Sep 022016
 

I was on the phone with everyone’s favorite frowner this morning, waiting to cross the street, when I heard from behind me, “Excuse me. Excuse me! Cat girl!”

At first I thought this person was calling me a fat girl, and I was ready to swing my purse at him, but then I remembered I’m wearing my cat blouse today. 


I sighed, took the phone away from my mouth, and gave him the attention he so desperately craved. 

“What time is it?”

The man was probably in his mid-to-late 40s, looked a bit like a disheveled, moderately slow David Letterman. Dressed in a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals. 

I told him it was 7:49. 

“Ugh, really? Because they’re supposed to open at 7:30,” he said in a vague whine, gesturing over his shoulder to the R-Bar. 

Let me just say that while I enjoy getting grimey in the occasional dive bar, this is one bar I would probably never patronize. Even though it’s conveniently located a mere block from my house. 

(I think. I always get confused when it comes to blocks.)

I shrugged and said I was sorry, I couldn’t tell him why they weren’t rolling out the cigarette ash and peanut shell-encrusted red carpet for him when it was already 7:49 in the motherfucking AM. 

Hoping this would satisfy his urge for human contact, I began to pivot back toward the road. 

“Where are you going dressed like that, anyway?”

STOP. DO NOT ENGAGE. YOU KNOW BETTER, ERIN KELLY. 

Still, the words rolled out of my mouth like an unraveling Fruit By the Foot. It was too late to stuff them back in. 

“Work,” I answered in a cheerful voice I didn’t recognize me because now I was clearly possessed by the Demon of Small Talk. 

“Wow! Where do you work?!”

Guys, I’m wearing a freaking blouse thing with cats on it, and jeans because it’s Jeans Day. I’m not wearing hot pants and nipple tassels so I’m not sure why my attire was so fascinating to him other than the fact that he was probably already drunk. 

So now I’m second-guessing every decision I made since waking up that morning. Was I dressed inappropriately for work?! DID I LOOK LIKE A FOOL?! I mean, these are questions that you could probably answer yes to on any given day but this guy just made me feel like I was under a spotlight and should I go home and change into a cardigan??!! 

Well, I couldn’t go home because guess who doesn’t currently have a house key, so I guess the Law Firm people will just have to suffer through a day of seeing me in a CAT SHIRT. 

In spite of my better judgment, I mumbled, “A law firm” and then I turned and JAY-WALKED across West Liberty Avenue and you all know how much I hate jay-walking and how terrified I am of crossing the street when when the “ITS OK TO CROSS NOW, CHILD” light is flashing. He was just beginning to lean in too close to me and my paranoia was turning my mind into a flip book of crime scene photos. I guess if I was going to die today, I’d rather get hit by a car than sodomized and stuffed in a suitcase by some early rising wino. 

When I resumed my conversation with Henry, he was already laughing. “What was that all about, were you getting hit on?”

Yep, by all the best locals. 

I walk-ran to the shuttle stop, which is another story for another time (there’s an Old Broad that I’m at war with). A few minutes later, just as the shuttle pulled away from the curb, I saw Drunk Letterman shambling toward the sidewalk I had been standing on 45 seconds prior. He stopped right in front of Albert’s Bar, also not open yet. 

By the time I made it to work, I was fucking exhausted. Talking to strangers is so hard. 

I wonder where that guy is drinking right now?

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Aug 172016
 

With the exception of Warped Tour, Henry hasn’t gone to a show with me since JUNE. While I’m mostly ok with being a loner these days, it’s still nice to have the big dum dum with me so I told him he was going and he answered with a sigh that could be heard around the ‘Burgh.

I woke up Monday morning feeling positively giddy at the prospect of Henry going to see Sianvar with me after work. Sometimes I kind of enjoy his company, I guess, I don’t know. Stop looking at me like that.

As the door guy was putting my rubber ducky wristband on me, I dorkily cried, “Were you at the John Carpenter show?!”

He looked taken aback but then smiled and said that he was.

“I knew that was you!” I said. “I couldn’t imagine where I knew you from but then I realized it was from here.” I mean, god knows how many wristbands he’s applied to my arm.

So then we talked about how great that show was and Henry was all, “WHAT WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT I’M A JEALOUS BOYFRIEND” after I rejoined him.

God Henry. Maybe if you wouldn’t send me off into the wild without a chaperone, these connections wouldn’t happen.

We had some time to have a drink in the back of the room, where we talked about the OLYMPICS with the bartender. There a million reasons why I absolutely love going to shows at the Smiling Moose but a big one is that the bartenders there are so FUCKING NICE. I’m not a big bar-talker, but any time I have gone there, I have engaged in the most pleasant conversations with the girls behind the bar. The bartenders at the Altar Bar were absolute assholes and that was one of the reasons I didn’t give a fuck when that venue closed. Smiling Moose forever!

While we were leaning against the bar with our drinks, some older man with a cane came limping toward us and said, “Sup crew?”

I was so fucking excited at the prospect of being in someone’s crew that I way too happily exclaimed, “Hi!”

He looked at me weird and then repeated what he said, which was actually, “Restroom?”

:(

I pointed the way and the bartender laughed. “It’s because you guys look like you know what you’re doing!”

I mean, duh. Don’t ask me for directions to the restroom at work, but if we’re at any music venue in the city, I can draw you a map on your palm with my eyes closed.

Meanwhile, the first band had started playing and I was s-s-s-stoked because it was one of my favorite local bands, False Accusations! Henry was like, “Oh boy” as soon as he recognized them. I chugged my Ace, slammed down my empty glass, and left Henry at the bar in favor for a spot near the stage.

THE SCREAMER WAS WEARING AN ALEXISONFIRE SHIRT, WOOOOO!!

A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

 

Henry joined me just in time to put his hand on my shoulder and gently pull me out of the way before I got cold-cocked with the neck of a guitar. Guys, I love your band but I’ve got some brittle bones! Go easy on this old broad.

These are the times when Henry wishes I liked Coldplay or Of Monsters and Men like other ladies my age.

What DO other ladies my age like?! I’m so out-of-touch with my demographic.

(Also, see the guy in the dress shirt in that video? NEMESIS. I hated him at another show at the Smiling Moose but now I can’t remember show or why. BUT I DON’T FORGET A FACE.)

The next band was Atlas Decay. They had a lot of family and friends there because they’re local. I liked them well enough but I was anxious for Sianvar so I drifted off a lot. Also, I started to recognize some people in the crowd, like this one girl who was also at the Hail the Sun show last year and wound up becoming friends at the bar with a guy who is security at Mr. Small’s; a photographer we talked to outside of Diesel while waiting for the doors to open for the Hotel Books show (Henry stopped me from saying hello to him because he thinks I get weird when I talk to people); and my high school Instagram friend who started following me two years ago after some other show at Smiling Moose (Henry wouldn’t let me say hi to him either because he thinks 37-year-old women talking to 17-year-olds at shows in weird).

Also, there were a ton of people who were there alone! This is never the case when I’m there alone! There was a girl in a Circa Survive shirt who I totally would have talked to if Henry hadn’t been there with me. She ended up buddying up later with some other guy who was there alone and at one point I think they were talking about the upcoming Anthony Green show and I believe they were trying to remember what band Mat Kerekes (who is opening for him) is in and I SO BADLY wanted slide into their real life DMs and say, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear, and I believe CITIZEN is the answer you’re looking for” but Henry gave me the “DON’T DO IT” look.

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After Atlas Decay was Save Us From the Archon! Oh, how I love these proggy Pittsburgh peeps. Their bassist Samantha recently left the band to pursue her career so I was pretty bummed about that because the scene needs as many girls as it can get. And Samantha was a fucking bitchin’ bassist, you guys.

“What’s her career?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know but I bet she’s stupid-smart, being in a band like that. So probably an astrophysicist,” I shrugged.

SUFTA was recently signed to Tragic Hero Records, so they weren’t just playing at Smiling Moose that night because they were local support: they were playing there because they’re actually ON TOUR with Sianvar. I’m so stoked for them! They had a ton of family and friends there that night, including one of their moms, who dragged a stool right over to the stage and sat there in her denim farmers dress, literally headbanging and screaming.

INSPIRATION.

#MOMGOALS

My heart soared.

I love them. Henry does not.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Henry was ready to murder his eardrums around this point and his frown was getting so deep and droopy that I feared it was going to usurp the whole lower half of his face, like an actual Snapchat filter.

“You should just be happy that you’re spending time with me!” I shouted over the mathy vibes.

“I’d rather be doing that at home on the couch,” he grumbled.

“Yeah, but this is like…a date!” I said optimistically.

“Dates are when both people have fun,” he sighed.

“Eh…not always.”

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Here’s Mom chatting up my photographer friend and Circa Survive girl.

Around this time, some guy arrived wearing a Number 12 Looks Like You shirt and I got unreasonably excited about this.

“Remember when I liked them?!” I cried.

“Not really,” Henry mumbled.

“Yeah it was probably in like 2006 or something. When I went through my really heavy screamo* phase.”

“Nope.”

*(Real screamo as in “not the Used” or any of the bands that are commonly mistaken for screamo because people JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.)

So I wanted to tell that guy I liked his shirt but then some other guy stopped and said, “Hey man, I like your shirt” so then I couldn’t because I was standing right there and I would like a TRY-HARD.

UGH, my life.

MY DUM DUM LIFE.

My Iron Lung was next. I was totally in their way when they were trying to get all their shit before they set up, because I am always in the way no matter where I stand in that place. It’s inevitable. Even Henry was like, “Stop being in the way” and I was like, “WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO GO THERE IS LITERALLY NO PLACE FOR ME ON THIS EARTH.”

God, what a deep fucking realization for me, you know? Life parallels. Ugh.

So yes. My Iron Lung — they were great! The singer reminded me a bit of Pacey from Dawson’s Creek meets Alex Vincent all grown-up from Child’s Play, so I was into it. But again, I was anxious for them to be done because Sianvar.

My iron lung

A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

My Iron Lung reminded me of the Iron Lung Glenn that I made for Halloween at work one year. (It’s totally blurry, too bad so sad.)

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OK, but then it was finally time for Sianvar, and as each of them walked past us to take the stage, I made all kinds of swooning/fainting couch pantomimes and Henry just frowned.

(Did I mention that earlier in the night, he elbowed me and said, “There’s Will”? Because he did. Because he reluctantly knows everyone in this scene whether he likes it or not!)

Quick summary: Dance Gavin Dance is one of my all-time favorite bands and if you didn’t already know that then this must be your first time here (I’m sorry). The founder/guitarist of that band is a brilliant man named Will Swan, one of the most underrated musicians if you ask me (and a lot of other people, probably). Sometime ago, Will started his own record label called Blue Swan and it is the home to some of the most magnificent, unique post-hardcore bands of our time. There is a distinct sound associated with this label, and Will had curated some beautiful groups of musicians to represent that.

One of those bands is a Blue Swan supergroup, featuring Will, Donovan from Hail the Sun (they’ve recently been signed to Equal Vision, a bigger label so you can’t blame them), Sergio from Stolas, and Michael and Joseph from A Lot Like Birds. Together, they gel into this mystical, sonic beast and even Henry was like, ‘They were good.”

I mean, they were fucking exceptional. My eyes didn’t know who to look at! So much talent!

Henry said he hates how Donovan moves and I was pretty offended. Henry can be so judgey sometimes. I mean, how would Henry like him to move?! How would HENRY move if he was a singer on stage?!

Donovan moves like Pinocchio at times and that appeals to me, so suck it Henry.

Also, I love how Donovan stares over everyone’s heads with an intense, murderous gaze and sings so hard that he starts to rage-shake. I think he’s an amazing frontman and his voice is unreal, like why aren’t more people talking about this time? Why isn’t Hail the Sun a household name? Why did Chooch RUIN MY HAIL THE SUN EXPERIENCE AT WARPED TOUR?!

