Sorry, this can’t wait until tomorrow. Jonny Craig has a new band and they just posted and excuse me but now I need to go outside and run around in the 9 degree night with no coat on, bye.No tags for this post.
Sorry, this can’t wait until tomorrow. Jonny Craig has a new band and they just posted and excuse me but now I need to go outside and run around in the 9 degree night with no coat on, bye.No tags for this post.
Hopefully I’m not being too annoying with my painting updates; it’s such a fine line and sometimes I get too excited to share things like a Kindergartner to notice if I’m being ridiculous or not…I think I should probably just err on the side of caution and assume that I am. Once all this horrendous winter weather subsides, I will probably be way less prolific, so there’s always hope for the future.
“Storming Calzones.” (This one is no longer available, but I wanted to share it because it makes me LOL.)
Custom “Bat Room” sign.
I can’t explain it, but making these little guys is extremely soothing for me. Strangely, during the grand opening of this little boutique in Pittsburgh called Wildcard, all of my bathroom plaques sold out. I don’t know exactly why they’re so popular, but I really enjoy making them so it’s a good thing!
I also enjoy painting mixtapes.
The other night, I was going through all my inactive listings on Etsy, because there are a handful of pieces that I still have laying around. I saw some old favorites and decided to offer made-to-order versions of them, like Bunch O Balloons:
Look, I know I’m not churning out masterpieces here, but it’s fun and it makes Chooch smile (well, depending on his mood). I like making colorful things (and then fucking it up with something gross, as Henry laments). But these ones aren’t gross. For now, anyway. I’m still on my gross food kick.
In other news, I finally updated my “about” page after 7 years. Of course, it’s only public on the mobile site because I don’t know how to get the link on my sidebar, but you should be able to access it by clicking here.No tags for this post.
This is kind of a weird Throwback Thursday for me because I’m not actually reposting anything, but finally posting something for the first time that has been mildewing in my drafts folder for almost a year.
Last April 15th, I went to a vegetarian dinner thingie with Janna, Kara and Chris. Usually, I would get around to writing about it within a week. But that happened to be the same day as the Boston Marathon bombing. And it just didn’t feel right to be all, “Yay, this is what I did several hours after a devastating situation rocked the nation!” I was so caught up in reading and watching everything I could about it for the next several weeks, obsessing over the whole boat situation (SERIOUSLY THAT WAS ALL SO FISHY TO ME) that I just quit caring about this dumb blog entry.
Does that make sense?
And then so much time passed that I started to forget a lot of what I wanted to say, and I lost the menu so then I was forgetting what I had even eaten. But I don’t like leaving things unfinished, so I went back and tried to fill in the blanks to the best of my ability.
It’s not that I’m some sort of epicurious, wannabe gourmand or even some pretentious food blogger who uses the words “epicurious” and “gourmand” (too many sex analogies), but ever since I attended one of Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa’s vegetarian dinners at Alchemy in 2007, that tattooed food whisperer has been on my radar.
Chef Kevin’s newest venture, Harvard and Highland, presents a vegetarian table once a month and seats only eight people.
At the same table.
JUST LIKE THE AMISH.
I really liked the intimacy of this, though I still chose a seat on the end, forcing Janna to sit next to a strange lady. However, I wasn’t interested in what the other two couples were talking about (running, running, running, marathons, running). That is, not until I overheard an older woman at the opposite end of the table talking about dragonfruit and it was all DUMBO EARS: ACTIVATE. Usually my skin burns at the mere idea of small talk, but I had to interject. I just had to, because that very day, do you know what I ate? FIRE DRAGON. You guys, it’s dragonfruit that is bright fuschia and utterly amazing. It’s like art fruit. So I had to tell the rest of the table this and they were like, “Ok” followed by a silent but implied “who cares?” and then the token Pan Asian at our table started bragging about all the exotic fruit he grew up on since his parents are from Thailand or somewhere else that I can’t locate on a map, and he went on to talk about durian while I quietly vomited in my mouth at the thought of that horrid fruit, and he was all, “But you can’t find that anywhere in the States” and I was like, “OMG you ignorant fruit fan, yes you can” and automatically counted off at least three places in Pittsburgh alone.
Except this part of the conversation happened inside my head because I hated that guy and didn’t want to waste my breath on him.
This was my least favorite. It was too salty. But it came with a flower, so I ate that.
To my delight, our plates were paired with craft cocktails instead of disgusting beer like the last vegetarian thing I went to. Every single cocktail was amazing and because of them, I forgot everything I wanted to write by the time I staggered back to Janna’s car. If I were a real food blogger, I’d have brought my dichtophone and notepad (and inflated sense of entitlement) with me.
Since Kara is pregnant, she only allowed herself petite sips of each cocktail and then Chris got to chug the rest of hers on top of his own. Lucky son of a bitch.
Men — find a way to make your semen taste like this creamy puddle of molten feta and you will have to knock people off your jocks all day long.
OMG I think this was the breakfast plate? It had fake egg things (nettle scramble, whatever the fuck) and some kind of French toast impersonator and more foam stuff because that must be really fun for Kevin to make so he just puts flavorful foam on everything. (Kind of like how I put wonky eyes on all of my paintings.) We all basically ate this in the fashion of having our wrists tied behind our backs.
Halfway through the night, I realized that the Durian Dick was friends (or maybe just in his own mind) with Chef Sousa and kept hinting around about wanting to go pick mushrooms with him or something and I wished I had a durian or two and the sock of a giant. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
(If you don’t, I mean that I wanted to fill the giant’s sock with the durians and beat the smugness out of him. But now you ruined it.)
