Aug 172019

The most cliche, basic thing to say in summer is WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE but like, maybe if summer would slow it’s fucking roll we wouldn’t have to be so damn trite.

August is halfway over, school starts in a little over a week, LIKE SAND THRU THE HOURGLASS…ETC ETC.

There are many pros and cons to working from home, but in the summertime, I am so thankful for the privilege to work from home on my late shift days because I get to enjoy being outside in the mornings, walking around the neighborhood, having my weekly breakfast seshes with Chooch…I really, really love these summer days!

And August in particular, for some reason, really makes me happy. There’s something about the way the air feels in August that reminds me of swimming at my Pappap’s pool and lazing around with no worries and nowhere to be. So I’m walking home from the post office the other day, appreciating this summer month, when tears started springing from my eyeballs?! That’s where I am in life right now. Just all emotional and grateful and hyper-aware of it all, man.

For this week’s Summer Breakfast Club, we went to the Dor-Stop ONLY because we’ve hit the bottom of the barrel for local AM eateries.

The Dor-Stop is like, ultra popular around these parts because fucking Guy Fieri ate there for his dumpster dives show, or whatever it was called, and gave it his greasy seal of approval and they’ve been riding that wave of C-list celebrity fame ever since.

I have lived within walking distance of this joint since 1999 and have only eaten there less than 8 times so that should tell you something. Every experience I’ve had there has been either SHITTY (hair in my food, abysmal service) or just completely unforgettable at best.

This time, we had an OK waitress and OK food but the people seated behind us were SO FUCKING DISGUSTING. The lady was sitting on the other side of my booth and kept body-slamming herself into the back of it to the point where I thought I was mistaken and there were actually children sitting behind me. Then her man-thing told her a joke and she was straight up bucking in her seat and stamping her feet on the floor and then he started blowing his nose in a fashion that would make a trucker disgusted and then he BURPED IN BETWEEN.

So gross.

But Chooch liked his raspberry French toast (one of their specialities and I will admit that it’s good but the bread is pretty puny) and we had good talks so I guess that’s all that matters, right.

In other Chooch news, he decided to start a book club at the teen center and the lady in charge gave him the green light so he made this flyer and I didn’t even hover and try to add Erin-flourishes, I AM SO PROUD OF ME!

Also in Chooch/Teen Center news, he was made an administrator which basically means he gets to NARC on other kids so this right up his alley.

Ok well I’m going to go now because Chooch and Henry are outside in a thunderstorm fixing Chooch’s bike which means they’re having some pass-the-popcorn levels of bickering and I need to pull my seat closer. Byeeeee.

Aug 132019

Incheon is a city about an hour west of Seoul, and also the location of the international airport. But it’s also home to Korea’s largest (and only official) Chinatown. Why would you want to go to a Chinatown in Korea, you may be asking if you’re even reading this but you probably aren’t whoever YOU ARE.

Anyway, I wanted to go specifically because I heard through the grapevine also known as YouTube that this is like the premiere place to get ye a bowl of that good-good jjajangmyeon.

WHAT IS JJAJANGMYEON you might be asking and look maybe it’s time that you utilize that Siri or Google bullshit. And this is where Henry reminds me that I have chased all my blog readers away with  my poor attitude, so fine I’ll tell you what jjajangmyeon is….in another post. Because this post is about killing time before the jjajangmyeon.

It took about 2 hours to reach Incheon’s Chinatown by subway (several transfers were necessary and then there was that whole bit where Henry left me on a train platform) but overall, it was relatively easy to figure out how to get there (and by that I mean I let Henry and Chooch look at the maps and I followed them blindly with outstretched hands while wobbling to and fro with big dumb glasses on my big dumb face).

The gate is pretty much right outside the station (which I also believe was the last stop): so um, you really can’t miss it. Even I could see it!

The downside to this excursion was that it was raining off and on. Plus, we had arrived just a bit too early so nothing was really open yet, but we did find a nice little garden area to take refuge and get our bearings.

You can tell even from far away that my eye was jacked!

A tour group arrived as we were chilling here and at the same time, it stopped raining. Suddenly, everything came to life in Chinatown!

It was so gloomy all day, but I liked the vibe. It matched my eye-pain-inducing CLOUD ABOVE MY HEAD.

We did some lunch pre-gaming by swiping some Hwadok Mandu. The vendor seemed impressed when I ordered mine and said “hobak” instead of “pumpkin.” I KNOW MY FOOD WORDS, OK. Henry got red bean and I already forget which one Chooch got. Apparently, the lines for this vendor get quite long so I was no longer that mad about that rain. I expect things to be crowded when I’m traveling, but we had this whole little town almost entirely to ourselves and it was bizarre yet wonderful. Especially when we got to Fairytale Village!

If there is one thing Korea loves, it’s murals and cartoon kitsch. There was no rhyme or reason for this section of Chinatown, and it actually felt pretty out of place, but goddamn if we didn’t peruse every last street and alley and take those photo spots up on their offers!

At first, Chooch was kind of like, “This is dumb…” but then he kept finding random dog murals.

The freshly wetted paths and gray skies added an extra layer of creepiness! Like some unsettling Slovakian horror fantasy. At times, you could almost forget that you were even in Korea. I

Just, you know, straddling a giant Pinocchio in Chinatown, nothing to see here.

Now I kind of wish this was in my living room. I’ve been looking for years for an adequate couch-substitute and this might actually replace my strong desire for a vintage bumper car TV-watching vessel. Just put some throw pillows down on his legs and get cozy, friends!

I’m not sure Henry was very enchanted by this.

Brookline needs to jazz up the town with some whimsical fiberglass tree things. I’ll mention it at the next town hall.

Well, then Chooch found this Bambi thing and freaked out. I don’t know what it is with him and Bambi, but Korea is the perfect place for him because Bambi just happens to pop up everywhere?!

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I wish a truck selling soondubu stopped on MY street.

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All over Korea, you will see trucks peddling food (like eggs and produce) while announcing their wares in a trance-like cadence over a megaphone. This particular guy was vending tofu.

All those lifestyle Instagrammers would have a field day here with ALL THE WALLS OMG. SUCH CONTENT.

I allowed photos even though I was wearing my hideous glasses.

Even Korea’s sewer grate things are excelsior.

More Bambi, inexplicably.

