Jul 212019
 

Originally, when Janna suggested that we go to dinner for my birthday, I wanted to go to Apteka which is a vegan restaurant that specializes in like, Hungarian and Polish comfort foods. I personally love the food so much so that the pretentiousness of the joint is easy for me to ignore but Henry pretty much said he ever wants to eat there ever again.

So it seemed like a good opportunity to go there since he wouldn’t be joining us but then I thought it would be nice to go somewhere I’ve never gone before and the first place that popped into my mind, because I knew I wanted some different kind of ethnic cuisine and not just like some American gastropub fare, was Kavsar. It specializes in Russian and Uzbeki cuisine and that appeals to me. I heard about it several years ago and it’s been one of those “Why don’t we ever go there?” places that I reference periodically to Henry.

Anyway, I sent the website to Janna and thought for sure she’d say no because she used to date a Russian guy who ladled Borscht into her mouth when he wanted her to shut up and even though it was awful for her at the time I guess she misses it probably because he was trampled and killed by a buffalo when they were on a date at the game preserve and she blames herself because he had jumped the fence to pick her a dandelion which he thought was Janna’s favorite flower but he was confusing her with the cashier at the Ushanka hat store that he dated briefly in high school after his dad dumped her.

But Janna actually agreed to dine here and I assumed it was because she enjoys feeling like shit about the past but apparently she recently found out that his death was faked by the Russian government and he’s back home teaching a course at a community college on how to hack elections so she doesn’t feel guilty about the buffalo thing anymore.

Janna didn’t order borscht though. She got some dumpling things called Manti, with pumpkin and spinach filling.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Janna made reservations for 6:30 and when she wasn’t at my house by 6, I started frantically texting Henry, who was down the street at Eat N Park with Chooch who was pouting because he wasn’t invited to my birthday dinner so Henry has to ply him with a wholesome family dinner at a chain restaurant to get him to shut it.

I read Janna all the texts later that night when we were back at my house after dinner, like the one where I said WHO KNOWS in response to Henry’s simple question, “Did she forget?”

By the time Janna arrived (at 6:20!!) she had the audacity to get out of the car like she was going to come in my house and sit a spell but I flew out to her car and screamed GET BACK IN THE CAR JANNA, WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!

I feel like our entire friendship can be summarized by her being late and me waiting at the door panicking about it.

Anyway, we got there at exactly 6:30 and Janna was so smug but just so you know, that’s what time we parked the car and then we still had to walk a minute to the actual restaurant so whatever.

Once inside, we were taken to this super cozy little table for two in an upstairs room and I started cracking up because it was like The Date Table.

We had the best (and only) waitress and I wish I had asked her name but she was super personable and informative; for instance, she told us that we HAD TO ORDER the bread and holy hot straight-from-the-oven damn, what great advice. This was some of the best bread I have ever had in a restaurant: it was warm and chewy, coated with sesame seeds, and required no butter whatsoever. Plus, it was fun to pull it apart and tasted even more amazing once I got my entree: Lagman, which is a traditional Uzbeki dish of noodles, broth and vegetables.

YEAH BOI. The noodles were so delicious and reminiscent of the homemade noodles by grandma used to make (she was Slovenian) and I laughed about how the menu said “all entrees topped with dill” but damn that dill was a nice touch!

The dill topic made Janna segue into the age-old cilantro survey and apparently she is a member of the anti-cilantro camp. She said that, to her, cilantro tastes the way stink bugs smell and I found that interesting because I like cilantro and stink bugs don’t bother me.

God, why are Janna are I even friends!

Oh yeah, because she takes me to dinner on my birthday and buys me Taemin albums lol.

Our waitress was sweet and took a bunch of pictures of us sitting at the special table. Then she told me she loved my tattoo of Marcy so we started talking about cats and she said she loves them but a very allergic and also allergic to dogs so maybe she will have to get a turtle and I hope Janna left her a big tip!!!

Then we came back to my house and allowed Chooch to walk to Scoops with us to get ice cream and he was annoyed because KEN, the old man who drove everyone to the camping trip last week and was SO ANNOYING and wouldn’t drop Chooch off straight at our house, was there.

“Did you even say to him?” I asked after we left and he said, “Hell no! I hate that guy.”

And then we came back to my house and Chooch made us watch videos of some guy and his emotional support goose named George.

Also, I’m glad I didn’t say what Chooch told me to say to the waitress because it apparently means “hello bitch” so that’s great.

Jul 202019
 

Thursday was our last Summer Breakfast Club meeting before Korea break starts! We went super basic and old school and chose Eat n Park which is OK, it gets it done. While we were waiting to cross the street to get there, though, some guy in a pickup drove by and yelled, “STOP GROWING UP!” out the window and I panicked because I always assume someone is heckling me, but it turned out it was the proprietor of Parker’s! So we laughed and waved to him – he’s always telling Chooch to stop growing up so fast so it all made sense once we realized who it was.

But then he was stopped in traffic RIGHT IN FRONT OF EAT N PARK and so now he knows we were cheating on his place.

Eat n Park was practically empty but guess who was there? TOURETTES!!! This was the first time he and Chooch saw each other since the BIKE INCIDENT. 

That was the most exciting part of breakfast.

My mom came over for a bit after that since I was working from home and something miraculous happened – Drew actually didn’t hide! Drew is super skittish and half the time she doesn’t even recognize her own family, but usually when someone comes over, she trips over herself in mid-air trying to run away and then we won’t see her until hours after the person leaves. But this time, my mom just walked right in because the door was unlocked and I think since there was no knocking, Drew wasn’t set off. She sat under the dining room table for the first few minutes, staring at my mom curiously, but my mom kept dangling her phone charger in the air, until Drew eventually approached with caution. Then my mom fed her like half a bag of treats and Drew let down her guard. Penelope came downstairs a few times too but she’s not the one I was worried about, so now I feel less anxious about leaving them for two weeks. I think they’re going to not miss us at all with my mom being here!

I was so tempted to blow off work yesterday and hide under the coffee table with Drew. Hiding seems like such a sweet plan sometimes.

Speaking of my mom, she got me this precious G-Dragon wine glass for an early birthday present! I can’t keep it on the mantle with my other kpop stuff though because of psycho Drew the acrobat so it’s safely tucked away in my curio cabinet, probably the last place in the house that Drew has not yet figured out how to access.

Last night we finalized one of the last parts of our itinerary by buying Disneysea tickets! I really wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to swing this part of the trip but we found a reasonably-priced flight to Tokyo from Seoul and Henry had already booked a hotel several months ago in hopes that it would pan out. I was telling one of my co-workers our itinerary in detail and she was like “I feel exhausted just listening to this” but hey, this is how we vacation, OK?!

I bought a new travel journal too which arrived the other day so now I’m really feeling READY TO GO.

But also not ready at all.

This is my current favorite picture.

Apropros of nothing, but I was recently washing the dishes and got angry at how many bottles of dish soap Henry has scattered around the sink (THREE! all different brands/flavors). I flipped out about in front of Chooch because I swear to god there is always one that IS INSIDE THE SINK WITH ALL THE DIRTY DISHES and one on the counter, and one next to the faucet so I’m forever collecting them and putting them together in a neat row only for Henry to, what, juggle them and them leave them wherever they land?! WHAT DOES HE DO WITH THEM?! Sometimes I will even take two of them and toss them under the sink to get them out of the way but then lo and behold, THEY COME BACK.

Chooch apparently has been having the same concerns about this as me.

“I never even see him buying them,” he said. “Like, where do they come from?”

Does he have a subscription box for dish soap!? What a weird compulsion!