And Kevin himself served every goddamn plate to Mrs. Durian Dick. Every single time! I kept hoping that the waitstaff would switch it up and maybe we would each get our turn with Kevin, but no. He catered specifically to her every time and that is how I know they’re having an affair.
A pond of molten Christ on wood, with mushrooms and stuff on top. It was such a religious experience that my tongue was involuntarily spelling out the rosary. Janna didn’t eat all of hers because it didn’t come with preservatives.
I was trying to get a photo of my chef crush but JANNA moved her stupid head. GOD, JANNA.
Ahhhhhh desssssert! It was stuff that tasted amazing in a truncated Mason jar! And there were more flowers to eat! It was paired with some creamy (the theme of the night, obvi) sarsparilla drink that I will be requesting by the jugfull if I ever go back.
The loud lady at the end of the table (next to Durian Dick) had a vegan version of the dessert and asked EVERYONE BUT ME AND CHRIS if they wanted a taste. Everyone said no and I actually really did want to taste it but I’m too proud to beg. (Sorry, TLC.)
After dinner, we all kind of sat around waiting for the go-ahead to leave and everyone seemed OK with continuing the strange act of Conversing with Strangers, but I wasn’t interested. I was becoming increasingly annoyed and anxious, because I lack the social wherewithal to successfully survive an evening of eating food and, as my friend Alyson would say, “expelling air” with people I do not know.
However, we didn’t eat until 9PM and I had gone there straight from dumb work, plus I’m on a diet and subsisting on leaves and carrots for the most part, so I was pretty irritable and ready to masticate the FU-HAHAHAHA-UCK out of some meatless spreads.
Or I’m just a people-hating asshole. Take your pick.
My favorite part of the night was how they filled us up with liquor and then made us walk down a dangerously steep staircase afterward. Surprisingly, there were no casualities.
What is an acceptable way to show a chef that you are in total appreciation and awe of the edible gifts he bestowed upon you that evening? Because I’m not above asking him to autograph my tongue.No tags for this post.
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’re probably totally annoyed by all of this painting bullshit by now. Time to utilize the ol’ “hide” function, I guess? So, sorry if you’ve already seen these but I wanted to do some ‘splaining.
I started Somnambulant Art back in 2007 after accidentally falling back into the whole art thing thanks to Blogathon. I was reminded of how therapeutic and cathartic art is, so I kind of went with it, and surprisingly, some people seemed to actually like it and even asked to give me real life money for my paintings. So I opened my first Etsy shop, Somnambulant, and had so much fun making monsters and cute things with totally fucked-up stories. And I kind of even built up a following! But the best part was that this was how I met Andrea—we were (are) both members of the Etsy’s Dark Side team.
Then I was out of work for awhile. And the funny thing about being out of work is that you don’t have any money anymore. I mean, we had SOME money because Henry still had a job, but we kind of needed to eat and pay rent, so I couldn’t buy supplies anymore. And let’s face it, when I’m selling art for $10-$40 a painting, I’m not really making enough profit for that to be my actual day job. And that’s fine, because I liked where I was at. I was selling at a comfortable, realistic volume, and there was even a local shop (Wildcard) that was selling my pendants and bathroom plaques. It was really fun, until I couldn’t do it anymore, both financially and mentally. Shit went down in my personal life (Christina, obviously; it always goes back to Christina, lol) and then I got a new job (my current one) and instead of being all, “Yay now I can buy supplies again!” it was more like, “Fuck, I’m too emotionally drained for this garbage.” Christina was my #1 supporter and now I didn’t have her. At the time, I didn’t think I could do it without her constantly praising me like the quasi-invalid that I am.
And it went on and on like that for three years. Etsy even deactivated my shop because I couldn’t pay the bill. I was pretty resigned into thinking that this part of my life was over. Now I have the cash for supplies, but I also have a full-time job that has kind of made me lose a sense of who I am, while zapping every drop of creativity from me like a dog sucking the marrow out of a bone. One of those goddamn Catch-22s. I did that Crafts from the Crypt thing last year at Castle Blood and unloaded some of my old paintings, but when I tried to paint new ones, I was almost paralyzed, like I couldn’t remember how. But I ended up selling a lot of my paintings that day and people seemed to respond positively to them, way moreso than my pendants or serial killer cards. It kind of sparked something, but then that light went out just as quickly as it was lit. It’s hard to explain, but I was in this rut and actually even convinced myself that I hated painting.
But wow, this winter, you guys. This winter has been hazardous to my mental health. (And everyone else’s too I’m sure!) I just got tired of being snowed in on the weekends, unable to go out and do things, that I picked up a paint brush just for the hell of it. First, it was just supposed to be a one-off: I was making a custom painting for my friend Alyson. But then it was like something clicked, FINALLY. It felt fun again! And I want to start doing it as a side gig again, because I’m tired of Henry saying NO WE HAVE TO PAY BILLLLLZ when I want to buy weird Asian fruit and when I sold art, I had my own bank account just for that. I’m also trying to save up some money for a sort of pilgrimage that my brother and I want to go on, and I thought maybe this would be a good start. I suck at saving money.
Custom “just engaged” painting.
Until I get things squared away with Etsy (I don’t want to open a new shop with a different name; I’m forever-attached to Somnambulant), I’m going to post finished paintings on my blog and Facebook and whoever wants one can claim it and I will do the whole Paypal invoice thing like we did last year with my Crafts from the Crypt rejects.