동화마을 = Fairytale Village (Dong-hwa maeul)

I guess I can’t hate on Chooch’s Bambi fascination too hard because I am definitely into Alice in Wonderland. I was excited when we came across this but it turns out it was just a trick eye museum and we did one of those last year in Insadong.

And you know what they say about trick eye museums: if you’ve been to one…why? you’ve been to ’em all.


So many possible captions here.

Anyway, that was the first part of our visit to Incheon’s Chinatown. Oh! We also went to a little sock shop because Chooch and I are obsessed with Korean socks (THEY ARE FUCKING CUTE AND CHEAP AND ACTUALLY GOOD QUALITY). When Henry was paying, he noticed some old-ass cellphone on the counter and thought it belonged to the lady who had been in line in front of him so he grabbed it and called after her but the cashier was like “yo bro that’s a pop-socket display, put it down!” except he said that in Korean and Chooch and I were like, to each other, “omg he is so embarrassing.” That was the catchphrase of this trip, definitely.

Anyway, the next part will be about how we finally got our jjajangmyeon which will include an explanation of said jjajangmyeon in case you haven’t already googled that shit.

Aug 122019

I’m sad to be home, but the transition back to reality has been less painful this time around. Maybe because it’s still summer so life still feels vacation-y in a way? All I know is that we left the house moderately clean when we left and my mom kept it in great condition for us so we got to come home to a clean house but that lasted less than a day….so, things are definitely on the regular up here in the Pioneer Ave Shanty!

I worked from home on my first day back, but the next day when I went into the office, my group had my desk all decorated for my birthday and they passed out party hats – it was super adorable and made coming back to work way less painful – especially since I had been awake since 4:00am. I even let Margie hug me! She told me I’m not allowed to be gone this long again and you know what it felt nice to be missed, OK?!

And then there was a double-stabbing right down the street from my office.

(Plus what it was it, three??? mass shootings just in the two weeks I was gone? But yeah, South Korea is the scary place to travel to. Come on, America. We can do better.)

Meanwhile, Chooch got kicked out of the library on his first day home so things were REALLY back to normal for him. (It wasn’t his fault though, you guys. He didn’t do it. The librarians are bitches.)

Friday was my work-from-home late shift so Chooch and I happily resumed our Summer Breakfast Club! I’m sure one day Future Chooch is going to look back on this blog and be so fucking thrilled at all the unflattering chewing shots I have of him. On this day, we walked to Mt Lebanon and gave Simone’s a try. I guess it’s relatively new and the reviews were hit or miss, but we had a lovely experience there and our waitress was super laid back and made us feel like we weren’t n00bs and then she called me by my name when she came back with my credit card and I thought to myself, “Hey, Liza, that was a nice touch and right before I calculated your tip, no less. SMARTIE.”

Anyway, Chooch got the Yo Yo Burrito and I had ordering remorse big time when he let me have a bite because it was everything I want in a breakfast burrito – eggs, black beans and lotsa sour cream. I got an omelette which was good but I opted for grits as my side because I can never remember if I like them or not and they were just ok. Are they supposed to be watery? I added some butter to them and then didn’t know what came next so I dumped in some sugar and it was fine but the bowl was HUGE so I didn’t finish it all.

Henry the Grits Enthusiast wasn’t with us so I didn’t know what to do!

Chooch and I both agreed later that this was one of the few times we had a breakfast filling enough to tide us over until lunch. I’m usually hungry again by the time we get back home!

(Unless I have pancakes, then I’m done for the day.)

Back at home, we sorted through more of our luggage. I hate unpacking. Like, who doesn’t though. Actually, I think my luggage is the only one that still needs unpacked and now it’s like a silent standoff to see if Henry will finally cave and do it for me. Anyway, it was fun pulling out the souvenirs and gifts though, like this shirt that Chooch spotted from a mile away in Harajuku, thanks to his strong Corgi-radar. I made him try it on so I could take a picture because I think it’s the cutest, most Chooch-centric shirt ever, perfect for school picture day!

Henry had to work on Saturday and I had been up since like 5am again, so I didn’t do much of anything aside from sorting through pictures, catching up on coaster vlogs on YouTube, and I finally started watching “Dark” on Netflix.

Saw this on my Saturday stroll around Dormont – definitely back in Pittsburgh!

The next day, Henry and I were walking around Brookline when I said, out of nowhere, that my new way of living life is to do everything I want to do instead of just whining about not being able to do the things I want to do. Now, I just say, “I’m going to do this,” and then do it!

Henry just sighed, because he knows what this entails and it’s less of me making things happen and more of me snapping my fingers and cracking the whip until Henry makes the things happen.

“I’ve been so much happier since I started living this way!” I said gleefully, and I think Henry wiped away a tear, I’m not sure.

Later, we went to Sugar Spell Scoops for some after-lunch vegan dessert and my friend Kara happened to also be there with her family, so that was a nice surprise! I still felt like a zombie though so I was not much of a conversationalist.

Anyway, I splurged and had a scoop of blueberry lavender and coffee cake – look, on any other day, that blueberry lavender would have had be doing cartwheels down the street (in my head, anyway) but that coffee cake scoop was THAT GOOD that it overshadowed my beloved lavender.

Seriously, this place is wonderful and creative, and the people running it are just plain old NICE.

And they have cool coloring pages!

Anyway, I pulled the trigger and finally unfollowed Millie’s on social media. The love affair is officially dead, you guys. No longer my favorite scoop shop in the city.

So yeah, that’s the…scoop (OH! I WENT THERE! I’M OFFICIALLY A CORNY 40-YEAR-OLD MOM!) on what I’ve been up to since I’ve been back from the best vacation of my whole entire life! I’m a little less depressed about being home now because Henry is finally on board with going back to Holiday World (and Kentucky Kingdom!) over Labor Day so I have things to look forward to! Turning 40 has not me any more of an adult!

Aug 082019

The performance video for Taemin’s Japanese single “Famous” just came out a few minutes ago and for once I am thankful that jet lag has me awake for this. I could watch him dance all the live-long day, folks.

I would never say folks in real life. I don’t know why I wrote that.

Anyway in other Taemin news, a few weeks ago there was a rumor that his agency, SM, was putting together a supergroup consisting of members of various boy groups like EXO and NCT. Taemin’s name was dropped in that rumor mill as well so my ears perked for real. I guess he was spotted with 6 others leaving one of SM’s practice rooms but some people pointed out that maybe there was going to be a one-time collaboration stage at the upcoming SMTown event in Japan.