(I realize I just saw them last winter, but I’m not over my sour Warped Tour HTS experience. Thanks, son.)

I had a really crappy day but then Sianvar saved it. 💗

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I liked that Sergio chilled up on a windowsill at one point, like “I’m just gonna sit here and casually play these complicated guitar parts while staring dreamily out the window at Carson Street.” Henry just rolled his eyes when I asked him if he too thought that was awesome.

Henry just doesn’t get excited about anything and I feel genuinely sorry for him. That cunt.

After the show Henry asked me if I wanted to talk to Will Swan and then we both just laughed because yeah right – me, talk to someone in a band? I don’t talk, I blubber. And then I cry. So we just left before any of that could happen. I’ll just be over here admiring you from afar, Will Swan. Le sigh.

***

After the show, we stopped at GetGo for our super fancy date dinner and when we got back in the car, Henry dropped the car key and spent the next fifteen minutes swearing while practically fisting the space in between the car seat and console where lip gloss, change, prosthetic fingers, and apparently car keys go to die.

It was so stupid that I started to crack up and then, you guys — get this: HENRY STARTED CRACKING UP TOO.

God, what a great night. Thank you, Sianvar.

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Aug 162016
 

*(Henry is obviously the ho.)

You know what really helps get a bitch through the day? Knowing that there’s ice cream with good friends on the other side.

We met up with Chris and Monica at Millie’s on Friday and even though it was HOT AF, we laughed a lot (even Henry, somehow) and had a good, quality hang.

We got there early and roamed the streets, looking shady as hell. Then I saw some guy I had a crush on in middle school and frantically texted Chris to HURRY because safety in numbers.

My friend Angie was all, “I doubt he remembers” but that’s just because she’s never been on the receiving end of my crushes and has no idea the lunacy and desperate aggression fueling it.

Lots of CALL-AND-HANG-UPs.

But now this lucky man-sack’s got my attention, yee haw.

When we spotted Chris and Monica, we sent Chooch off to fetch them and somehow in the span of 30 seconds, he managed to act enough of a fool for Monica to greet me with a, “Hello, just got here and I already called your son an asshole.”

I didn’t even need to ask why! The kid can get on a fucking nerve or 187, you think that you goin’ to heaven put sluga all up in that chest and hell is where you be dwelllin’….

Sorry, that was an impromptu Bone Thugs n Harmony takeover.

Anyway, the whole reason we even went to Millie’s was because I saw on Instagram that they were adding some fresh peach flavas up in that piece (Bone’s still in me, bitch please) and one of the flavors was some type of fabled peach and sweet corn?! I texted Chris and she was all, “Lemme just shove this gat down my pants and we’ll roll right on up, white girl.”

Because that’s what Wish Bone would say if he spoke on Chris’s behalf.

(I have been in some type of MOOD all evening, my apologies. I ate a brownie that Hot Naybor Chris brought over and I can’t for certain tell you that there wasn’t pot in it. Never mind that it was from some grocery store.)

Spoiler alert: the peach and sweet corn ice cream does not exist. Little punk ass bitches lied to me on Instagram. Or you know, just used awkward syntax which forced me to not understand the flavor listings.  I asked one of the young broads behind the counter and she at first looked at me like I was speaking in sweet corn tongues, but then she said, “Oh, I don’t know. I mean, sweet corn is the base of the popcorn ice cream….?” which I tried a sample of and it was just OK, sorry Rick Sebak. I saw you said on Instagram that it was a million shades of amaze, but I just wasn’t down with the endless chewing of ice cream.

So I got the brown butter peach which I thought was excellent until I reached my second choice flavor, nestled below it like the humble sleeper hit of the summer that it has proven to be: Ella’s almond butter and honey.

Fucking Hallelujah I am saved.

Monica also got that flavor and she agreed with me so now we’re talking about writing fanfic for it. I want it to be filthy basement hardcore and she’s thinking more of a sensual 18th century back door erotica. I’m sure we’ll meet in some type of BDSM middle.

Ugh, Chooch got basic vanilla as usual but this time turned Millie’s on its head by forgoing chocolate for SALTED CARAMEL, which he then spent 25 minutes complaining about, causing Chris to interrupt herself to say, “Wait a minute—-did you say that salted caramel sucks? I WILL FIGHT YOU.”

And Monica crossed all of her fingers under the table, hoping that that night’s diary entry would be titled:

Friday, August 12th, 2016 – The night Chris finally quit that asshole kid.

Ugh, he is so fucking terrible at eating ice cream, I honestly can’t stand it.

The trials & tribulations of Chooch eating an ice cream cone.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Chris said she got a taste of what it’s like to carry my eyeball purse around Chooch, because he heard some lady tell Chris that she liked her hair and he got super jealous because god forbid someone else should get an ounce of attention in the presence of the Almighty Drama King.

After we finished our respective scoops, Chris suggested that we go for a walk about the ‘hood, so we took our show on the sidewalk. Chooch and I acted like morons while Chris pointed out all of the deadly wrought-iron fences she dreams to have ensconcing her future yard.

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My Ice Cream Crew. I want to make us matching ringer tees. We need a better name first. Monica?

Accidental flash brings out my Nosferatu teeth.

Henry was so annoyed.

Chris kept saying she wanted to “see the church, the big one” but this was the only one we could find:

I wanted to break in and Henry said no.

When I finally realized what church Chris was trying to walk to, it was too late because we all had to get home and watch the Olympics. Bone Thugs have a song about that too but I can’t think of the words right now.

Something about diving into that icy blue and swim swam swum like da’ popo’s after u.

This was the perfect salvaging of a shitty day. Ice cream friends are the best friends!

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Jul 312016
 

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I’ve been a huge fan of PVRIS for a few years now and have seen them quickly gain exposure and popularity. I was lucky enough to get to see them at Warped Tour last summer and when they opened for Pierce the Veil in early 2015, but once they went on tour with Fall Out Boy, I knew my time to see them headline a small venue was quickly running out. They announced a summer tour a few mths ago and OF COURSE Pittsburgh wasn’t on it. The closest date was in Cincinnati and it was festival which just isn’t what I wanted.

But then last month, they added a last minute Pittsburgh date! It was billed as one of the Altar Bar’s farewell shows, and I literally bought my ticket the exact moment they went on sale, while Henry and I were en route to Maryland for The Cure. I knew it would sell out and I wasn’t taking any chances. You gotta know when to jump on things.

Plus, I’m tightly-wound.

Fast forward to a few days before the show. Drusky Entertainment updated the Facebook event to say that the show had been moved to the Rex Theater due to “structural issues” with the Altar Bar. Apparently, the new owners of the Altar Bar (who I think are turning it back into a church if the rumors I heard are correct) must have done an inspection and basically, the Altar Bar was declared unsafe for hosting concerts so that’s great to hear. So instead of being able to have their final “goodbye” shows, they had to close their doors two weeks sooner than anticipated.

But the problem with moving to the Rex is that its capacity limit is lower than the Altar Bar, and this was a sold-out show. People started flipping out on Facebook, wondering if there were going to be refunds, and if so, how would that be decided, etc. It was quickly confirmed by Drusky that emails would be sent and this location change would really only affect the last 70 people who bought their tickets.

So I was safe.

Turns out though, it would have been better to have been a JOHNNY COME LATELY (I’m my second grade teacher Mrs. Hall now) because the last 70 people got a special pre-show ACOUSTIC PERFMORMANCE by PVRIS and a meet and greet?! I was so pissed and poor Henry (lol) had to hear me whine about it for like three days straight.

I kept throwing around the word “injustice.” BECAUSE IT WAS.

Whatever, I was happy that the show wasn’t entirely canceled and that my ticket was still good and that, most of all, I would get to hear Lynn Gunn’s pretty voice in person again, because she one of the top dogs on my very short list of girl singers.

Father Henry dropped me off at the Rex last Sunday night after doors opened because I didn’t want to wait in line with all the giggling bi-curious girls who call Lynn their wife. I got in and made it past the miserable bouncer and then went straight to the bar to get a cider because NERVES. No matter how many shows I go to alone, it’s always the “Walking In” part that gets my stomach in knots. But then once I establish a dark corner to slip into, I’m fine.

I took my cider up to the balcony because I knew it was going to get too crowded for me to see downstairs. The balcony is very small, standing room only, but I found an opening at the far end next to some dad who kind of looked like NEWMAN.

Newman immediately started talking to me and I was just like, “Not on this day, buddy.” He was there with his daughter and niece and unhappy about it. I muttered something about PVRIS putting on a good show, so it shouldn’t be too miserable of a night for him. Then I buried my face in my phone so he would stop. Just stop.

The opening bands were both local. The first was Emerson Jay and WHAT A STAGE PRESENCE. It’s very rare that an opening band gets a crowd as excited as Emerson Jay did, but I was fucking feeling it. A+, good packaging, would see again.

I have never experienced an opening band getting the crowd as stoked as Emerson Jay just did.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

When they ended, Newman asked me if I would hold his spot because his daughter was down below summoning him, presumably for money to buy shirts because that would be the only reason I would be summoning Henry at a show. Literally as soon as he walked away, a girl slipped right into his spot. I said something in a noncommittal tone about how I was supposed to be saving that spot for someone, so her friend was all, “Well, there’s room for him when he comes back, and I’ll just stand behind her….” but then I mumbled something about how I didn’t even know the guy anyway, so the friend was all, “OH WELL IN THAT CASE FUCK THAT GUY” and she squeezed herself right in between me and the other girl, so shit got real cozy. 

Then she kept talking to me, and it was OK — she wasn’t overly annoying or anything — but how long were we really going to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts of holding someone’s spot at a show? Finally, Nevada Color came on and she shut up. Nevada Color was fun, but not as good as Emerson Jay, except for the very end, when Emerson Jay came back out and joined them for a party on the stage and everyone was like FUCK YEAH and how could you not be loving life at that moment?!

Nevada Color w/ Emerson Jay

A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

I felt proud of our local scene. The only thing that could have made the night, would have been if Balloon Ride Fantasy was also there! (This was around the time I realized that the girls next to me were a couple, NOT THAT I WAS JUDGING, but it was something I NOTICED, which is important to the story.)

At some point, I spotted Newman in my periphery, standing toward the back of the balcony and I felt a slight pang of guilt for not trying harder to hold his spot, but as Sam and I joked, “MOVE YOUR FEET LOSE YOUR SEAT.”

Hahah….oh Sam. 

After their set, the girl next to me (I inadvertently found out her name was Sam later on in the night) went down to the merch area and was chatting up the singer of Nevada Color for A GOOD WHILE, and me and the other girl were laughing about it because you could tell this chick was the type of girl who could talk her way into and out of anything. “She better get his number,” the other girl said, and I was like, “Oh, maybe they’re not girlfriends then…” But then Sam came back up, gave both of us free Nevada Color stickers, and when her girlfriend asked what they were talking about, Sam said, “How to meet PVRIS. But I don’t know that I can trust you with that intel.” It seemed clear to me that she was joking, but this somehow set off the other girl and before I knew it, they were lowkey bickering, so I just turned my attention elsewhere because awkward and leave me out of it.

But then when the girlfriend went to the bathroom, Sam turned to me and said, “WHY DO I HAVE TO LIKE GIRLS?!” I was like, “Um…” because honestly, I’m terrible in these situations and ain’t nobody should be asking me of all people GIRL ADVICE because I’m a fucking disaster in that field.

“I love her to death but right now I want to snap her neck and throw her off the balcony,” and I could imagine that happening because Sam had a very athletic build to her and the other girl just looked weak. I asked very by-the-book questions, like “How long have you been together?? to which she replied, “Not long enough, but then too long, you know?”

