan recipes that we could potentially make during the day since our chef isn’t home, but the first one I put on immediately wanted us to peel a potato and I screamed PEEL IT YOURSELF and started to look for another recipe video but lost interest at an alarming speed and put on a Booktube video instead. But then Chooch found some “Easy Naan-type bread” video but it called for lemon juice for some reason and we don’t have that, so he texted Henry “bring home lemon juice” 8x and Henry responded, “Do you need lemon juice?” because he thinks he’s so fucking funny, about as funny as a fifth grade science teacher from the 70s.

Anyway, Henry came home from work with the lemon juice and suddenly Chooch is a bread baker. I had zero hand in it, which is probably why it turned out ok. He came out of the kitchen with a ball of dough in his meat-mitts and said, “Mom! Look!” and I was like, “Holy shit, that looks like real dough and not that weird-ass paste shit we made last week!” which, to be fair, we determined was my fault because I threw the recipe in the air and just plopped everything together in a bowl at once, and apparently there is a reason why you need to mix the dry ingredients alone and then SLOWLY add the wet shit LITTLE BY LITTLE. Who knew?!

I guess a trillion bakers before me.

They turned out really good and we’re actually un-raw in the middle I like the ones we made last week.

Other than that, we just screamed at each other A LOT and fake-fought.

I finally started watching Itaewon Class that night and finished two books. Henry said, “I hate ‘Reading Erin'” and Chooch said, “Same.” Apparently I shush them too much and get really irritated when they try to live their lives around me.

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Park Seo Joon is so good!

Then I finished reading “Confessions” by Kanae Minato (40th book of the year!) and went to bed.

WEDNESDAY

Somehow I broke my back. It’s probably from sitting in a non-office chair all fucking day long.

The law firm wanted people to submit selfies of their home work spaces and I looked much better in my other attempts but I had to use this one because Drew’s in the background. I dunno, kind of cheesy but I appreciated that they’re trying to do things like this to keep the mood light-hearted during these stressful times. It’s like, every time I start to feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, I remind myself that literally the whole entire world is in this together. Kind of make it seem a little less lonely?

Back to reality: Major mom/son conflict off and on all day. We are basically just siblings fighting control.

Henry came home and immediately started talking to me while I was clearly listening to an audio book so I snapped.

“She does this to me all day,” Chooch said, buddying up to Henry. “I hate Book Mother.”

“I hate Book Mother, too,” Henry mumbled but then Chooch and I reunited in our mutual need for dinner so we both turned on Henry WHO WENT AND DID LAUNDRY INSTEAD so we had to make our own dinner?! Faux-chicken nugs it is.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Henry confirmed that he takes sanitary wipes into the laundromat so that he does not have to touch anything, because I am sure someone is probably side-eyeing up a storm.)

Oh wait back up: before Henry went to do laundry, he first had to take his daily “post-work nap” which lasts forever. While he was up there, I was scrolling through Instagram. My friend Jessy posted a video of her husband cutting down a tree in their yard with a chainsaw. My phone was still connected to the Bluetooth speaker in our bedroom so I let the video play on full blast, promoting a string of “WTF” and “fuck you” texts from Henry. Quarantine entertainment.

While Henry was doing laundry, we found a three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe but we didn’t have sugar substitute so Chooch texted Henry and asked him to get some but then proceeded to ignore all of Henry’s texts asking “WHAT KIND OF SUGAR SUB” because he was too engrossed in Minecraft which he has literally been playing since he was like 4 at this point when will it end. So Henry brought home a box of generic Splenda and Chooch and I had to open packet after packet to fill a half cup but halfway through a 1/4 cup, I decided to actually look at the recipe and felt suspiciously like we were doing it wrong – it was the wrong kind of sugar substitute! We needed granulated stuff that sounds like urethra. I forget what it’s called now. Anyway, Henry said to just use less and it would be fine but holy fucking shit Chooch essentially baked Splenda patties with a peanut butter essence. I had two cookies 90 minutes ago and my stomach hurts and I feel like my throat is coated with sweetener please send help, should I swallow fire?

We scream-laughed a lot today. We’re all perched on the lunacy fringe over here. Come visit. Oh wait, you can’t.

Watched the This Is Us season finale and promptly went in the backyard to dig my grave.

This drama premiered tonight in Korea and I hope that it finds its way to Netflix or Viki soon because KIM MYUNG SOO as a CAT? Yes.

‪Auto correct on Duolingo changed “butcher shop” to “bitch ship.” I have little else going on so this is in the running for highlight of the day. ‬

I’m going to bed soon, with the frightening wonder of what food project Chooch will attempt tomorrow.