“Eat Shit.” 12×5.5 I think? (I love this one but Henry hates it, which makes me love it more.)
“Tools.” 12×5.5 I think? (This one was inspired by Andrea. <3) SOLD!
I freehand my shit, no stencils or whatever.
“Drop Dead.” 5×7 (I’m really into cute things with mean messages.)
“Brock” 5.5×5.5 – SOLD
So, that’s what I have so far. I will try not to be too annoying about it, but until I find an alternative, this is the best I’ve got. And sorry if you think that because this isn’t “fine art,” that it’s just stupid finger painting. This is my style and it makes me happy.
If you DO like it and want anything, let me know! I’m going to do some customs again too, but nothing on a large-scale for now. Probably 10″x10″ and smaller, because I know realistically I don’t have the patience or time for anything bigger than that. I know how much I can handle (and it’s not much, haha)!No tags for this post.
Two years ago, when I was trying to be friends with Christina again (I know, which time, right?) she came to visit and brought this mildly deformed doll that her sister found in a box of normal dolls she bought from the thrift shop and told Christina, “I don’t want this in my house. Give it to Erin.” Because people know me. You may remember Fetus Doll from this photo shoot a few years ago.
Anyway, Christina and I quit each other for the 87th time last year, but Fetus still hangs out in the family room with us, propped up on the chaise lounge thingie next to some weird jester thing and Alf. The fact that I didn’t melt him down into a barbed dildo and sent him back to Christina with 18 pages of death threats says a lot about how mature I am now. And also illustrates that I just don’t really care enough anymore.
Last Saturday, Chooch and Harland, long-since over their Storm Trooper feud, had a play date. We let Kara and Theo come over too. Kara and I were sitting on the couch talking and Kara, drifting asleep on the heels of another one of my horribly-relayed stories (that’s why I have a blog, ’cause I don’t speak good, you guyses), happened to glance over in the direction of the chair.
“What the fuck is that?!” she cried. I mean, god only knows in this house. But it ended up being Fetus. Needing a better look, she walked over and picked it up, much to the delight of Theo:
Preeeeety sure that Theo and I are going to get along just fine.
Theo started crying later, which I’m positive is directly correlated with Henry’s return home.
Marcy, having flashbacks of another certain screaming half-person in her house.
So Henry tried to be all “goo goo ga ga” with Theo and Chooch started laughing hysterically. I mean, this was SHUT THE DOOR levels of hilarity for Chooch, and he cried out in a voice strangulated by laughter, “You’re the worst baby entertainer ever!” By this point, Chooch had gotten himself so worked up that his face was beet red from laughing and he was legitimately crying. It was funny/scary because I saw so much of my own bipolarity in him at that moment, and Kara took that as her cue to start bundling her kids up so they could leave before Chooch laughed himself sick.
Later that evening, Kristy came over with carefully selected beer for my picky palate (Lancaster Brewing Strawberry Wheat, FTW!), and somewhere in between accidentally teaching Chooch the word “onomonapeia” and repeatedly chucking Henry with barbs about THE SERVICE, Kristy too noticed Fetus.
Fetus just wants to be loved.
Watching TV with his big brother, Chooch.
Maybe I should let people come to my house more often. Fetus really flourishes around company.No tags for this post.
Saw this list of 21 Songs To Help You Wake Up From Those Morning Snooze Marathons
circulating around this morning and while I’m mostly nodding in agreement, I can’t help but think they REALLY dropped the ball by not including this seminal Was Not Was hit:
(Yes, this is totally my current rise & shine go-to. WHAT’S YOURS?)No tags for this post.
OK, so we had a poor roller skating experience this afternoon, which I will opine about at nauseating length later this week, OH DON’T YOU WORRY, and Philip Seymour Hoffman died and the weather was cold and rainy and everyone was all FOOTBALL. But in spite of all that, I’d rather spotlight the high point of the day because weekends should rule no matter what. Unless an emergency amputation is scheduled.
So anyway, we went to Dairy Queen after skating and holy fuck, no one told me they have red velvet Blizzards now. Well, they do.
Chooch and I do what we excel at and ditched Henry at the counter. We walked around to the side of the store and I spotted a table that only sat 2, so of course Chooch & I giggled like the motherfuckers we are and Henry had to sit alone.
He acted like he was only upset about having to sit elsewhere because it meant the Dairy Queen girl was going to have to deliver our Blizzards to two separate tables, like suddenly he gives a shit about people. Chooch and I were laughing so hard, we almost projectiled soft serve across the room.
That was definitely the best part of my Sunday. If you’re having a bad day, ostracize the Henry Figure in your life and eat ice cream. And might I add: Red velvet Blizzards are the SHIT. Now if I can only get Lays to seriously consider my entry for red velvet potato chips.No tags for this post.
Corey found our parent’s wedding album and texted me pictures from it this afternoon, which I can honestly say has been the high point of this week. Even though I was 5 when I made my debut as a flower girl (my dress had tiny bells sewn into the ruffles, you guys! and my shoes were Candies!), I have only vague recollections of this day at best. (Because clearly all I cared about was what I was wearing.)
Thank god my mom’s facial expressions and vacant eyes fill in the gaps. I feel like she FOR SURE popped some pills that morning.
Fuck, they hated me, lol.
My Pappap looks PISSED. My grandma is totally hissing, “SMILE. THE NEIGHBORS MIGHT BE WATCHING.” Susie knows her dress is the shit (seriously, Wendy and I both agreed that we would totally wear that dress right now in 2014). I’m too afraid to look at Sharon. She looks like she’s casting a spell and I don’t like it.
