Aug 042020
 


I was up until 1am working on one (1!!) kitchen cabinet FML but I still woke up early to watch Taemin’s new video and I am super delirious & giddy, ugh my coworkers are probably thanking COVID right now because I have “be incredibly annoying” punched in on today’s agenda – I guess we know what I’ll be screaming about in my weekly meeting today.

So…a new Taemin video came out today and it’s also the first day in three weeks that I haven’t spent the morning walking half-hunched with a hurt back. Coincidence? NO – THE HEALING POWER OF TAEMIN!‬

Ugh. Taemin. I’ve waited a long time for this!

Aug 032020
 

Hello. I meant to write about last weekend, well, last week, but I get so one-track-minded sometimes that I wasn’t able to pull myself away from whatever other nonsensical bullshit I was doing, so here we are. And honestly, it’s not like I did much aside from – wait for it – kitchen bullshit. 

But here are the 2 standout points.

Wimbledon ’92

On Saturday, the ghost of Erin 1992 whispered in my ear, “Remember Wimbledon 1992…..” and suddenly I couldn’t get to my Roku fast enough. I NEEDED TO WATCH ANDRE AGASSI WINNING WIMBLEDON IN 1992. Because I’ve reached the next level of coronavirus which is: relive Andre Agassi’s first Wimbledon win on YouTube and cry like it’s 1992 and you still have a collection of Agassi-related newspaper clippings & drawings in a neon yellow see-through binder. What?

“Oh man, you have NO IDEA how much I loved Andre Agassi,” I moaned as Henry walked past me to go and do actual labor on the kitchen. (These fucking cabinets, man, lol oh god kill us.) 

“Um, yeah, actually, I do,” Henry scoffed, because apparently being with me for 20 years makes him an expert on my obsessive personality. 

I have a vague recollection of making congratulatory signs after Andre won and hanging them at the end of my street. Also, I posed this on Instagram and my friend Liz commented that she remembered my AA obsession fondly. We were really close in middle school and she got dragged down in a lot of my bullshit, like when I would listen to nothing but the cassingles for Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and Sophie B Hawkin’s “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” (that b-side, good lord) in my walkman on our trip to Lake Chataugua or when we go to the movies and I would have to have an empty seat next to me in which to place my Paul Coffey hockey card because I had the hots for me, which is exactly how my dad would phrase it if you were to ask him, “How did Erin feel about Pittsburgh Penguins Paul Coffey in 1992?”

So yeah, I had the entire Wimbledon finals match on that day and felt all the emotions when Andre won (and also every time he lifted his shirt to wipe his face OH MY FUCKING GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD) and then all these other old tennis matches played on YouTube for pretty much the entire day because no one could be bothered to change it.

Erin Calls 911
 
Henry and I had just returned home from a Target run on Sunday afternoon. When we were crossing the street to our house, I was semi-aware of a man who had seemingly emerged from one of our neighbor’s driveways and had crossed the street. I didn’t really pay much attention to him, but Henry, who was outside still trying to get the paint off the cabinets, came inside and told me to look out the window. 
 
The man was still outside, right across from our house, and he was very clearly under the influence of…something. Pills? Heroin? It seemed much worse than alcohol. He kept taking things out of his pockets and dropping said things all over the sidewalk, one of the things was a pill bottle, which was empty as evidenced by the way nothing dropped out when he turned it upside down and shook it.
 
So then he started licking the inside of the bottle.
 
I see a lot of weird shit on the street and usually I’ll just let it go, but this guy looked like he was a danger to himself. At one point, he was walking in the middle of the street and cars were having to swerve around him — I don’t live on some sleepy suburban street, you guys. It’s a pretty busy thoroughfare and I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking a leisurely, impaired stroll down the center of it. 
 
So I called 911. Which is scary because I always hesitate to get the police involved in any situation because who the fuck knows if it will escalate, but hey – the subject of my call was a white man, so at least he had that going for him.
 
Sigh.
 
I kept my eye on him while waiting for the cops to arrive, and that man was a dumpster fire. His pants were falling down, he was swaying, picking stuff up off the ground, re-dropping the same stuff, examining the empty pill bottle….it was so fucking depressing to watch.
 
Anyway, the cops came and talked to him for awhile, then eventually cuffed and searched him. Finally, the paramedics rolled up and took him away. I mean, I’m sure that didn’t end up being in the magic wake-up call that he needed, but I can only hope that it prevented him from hurting himself or someone else, at least on that particular Sunday. 
 
I don’t like making assumptions, but I’m pretty positive this was a drug thing and I just can’t emphasize enough how much I fucking hate drugs. I hate seeing what they do to people and it scares me how all it takes is one wrong choice, or having a surgery and becoming dependent on pain meds, or maybe you made a new “friend” who likes to “party” and just one time won’t be enough to hurt you…Well, whatever the case it might be for the man on Pioneer, I hope that he’s able to find the support and strength to get sober. Because that was so depressing and disturbing to watch and I kind of want to throw up just remembering it. 
 
Well, on that somber note: ciao for now!
Jul 182020
 

Hi my fellow Taemints! It’s still technically Taemin’s birthday, so let’s celebrate!

Taemin is Drew’s bias, but he was mine first so I’m not afraid to get into a catfight over him!

I hope he’s having a wonderful birthday, resting, and eating lots of food! Also, his hyung Onew was recently discharged from the military, so I hope they got to spend time together!

On that note, I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Listen to some Taemin today and make it even lovelier!

Jul 122020
 

When I was on my yacht rock kick last weekend, this old Benny Mardones video came on the YouTube playlist and I considered living the rest of my life in chastity, to be honest, because holy shit wow ew holy creepy predatorville. I used to LOVE this song when I was younger too and never actually saw the music video for it until maybe 10 years ago and I remember feeling shocked to the core, because if Benny Mardones was calling me up on a payphone, I 100% would change my number with a quickness.