THURSDAY

Woke up to a new Winner video! I shared it with my team at work, and received approx. zero replies.

I was so fidgety before logging on to work for my late shift that I, get this, CLEANED THE DISH STRAINER in the kitchen. I DID THAT! I don’t think I have ever performed an act of greater domesticity. COVID-19 has broken me.

Don’t worry, the rest of the kitchen is still an absolute pit.

While I was at the sink, I observed that HNC and Slut Life were both in the driveway!! HNC was fiddling around in his garage while Slut Life was preparing to drive out of his garage. I’m not sure if they had any interaction prior to this because I wasn’t paying attention, but I started watching just in time to catch Slut Life peel out of the driveway, causing HNC to stand at the bottom of the driveway, hands akimbo, watching him retreat while shaking his head in disgust.

I started speaking to Chooch in a new, made-up accent. He immediately asked me to stop.

Chooch was watching some video about death row inmates’ last meals and he’s angry for some reason that Timothy McVeigh chose two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

“Why is that so terrible?” I asked.

“He probably got a stomach ache!” Chooch cried.

“He’ll probably be dead before he notices his stomach hurts!” I yelled and so that’s how we fought about mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Yay henry ordered us dinner from Zenith! He said when he went to get it, one of the owners asked, “Do Erin and Chooch have cabin fever yet?” I love that the Zenith people know us haha.

Yeah boi seitan BBQ, rice noodle salad, and pumpkin cake.

Chooch got lasagna and then remembered that he doesn’t like lasagna after he ate nearly the whole thing. Teenagers are fucking dumbos.

OMG Peenlop’s tongue lol.

Well, all hell just broke loose and we had a faux-battle because Chooch wants to make oatmeal raisin cookies and I was like, “But we got cake from Zenith” and he was like “YOU RUIN EVERYTHING” and I was like, “GOOD GOD JUST MAKE YOUR DUMB COOKIES, BITCH BOY” but he was like JUST FORGET IT and started fake-crying so then I went over and we started play-hitting and Drew was like THIS HOUSE IS STRESSFUL and then Henry tripped over the cat tunnel and I almost peed my pants and Henry was like YOU TWO ARE FUCKING ANNOYING and went upstairs to take a nap…at 5:45PM. Cool.

Meanwhile, Chooch the Crybaby is in the kitchen making his stupid cookies because he apparently has awakened a latent baking gene while in COVID-lockdown.

Here’s where we are right now, 7:30PM:

I wish Janna never showed him how to use this lighter!! (Actually, I secretly secondhand learned how to use it then too lol.)

Knife throwing starts next week.

Thursday ended with us watching the first two episodes of the new Kim Myung Soo drama that I posted the trailer for in yesterday’s recap which sent me on a full-blown Infinite video watching spiral (Kim Myung Soo is a member of Infinite when he’s not busy lighting up televisions with his perfect cherub visuals) and then Chooch got super cat-psycho (he gets so annoyingly affectionate with our cat Drew) so we screamed at him to go to bed and you know now that I think about it, aside from Chooch and I being home together during the day for the time being, things are honestly not much different than they were pre-quarantine: it’s still fucking pandemonium here.

FRIDAY

It is 3:07pm and I have almost nothing to report. Today is the blandest of all the other bland days. I spent a lot of time on calls for the first half of the day and that was greatly annoying to Chooch but,  you know, welcome to the world of shared work spaces, pal.

I finished “Lock Every Door” by Riley Sager. It gave me strong “Nightmare on the 13th Floor” vibes, where all of my Made for TV movie fans at!? Holla at me if you remember that one.

Nightmare on the 13th Floor | VHSCollector.com

Meanwhile, Chef Chooch-R-Dee accidentally paid $2 for some vegan recipe app which angered Henry but I was like, “Oh well, start cookin’, buddy.”

During my lunch break, we braved the streets of Brookline so I could mail something. I took tissues with us so that I wouldn’t have to touch the handle of the mail box outside of the post office. It seemed like the few people who were out were practicing safe social distancing measures, except that we saw our nemesis CVS cashier—“1212”—-standing outside of the store talking to someone and there only seemed to be TWO FEET of space between them so that’s cool.

One of the groups I’m a part of had a check-up call today and it was really awkward because we had to take turns talking alphabetically while everyone else stayed muted, so it just felt like I was bombing at open mic night, big time. I’d say something and pause, and of course no one was responding because they were muted, and I was like gulping for air on my end. It was so uncomfortable. In my other group, it’s just like a free-for-all on these calls, lol.