No. No, I don’t. A month? Four years? Help me know the answer.

Apparently, this girl is super jealous. Which explains why she made the “I hope she gets his number” comment — I probably just realized the bitter tone at the time. Sam told me that she recently went out for beers with her best guy friend who had recently broken up with his girlfriend, and apparently this did not go over well with Sam’s girlfriend who naturally accused her of cheating.

“And then there’s the age difference, I think that has a lot to do with it. Like, I’m 26 and she’s only 22. She’s very immature.”

I just nodded, imagining Henry talking to some random person about our age difference. “I’m 51 and she’s only 37. She’s very immature.”

PLUS IT’S LONG DISTANCE, THEY LIVE AN HOUR AWAY FROM EACH OTHER GOD HELP THEM.

The girlfriend came back from the bathroom and Sam continued to talk to me about her while she was standing right there and I was thinking to myself, “Am I going to end up being the Third Party in this poorly-scripted divorce court drama?” But then PVRIS saved the day by finally coming out on stage and I was like, “Here guys! Just enjoy the show! Break up later, on the drive back to Ohio.”

Because they’re from Ohio. I learned that at some point too when I was trying to just keep to myself in my corner, crying internally because socialization is just too much for me. THIS IS WHY I GO TO SHOWS ALONE!

But PVRIS though. My lord. They sounded better than ever and just being in the presence of Lynn Gunn’s radiant beauty filled me with joy.

She did not have the same effect on Sam, who had her head in her arms and was sobbing.

Lesbians breaking up during PVRIS — I can’t even imagine how soul-crushing this was for them, having these emotionally-wrecking conversations while Lynn sings the songs she wrote about her past girlfriends.

LIKE EYELIDS.

This song does things to me. @thisispvris was incredible tonight. ❤️

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

The first time we ever saw them, Henry made some judgey comment about they “were OK but she needs to work on her singing” and I was just like, “Being in the SERVICE must have screwed with your hearing because she is a fucking exotic siren calling me toward her lesbi-land, so fuck you WHITE HETERO-MAN.”

And then she busted out with “Only Love” from an acoustic EP they did pre-White Noise and I didn’t know they ever performed any of those songs so I was pleasantly surprised and I very rarely am That Person who whips out her phone and records a song in its entirety, but this was an exception. That song makes me weak and as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to put on that record and cry.

"I thought you were choking." 😂 @thisispvris from last week. 💗 #PVRIS #PVRIScult #rextheatre #pittsburgh

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

What I also love about this band is that while they appear to be all bleak and synthy, they are so fucking funny. I went through a phase two years ago where I made Henry watch every one of their interviews on YouTube with me and even he was KIND OF LAUGHING. They are fucking adorable people and I’m so happy to see that their beautiful music is being recognized and getting them spots at Lollapalooza, even.

"I think you're a saint, and I think you're an angel" – what Henry says to me like everyday. #pvris #pvriscvlt #pvrisband

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

The other thing I love about PVRIS is that Lynn has an extensive background in art and design, which shows in the perfectly curated series of music videos that were made for EVERY SONG on their debut LP. And perhaps you’ve seen Chooch wearing that “For Fox Sake” Emarosa tank? Well, Lynn designed that for Emarosa — THEY’RE FRIENDS.

Of course they’re friends. The best bands stick together.

I was acutely aware of Sam threatening to “just leave” numerous times during their set, and now her girlfriend had reversed roles and became the level-headed one who tried to calm her down. In the end, Sam ended up staying. With all that domestic disputing happening next to me all night, it was almost as intimate as the acoustic set I missed out on. I felted invested at that point, so I tapped her on the arm and wished her luck with everything,

She said, “And sorry again about bumping into you all night. My elbows are so pointy!” And then we laughed and it was kind of like a Mentos commercial.

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And on my way out, some young guy touched my arm and usually I would hiss DON’T TOUCH ME, but he wanted to tell me that he liked my shirt.

It was an EMAROSA shirt. What could have been a chaotic cluster of a night with a bunch of angry fans thanks to a last minute venue change ended up being the best night ever.

 

 

 

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May 122016
 

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We didn’t have a grand scale birthday party for Chooch this year on account of us having to sell copper from abandoned houses* to take him to Disney World. But I wanted to still have a small cake-eating get-together at our house when we came back because cake. And also, friends. We just like company. (And by “we” I mean me and Chooch.)

*(THAT WAS A JOKE. Always gotta clarify since this dumb blog/hyperbole has gotten me into real life trouble so many times. God forbid I jest!)

I left the cake up to Henry and Chooch and they chose ice cream cake from Dairy Queen which is OK but I really wanted Bethel Bakery cake, ugh. Ice cream just doesn’t do it for me.

And this is clearly all about me. Me and my 10 year old C-section scar!!!!

The guest list was diverse and basically perfect because it was curated by me:

  • Kara and Harland
  • Henry’s mom, Judy
  • Henry’s sister, Kelly
  • Chooch’s cousin, Zac
  • Chooch’s friends, Olivia and Sophia, and their mom Meggan (who has become my first ever mom-friend! And you guys thought I was forever tainted!)
  • Wendy and Summer
  • Robbie and Nikki
  • Blake and Hailey
  • Shawn, Jess, and Anais

Henry totally lost control of his wallet and bought COOKIES in addition to the cake. DISCOUNT GROCERY STORE COOKIES! In the background, please note that somehow Ted NUDEgent is still alive!

As soon as Blake got there, I told him about Henry getting BULLIED at work and Henry was so embarrassed. He should take Blake to work with him once and then I bet that son-of-a-bitchin’ salesman will think twice the next time he tells Henry he can’t wait to see him get fired!

(I wish he would bring me to work with him, though. I’m fucking ITCHING to start a fight with this guy. I found him on Facebook and I can tell that he’s totally the type of guy who’d hit a girl too. BRING IT.)

🎂

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

The only candle we had in the house, inexplicably, was a lone “N.” It got the job done, though.

Did I mention that Meggan brought me a present, too?! A cute little ornamental frog to guard over my succulents. I love it!

This is the only picture I got of my kid during the entire party. He was busy, I guess.

BUSY GETTING HIS ASS KICKED OUTSIDE BY BLAKE!

At one point, it was getting so rowdy outside that Kara slowly leaned forward on the couch to peek out the front door. “Someone is going to get hurt any minute now, mark my words,” she said in that OH WELL tone that most moms store on the tip of their tongues. Literally 10 seconds later, Chooch came into the house with his hand over his mouth, and proudly exclaimed, “Blake made my mouth bleed!” He did some rinsing in the bathroom and then went right back out for more.

My favorite was that he was getting beat up by Harland, too. Can’t say you don’t deserve that, boy! Nothing like a good old birthday beatin’.

Judy was flat out pissed at Kara for not bringing her youngest son, Theo, but then Wendy arrived with baby Summer and all was right in Judy’s world again. I wasn’t there when it happened, but Henry said Judy basically dropped everything she had in her hands and rushed over to steal Summer. She is A BABY INHALER.

Summer likes my house because of all the clowns, obviously. I’m going to get her a clown for every holiday.

In this picture, Kara was talking about how much she wants another baby and Wendy was like, “Great, but you ain’t taking mine.”

Shawn brought up the very storied Gallaghers and we had a grand time regaling Judy and Jess with all their scandalous ways, like when Melissa Gallagher had a baby without knowing she was pregnant and her husband Mike thought she just had eels in her belly. Kara was like, “Please, let’s have a reunion with all the people you used to invite over from 2006-2008, like Ryan ‘OMG I LOVE JOHN WATERS, BALTIMORE, BALTIMORE, DIVINE!’ from LiveJournal; the Gallaghers; and Regan and Lance, the tax-evading Civil War reenactors who come complete with their own bench on which to sit and judge everyone.”

Those were some weird times, socially, for me. Sorry to all of my friends for making you endure such rude and infuriating people!

I failed miserably and taking pictures. I was distracted by hockey and all the good conversation. JANET JACKSON IS HAVING A BABY! FREE CONDOMS! ROLLING ROCK TOWN FAIR!

And then Chooch left his own party before it was over! He decided he was going to sleep over Zac’s so he left with them and then the rest of just there and talked completely shit on him. Chris and Monica texted me around 10:30 because they were going to stop by on their way back from their prior engagement (I’M SO FORMAL), but I was like, “He’s not here anymore.” And Monica was all, “Even better!” because she and Chooch are intense frenemies, but then Chris was like, “No Chooch, no Chronica!”

On the real though, it was a nice evening of celebrating my kid’s monumental cross-over into double-digits. Thanks to everyone who came or was there in spirit!

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Feb 022016
 

Party People

  • Kara
  • Corey
  • Chris and Monica
  • Blake and Haley
  • Aaron and Erica (I think — drinking does not allow me to remember names)
  • JANNA – WHO WAS THE LAST ONE TO ARRIVE

In my quest to be more social, and to satiate Chooch’s constant desire to play games, I planned a small game night for January 23rd. The theme was BREAKFAST FOODS, because God forbid I should just have a regular game night and let my friends bring a simple bag of Fritos. I had big hopes and aspirations for this game night: a waffle bar! some type of OJ punch! egg things!

But this before I knew we were getting a kitten(s).

So instead of an elaborate spread fit for the gods of the A.M., Henry half-assedly churned out ONE VARIATION of waffle (PLAIN) and made some crappy chili chicken dip to meet the “savory” quota, leaving me to my own devices to come up with other dips.

I went with the exotic Nutella; the opulent purple Funfetti frosting straight from a can; and a maple fluff worthy to coat the gullet of the worlds most renowned gourmands.

A/K/A maple syrup mixed with Marshmallow Fluff.

Thank god for my back-up plan: CAP’N CRUNCH PARTY MIX. And no I didn’t use a recipe! Instead, I concocted it in my head, at work, and bounced ideas off of Glenn.

“What else should I put in my Cap’n Crunch party mix?” I asked him.

“What all have you got so far?”

“….Cap’n Crunch.”

“……”

A day later, I shouted, “PEANUTS! Peanuts would go good in a Capn Crunch party mix, right?”

“Sure,” Glenn mumbled.

In the end, I went with honey roasted peanuts, pretzels, and then I attempted to drizzle white chocolate over it but newsflash: I don’t know how to drizzle white chocolate, so it wound up hardening very quickly and then I decided to just go with white chocolate clumps.

“I like how some of the pretzels have white chocolate on them,” Chris said in a very complimentary manner which I greatly appreciated.

“Thanks! I did that myself. They’re HAND-CRAFTED.” I literally was so angry at the white chocolate that I started smashing mounds of it against the pretzels as a form of torture. I showed you, white chocolate.

Then I dumped a bunch of sprinkles on it. Then I made Henry go and buy me chocolate chips, and hooray, that shit was happy to be drizzled.

It worked. This shit was teeth-rottening divine.

Keeping with my staunch theme of breakfast foods only, Kara brought delicious chocolate-filled croissants and mini muffins; Chronica brought monkey bread which we were all eagerly awaiting since they texted me a picture of it and my phone promptly got passed around; and JANNA WHO WAS LATE brought a French toast casserole. She was late because the casserole was still in the oven when game night was scheduled to start and I was like, “WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO PUT IT IN THE OVEN THEN JANNA.”

Whatever, it was really good even though she was an hour late.

And when Blake arrived with his posse, he was carrying a bottle in a bag and I thought to myself, “Oh my god, Blake is like an actual adult now! He brought something to game night!”

YEAH, A BOTTLE OF MAD DOG FOR HIMSELF!