BUT LOOK HOW HAPPY I AM!
I think someone didn’t want to get hitched that day.
(Also, thats my great-grandma in the rocking chair. She was from Yugoslavia and didn’t speak English*. Also, she scared me.)
A poster for REGRET.
I honestly cannot stop laughing at these. I mean, I’m thankful they DID get married because otherwise, I wouldn’t have my brothers, but Jesus Christ their marriage was loveless before it even began! They make Henry and me look like a cover of a romance novel.
*ED.NOTE: I’ve just been informed by a family member that my great-grandma was very kind and DID speak English, so what we have here is an example of another lie my mom told me when I was a child.No tags for this post.
This is going to be a little strange and I have a feeling my fingers might try to recoil from the keyboard, but today, instead of my usual Henry emasculation session, I’m going to reflect on all the things he’s done this week that were nice (read: obedient). Because if there is one thing I was cruelly reminded of this week, a little appreciation goes a long way.
1. Diligent Greeting Card Partner
For some reason, we’ve been selling an unusually large amount of our serial killer valentines, pretty much right after I had a mini temper tantrum about how we weren’t selling anything and I felt like an asshole every time I made feeble attempts to promote them on Facebook. I HATE being pushy about things. Anyway, things picked up for us out of nowhere and Henry has been working hard to make sure orders get filled at a speedy pace. (I sort of help—I handle all the customer service shit because I spell better and am just more personable via typed correspondence in general than Mr. Types Like a Caveman Talks.) Yesterday, I put on England Dan & John Ford Coley (I know, right) and kept him company while he slaved away with his precious paper cutter and printer that I still don’t know how to use, but then he was all, “While you’re sitting there…” and made me start packaging orders, then had the audacity to tell me I wasn’t sealing the cellophane card protectors properly, WTF!?
Wait, this was supposed to be about how nice Henry has been this week. Shit.
2. The Couple that Works Out Together Kills Each Other
You know how I’ve been on this mortality kick since last week? No? Well, now you do. One of the things that I’ve been internalizing is the gnawing notion that Henry won’t always be around. I mean, I might die first, even. But still, I decided it couldn’t hurt to get a little preventative up in here, and somehow got him to promise me that he would start exercising. (It might have had something to do with the fact that I was crying when I asked him because: OMG DON’T DIE.) So Tuesday night after work, we changed into sweatpants (OMG Henry in elastic-ankled sweatpants, you guys) and I put on the easiest Jillian Michaels DVD in my collection (30 Day Shred, y’all). I was even nice enough to let him start on Level 1, which is as basic as one gets in a workout video. I mean, the warmup is all windmills and jumping jacks, which I learned that Henry literally cannot do, and then hip circles which was HILARIOUS to watch him reenact. Anyway, jumping jacks came up again in the first cardio circuit and I kept catching him in my periphery, all flopping around, arms not syncing up with his legs, and I lost it. I started laughing so motherfucking hard that I peed a little. I can’t lie to you guys. I can’t and I won’t. I peed and kept on exercising because I was afraid if I paused it long enough to change, Henry would escape to Hot Naybor Chris’s basement.
“If you don’t stop laughing at me, I’m going to quit!” he yelled, and I laughed even harder. And then every time Jillian would say, “OK ladies” I would pee just a tiny bit more.
I could hear Henry huffing and puffing during one of the strength segments, so I offered up some advice. “Sometimes when it gets too hard, I draw strength from Dance Gavin Dance,” I said, pointing at my DGD painting behind the TV.
“Fuck you,” he panted.
And then, during some shadowboxing, I said, “I used to picture Christina’s face every time I would throw a punch.”
“That’s great. I’m picturing your face,” he wheezed.
I was going to allow him to switch to some good old-fashioned Bodies In Motion last night, which at least has a male instructor (Gilad 4 lyfe, yo), and is also way easier than any of Jillian’s workouts, but Henry was all, “No. You already made me start this one so let’s go.” So last night, we did 30 Day Shred again. (I just want you to know that I am doing these with him in addition to my usual morning workouts, because I’m a wonderful girlfriend who wants to see her boyfriend succeed…I think that’s how I rehearsed that sentiment.) This time, Chooch was home (he was at his aunt Kelly’s the night before and missed out on his father exercising for the first time since THE SERVICE) and when it was time to do hip circles, I screamed, “CHOOCH LOOK HOW SEXY DADDY!” and Chooch and I cracked the fuck up, which made Henry bristle his mustache (sorry guy, that doesn’t count as aerobics) and threaten again to throw in the proverbial towel.
Do you know how hard it is for me not to grab my phone and post an Instavid of hopping Hank doing jumping jacks? Exercising my restraint — now THAT is a workout.
3. Mustacioed Sounding Board
So, the Grammy’s just happened last Sunday and you might be surprised to know that I did actually watch because I really do like some mainstream garbage every now and then. My favorite parts were when neither Taylor Swift nor Katy Perry won in their categories, but both got faked-out because the albums that DID win both started with the same letter as theirs and I detected a split-second of wile euphoria in their eyes before it registered that it was “Random Access Memories” not “Red,” “Royals” and not “Roar” that had actually won.
Anyway, this prompted one of my long-winded signature late-night diatribes, this one about how fucked up it is that we live in a world where Katy Perry even gets NOMINATED for a Grammy, and Henry just laid there in bed, agreeing with my hysteria and letting me get it all out of my system.
I’m pretty sure he secretly likes her ”music,” so I appreciated that he indulged my inherent need to be up-in-arms over essentially nothing.
