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!

Jun 102019
 

Yesterday, we took a family day trip to my beloved Palace of Gold in West Virginia – it’s been six (!!!) years since I was last there with Janna and Corey and I know Henry and Chooch were getting annoyed when I kept saying, “When I was here with Janna and Corey…” because #jelis.

I haven’t finished going through my pictures from yesterday and writing an outline and draft of my Palce of Gold blog post (LOL – obvious joke, you know I practically write these things on bathroom breaks because I’m the worst blogger ever), so I decided it would be fun to revisit that last time I was at the Palace with Janna and Corey because we had so much fun! SO NOW YOU HAVE TO REVISIT IT TOO. Good luck, pea…cuck?

**********************************

Ever since I first went to the Palace of Gold in 2012, a Hare Krishna compound in the hills of West Virginia, I’ve been promising my brother Corey that I would take him there. And then Janna wanted to go too, and I had all of these wonderfully dark visions of her getting “taken” by the Hare Krishnas and spending the next eternity singing and selling books at some tiny county airport in Idaho. Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen. :(

But goddamn if we didn’t have the best day ever anyway!

20130926-190040.jpg

NO SHOES IN THE PALACE.

20130926-190048.jpg

Janna was asking me about the peacock stained glass before the tour started, and I was like, “Oh, you will learn about the significance of the peacock during the tour.”

The tour was much shorter this time around, mostly because we had the most apathetic, exhausted tour guide in the joint, and all she said about the peacocks was that there four stained glass windows in their likeness. Thanks, we can count.  Corey and I could have been more blatant with our clandestine photo-taking and she probably wouldn’t have cared.

20130926-190116.jpg

I’m not going to reiterate facts, but if you’re interested, perhaps my post from last year’s tour will enlighten you. Although it is likely mostly just full of smack-talk for the other people in the tour group. You know how I do.

Luckily, there were three middle-aged Indian men on the tour with us, and the one would occasional offer me extra information about the things that the guide was glossing over. They were really kind and I was relieved because when we first walked in, I thought for sure they were going to write us off as ignorant crackers. I mean, not that we aren’t. But it was nice of them to give us a chance.

I mostly tried to not make eye contact with Corey because I knew he’d make me lose it and then we would end up doing our weird gang-laughter in the middle of the echo-y marbled halls of the palace.

20130926-190126.jpg

I noticed the grounds seemed to be in the same state of disarray as they were last year, so I guess they don’t get as many post-tour donations as they’d like to. I feel like organizing a 5K for them. What? Everyone else has a 5K! Why not the Palace of Gold?!

Let’s run for Krishna, you guys! Or from. Maybe that will be more fun. Running from Krishna and chubby little Butter Thieves in the backwoods of West Virginia. I’m going to organize this. I’ll let you know when you can sign up.

20130926-190135.jpg

20130926-190425.jpg

The rose garden is so fucking creepy to me. I’m sure it’s something that is universally considered to be beautiful (it’s won awards, after all!), but it just seems like a really bad scene to me.

20130926-190346.jpg

I took this picture just for Chooch, who hates butterflies. Always thinking of my son. What a great mom I am.

20130926-190554.jpg

I got stuck on rose thorns right after this and Janna had to rescue me. Also, if I look drunk, it’s because I was DRUNK ON LIFE. (Seriously, I really look that dopey most of the time, though.)

20130926-190509.jpg

We laughed like total hyenas for like 10 straight minutes because of this picture.

20130926-190613.jpg

Corey took this when I wasn’t paying attention and I’m not sure what was going on, other than I was fixing my shoe and probably being eaten by rose bushes, but I love it. Also, I was wearing two different sets of stripes and polka-dot pants because I can. It enhances the fun.

20130926-190400.jpg

20130926-190412.jpg

Krishna kat.

20130926-190440.jpg

OMG here’s Swami Jannamanama emerging from the Hare Krishna bathroom stall! She didn’t appreciate that I immediately posted this on Instagram but I was like, “What? It’s not like you’re nude.”

20131003-082751.jpg

Corey’s senior picture. Janna comes with the package.

20131003-083136.jpg

After we toured the Palace and the grounds, I was super adamant about eating at the cafeteria. I am obsessed with the cafeteria!! All cafeterias!!

The cafeteria (Govinda’s) is located about a quarter of a mile down the street from the Palace, where the Temple and Hare Krishna lodging can be found. Right across from Govinda’s is a courtyard and it was teeming with Sunday worshipers who all stared at us because, short of flashing fanny packs, everything about us screamed NOT ONE OF YOU.

Inside Govinda’s, we became immediately confused. First of all, we were the only non-Krishna people. Second, there was no clear instruction on what we were supposed to do, so we all kind of stopped and slammed into each other as soon as we entered the door. Then we did what all socially adjusted people do and whispered uneasily to each other like we had just been kicked out of the back of the Scooby Doo Mystery Van and landed on the threshold of a haunted house.

Ask if they have the buffet,” I hissed at Janna, who sighed and asked the young Indian girl at the register by the door.