Chooch’s Instagram memories reminded him that on this day two years ago, we were at Everland, an amusement park in South Korea. THANKS, INSTAGRAM. I’m going to wear my Everland headband in honor of that memory.

Henry is home now. Chooch is showing him a recipe from his new $2 app that he wants to make and it requires a “nine-spice mix” and Henry was like “the fuck is that” and it turns out it’s another recipe, so basically a recipe within a recipe, and now Henry is like, “THIS IS TURNING INTO A 5-20-FORTY DOLLAR RECIPE!”

“We have warm water,” Chooch said, reading off the ingredients five minutes later. Literally one of the only ingredients we have, lol. Henry wants to kill him.

Oh! Henry brought home fudge brownie M&Ms which now holds the title for highlight of the day. CAN ANYTHING TAKE THE CROWN? Only time will tell.

Friday afternoon lunacy selfie! One day, Chooch and I will have so many stories to tell about this time while we’re roasting chestnuts over an open fire, preferably in whatever haunted mansion he’s bought me from his math genius career earnings. I’m tired of sitting at this desk, but thankful that that’s pretty much my only complaint right now.

Chooch is revisiting his Shane Dawson obsession so I have heard his big dumb mouth in the background pretty much all week and I am definitely not a fan.

Holy fucking shit, in the last hour, Slut Life has come and gone at least 5x!! Like, he leaves and then returns within 10 minutes – maybe he should just walk!? And it’s so annoying because his bass is SO LOUD in his car and it takes him forever to maneuver the car into the narrow-ass city garage that we have in these houses. I just texted HNC about it. I AM “THAT NEIGHBOR” who watches the neighborhood from the dining room window and I literally do not care. This shit runs in my family. Gimme my binoculars.

(We actually did find binoculars at the living room window when we had to clean out my Pappap’s house. My Aunt Sharon was serious about Neighborhood Watch.)

Logged off work and Chooch and I went across the street for some churchyard Fündopop fun times!

Also!! HNC texted me back and said that he and Slut Life got into it the other day and Slut Life peeled out of the driveway (I witnessed that!!) and he apparently kicked up a chunk of asphalt in the process! HNC is writing a letter to the landlord since calling him didn’t work. He said he mentioned me in the letter. I’m so excited! I get a mention!! No one ever mentions me anymore!!

On that note, I think I will put this weekday roundup to bed. If anything amazing (doubtful) happens between now and the time I go to bed, you best believe I’ll be updating this. But life in isolation is pretty boring, and you know what? THAT’S JUST FINE. I feel, I dunno, blessed to be bored right now, like I should have an embroidery of that hanging in my kitchen or something.

Mar 142020
 

Hello from Brookline. So far, there have been no reports of anyone testing positive with coronavirus in my neighborhood, big it was announced last Thursday that a student at Chooch’s school may have been exposed to it from a relative who had traveled out of state, so his school, along with 4 other schools in Pittsburgh, were closed yesterday as a precaution and so the schools could employ “electro-magnetic” sterilization, which sounds super space-y.

But then on Friday, the governor announced that all PA schools will be closed for at least two weeks, at which point they will reassess the situation. Chooch, being a kid, is excited because it’s like a snow day on steroids, except that some of us could die, but that’s OK: live it up, kids.

Because of this, our director at work gave us permission to work from home, so when Chooch found THAT out, the desirability of staying home from school was suddenly tainted, lol. MOMMY AND CHOOCH TIME. I’m going to make sure he has designated blocks of reading time, he’s going to do writing assignments, and he’s also going to watch some documentaries.

(“I’m watching one on Ted Bundy, then,” he said today, and that’s fine. He can help me design some new cards afterward.)

So it’s kind of like being quarantined, but not. Henry still has to go to work, but I am happy that I won’t need to be taking public transportation now during such uncertain, unclean times.

Then I got an email from the library, saying that after today, they are going to be shutting down until the 31st. I figured this was coming because Chooch was there on Friday and the entire children’s area was closed off, and that’s where he and his friend Markie have to go to use the computers because Markie isn’t 13 yet so he can’t use the ones upstairs. So last night, I frantically made a list of some of the books on my Goodreads “want to read” list that are available at the local branch of my library, leapt out of bed at 8am, got showered and dressed, only to remember that the dumb library doesn’t open until 10, ugh.

Anyway, I got there right at 10 and Chooch and I put on gloves that were available on a cart of sterilization products, and I acted like all those preppers hoarding toilet paper, except instead of Charmin, I had an armful of fiction.