But yesterday, SM announced that the rumors were truth–they are debuting a supergroup consisting of Taemin (OMG why am I crying while I’m writing this let’s just chalk it up to exhaustion) from SHINee, Kai and Baekhyun from EXO (crying again lol), Mark and Taeyong from NCT, and TEN (!!!!!!!) and Lucas from WayV, the NCT Chinese subunit.

All of these artists are fucking gold but you’re telling me that I’m getting a chance to see Taemin and Ten perform together in the same unit?!

I can’t even handle this.

Their name is SuperM (not stoked on that name though) and they’re expected to have a US debut (!!!!!) in October.

If this means there will potentially be a tour…no, I can’t even get my hopes up.

Photo cred: SM Entertainment.

This is the teaser that was shown at a Capitol Records event yesterday and I am actually shaking.

The talent in this group is sickening.

That’s all I have for now. It’s finally late enough in the morning for me to start getting ready for work and I’m gonna roll in to the office on an imaginary people-mover made up of my current kpop high.

Aug 072019

We came home last night around 10 and must have stood by this clown for a solid five minutes going through the mail before I noticed that it was new – so that tells you:

  • How many clown things we have in the house that this was like ET sitting in a pile of Bertie’s stuffed animals,
  • How desensitized we are as a household to clowns,
  • How fucking exhausted we were

It was probably the worst travel day I ever had but in hindsight, it could have been a lot worse and we were still fortunate enough to at least get home on the same day. Having a mood-swingy teenager doesn’t help things though and he was actually angrier about it all than we were! He was like That Person in a long line who loves to state the obvious. “This is line is ridiculous!” “I just want to GET HOME.” And it’s like YES, EVERYONE DOES, YOU CRANKY WALLSTREET BUSINESSMAN. Jesus, Chooch!

On the express train to Incheon Intl :( Chooch got a new Apeach plushie (his favorite Kakao character that he calls Peachy Boi); he calls this one Bumble Boi.

Mostly he was fine though and we were giddy because on our Korean Air flight home, Henry had to sit in the first row of our cabin and we were in the last. It was actually the last row of the whole plane and was glorious because the bathroom area was so spacious and I took ample leg-stretching breaks back there.

Everyone in our entire row was awesome–Chooch has a Korean girl (about 9 or 10) and her dad next to him. I was on the aisle but the guy across from me was so quiet and inoffensive and I felt blessed. However, there was a family in front of us with three very young girls, I would say 6, 4, and 3 if I had to guess. Look, I’m not one of those people who shoots parents scowls and whatever when their baby is crying because that’s what babies do and I had a baby once and understand that it is not always easy to get a baby to shut it down. But these kids were fucking out of control, jumping off the arms rests, scream-talking to each other, watching videos on a tablet with the volume on and no headphones, putting their feet on the backs of the seats in front of them (god be with those people), dropping their shit constantly (I picked up pillows for them more times than I care to admit) while their parents slept and watched movies. It was so out of control that one of the flight attendants came over and shushed then because BOTH PARENTS WERE SLEEPING and they were using their playground voices x10. Korean Air, you guys are way nicer than I would have been if I was working on that flight. It was an absolute mess.

Also, Chooch bought one of those long fucking non-retractable umbrellas in Seoul because it was rainy while we were there and it didn’t fit in any of our luggage so GUESS WHO INHERITATED IT FOR THE 24+ HOURS OF TRAVEL BACK HOME? CHOOCH AINT IT YALL.

Also x2, I was mad because we saw them when we were boarding and two of the girls were fighting so I said, “LOL I hope they sit behind you, Henry.” He came back to visit us at one point (we told him not to because we didn’t want to be associated with him) and he was like “haha I see you guys got the kids” then he was in the flight attendant’s way and we were like GO AWAY YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING!

He tried to make a joke when we were checking in because the seat he was assigned was one of the designated baby seats. “I’m not taking the seat from a baby, am I?” he dad-laughed and the Korean Air lady said “no” with no signs of getting his lame humor.

Our catchphrase on this trip was DEFINITELY “Oh my god, he is so embarrassing.”

Anyway, once we landed at shitty JFK (what a shock to the system after being in beautiful Incheon), we were told our flight back to Pittsburgh was delayed by three hours. That wasn’t great but whatever. We had just sit down at some Irish pub thing to eat and before we had a chance to order, we found out that flight was outright canceled. If I was a kid, I would have been like YAY MORE VACATION TIME GUYS! but I’m not a kid and both Henry and I had to work the next day because we’re crazy people who are like “fuck you, lol” to the face of jet lag and our only options were get a flight in the morning or go to an entirely different airport and fly out at 5:25. It was already after 2:00 but the Delta lady said it was an option and that we would “probably” have time which sounded super reassuring, let me tell you. I wasn’t about to sleep in shitty JFK airport or pour more money into a hotel in fucking NYC, so…we took that option. Of course, Delta couldn’t be expected to find our luggage fast enough so the guy at the baggage counter was like “Just go, don’t miss your flight over this. We’ll get the luggage to you” which hopefully doesn’t turn out to be Famous Last Words but we took his advice and got a Lyft to LaGuardia where we had to go through another security check in but at least this one only took 15 minutes as opposed to the nearly 90 minutes at JFK. (They’re going to be hearing from Chooch the airport critic.)

Anyway, in the bathroom at LaGuardia, two woman came not even that close to walking into me and both were like OMG EXCUSE ME SORRY! and I was actually startled because after two weeks in Korea and Japan, I had grown accustomed to being plowed over unapologetically.

Then that flight was delayed to the point where we took off at the time it was supposed to be landing – at 7:20pm. But…it was a short, safe flight and a lot of the people on there were in the same situation as us where they transferred from JFK, so the flight was like a college mixer – it was the chattiest flight! There was a total love connection blossoming behind me (good luck, Stephen and Kendra!) and it was kind of nice to be on a flight with so many people going home to Pittsburgh, Yinzer accents and all.