“Oh, no,” the girl answered with a laugh and WHY DO I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE PEE WEE AT THE ALAMO EVERYWHERE I GO. I know I reference that all of the fucking time, but it’s because it’s true. “You may choose from our limited menu,” she said, Vanna White’ing her hand toward a black dry-erase board next to the counter. The undulating question marks in our eyeballs must have been pretty clear, because she added, “Would you like me to explain everything to you?”

We all sighed and shook our heads eagerly as she slowly explained in her best dumb white folk words what everything was. I still couldn’t understand half of it because I’m dumb with ingredients and wound up just picking something at random. Corey ordered something similar to what I got, I think our breads were the only difference, and Janna went with the safe bet of samosas because even dumb city folk know what samosas are. You can buy them in the freezer section!

Since Janna drove us there that day, and it’s kind of a long haul, I paid for her lunch. (And Corey paid for her Palace of Gold tour.) I wonder if she wrote about it that night in her diary, because Corey and I don’t generally do nice things for her.

We chose a booth far away from the other people already eating, and waited for our food over a soundtrack of our own nervous giggles.

A waitress (maybe the same person as the cashier? I wasn’t paying attention) set down Janna’s samosas and a tray that looked remarkably like hog slop and baby vomit, so I knew it was going to be good Indian cuisine, but Corey and I were unsure whose it was supposed to be. I thought she said something that started with a “d,” which is what my choice started with, so I dramatically stopped Corey right before he started eating.

20131016-090007.jpg

“I THINK THAT MIGHT BE MINE!” my inner fat girl beast cried. So then we had the daunting task of waiting for the waitress to return with the final meal so that we could finally put this minutes-long mystery to bed.

I was right! It was whatever I ordered. But Corey’s ended up being tastier than mine, so who’s laughing now.

20131003-082842.jpg

We didn’t have silverware, not that Janna needed any for her samosas, but it was kind of difficult for Corey and me to dig in to our lunches.

“I think maybe the Hare Krishnas don’t believe in forks,” I said honestly, trying to fashion my naan into a serving apparatus, but only succeeding in staining my fingertips orange like I had just smoked fifteen year’s worth of unfiltered Pall Malls. This went on for awhile, Corey and I alternating quiet exclamations of “ouch” every time we burnt ourselves on curry. Meanwhile, we kept darting our eyeballs around the cafeteria, craning our necks to see if any of the seasoned Indians at the nearby tables were also eating with their hands, but everyone seemed to be finished eating at the moment.

“You know,” I said, shaking the pain off my fingers, “maybe I’m confused. I think it’s the Ethiopians that eat with their hands.” And just then, another Govinda’s patron walked over to the kitchen and grabbed a plastic fork out of a bucket; Corey and I totally lost it. Eating lunch became a lot easier after that.

20131003-083009.jpg

20131016-090046.jpg

Even though I was too stuffed to finish my meal, I kept harping on Janna to go up and buy me dessert. She totally didn’t want to, but I can be very persuasive. There were these golden balls of wonder that I was dead-set on devouring, so Janna returned with a container of those and a regular old push-pop for herself, which made me laugh because how much more Caucasian can one look in an Indian restaurant than by licking on an American summer delight? And then I found out that the golden balls of wonder cost about as much as Janna’s lunch, totally negating the fact that I treated her, so then I was performing the simultaneous trick of laughing and choking on balls, which is something I mastered my junior year of high school.

Anyway, these balls were made of chick peas, cashews and honey. They were an oral treasure, in my opinion. Corey kind of liked them, but not enough to finish the one I gave him, and Janna took one bite and then handed it back to me. MORE FOR ME.

20131003-083154.jpg

After lunch, we crossed through the courtyard, which was now suspiciously empty, and walked into the temple. There were shoes splayed all over the floor and on the shelves in the shoe room, but only three people were in the temple itself. One was an old white man who looked like he definitely has been foraging in the mountains his whole life. I wanted desperately to take his picture, but that motherfucker never took his eyes off me.

20131003-083208.jpg

The shoe:person ratio is all the evidence I need to know for fact that these deity statues are feeding on human flesh. You’re not fooling this girl, New Vrindaban society. I’m on to you.

20131003-083058.jpg

There was an Indian couple in the temple with us, and from a short distance away, I spied the man ladle some sort of liquid into his woman’s palm, which she then brought to her mouth and DRANK. I needed to do this too, so I lingered casually in front of a eerily realistic statue of Swami Prabhupada and waited for them to leave. Then I pulled Janna over to the bowl of hopefully-not-poison and made her try it first.

“It’s just like, rose water,” was her official Yelp review. So I allowed her to dump some of it into my palm, and then I immediately gagged and thought for sure I was perishing as the intense floral notes clogged my windpipe.

“Oh my god, what did you do?” asked Corey, who had just re-joined us after selling his soul to the Cult of Krishna by making accidental eye contact with one of the manga-like deity statues. Janna explained to him that I saw other people doing it and I’m sure she rolled her eyes too but I couldn’t tell since I was pretty much blacking out at that point.

Corey started laughing. “You were peer-pressured into drinking weird flower water?!” YES, PRETTY MUCH, OK?!