I painted my nails Thursday night and realized that they matched Trudy.

Did I ever tell you guys about the young guy who rides the T with me who kind of resembles Shaggy from Scooby Doo and he smells like carrots? Well, he’s super fucking rude and on Wednesday when the trolley rolled up, he completely cut in front of everyone in line and stood right next to me, waiting for the doors to open and I was like, “Look you Carrot Fuck, I was here first and I am not backing down” so when the doors opened, we ended up both walking on at the same time, shoulder-to-shoulder, and it was so awkward and also super obvious to everyone around that we were silently fighting over who was getting on the damn thing first and I hope to god no one video’d it, like I did the other day when I was walking through the trolley station behind American Psycho and had a prime advantage to document his Perry Wright-From-Big Little Lies-ness, so I just started shooting and then I sent it to Henry with no caption and his response was, “American Psycho?”

And I said, “Yes. But…who’s the psycho now.”

“You, lol,” he answered, because he is a professional answerer of rhetorical questions.

Chooch is really into sheet masks.

I took this yesterday when I was walking across the river on the Northside in the 90 degree heat, which was not great but I really have to walk away from my desk for an hour a day or I will petrify, probably.

That’s all I got for right now, I think. Today is my last language exchange with Jiyong until I come back in August, and then later tonight Janna is taking me out for an early birthday dinner so I’m really looking forward to both of these things except that I just realized I forgot to study one of the lessons Jiyong and I did last week so now I have to hurry up and do that so I don’t look like a STU-P-I-D this afternoon, ugh.

Jul 172019
 

I have been a fan of PVRIS nearly since their beginning, and they continue to be one of the few western bands I keep an eye on. Their frontwoman, Lynn Gunn, is such a strong, badass lady and when she posted last week that they had a new video coming out, I pretty much set a reminder on my phone.

This song is everything I could have asked for. I love how they keep growing and evolving as artists without losing their identity. They still sound like PVRIS, only consistently better and stronger every time.

Lynn is my forever Woman Crush Wednesday…and Thursday, and Friday, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.

Anyway, check back tomorrow for a blog post on how my night was interrupted.

Jul 142019
 

When Chooch and I came home from breakfast the other day, there was a package waiting for me and I dramatically cried, “For me?!” which made Chooch roll his eyes.

Anyway, it was an early birthday gift from my great chingu Janna! She knows how much I covet Taemin and how HENRY let me down on V-DAY and MOTHER’S DAY when I said all I wanted was Taeminnie’s new album.

Would you look at this stunner?! He is the most beautiful human being in the world I swear to god.

Speaking of god, that dude didn’t just stop with looks–he gave Taemin an inhuman amount of talent as well. It’s almost not fair.

I hope I get to see him perform live someday. <3

고마워요, Janna unnie!

Jul 112019
 

This blog post from 2016 came up in my memories the other day and it cracked me up because I can vividly remember how irritated Henry was that day. It also made me sad because of the way things ended with my grandparents house (I don’t think I even officially wrote about it, but in the end, we weren’t able to save it and some a-hole bought it and is flipping it I guess). 

(I don’t know why I said “a-hole”up there and not just asshole.)

Anyway, I’m glad we were able to get a few months of quality time with the house, and that we managed to eke out some more really good memories of our time there trying to fix it up. This is hands down one of those good memories!

***

We’ve been working on the outside of Gillcrest lately since we’ve reached a point with the interior where actual handymen will need to be hired. There is a ton of overgrowth happening in the backyard plus some felled trees, so today Henry bought a CHAINSAW.

I know what you’re thinking: what kind of man doesn’t already own a chainsaw? Aren’t they like born with one?

I don’t know why I was so excited about this. I knew the moment that Henry fired it up, I would probably pee my pants because HAUNTED HOUSE TRAUMA.

Still, I begged him to let me pick out the chainsaw, but he shouldered me out of the way (!!!!!!) and gruffly said something about “MAN PICK CHAINSAW. YOU NOT MAN.” Then he proceeded to put on this huge show of browsing the chainsaw showcase when we all knew he was just going to buy the cheapest one there.

C’mon now, Henry.

My favorite part was after he determined which was the cheapest, he asked the Home Depot guy, “BLAH BLAH BLAH?”

And the Home Depot guy was all, “BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

And then there was a MYSTERIOUS CAN HAND-OFF.

Followed by more BLAHs and another hand-off of A THING OF STUFF.

You guys missed so much. I’ll  bring the camera crew next time.

Back at Gillcrest, no one was there yet and I was like, “Do I really want to be alone here with a chainsaw-wielding Henry?” But then my mom and Corey were there and I realized it wouldn’t have mattered much because it took Henry FORTY-FIVE MINUTES to get the chainsaw started.

WOW MUCH MAN, VERY TESTOSTERONE.

I helped by throwing crab apples at him while Corey meandered about the backyard, taking pictures of trees.

Us Kellys are notorious for our yardwork ethics.

Henry was really starting to get extremely pissed off, so I wasn’t exactly sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing when he finally got it started. I’m not sure what the issue was other than Henry just not being masculine enough? The guys at the haunted houses never seem to have a problem getting it started.

Just sayin’.

(Please enjoy Corey’s and my obnoxious gang-laughter in the above video. It really helps Henry deal with stressful situations.)

After about 20 minutes of chainsaw’ing, I noticed Henry milling about quietly so I went over to berate him for being a slacker. He held up his finger to show me that he had WOUNDED HIMSELF ON THE CHAINSAW!!!

“OMG DID YOU CHAINSAW YOURSELF?!?!?!” I screamed, bracing myself for impending faints.

“No, I burnt myself on it,” he said quietly, probably trying to hold back tears while praying that he his penis would eventually come back to him after being engulfed by the cavernous VAGINA that had opened up in its place. God Henry, you’d never know you used to be in THE SERVICE!

“Oh,” I said, disappointed that his injury wasn’t more manly and valiant. So I went back to sitting in the grass

Apparently the reason he burned himself was because the chain was too loose and in his attempt to tighten it, he touched some silver part whatever that means. Once he stopped crying about it, he picked up the manual and sat down for some summer reading.

Then my mom came back with PIZZA which was great because Corey and I had been working very hard, dragging chopped down branches into the woods. My mom said she did a spit-take when she saw me in the yard, working.

I have callouses now, maybe.

Our new tradition is eating pizza in the formal dining room that I don’t think my grandparents ever used after the year 1983, while blasting the soft rock station over the kitchen speakers. Usually, there is at least one Phil Collins/Genesis jam that plays, but today we were treated to BROKEN WINGS by MR MISTER.

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MR MISTER PIZZA PARTY

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My mom didn’t understand what was going on and thought that I was filming the pizza because the song goes with pizza (“That song goes with pizza??” she’s incredulously asking in the background of the video) but it’s really just because I needed to focus on something while capturing some glorious notes of Broken Wings, you know? And why not pizza?!

After pizza, Henry casually announced that someone was there, and we all fucking lost our shit because it’s been HAUTE TENSION since March 30th, OK? Turns out my mom had recently renewed the insurance on the house and it was just some dude from the insurance agency who was there to take photos for the file or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t the one talking to him.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go and put that Mr. Mister record on right now. KBYE.

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Jul 082019
 

Before I start my always-scintillating weekend recap, I want to say that I had to absolutely drag  my ass out of the house this morning, having not had to be in the office since last Wednesday. I was feeling pretty miserable about it too, especially when I got to W.Liberty Avenue and hit the button for the crosswalk BUT THE WALK SIGN WAS SKIPPED OVER and I couldn’t cross, so I started to yelling to Henry, “WHO CAN I CONTACT ABOUT THIS!? THE WALK SIGN OFFICE OF AMERICA??” and he was like, “I don’t know…probably something in Dormont…” but then I was reminded of the COP WHO NEVER EMAILED ME BACK so that really topped off my morning glass of Pissed Off Juice.