Have I posted about this before? I feel like I may have. It’s nuts to think that there was ever a time when it was “ok” for something like this to exist! I guess when I was a teenager, I just shrugged off the lyrics? MAYBE I LIKED IT?

IS THIS WHY I ENDED UP WITH AN OPPA 14 YEARS MY SENIOR?

Shit. It all adds up.

Anyway, watch that video. Sweet dreams!

HOLY SHIT Henry just Wiki’d him and he just fucking died on June 29 of this year! And then he just screamed, “HE WAS 33 WHEN HE WROTE THAT SONG! ABOUT A 16 YEAR OLD!” As if Henry isn’t a cradle robber too.

Jul 122020
 

Today I am going to talk about the second half of the books I read in June. You know, similar to what the title of this blog post suggests.

9. Costalegre – Courtney Maum

Costalegre: A Novel Inspired By Peggy Guggenheim and Her Daughter

Admittedly, I didn’t look too much into this when I started reading it, but somewhere along the way, I had added it to my TBR and the cover is gorgeous, so at one point I had some interest in reading it?

This is inspired by Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter, and follows the 15-year-old daughter of an eccentric American heiress and art collector and a group of artists she has brought with her to her…secret? home in Mexico in order to hide and protect them from Hitler, who has issued a list of “cultural degenerates” right before the start of the war.

Sounds heavy, but it’s actually pretty light for the most part. The artists are, as expected, totally wack and have bizarre and tense rapport with each other, but the main theme of the book if the isolation and neglect experienced by the daughter, who is trying to figure out her own talents.

I thought this book had a lot of potential but it just sort of fell flat for me.

But again, THAT COVER THO!

10. The Chestnut Man – Søren Sveistrup

The Chestnut Man

As expected, I really enjoyed this one! It’s written by the creator of The Killing, the American version of which was one of my favorite TV shows of all time, I’m not even being dramatic here. The first two seasons aired on AMC back in the early 2010s, and as so many good shows do, got canceled. AMC was like FINE and brought it back for a third, but then canceled it again! There was more outrage until Netflix picked it up, but only for one more season, sadly. (Of course, those seasons weren’t as good, but still, I love this show so hard and would sometimes play it in the background while I was working, just for the comforting vibes of it.)

But yeah, this a really great Danish thriller which follows several characters, including two police officers/detectives who are begrudgingly paired up JUST LIKE THE KILLING. Ugh, and I had the audiobook playing too and the narrative had a great voice and this book just flew by for me.

It was thrilling and also scary at times, and I wasn’t able to solve it which actually always pisses me off when I do! This is just a great book and I’m looking forward to reading more by him, and also trying to find the original version of The Killing, which I have been putting off for too long now.

If you’ve never watched The Killing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. I don’t think it’s on Netflix anymore, sadly, but I think Amazon Prime might have it? Fun fact: I automatically start crying when I hear the theme:

Oh for God’s sake, I just watched the last 4 minutes of the series finale on YouTube and I am full-on sobbing I hate myself.

11. In the Dream House – Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House: A Memoir

This was one of the most creative suckerpunch of a memoir, I swear to god. Carmen (who also narrates the audiobook and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT) uses a full arsenal of tropes and prompts to detail her years in an abusive same-sex relationship. There is even a Choose Your Own Adventure section of this book! It’s fun, which is strange to say given the extremely dark and triggering subject matter, but I kept finding myself doing the whole, “Just one more chapter. OK, one more” song-and-dance before bedtime, because I couldn’t wait to see what inventive narrative she was going to spring on me next.

I had a visceral reaction to this book, goosebumps through the whole thing. I bow down to Carmen Maria Machado. She makes me want to start writing again, and there is not much out there that does that for me anymore! All I could do was whisper “damn” when I read the last line, and then spent the next 30 minutes doing that post-cry body-racking sniffle.

Machado is a masterful writer, and I hate that she was exposed to such nastiness and abuse, but there was a moment toward the end of the book where I legit screamed OMG STFU and felt so goddamn happy for her. I can’t wait to read everything she writes.

Please read this. It’s, well, amazing. A solid 5-star for me.

12. Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)

No. Romances in general aren’t my cuppa, but I gave this a shot because I kept seeing great reviews and there’s good representation in it, plus it’s British so I thought that would help. But I just DIDN’T CARE ABOUT EITHER OF THESE PEOPLE. And maybe I’m a dick, but the constant reminder that the guy had a long shiny curtain of red hair.

I hated this book. But I liked the cat. I wish there was more about the cat.

13. Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi 

Freshwater

Definitely not a book for everyone. I tried to explain it to Henry and he was like “………” It follows a young Nigerian woman with multiple personalities, starting from her birth. Ada’s story is actually told from the perspective of the others living inside her, the “brothersisters” called Ogbanje, which are reincarnating spirits hat causes grief or pain.

It’s eerie and sad, and I am so glad that I read it even though I’m positive that I didn’t actually understand a lot of what was happening, it was powerful and something that I’ll think about a lot.

14. Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie

YES QUEENIE. I wish I had skipped Chloe Brown and just read this twice instead. So, I didn’t know much about this at all, but then I saw that it was compared to Bridget Jones’ Diary and I was like, “Oh no, I might not like this.” But it is so much heavier than that and actually quite disturbing at times. It follows Queenie, a young Jamaican British woman, trying to get back on her feet after “going on a break” with her long-term boyfriend. Through a series of REALLY irresponsible sexual exploits, Queenie’s whole world starts to crumble and as a reader, you’re over here shouting, “QUEENIE, NO! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT! PLEASE RESPECT YOURSELF!” I actually saw a lot of reviews on YouTube calling this book problematic, but I thought it was kind of honest too. I mean, I can remember when I broke up with my first long-term boyfriend, Psycho Mike – I went wild, man. At the time, I thought I was filling a void, or “trying out what I couldn’t have before,” but looking back, I was like, “Shit, where was my self respect!?”