I checked out 7 books, plus I still have 4 already checked out, so I’m hoping this will tide me over! Especially since I will have extra free time on Saturdays for a bit because Jiyong suggested that we hold off on meeting up for now, considering we meet in a perpetually-crowded Panera. Paneras are gross enough without a pandemic in the midst. Henry said he will help me practice my vocabulary though which scares me but we’ll see; maybe he will actually help.

But he will probably fall asleep.

Don’t judge me by YA/Teen Fiction selections, OK! Sometimes I like having something light to fall back on after reading something especially scary or ultra-literary.

I hope everyone’s staying safe, smart, and healthy out there and don’t forget to check in on your elders. It’s fucking scary, but we will get through this if everyone takes it seriously and stops doing selfish things.*

*(For instance, all of those idiot YouTube travel vloggers are still out there traveling for content and it makes me so angry. Especially when I see them getting all combative and responding to coronavirus-related comments with snarky slapbacks like “We’re healthy and not worried about dying from it but you do you #thumbsupemoji” NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE. That’s exactly what I was saying too A MONTH AGO when we started to consider postponing our trip that’s scheduled for April, except that MY sentence had a “but”: “…but I don’t want to risk contracting the virus and spreading it to those who are weaker/older/more susceptible than me, just because I wanted to go to some amusement parks and have fun.” That is the part that not everyone is grasping. We will go another time. Right now, the most important thing is to stay sanitary and informed. Fuck those people.)

UPDATE! I remembered that another library exists within walking distance so I ran down there and expanded my pile. Look, I can’t request books during this time so I need to be prepared! Worst case scenario, I start pulling from Chooch’s bookshelf. Minecraft 101, oh boy.

Mar 122020
 

I’m trying to support Asian establishments as much as possible since this pandemic has stoked the racism fire. Yesterday, I restocked my snack pumpkin at Lotus Foods then got coffee at Bae Bae’s Cafe, and tonight we ordered dinner from Tong Garden.

This was my fortune, which is SO APROPOS it makes my stomach hurt.

I keep thinking that someday this will hopefully be a distant memory, a chapter in an upcoming Trump Sucks biography, a segment from VH1’s I Love the 20s that makes us groan, maybe even something that WE CAN LEARN FROM?! One day there will be a list of Worst Coronavirus Responses and the good ol’ bull-headed USA will be right at the top.

Mar 112020
 

Feeling nostalgic & going through my Korea photos. I loved taking daily elevator OOTD snaps with Chooch. I’m too stressed out and tired for much else right now so here is a collection of those photos before I retreat to my corona-bubble. Stay sanitary, smart, and healthy out there, chingu.

This was actually a mirror in one of the subway stations, not the elevator from our hotel, SO SUE ME.

Maybe there will be more Korean elevator selfies in my future but right now I’m just mainly hoping that we find a vaccine for the coronavirus, the world can get back to “normal” whatever that means, and that the American racists will go back into their hidey-holes. The anti-Asian vitriol is one of the saddest parts of this pandemic. :(

Mar 102020
 

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season so perhaps you want to hunker down with a plate of Do-Si-Dos as your companion-cookie of choice while reading another stupidly-titled blog post of mine. (And not Dos-i-Dos, which I originally typed because I couldn’t remember how to spell the dumb Girl Scout cookies, but apparently, Dos-i-Dos is a marijuana strain, so here’s your fun fact for the day!)

(Unless you’re a regular Spicoli and already knew that.)

(No judgment.)

I’m doing this bulletpoint-style because my mind is so fucking broken and scattered into a million dangerous shards, so buckle up, baby.