We played Taboo first, because I forgot until the last minute that our Catchphrase broke a long time ago and we never replaced it, because why would we ever think to replace my FAVORITE GAME NIGHT game. Taboo is basically almost the same game but it just doesn’t feel right in my hands.

Game Night: Round One was kind of utter pandemonium because Janna spiked her casserole with Robitussin and some of us couldn’t seem to grasp the “every other person is on your team” concept and Chooch threw a fit at one point and there were close to four separate conversations going on while the person holding Taboo was shouting out clues and then Corey kept hitting the wrong button and Kara looked like she was about to lose her fucking mind.

However, there was a highlight! And that was when it was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “Erin has one…”

My mind reeled. I have many things! What was a thing that I have?! A complex? An estranged mother?

Meanwhile, Monica was already calmly suggesting, “A blog.”

First guess. And she was right!

This was right before Kara ripped off her face to reveal the Directionator. LISTEN TO HER READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW ALONG, PEOPLE. Together, we can all get through it.

This is the first time I didn’t take a picture of my dumb beverage buffet. I made a punch that was supposed to be a screwdriver but it wasn’t (the recipes on Smirnoff’s website are lamer than your average lifestyle blogger) so I changed the name to Good Morning Punch. It was OK. Nothing fancy like you’d typically expect at my ragers.

Corey and I made Janna tell her harrowing tale of Robitussin codependency, like this was a surprise intervention. No one laughed nearly as hard as Corey and I did, if at all.

The last game we played was Likewise, and I was on a team with Erica (really hope that’s her name). She chose wisely because we dominated. If her name really is Erica though, I sincerely regretted naming ourselves the A+ Team when E2 was the clear choice. We did butt heads a quick second though when the prompt was “something unusual at the beach” and I wrote down “Igloo” because hello, that’s unusual. We had a slight argument about it but I got way and no one ended up getting any points for that round anyway, soooooo.

The last question was beautiful singer or something and I was trying to send ESP waves to Henry and Corey so that they would write down Robert Smith but they kept smirking at me confusedly, so we ended up going with the obvious choice of Justin Bieber, matched two other teams, and FUCKING WON.

BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I DO IS WIN.

And we all lost at Cards Against Humanity to a nine-year-old*, and then Chris taught Chooch how to crochet while Monica tried to get us to guess “Janna fondling breasts coated with Robitussin” during some late night charades.

*(To be fair, Monica tied with him.)

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The end.

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Dec 312015
 

It’s not that I do it intentionally, but I do go through phases where I just don’t really see my friends very often. We still text, etc. but sometimes the good, old-fashioned face-time is lacking.

Lately though, I’ve been getting in some quality hangs and I’m starting to remember what it felt like before I suddenly developed “social anxiety” which I’m not even sure I really have, to be honest. I was going to make some comment at this juncture about how it’s really Henry keeping me under his thumb but who would even believe that? For real though, December has been rife with good people!

In addition to Vintage Snack Attack, here are some more casual hang-outs I would like to be remembering:

  1. Indian Foods with Kara and Brian

Sometime ago, Brian and I randomly became friends via Facebook. We have quite a few mutual friends, so I guess it wasn’t all that random. But it was one of those deals where we friended each other and then never interacted. If we’re being honest, I thought he was too cool and popular for a lame-bag like me, so I would just occasionally like his posts but never comment, because I can’t hang with the big dogs.

I even struggle with the little dogs.

But then one day, Brian sent me a message and was like “PLEASE DON’T GET CREEPED OUT, BUT…” and already he had my interest because I love being creeped out. Anyway, he thinks that Henry might be his long-lost older brother because there is a resemblance that he just can’t un-see, and that is how the Facebook ice was broken. Plus, it turns out he has known my pal Kara for like, ever, so we decided that we all needed to go out to lunch. (We realized that we were both at Kara’s wedding in 2008 before we knew each other! Pittsburgh is small as fuck.)

Basically, what is happening here is that Brian is just going through me to become friends with Henry. And it’s cool. This is how it works. EVERYONE LOVES HENRY MORE THAN ME.

(That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s just a newly-formed dent from all the extreme KpopX arm moves.)

We were originally going to go to Zenith, but they were closed for a dumb private party, ugh. So Brian suggested Cafe Delhi in Carnegie because it’s really good and also because he can just walk to it. #selfish Turns out we all benefited from his selfishness though, because Cafe Delhi’s curry was like “Please fill a water park with this and let me intertube my way to obesity!” levels of greatness.

Brian took this picture of my Sophia ring (which I’m posting here without his permission because I do what I want on the Internet), which escalated fast to the point where he is basically my manager trying to launch my hand-modeling career.

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Anyway, Brian was just as cool and funny in person and he seemed to not think I was a complete dud! Now I guess I have to let him meet Henry.

Also, it was wonderful spending time with Kara in a setting where we could actually talk without me fussing over a table full of gelatin or our kids running around in flames.

2. Brunch with Lisa, oui oui

I was super excited last Saturday when Lisa changed her mind at the last minute and said, “No, instead of you coming over here to hang out, let’s go out!” I love hanging out with Lisa even if it’s just lounging around her house with coffee, but we really don’t go out very often (I get it — I had a toddler once!) so this was like a big deal. We decided to go to Tartine for some French culture. I was happy because right away, our waitress complimented my sweater and not Lisa’s.

“Go ahead,” Lisa sighed, and I frantically posted about it on Facebook. This is kind of our thing — anytime someone likes something of mine and not Lisa’s, I blow it out of proportion, and I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, that seems very out of character for you, Leo Erin.”

One of my favorite stories is from when Lisa and I went to Eat n Park during one of her visits home when she was living in Colorado, and the waitress approved of my dessert but not Lisa’s:

July 2007

Lisa temporarily resides in Colorado so I was excited to get to see her Wednesday afternoon during her Pittsburgh visit. We walked down the street to Eat n Park for coffee and dessert, the perfect pre-work sugar fix.

Our waitress Barb was an older woman with the easy-to-talk-to charm of a seasoned server. Lisa immediately overshadowed me with her big smile and confident voice.

“I’ll have the chocolate cake!” Lisa cheerfully ordered.

Barb smiled and jotted it down.

“And I’ll have the blackberry pie with ice cream,” I ordered not as cheerfully, but I sort of smiled. Which is big for me.

Barb’s body shook with pleasure. “Yes! Good choice!” she sang as she scratched my order on her pad with a flourish. “That’s my favorite!”

I smirked at Lisa after Barb retreated. “She likes me better than you,” I chided.

“What makes your pie so much better than my chocolate cake? I mean, it’s chocolate cake!” Lisa’s visage melted into a befuddled glaze.

“Chocolate cake is a menu mainstay, Lisa. My pie is a seasonal delight.” This seemed to distract Lisa long enough for me to continue droning on about my life’s conundrums. It’s nice to have counseling ears across from me sometimes.

Barb returned with our desserts and the reminder than I am, and always will be, better than Lisa. She set down Lisa’s plate with an unremarkable motion, but then turned to me with the fanfare of a queen’s arrival as she gently placed my pie beneath my fat face and took a step back.

“Look at that pie, would you? Oh, I hope you will enjoy it. It really is the best!”

I hesitated before crushing into the crisp sugary crust, unsure if Barb was going to stand there and gawk. She smiled once more and carried on with her rounds of coffee refills.

Lisa was absently slapping her cake with the back of her fork, scowling at me. “Enjoy your freaking pie,” she mimicked.

During our meal, Barb came back later with our separate checks. She was delighted to tell me that my check was special. “Lookie here! There’s a number at the bottom to call and complete a real short survey. Then you write down the code they give you and bring this back next time for a two dollar discount!” She clapped her hands together and held them under her chin, waiting for me to call my mommy and thank her for birthing me so that I could one day experience the jubilation of getting an Eat n Park survey check.

I feigned happiness for the sake of Lisa’s plummeting self-worth. “It’s because I was smart enough to order the delicious pie and not the boring cake,” using my words to further wheedle away at her ordering inadequacies.

We continued to pick away at our desserts and imbibe (too much) coffee, when Lisa spilled her water all over the table. Barb came running over with her rag and we all tried to make light of Lisa’s fumbling fingers.

“At least it didn’t get on her pie,” Barb sighed.

#NEVERFORGET

Anyway, Lisa and I both enjoyed our French brunches (she has some kind of ham crepes, but I had the Tartine Poire, into which I really wish I could face-plant right this very moment) and I made some Drake-inspired comment about how we started at Denny’s now we here, which was probably only funny to me but Lisa politely laughed anyway.

Our waitress looked so much like Shelley Hennig from Teen Wolf (and ex-Days of Our Lives!) that I actually wondered if it really was her and we were being secretly filmed for some “celebs doing blue-collared jobs” reality show. Lisa of course didn’t know who that was because she’s an adult, so I showed her a picture on my phone and even she agreed that it was uncanny and Lisa and I usually don’t agree on things like that, so this was a big day.

Bertrand, the cutest restaurant owner of all time.

Lisa and I definitely need to do this more often. Or at least have Henry make us fancy French breakfast shit.

3. Pittsburgh Hangs w/ Jason

Jason was visiting from Cleveland and penciled us in for a Saturday evening hang sesh. He was already in Dormont, so Henry suggested that we just go to Tom’s Diner, because it was raining really hard and who wants to drive in that shit, right?

I don’t think we have ever had the pleasure of seeing Jason so many times in one year — three times in the span of a month is pretty good! I guess this makes up for last March when I was in Cleveland with Janna for the Howard Jones show and completely dropped the ball on meeting up with him.

What I really want to remember about this night is how WELL-BEHAVED Chooch was being! I mean, not that he’s a menace, usually, but sometimes he can get ornery if the attention isn’t on him (he must get that from Henry). Chooch is a chronic interrupter. Have you met me? This is my GREATEST PET PEEVE. I hate being interrupted. Shut your fucking mouth and wait your turn. Put it on my gravestone for Christ’s sake, I don’t fucking care!

This is one of the reasons Chooch and I fight so much, is because he can’t just wait his turn to speak. He is obsessed with hearing his own voice! So I’m always flipping out and he’s just like, “THIS CAN’T WAIT!” and guess what?! Not once in however-long-he’s-known-words has it ever been “important” or an “emergency.” So I get on edge sometimes when he’s with us and we’re hanging out with people who don’t have kids, because you just never know.

But he was a real pleasure on this night, in that booth at Tom’s Diner, and he ate all of his idiotic food and actually seemed enrapt in everything Jason was talking about and then it occurred to me: of course he was enrapt. Literally all we talked about the whole time was music and the music industry and the magazine and Warped Tour. Why wouldn’t he be enrapt!? He is my kid!

And then Jason asked him what he’s been listening to lately, which launched a conversation about Bring Me the Horizon and Twenty-One Pilots. I don’t think I ever really had anyone to talk to about music when I was a kid, so it’s cool that Chooch does.

God, Chooch has it all.

I didn’t subject Jason to any pictures this time, but Chooch followed Henry into the bathroom and snagged this gem:

I think my favorite part of Tom’s was when Jason reluctantly promised that he would give the entire Carly Rae Jepsen E.MO.TION record an honest spin.

Later, I realized that the reason Chooch was being so quiet and respectable is because he was sick. Whatever, I’ll take it!

Here’s hoping January brings some more quality hang-times.

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Dec 152015
 

And maybe also: people-eating food.

Party People!

  • Janna
  • Chris and Monica
  • Kara and Harland
  • Cara
  • Angie
  • Blake and Aaron (and their two friends who came later but I forget their names because I had already had too much to drink by then)
  • Amy and Dick
  • Barb
  • Wendy, Shawn and Summer
  • Lisa
  • Corey WHO WAS LATE (j/k I knew he was coming late)

It’s a pretty awesome feeling to know that you have friends who will indulge your random whims. When I sent out the Facebook invite for this get-together, I didn’t anticipate that many people would be into it. Of course people were wary, and possibly also dry-heaving, but to my delight there was lots of gross recipe-posting and discussion about what to bring! My friends rule. I love you, Friends.