So I get where those people are coming from, but I also think that this kind of reaction to a huge life change is, well, not normal, but not uncommon and it shows that sometimes people truly need to hit rock bottom before they can begin their triumph ascent, and I felt that this is what happened with Queenie.

Sure, there were times when I wanted to slap her for being so obtuse and oblivious to her own well-being and the problems of her friends, but mostly, I loved her as a character and just wanted the best for her! And her friends (The Corgis) were all so different and hilarious, and they REALLY not only held Queenie up as a person, but also as a book. There is also a healthy dose of Black Lives Matter woven in as well, as Queenie’s ex-boyfriend is white and some of the interactions she had with his family…well. You can imagine.

I can’t wait for whatever Candice Carty-Williams does next!

15. How We Fight For Our Lives – Saeed Jones

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

I’ve been accidentally reading a lot of memoirs lately and I don’t know why! It’s hard to rate memoirs because it’s someone’s life, you know? But this was another really great and poignant read. Saeed Jones is a writer for Buzzread, I believe, and he details in this book what it’s like to not only grow up black in the south, but also gay. From the time he’s in elementary school to going off to college, you really get to watch him come out in increments. Definitely hard and uncomfortable to read at times as he details the ways he essentially seeks out derogation and abuse in the bedroom (he is nearly killed at one point), but the second half of the book focuses a lot on his relationship with his mother and BITCH I KNEW I WAS GONNA CRY.

Saeed Jones is a gift.

16. Black Girl Unlimited – Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited

Another book that I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading it but was pleasantly surprised! I just thought it was a YA novel about a girl who was training to be a wizard but OH SHIT SON this book is apparently semi-autobiographical and it is at most times dark AF and hits HARD in nearly every chapter. At a certain point, you realize that the wizardry aspect of the book is how the main character, her mother, and several other female characters cope with trauma.

And there is a lot a trauma in this book. Drugs, sexual abuse, poverty. Echo spent so much of her childhood trying to keep her mom alive, protect her younger brothers, and maintain good grades—I rooted for hard for her. This book *might* be considered YA but I think it’s an important read for adults too.

***

Well that’s what I read in June. Sorry if these book posts are boring but I like to do this because I always forget what I read and if I liked it and for some reason I never feel like writing reviews on Goodreads, oh right, because I’m not good at writing reviews!

Jul 022020
 

I thought this was just going to be a normal Thursday. I woke up at 7 like normal, had my standard bowl of cinnamon Life while listening to Saints & Misfits (audio books are easier for me to handle while eating!).

Then I exercised and afterward, since it’s my late shift and I don’t have to log on until 11, I went outside and read some more of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (always have an audio book and e-book going on in Pandemic Times).

Meanwhile, I received an email from the library saying that I had a book to pick up!! My local library is one of five Carnegie Library branches that recently implemented curbside pickup, so at 9:50am, I threw on my mask and made Chooch accompany me to the boulevard for some library social distancing action. On the way there, the former owner of the local Greek restaurant who now hangs out in front of Pitaland told me he likes my tattoo (the Marcy one, natch) which made Chooch groan because he hates when I get complimented.

Then, I didn’t understand how curbside pickup works (I was apparently supposed to call first and let them know I was coming so that the librarian could get my books ready, oops, lol) which resulted in me struggling to small-talk the library security guard while I was waited for my books, but then conversation came natural when we determined we were both aligned in the WEAR A FUCKING MASK stance, so we bitched to each other about how selfish some Americans are and how we just want things to be normal too but we also want people to be safe, which somehow segued into him telling me that he’s part Cherokee descent and has type 2 diabetes but takes care of himself and has been getting stuff done around the house, and then my books came out in a paper bag but he kept talking and I couldn’t hear everything he was saying because we were standing 6 feet apart, both wearing masks, and there was traffic.

But it was still nice to talk to a person! Chooch rolled his eyes when I said, “Thanks for the chat!” and I secretly rolled my eyes at myself too because since when do I say things like that? Quarantine has turned me into a middle-age person.

Then! A block away, some guy stopped us and asked, “Where is the cell phone place? I need to get my cell phone fixed” and we were like, “Um, we’re standing right next to it” and he acted like we saved his life, so that was a real boost.

Then! A few minutes after we returned home, I had just sat down with my coffee and a handful of pistachios when someone knocked on my door. I immediately panicked because WHO?!!? If it’s just a delivery, they only knock once to announce the presence of the package (which is usually something boring for Henry) and then retreat, but after the knock, I noted that there WAS A SILHOUETTE on the porch.

I stole a peek out of the front window and saw that it was a lady, dressed in casual attire. So, not a constable serving me papers or the gas company ready to fuck up my day. (YOU NEVER KNOW.) I gingerly opened the door and squeaked out a hello because OMG STRANGER ON MY PORCH. (Meanwhile, we have a fucking security camera that I could have accessed immediately from my phone and I am only now thinking of this three hours later.)

“Hi,” she said nicely and not in a stern, “I AM HERE TO MAKE A CITIZENS ARREST” Karen-tone. “You dropped these over by the post office on the boulevard, and we were already out walking anyway, so we walked over here,” she said, nodding toward her male walking partner pacing on the sidewalk.

He waved.

I took what was in her hands and realized immediately that it was a stack of EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PIECE OF ID AND CREDIT CARD I HAD IN MY WALLET, which I had apparently not zipped up all the way after showing the security guard my ID outside of  the library so he could attempt to locate my books himself which he obviously couldn’t since the librarian hadn’t pulled since I didn’t know how to FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AND CALL THE LIBRARY AHEAD TO SCHEDULE MY PICK-UP and do we see now how the dominoes are so sensitive to the touch!?

I had no idea that I had been dropping pieces of my life along the boulevard like the most valuable breadcrumbs, but thank god someone honest got to them first! And yes, everything is there, even my LIBRARY CARD THANK GOD.