(P.S. Kendrick Lamar > Macklemore, but that wedding thing was pretty amazing.)
4. All the Right Words
I’ve been having a pretty shitty week. But luckily, it’s just work that’s making it shitty so at least it’s something that I can work on changing. Every day though I have been sending Henry SOS texts from the confines of my office-thing, recounting all the times I’ve been brought to tears by various aspects of my job.
So today, when he dropped me off for work, he called after me, “Try not to cry today!” But it was half past “sweet encouragement” more toward “sarcastic chide”, and it made me laugh so hard. Like, how ridiculous. Why the fuck am I wasting my precious eyeball juice on this shit when I could be christening my music collection with it? There are so many more worthy causes to be crying over than what I do here every day, so thank you Henry for accidentally waking me the fuck up.
Four things is pretty good, right!? Can I go to Heaven now?
*(I was going to call this post “Henry’s Bone” but that seemed a little weird.)
No tags for this post.
After I made Chooch pose for pictures on Sunday, he stripped down to his underwear and dress shirt, and that is how he remained for the rest of the day; his own version of Risky Business, I guess.
Friday night after work, we went out to eat with our friends the Handa’s. The back of Chooch’s fortune taught him how to say “drunk, tipsy” in Chinese, which is good because now the next time he publicly calls Henry a drunk, maybe no one will understand him.
And then this princess, I can’t even. Can she please just live forever?
I actually had real things to say but you know: work. This week has not been great. Hope yours is better!
No tags for this post.
The snow started early yesterday morning. I sat around, playing music and impatiently watching Henry make the non compos cards we just sold, when I noticed that he was using an unfamiliar paper cutter.
“Is that a new paper cutter?” I asked.
“Kind of. I’ve had it since last June. I bought it at JoAnn’s. It was on sale: 40% off of $90. Plus I had a 20% off coupon!” Henry joyfully exclaimed.
TMI, Henry. TMI.
He finished making the cards and I walked them to the Brookline post office. I haven’t been out of the since then because this fucking SNOW SUCKS and has taken upon itself to cancel all of my plans and I am so goddamn bored. Sitting around doing nothing goes against everything I stand for.
After Willie’s death sent me spiraling into this stupid funk, I made the executive decision that it was time to start art therapy again. And boy, this would have been a great weekend to paint, but I don’t have any stupid canvas! SNOW, YOU ARE KILLING ME.
We were going to go roller skating today, the one thing I had to look forward to, but it’s snowing again and cars are sliding all over the road in front of my house and Henry keeps showing me goddamn weather maps on his phone and I’m about to flip my shit.
“All I wanted to do was go rollerskating this weekend and instead I’m stuck in the house where THREE OF MY CATS DIED!!!!!” I wailed.
“Oh that’s nice,” Henry said brusquely. “Because the way I see it, I’m stuck in the house with my best friend* and son.” Oh, OK martyr.
*(I confirmed that he actually was referring to me, surprisingly, and not his paper cutter.)
I feel like the top of my head is going to pop off.
Henry just told me he loves me. Ok, great, BUT IT IS STILL SNOWING.No tags for this post.
Chooch and I were off from our respective school/work places on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. So we made plans to meet up with Kara, Harland and Baby Theo at Cannon Coffee. Chooch loves Cannon Coffee, for some reason. It might be the tattooed barista who always tries to pressure him into trying some exotic form of hot chocolate, but in the end he always just giggles nervously and says, “No. Just regular.”
Things started out great! Harland and Chooch huddled around a phone while Theo sat quietly in Kara’s lap, allowing Kara and me to have real life conversations.
Considering we were there for two hours, they were pretty well-behaved.
But then the Storm Trooper happened. Harland noticed that there was a drawing of one hanging up behind the counter.
“Chooch, look at the Storm Trooper!” Harland called. So Chooch walked over and together they stood in Storm Trooper reverie.
“You want this?” the barista asked, handing Chooch another sketch of a Storm Trooper she had behind the counter. Chooch accepted it, which irked Harland, and rightfully so, IMO.
He asked Chooch for it and I made him hand it over. It was clear that it meant more to Harland, anyway. Chooch was all, “Ugh fine” and they both went back to their respective iPhone games, abandoning the sketch on the table between me and Kara.
But then right as we were all bundling up to leave, Chooch hovered over the sketch on the table and mumbled, “I want this.”
I reminded him that we gave it to Harland, so Chooch put his head down on the table and sighed heavily.
Harland, aware of what was transpiring, said, “But I want it too” and then laid in a sullen heap on the floor.
“But she gave it to me,” Chooch sighed.
“But only because Harland was the one who saw the other sketch first,” I pointed out.
This volleyed back and forth for a few minutes, this totally mild tug-of-war over some dumb sketch on the back of a Brookline community Christmas announcement. No raised voices. No tears. Just two kids quietly wanting the same thing while Theo silently judged them from Kara’s arms. It was the weirdest “fight” ever.
In the end, I told Chooch he wouldn’t be able to play Minecraft if he didn’t just give the damn drawing to Harland. That brought him back to reality real quick-like, and we all left Cannon Coffee as friends.
Later that day, Kara texted me to say that Harland was still carrying the drawing around like it was made of diamonds and gold, and that her husband was going to draw a Storm Trooper for both of them. In the meantime, she scanned the barista’s Storm Trooper and emailed it to Chooch, who was like, “Oh OK. Cool.” Totally blasé, LIKE I KNEW HE WOULD BE! That’s why I was so adamant about him giving it to Harland; I knew if Chooch brought it home, he would lose interest as soon as he logged into Minecraft.