Janna had to use the bathroom in the temple before we left, so Corey and I stood outside and talked about her, obviously. Suddenly, a peacock trotted over from god only knows where, and it looked like it was going to start to head into the temple. I suggested that we try to usher it into the bathroom with Janna, and Corey thought this was the best idea since the Nintendo Power Glove, but there were two Hare Krishna people standing nearby so we thought maybe it wouldn’t be the hottest idea to disrespect their token animal while standing in front of the temple, no less. Even us Kelly kids know when to draw the line.

20131003-083256.jpg

After the temple, we walked off some of our curry-heavy lunch while paying our giddy-yet-horrified respects to the Dancing Acolyte statues on the other side of the creepy (one lone) swan-infested man-made lake. Hidden by trees behind the statues sat a cabin which had eerie Krishna tunes wafting out through the screened windows. I wanted to climb up the hill and peek into the windows, but Janna was like, “No. Don’t.”

The last stop on the agenda was the gift shop back up on the Palace of Gold grounds. I bought a religious ring and a pretty blue bracelet that everyone at work has been admiring and I say, “Thanks it was like $5 at the Palace of Gold!” and then I think that might kind of mar their opinion. But anyway, on the way back to the car, Janna was crossing the street at the same time a car* was coming. I shoved her out of the way while screaming, “JANNNNNNNA!! LOOOOOOK OUTTTTT!” I mean, I SCREAMED it. Corey had already crossed the street and was standing next to Janna’s car, so he whirled around to see what the fuck was happening, and then he started laughing really hard, because what I didn’t know yet was that the doors to the minivan parked next to Janna were open and about 10 Indian people were standing there looking horrified.

*(It might be conducive to the story to explain here that the car was like, a lot of yards away and going 15mph.)

Of course, they were standing on the side of Janna’s car that I had to get into, so it was extremely embarrassing and I was literally squealing from trying to hold back my laughter. At that point, I was also crying. So I opened the backdoor of Janna’s car and pretty much dove in, nearly spilling my container of golden balls of wonder on the floor of her car. Corey and Janna got in and once all the doors were shut, we collectively lost it. Well, maybe Janna wasn’t laughing that hard, but Corey and I were doubled over. I think Janna was probably just more exhausted from having spent so many hours with the Kelly siblings.

****

Once Janna dropped us off, I came into the house and tried to recall the day’s events to Henry, while choking on another golden honey ball of wonder and having to squat down to keep from peeing; I was a hot, giddy mess. Chooch took one look at me and then went back on the computer.

Henry didn’t think any of it was funny, nor did he think I was a hero for saving Janna from vehicular manslaughter. I guess he had to be there.

Jun 072019
 

Wowie wow wow it’s Friday and here are five things + random pictures from my phone because it’s Friday Fiveday or whatever.

I can only wear this pin on Chooch’s denim vest because it’s so heavy that it pulls down whatever shirt I pin it to!

Scottish Chai

The other day, I went to Crazy Mocha and a new guy was working which was a blessing because the one broad who works there (but doesn’t seem to ever be making any of the drinks?) is really nice but she is a HANDFUL. Just a non-stop chatter. My friend Alyson often refers to this mindless need to small talk as “air displacement” and this is the perfect example of it. She has held me hostage on so many occasions, and like I said – NICE GIRL, RULL NICE GIRL – but can you just let the quiet barista man make my chai latte in peace? Yikes. Anyway, she wasn’t there on Wednesday but this new guy was and I was kind of nervous at first because he seemed like he could go either way – nice, or super callous hipster. And when he hit me with a Scottish accent, I was really caught off guard to the point where I couldn’t tell if he was fucking around, like he drew the “Talk in a fake accent” card and thought I looked stupid enough to fall for it. Well, nice try buddy, because I am like one rung below schizophrenic-level paranoia and I question everything. Honestly, Henry and I were leaving CVS one night and a car full of rowdy teenagers were screaming out the window at a red light and I cried, “ARE THEY MAKING FUN OF ME? ARE THEY SAYING I’M FAT?” and Henry was like, “…they’re singing.” ANYWAY!

This guy may have actually been Scottish, who knows. He did say that he liked my necklace, which was the glass globe full of sea glass from Busan! So that scored him points. Also, it seemed like he was making my chai latte with utmost care and precision – real slow, with the cup tilted as he swirled in the soy milk. It was a delight to watch his methods, and maybe one of the best chai lattes I’ve ever been served, though I do have to say that the chai lattes at Crazy Mocha in general are some of the best I’ve ever had and have honestly spoiled me to the rest. I 100% threw one away from another cafe because it only took one sip to realize that use that chai mix that comes out of a carton and I hate that. Talk about first world problems, amirite. Crazy Mocha uses a chai powder and it makes all the difference in the world.

And when the guy told me to enjoy my day in his joyful Scottish lilt, I was like, “THANK YOU, I THINK I JUST MIGHT.”

This child, forever blocking the subtitles. 