Even Wendy, who wouldn’t make jellied chicken salad.


Fonduing.

I would like to point out at this juncture that Wendy’s baby Summer is likely staring dreamily at the clown in the painting behind her, because I caught her ogling ALL OF THE CLOWNS in my house. It’s a treat to know that Summer, at such a young age, has opened up her heart to our misunderstood face-painted brethren.

That time Monica disapproved of Henry feeding Chris.

Bar had the best view in the house: Trudy’s ass.

We have some party-pleasing Xbox game called…I forget now…but up to 4 people can play along on their phones so while it looks like everyone in this picture is bored to the point of scrolling through Twitter, they were actually all playing inappropriate games with my inappropriate kid.

I told Wendy she could bring Summer because that meant Barb would come too. I do what I can.

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Welcome to the demonic possession portion of the night. Bomb shelter foods do that to you!

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Aaron told Lisa that she had a beautiful Jello mold. This boy is seriously invited to all of my parties from now on. Plus, he was very complimentary of my helter skelter interior design methods! Younger people get me. And after talking about an array of topics that covered OJ Simpson and the band La Dispute, it occurred to me that I’m not actually socially awkward at all, I just don’t know how to talk to people over the age of 25. Something to work on for 2016, maybe.

LOL, no.

That time the Bromance spawned a baby.

Shawn and I talked about mutual bands we like for awhile and it was really nice so I’m not mad at him anymore for saying that Kurt Travis sounds like someone’s pissed-off little sister.

OMG Cara and Angie both brought me succulents! I love them so much! (The succulents, I mean, although Cara and Angie are very nice too!) You have no idea how into succulents I am. Lol, never mind. You totally know. I named the one that Cara brought me “Dierdre Hall” but I’m still thinking about fitting names for Angie’s. I’m sure there will be an entire blog post about it, so stop back.

I thought that I didn’t get any photos of Lisa but then I found this one and rejoiced! I’m really sentimental. I’m sure she’s thrilled because I talked to her the next day and whined about not getting a picture of her and she was like, “You have a million pictures of me doing everything from being sexually harassed by two middle aged men at the .38 Special show to peeing in a McDonald’s bathroom stall. I’m sure you’ll live without one of me eating gelatin, too.”

She didn’t really say that but I’M SURE SHE WAS THINKING IT.

Ladies and gentlemen: My sister Amy and brother-in-law Dick! This was their first time at my house because they live in Ohio so usually we meet halfway when we want to get together, but neither of them had to work so they were able to attend! I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like, so I was stoked.

One of the highlights of the night for me was when Corey arrived just as Janna was on her way up the steps to go to the bathroom, and he literally PUSHED HER out of the way and yelled, “JANNA STOP I HAVE TO GO SO BAD!” and then bathroom-blocked her. And even better was that when he was done, she was about to make her way up the steps again but then I had to go really bad so she was just like, “Jesus Christ, go ahead,” throwing her hands up to my hole-y ceiling.

Fuck! It just occurred to me that there were people there that night who weren’t previously privy (I almost typed “poncheezied” which is a Dance Gavin Dance song, god get a clue) to Janna’s struggle with Robitussin addiction and abusive mother and Corey and I totally missed a prime story-telling audience.

Motherfucker.

Chooch entertained us with his rendition of “Bang, Bang” and I’m pretty sure this was the point where Monica was furtively whispering, “No really, NOW CAN WE GO?!” into Chris’s ear.

This was how I found Henry at the end of the night.

IN CONCLUSION, the Bomb Shelter Picnic was more fun than I anticipated. And not that I’m complaining or anything, but I’m kind of surprised that not a single person brought Spam!

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Dec 122015
 

Sometime back in October, I had on my Eavesdropping Cap and overheard Glenn’s work bro inviting Glenn to his Halloween party. “OMG I guess the Feud is officially over then!” I excitedly thought, because it had been AWHILE since he’s popped on over to monotone it up with Glenn. I guess my lunch date plan really did work after all!

Once Glenn left for the day, I giddily chatted with Todd and The Processor Formerly Known As Amber2 about it. I had it in my head that Work Bro’s soirees are like vintage key parties of yore so I started sending Todd and Amber pictures of people with stiff posture and fake smiles standing around gelatin castles and Velveeta-filled fondue pots. Then I started looking at gross Betty Crocker party food pictures, because I have hobbies.

Around this same time, my friend Kate posted a vintage recipe on Facebook for these curious things called Carnival Creams:

I was at once repulsed and intrigued. Ketchup in a dessert!? I love Ketchup and I love desserts, but…

Still, I couldn’t get this out of my head and decided that I needed to try it. This recipe paired with my imagination churning out visions of square Halloween parties made me realize that not only did I need Henry to make these, but he needed to make these for an audience. I needed to have a vintage food party and make other people bring disgusting nostalgia eats as well.

“It’ll just be a small thing!” I promised Henry. “Not a full-blown party. It won’t be stressful!” And he just closed his eyes, sighed, and mumbled, “What do I have to make?”

I wanted him to make like eleventy other disgustingly atomic abominations developed for bomb shelter supper clubs, but he was like, “I AM NOT MAKING FOOD THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO EAT THAT IS WASTEFUL ERIN” so I had to try and find things that were gross but possibly edible, so tomato aspic (decorated with crawfish heads) and jellied chicken salad were out of the running. We settled on the Party Potato Salad below, because at least the inside would be edible.

The party was Saturday, December 5th and Henry did that thing that he always does where he left me alone at the last minute so I had to CLEAN BY MYSELF. Actually, I only had to straighten up the living room but I hate “straightening up” because it doesn’t fit my crooked lifestyle. Luckily, there was an early Penguins game on so that helped me make it through.

This picture has nothing to do with the party, but I took it while I was waiting for Henry and Chooch to return from picking up Blake and his friend Aaron. But this post is just about the food, so we’ll get to the people later.

Turns out, Carnival Creams aren’t that bad! I mean, you can taste the Ketchup. I won’t pretend like you can’t. But somehow, it works. The texture was similar to ice cream, and the almond and maraschino cherry bits on top really added a new dimension to it. Henry even had the forethought to buy pasteurized eggs so no one would get sick and die!

And then he used that topic as an opportunity to brag during the party about how he does, in fact, know how to pasteurize an egg on his own. OK Farmhand Henry. Go back to the barn.

Hilariously, the next day, my sister Amy commented on Facebook and said, “Those were bomb!” and then Lisa called me to tell me, “I can’t get over how good those Ketchup things ended up being” and then at work on Monday, Wendy was like, “I can’t stop thinking about those Ketchup things!” and I was like “INORITE?!” I’m so happy that they ended up stealing the show since the whole party was planned around them!

Guys, I “designed” those radishes! Henry was supposed to buy snap peas for me to make leaves and stems but he didn’t so, floating flowers it is.

The potato salad was literally preserved beneath of gleaming skin of mayo and gelatin. Get yo’ gag reflexes ready, party people!

And I did the pineapple too! I had to touch pearl onions a million times and it was disgusting. I was excited to bring in some of my succulents off the window sills because several of them are potted in perfect Goodwill nostalgia finds, especially Ted NUDEgent up there.

None of my parties are complete without at least one punch variety and this one especially would be a failure without one. I knew whatever punch I decided on would have to have sherbet in it. I settled for a lime sherbet with champagne and other crap, and it was a real crowd-pleaser! I barely had a chance to take a picture of it before Aaron was diving in. He and Blake came over about an hour before the party started, so he was getting pretty antsy for Punch Time. ME TOO, BRO. Parties stress me out.

Until I get sloppy.

Aunt Ethel just seemed like a good vintage name.

That cat food-looking shit in the upper left was Henry’s very own idea: deviled ham. “What? People ate this shit all the time back then,” he said as he plopped it onto the plate.

And that Jello salad up there was brought by Angie. It didn’t stand a chance once people discovered what it was: strawberry Jello pretzel salad. This is like a staple at Pittsburgh cookouts, plus it’s vintage-y too, so everyone was happy that there was at least one thing that wouldn’t haunt their dreams that night.

I MADE THESE! They’re vienna sausages with a generous dollop of Easy Cheese on top. I think Blake and Aaron were the only people eating those.

Wendy wouldn’t make the jellied chicken salad I sent her, courtesy of Octavia who I desperately wished lived close enough to attend, and instead brought something more on her skill level: salami wrapped around a cream cheese and horseradish filling. I hear they were a hit, though!

“You can’t go wrong with cream cheese,” Wendy said, and I would have to agree with that.

Kara, bless her heart, substituted soysage for the hotdogs that her Polka-Dotted Mac n Cheese called for. IT WAS DIVINE!

Chris and Monica made a Prosecco berry gelatin in a Han Solo mold and it was delicious. Aaron, the self-appointed food critic of the night, was really impressed with it. “Did you learn how to make this in France?” he asked incredulously.

“No, Pinterest,” Chris laughed. This was the point of the night where I deemed Aaron to be my favorite person in the whole world, and then Monica sadly said, “Well, Chris, let’s go home.” JUST KIDDING, THEY’RE STILL MY FAVORITES TOO!

I wasn’t able to get a picture of Lisa’s lime Jello salad before it was attacked, but it was the perfect color for this particular party, and I was really pleased with its addition to the table.

Stupidly not-pictured: The cheeseballs my sister Amy made (so good!) and Janna’s fondue pot that we thought she had left unattended with oil simmering in it, but it turned out it was beer because she was making BEER CHEESE, fuck yes. You can’t have a vintage snack attack party without a fondue pot, so Janna was like the unsung hero of the night.

(That originally said “herp” instead of “hero” and it took everything I had inside me to not leave it that way.)

OK, I’m splitting this into two parts because otherwise: picture overload. But what else is new. Next post: PEOPLE EATING FOOD.

(And no, my blog isn’t fixed. I have to put pictures on here the old-fashioned way which I forgot how to do so Henry had to do it for me. He has to call WordPress today because they haven’t been able to figure out what the problem is, so I told him to tell them I’m going to SUE THEM and he was like, “Yes, because that will make them really want to help us fix this.” And it’s funny because I’m sure whatever broke my blog is something that I did all on my own, because this isn’t some widespread WordPress epidemic.)

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Nov 062015
 

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Last night, Wendy-and-Summer, Debbie, and I met up with BARB at Villa Reale for her BIRTHDAY. Don’t worry, though–I didn’t go too far out of my way. I can walk there from work in like 3 minutes now that I accidentally know my way around town. (It’s right down the street from the library that I just discovered a few weeks ago!)

Wendy was late because she has a baby now so we just sat around and talked about her for a while and it was really therapeutic for all of us, I think.

(Seriously, though, Wendy’s baby is the sweetest and I almost want another but then Henry reminds me that I’m only capable of loving one person at a time, and I’m not sure how Chooch would feel when he suddenly wasn’t that person anymore.)

Anyway, then Wendy and Summer arrived and everyone decided to get pizza except for me, because I’m the difficult one, so I got spaghetti while they all scratched their heads and started scribbling out pie charts to determine how they were going to split up their pizzas while I just sat over there with my own personal meal and a fork.

I don’t like sharing!

Barb talked about how one of her dreams was to be an over-the-road truck driver, and I think it was Debbie who said she would be scared to sleep in the truck though because what if a serial killer came after her but I reasoned that sleeping in the cab would probably be safe because serial killers aren’t going to mess with truck drivers since they could possibly be brethren, unless you’re some Aileen Wuornos-wannabe. DISCUSS.