Good god, thanks for the turbulence, Storm Trooper. It’s pretty funny though that in the eight years Kara and I have been friends, this was the biggest “conflict” we’ve ever had!No tags for this post.
I think having Henry’s mom and Chooch around yesterday when I found Willie dead (RIP) helped me, because, you know, community grieving and all that. But today, Chooch was back to school and Judy was back at her place, so it was just me and Marcy. And it was pretty fucking depressing. Soul-suckingly so. Watching Marcy skulk around, sniffing around the empty cat carrier, poking her head around corners, it was too much. Henry doesn’t think she actually really cares that her daughter is dead. I mean, we kind of chuckled about it last night, how Marcy got her wish, Marcy-Hater-Of-All is the last cat standing. But goddamn motherfucking shit, the house is so empty. What will I do when she’s gone too? Her presence is almost larger than life. She is a force. Even the way she barrels into our bedroom, practically hurtling herself at the half-shut door, is so bombastic. What will the house be like without her, I can’t even imagine.
So then, after running back into the house twice to re-hug Marcy, I was walking to the trolley and crying, which is awesome to do in January when it’s 7 degrees outside. Crying in 7 degree weather. But then on the trolley platform, some guy started talking to me and that was pretty nice, a distraction, human contact. And I realized, for as much as I’m like, “DON’T TALK TO ME STRANGERS!” that basic connection with another person is what I was subconsciously craving at that moment. Please, pick my heart up off the frozen trolley platform and speak words to me.
My new friend’s name is (Not) Jonny (Craig) and he was pretty normal. I mean, he was wearing a Steelers Santa hat and broken glasses held together by masking tape like you’d do if you were going trick-or-treating as “Post-Political Fight with Erin” Henry.
We talked about riveting things, such as taking the wrong trolley and what we do for a living. (He just got a job at Meat & Potatoes, and I said, “Oh cool, I had disgusting absinthe there once.”)
And then we parted ways at the Wood Street trolley stop because he wanted to go to McDonald’s and I had to try and cross the street without getting sideswiped by a bus. He seemed very genuine when he told me to have a good day at work and I almost fucking lost it right there in that cold concrete holding cell for commuters because someone was being so nice to me and now I was all alone with my morbid thoughts again.
I can’t do that whole wallowing thing right now, I just can’t. So…happy thoughts! Here are things that are making me happy this week, because maybe looking at these pictures and typing out positive words will seep into my fingertips and brain-fuck me with positivity.
Dino Ring holder, I’m still way into you. I gave one to Wendy, and it was really hard to part with! But this one, this stegosaurus (thanks Andrea and Kendahl for the dino name hook-up!) is mine all mine. I love him so.
You know Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is one of my Top 5 favorite movies, right? I mean, it’s basically the only movie I ever quote. My friend Kristy bought me this Large Marge sticker at one of the conventions she went to, because she is awesome and gets it. She really gets it. (Also, for my 31st birthday, she presented me with a framed still of one of Pee Wee’s scenes in Back to the Beach, which is also in my Top 5 favorite movies.) Having awesome people in my life is another thing to be happy about this week. Thank you, Awesome People!
Henry thinking he can suddenly play the keyboard after sitting in on one of Chooch’s lessons is hilarious.
Getting good feedback on Etsy makes me happy! non compos cards, helping people be jerks to their friends since 2006.
Having Monday off (thanks MLKJr!!) with Chooch and Marcy made me happy, but also a little delirious. This picture was our SOS for Henry to get his ass home from work. We can only take care of one another for so long.
<3 <3 <3 <3 Obviously. (Henry criticized me for always making the same face in pictures. I can’t help it!)
I got my special edition 20th anniversary Warped Tour ticket (glad I held off on buying mine when I bought Chooch’s in December, because these were just released)! THAT makes me happy. But then I start thinking of all the dire situations that could arise between now and July 15th and whoa, here comes the panic again.
But then I look at this text message from Henry and I’m laughing again. Ha-ha-ha.
Tell me what things are making you happy this week. LET US ALL HAVE A HAPPY RAINBOW-SQUIRTING FEST WITH EACH OTHER. FUN THURSDAY HAPPENING TIMES! MAYBE START CLAPPING FOR NO REASON?
I’m going to have my fifth cup of coffee right now, because at least when I’m making coffee, I’m doing something and when I’m doing something I’m not hearing a funeral dirge in my shattered mind.No tags for this post.
The only time I ever saw my dad cry was when he had to have his beloved Siberian Husky, Blitz, put to sleep. I must have been around 10 or so when this happened, and it was hard for me too, sure; but this dog had been my dad’s bro since before he met my mom, back in his storied bachelor years. He and Blitz were a packaged deal.
Our German Shepherd, Rama, was only a few years old when this happened. I watched my dad completely shut down and close the door on Rama. I mean, he wasn’t like, abusing him or anything. But it was almost like Rama didn’t exist to him. I didn’t understand. How could someone just shut out an animal like that? Especially one like Rama. Rama was fucking awesome.
This morning, Marcy’s daughter Willie passed away. She would have been 14 right before St. Patrick’s Day. Willie had started acting lethargic and weird last week, her breathing was getting labored. Henry took her to the vet and he re-hydrated her and gave her some shots, but said that he was pretty certain she either had cancer or fluid in her lungs. It always goes back to cancer, doesn’t it? She had lost a lot of weight and he wasn’t sure how she would respond to further testing, because just the process of taking her out of the house had her completely wigged out. Willie was kind of like the recluse of our cat family. In fact, it’s not uncommon for someone I have known for years to say, “Wait, you have another cat?” She spent a huge portion of her life hiding in the basement from people. Or, sometimes, late at night I’d be watching TV and Willie would come scurrying out from behind the couch.