After managing to successfully jaywalk to the other side of the road, which entails me flailing like a wild animal released from a cage, blindfolded, I was approached by a tall older man, maybe like Henry’s age, so—old. I tensed up immediately, figuring he was going to ask me for directions, for bus fare, for when the R-Bar across the street opens.

But then I was even more scared when he started with, “Hey, I just want to tell you—”

TELL ME WHAT? THAT I’M FAT? THAT MY SHOE’S UNTIED? (I fell for that one before!) THAT YOU’RE GOING TO COME TO MY HOUSE AND SKIN ME ALIVE? THAT YOU’RE THE LINDBERG BABY? THAT I HAVE A BIG NOSE? (Ever since some asshole told me in 6th grade, while in line for lunch in the cafeteria, that I have a big nose, it is literally all that I see when I look in the mirror. And that guy tried to friend me on Facebook a few years ago and I was like, “OH NOW YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH BIG NOSE, I THINK NOT.” Shit, what was that guy’s name though…)

“—that you’re really pretty. Remember that on a rainy day.” And then he smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and continued along down the sidewalk.

“What was that?” Henry asked through the phone, because HE IS SO POSSESSIVE OF ME. So I told him and he was like, “Oh, was he a weirdo?” because god forbid a functioning human would ever think I’m pretty, right Henry?

Anyway, that really turned my day around and then the cherry on top was when I passed by Muddy Cup, a cafe in Dormont, and my favorite barista was sitting by the window, waving to me. So, maybe Mondays aren’t always so bad.

BUT it still has the distinction of being The Day After the Weekend, which sucks even more when you’re coming off a glorious, long 4-day holiday extravaganza! (Yeah, yeah, I had to work in the morning on the 4th, but at least I was home.)

Saturday and Sunday were both really nice days, regardless of their extended holiday status. So let’s get into it!

I met up with Jiyong at Adda for some coffee and she surprised me with a pop quiz and I panicked and almost chose flight over fright but instead, I stayed seated at my table and struggled to figure out how to translate the super simple English sentences into Korean and I swear it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long ass time, since probably…well, since I was in actual school. But Jiyong is really patient with me so this time, I have been reciting and memorizing my dumb face off so I will be READY next time!

Isn’t this drink goddamn gorgeous?! It’s a pea blossom matcha latte and it was worth every cent. I told Henry that my goal for this meet-up was to not spill anything on myself but I splashed it as soon as I picked up the glass from the counter so I had a green stream sluicing down my hand by the time I brought it back to our table.

Jiyong pointed out that my latte matched my phone case so she took a picture for me.

Then some mom in head-to-toe REI and her dumb little kid who was probably 3 took it upon themselves to sit at the same table of us right when I was in the middle of struggling to read Korean out loud and I felt like Billy Madison.

I can probably read Korean out loud better than that baby can read English though so there!!!!

The barista told me he liked my shirt and I couldn’t remember what I was wearing because I’m almost 40 now and automatically can’t remember things. I bought this recently at Target for like $6, bam.

Chooch and I binged the new season of Stranger Things, but my version of binging (binge’ing?) is to watch like 2-3 episodes a day, tops. So, we started on Friday, but by Sunday, I was in full-blown Netflix warrior mode and said super-seriously, “OK, let’s do this.” So we finished the last episode by 11:30 last night. (Look–I need to take exercise breaks, OK? This broad can’t rest on her laurels for long periods of time, whatever laurels are. Is it like a tuffet? A toadstool?)

During one of our breaks on Saturday, Henry and Chooch left for Target as I hollered after them, “Buy me a present!” but they were too far away as I followed it up with, “And not a candy bar!”

So Chooch sent me this picture of a STEVE HARRINGTON pillow and asked “Do you want this?” Um, le duh. It reminded me so much of the time in the early 90s when my dad bought me a Jason Priestley pillow and I was so annoyed because everyone knew my heart belonged to Luke Perry (RIP). But still, J.Priestley was no slouch, so I couldn’t complain too  much.

So I was all excited thinking I’m getting this hot pillow but then HENRY said he wasn’t paying $20 for a PILLOW. What a fucking cheapskate.

And he didn’t even bring me a candy bar!!!

Sunday was a super slothy day – it stormed off and on so we stayed home except for an after-dinner trip to Baskin Robbins for Stranger Things ice cream. We went to a Baskin Robbins that’s out in an area we don’t visit very often, and on the way there we passed a building that triggered a quick memory.

“I used to work there,” I said, pointing out the window. “For like, a day,” I added, and Henry just frowned.

Actually, I think I only went there for an interview, with my then-friend Cinn, and we were both hired but then I was like, “Hahahaha just kidding” and she got stuck working there without me. I think it was just telemarking probably because that’s what all my jobs were back then since I had such a glowing personality.

(That’s not a joke. I was like, super-likeable back then instead of the plain cardboard cutout I am now.)

“Yeah and then after the interview, we went to Long John Silvers and bought hush puppies with a bag of Susan B. Anthony coins that Cinn found in her house and she bought fish and shared it with [my cat] Marcy even though they hated each other,” I finished.

Actually, this picture was taken that day!

I took this with my camcorder I think?!

Anyway, then we got to Baskin Robbins (we’re back to present day now, please keep up) and it was so annoying because they had this TV screen that was playing a slideshow of all the Stranger Things ice cream they had but everything Chooch ordered was either “out” or “discontinued” so he got the only option they (barely) had – the USS Butterscotch, which was what I was going to get so then I panicked and said FORGET IT I DONT WANT ANYTHING and Henry was like FOR CHRISTS SAKE and I heard one of the scoopers day to him, “Does your wife want anything?” because I had walked away to pout and I was like IM NO ONES WIFE!!

But I got this dumb commemorative picture of Chooch:

His face is nearly all healed from the sunburn! I was applying ointment (lol) to it on Saturday and it was sooooo grody (kiss kiss, 1992) and scaly so I screeched, “EW YOU FEEL LIKE A REPTILE!!” and he snatched the Cortizone from me and spat, “OOOOHkay, I’ll do it myself.” I’m a really great parent who definitely has not spent the last 13 years sculpting a multi-headed complex on my son.

Came home, went for a walk, finished Stranger Things and cried. What a weekend.

*(OMG that means Saturday & Sunday. I’m a language genius. 일+일=이)

Jul 032019
 

Can we take a moment to appreciate two great things, cats and kpop? I have plenty of both in my life!

I put this bag on the floor just to see how long it would take Drew to jump inside. The answer is: not long.

This is the only picture of Penelope you’ll see here today. She is so good at avoiding the camera! Also, Chooch totally body-shames her so she’s very self-conscious. :(

Drew on the other hand is like, “HOW’S THIS POSE?”

I hate how possessive she is of Chooch and I remind her daily that I AM THE ONE WHO CHOSE HER, NOT CHOOCH. Honestly, Chooch wanted this elusive black cat that he saw for a split second and then it never came out from whatever it was hiding under, so I said, “Well…what about that one?” and pointed to Drew, who at that time, was known as “Troublemaker” by the owners of the house she was born in.

What a fucking accurate moniker.