God, I missed having these pointless conversations at work. Because now that I sit near Todd, Glenn, and Amber hadababy, our conversations are Mensa-quality; we discuss the Pythagorean Theorem and its many proofs at least 3 times a week for no reason other than we’re fucking geniuses.

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My favorite part about the Villa is that you have to go down a creepy staircase to the basement in order to reach the bathroom, which is decorated in 1980s shades of peach, and the Designing Women probably would have felt very comfortable stepping inside to powder their noses.

I always think of my friend Alyson when I’m in public restrooms. When I was pregnant and we were scoping out places to have my baby shower, I sent her a picture of the loo in the Elizabeth Fire Hall party room (also in the basement!!) and it was a really big deal at the time because that was back when I had my pink Motorola Razr and Henry was an absolute tyrant about my data usage.

I thought of her last night too, when I had to climb a step in order to board the elevated stall. I think she would have appreciated the regal privacy of it all, like literally being on a throne.

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Barb’s gift from me was one of my succulent propagations. This is the first one from my nursery that I’ve given away! It’s a Black Prince, and I gave it to her unnamed, so let’s see what she decides on. The tea cup is from Wendy’s baby shower!

There was a big debate yesterday over whether or not I should get a gift bag for the succulent. Actually, the debate was basically just Glenn telling me it was bad idea and that it wasn’t going to fit, because in his monotone, monochromatic, monosyllabic world, gift bags are monosized, and that monosize only fits thimbles, I guess.  So I said, “You’re wrong” and went out to CVS where not only did I buy an adequate-sized giftbag, I USED THE SELF CHECK-OUT.

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Barb, I did all of these things for you! And here you thought you were only getting a stupid plant, but this gift had LAYERS: an argument with Glenn, a flagrant display of my newfound independence at a store I knew how to find on my own, memorabilia from Wendy’s shower… what else? Dirt that Henry bought, I guess. So much went into this!

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In addition to placing bets on how long it will take Barb to murder this baby succulent, let’s add the phrase “pics or it didn’t happen!” to her repertoire of “Things That Were Popular to Say in 2010 But Barb’s Just Learned How To Use Them.”

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Man, it was so nice to see these ladies. I mean, whatever, Wendy will be back to work in a few weeks and I’ll be over it after the second day, probably (kidding!).  I miss Barb fucking up the Roll call emails and enabling my Diva mentality, and I miss Debbie’s spot-on snark sessions and her ability to fall while standing perfectly still. I’m just glad that we’re doing an OK job at keeping in touch, although Barb needs to step it up!

Barb drove me home, not narrating the drive nearly as much as I hoped she would, although she did offhandedly say, “We’re gonna take this Liberty exit here…” while trying to exit the parking garage. After she dropped me off, I was walking up to my house and a big fat gray cat was licking itself on my sidewalk! He ran off down my driveway, so I followed him.

“What are you doing?” Barb shouted from her car across the street, waiting to pull out of the parking lot.

I’M CHASING A CAT BARB, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE.

(Look, I don’t see her every day anymore, so when I do, I have to milk it for every last drop of blog fodder. I LOVE YOU BARB!)

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Nov 042015
 

In addition to plopping tears all over the place, eating cookies, and having my dancing skills mocked, there was also lots of group picture-taking and haunted basement exploring! Chris stepped away from her own celebrations to PERSONALLY escort Chooch and me down into the basement. Oh yeah, that’s us, being escorted to a place by the BRIDE.

“They literally don’t care what you do around here,” she said, nodding toward the front desk. We poked around a little but come on—it’s me and Chooch. We came back later with Lauren, Tony, Nate and some dude. Nate and some dude were too scared to venture very far, but the rest of us kept exploring further into the depths of the George Washington Hotel and it was AWESOME.

There was a sunken event room down there and I was obsessed with it. It had a medieval vibe. 

But parts of the basement definitely should have been cordoned off from the public, like this FLOODED STORAGE ROOM, WHAT:

Chooch: I’m over here with Lauren. I’m fine! I don’t have a crush on her now or anything!

Serial killer work bench.

Honestly, I was half-afraid that we were going to become reluctant witnesses to a murder down there.

But then it was time to go back upstairs for more pictures! You can tell I’ve been drinking when I’m actively participating in having my image captured.

The bartender took this of us when we were waiting for Chooch to retrieve Lauren and Tony for a Table 15 photo. April and I both agree that we have no recollection what we were doing in this shot, other than obviously performing the Waiting for Chooch to Retrieve Lauren and Tony jig.

And then she took this wonderfully blurry group shot of us, but that’s OK. IT’S STILL A CUTE PICTURE.

Fun fact: two days before the wedding, I said to Henry, “So…are you cutting your hair for the wedding or….?”

Henry, without looking up from his phone (honestly, nothing he looks at on his phone is interesting!) said, “I don’t know…why?”

“Oh no reason, I just don’t want to look like I brought Billy Bob with me as my date,” I answered with passive-aggressive cheer.

Without saying a word, Henry stormed out of the house and came back with his woodhick follicles shorn into a respectable, modern style.

Meanwhile, Henry dozed off at the table while we were excavating George Washington’s bowels. Chris took this from her cousins’s phone and I am forever grateful!

(“I WASN’T SLEEPING!” Henry whined.)

And then this happened (I need to buy a real copy!):  

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Sometime around 11, the DJ announced that the reception was ending but that the party was going to move to the hotel bar. We couldn’t stay (THANKS CHOOCH) so we went over to say our goodbyes, which is when Chooch accidentally pulled Monica to the ground, which in some customs is considered GOOD LUCK for the marriage. 

Just saying. 

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Oct 302015
 

After cocktail hour, we finally got to hug Chris and Monica during the receiving line thing and you know that I:

  1. really like them
  2. was properly liquored

because I was really excited about this part! I don’t know if Henry hugged them too. He was behind me and I wasn’t paying attention. I’m going to call him at work right now and find out.

Me: When we were at Chris and Monica’s wedding, did you hug them in the receiving line?

Henry: Did I hug who?

Me: Chris and Monica! [No, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, you idiot.]

Henry: Um….[really long pause] I don’t remember.

Let’s just say that he gave them the good ol’ Service Salute. Whatever that is. Hopefully not an euphemism for something disgusting.

Luckily, Table 15 was super easy to find because it was the first table we had to walk past. (If that was intentional, thank you!) We got to sit with Nate, April, Lauren, and Tony and it was basically the best table ever. (In my opinion, anyway. There could have been some intense debates about Victorian funerary customs and vintage wheelchair exchanges at another table that I was unaware of, and then that would the best table ever.)

Chooch sat down and was like “Fuck yeah, bread!” and immediately cleaved it with all the grace of a basic Jack the Ripper.

Before dinner was served, a few people went up to give speeches, at which point I had some bizarre allergic reaction to something in the air and while it probably looked like I was crying, it was actually my eyes trying to wash away whatever was poisoning them, like I had just looked at a picture of a nude Donald Trump.  So if you saw me sniffling and dabbing my eyes with the tissues that were handed out before the wedding ceremony, that’s what was going on. I wasn’t like, touched by all of the loving words or anything sentimental like that. Please.

We had the perfect view of the first dance! I wonder why that guy was taking a picture of me.

The first dance is the part that makes me nervous when I think about my future wedding, and by future I mean future LIFE because I highly doubt I will ever experience the emotional stress and financial burden of planning a wedding in this current lifetime. No I know, you’re right. I shouldn’t think that way….

…I should just dump Henry and find someone dumb enough to want to marry me! I mean, as soon as Henry finishes all of my current and upcoming projects, that is. He’s still under contract.

Bitch, please.

Chooch’s infamous cup of urine.

As a starter, we all enjoyed a cup of delicious pumpkin soup. Chooch rejected it immediately because he won’t eat anything that’s not a chicken nugget or full of Red 40.  I had some plans to chug his cup after I finished my own soup, but then I was distracted with ridiculing Henry for not using the right spoon. You can put a different shirt on him, but the blue collar is in his blood, you guys.

Next, we had a salad, which Chooch also refused. I think Henry probably ate his, though. Henry can’t stand seeing salads go to waste. I always leave onions and tomatoes behind, which Henry predictably vacuums up with his mustachioed Hoover-hole.

“Why are people doing that?” Chooch asked when various people started tapping their glasses with silverware.

“To get Chris and Monica to kiss,” I explained, at which point Chooch nodded that he understood and reached for a knife, which Henry snatched from his fingers with a quickness. Have you met my kid? He does nothing gently and we really didn’t feel like picking shards of glass out of our hair, clothes, and eyes that evening.

For my main course, I got a giant pile of sauteed vegetables. It was a beautiful sight! I’m used to getting skimped when I select the vegetarian option, but I was presented with so much food that I actually couldn’t finish. Thumbs up, G.Wash Hotel! Those mashed potatoes, tho.

Sometime during all of this, the Puddles Pity Party cover of “Royals” started to play and I got so happy. I turned toward the brides’ table to illustrate my approval with a thumbs up and Chris and Monica smiled back, flashed a peace sign, flapped their arms, I can’t remember. But the point is I SHARED AN INSIDE MOMENT THING WITH THE BRIDES AND YOU DIDN’T.

Because you weren’t at the Puddles Pity Party show with us. And that is when Chris said to Monica, “I want to have this song played at our wedding.” I WAS THERE WHEN THAT IDEA WAS BUT A SEEDLING.

Those are not tabled ghosts in the background. It’s just some linen protecting the cookie table from us vultures.

Chooch’s view of Table 15.

I think this was right after Nate said, “OK kid, let’s put a moratorium on the Minecraft talk now.”

If it were up to Chooch, he’d have pulled a chair up to the brides’ table. Henry had to keep stopping him from going over there and bugging them and it was kind of hilarious. I mean, I told him leaving the leash at home was a bad idea.

In lieu of a wedding cake, Chronica opted for donuts and it was perfect. Henry actually made the display for them and here’s how that happened:

One night, Henry and I were sitting on the couch when Chris messaged me with pictures of donut displays and asked, “Do you think Henry could make us something like this?” and I said out loud, “Pfft, yeah, this is definitely something that you could make” and Henry was like, “Wait, what am I doing? Can I at least see it before you tell them yes?”

“I already told them yes, but here, you can look if you want.”

And luckily it was something that he was able to do. Then he thought he was King Shit because he got to have Facebook messaging parties with them and I wasn’t included. Whatever, Henry. I got to help Chris paint pumpkins so I contributed just as much wedding labor as him.

(Yes, it’s a competition.)

I mean, the donuts were fabulous, but can we talk about that cookie table though? I can’t believe I didn’t get any photos of the actual table once it was unveiled, but I can confirm that it was quite the spread. The cookie  table is one of the only traditional Pittsburgh things that I really do enjoy. Because who doesn’t love a veritable cookie buffet? And then you get to fill a carry-out container before you leave! Pittsburgh weddings rule.

And lemon squares rule. And snickerdoodles. And those chocolate cookies with powdered sugar that get me so stoked on life whenever I see they’re an option. And they even had Star Wars chocolates! Also, the coffee was spectacular. Like, drink-it-black because it’s so spectacular. The next morning, when I was nursing a slight hangover, I murmured to no one in particular, “I miss that coffee from last night.”

I wasn’t ready to have this picture taken, but whatever. I’m not even standing up straight! Thanks for all your hard work, Henry. I know lifting a heavy iPhone requires much effort.

This photo brings me so much joy because it’s the perfect representation of Chooch and Monica’s frenemyship.

Let’s be serious for a second though: I’m really happy that Chooch was included in the festivities because he loves those girls. And also, while Henry spent most of the evening half-asleep and alone at the table, Chooch and I had ridiculous amounts of fun running around, exploring the bowels of the hotel (next post!), and BEST OF ALL: dancing to our jam, “Call Me Maybe”!!!!