Erin’s Bus Stop Plan

There is this one stretch of sidewalk downtown that absolutely drives me nuts (actually, Crazy Mocha is on part of it) because it’s a super poppin’ bus stop but the people who stand there are like the dregs of the earth, I’m really sorry to say that but it is trash of all sizes and colors. Today, I saw an overweight white trash lady in a REALLY SHORT DRESS leaning over a stroller and screaming in her baby’s face in a way that she I’m sure felt was lovingly but to the rest of us it was white trash acrylics scratching the side of a rusted trailer. While she was doing this, her dress was unable to cover her ass and she was fully exposed to all of Liberty Avenue, and her legs…those bare legs…I will never be able to get them out of mind. I was on the phone with Henry when this scene unfolded and it made me lose my train of thought and I just kept stuttering and Henry was like, “Did you get hugged by a stranger again?” – just kidding, he didn’t say that because he never remembers any of the horrible things that happen to me when he lets me walk around downtown alone.

And now that the sidewalks of downtown have officially thawed out, “urban campsite” is back up and running. It is the most absurd thing – just a bunch of weird and I do mean weird people who set up lawn chairs and loiter amidst two liter bottles of Mountain Dew and bags of cheese curls under a blanket of pot smoke AND NO ONE THINKS THIS IS A NUISANCE.

I just can’t stand it but it’s usually the most convenient route back to my office depending on where my lunch breaks adventures have taken me so it gets really frustrating when I have to bob and weave around these derelicts and their pee stenches.

So I came up with a plan.

First, I was going to write to the mayor.

Then, I thought: Fuck it, I’ll just BE THE MAYOR. So after that happens, I’m going to put my Liberty Ave Clean Up plan in effect which will start with digging a pit beneath the sidewalk to put the bus stop so that these rude fucks can stay underground.

Honestly, the amount of times I’ve nearly been spit on walking down that block is insane.

“How will they get on the bus then?” Henry aka Devils Advocate asked.

“Oh, I’ll have a pipe that just sucks them up right into the bus,” I said in my “le duh” tone and Henry gave me the “Yeah great plan” eye roll.

Margie was on board though. “Oh, the Termite Plan!” she said excitedly after I told her at work. Looks like I already have one vote for when I run!

Chooch found a bunch of shit from when he went to preschool and kindergarten at the shitty catholic school across the street and we had some big laughs at the (bad) memories.

Work Pride

I don’t usually write about where I work aside from funny conversations or whatever that I have with coworkers, but I have to break that rule today because I’m really happy to work there. The Human Rights Campaign compiled a list of corporations that have a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” and my firm was on the list. Yesssssss.

My work place really goes hard for Pride and it makes me, well, proud to work there. It’s really a great thing to know that in a world full of so much hate, I get to go to work everyday at a place where everyone is accepted and safe to be themselves, and they also do a lot of LGBTQ pro bono work which is amazing.

Today, rainbow sugar cookies and pins were provided on every floor, and the firm is going to have a contingent walking in the parade this weekend. Today was one of those “feel good” days that I think a lot of us needed. <3

Plus, YALL KNOW I’m a pin freak.

 The one where Ted goes to Jail

Guyzzzz remember how my old neighbor “Ted” lied to Chooch and me about his identity and then got his house (aka the other side of our duplex) raided by the popo? Well, there was an update on his case a few weeks ago and looks like he’s going to be sentenced even though his bitch ass girlfriend FRAMED HIM I JUST KNOW IT.

Henry made the mistake of telling me that Blake and Haley might be moving and I had a straight up panic attack thinking about what assholes our landlord could potentially fill that house with again. After what feels like a million years of living next to one criminal neighbor after another, having Blake and Haley next door has been a fucking godsend and if they move, I’m moving too.

NCT – Highway to Heaven

Gotta end this edition of Friday Five with a feel-good fam-jam. You guys know I love NCT127 but they’ve been gradually climbing to the upper echelon of faves. I have so many regertz for missing out on their North American tour – we were going to try and get tickets for the Toronto show but they changed the date and with our vacation coming up in July, we’re really trying not to have to take any more time off work. Well, Henry is. I always reach a point in late fall where I have to start taking random days off so I don’t lose them (we can only roll over so many or cash them in).

Anyway, NCT is one of those groups where I can put on one MV and just let a five hour long loop of NCT goodness play in the background – especially if it’s their variety show appearances because their personalities are larger than life and they entertain me to no end—even Henry will get sucked in and I’ll catch him chuckling him to himself, haha. He still won’t pick a bias though so I think I’m going to choose Jungwoo for him. Haechan is mine <3.

They just released a new album last week and this one song, “Highway to Heaven,” is SO DAMN GOOD. It’s been on a loop in my head since I first heard it and I think it’s definitely going to be a summer jam. It just has such a feel good vibe to it, and I love that the MV showcases each of them individually. The 2:23 mark where Haechan comes in makes SO STOKED FOR LIFE. This is going to be my go-to song for a while for whenever I’m feeling like I just can’t get out of bed.

 

 

This child, forever blocking the subtitles.

Jun 052019
 

Yo, it’s been a minute since I spotlighted some strong women artists so here are several new MVs from Kpop soloists that have been looping through my head. Support these girls!

First up is Lee Hi, who has finally been released from the YG dungeon and all I can say is, that was worth the wait.

This next one I’m a bit conflicted about because I am such a fan girl for her but recently, she was accused of being a bully when she was in middle school; however it came out that her accuser was also a bully?! I don’t know. But there’s my disclaimer.