Anyway, I felt so bad because as usual I have no cash on my person because I would have liked to have given her something for her good deed, and now I’m kicking myself because I realize that I had several Starbucks giftcards in that stack that she returned to me and I should have given her one! But my luck, it would have been the one that had 4 cents left on it.

So, in order to pay it forward, I will make a donation to a charity today. Not sure which one yet. I will put lots of good thinks into it!

And then, around 11:30, my phone rang. It was a local number and I was like OH GOD WHAT NOW but I answered it because it could have been work-related (I have reluctantly been answering my phone a lot more now that I’m working from home; that’s not going too well).

Turns out, it was some postal clerk from the Castle Shannon post office.

OK, flaskback:

So last week, I won an eBay auction for a collection of Korean-import cassettes (featuring Duran Duran, Toto, and Pat Benatar, lol) because, well, just because. Anyway, tracking said it was delivered on Saturday but NOT TO MY HOUSE, IT WASN’T. So I filed a report and now some weird guy from the Castle Shannon post office is “investigating” this and when he called today, he said he actually WENT TO THE HOUSE it was delivered to, to see if he could retrieve it, but no one was home. He asked me if they brought it me (literally it’s a house a block away so you would think, but no).

I told him this much, and he got super serious. “OK. I’m going to go back there and see what I can do. Hang in there.”

I hung up and couldn’t stop laughing because it’s just some cassettes that cost me $6.50, but I mean, the value that my heart has for them is priceless, so.

Actually, I just had a dream last night that I went to find the package myself, and I traced them back to some shitty park that was also half-garbage dump in my neighborhood (which could actually exist) and as it turned out, this is a dumping ground for all sorts of misplaced mail and I FOUND MY PACKAGE–it was ripped open but the tapes were safely stowed inside, so I covertly tucked the package under my arm and tiptoed away before someone could catch me….catch me what? Stealing back my own package? I guess so.

Then I had…relations…with some guy from high school who I 100% forgot existed and was a total nerd-alert, and I can’t even remember his last name, so clearly my missing package of Korean import cassettes is really taking a toll on me and all sorts of subconscious levels.* I’m so excited.

*(This was still part of my dream, thanks! NOT A CONTINUATION OF THINGS I DID TODAY BEFORE NOON.)

Jun 292020
 

Hello. I’m off today. Here are some updates.

8:00am Breakfast & Book:

Not pictured: me vacuuming up the dirt from the succulent Penelope knocked over while chasing her tail on a windowsill.

9:00am: Exercise Around the World Time!

Kukuwa African Dance Fitness!

Leila Isaac Bellydance Abs!

Give Me Five Thailand Kpop Dance Fitness!

10:00am: Porch Hangs with Wet Hair Kid

“I’m taking pictures of everything I do on my day off.”

“Wow. That’s so cool,” Chooch said dryly.

Then he ditched me for Blake so it became Solo Porch Hangs until the sun started burning my arm so then it became Couch Hangs as I read more of my book.

11:30am: Morning Snack

Half pink grapefruit, longan, dates.

Not pictured: me scouring Chooch’s garbage dump bedroom in search for his swim trunks so he can go swimming over Haley’s dad’s house; also I finished my book.

Also not pictured: Me walking into Drew’s trajectory as she attempted to leap from the stool to the coffee table, resulting in her giving my right calf a nice deep scratch, and then having to clean up a container of cat treats which she knocked off the dining room table. This is a great day off work so far!!

Furry terror.

12:00pm: CATCHING UP ON NEW KPOP VIDEOS, STARTING A NEW BOOK, & SURPRISE VISIT FROM HENRY

https://youtu.be/Is7glC9Jp7Q

Henry sits amidst the cat playground.

Not pictured: Henry is also unable to locate Chooch’s swim trunks.

1:00 POST-SECOND-WORKOUT LUNCH TIME

I was bored and did a kickbox abs workout on Popsugar and now I’m eating a salad which henry had to help me with before leaving to go back to work. I’m relaxing and starting “Patsy,” because I just realized it’s due to be returned in 2 days—ugh library deadlines! Keeping me under pressure!! I love to be stressed.

3:30ish: CHAI LATTE WALK

After spending most of the 2:00 hour researching side dishes around the world for our unAmerican 4th of July celebration (I mean, it’s only gonna be the three of us), I wanted a chai latte and made the mistake of walking to Muddy Cup, where the new-to-me young girl working was not wearing a mask, so that’s cool, and also I forgot that Muddy Cup uses that shitty liquid chai premix that Starbucks uses so it was not great.

You can tell by how light the color is!! Gross.

Oh well, at least I got in some steps. I guess now I will read some more.

4:30ish: IKEA TEXTS

Henry is at IKEA getting shit for the kitchen and I’m outside texting him more things to get while watching this lady spending the last 10 minutes examining my neighbor’s refuse:

She has gone through every drawer three times like she’s looking for a hidden cameo or treasure map.

Oh shit! I just realized what she’s doing. She’s removing all the handles/knobs. Fuck. I wish I had thought to do that.

5:00pm: STILL ON THE PORCH, I AM BORED

But I’m wearing my favorite Cure shirt :)

6:00PM: WAITING BY THE WINDOW

Chooch still hasn’t returned from swimming (in soccer shorts because his swim trunks have mysteriously disappeared without a trace; look for the upcoming made-for-Lifetime movie, is Lifetime even still a TV channel?) and Henry is still “at IKEA” allegedly never mind he just called me and he’s almost home thank god because Drew and I are attention STARVED.

(Penelope has been crashed out in Chooch’s room all day and could give a shit about what the rest of us are doing, so.)

Update! Henry is home with the IKEA stuff and when he was unloading everything into the house, TOURETTES came ambling last and spent a long time looking at this garbage:

Then! He had a conversation with HNC!!