In case you were unfamiliar, Chooch and I are huge Carly Rae Jepsen fans. “Call Me Maybe” was our anthem during the summer of 2012 (I mean, duh) and we had some real interesting, impromptu dance parties in honor of it. So when I had to fill something in for the “What song will get you on the dance floor?” question on Chronica’s RSVP card, it was a no-brainer. Literally zero thought was required. However, I had forgotten about that, so Chooch and I kept stalking the DJ until finally Chris intercepted us on one of our clandestine missions and said, “You don’t have to request it! It’s going to get played, you wrote it on the card, remember?”

We were out in the hall when it came on and made a beeline for the dance floor, where all self-awareness and ability to move our limbs in a reasonable manner evaporated.

  

 

Again, that phone is super heavy for Henry to hold up. We’re lucky he had the strength to capture this 5 second video for us looking like derelicts on the dance floor.

And then this beautiful mother-son moment was ruined when Chooch scoffed, “No wonder no one asked you to prom! You suck at dancing!”

“I had a boyfriend so I didn’t need someone to ask me! I didn’t go to prom because I didn’t WANT TO GO TO PROM!”

God, what a jerk. And in the middle of our song, no less!

I do suck at dancing, though.

This is the dance that Chooch said he “nailed.” Sorry to say it, son, but you got your mommy’s dance moves.

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Oct 282015
 

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When Chris started working at the Law Firm in 2013, we became pretty fast friends. And after I met her girlfriend Monica, they both became two of my favorite people of all time, and I just can’t speak highly enough of them. Chris proposed to Monica later that year and I was so excited for them, like genuinely excited!

(Being proposed to. I WONDER WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE.)

I even had the honor of taking their engagement pictures on what felt like the coldest day of the winter. But it was totally worth it!

Chris ended up abandoning me last fall when she left the Law Firm, and we did the whole “Keep in touch” song and dance, and you know how that goes. I don’t ever see anyone I used to work with at other jobs, which is really depressing, but I guess that’s life.

(You can only invite old co-workers to so many game nights and pie parties before you have to accept the fact that their unwillingness to RSVP might actually supposed to be sending a message.)

But in Chris’s case, we actually have kept in touch and I am so thankful for that because she and Monica have become very great friends to not just me, but Henry and Chooch, too. We still have ice cream dates and Monica still ruthlessly trolls Chooch, and I even got to help paint some pumpkins for their wedding. Which, you know, was really just manual labor masked as a casual hang-out sesh, but still — I’ll take it.

(I was a Girl Scout, OK? Making friends is important to me!)

Anyway, all of this is a long-winded, cavity-inducing preface to say that on Saturday, we attended the wedding of Chris and Monica, which they perfectly dubbed early on as Chronica2015. It was a beautiful evening at the George Washington Hotel in Washington, PA and now I’m going to bombard this space with a ton of pictures because I was giddy, punch drunk, and in a frenzy to capture as much as I could.

I was very intent on having the three of us subtly match. I bought my dress first, a Modcloth masterpiece* of flowers, foxes, and squirrels. I wore maroon tights with it, so I bought Chooch a pair of maroon slacks (lol, slacks) and a gray shirt, and then Henry bought a maroon dress shirt with a gray tie to match Chooch’s shirt.

“I just want us to look like a cohesive unit!” I cried, and they were just like STFU, woman.

Everything was looking pretty good until Chooch jacked up the whole palette with his idiotic bow tie from Spirit Halloween. Oh well – you win some, you lose some.

*(LOL, no. Modcloth is so misleading. The dress fit me so awkwardly in the arms and on the way to the wedding, I was tugging at it and squirming around in the passenger seat, crying about how I was never going to make it through the evening, but then I got drunk pretty quickly and was fine. Modcloth (n): clothing that fits fine once you’re too drunk to notice that one arm is longer than the other.)

I was mildly concerned that Chooch was going to be That Kid who disrupted the ceremony with his unstoppable motor mouth or ill-timed vomiting (you never know what Henry feeds us!), but he sat quietly and was genuinely interested in what was going on, and also checking my face constantly for tears gave him purpose because he’s a jerk.

(I did cry. Kind of a lot. It was just so wonderful and the readings were perfect! One was from the Princess Bride, I think!)

A few days before the wedding, I asked Chooch if he was cry. I assumed that he was going to snap, “No!” right away, but instead, he considered this for a few seconds before answering, “I’m not sure yet. I haven’t decided.” And then, “Are there going to be snacks?” Like he was already planning on stuffing my meat cleaver purse with snack-packs of Goldfish and Go-gurt.

Texting Nate the above picture was how I let him and April know that we had arrived.

Both brides were absolute beauties.But in all honesty, they could have just walked down the aisle in clothes dirty and tattered from an afternoon of being chased through a muddy forest in Texas by Leatherface and still looked amazing because, and here’s the part where you’ll want to hold on to your gag reflex, they had that TRULUV thing going on. I kept looking over at Henry and thinking, “should we do this or nah.”

But then my Magic 8 ball cracked and that blue ink shit got in my mouth and I died.

The ceremony was fast-paced and succinct without feeling rushed. All of the weddings I’ve attended as an adult have been pretty snappy, but I definitely have terrible childhood memories of sweating for an hour on an uncomfortable church pew during family weddings. Catholics, man.

Then it was time for cocktail hour! Or, as Chooch referred to it: Snack Time.

PRESENT. Henry wrapped it.

Cocktail hour was held upstairs in the space outside of the ballroom. I ran straight to the bar and grabbed the signature cocktail: apple cider margarita, yes. I sucked it back real quick and Henry gave me the “Watch it!” face that fathers are born with.

I switched to wine after this because the apple cider margaritas refused to be sipped slowly.

The hotel lobby was way too fancy for Henry. The front desk wasn’t even behind bulletproof glass!

I helped paint some of those pumpkins! Chris gave me cake to take home in return, so it was pretty fair.

Chooch chose the very spot to sign, because why wouldn’t he. Henry reluctantly signed it much later in the evening because he hates doing things at the same time as us. God forbid anyone thinks we’re a COHESIVE UNIT.


Chooch stuck a pineapple slice from the “snack table” onto the rim of his pineapple juice and said, “Nailed it.” Then he proceeded to call it his cup of urine for the rest of the night.

Far in the distance, you might spot one Maestro Chooch sitting at the piano while Lauren and Tony helplessly look on. I eventually went over to fetch him and luckily, the din was just loud enough that probably no one heard him actually tickling (or tackling, in his case) the ivory.

Aerial shot of the ceremony room — it was so pretty!

Henri the Manservant going to the car to fetch Chooch’s book.

Henri the Manservant fetching us more drinks.

His book kept him busy.

LOL, just kidding. There were way too many adults around for him to pester.

Chris said that one of the portraits in the hotel is supposed to be haunted, but it’s shockingly not this one. I feel like Chooch would be good at haunting a portrait.

Ladies room selfie from the haunted basement! My all-time favorite thing to do at places like this is EXPLORE. Thank god Chooch was there because Henry was like, “No, we were assigned to Table 15, and that is where I’m staying.”

I’m glad that Monica let Chooch be invited, because he and I had a ridiculous amount of fun.

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The infamous Table 15. Dun dun dunnn.

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So autumnal and cozy! I loved our Table 15. It was The Law Firm table, rounded out by Nate and April, and Lauren and Tony. I was happy to not have to struggle with awkward small talk! However, if you ask Henry, I was hammered before we even sat down, so I probably would have done a fine job carrying on a slurred convo about various skeletons in my closet and the time Henry viciously chucked a muffin at my head, because that’s what I do when I’m drunk: make people feel uncomfortable from my real talk.

Lots more photos to post! Check back soon! Unless you hate weddings!

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Oct 172015
 

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Pie Eaters:

  • Chris and Monica
  • Angie and Sammy ;)
  • Kelly, Zac, and Judy
  • Steph and Kian
  • Sam + one of her friends and her dad
  • Kara, Harland, and Theo
  • Robbie & Nikki
  • Elizabeth and Rachel
  • Patty and Tim
  • Jackie and Tim
  • John, Jennifer, Hailey, Abby and Gavin
  • Gayle, Lily, and Faithann
  • Maggie, Ivan, Annabelle and Lila
  • Amber and Brian
  • Erin and Brian
  • Amber and Teddy ;)
  • Meggan, Olivia, and Sophia
  • Alex, Kelly, and Finn
  • Elaina, Lena and Evey
  • Alisa-and-Cara-4ever
  • Rob and Nancy
  • Sandy, Ben, Elena, and Zoe
  • Janna
  • Shawn, Jess, and Anais
  • Sean
  • Wendy, Shawn and Summer ;)
  • Lisa, Matt, and Gigi

OK, trying to not be too cheesy (quichey if we’re keeping with a pie theme?) here, but maybe my favorite thing about the pie party MIGHT be the people. I know, it’s crazy to think about. There are actually some people I like! The entire afternoon was like a perfect pie filled with all the various berries in my life: work berries, childhood berries, Internet berries, family berries…this is like a rejected inspirational poster. I need to watch Faces of Death a few times and then come back and finish writing this because I’m clearly losing my identity.

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My  favorite thing to do is take pictures at my parties when people aren’t prepared because I love the somber faces juxtaposed with background festivities.

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In this picture, I like to imagine that Gayle’s granddaughter is including “I dunno, some strange party for pies?” in a Snapchat story.

(I still don’t like Snapchat.)

 

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My favorite part of the pie party, and this made Henry roll his eyes and groan, was when Tim came over and asked me how Riot Fest was. I must have lit up like a red light district in Amsterdam because no one ever wants me to talk about Riot Fest, let alone broaches the subject on their own! THANK YOU, TIM.

Sigh. Riot Fest.

I miss you.

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I just reunited with Angie a week ago, and I was so stoked that she arrived near the beginning of the party and stay for most of the afternoon! And her dog Sammy was freaking adorable. Chooch “won” him in a bet but Sammy was like, “Nope, I go nowhere with the pink-haired kid.” Smart dog! And in the background of the picture, you can see Nikki and Robbie, Judy, and then at the next table, Rob and Nancy. I have known Rob on the Internet for at least nine years, back in the LiveJournal days. We’ve definitely gotten to know each other better through Facebook though, and I was happy that he and his wife finally made it to a pie party! They brought an apple pie pizza, and you know how I love unconventional and creative pies!

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Alisa announced their arrival by slapping my ass when I was fluffing the pie table (looks matter to me, OK? I’m just naturally a very vain person); it scared the fuck out of me and I experienced a split second of anger because I couldn’t imagine who…but then it was just Cara and Alisa and I felt relieved. I don’t see these two broads nearly enough and every time there’s a party happening so I can’t talk to them as much as I would like, which is why we’re going to go out soon, RIGHT GUYS?

Also, if you’re ever in the market for a tutu or other kid accessories, you might want to check out Alisa’s Totally2TooCute Facebook page!

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Here we have Gayle demonstrating how everyone looks at me at work. (Except BARB – she only ever looked at me with dire reverence, adoration, and awe.)

(Except for one time when she was in a mean mood and got snippy with me when I said I didn’t want to be in charge of the fall food fest we were having that month at work and her biting words made me cry so I went into Wendy’s office and said, “Why is Barb being such a BITCH today!?” and then Barb found out she upset me and began repenting, much like Gayle when she forgot my last birthday.)

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I hate it when Henry to talks to people and I don’t know what’s being said!

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Tim and Jackie looking adorable with Bambi Sickafoose. This was my first time meeting Tim and he has some strong Henry-esque qualities, one being that he was able to endure a table full of girls talking about boys and dating, while still quietly enjoying his pie.

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When Wendy arrived, every person from The Law Firm dropped their forks and engulfed her because BABY SUMMER > pie.