Up next is Boa who has been in the industry for nearly 20 years now. I love everything she does but the sad reality of music, no matter what country a singer is from, is that the older a female artist gets, the less people care about her. I feel like her last several comebacks should have gotten so much more attention, so please go and give this video a view!

Oh my god something about this next song makes me feel so nostalgic for the summer before 12th grade, like this is something I’d have heard on WAMO’s Quiet Storm. I hope we hear more from Katie real soon! This is such a summer night mood.

Speaking of summer nights, can’t leave out this light-hearted jam from one of the members of the iconic Girl’s Generation, Yoona. This song is so sweet and has inspired me to up my bobby pin game.

Ok, that’s all for tonight! If you watch any of these and like one or whatever, please let me know!

Jun 042019
 

I have been dreading June. There’s no way to sugarcoat this, but the last two Junes for some reason were really awful, mentally, for me. Like full-blown suicide thoughts, self-destruction, running away from home awful. So, all of that’s been on my mind, to the point where I just recently asked Henry to make sure I don’t try to, you know, defenestrate myself this month.

For us non-meds, we have to use the power of positive thinking to get through the rough patches, so I have been giving myself pep talks and secret pinches when I feel my mental state slipping. I don’t want to feel miserable and out of control, TRUST.

Maybe it’s because I was being mindful of it, but damn, this past weekend was just really freaking good. I mean, we didn’t have any amazing plans or go on any crazy adventures, Henry didn’t propose, and Chooch didn’t win big on a scratch-off, but it was just all-around pleasant, calm, and when I think back on it (you know, that whole whopping two days ago), I just think about all the laughing we did and how I got a subpar smoothie at the new smoothie joint in Dormont called Blended AND IT DIDN’T RUIN MY DAY when perhaps an Erin From a Different Day would have fucking hurled that smoothie at the wall and then chased Henry around the house with a knife.

Hypothetically…

And I think about taking walks with Henry and Chooch and watching k-dramas and saying hi to my Mexican taco cart boyfriend and buying a cute yellow blouse on sale – just real simple things.

We went to Pitaland and Party Cake for Saturday morning treats and then later that afternoon I met 지용 at Zeke’s for our second language date and a rosemary cardamom latte.

지용 has really inspired me to dust off my Talk To Me In Korean workbooks and I really do feel a renewed interest and determination. I’ve never stopped using Duolingo over the last year and a half, but honestly I think that app is kind of a bust because it doesn’t really teach. I told her that my goal for the week was to at least the days of the week and the Sino Korean numbers (they are two sets of numbers you guys, ughhhh). Anyway, I learned both by Sunday so I’m really feeling ready to storm into South Korea and…order a coffee and some kimbap.

Sigh.

Two Junes ago, I was really gung-ho with my studies and even made flashcards and everything but…remember what I said up there about JUNE? Yeah, my mental health derailed my efforts big time.

Anyway, 지용 suggested that we meet every Saturday and I’m all about this plan.

Later that evening, we walked to Scoops because Chooch wanted to use his gift certificate but Henry was like I AM THE DAD HERE, I WILL PAY like wow ok Henry Warbucks.

There is something so exciting about walking around Brookline in summer. There’s always something going on! And by something, I mean trashy domestic arguments and resident Brookline freak sightings.

I made Henry get pistachio ice cream so I could have a bite eat half, while Chooch acted like he was a toddler piloting a waffle cone plane toward his mouth for the first time ever. Thirteen and still leaves scoop shop evidence all over his cheeks.

Then I made Instagram Dad take a picture of us because I was wearing my beloved G-Dragon shirt and Chooch was wearing one of his 87 DGD shirts which he apparently got a handful of compliments on earlier that day when he rode his bike to the mall with his friend Haojie who was like I GUESS MY SHIRT SUCKS.

Henry said, “Too bad you didn’t have your mom’s eyeball purse with you too” because if you are a TRUE READER of this blog you will know that I have a holographic eyeball purse which garners compliments from strangers every time I hit the streets and Chooch hates the attention it gets because any attention on me is less attention on him.

Anyway, it’s us. Here we are. Erin and Chooch.

Sunday was filled with more walks, Asian market shopping, and general giddiness. I wish I could figure out the magic recipe for that weekend so I can whip up a recreation next time I start feeling the gloom seep in. Why are brains such motherfuckers?

It’s so frustrating when you just want to have fun but you feel like there’s a sack of bad feelings and self-pity keeping you in bed. WELL NOT THIS TIME, BRAIN.

May 242019
 

When I first started listening to Kpop casually, I never expected to get so deep in my feelings but two groups really took me there and they are BIGBANG and SHINee.

With SHINee especially though, I get ultra emotional—I’ve connected with their music in a way that I thought I only could with the sad boy emo bands I used to listen to prior to doing a musical 180. And when Jonghyun passed away, it added a rawness even to the fun, upbeat songs.

It’s SHINee’s 11th Anniversary today and one thing to note about kpop is that fans will celebrate everything. But the fact that SHINee has gone through so much these last few years makes today feel like something that needs to be celebrated.