She was very skittish. She also like to pee on things. An example? The first time Andrea ever visited us from California, she set her purse on the floor and Willie promptly peed on it. Andrea was a good sport about it. “Thank god it’s vinyl,” she laughed.
I wasn’t supposed to keep her. She was from Marcy’s first litter of kittens in 2000. So was Don. I knew right away that I was keeping Don, even if it meant officially pushing me over that fine line between “cat connoisseur” and “crazy cat lady.” Willie had been promised to a co-worker of my then-friend Keri. (I say “then-friend” because we are no longer friends.) But one day I came home and found Don and Willie snuggling together on my bed and I was like, “OMG I can’t separate them! They have such a strong sibling bond!” So I called Keri and told her I couldn’t give Willie to her friend. (No, this is not why we’re not friends anymore.)
Funny thing about that sibling bond, though. Don and Willie outgrew that pretty fast and spent most of their lives totally ignoring each other. Or gnawing at each others’ throats in murderous fits while Marcy glowered from her perch above.
The last several years, though, Willie had really started to come out of her shell. I mean, she wasn’t the friendliest cat, but she was super fun to tease. She also had a nasty temper–you never knew when she would strike. She attacked Henry and Blake years ago and Henry has tread lightly ever since. One night, I was doing this really high-pitched meow and she went hysterical, growling and attacking me. I had to wrap myself in a blanket and hide behind Marcy for protection.
You can’t tell so much from these photos, but she had really beautifully-colored fur. There were salmon-hued patches, almost pink. And the texture was wiry. We would always say things like, “She’s so beautiful. Too bad she has zero personality.” God, now I’m crying again. Why did we say things like that?
She is the third cat I’ve lost as an adult. The third in the last 2 years. The third from the Original Four. My fur-family is diminishing, and I can’t fucking bear it. This is the most traumatic countdown of all time.
Henry’s mom Judy inexplicably had formed some strange attachment to Willie over the last several months. (Though she refuses to use female pronouns when talking about her.) Judy has called Henry every day since Willie fell ill, wanting to know how she was doing. She’s been staying us with us for the last several days because Chooch hasn’t had school, so she was there this morning when I discovered a freshly deceased Willie in the basement. Judy was still sleeping and I was freaking out. So I did what any mature adult would do and shook awake my 7-year-old son and cried into his moppy hair.
“Don’t tell Grandma,” he mumbled, shaking his head. “It’ll upset her.”
So what does he do? He goes downstairs and as soon as Judy wakes up on the couch, he let her tell us about what a terrible night she had before blurting out, “Well, Willie’s dead.”
And Judy burst into tears. I didn’t expect that. I was sitting at the dining room table, hugging Marcy, crying into her fur as she struggled to escape my grasp.
“I pray for you everyday, Erin,” Judy sobbed. “Because I just don’t know what’s going to happen to you when THAT one goes.” She wagged a finger at Marcy. Hearing her say that made me hug Marcy so hard her eyes started to bulge.
When I was upstairs getting ready for work, I overheard Judy on the phone, telling Henry’s sister Kelly that Willie had died. She started to get herself all worked up again, when Chooch sagely piped up from his station at the computer, “Just remember the fun times, Grandma.”
Later, the still-sore subject of Speck came up and Chooch began sobbing. And then Judy glanced over at the cat carrier and said, “The last time I saw Willie alive, she was in that cage” and then began crying again. And then I started to cry. It just felt like the house was brimming with Grim Reapers and I was suffocating. Meanwhile, Marcy just sat there glaring at us, probably thinking we were fucking nuts.
I just couldn’t wait to get out of that house today. The emotions are percolating and I feel like my top is going to blow. I cried this morning, but I feel like The Big Cry is about to happen and I’m chewing on the inside of my cheeks because I don’t want to lose it at work. I just can’t deal with mortality. WHO CAN? I loved my damn cats more than any human (but comparable to Chooch, I guess, ha-ha) and every time one of them dies, another piece of my heart petrifies.
And now I understand why my dad never got another pet ever again after Blitz. I hope that one day, unlike my dad, I will be able to open my heart up to a new pet. But right now, I look at Marcy and I am crippled by panic. I know she can’t live forever and that I should continue to just enjoy the rest of the time I have with her without darkening it with morbid thoughts. But you know, The Panic. It’s there.
RIP, Willie. You were kind of an asshole, but we still loved you anyway. Marcy probably did, too.
If you need me, I’ll just be under a blanket, dwelling on the fact THAT EVERYONE DIES.
The funny thing about the Mattress Factory is that it’s been around since the 80s but I never knew about it until I was in college in the 2000s and was determined to milk my Pitt ID for everything it was worth. Which turned out to be free rides on the trolley and free admission to the Mattress Factory. (Or maybe it was just discounted? Who has time to remember this shit, anyway.) What I do remember is going to their website and being all, “HOLY FUCK THIS IS IN MY CITY?!” and then telling Janna about it and we went immediately. Or maybe we waited a few days. I don’t know. The point is that we eventually went and I have been obsessed with its industrial-spaced collection of confusing art ever since.