I have been missing G-Dragon with full-blown desperation lately. I told Henry that we have to have a party for when he gets discharged from the military in the fall and of course Henry was like, “I know” but I think he’s probably banking on the fact that none of my friends give a shit about this and Janna will be the only one who even shows up and  that’s probably just because she’d be afraid not to, and also because she knows Henry will likely be making top notch party food because when doesn’t he so that right there will probably get people to come because lord knows I’ve attended many a party solely for the food.

Some of my friends like to make disparaging comments about him (his fashion sense is confusing to mere plebs, I guess) so I dramatically flipped out and told Henry that they can have fun sitting at home and looking at Instagram pictures of the party they weren’t invited to and Henry was like, “How can I do that, too….?”

Honestly, sometimes I take breaks at work just to worship my G-Dragon photo card. It helps hold me together, you know? HE IS KING.

Drew always lays down on the Devil rug right next to the nude lady.

She is seriously living her best life though.

The cats are definitely invited to my G-Dragon party!

Jul 022019
 

What are: the components of a satisfying Saturday.

The weather was SO GOOD on Saturday and I had this big urge to walk to Orbis Cafe in Mt. Lebanon so of course I dragged Chooch along with me. It’s only about a 25-minute walk and he gets to pet lots of dogs on the way, so he accompanied me with little resistance.

We ended up walking nearly the entire way there in a small, accidental group that included us, a young Asian couple, and a girl/lady in a dress and silver sequined Converse high-tops who we found out later, as she was helping a random guy in a wheelchair cross the street to his doctor’s office, that she was going to a bridal shower that she would have been perfectly fine with missing.

Aside from  that, none of us had actually spoken to each other, yet in my mind, we had all become pedestrian pals over the course of the 8 or so blocks we had traversed together, so when we all went our separate ways as Orbis Cafe loomed ahead, I felt empty inside.

IS THAT WEIRD OR IS THAT WEIRD.

In my head, I like to pretend that I belong with a group. Sigh.

Anyway, at Orbis, I had a very refreshing cinnamon latte and Chooch had a banana muffin and iced tea which I knew he wasn’t going to like because it was unsweetened and I was right because I know everything about that kid. He wanted to throw it away but I made him carry it all the way home and put it in the fridge for his unsweetened tea-obsessed dad to chug later.

This is a church that has a nice roof. I’ve never been inside though. It might be a dump.

Later that afternoon, I went to Jiyong’s apartment to learn to make kimbap! Kimbap, in case you don’t know, are rolls filled with things such as eggs, sweet pickled daikon, pork, cucumber, etc. It’s similar to sushi in that they’re completely customizable, one-shotters wrapped in seaweed (kim) and always filled with rice (bap). It’s a popular picnic food and parents will usually send their kids on field trips with a roll or two.

Henry makes it occasionally but I have never once sidled up to him and asked him to teach me his rice-rolling ways so he was kind of like REALLY when I told him I was going over Jiyong’s to learn just that.

It was so much fun! She put on Winner and did all the prep work while I just stood there like a useless cardboard cutout which is what I was born to do. Literally my greatest talent.

She had me watch as she made the first one and I’ll tell you what, she made the Spreading of the Rice look so goddamn easy but when it was my turn, I was like “oh.” The struggle!

“It’s like doing crafts,” she mused, as I frantically peeked at hers to see if I was on the right track. I thought I was doing alright but then she reached over and rearranged my rice–mildly offensive!

J/K – she just wanted to salvage my roll because we had to eat it at some point so I wasn’t too hurt, I guess.

Omg the rolling process was no joke. She kept helping me with it and I would have been totally OK with her just rolling all of mine for me to be honest because wow, push-ups have made my wrists weak I think.

Here I am with my first roll of Kimbap!

I like that Jiyong will sometimes suggest that we take a picture because I’m still in that awkward getting-to-know-you stage where I want to be snapping away but I’m unsure.

Jiyong made one roll with ham in it too. “For Henry,” she said. Everyone always thinks of Henry!!

Jiyong also made a veggie-laden 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) which is an insanely popular street food / comfort food in Korea. Basic tteokbokki consists of rice cakes (not like, those dry discs of puffed rice that you eat while dieting, but stubby, chewy rice tubes that are the exact opposite of a diet food), fish cakes, and a sweet but intensely spicy sauce made primarily from gochujang, a Korean red pepper paste. I really liked Jiyong’s version of it because it was loaded with carrots and cabbage and green onions. (“파!” I blurted out to show her that I know what it’s called in Korean, lol.)

While she was preparing to set the table, she asked me if I could use chopsticks and I super causally said yes because I was afraid if I answered her too eagerly, I would give away the fact that I use chopsticks to eat my mostly-Asian dinners every night and I have a set of five animal design chopsticks that I could at work to eat my fruit or whatever.

“You can tell which ones you made,” Jiyong said as she examined the array of kimbap while we ate and I’m not sure if that was a compliment, or…

Anyway, what a great afternoon!

Later that evening, we went to some soft serve ice cream by where Henry works because I just wanted a plain vanilla cone with crunchies, nothing fancy.

Carousel Crew, back in action!

Henry’s a poor substitute for Janna though.

While we ate our ice cream, I made them walk down the street with me because I saw a HELP WANTED sign on some store we drive past and I needed to take a picture of it for my Job Spotter app.

“Where was it?” henry asked skeptically, because we weren’t in the best area.

“I dunno, down by that laundromat,” I shrugged, forging ahead.

“I literally just told you that someone was recently raped behind that laundromat but ok…” Henry sighed. Whatever – I got my Job Spotter entry and it was worth 96 points! THAT IS NINETY SIX CENTS IN MY WALLET, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Came home and just chilled the rest of the evening since we had to get up early on Sunday and drive to Toronto. Speaking of, my liveblog was trash (not that it’s usually treasure) because I got so sick after eating lunch, to the point where Henry was worried I had suddenly developed a gluten allergy or something. Something I ate clearly disagreed with me and my stomach honest to god puffed out like I was pregnant with rocks. It was so awesome. Especially when I had to go to a three hour long concert that night.

But that’s another story!

Jun 302019
 

Hola, 안녕, hi-ho: it’s bright & early on a Sunday morning and we are currently en route to Toronto to see GOT7 so what better time to liveblog because I tried to liveblog from work before and that only goes so far.

7:47am: We just made our first Sheetz stop of the day after only being on the road for 15 minutes and Henry and Chooch are bickering over who knows more about spilling things, I don’t even know but now I have a headache and suddenly Henry is an expert on LSD. This is going to be a long day.

8:38am: Still in the car. Literally nothing is happening. Chooch has his headphones on and is pretending to not be associated with us.

8:48am: We just passed Aunt Bee’s!

9:03am: “Look: a little bird chasing a big bird,” Henry pointed out the window. And then, “It’s a nice day out. 72 degrees.” This is the kind of riveting discourse you get when in the car with Henry. Meanwhile:

9:37am: Just stopped at Getgo and Chooch and Henry had a fight at the register because henry bought a cookie and pretzel crisps and Henry yelled, “I DIDNT HAVE BREAKFAST THIS IS MY BREAKFAST” and the old ladies at the registers were like WOW and now we’re in the car suffering through Henry loudly eating his pretzel crisps and Chooch just asked him why he has to breathe when he eats. “YOU KNOW THE ALTERNATIVE IS THAT YOU TWO ASSHOLES CAN DRIVE YOURSELVES” and then he missed the exit and had to drive onto the shoulder and Chooch yelled “who are you-JANNA?!” and then he asked if he could have some of Henry’s cookie lololol.

He just threw his cookie at Chooch and now Chooch is choking on his laughter. Henry is not even close to laughing ahaha.

11:09am: We’re passing through Buffalo, about to cross the bridge into Canada and SHINee is the perfect road trip soundtrack.