According to Delta, our luggage is supposed to be delivered to our house today (just checked the tracking and it’s in PIT customs as of 4AM so there’s that at least) which is great but then Chooch and I decided to walk to Dunkin’ Donuts because we obviously have very limited foodstuffs in the house right now and I wanted coffee and he wanted a breakfast sandwich but then I realized that I packed the little purse that has my credit cards in it because I didn’t think I would need it at the airports since I had my passport in my backpack and Henry had all his cash and credit cards on him. So we had to scrounge up all the cash and change we could find all around the house (I had $3 in my eyeglasses case for some unknown reason and Chooch found quarters in his room) so we had like $5 but somehow our total was over $6 because of bad math on our part so we had to redo our order like sad orphans with a line of people behind us and then slide over our crumpled monies and mound of change and it was so depressing. So depressing.

So now it’s 7am and I’m properly caffeinated (got to drink out of one of my new coffee mugs from Korea which somehow ended up in a carry-on, yay) and I’m just soaking it all in now, all the things we did and experienced and how much I appreciate it all! And how happy I am that I got to give Chooch this chance to see some of the coolest places and how we have so many new inside jokes and how Henry didn’t murder us in Tokyo and how the first order of business for Chooch today was to find Perks of Being a Wallflower on Roku after reading it in Korea and falling in love with it. (He’s watching it right now and is so happy lol.)

I have so many pictures and thoughts to organize but I’m excited to start recapping the trip on here because it’s like reliving it all over again and it was the best vacation of my life!

(Also, my mom spoiled the cats so much that they couldn’t care less about our return home. But they had no problems chowing down on the Korean cat treats we brought back for them!)

Aug 052019

“I’m so sad that this is our last day,” I said to Chooch this morning. He considered this and said, “Yeah….me too but I’m also kind of excited to go home too.”


I know a lot of people feel that way during the tail end of vacation and I definitely had these guys running for two solid weeks. But I am definitely not ready to leave. I burst into tears about it at one point today ughhh.

We got back to Seoul after our G-Dragon pension adventure around 1pm today and then booked it all over Seoul in an effort to get in all of the last minute gift-buying, food-eating, subway-riding as humanly possible. We were all over Jongno, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Seoul Station, and our homebase of Hongdae.

Chooch, after previously being in Korea and eating in numerous Korean restaurants at home, suddenly realized on this trip that he likes bibimbap, so this is what he chose for his last lunch.

I got sujebi which is a soup of hand-torn noodles – so satisfying!

Then we went to Gwangjang Market even though we already ate because we wanted to get some snacks to take home.

Those ajummas selling snacks are smart because they kept feeding Chooch samples and then he’d be all, “We have to get this stuff” and then we would get it and the ajummas were probably calling us suckers in Korean as we walked away.

There were countless times on this trip where Henry lamented the fact that our hotel last year was right across from this market and we only went there twice. I AM SORRY BUT THERE ARE MANY THINGS TO DO IN SEOUL, HANK, AND WE CANNOT STAY IN ONE PLACE.

Had to get a traditional twisted donut before leaving!

Wouldn’t be the same if Henry didn’t get us lost at one point which is what happened when we left Gwangjang with the intention of going to Myeongdong and practically walked the whole way there until he finally found a correct subway station.

But then when we got to the subway, Henry’s card wouldn’t let him in but Chooch and I were already through so Henry was motioning for us to get a subway worker but we just stood there and laughed. Finally, a yellow-vested lady noticed Henry-in-Distress and went over to save him.

(This just in: we just realized that Henry completely repacked our suitcases after Chooch and I worked really hard on it just kidding we did a pretty half-ass job that took about 10 minutes tops.)

(OMG Chooch is acting like he chugged some soju when no one was looking and is being so slaphappy and Henry wants to leave us here FINE BY ME.)

OMG we found another Taemin billboard in the subway station!

Myeongdong! It’s the best place to go for makeup and kpop merch.

Grabbed some makeup and last minute kpop gifts (this is the only place that has these certain kpop keychains that I love) then continued on to Seoul Station specifically to buy some foods at Lotte Mart.

Can you believe we never went to Lotte Mart last year?! I made sure we went this time though and Henry was in grocery paradise. “Why did we wait until the LAST DAY to come here,” he cried.

I have two favorite parts: Chooch freaking out over all the samples (he made friends with a lot of the sample-givers) and Henry irritably standing aside when Chooch assured him that he could tape up the box on his own (you don’t get bags there – you grab a box, unflatten it, and tape it up with the packing tape they provide).

Finally, Henry was like,”Yeah that’s great, and when you pick it up, I can’t wait for everything to fall out,” and then shoved him out of the way and took over, mumbling about how he “does this for a living.”

Seoul Station is amazing. Last trip, it seemed like we were there everyday but this time we were only there twice, and once was when we were getting the train to Jeonju (it’s not just a subway station but also a train and bus terminal as well).

Chooch noticed that the BaskinRobbins there had kakao friends stuff, and then when we took the escalator down to the next level, there was another BR so we figured it was fate and he got a scoop of ice cream (some crazy Simpsons-themed banana ice cream with pop rocks) in an Apeach cup but as you know, he calls her “Peachy Boi.”

No one will be surprised by this but BR in Korea is a billion times better than the ones in America.

We went back to Hongdae after this because I was carrying approx 5 bags of makeup and kpop stuff and Henry was lugging around a box of non-perishable Korean groceries and booze and we needed to drop that shit off!

One last evening view from the 12th floor of JYP House before going back out.

Hongdae is freaking magical.

You can buy flowers from a vending machine. Couples are SUPER into giving flowers around here so Henry would not thrive here at all.

It’s going to be an adjustment being back in Pittsburgh and not having the ultra-convenience of Seoul.

And not having a Gentle Monster! I almost bought a second pair of their sunglasses. I was so close but there were two pairs that I couldn’t choose between so I had a freak out and left but let’s be real, the true cause of my freak out was that we’re leaving tomorrow. :(

We went to Ediya Coffee for one last bingsu (this one was black sugar which is the latest craze and every bubble tea place has it. It was good but only made the pain of leaving EVEN STRONGER).

And when we went to 7/11 afterward and when Henry the American Oaf dropped stuff on the counter not once but twice causing the TOTALLY ADORABLE CASHIER to cry out “Oooh!” and girls in line behind us to chuckle, I was too sad to giddily fall into pee-squat position.

So now I’m sitting here, eating my last Inkigayo idol sandwich with a glass of makgeolli while Henry struggles to pack all our shit (we had to buy an extra suitcase).