The first time I ever wrote about the Mattress Factory was on LiveJournal, back in 2005/2006. One of my LJ friends commented and said that they were surprised to see that Pittsburgh has something “so cultural.” I was pretty annoyed by this, because that antiquated view of Pittsburgh being all doom, gloom and steel-workery is pretty tiring. Yes, Pittsburgh has cultural thangs, ok? I mean, we also have a shit-ton of mullets and Yinzer Steelers fans, but we got them there myooseums and shit too. Leave us alone.
ANYWAY. I try to go at least once a year because the installations change so often. Corey and Janna are generally always on board for a trip to the good old MF, so that is what we did on Saturday. This time around, they were featuring some artists from Detroit, which I think is a sign that Bill and Jessi need to come visit sometime in the next several months so I take them to see art from their hometown brethren.
One of the rooms had fake trees with tin cans hanging from the fake boughs. Each tin can played something, like a conversation, a mariachi band, static. There were other people on the floor at the same time as us and I watched them choose two or three cans to press against their ears before moving on to the next room, but Janna, Corey, and I listened to every single one because you don’t pay $15 to half-ass it, OK?
Two other rooms on that floor also had audio stimulation, but our favorite was Diptyching:
An ominous “soundtrack” and an unsettling array of screams and con- struction sounds challenge and warn the viewer of the impending calamity on the other side. Both entrance and exit doors are equipped with automatic door closures to create a one-way in and one-way out corralling experience.
Dude, that last line is true because we thought we were locked in and it was terrifying. Here is a snippet, although the first few frames are from one of the other installations, which basically was a room full of ticking clocks and the hypnotic shadows of swinging pendulums:
SQUIRTING BLOOD! YES!! NOW THAT IS SOME MOTHERFUCKING ART! We were all unanimous in that this was the best room ever. I wish it was my bedroom, actually.
Another installation we loved was called Cured. Large chunks of car parts coated in coarse salt were suspended from the ceiling by meathooks. It was fucking horrific.
I loved it.
The mirrored polka dot room is a permanent installation and thank god for that because it makes me so giddy every time. We also laughed because we always seem to wind up in shoe booties when we’re together and by always I mean Saturday and also that day in September when we visited the Palace of Gold.
Awkward Elevator. (Not actually an installation, just real life.)
We decided that we need a group photo with all the weird people-things in the back of the room, so instead of doing what normal, socially-functioning humans would do and ask one of the other Mattress Factory patrons to assist, we lurked around like complete creeps until we were alone in the room and then struggled with the timer function on our iPhones, only to have to abruptly stop and whistle into the rafters with our sweaty hands clasped behind our shady backs.
You know how it is.
Before leaving to check out the two annexes (yes, there are TWO additional buildings now!), we stopped in the gift shop so I could awkwardly say hello to my Instagram friend Sam who works there. We actually became Instagram friends because she liked one of my pictures from the Mattress Factory a few years ago and was all, “Hello, I work there!” and I thought that was just too fucking cool. And of course, she is as cool as you would expect someone who works at the MF to be. (I’m not being sarcastic. She’s all vintage-y and makes cool art-things. I like her.)
We had to walk down an alley to the new building, which was three floors of rooms totally webbed-out with black string. It was intricate, claustrophobic, decrepit, wonderful. It gave me that Alice in Wonderland sensation that so often happens when I’m at the Mattress Factory. This dreamy sense of “Is this real life?” has a way of sneaking up on you and for the next several hours you’re pulled under into this giddy, sometimes terrifying, world that Drake should rap about on his next album for no reason other than I love Drake.
We weren’t allowed to take photos in the last building, but there was this film called Honey Baby playing in one of the rooms, so we sat down to watch. At first, I was like, “Oh, OK. It’s a baby rolling around in utero. Makes sense.” But then the baby twisted around and in my head, I’m shouting, “HOLY FUCK THAT’S ARE SOME MIGHTY DEVELOPED GENITALS.” Turns out, it was an adult man rolling around in honey, in slow motion, with this forboding and totally stressful THUMP-THUMP-THUMPing music going on and it gave me flashbacks to the time I rented “964 Pinocchio” and wanted to float out of my skin, never to return. And this just kept going on and on, this man contorting and twisting his groin toward the camera in case we forgot he was a man, and I couldn’t tell if he was upside down or if I was upside down and HOW WAS THIS POSSIBLY GOING TO END?! I was about to stick around to find out if a bucket of honey was going to drop on us, so I said, “I can’t watch this anymore” and walked away. Janna was like, “But I’m enjoying this very much. :(” So, I guess if you want to know how it ends, you’ll have to come to Pittsburgh.
I really need to just take the plunge and buy a membership. I mean, it’s about time.
For some reason, Pittsburgh has been getting A LOT OF LOVE lately from various media outlets (OMG maybe because it’s actually a cool city?!). Mostly food-related bullshit, but there have also been the obligatory “lists” floating around, which of course will mention the Warhol Museum and the incline, which my friend Bill thought it was a house traveling along the side of the hill the first time he was visiting from Michigan. But I don’t always see any mention of the Mattress Factory, which is hands down my favorite art-type place to go up in this piece. So if you are planning a visit to the Gloomy Steel City at some point, please make sure you visit the Mattress Factory. It is full of weird fucking shit that might make you scream, “HOW IS THIS ART!?” but then you cock your head a different angle and see it in a completely different way. Or sometimes you still see it as bullshit but hey, at least you’re at an art museum thing and not blowing your money on lapdances like usual. Good job!
I mean, it’s not for everyone, though. Like, one time Henry went and said, “That was fucking stupid” and then never went back again.No tags for this post.