I’m gonna have to power off my data here soon but I will continue the liveblog in Notes and update as I come across WiFi! #YouCare

11:16am: made it through in less than 2 minutes even though Henry is King of Suspicion. Omg he answers every question with such limp-wristed uncertainty.

12:11pm: Stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and almost got ran over by some asshole who looked like he just got off his Canadian yacht and then attempted to linejump in front of us inside Tim Horton’s while loudly talking in a thick Canadian accent to his slutty second wife who he probably makes call him Captain, and his princess teenage daughter gets to sit shotgun while mommy rides in the back. Wow. (That last part is FACTS because henry saw them when they were pulling out of the parking lot.)

Also, when Henry pulled off the exit, he said, “Where’s Tim Hortons” and I said what I always say when he’s looking for something, that it’s up his butt, but then I lost it and couldn’t stop laughing because I was picturing Tim Horton literally making donuts inside Henry’s ass and that was 25 minutes ago yet here I am, laughing again like a weirdo and no one in the car is even bothering to ask what I’m laughing at.

1:56pm: We’re at Cosmic Treats in Kensington Market and Henry is being such a HORNET. I hate road trip Henry!!

Here he is being a TOURIST and not knowing how to PAY FOR PARKING.

DURRRRRR.

This place is playing CLASSIC 1980s soft rock. “That’s What Friends Are For”?!? “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You”??? The best. Plus our waitress looks like 1982 Madonna.

3:33pm: True to form, I ate a meal in a restaurant and now my stomach is hosting a sword fight.

We walked to Uncle Tetsu’s to get a Japanese cheesecake to take home and then Henry proceeded to act like an asshole on the walk back to the car and now everyone hates each other.

Basically, this could be any trip!

4:49pm: I might actually kill henry omg he is so annoying. We drove all this way out of downtown Toronto for bingsu and the place was cash only but he kept trying to Pay with his debit card and everyone was staring and we had to leave and now everyone hates each other and meanwhile there is a bingsu place literally where we came from in Toronto and Henry was all I DID NOT SEE IT WHEN I WAS SEARCHING and I was like ITS THE FIRST ONE THAT COMES UP IN YELP?! So now we’re going back to Spadina Ave and I told Henry he’s a Spadina and Chooch is hiccuping from laughing so much but I genuinely do hate Henry today I think!!!!

5:51pm:

We finally made it to this place in Chinatown called Snow Lava which is billed as Korean bingsu even though everything is in Chinese so…Anyway, Henry panicked and decided to go to an ATM first after the last bingsu attempt failed. So then we get to the place and he hands the guy a 20 but dude is like, “Oh I’m sorry I don’t have change for that” and Henry’s head nearly exploded but then the guy was like, “can you just pay with a card?” But Henry kept trying to give him the 20 and said, “Can you just give me 10 back and don’t worry about the rest of the change?” And the guy was like LOOK I SAID I DONT HAVE CHANGE FOR A BILL THAT BIG and Chooch and I were like JUST PAY WITH THE CARD!!

Then we sat at a table next to three young kids who were so giddy and spitting their bingsu everywhere and I was like “Let’s move, they’re annoying” and Henry was like, “They’re just like you and Chooch though?!” So then we moved and once our bingsu arrived, Chooch and I started cracking up over Henry eating and I spit my bingsu all over the table.

Full circle.

11:03pm: Well shit, I forgot to sign off before we went to the concert but now it’s over and it was amazing but that will be a blog post for a future day. THANKS FOR READING.

Jun 262019
 

Shall we do another Woman Crush Wednesday kpop girl group edition? Yes, I think we shall. Here are some videos of the latest lady lalala’s that I’ve been enjoying.

RED VELVET – SUNNY SIDE UP

This isn’t the title track of their latest comeback but I like this song so much more! It has that sleepy-feel to it that makes me think of summer days lounging around my Pappap’s pool. God I love Red Velvet.

SOMI – BIRTHDAY

Somi was my first favorite from the Produce 101 girl group IOI and it was pretty upsetting when their contract expired and everyone went on to join other groups or went solo, and Somi was just…sidelined. But she finally debuted last week and the “you’re not invited” Part has been playing hard in my head because people are always pissing me off and I want to uninvite everyone from my actual life sometimes DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

CHUNGHA – SNAPPING

Wow speaking of IOI, my other fave from that group is Chungha who went solo after the disbandment of IOI and literally everything she does is pop perfection. I still think I like her last comeback song (“Gotta Go”) best, but this one is strong too. Chungha is a fucking queen, bottom line.

(G)I-DLE – UH OH

Real talk, the first time I listened to this morning, it didn’t really stick to my ribs which is what I want my bubblegum jams to do immediately. But the second listen came through. (G)I-dle has a very distinct style that makes them easily distinguishable from other girl groups.

CLC – ME

It’s devastating to me that CLC isn’t way bigger than they are. Their songs are so strong and the message is SO GIRL POSITIVE. Well, I guess I answered my own question. Anyway, the chorus is literally “beauty is me” which is something that we all need to learn to say about ourselves!

TWICE – BREAKTHROUGH

I’m a sucker for Twice and their Japanese releases are sometimes better than their Korean ones. This one especially! It has such an 80s vibe to it and the video is striking. Their choreo is always flawless but this one especially has a classic, nostalgic feel to it.

OK that’s all for this round of girl groups you should learn and love. Girl power!

Jun 252019
 

God, if I only give Saturday its own post, Sunday will never let me hear the end of it, and we only just recently became friends so I don’t want to create any waves.

That being said, here is some crap I did on Sunday.

First, I woke up.

Ate cereal (I have cinnamon multi-grain Life with almond milk every single goddamn day unless it’s Summer Breakfast Club Day).

Exercised and watched a K-drama while Chooch was at piano lessons.

Took a picture of Penelope, who is majorly camera shy these days (maybe because Chooch mercilessly body shames her??!!) so I promised I wouldn’t post this on social media.

Then we were treated to a visit from Calvin who has reached the point of toddlerhood where nothing else matters but CARS.

It’s amazing how most kids go through this phase. My brother Ryan was massively into Hot Wheels and even I got into it too – we would make these glorious parking garages out of waffle blocks on the family room floor and it was always a good time, man.

Henry found a bunch of Chooch’s old cars in the basement (probably? I wasn’t there and I don’t care enough to ask) for Calvin to pilfer, but first Chooch had to go through them and take out the ones Calvin wasn’t allowed to have because Chooch is Bratboy Forever.

I shouldn’t talk – one of those cars was actually my old Goodyear Blimp that I feel like is special for some reason so god only knows how I let it end up in that collection, so I yelled, “YEAH YOU CANT HAVE THAT ONE, BOY” and Calvin was like, “Well, it doesn’t even have wheels anyway, so…”

Later that afternoon, we went to the Larimer Farmer’s Market which was interesting because that’s generally a pretty sketch area – I used to work 4-midnight right around the corner and we’d hear the police helicopter every single night. One night, I was in the parking lot on a break when there was a bang and I screamed “WAS THAT A GUN SHOT” and my coworker Eleanor calmly said, “yeah babe” and I did actual Loony Toons air-running in my haste to get back inside while she stayed out there smoking her cigarette.

And one time they found a DEAD BODY in an alley down the street!

Anyway, Henry said we would probably be ok since it was daylight and I really wanted to try this vegan Trinidad food vendor that was going to be there (I mean, I wanted to try the FOOD not the actual man vending it but ask me again if I get stranded in an avalanche with him, I guess).

Guys, we ate a lot of great foods at this place and the best part was that it was small and not swarming with vegan hipster assholes!