I hope I will be able to come back again someday. Coming here so soon after our first time was a real struggle because we are not rich motherfuckers but I’m so grateful that we were able to make it happen and managed to do pretty much everything on my list. I am utterly exhausted but still ready to do more, if only we had the time. This was the best trip of my whole entire life! I think Henry and Chooch had a decent too haha.

Aug 032019

I haven’t been able to keep up with micro-blogging on here like I had hoped to. Last time I was able to do it because I had jet lag so bad that I was up everyday at like 3 or 4am, so….plenty of time for blogging! This time around, my jet lag blessedly only lasted two days so I haven’t had time to kill.

But today, we’re going to G-Dragon’s pension in Pocheon (!!!!!!) which is like a two hour bus ride so here I am with a Korea Update!

We’re just standing here waiting to get on our bus and Henry is obsessing over how korean girls walk around with giant curlers on their bangs and the girl standing near us is “wearing hers differently” according to Hair Expert Henry. Speaking of hair, my flat iron wasn’t compatible with the voltage in our room (or some other blahblahblahage that wafted from Henry’s mouth) so my hair has been Status: Miss Frizz for basically this whole trip. Wish he cared about my hair as much as he cares about Korean bangs!!!

I guess I will tell you about yesterday since I’m on the bus now and have some time!

We spent the whole first half of the day on a tour of the DMZ (demilitarized zone) and the JSA (joint security area) which I wanted to do last year too but was too nervous. I will do a proper post on that when I get home because there is so much to share that it will probably be a multi-post series!

We got back to Seoul around 6 and spent the evening in Hongdae, which is where we’ve been staying this time.

But first we had to take the subway back. This is what the City Hall station currently looks like. Probably construction but maybe art installation because…Seoul.

This is how beautiful the evening sky was from our room when we popped in to change!

I promised Chooch earlier on that we would go to an animal cafe if he didn’t act like a dick, and he chose Thanks Nature Cafe, which is the home to two soft and beautiful sheep named Tom & Jerry.

We went to a raccoon cafe last year and that was a lot of fun but the staff was kind of meh and I don’t remember it having that great of a menu. The raccoons were awesome though!

This cafe was a lot better in my opinion because the guy running it was super congenial and their dessert menu was A+++. They had bingsu which is what I had wanted to get after our DMZ day but the place I wanted to go to wasn’t conveniently accessible and I didnt want to be on a bus anymore that day. So this worked out perfectly because Chooch got to “bum bum pat” sheep and I got to inhale some sweet melon bingsu.

Presentation is everything!

Little known fact about me is that we had sheep as pets when I was growing up so I love me some sheep. The best one we had was named Squirt and she would always try to sneak into the house. She would put her front hooves on my brother Ryan’s back and they’d run around the yard together. It was the cutest thing ever! When I go to my mom’s house, I can’t even look at the area where the pen used to be because it makes me miss Squirt!

Chooch was satisfied after that. Good job, Thanks Nature Cafe!

Afterward, we went up the street to Isaac Toast because I have been craving it! They’re basically just breakfast sandwiches but they have this sweet mustard/mayo-ish sauce on them that elevates it to the next level.

You can get all kinds of meat-stuffed varieties but I went with egg and potato. Ugh it’s so good. I kept saying that Henry would probably have to eat half since we just ate bingsu and I was full but then I scarfed the whole thing like how Trump sucks down Kellyanne Conway’s soul before bed every night.

Update to show you beautiful Korean mountains from the bus:

After Isaac Toast we just walked around Hongdae and shopped.

Hongdae is my favorite area of Seoul. It’s where Hongik University is located and it’s just so full of creative energy and Fun Times.

We always make fun of Henry when he orders street food and then he storms off.

We also promised Chooch that he could go back to the stupid claw machine arcade and I swear to god this place is HELL ON EARTH for people like me who do not enjoy seeing perfectly good money getting sucked away into machines with nothing in return.

Chooch gets SO STRESSED OUT HERE. Especially when people all around him are like YAY I WON and he’s like WTF HOW?! There was this one super tall guy in glasses who was winning so much shit that his gf was following him around carrying BAGS OF HIS BOUNTY.

Busride snack time, BRB!

OK, I’m back.

We have seen so much more of Korea this time around and I’m so happy about it. I hope this doesn’t make me sound bratty, but being in Japan for two days, while great and exciting, made me realize just how much I love Korea. I was so happy to be back when we landed in Incheon Friday night! I would move here in a heartbeat if I was single, I swear to god.

My busmates *eyeroll*

Henry is obsessed with this drink. I tried it yesterday and was struck with nostalgia.

“That tastes just like a Squeez-It!” I cried enthusiastically but Henry couldn’t relate because when I was drinking Squeez-Its in elementary school, he was out drinking BEERS.

Anyway, I guess we will be arriving in about 20 minutes so I’m gonna peace out here and maybe try to update again later on once we get to the pension! BLOG, I MISS YOU!

Jul 312019

I never thought I would have the privilege to say this, but being in Japan has made me realize that Korea no longer really feels foreign to me. It’s a weird observation!

There are many other observations too but because I’m a weirdo who cares about stupid things, the big one for me is the comparison of banana milks. I’m not trying to make this a Korea vs Japan thing but I must admit that Korea’s 바나나 우유 is the superior beverage, although whatever that Japanese banana milk is up there has a more colorful packaging which appeals to me.

But in the end, is any banana milk really not good?!

Jul 302019

Monday was an action-packed day. Most of it was spent at Lotte World, which is the world’s largest indoor amusement park (a portion is also outdoors) and known as Korea’s Disneyland. It was so much fun and very exhausting!

But that’s not why I’m posting.

We ventured back out around 8:30 and things got super giddy right from the start when the elevator doors opened and people were already inside – Chooch started to have a laughing fit and was hiding in the corner while Henry glowered. He HATES our giddiness. By the time the elevator left us off in the lobby, I was laughing too and Henry stormed off. We caught up to him but he purposely slowed down so he was behind us because he didn’t want to be seen with us or something, who knows.

Henry being pissed going down into the Hongdae subway station.

Chooch is going to make a great travel partner for someone someday because he masters public transportation in a scary-quick way. I’m all stumbling around, getting turned around, tripping on nothing but solid ground, and he knows exactly which line and exit to use every time.

(To Be Fair, Ive been operating with ONE EYE on this trip although last night I said eff it and put both contacts in so Henry said that when my right eye falls out, don’t go one-eye-crying to him.)