He used to live in the house next to HNC and they are still friendly, I guess. I think I heard HNC call him Dave, who would have thought he has an actual name??!!

6:30PM: IS WHEN WE HAVE DINNER

Henry uses frozen cauliflower as the base for my smoothie bowls and it’s a freaking game changer.

7:00PM: WAITING FOR CHOOCH LIKE…

OMG HE’S HOME:

Also, I know this is shocking but it’s time for more exercise! But more specifically, ITS JILLIAN TIME!

(I’m an exercise addict; there were some I didn’t even account for on here today lol ugh my life is so rich.)

8:00PM: IT’S WIND DOWN TIME

Ok, I’m going to spend the rest of the night watching Booktube and eating fruit, and also getting on Henry’s nerves with my unAmerican 4th of July non-celebration.

Here he is on Amazon looking for a knopfli sieve in preparation for the weekend lol.

(Apparently he just needs a ricer which is funny because someone recently asked me at work if henry used one and I was like THE FUCK IF I KNOW, SON. Guess I have my answer now.)

Jun 192020
 

Oh boy, another Friday, another list of 5 worthless things. Well, maybe some of these things will be worthy? But first, a rando photo from the Boulevard: 

I sure hope Jo’s Salon survives COVID-19 because this place and its ever-changing window displays is a true neighborhood institution. (I have never been inside, mostly because I think you have to be an AARP member to receive services.)

1.Henry decided he wanted to get chairs for the front porch (which, as you may know, is barley a porch but there is enough room for two outdoor chair things but we always just sit on the steps and then wonder why our butts and tailbones hurt). This prompted an evening-long Internet search for chairs between Henry and Chooch, who is also very invested in our yard cleanup project after taking one (1) landscape class at the Gifted center last year. At one point, I misheard Henry, and thought he said he was searching for “Clown chairs,” which naturally piqued my interest! But no, he was merely searching for “lawn chairs.” Anyway, this inspired me  to search for clown chairs myself, but the only cool ones I found were actually antiques and cost $500 and up. Um, not for a porch in my hood. So then I started searching “swan chairs” and “porch thrones” and “chairs with feathers” and “flamingo chairs” which yielded no results that impressed me, however, I did accidentally find two flamingo planters which are currently en route to my house. Meanwhile, Henry said fuck it and bought two generic porch chairs from Big Lots which I refuse to sit in because they’re plain. Where is the glitter?! WHERE ARE THE SPARKLES?! Maybe I can make rhinestone tentacles to attach to one of them. WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY. Or so I’m told. 

2(a). My workplace has been really impressing me with their commitment to continuing the conversation of race. Last week, they invited the president of the NAACP to speak with us via WebEx and it was AWESOME. I felt so grateful that we had the opportunity to listen to such wise words and real experiences from someone in that position. This past week, the president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund spoke with us, but my audio was super wonky so I have to go back and watch the recording of that one at some point. Also, the firm is launching a pro bono initiative for equal justice, focusing on voting rights, criminal justice reform, and equal justice for indigenous people. I signed up as a volunteer because it sounds like an amazing thing to be part of and I really don’t feel like I’m doing enough as it is. Making donations, posting on social media, and making changes to my own self just seem to only go so far and I feel like I need more action, I don’t know. We’ll see what this entails and if I suck at it or not!

2(b). Re: how I’m working on myself. With all the reflection and introspection in these recent weeks, I remembered this time about 10 years ago which really shows that even though I have always considered myself “not a racist,” I was 100% not handling situations properly. I live in a duplex, and at that time, a Black family lived on the other half. I never had any issues with them, and they still to this day were my favorite neighbors BECAUSE I NEVER HEARD THEM. Anyway, in the duplex on the other side of our driveway lives HNC and his wife. His wife has always been SUPER TERRITORIAL of the driveway, it’s legit insane. So it was only a matter of time before my neighbors performed, in her eyes, some ungodly driveway infraction, resulting in a fullblown screaming match IN MY FRONT YARD. HNC’s wife’s daughter was also involved, and as the verbal fisticuffs escalated, well, out came the slurs. I have always been slightly terrified of HNC’s wife because she seems like the type to go all knives out and massacre the whole block. Sounds dramatic, but…. So instead of flying out the front door the moment I heard the n-word being flung about all willy nilly, I waited until later and then went to my next door neighbor, knocked on the door, and told her, while crying, that I overheard the argument and wanted her to know, whether it made a difference or not, that my family and I did not subscribe to those same hateful sentiments and that I was truly sorry that happened, and that I was on her side. But all these years later, knowing what I know now, I WASN’T DOING A VERY CONVINCING JOB TO PROVE THAT I WAS ON HER SIDE. Because I hadn’t done ANYTHING. I let HNC’s wife run her mouth instead of confronting that racism head-on, because THAT is how you fight the good fight. Not waiting until later and telling your Black neighbor that you don’t hate Black people because let’s  be honest, while I wanted to believe I was telling her this to make her feel better, didn’t I also, deep down, do it to make myself feel better too? Yeah, I’ve learned. That won’t happen again. I can’t say I’m an ally otherwise. (I seriously am terrified of that neighbor though, but there was this one time several years ago when I heard her outside erratically accusing Chooch of breaking her sidewalk lights and I was NOT IN THE MOOD so there was a real confrontation that day which she clearly wasn’t expecting and we have never had a problem since then, is all I’m saying.)

This has nothing to do with the photo of a creepy stairwell that I peeped on one of my nightly walks down the boulevard because the door was left open, but I overheard Chooch refer to Henry and me as his “housemates” the other night when he was talking to god only knows who on the phone. 