Goddammit I thought I could make it through one day without crying (everything makes my eyes turn into erupting tear-volcanoes even if I’m having a great day!) but these tributes to SHINee for their anniversary has my eye sweat on free-fall mode.

[Fun fact: the Korean word for “tear” is “noon mul” (눈물) which literally translates to eye water.]

11 years later, Jonghyun has left us; Minho, Key, and Onew have enlisted in the military; and baby Taemin is holding it down solo. But they will be 5hinee Forever.

I wish Jonghyun was still alive.

I recently bought this pin because I’m obsessed with having a pin-shrine for Jonghyun. I’d have worn it today if it wasn’t so heavy–it literally pulls down one side of my shirt!

Anyway, sending love to all my fellow Shawols in the world. It makes me feel less lonely knowing they’re out there!

May 222019
 

Guys, knock on wood, I’ve been having a really great week at work! We have some colleagues visiting from Chicago and I have accidentally grown attached to them and already don’t want them to leave – I’m going to suggest that we keep them and send Glenn back in their place.

So I have some fun work social thingies to slap down on this site for posterity, some trolley tales, a super interesting story about getting other people’s emails…just a whole satchel of potpourri to spill out without all the nice smells.

However, tonight all I have the energy to do is watch Winner videos on YouTube, like this one, which is my favorite from their new album!!

Mola means “I don’t know” in Korean which ironically is one of the few words I know lol.

Aside from G-Dragon’s solo concert, Winner has been my favorite Kpop concert so far. I just like how effortlessly fun and casual they are, it’s not all smoke & mirrors, they don’t need to hide behind elaborate choreography (don’t get me wrong, I love me a good dance move), and Mino has that insane Johnny Depp-in-a-Tim-Burton aesthetic and that alone makes me wonder why you guys aren’t stanning yet?! 나는 몰라요!

Get on that Winner-wagon my blog-reading people. For me, your favorite Erin who is honest!

(Bonus video! THEY ARE SO MUCH FUN! MINO IS SUCH A WEIRDO!)

May 212019
 

The cats (Drew & Penelope, or Bambi & Peenlop, or Drewburu & Splenis, or Jinjoo & Bora – whatever you want to call them!) love when the weather warms up because it means we start leaving the door to the backporch open and it’s like, the kitty cat lanei, but with less palm leaves, more Devil rugs.

Such exhaustion. Also, don’t mind the messy rug. Their scratch pad is next to it so scratch pad crumbs get everywhere.

They’re living their best back porch life, you guys. Get on their level.

They’ll be hissing at each other in 3…2…1.

In other cat news, I had the saddest dream about my best cat Marcy (R.I.P. Pretty Rainbow Sparkles). She had run away to this housing development very close to where I grew up, called Deer Park. For whatever reason, I walked the whole way there instead of driving and when I left my home in Brookline, it was spring, but by the time I made it to Deer Park, there was a considerable amount of snow on the ground. So really, in Pittsburgh, this definitely could have been plausible, lol.

Anyway, I was crawling around next to someone’s house, super early in the morning, like 4am or something ungodly, trying to get Marcy from under a bush or something, when the homeowner came out and I was like oh shit I swear I’m not a burglar please don’t call the police or exercise your right to shoot ’em up on your property.

But the broad was like “ok peace” and got in her car like it was no big deal to find someone laying on their stomach under a bush in her yard.

Meanwhile, Marcy had scampered away and she ended up in someone’s house and then I was there too without ever having knocked on the door or anything because MY DREAM MY RULES and the lady in the house was holding Marcy. I could tell she was really starting to get attached and panicked that she would want to keep her. I was scrambling to rip Marcy from this dumb bitch’s arms and I was begging her to be gentle because of Marcy’s tumor (which she had in real life).

Then, and this is the worst part, I said to the lady, “She actually died a few years ago; this is just a dream.”

FUCK. OUCH. NEEDLES IN THE HEART.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her and convince myself that I can still feel her fur in between my fingers and hear that guttural growl she would slowly emit when she had had enough of my incessant cooing and groping.

I miss her :(

May 162019
 

I am obsessed with the new Winner single, you guys. Straight obsessed. I love how they maintain that upbeat summer vibe without coming off as pigeon-holed or trite. Their songs are just pure happiness and make me want to drag a lawnchair* out onto my tiny patch of front yard and smile and wave to everyone who walks by.

I like to share things like this here because maybe someone is having a bad day and stumbles upon this, clicks on a whim, and experiences a bit of 심쿵 (“shim-koong” – happy feeling in the heart, y’all).

This is why I love Kpop so much. It motivates me to smile and spread the happiness! And when you get one downer of a news alert after another all day long, don’t you deserve to hit pause on real life and give yourself a couple minutes of pleasing colors and upbeat sounds? I think so. Give Kpop a try. Forget about not understanding what they’re saying. Just enjoy how it looks and sounds!

*(Henry, go buy me a lawnchair.)

P.S. Janna was here last night and the new WayV video came on and she said “oh is this one that you put on your blog last week?” except she called it my “journal” like it’s 2005 but never mind that, the point is that JANNA READS MY BLOG! So if JANNA can click on a video, you can too!