It was so good to see the DDP again! I love this place so much, especially at night! It’s like being on a spaceship.

Seeing this gate was so significant because we walked to it on our first night in Korea last year, when we were fresh from the plane and super delirious. It’s crazy now to be back and have things look and feel familiar to us.

Chooch and Henry were hungry so we walked through nearby Gwangjang Market, which is the one they always feature on street food shows so if you’ve ever watched anything about South Korea, you have probably seen this. Chooch got bindaedduk which is a mung bean pancake, to take back to the room and then we were urgently summoned over to another stall by this adorable grandma who, in a series of hand motions, basically told us, “I’m going to put this food on a tray and you’re going to eat it, give me 10,000₩.”

Henry and I had makgeolli with our snacks and I barely drank any but REALLY FELT IT so the next portion of the night was awesome as Chooch (naturally drunk) and I (also naturally drunk but now actually drunk too) were totally slaphappy, especially because we were plied with sugary hotteok before leaving the market, but also because we decided to walk to the area we stayed at last time, in Jongno. Oh for god’s sake, being there again made us fucking die with laughter, just straight up choke on giggles, and Henry was whatever emotion comes on the Rage Totem Pole three pegs after “agitated hemorrhoids” but one before “caught the wife cheating.”

He stormed off ahead of us and muttered something about us being embarrassments and the disappeared into the subway station, completely ignoring Chooch’s cries of “Please reenact the subway scene!” referring to last year when he lost us and we have a video of him popping into the frame of that same subway station, with his arms out and making the “WHAT THE HELL” motion with his dumb head.

There is something about Henry’s general presence that KILLS Chooch and me. Like, we oscillate between being totally disgusted by him (“I hate him so much” is like our whispered catchphrase) to being absolutely entertained by everything he does but not in a way that’s flattering to him. Chooch mocks him so perfectly (he does this weird Paul Eugene-esque grunt to symbolize Henry’s voice) and I lose it every time and have to do the trying-not-to-pee squat.

Then when we got back to the hotel, THE SAME PPL FROM THE ELEVATOR were coming back at the same time and I had to make Chooch wait outside with me because I knew I would piss my pants if I got back on the elevator with those people.

If Chooch and I had forgotten which room was ours, we could have just followed the trail of steam that Henry left behind from his ears and nose; his patience was straight BLISTERING when we found him.

I dunno what it is about being in Korea but it’s like Chooch and I are mainlining laughing gas which is a HUGE problem for Henry but a blessing for the rest of us!

Bonus picture from yesterday morning, waiting for the elevator, a/k/a our Chuckle Chamber.

Anyway, we just got back to the room after a fun time day on the Chungyecheon Stream and Insadong, and now we’re resting for an hour before heading out to Digital Media City for a live taping of SBS MTV’s The Show!

Jul 272019

Daily hotel elevator selfie, pre-abandonment.

On Friday, we took a day trip to Incheon, which is a city about an hour outside of Seoul (also where the international airport is). In order to get there, we had to make several transfers on the subway. The last transfer was already quite a bit outside of Seoul and unfamiliar to us.

Now you should know that we weren’t under any time constraints. We didn’t have any sort of appointment we needed to make.

Yet! Somehow! For whatever reason! when we made it to the platform of the last train we needed to get us to Incheon, the doors were about to shut but Henry decided it was absolutely necessary for him to ballet-bound through the doors, causing Chooch to have the knee jerk reaction to leap after him just as the doors were closing.

They turned around just in time to slowly wave goodbye to me as the train pulled away, leaving me on the platform. Me, who didn’t have “get vivisected by shutting train doors” on the itinerary for the day. Me, who didn’t understand what the hurry was.

“Get off at the next station,” Henry texted me and I was like “NO SHIT YOU ASSHOLE” and then proceeded to wait the whole whopping two minutes for the next train to arrive before calmly and orderly boarding like a normal person and not Henry the Lumbering American Oaf.

I wasn’t even angry because I’m capable of getting on a freaking train on my own; HOWEVER when I arrived at the next station, they were nowhere to be found?!?!

This is when the texting frenzy started. First I thought asshole Chooch had turned on me and managed to talk Henry into hiding from me with him like we would typically do to Henry but after a quick walk around through the station I realized this was not the case.

“We’re here, where are you?” Henry responded to my rapid-fire succession of angry WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?s.

Well, they were not there, let me tell you.

So I walked back down to the track thinking that maybe I just didn’t see them. Because let me tell you about something that I have been dealing with since the day we got here: EYEBALL MALADIES.

My right eye has been beyond agitated since the plane ride because SOMEONE forgot to pack saline solution on the carryons so I couldn’t take my contacts out which is a HUGE TRAVEL FOUL, I know this. So I believe I have a corneal abrasion now in my right eye and haven’t been wearing a contact on that side.

Well, by Friday, I decided to be a big girl and just, omg, wear my eyeglasses.

Ok so look, I haven’t had a pair of eyeglasses in YEARS but I specifically got a pair last winter in preparation for, LOL, the plane ride. Have I worn them at all in the interim? FUCK no. In fact, they didn’t even fit on my face without flopping all over and thank god I had the foresight (ugh, “sight”) to walk down to the eyeglass place on Brookline Boulevard the Saturday before we left for Korea in order to get them properly fitted.

So not only am I abandoned in a foreign country’s train station, but I’m also visually impaired because I CANNOT HARDLY WALK STRAIGHT while eyeglassed and waited until I was across the world to try out the damn things for the first time. What is: A Thing That Makes Sense In Erin’s World.

Since I wasn’t used to wearing glasses, I felt off-balance every time I looked around, plus my right eye was screaming and wanted nothing more but to be closed. So when Henry kept texting me “WHAT STATION ARE YOU AT” I wanted to fling myself onto the tracks.

You can tell I was really fuming because that’s when my Hulk Thumbs make typos and don’t bother to change them.

I felt like Brenda in Adventures in Babysitting when some homeless person steals her glasses while she’s sleeping in the bus station and replaces them with a pair that don’t work and Brenda is left stumbling around, abandoned and blurred, except that I didn’t mistake a rat for a cat and Henry and Chooch didn’t meet Thor or sing in a blues club on their way to collect me.