  • Saturday started with Henry taking Chooch to his future-new-school for a math placement test, which started at 9AM. Chooch was grossly excited about this and I was like, “I’ll just hang back, m8*” While they were gone, the mail came which included a congratulations letter from the school district because apparently some artwork of Chooch’s was submitted to a citywide art show thing, I don’t know, I can’t remember and I don’t have the paper in front of me, but it was chosen and we have some reception (with light desserts, lol) to go to and I’m really excited to see what the (light) desserts are and also what this mysterious piece of art is because evidently, Chooch himself has no idea what it is. I think it’s pretty FUNNY that he spent most of his life at his current school thinking that he sucks at art and dreading art class because the art teacher was such a dumb bitch who, according to an alum from that school, loves to criticize and terrorize young, impressionable children. I’ve written about her before on here and honestly, I’m kind of sad that she left at the end of last year because I never had a chance to properly lay into her with Scalding-Hot Erin Words. But, now the school has a new art teacher and THIS was the result. He suddenly remembered that he actually likes art!
    • *The last book I read was about a bunch of British teenagers, so……….
  • In Korean news, I was right about something and Jiyong was wrong! And then I was so smug about it and she was like, “OK.” (I was translating a sentence and used the word “bo-tong” for “usually” and SHE SAID I WAS WRONG AND TOLD ME TO USE A DIFFERENT WORD and I was like slowly erasing my word and writing, with hesitation, her suggestion, but then she was like, “Wait….no, you can use bo-tong. Yes, that’s right.” And that’s the word that the textbook had in their translation on the next page, what what. It was a small, very small, victory. But I take what I can get.
  • Later that night, Chooch needed new shoes so we went to Kohl’s and I had this really weird moment where I saw a shirt that I liked and couldn’t remember if I had it so I asked Henry, “Do I have this shirt” and he was like, “Hilarious that you think I ever look at your clothes” and then I was like, “No, I think I have it. Yeah, I do.” So I didn’t buy it, but then when we got home, I looked in my closet and couldn’t find it, so I was like, “DID I MEAN TO BUY IT BUT THEN PUT IT BACK?” and of course Henry is useless when it comes to remembering anything from a month ago, but my memory is usually pretty OK and I absolutely had no recollection of putting the shirt back, or paying for it, or ever wearing it aside from when I tried it on—that much I remembered from a month ago! Last night, Henry was getting ready to buy it online because we had Kohl’s cash, and he was going to pick it up today, but for some reason, I thought the in-store price that I saw on Saturday was lower, so I was like, “Eh, just hold off. We’ll just buy it at the store” so he didn’t buy it and good thing BECAUSE I RANDOMLY FOUND IT IN MY CLOSET THIS MORNING, probably because I wasn’t looking for it. And yes, I wore it to work. Anyway, this is my totally ridiculous cautionary tale about what happens when you have too many clothes.
  • Sunday, the weather was so gorgeous! I always say that March is so underrated. I get so hopeful every time this year because we get so many little tastes of spring, a reminder to HANG THE FUCK ON, BUCKAROOS. Henry and I went for a walk in Schenley Park that afternoon and talked about the fate of our upcoming trip…
    • We ultimately decided a while back to postpone it in light of the coronavirus. I know there are so many people in America who think everyone is overreacting, and they don’t understand why we’re afraid to go to Germany when the CDC hasn’t issued any travel warnings or restrictions for that area, but look: there are more and more cases being reported daily in Germany and that general part of Europe. It is SO CLOSE TO ITALY. While all three of us are healthy people, and we’re not worried about dying from it, there are so many at-risk people out there and as much as I love having fun and traveling, I am not selfish enough to carry on with a frivolous trip where we could potentially bring COVID-19 back with us and then spread it to those who are at-risk. Nope. Nope nope nope. We will go later in the year, that’s OK. It’s not the end of the world.
      • OR IS IT?!!??!!?
  • In non-corona news, I got really angry on the drive to the park, because some dumb Halsey song came on and I ranted to no one (Henry doesn’t listen to me) about how I am so ready for this trend of female pop singers singing like woodland creatures to be over. I want to drop-kick Haley’s voice back over the Bridge to Terabithia. BUHBYE.

  • In around-the-house news, Henry finally hung up some of my clowns and fixed the faucet in the kitchen which has been fucked for years (really hard to turn off the cold water side) and suddenly he felt inspired to fix it but then he admitted it was really because he decided to not half-ass it for once and actually look to see that the problem was AND THEN FIGURED IT OUT LIKE A REAL BIG MAN-MAN.

  •  Then I completed my 30 book challenge for the year! 30 books since January! I rule at books! I immediately set off on foot to the library to return it (there has to be some library-specific OCD sub-diagnosis for this) and then Henry drove by on his way home from The Store. He did a doubletake and I mouthed I FINISHED BOOK THIRTY!!! and I bet he was like wow obsessive book-readers make me hot. Or…not.
  • Later that night I remembered that This Is Us exists so I started watching the newer episodes from the second half of this season and then remembered that this is the worst show in the world while I gagged in tears and phlegm.

Peace out, Girl Scout (but not any of these annoying ones aggressively screaming at people to buy their damn cookies on the boulevard).

Mar 012020
 

BIGBANG win:

BTS win:

If your answer is: One has clear displays of respect on both sides and one clearly lacks that, you’re correct! One of the things I loved about Kpop when I first got into it was how there seemed to be a distinct lack of arrogance among the bigger/senior groups. The Asian culture of bowing as a sign of respect is not tossed out the window once a certain level of fame is achieved, but watching BTS’s recent music countdown win, I think they’re maybe spending too much time around Americans lol.

BIGBANG are legends but stay humble and never act like they’re above their industry peers even when those groups are clearly in awe of them. BIGBANG FOREVER!