May 062019
 

Chooch and I just went for a walk and he was telling me about how he cried at End Game (he conned my mom into taking him to see it and she didn’t find out it was 3 hours long until an hour in, lol) and I admitted that I found myself getting emotional just hearing other people talk about it even though I know nothing about Marvel and the only movie I’ve seen is Thor and I didn’t even know that was Marvel at the time.

Here’s an example of my super hero knowledge deficiency: Chooch told me Batman dies at the end of End Game and I believed him.

Anyway, I said, “Sometimes I think I’m an empath,” and Chooch cried, “OMG! Same!”

“Like, today on the way to work, I was thinking about how I called the Vortex trash on my blog the other day and I suddenly felt so bad! So I started to tear up! On the T! A lot of people worked hard to design and build that rollercoaster and probably felt so proud when they were done, and here I am, calling it trash!”

“Yeah,” Chooch said, gearing up for his turn. “And like, sometimes I feel bad after we make fun of Dad.”

“Oh, I never do,” I waved him off. And that was the end of Five Minutes of Empathy with Erin & Chooch.

May 032019
 

Whenever the winter-frost on my heart starts to thaw and the windows in the house can finally be thrown open, I usually feel inspired to listen to some smoothAF tunes. For instance, during the spring of 1998 when I lived in my first apartment, I went through a heavy phase where I spun nothing but Ultra Lounge compilation CDs that I used to buy at Eide’s. People would walk in all confused because I’d be blasting weird-ass bossa nova shit while laying on the couch, all a’wash in black light, staring up at the glow-in-the-dark Slinkies I had hanging from the ceiling. That was a good vibe and now I think I need to revisit blacklights and glow-in-the-dark hangy-things.

Currently, and I know this will probably be very shocking, I’ve been listening to various Korean R&B-ish playlists at night and it really helps me unwind. It’s that perfect springtime vibe where things are picking up after winter but not yet moving full-throttle like they do in summer. When I think of spring, I think of relaxation and, you know, leisure. It’s that time where stop complaining about the calm and aren’t yet ready to bitch about the heat. It’s that perfect patch of time, and here today I am sharing five perfect K-Chill tracks to soundtrack this fleeting season.

*This song is probably my favorite out of this collection. It came on in the car on our way to King’s Island on Saturday and I replayed it like 4x times and I don’t even think Henry noticed.

*Fun fact: no matter how many times I practice while walking to work, I cannot master the pronunciation of this guy’s name and it kills me.

I wish I was sitting by the Han River right now, at night, listening to these songs.

Apr 292019
 

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to make the 4+ hour drive home from King’s Island on Saturday (more on that later), but that’s exactly what we did and it’s insane how exhausting the simple act of driving a car can be (or in my case, being the passenger who stays awake out of solidarity). It was around 2:30AM when we made it home, which is nothing for all those people with heavy social lives, going to the clubs and bars, etc. But we had been up since 5:30AM in order to get to the park around the time it opened, so yeah wow, that was a near-24 hour day for us.

Don’t even get me started on the lack of Sheetz in Ohio. I know they exist in some areas because they have saved our asses plenty of times on the way home from concerts in Cleveland, but the area around Cincinnati sucks and we had to settle on, oh my god just thinking about this is making me gag—SPEEDWAY. I felt so uncivilized! The only option for me was a veggie sub which is NOT WHAT I WANTED, I WANTED A WRAP but all their WRAP OPTIONS had MEAT IN THEM and there was nothing on the menu for a CUSTOMIZED ONE. Ugh! The guy behind the counter could sense my ire and asked if I needed help but you know what, I didn’t like HIS TONE so I said NO I DIDN’T NEED HIS HELP!

Then Chooch slapped his receipt into Henry’s palm and said, “TELL THEM HOW I WANT IT TOASTED” before running off the bathroom. So Henry tried to tell THAT GUY to toast it and the guy was all, “YES, IT WILL BE TOASTED” but Henry was like, “No, I mean, he wants it toasted afterward” and the guy goes, “No that’s not how we do it. We just toast the bread first and then put everything on it” and Henry said, “Yes, but he would like it toasted afterward” and the guy said, “BUT IT WILL MESS  UP THE INGREDIENTS, LIKE THE PICKLES…” and Henry was like, “HE KNOWS. THAT IS HOW HE WANTS IT.” Jesus Christ! We were telling Chooch about this later in the car, as he was eating his fully-toasted sub, pickles and all, and he shrugged and mumbled, “The customer’s always right.”

Usually, Chooch handles this himself. He completes his order, grabs the receipt, marches up to the pick-up area with confidence and yells, “EXCUSE ME, I’D LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT TOASTING MY SANDWICH.” Look, the kid knows what he wants, OK.

The one thing that kept me going was that my friend Veronica was sending me requests to her Instagram Lives from the Korea Times Music Festival in LA where LEE TAEMIN WAS PERFORMING. Guys, I was LIVING through her Instagram on that ride home, you have no idea. Henry thanks her too because every time one of her live videos would end, I would start screaming NO NO NO!! and the sheer volume of my voice did more for his alertness than any of those cans of energy drinks he was double-fisting.

When we got home, I barely brushed my teeth; kicked off my shoes; peeled the contacts from my eyes; collapsed into bed, still in my clothes and a face full of makeup. Did not even care.