3. Last weekend (or the weekend before? The calendar in my mind should be in a Dali exhibition), Henry and I drove past a Chili’s, and it occurred to me that I have eaten at a Chili’s so rarely, that I couldn’t think of a single thing that would be on their menu, and then I felt amazed that this is a restaurant chain that has somehow survived all these years while evidently being so basic that I have never once in the last 20 years even CONSIDERED it as a dining option?! And then I started to freak out and wonder how I have forgotten about its existence all these years when I used to always frequent the shopping center that this particular Chili’s franchise lives and realized that I only have one very vague memory of eating there when I was in middle school, with some friends who weren’t close friends and it was actually kind of weird that we were all even together—why were we together?!—and I think we had probably also gone to the movies because there is a theater right there too but I have no idea what I ate and only remember going home and realizing that I left my camera there and my mom had to call the damn place and then drive me there to get it, and I’m certain I must have eventually gotten that roll of film developed because I have always been a memory hoarder, but what photos did it contain!? AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW!? Wow, thanks for the deep dive into my past, Chili’s. (I’m looking at their menu now. Black bean patty substitute option,, “awesome blossoms” sounds familiar, and corn on the cob is a cool side option, but otherwise this is a vegetarian’s nightmare. No thank YOU, Chili’s.)

How great is this Bong Joon-Ho and his Oscars pin I scored from the pin goddess The Idol Collective? If you still haven’t seen Parasite, what are you even doing with your life?!

4(a). I had to give a training presentation at work yesterday and I was nervous about it because it was the first time I was presenting to more than like, 2 people and even though they’re all my work-buds, my nerves do not discriminate. My lead-in was a throwback to when I was pregnant and freaking out as the nine months drew closer. My calculus professor at Pitt (god, she was the best, this older woman named Joanne who once accidentally sprayed Windex in her face when she was trying to wipe down her projector screen) told me, “Just remember: the birth is only one tiny moment out of your life. You can get through it!” So I decided to apply this to yesterday’s training, which my coworker Nate thought was an excellent strategy even though he’s never given birth, but then I admitted to everyone that on the day of my scheduled C-section, I tried to leave the hospital and the nurse was like EXCUSE ME and I was like YEAH I CHANGED MY MIND I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS NOW which is what I tried to do yesterday but it didn’t work – I had to forge ahead with the training session and you know, it was fine. I did fine. There was applause at the end. 

4(b). When I was trying to think of ways to make myself the most calm during the presentation without resorting to shots of soju beforehand (I was afraid I would wind up accidentally drunk and make it all worse), I wondered if I would feel safer having Chooch sit next to me or if I should put him out in the yard. I opted for the latter. 

4(c). What made it worse though was that I had to do this on the tailend of a check-in call that was only supposed to run for an hour but ended up being TWO HOURS AND 20 MINUTES which is unacceptable in everyone’s book, I think. I was so fatigued after that. But! Like my Pitt professor once said 14 years ago, it was only a small moment out of my life and afterward, I was like YEAH LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO, like all this energy and adrenaline came rushing back to me and I had nothing weighing me down anymore!

Sugar Spell did a charity pint sale last week so we scooped (lol) some up because what’s a little weight-gain when it’s for a good cause, and Henry even snatched a sundae kit too, the contents of which I attempted to photograph but then Penelope photo-bombed it and the dire need to shovel vegan ice cream into my gaping maw was too great to prolong any longer, so I never did go back for a better shot:

5. It’s looking like my department will be easing their way back into the office sometime around late July and I am excited only because I have bought some new shirts, jewelry, pins, and phone cases over the last several months and I miss the random compliments I get while walking around town on my lunch break YES I’M A NARCISSIST AND ALSO A LEO. We thrive on compliments. I’m not excited about the trolley though. Or dealing with the new safety procedures that have been implemented. I have had conversations with several work friends though and there are some of us who think this is too soon. I mean, I think restaurants have reopened too soon as well. Because this whole “green light” thing is giving people the misconception that things are back “to normal” and they’re not – we’re still in the middle of a pandemic with no fucking vaccine!? WHY AREN’T PEOPLE WEARING MASKS? I swear to god, these maskless assholes running amok are going to be the first people to go on social media asking people to pray for them after they get COVID-19 but ok have fun at the movies and Olive Garden,  you selfish assholes! IT’S JUST A HOAX, RIGHT? 

UGH. On that note, I’m about to go wake up Henry and tell him I’m ready to be fed. Go do something you enjoy. (Unless it’s illegal, then I don’t condone it!!! ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES ANIMALS! UNLESS YOU’RE STEALING AN ANIMAL FROM AN ABUSE HOUSEHOLD. THEN OK! My mom actually did that twice, to the same person. The most proud I’ve ever been of her.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 162020
 

I’ll tell you if there’s one upside about COVID19 (there’s not) it’s that our weekends have been especially productive lately. I mean, not having anywhere to go helps, because even though the shit we’ve been getting done is the stuff that’s been on The List for years, we (I) would always choose fun stuff over, you know, yard work.

But this weekend, we made a little retaining wall/fence thingy out of pieces of a broken pallet and I told everyone that I did all the work and I think people actually believed that because quarantine is really doing a thing to our minds, I guess. I did pick out the colors and even spray-painted some of the slats, though!

Chooch is the one who drove them all into the ground…

…but then Henry went around afterward and re-did it all, wow.

Our yard is still whack, but that fence-thing does make me very happy.

I asked Henry is our social justice sidewalk annoys him and he quietly answered, “I wouldn’t have bought you more chalk if it did.” THAT MAYBE WAS THE MOST ROMANTIC THING HE’S EVER SAID TO ME?