Some dear old man train attendant came over to me, probably noticing that I was on the verge of tears, and asked me where I was trying to go. All I could do was wail “IM LOSSSSSSTTTTTT. My family LEFT MEEEEEEE” and he was able to at least tell me what station I was in because I couldn’t see the signs through my water-filled eyes.

Not my picture, but these are the steps I clumsily walked up and down in my frantic search for my hateful family. I cannot walk on steps while wearing glasses without white-knuckling the railing and my knees knocking like a baby deer’s.

Anyway, eventually I saw them ON A DIFFERENT SET OF TRACKS so we were reunited but it didn’t feel so good because I seriously wanted to eviscerate Henry for doing that to me and he was all “OH HA HA HA YOU WERE FINE” but can you imagine if the tables had turned and Chooch and I had done that to HIM? HOOOOOO LAWDY he’d have verbally-spanked us right there in whatever small Korean town we were in.

So it turns out that the train I got on after Henry’s was the correct one, and if he hadn’t been role-playing in his head that he was the popo chasing a perp onto a departing train, he’d have maybe noticed that his train wasn’t going to Incheon and actually SWITCHED TRACKS which put him and Chooch on the other side of the station, so it was no wonder we both thought we were at “the next station” but couldn’t find each other.

It was really frustrating and I mean at the end of the day, if I’m going to be lost, let it be in South Korea BUT STILL.

Oh, we can laugh about it now. But at the time it was the worst thing in the world and I felt like a discarded puppy.

Anyway, we eventually made it and I will of course have a full Incheon post at some point when I get home but here is a picture from Fairytale Village next to Chinatown and now you know why I was wearing glasses ugh for days.

The rest of the day ended up being wonderful in spite of Henry’s jackassery.

(This Post was written on a three-hour train ride to Jeonju while eating chestnuts and admiring the guy in front of me for his nonchalant public corn-on-the-cob eating skills.)

Jul 252019

One of the things we did on our first full day yesterday was have lunch at Tongin Market. Here, you have the option of putting together a lunch box-style meal using a roll of traditional coins. Most of the vendors in the market participate in this activity–their stalls are clearly marked–and most items cost 2 coins so one roll could get you 5 different things.

First though, I had to take a picture of Henry’s bias Cha Eunwoo from Astro, which he knew I was going to do and rolled his eyes in advance.

The stomach in my head thought for sure I could eat two coin rolls’ worth of food but thank god my real stomach overruled and only bought one roll because that meal had me set for nearly the rest of the day.

I couldn’t even finish the roasted sweet potatoes in that cup up there and I love roasted sweet potatoes so that says a lot.

This was perfect for Chooch because he’s so picky but he knows exactly what he likes when it comes to Korean market food so he filled his tray with confidence. He said the thing that he thought was potato salad was actually apples in “potato salad sauce” and that they were really refreshing and maybe his favorite thing. It was good to see him actually eating Korean food though because he is not all that adventurous but he really does try when it comes to Korean food, so props to Chooch.

I was happy to get my fill of lotus root – I love lotus root so much and am always begging Henry to make it because it’s obviously not something that’s readily available in dumb Pittsburgh but Henry doesn’t care about my wants and needs and has only made it twice in three years.

I also got japchae, some kind of Korean wrap which I have never had or seen at any of the markets there before, and my beloved teokbokki. Henry gave me one of his kimbap and we both ate the too-spicy-for-Chooch rice cakes that Chooch got from the kind elderly Korean woman who kept teasing him that it was too spicy but he swore it was fine–stubborn Chooch! He also got some sort of egg wrap thing which he said was satisfying.

Henry got meat.

This was a really fun way to eat lunch and I would highly recommend it for the experience but obviously, if you’re looking for more options and more “famous” food items, I would suggest going to Gwangjang Market which is HUGE and has all the crazy stuff you see on street food and travel TV shows.

Don’t forget to wash down your food with some BTS cold brew, though.

Ok that’s all for now. I have to get ready for another day of bossing around Henry and making my kid walk three marathons around Seoul.

Jul 242019

After what felt like five days on the plane with the girl behind me ramming the back of my seat the whole time, we have made it safely to Seoul.

Also, Chooch took one for the team and let me have the window seat so I didn’t have to listen to henry snore! I am milking this birthday trip for all it’s worth!

The ride from the airport to our hotel was excruciating because we could barely stay awake but then we got a second wind and walked around Hongdae for a bit because I wanted to find Taemin’s birthday billboard and we did!

“This is so embarrassing,” Chooch hissed through gritted teeth.

Then I ordered street food for him and Henry said I sound more confident with my Korean now and I disagree but I will take that compliment!

Chooch won me a stuffed toy from the same balloon game as last year!

Even Henry loves Hongdae.

First of many 바나나 우유!

View from our floor.

안녕 but not for long!

Jul 222019

This is going to be my last weekend update from Pittsburgh for the next two weeks! Aside from Janna taking me out for my birthday dinner, the weekend was pretty chill. But you know me and there are ALWAYS things I want to discuss because I’m conversation-starved, so let’s do it.

Kpop Billboards

On Saturday afternoon, I had my last language exchange with Jiyong before leaving for Korea. I am still nowhere ready to have conversations in Korean, but I am definitely more prepared than I was last year. Anyway, I mentioned to her that since Taemin’s birthday was last week, I was hoping to have a chance to see his birthday billboard while I’m in Seoul.

So, Korea really appreciates their kpop idols and fansites will pitch in to have billboards put up in the subway stations in honor of someone’s birthday, or the anniversary of an entire group’s debut. It’s freaking adorable and we had fun spotting them the last time we were in Korea.

Anyway, Jiyong was like, “Oh! Let’s see if we can find it…” and she searched on her phone and FOUND IT! It’s in one of the subway stations near where we’re staying and it’s supposed to remain up until August 8th, so hopefully we will see it!

Also, I had a lot of fun explaining the term “got screwed” to Jiyong. Language exchange is a blast.

Sunday Shoe Shopping

Chooch and I wanted to get new shoes for vacation, so Papa H took us to the mall on Sunday. We rarely go to The Mall, but we needed a Journeys.

I just realized I have been buying shoes from Journeys since I was in middle school, minus the block of time when JOURNEYS WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE MALL.