(I should note that we got there like 5 minutes before it opened though so we were literally the first customers which was awkward bc all the vendors stared at us hungrily, waiting for us to get close enough to be called into their admittedly delicious webs.)

First though, Chooch and I were drawn to Jak’s Bakery. You guys, he bakes traditional Bulgarian things! This was appealing to me because I was almost part-Bulgarian in that my birth dad had a fling with a Bulgarian exchange student and that’s how my older half-sister was created, so…close enough.

Chick chose the most traditional one—a banitsa, which is fluffy phyllo dough filled with ricotta and it was excellent.

I went for the most traditional of the sweet variety—the kiflo, which was filled with rosehip jam.

Also, Jak was super friendly and had a great accent so now I want to buy all his breads forever.

Next we hit up the Crustworthy table because whatta name, also more breads. This time though we went a different route and Chooch chose a strawberry trifle and Henry and I shared a vegan raspberry mint chocolate bar thing which tasted as wonderful as it looked. I like to pretend than vegan pastries have zero calories hahahahaha ugh.

Chooch fell in love with some old lady and her homemade chèvre and cheese curds and insisted on buying a bag of Cajun curds which was delicious but have I ever told you the story about when Henry and I went to Wisconsin for a music festival and ate so many cheese curds that we couldn’t poop for like a week and I thought I was going to need an operation?

Yeah. I watch my cheese curd-intake nowadays.

But then we finally (“finally” – this was set up on a tiny patch of grass which only around 10 vendors, so…) made it to ShadoBeni’s table which specializes in vegan Trini street food and this was what brought me to the yard, yo.

He currently just offers two different things: aloo (potato) pies and doubles, which are made with two flat dough things called baras and filled with glorious curry channas. The aloo pies are stuffed with various chutneys and sauces and I actually liked that better than the doubles, which are apparently the most popular item he serves.

Chooch wolfed down his doubles and then asked, “Does this mean I’m starting to be more….adventurous?” Yeah, finally, you picky little shit.

But even with all these glorious new foods we tried, he still maintained that he was not leaving that place without a pickle on a stick.

So he got himself a pickle on a stick from a food truck run by two bumbling, crude older guys who looked like they just got chased out of another town by the Goonies.

On the way home, I briefly fell into the Trinidad rabbit hole and started planning a future trip there but then I got sidetracked by the desire to listen to Tony! Toni! Tone! because I swear one of their songs mentioned Trinidad and Tobago but then I couldn’t find it and then in my search for that elusive song that may or may not exist, I stumbled upon the Wiki page for Black Men United which was a group of some of the best male R&B singers of the 90s who came together to sing a song for the JASON’S LYRIC soundtrack (one of the best movies, don’t @ me) and guess who was a part of that, none other than EL DEBARGE who was my favorite singer for most of my high school days so then I put on “Can’t Get Enough” but EL DEBARGE and theatrically lipsynched it to the side of Henry’s face while he was driving and then I was so giddy but also secretly depressed because I listened to that CD so much back then that I wore out TWO COPIES of it and my current copy is the THIRD one, who in the world even likes El DeBarge that much!? Me, apparently! Gone, I used to cry to that CD so much, thank you very much, Justin Kail a/k/a my first love who ruined my life. J/K, I’m fine and stopped being obsessed with him senior year when I met Psycho Mike who then went on to ruin my life even more than Justin Kail.

Later that night, I finally got Henry to sit down with me and start penciling out an itinerary for our Korea trip, which was exactly one month away at that point! We booked a tour of the DMZ and JSA which was something we wanted to do last time too but were leery because relations between the Koreas and US were even more strained than they are now.

Jun 232019
 

It’s hard to believe it’s officially summer already, especially after the creepily chilly June we’ve been having here in Pittsburgh. But the sun was out in full-blaze all day yesterday and the sky was blue. It improved my mood exponentially!

Here are some pictures from yesterday, because it was a really pleasant day that I would like to remember for always.

(It occurs to me just now that I have been journaling/blogging my life since 5th grade like some kind of megalomaniac. Someday when I’m dead, someone will unearth of all my diaries, vacation journals, and blog and think, “Who the hell cares?”)

Pretty much every Saturday starts with cereal / Korean YouTubers / walk to the post office to mail cards. Lately, my Saturday post office experience has been less than stellar because there’s some new, young girl who has no personality and also doesn’t know what to do with scan sheets (we usually are mailing a clump of cards so we have a bar code that we print on a scan sheet which makes life easier for the postal clerks unless they don’t know how to do their jobs, then it just make it harder). My favorite Saturday clerk is this guy named Michael who will swear when the scale isn’t registering a weight and he’ll say things like, “If you take the survey at the bottom of the receipt, my boss will wash your windows.”

But this new broad is just resting bitch face all the way.

Then we walked to the coffee shop down the street because I wanted a chocolate chip cookie, OK?!

On the way back, right after I said hola to my Mexican taco cart boyfriend, we were waiting to cross the street when the first car in the line of traffic waved for us to cross. So I did. All I knew was that this guy was being nice and letting me cross and I can’t tell you how infrequently that happens when I’m walking to the Trolley on weekdays, trying to cross the street, and no one stops for me and I have to stand on the sidewalk and scream, “CROSSWALK! RIGHT OF WAY!” to all these fuckers.

Anyway, I pranced (literally, that’s how I cross the street when someone lets me go because I’m all nervous and trying to get to the other side as quickly as I can) across the street and right when I was in the middle, some other car started blowing their horns because apparently, they had a green light.

So the guy who let me go started screaming out of his window, and I thought he was yelling at me so I was confused and scared, but no, he was yelling at the person beeping.

“PEOPLE ARE CROSSING THE STREET, YOU ASSHOLE!!!!”

Like, he fucking bellowed it in his thick Yinzer accent AND EVERYONE AROUND THE BLOCK STOPPED AND LOOKED.

The firefighters loafing outside of the firehouse.

The elders sitting on benches.

The old man who owns Pitaland and sits at a table with his coffee.

MY MEXICAN TACO CART BOYFRIEND.

And Henry, who was still on the other side of the street.

So now I had to stand there and wait for the light to turn red so that Henry could cross.

“WHY DIDN’T YOU CROSS WITH ME?!” I cried, when we were finally reunited.

“Because they had a green light!?” he answered incredulously.

“Yeah, but that guy told us to go.”

“THEY HAD A GREEN LIGHT. WE DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.”

Ugh, I hate when he knows rules.

Anyway, he said he didn’t even see that guy wave us across because he was looking the other direction, watching the streetlight, and the next thing he knew, I was leaping to the other side like a baby deer.

Anyway, I survived, thanks for your concern Henry.

Then we came home and I tried to convince Henry to turn his gift from Chooch into a pin. He won’t.

Speaking of Chooch, I think he was at the library during all of this…?

Later that afternoon, I met Jiyong for our 4th language exchange meet-up and I feel like this was our best meeting yet. I’m definitely getting more comfortable with her and we had a great conversation at Panera in Oakland for three hours! We talked about everything from cemeteries to maternity leave to The Cure (I was wearing one of my Cure shirts and then “Friday I’m In Love” came on the Panera soundsystem so that was an easy segue to my FAMOUS CURE STORY that literally everyone who knows me has to endure at least 8 times), we talked about Ouzo and our personal drinking habits (she and I both one-and-doners) to Song Mino to pierogies.

I’m really enjoying this friendship! She was is a really lovely girl and I’m happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone by suggesting that we meet in person.