Sunday was one of those days where I don’t even know why I bothered to change out of my pajamas because I felt like shit and pretty much figured I wasn’t going anywhere that day. I spent most of the day watching theme park vlogs on YouTube, still riding that high from the day before (Henry’s reading this and thinking, “Yeah right, she would be watching these videos even if we hadn’t just gone to an amusement park”–LOOK, IT’S HOW I RELAX, OK!?”) Having just ridden the Beast numerous times really reignited my wooden coaster (or “woodie,”  but you non-coaster fanatics wouldn’t understand, sigh) and so I started watching videos about that and then started pining for my old wooden love, THE VOYAGE in Holiday World. I began to wonder how the woodie aficionados compare the two, and then before I knew it, I had watched 19 POV videos of the Voyage (Chooch and I pronounced it “Voy-AHge”), at which point I launched into an impassioned speech about how much I love this ride and if I had to craft the perfect day in my head, marathoning this beefy grid of manly lumber (at night!!) would definitely make the cut.

Henry was giving back NOTHING in return, so I spat, “I’ll just wait for Chooch to come home. I can’t talk  to you about this. You don’t understand. You didn’t even ride it.”

Yeah, but you’re not just talking about it. You sound like you’re talking about a boyfriend.”

Ugh, I wish.

BAE.

Meanwhile, I was getting sicker as the day went on. My body felt really weak and I was shivering, and my stomach had that I’M ON A BOAT feeling.

As the day progressed, I started to wonder if I had measles. Maybe it’s because it’s very Another Day, Another News Alert About Measles lately? So I started grilling Dr. Henry about all things measles. I can’t google things of this nature–medical maladies, curious symptoms–because I will throw up and fall into a spiral of obsession and paranoia. But I needed to know things like “will I know if I have measles? Will it hurt? Will I die right away?” And then Henry started to talk about rashes and I was like, NO STOP TALKING ABOUT IT I DONT WANT TO KNOW! and then Henry was like GOOD LORD, GO TO BED. YOU FEEL SICK BECAUSE YOU BARELY GOT ANY SLEEP AND YOU ARE EXHAUSTED.

Oh ok Dr. Henry.

(Ever since he mentioned rashes, I have felt universally itchy.)

The one thing I recently read was about how adults who think they are vaccinated or perhaps never got the second shot, travel to measles-prone countries and then BRING IT BACK WITH THEM.

“Thailand and India are two countries on that list and Lauren from work went to both of those countries last year!” I hysterically screamed to Henry, who calmly said if she brought home a souvenir rash, and I wasn’t vaccinated, I probably would have contracted it a long time ago and you know, died.

This fretting continued on this morning because I got another news alert on the way to work and I want to fucking line up anti-vaxxers and run past them swinging an orange-stuffed sock. Fucking assholes.

I sat next to some nice man on the trolley who said good morning to me (like, no one does that on the T) and I had to pretend like I was a normal lady and not someone melting internally from maybe-measles.

At work, Carrie was like, “You could just ask your mom if you have all your shots…” so I did that, I texted her and it took her like SEVEN MINUTES to respond and all she said was “I think so.”

THAT IS NOT A YES.

Then I saw Lauren and flipped out on her but she was like “I promise you I’m fully vaccinated!” But then I think she started to get scared too when I mentioned THAILAND AND INDIA.

I was still dwelling on this by the time Henry picked me up for work.

“What exactly do you from with measles? A big fever? Do your bowels fall out?”

“Yes Erin, your bowels fall out,” Henry sighed.

I think I’m just going to go to the doctor and double-up on some vaccinations. Is it possible to over-vaccinate?

Apr 242019
 

OK, confession/unpopular opinion time: You might know that Twice was once my ult girl group. But the last song I really liked by them was Likey, which came out in…2017?  Their music just wasn’t grabbing me like it had in the past. (I low key hated Dance the Night Away, please don’t kill me.) Maybe it was a “it’s not you, it’s me” deal, but anyway what I’m trying to say is that my name was starting to rub off my Twice fan club membership card and I’ve had some mild panic growing in the back of my mind.

So when I saw that they were going to have another comeback this month, I was nervous because I always want to love it! It’s so awful to say this, because, you know, GIRL POWER or whatever, but girl group comebacks lately haven’t been captivating me nearly as much as the boys, which is sad because when I first got into kpop, I was such a devout stan of girl groups!

But wow, I am back to straight stanning these nine babes, you guys. They somehow managed to ramp up the maturity while still maintaining their signature upbeat, at-times-twinkling Twice sound and it’s everything I didn’t even know I needed. I must have watched the MV 187 times since it dropped on Monday and every time I get a new favorite part! I love how the video oscillates between the girls looking like they sprung out of a 1997 Delia’s catalogue one minute to modeling the latest Lip Service clubwear. The MV is dark, yet still colorful but more so in a neon edginess, and not in their typical bubblegum brights.

Ok I’ve dropped too many words on this. The whole point is that Twice is back, and they are better than ever. Please enjoy this and support Twice, #WCW always!

P.S. Please give Jihyo a solo, JYP. It’s what the world needs.