In other project news:

  • we’re also currently redoing our coffee table. Years ago, we had turned  it into a phot collage, which was cool but if we’re being honest, there are some people featured on this that I no longer speak to, plus water spilled on it and Henry hadn’t sealed the photos properly so the fiberboard underneath it got all bloated and warped the top. (So, if you’ve ever wondered, “How well did that DIY hold up?” the answer is “not well.” Lol.) We’re mostly keeping the concept the same, changing the colors up just a bit, but the pictures will be strictly from our Korea trips because I can’t imagine ever tiring of looking at those, as opposed to stupid girls who harass me online, lol.
  • moderate kitchen makeover
  • light up clouds above the steps  because why not
  • the Seoul subway project is at a standstill because Henry ordered a roll of plastic for the front of it and USP shipped it back and forth from Georgia to Virginia and back again, numerous times, so that by the time it made it to us in Pittsburgh, it was damaged and Henry had to return it. The odds are really stacked against us for this project.

In other weekend news:

  1. we hung out with Blake and Haley Saturday night, for the first time since the pandemic hit us! Granted, we all just chilled outside in the yard and weren’t like, hugging each other or anything, but it was nice to talk to them in person and not via Instagram or through their window.
  2. Chooch tagged along on our Sunday cemetery walk because he’s back on that Pokémon Go tip, which is at least getting him out of the house. Anyway, we’re always a walking caravan of dysfunction when we go on family walks together. And then at one point, Chooch found a tombstone he liked and asked us to get one for him!? I was like, “OMG HOPEFULLY WE ARE BOTH DEAD BY THE TIME YOU REQUIRE A TOMBSTONE, THANKS.” God, morbid much.
  3. Chooch’s nemesis Larry’s dog almost came into our house on Saturday, so that was cool. She’s a big-ass Doberman and I’m sure my cats would have loved that.
  4. we watched LA 92 Sunday night and as previously mentioned in one of my recent book review posts when I wrote about Your House Will Pay (loosely based on the LA riots), the amount of facts I knew about the Rodney King case and aftermath was extremely limited. I mean I know I was in middle school and was probably playing Girl Talk and watching Hey Dude or something, but shit—my parents must not have talked about the news at the dinner table or else I was too busy scowling at my lima beans and pork chops to remember. But yeah, I definitely feel like I just flat out didn’t know it was as fucking devastating as it was. I just remember seeing the Rodney King footage at the time, but HOLY FUCK those riots were some horrifying purge-type shit. It’s been two days since we watched it and I still can’t wipe some of those images out of my mind. I think it’s a very important documentary, ESPECIALLY during this latest bout of civil unrest and racial injustice and inequality, but please heed the viewer discretion at the beginning because there were moments where it was literally like watching a snuff film and I have had unsettling dreams ever since.
  5. after regaling Blake & Haley with horror stories from school, Chooch felt compelled to start his own blog, of his own accord! I’m so excited about this but also treading lightly because if I get too smothery/school marmy/pushy about it, or even show too much interest, he’ll quit. Being a mom is so tricky sometimes. But anyway! His blog is fun and I hope he doesn’t lose interest! Go check it out!

Well, I think that’s all that happened this past weekend.

 

 

Jun 142020
 

Over the last several years, with the heightened awareness of police brutality, I have stopped on several occasions while on my lunch break walks downtown after witnessing a cop/cops interacting with Black men. (In these cases, they were all men.) Usually there were several other people too who would also stop their roll and provide vigilance, because YOU NEVER FUCKING KNOW. Gotta have your phones out, at the ready, at all times.

But for some reason, I never actually thought this the whole way through. Yeah, I’m standing there, glaring at the cops, getting ready to —- what? What exactly is the protocol in these situations? Am I allowed to run over there and start kicking the cops? (Henry just said NO!) And especially now that the Black Lives Matter movement is running full throttle (good!! I hope it stays that way until CHANGES ARE MADE), I also realized that while I have been seeing a ton of information being shared on ways to help, ways to check to our privilege, ways to donate, etc., I haven’t actually seen anything in any of my social media feeds on what to do if we find ourselves in a bystander position when a racially-charged police situation does escalate.

So I googled it because this seems important to know, right? Like, it could potentially happen to any one of us, where we are now that person who can make or break a case against police brutality. Like, can we actually call the police on the police? That seems…weird?

Of all the articles I read, only one actually said to do this, even though it seems counterproductive (like, aren’t we just doing the cops a solid by inviting more of the bad guys to the party?), but apparently, if they hear the dispatch call, it can get them to back off and check themselves. I dunno, this seems like an unlikely outcome, if you ask me. Maybe get the firemen on the scene!? COULD WE LIE AND SAY THAT WE’RE HURT AND NEED AN AMBULANCE, INSTEAD?

The general consensus seems to be: RECORD EVERYTHING. We, as American citizens, are within our legal rights to record everything the police do, as long as it’s on public grounds and we stay 6 feet away. They are not allowed to arrest us for recording, demand us to stop, or confiscate our phones without a warrant.

I can’t even begin to imagine how helpless every single witness in every single police brutality case has felt, having to stand on the sidelines, shouting at them to stop, and being unable to interfere further, for risk of being fucking killed as well.

We have got to keep the ACAB mentality and assume the worst when we were out in public and see a Black person being stopped by police. It’s us against them and if we are going to say that we are allies to our Black friends, then we have to fucking stand up and supervise these altercations until there is some kind of massive law enforcement reformation and cops can maybe one day be trusted to do their jobs like normal fucking decent human beings.

(Personal side note: I have hated cops for 25 years of my life and will stop and glare at them every chance I get. Especially those cop-dicks on motorcycles. I yelled, ‘WOW YOU’RE REAL FUCKING COOL” at one of them a few months ago and felt so good about it for days. BRING IT, PIGS.)

Sources for more detailed info and not my amateur breakdown:

HuffPost

Find Law

Ella Baker Center : this one also gives guidelines on what to do if you’re the one involved with the police, some of which I wasn’t aware.

Jun 132020
 

While I’m busy being angry at America and the world and taking it out on Henry via housework and projects, here are some pictures of Drew because wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat if only for a day?