She brought this really book she has where it takes dialogue from “Friends” to help Koreans learn English, but in this case, it works well for me too. She read the English side and then I would read the Korean side, but my problem is that I can sightread Korean fairly well, but since I’m studying alone, I make the fatal mistake of NOT READING OUT LOUD. So I’m not getting any practice of actually saying the words because I’m a dumbass, and even though in my head I know how to say them, as soon as my mouth wraps around it, it comes out sounding like garbage.

Since meeting her, I have been trying to recite things more when I’m alone, but I still read out loud at the speed of a kindergartner. Jiyong said that I can read it well, and I appreciate that, but I need to really work on speeding it up so I don’t sound like Encino Man.

We only did one chapter and I was fucking sweating by the end. Literally. I had to pull my shirt away from my body and fan myself. “I feel like I just exercised!” I exclaimed, and she  just laughed and said, “Cute.”

I gave her this little souvenir handbook of Pittsburghese that I bought on Friday at the History Center. Obviously I don’t want her to start saying “Yinz” or “dahn’ere” (down there) or anything because that’s a huge language foul, but I thought it would be a fun keepsake for her for when she goes back to Korea. Plus, in addition to the weird vernacular, there are legit things in there too, like various food explanations (haluski, etc.).

She asked me if I would want to come to her place next Saturday to make kimbap and YES OF COURSE I WANT TO! Henry thinks this is hilarious  because he makes kimbap from time to time and I have never expressed any desire to learn or help, but I want to learn everything that Jiyong is willing to teach me!

I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but in our last meet-up, we were talking about G-Dragon and I said that for our last trip to Korea, we wanted to stay at his pension in Pocheon, but the website said that guests have to be 19+, no exceptions. Obviously, Henry wasn’t going to call them to inquire further, and my Korean is definitely not good enough to attempt an email, so we never pressed the issue and just wrote it off.

A few days later, I was at work when I got a Kakao message from Jiyong – she emailed the pension all on her own and asked on behalf of us if a 13-year-old was permitted to stay there, and they told her yes! She did that for me!!

Anyway, when we were talking about that yesterday, I mentioned that G-Dragon’s dad runs the place and she said that the person who emailed her back had the last name “Kwon.”

“Maybe I emailed with GD’s dad?!” she exclaimed. I love having a friend to talk with about these things!

Before we knew it, it was after 5 so we parted ways with the promise to meet again next week. Jiyong texted me pictures of the pages we went over so I am going to spend all week reading them out loud until I sound like a second-grader at least.

Also, the word for lesbian in Korean is lesbian – thanks for teaching me that, “Friends” dialogue book!

Henry got us Subway for dinner because sometimes you just need to have Subway for dinner, and then we went to Sugar Spell Scoops for some after-dinner vegan ice cream. So, the thing with Sugar Spell is that they used to only vend various festivals, etc. and it’s nearly impossible to get any because the lines get so outrageously long.  But sometime last year they opened a store front in Sharpsburg which isn’t a very trendy area – BLESS – so we didn’t have to deal with any assholes on our visit. (If this shop was in, say, Lawrenceville, I might never go.)

I wanted to go when they first opened, but their flavors in the beginning were really basic, like vanilla and chocolate, and I think Superman which I hate no matter who is making it, so I kind of put visiting this place on the backburner. But then Kara texted me last week and said they had blueberry lavender so that reignited my interest in this place!

The guy who scooped for us last night was SO NICE AND PERSONABLE. He kept having cone malfunctions (the sugar cones kept breaking on him) but he handled the pressure like a champ – it helped that we were the only people in line at that time, probably, and also that we weren’t getting all huffy about it. If anything, it gave me more time to figure out what I wanted – it’s weird having legit vegan options!

(I’m not vegan, just a plain veg, but I do opt for vegan when available.)

Chooch got Dunkaroos and let me taste it – IT WAS PHENOMENAL. You could taste the icing and the scoop was dense with moist dunkaroo bits. The scooper even took time to talk to Chooch about Dunkaroos, since they were before his time.

Honestly, the service is always half of the experience so based on this guy alone, I could easily see myself making this my new go-to ice cream shop especially since Millie’s is so fucking annoying to me lately.

I REALLY WANTED to get Dunkaroos as well, but I have this thing where we all need to get something different, so I went with the cherry chocolate chip and I must say – no regerts here. It was great!

The vegan ice cream I have had in the past (*cough*Millie’s*cough*) has usually been practically devoid of flavor and has a strange texture, but this was loaded with palate-pleasers. The consistency wasn’t too far off from dairy-based ice cream and it didn’t leave me feeling like I was a growing a brick-baby inside me afterward.

Notice I went with a cake cone to spare the poor scooper after he went through two bad cones on his journey to create Chooch’s dunakroos scoop.

I made Henry order the Blueberries n’ Biscotti sundae (he claims he was “probably going to order that anyway, so there”) because it came with GLITTER SPRINKLES.

He chose the Blue Moon ice cream to go with it, which is lemon-based, and I have to say, if I thought I had ordering remorse after trying Chooch’s, my taste of Henry’s sundae basically exiled me to the Land of Poor Choices. IT WAS SO GOOD and unlike any sundae I have ever tasted.

Henry refused to show emotions, as usual, but he was really happy with his sundae. I mean, doesn’t it suit him so well?!

I will definitely be returning to this place. They’re only open Friday – Sunday and their flavors change every day. I want to try every single one.

Afterward, I want to walk around that street for a bit because I’m still doing that Job Spotter thing where I take pictures of Help Wanted signs and submit it for points which can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, lol. It’s so stupid but I like doing it so leave me alone. However, Chooch remembered that he has the app too so then we started fighting over who was going to get the pictures first (if you submit the same one at the same time as someone else, they reject it as a duplicate). Chooch beat me at getting the first one we came upon and I was so mad so then I got the next one after forcibly shoving him out of the way and then we had a big fight and Henry was like WHO CARES?!!?!? THIS IS STUPID!!! and then Chooch stormed off ahead of us and it was Big Trouble in Little Sharpsburg but then eventually we all moved on.

Me: Henry, please stand here and point at that sign.

Honestly, this picture might be peak “THE SERVICE” for me.

Capped off the night watching “Us” which Chooch and I had already seen at the theater with Janna, but Henry wanted to watch it so I felt obligated to watch it with him in case he didn’t understand it (lol). I like that movie a lot.

Then right as I was starting to fall asleep that night, I sat up in bed because I smelled smoke which is the scariest smell to smell late at night, scarier even than Henry’s farts. So Henry jumped out of bed and got all VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER mode. He threw on all his clothes and walked across the street to try and determined where it was coming from. We started hearing sirens almost immediately so knew we didn’t have to make the call, but it was scary because smoke had made it all the way to our street. We decided to drive and see where the fire was coming from, and it was a house a few blocks away from us which made me feel sick to my stomach (I was hoping it was just an empty building on West Liberty Ave, not someone’s home) but we found out this morning that no one was hurt (I was only worried about the possibility of animals being hurt so I’m hoping that “no one” also includes pets) so that’s a relief.

YEAH, THAT WAS MY SATURDAY, HOW WAS YOURS.

Jun 142019
 

Yeah boi! Now that Chooch is done with school for the summer, and I get to work my weekly late shift from home, we decided to start up our Summer Breakfast Club again! Chooch was all gung-ho about this even though the last time I called it a club, he was like, “We only went to breakfast 4 times, though?”

Whatever Chooch. I like doing this because once late morning/early afternoon hits, I won’t see him again until late evening because he’s out and about with his goof troop. These breakfasts are a good time for us to chat it up (re: make fun of Henry behind his back) and, you know, be seen around town.

Chooch chose Parker’s for the inaugural summer breakfast and I didn’t argue because Parker’s is the best and it’s like OUR THANG.