Anyway, we walk in and some super young girl with braces immediately greets us and asks us if we’re looking for anything in particular. She seems like an underdog so I like her right off the bat. Chooch and I pick out some shoes and give her our sizes, but Chooch strikes out as usual (he wears a 7.5 in mens which is apparently rare, according to the saleskid from another shoe store we went to!?) and I’m not fully committed to the pair I picked, so I decide to keep looking.

While I’m browsing, some other salesperson, who already tried to hijack us once but I ignored her because she didn’t have trusting, kind eyes and spoke like a robot, came over and told the original girl she would take us off her hands, since the original girl had another customer she was also helping.


It was SO RUDE and UNPROFESSIONAL the way she usurped us like that, and I was 100% turned off. Like, how embarrassing for the underdog girl! She kind of just put her head down and said OK, but I was not giving sales credit to this other bitch, no way.

So I kept stalling, pretending to be interested in a row of Adidas, when some other salesperson cried out, “ARE YOU WEARING A DANCE GAVIN DANCE SHIRT” and I was like, “Yes, sir” and in my head the rest of the sentence was, “And I guarantee I liked them way before you.”

He rubbed me the wrong way; he was one of those loud talkers, the ones who talk loud on purpose because they think their words are so interesting and golden that they want everyone to hear. His voice was honestly the only thing I could hear clearly over the din of the entire store and it was so fucking grating.

We dipped out around then to try the Journeys Kids across the floor, which was where Chooch had initially started out but they didn’t have his size in the shoe he liked so the kid working, who looked like he could have been Neighbor Kid Markie’s older brother, told Chooch to try the main Journeys. They didn’t have it over there either so Chooch went back to see what else he could find. Every time he chose a shoe, Markie’s Older Brother came back with a box and said, “We didn’t have a 7.5, but here’s a 7.”

Three times he did this, and I was like, “Bruh, you know that a 7 is too small” so finally I said, “Do you have any shoes here that go up to a size 7.5?” AND HE SAID NO.


Oh my god, I just can’t with teenage clerks.

Anyway, we went back to regular Journeys and I sought out the first girl because I was determined to get shoes that day and she was the one who was going to get credit. I explained to her what I needed the shoes for, and how they needed to be comfortable right out the gates because I’d be doing a lot of walking with no time to break them in. She was so helpful and basically steered me right back to the shoes that I had in mind in the first place. Also, she said she loved my shirt and we started talking about Warped Tour and she said, “WOWWWWWW” in amazement when I told her I went to Warped Tour every year from 2007 to last year and then she loved my phone case and thought it was so interesting that I’m going to Korea and basically, the girl doted on me and this is how you sell a bitch a shoe, ok.

Maybe even both shoes!

As she was ringing me up, she said, “I really appreciate that you came back and asked for me,” and I was like, “Oh, I wasn’t letting anyone else get this sale!” and you know, I like that she recognized that I did that.

Afterward, Chooch struck out at 5 or 6 other places, one of them being the place where the saleskid called his size “rare” and then lost interest in the middle of helping us and walked away. So we went back to Journeys one last time and the girl I liked wasn’t there but the OTHER ONE was and she was all, “WELCOME BACK GUYS” and then slithered over hungrily.

So I decided to try and explain to her Chooch’s plight, thinking that perhaps she could make some suggestions. But instead she said, “Oh, that sucks. Well, let me know if you see something you want to try on” and walked away.

Where are all the Al Bundys when you need them.

(Was he even a good shoe salesman? I can’t remember. Probably not.)

Seriously, no one gives a shit about doing a good job anymore.

(Except for the girl who sold me my shoes!)

(And Sam, my favorite Journeys manager who I haven’t seen in years because the mall he used to work at closed and he was transferred to a different Journeys and only HENRY has seen him since, ughhhh.)

Meanwhile, At CVS…

Having a CVS several blocks away from our house is incredibly convenient and we go there often enough that all of the cashiers are familiar faces. I like everyone who works there except for this one who I have definitely mentioned in here before. 

I used to call her Laverne because she just looks like one to me, but lately I’ve been calling her 1212 because a few weeks ago, our total was $12.12 and the way she said “1212” all monotone and stripped of any personality whatsoever made me crack up for days (I EVEN HAVE A VIDEO OF IT).

Anyway, Henry and I were there last night and some young girl in a sports bra and shorts came storming past me, screaming to her friend who was at the other end of the aisle, about the bitch employee who barely offered her any help when she asked about something she couldn’t find in the cosmetic aisle and apparently the employee said, “I don’t even know what that is” with “LIKE, MAJOR ATTITUDE.”

At first I was pissed because that’s my CVS and I don’t want some hoe-bag talking shit on my cashier bros but then Henry came slinking around the corner from another aisle and chuckled. “You know who she’s talking about, right?” and then we both screamed “1212!” so suddenly I was Team Hoe-Bag and even considered encroaching on her bitch fest to tell her that I dislike 1212 as well, but really, the more I listened to that girl purposely scream about her poor service I realized that there really wasn’t a good side to pick in this dog race.

Then we went to pay and THANK GOD we didn’t have 1212 as a cashier, but some young girl with a dermal next to her eye, which was weird because the other day I was thinking about the phase I went through about 8 years ago when I desperately wanted a dermal on my hand. But that’s neither here nor there, kind blog-folk. While Henry was struggling to have the chip in his debit card be recognized, the cashier asked, “This is probably a weird question, but you are Riley’s parents?” and we were like, “OH GOD WHY” but it turns out it was this girl he knows from when he was in 1st grade and she was in 7th or 8th grade, and we used to see her and this other girl, Chooch’s first love Courtney, at Warped Tour every summer. The cashier (Lacey) said that when it was Twins Day, she and Chooch, years and grades apart, both wore a Pierce the Veil shirt and she still has a picture from that day.

This was the sweetest thing!

Also, she said he looks just  like me, so…

We stopped at CVS on Saturday night after ice cream and as Chooch walked in, one of the cashiers was walking out and said, “Hi Riley” because literally everyone knows him. It’s funny to me because Henry’s other son Blake was the same way when he was a kid – just like, everyone knew him. We would be out somewhere and other kids would come up to Henry and ask, “Are you Blake’s dad?”

And now it’s happening with Chooch!


That’s all I got.

Jul 212019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God, why are Janna are I even friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 202019

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

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

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

That was the most exciting part of breakfast.

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

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

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

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

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

But also not ready at all.

This is my current favorite picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chooch is really into sheet masks.

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

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