I mean, the cats have so many toys, our house looks like we must surely have a toddler. My other cats (RIP) rarely played with toys and preferred twist ties and other assorted wrappers, though Marcy did enjoy cat tunnels. Don’t get me wrong, Drew and Penelope will adopt a rogue twist tie or rubber band and give it all their devotion for days upon days until it’s lost or, god forbid, thrown away. But they fucking love their toy mice and stuff too, which Marcy, Speck, Don, and Willie couldn’t be bothered with.

I found this totally cute pizza bed at Meowingtons.com for the cats. So far, they mostly only give a shit about the plush anchovies and have already dragged one to some hidden locale in the house, never to be seen again since the very first day we got it. Every night, Drew absconds with the remaining two and proceeds to run around crying with one dangling from her maw. It’s so strange.

I woke up the other morning with one outside our bedroom door, and the other was on the couch with Chooch, who had fallen asleep there the night before.

Little gifts…or threats. Who can be sure.

Penelope, meanwhile, is currently obsessed with this ratty lime green pompom that I *think* might have come in a pack of cat toys, but could also be something left over from a craft project, etc. You never know, but like Drew and the anchovies, Penelope will run around WAILING with this damn thing stuffed in her mouth.

We have evidence that she actually slept in the bed one (1) time, though, as recorded by Chooch who woke up at 4am last week and caught her in the act.

Chooch used one of his Amazon giftcards to buy this milk carton scratch pad which is supposed to be for BOTH CATS, but Drew is ultra territorial and anytime Penelope tries to pose as a missing kid, Drew flexes on her until she comes back out.

Sigh. Cat sisters.

Anyway, playing with the cats has been one of the few bright spots lately.

Side note: I started googling Laddie from Lost Boys after thinking about missing kids on milk cartons and randomly found someone’s vlog on YouTube where they visited some of the Lost Boys filming locations and that seems like a really fun post-pandemic pilgrimage, doesn’t it, Henry? DOESN’T IT? Lol, he can’t hear me over the buzz of the saw he’s currently operating outside as he works on yet another motherfucking project I’ve added to his list.

Jun 102020
 

Photo cred: Julia Rendleman

This photo has been emblazoned on my brain ever since I first saw it the other day. I really want to buy a print of this and frame it as a reminder of how fucking important and POWERFUL the last few weeks have been. I really hope this is a turning point that sticks; I know change doesn’t happen over night but if this is something that we keep discussing with each other (especially those reluctant to hear it) and make sure to stay motivated and ANGRY until election day, that has got to count for something.

I also saw this on Twitter which sparked so much rage inside me:

You guys know I hate football on principle, but when the whole Take a Knee controversy happened, I was ready to buy a Kaepernick jersey, for real. It’s alarming to me how many people STILL DON’T GET IT. Henry had to listen to me rant about it for about an hour in a cemetery on Sunday but it’s nothing new to him – this has been a hot button topic for me since the day it happened. I remember going to work and yelling, “I THINK I LIKE A FOOTBALL PLAYER NOW” to Glenn and Todd.

To show my solidarity for him, I’ve donated to his foundation, Know Your Rights Camp, and kindly suggest that you also consider donating!

And tomorrow, the president of the NAACP will be speaking to the Law Firm and I am really looking forward to listening to him, learning more, and hopefully walking away with even more ways to help boost the movement ahead.

2020 might be the year of COVID-19 ruining proms and vacations (& you know, killing a staggering amount of people while forcing fragile white Americans to have to OH MY GOD wear a mask), but it’s also the year that racist monuments are toppling, NASCAR’s banning Confederate flags, and police are being defunded. DON’T STOP, 2020! There’s still plenty of time to cram in more historical improvements to this limping country!

Jun 052020
 

In lieu of my typical Friday Five dum-dum postings, here’s some more important stuff.

Like, for one thing, the house down the street of me that has had grotesque pro-trump flags hanging on their porch since they moved in a year ago has since taken them down. I dunno if it’s because they had a change of heart (doubtful, you know how those Trumpers are), took them down out of fear, or someone ripped them down in protest, but I am just really super happy that they are gone. BYE BYE. Hopefully they don’t come back—one of them is that gross picture of Trump as Rambo, holding a machine gun.

That family has a dog and Chooch and I always say we feel so sorry for it, having to live in a Trump house.

There was a protest that was supposed to march pass our house earlier today so Chooch and I went outside to redo our sidewalk statements that were washed away in the rain yesterday. I recently learned how to say Black Lives Matter in Korean, thanks to a Korean American clothing brand – Kore Limited – who released a statement the other day. I am living for the companies that are stepping up and fighting the good fight, and even more happy when I see influencers/YouTubers/celebs terminating contracts with those that aren’t.

(Shout out to Chooch for his sick fist-drawing skills!)

While we’re on that topic, I love seeing people posting about local Black-owned businesses to support, but can I share a business here that I will never ever ever give a single cent to?

This place is in the building where I work and while I have never personally bought anything there, we have had department lunches catered by them in the past. I sincerely hope our department will no longer give this place their business. Windows can be replaced; lives can’t.

On a happier note! Our favorite vegan ice cream shop is taking pint preorders starting tomorrow at 7pm and proceeds from their sales will be donated to local non-profits supporting racial equality so if you’re in Pittsburgh, get yo orders in quick tomorrow night because they sell out fast!

And on that note, I hope everyone takes some time to breathe & decompress this weekend. Then get right back at it! Fuck systemic racism, fuck Trump, fuck the police.

Jun 012020
 

If you have ever said or thought “Blue lives matter” or “all lives matter,” check your ears because you’re not listening.

If you have said, “I get what happened was wrong, but” then you don’t truly understand your privilege. There is no room for white knighting in this matter.

If you’re more upset that buildings are burning and not that black people continue to be murdered by the police, where is your humanity?

If you are not anti-racism or willing to educate yourself, kindly unfollow, unsubscribe, delete, etc. Actually, scratch the “kindly.” Just get the fuck out.

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.)