Right as I was taking this picture, Chooch tripped over his bike and fell into the frame. It’s a keeper!

Look, it’s a real simple thing: breakfast sandwiches. Each has a pop-culture-y name. Coffee is Zeke’s (awesome local company). The ambiance suits my aesthetic. The patrons are the normal locals and not the hardcore hooligan locals –  those people do their AM dining either in prison or a few doors down at the No Name Cafe.

Literally, it’s called the No Name Cafe and seats about 5 people. Our new neighbor, the one who moved in next to HNC with her fat son who drives a dumptruck and her other not-as-fat-but-still-a-slob younger son who likes to scream at his mom from across the street and then give me threatening glares when I whip my front door open to scowl at him and also he parks his dumb Jeep at the top of the driveway AND WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO PARK THERE BECAUSE IT’S A SHARED DRIVEWAY.

Anyway, the mom is a waitress there but I honestly can’t figure out why one is even needed but OK.

Also, I hate those people so bad.

But look, the #1 reason why we patronize Parker’s is because the owner is such a cool dude. He talks to everyone who comes in there whether he knows them or not, and even though Chooch and I aren’t exactly regulars, he gets so excited when he sees us! Today, he came over to see what our summer plans are and was legit one of the only people who has seemed stoked when I say, “We’re going to Korea!” The average reaction I get is “….oh?” Bizarretown.

Mr. Parker was totally about this though and asked us all kinds of good questions. Talking to him was the best part of breakfast!

I usually have one late shift a week so we’ll see how many different joints we can hit up this summer (NOT NO NAME CAFE THO!!!). Of course, Henry takes the car to work so we’re limited to places accessible by trolley or within walking distance. I usually have a bowl of cinnamon Life cereal every.single.day so mixing it up once a week probably won’t kill me, ha! Maybe we’ll have some guest breakfasters here and there too!

Jun 132019
 

Friends, if you’re ever passing through the Wheeling/Moundsville area of West Virginia and have the desire to be killed time to kill, I highly recommend making a pit stop at the Palace of Gold. Even if you don’t want to do the whole shebang with Govinda’s Cafeteria, slurping rose water in the Temple, gawking at the looming decrepit idol statues by the weird man-made lake, the actual Palace is worth the stop. They do tours every 30 minutes and it costs $9 (I think?), the tour is pretty quick but informative, and roaming the grounds is FREE so if you’re not into shuffling along in shoe-booties while a robe-clad guide stammers through her memorized spiel, you could easily eschew that and just go and like sniff some roses and maybe buy some cheap-ass bangle bracelets in the gift shop which is what I do every time I visit.

…which is what I thought FO SHO Henry was going to do — eschew the tour (though he did sniff the roses and buy a cheap bangle from the gift shop) — but he surprised me by saying, “No, I will be joining you two on this tour and I am CRAZY EXCITED.”

But first, we strolled around and yelled at Henry for taking shitty pictures of us.

Chooch has been really into wearing ponytails lately – not quite man-buns.

Before we went in for a tour, I was trying to take a selfie of the three of us and was not having great success, when some old lady with green-rimmed glasses strode over and was like, “Oh for Swami Prabhupada’s sake, do you want me to take the picture for you?”

She kind of reminded me of a character Francis Conroy would play in American Horror Story, if we’re being honest with each other here today on my blog. Anyway, she took this super strange photo of us from way too close and from a low angle. I was literally just grinning-and-bearing it at this point and the old Erin would have deleted this because OMG she looks awful, but it’s pretty hilarious to the new Erin who is trying her hardest to stop living her life by the Vanity Handbook.

So bad, lol.

Then we took the tour. There are no photo allowed and in the past, I have definitely sneaked a few here and there but nothing changes inside there so I kept my phone tucked into my purse like a good girl which was good because our guide was having a hell of a time getting through her sentences without the added stress of scolding people for taking contraband photos.

It was just the three of us, an older Indian family of 4, and a youngish couple who I found out are from Tyler, Texas and I desperately wanted to ask them if they know EISLEY but Henry was like, “Keep it moving, sister.”

Anyway, Chooch seemed to be pretty interested in the tour, especially the part about the Beatles being followers, but Henry’s main takeaway was that the followers who built the Palace of Gold were shitty builders and I was like, “OH OK ASSHOLE, BUILD ME A PALACE THEN AND SHOW ME HOW MUCH BETTER YOU CAN DO IT.” Honestly! He can barely build a gingerbread house!

But no seriously, build me a fucking palace, a replica of one from the Joseon Dynasty. IF I HAVE A CHOICE.

Then we meandered around the grounds and yelled at Henry some more for being camera-incompetent.

Like, he totally cut off the top of this pavilion.

I wanted to gleefully frolic and jump but Chooch admitted after the pictures were taken that he didn’t know what was going on, so that was cool. I look like my son just came and released me from the asylum.

Henry’s favorite part was the lily padded pond. He saw some fish and frogs! He was content.

Chooch and I talked to the ducks for a while but then Henry angered them and they started quacking and I really hoped they’d attack him but no.

Henry also liked perusing the rose garden with his hands clasped behind his back.

Henry really likes the simple things in life, which is why I feel like he’d really thrive in this compound…except for the no meat thing. I honestly don’t think Henry could ever give up meat.

Chicken, especially.

He always makes chicken at home because he’s rude and doesn’t consider the fact that he lives with two vegetarians and MAYBE WE DON’T WANT TO SMELL THAT SHIT.

Henry the Rose Garden Schlepper.

Chooch took this lovely picture and then was like, “BAM, this is how you take a good photo,” to Henry. Honestly, Chooch takes really good photos of me, bless that kid.

What a beautiful day trip, I can’t stop smiling every time I look at these pictures and think of our time there together. Every time I visit, I leave there thinking that I could really live this life. I already don’t eat meat, and I really like palaces! But, I already worship G-Dragon, so I guess there isn’t any room in my heart for any other idols.

I may not believe in god or whatever, but I sure do love learning about other religions and exploring places like this and also this temple in Illinois! There’s some Bible Walk in Ohio that I’ve been dying to get Janna to go to with me, so maybe that will be my next creepy religious tourist trap this summer! WHO KNOWS.

If you’re desperate to know more about the tour itself, you could feel free to click here and read my account from my first trip there in 2013, mayhaps?

Jun 112019
 

It’s standard practice as a mom to write some kind of sappy tribute for the kid who has just crossed another scholastic finish line. I almost forgot to take the LAST DAY snapshot to post side-by-side with the FIRST DAY photo on Instagram like all the good moms do.

And then we had to take this one with a cameo appearance from Window Cat and Chooch’s “I don’t need to dry it” Sopping Wet Hair.

7th grade was pleasant. No fights. No in school suspensions. (Although, we were looking at his yearbook earlier today and I made fun of one of the teachers and he was like THATS NOT NICE, I WAS ACTUALLY JUST HELPING HER TODAY and then he paused and said, “Although, she did give me In School once” and turns out, she had this map of Brookline in front of her classroom with pins on all the kids’ houses and Chooch said, “And this is how kids get molested.” She heard him and gave him a stern look and when he asked “What?” she said “YOU KNOW” and then that’s how he got In School once in 5th grade and god only knows how many other times.)

Chooch is really smart and motivated so we don’t have to put in much effort on that front but damn does he have friend drama. Not to be SEXIST but it’s because he has a lot of friends that are girls and also some of those boys seem like total bitches. So I’m excited for things to get continually more dramatic. 8th grade is going to be A BLAST.

Oh well, here’s to the start of summer vacation!