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In a shocking twist, Henry wore a shirt in a color not invented by a 2-year-old mixing together all the paints in a $5 watercolor palette. Also, I know for a fact that in this picture, Henry was talking to Sandy and Alex about the Pittsburgh Blogger Cookie Exchange they both roped me into joining by pointing out that it’s not like I’m going to be baking any of the cookies anyway, and I was like, “Good point guys, sure, I’ll join!” and then my next conversation was with Henry, letting him know that he will need to make 6 dozen cookies at some point in December.

6 dozen totally doesn’t seem like a lot.

“Yeah, but you’re going to pick some ridiculous cookie that costs a fortune to make, I know it,” Henry grumbled. This is probably very likely to happen. Stay tuned, I guess?

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Monica thinks she ruined this picture of Chris and Amber2‘s baby Teddy, but I think she adds a certain je ne sais quoi to it.

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Kara, Elizabeth, and Sandy’s backs are all in this photo and I’m angry with myself because there is not one picture of their faces from that day. I’m not as good as shoving my camera in people’s grills as I used to be.

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SEAN CAME TO THE PIE PARTY! I haven’t seen him in a hot minute, and all the Law Firm people were stoked on his appearance.  Here he is posing with Amber1 and her boyfriend Brian who I just met for the first time and already like him a lot because Amber taught him how to gush over me and we all know those are the kind of people I like best. FAN ME WITH YOUR INVISIBLE PALMS, PEOPLE.

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This is the scene where Angie uses Connect Four to teach my nine-year-old how to gamble.

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I love everything about this picture, but mostly that the FAMOUS CHERRY PIE is nearly devoured in the forefront. That pie.

That goddamn pie.

…………………….

Anyway. Now that I’ve changed into a dry shirt, the girl all the way to the right in the photo arrived earlier in the day with her dad and I was thinking to myself, “OMG some random people FINALLY took my Instagram and Twitter invitations seriously and showed up! This is fucking fantastic! The pie party is famous! I hope they don’t have chainsaws behind their backs!”

But no, it was just a friend of Henry’s niece Sam, who wasn’t there yet.  Her dad was extremely friendly and started asking me all of these questions about the pie party.

“So, is this for a fundraiser?”

“No…”

“Are you selling the pies?”

“No…” (BUT MAYBE!? I could use some extra concert ticket cash….)

“So…it’s just for people to eat pie?”

“…yes?”

“Oh wow, that is an excellent idea!”

He was literally DELIGHTED about this. It was pretty adorable. I told him he was welcome to grab a plate, but he said he was going to come back. That’s what they all say. And actually, they usually do now that I think about it. I had a Cure party once, I think it was in 2000, when the Cure was nominated for a Grammy (they lost, because fuck the Grammy’s) and I invited some guy who was walking past my house. He said he had to go and buy cigarettes but that he would come back.

AND HE DID.

I have no idea what his name even was, but I have a picture of him in one of my photo albums. So, it happened.

Anyway, much like Cigarette Boy, Sam’s Friend’s Dad came back later, with a pumpkin pie! Holy shit, pie is like the best social device ever.

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Henry never sword fights this gently with me.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Wendy’s pink shoes.

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Wendy and Teddy and Leopold. If you don’t know who Leopold is, then just go away. Go. I don’t want to know you.

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Robbie and Nikki, baker of the truly amaze blackberry cream cheese jalapeno baby pies. Also, super cute couple! They came to visit us a few weeks ago and while we sat around drinking fancy beer that I could kind of swallow without too much of a grimace, I realized that in some ways, their relationship has the dynamics of a young Henry and Erin. The good dynamics though, don’t worry. Otherwise, what an insult!

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Look at this adorable family! I’m so glad that Matt and Lisa managed to swing by toward the end of the day, because it was Gigi’s birthday and we all sang happy birthday to her! (Well, technically I lip-synced because I hate singing Happy Birthday.)

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It always makes me so happy to see so many of my favorite people from different areas of my life colliding under the pretense of pie. I know so many of my friends have really busy lives, and the fact that they make an effort to stop by for these things doesn’t go unnoticed by me. For instance, I had no idea that my good old friend Shawn (a/k/a Wonka) was planning on making the treacherous trek to the Vortex in the South, otherwise known as South Park.  He brought his girlfriend Jess and his daughter Anais, who was wearing the cutest cat sweatshirt ever and I want one in my dumb size.

Also, Chooch has been hanging out a lot recently with these twins he’s known since first grade. They come to all of his birthday parties, but then over the summer, their mom started contacting me to set up play dates, and you guys, after being a parent for nine years, this is the first time I have ever associated with a school mom! I mean, in a positive manner, that is. (Catholic School clusterfuck, never forget.) I have been very tentative about this because I am so afraid of other moms not liking me and then not wanting their kids to hang out with Chooch. (I’m not kidding, the shit that went down at that Catholic school gave me a real tight complex.) But, I invited Meggan and the girls to the pie party and they came and I was happy to get to talk a little bit with her!

This was a pretty huge deal for me. I even told her that she was the first mom I became friends with on Facebook and she was pretty surprised.

I think I’m getting better at this parenting thing.

Nine years in.

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The Budding Bromance. I was so happy that Wendy brought her husband Shawn with her because Henry needs friends. Shawn is really good at building things and I kind of want them to start a We Can Make Shit For You business together but then when would Henry have time to make the shit that I want him to make?

So, just forget it.

I kept trying to snag a photo of them together, but Henry’s not (always) stupid and foiled my mission every time.

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Jess and Angie, a new friendship forged while eating pie! If that’s not heartwarming then you truly are a sociopath.

But you can still come to the next pie party! I don’t discriminate.

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Monica always wears the most apropos t-shirts. Also, one of my favorite moments was when Chooch screamed, “Chris! Monica tried to stab me with a knife!” Those two are the poster children for Frenemies, so much so that when Chooch found out he’s invited to Chris and Monica’s wedding, he mumbled, “Does Monica know? I’m surprised she let that happen.”

I think they should do a comedy together. Something like Curly Sue. I could see them joining forces and being shrewd scam artists, with lots of hilarious bickering in between. And probably someone dies at the end.

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And what’s a pie party without missing children? Some kids are just too good at hide and seek. Don’t worry, everyone was found at the end of the day.

I don’t think a single one of us managed to avoid falling into a deep pie coma that day.

WHO’S EXCITED FOR THE NEXT ONE?!

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Oct 142015
 

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After taking last year off, the pie party returned triumphantly to celebrate its fifth year. I thought that was a pretty big deal and wanted to make buttons to commemorate the occasion, but as usual I got side-tracked and Henry failed to build me a button-making factory, or at the very least, produce a button maker for me. I might still do it though. BUTTONS FOR EVERYONE.

You can wear it next to your Poor Henry button.

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We didn’t get our usual pavilion, and at first I was sad about that but this one ended up being better. It was smaller, but when you figure people are coming and going all afternoon, plus all the kids are on the playground, we don’t really need all the space that our usual pavilion offers. So I only cried about it for a few minutes and then moved on with my day.

When we arrived at the park on Sunday, there was a family already there, making themselves at home. The dad was grilling next to the pavilion while the mom was pushing the kids on the swings. How quaint! Now get the fuck out. We rolled up and started pulling all of our shit out of the car and piling it on the tables, so the dad was like, “OK, I see where this is going” and moved all of their darling picnic accessories out of the pavilion and to a picnic table down by the playground. It’s a free country, so we let them nervously eat their All American lunch while Chooch slowly swung himself on a swing across from them, wearing a hoodie and black sunglasses and looking like he probably had a switchblade in his pocket.

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When Robbie and his girlfriend Nikki arrived with their adorable and ridiculously delicious black raspberry cream cheese jalapeno mini-pies, Nikki said that she was making a sign for them but Robbie stopped her and said, “Erin will have signs there, trust me.” AND DID I. I found my Pie Party 5 notes after the fact and forget that I had originally wanted to carve the pie names into apples (lol) but instead I printed out mini versions of my Cherry’s Eyes painting, which had become the unofficial logo of this year’s party, and then I taped them to colorful mini Popsicle sticks. HELPFUL HINT: those things bled into the pies. It’s been three days though and I’m still alive. Hopefully you are, too.

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For our “outside the box” pie entry, Henry made sweet potato whoopie pies with maple marshmallow buttercream. They were OK. He could definitely work on some gentler assemblage, that’s for sure. Also, he almost didn’t make them.

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Everyone was like, “What makes this Romanian?” and I was like, “It’s great at gymnastics? I don’t know! Ask a gypsy!” It’s no secret (lol) that I’m obsessed with Romania so I knew I needed something at the pie party to represent my inexplicable affinity.

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Our third representation was a rosemary pear pie with cheddar crust. I don’t think I liked it but I can’t remember.

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I was about to brag about blowing up the P I E balloons but then I remembered that it was actually Chooch, being helpful for once. So never mind. I strung them up, though!

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Since this is our fifth tango with pie worshiping, you might think that we have the wrinkles all ironed out. And surprisingly, you would be mostly correct! I have learned from my mistakes, that’s for sure.

One big mistake I usually make every year is asking someone to come early to help me decorate. This never works. No matter what, said person (usually Janna) doesn’t arrive until an hour after the party starts so instead of just doing it myself, I’m “just doing it myself” while also being extremely bitter and angry. This year I only planned as much as I could handle on my own, and it worked out well. I finished decorating and laying out my succulents with little to no sweat dotting my brows like salt-buttons and I was still in a relatively OK mood by the time I finished!

(There was one minor explosion, and that was when the staple gun ran out of staples and I assumed there were no more staples so I started Hulking around in a fury until Henry calmly filled the staple gun with more staples because, would you look at that, he came prepared for once!)

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Another is relying too much on my phone to take pictures. This year, Henry conveniently left my portable charger thing at home so my phone was pretty much at 5% all afternoon, leaving me no choice but to use my actual camera. (And we even remembered to charge the battery!) I made a pointed effort to play around with the settings before anyone arrived to compensate for the frustrating pavilion lighting. #fauxtographer

Probably the biggest mistake I made the last time was being too ambitious, and by that I mean I put too much on Henry’s plate, baking-wise, and he was one angry motherfucker. I had him make two pies, two different types of mini-pies, three different types of pie pops, and apple pie flavored popcorn. Because it was the fourth pie party and I wanted him to do pie four ways. Get it?

It was a pretty big fail.  We were both so stressed out and tired that we could barely enjoy ourselves at the party. It always starts out as such a fun idea when it’s in my head! I love the planning stages, but when it’s time to start making it a tangible thing, it’s like TEARS MURDER BLOOD HEAR TATTACK.

This year, I went easy on Henry, and myself. I mean, yeah, I still gave him three things to make and when I came home from a haunted trail at 9:30 on Pie Party Eve and noticed that Henry hadn’t made the whoopie pies in my absence, I might have raised the roof a bit, and not because I was dancing to old school R&B jams. I never pass up an opportunity to remind Henry that my fingernails are deep in his balls, so he got to bakin’.

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I made that bunting myself. I really hate crafting.

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The key to proficiently pork out on pie is PORTION. I like to fill a plate with thin slivers of many types of pie so that it essentially equals one slice. That way I get to hopefully sample everything. LOL, who am I kidding? There are no rules. Just grab a plate and stuff your face and do your best to convince yourself that you’re not going to feel like you’re in gastro hell later.

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This year, we had several savory pies! Kelly brought a taco pie, Patty brought two zucchini pies, and Elizabeth cooked up a vegetarian chili pie—major hat tip to her for that one. It was wonderful and helped me avoid an early sugar crash. Sandy brought not-pie which consisted of a veggie platter and chips. Salt is such a great counterbalance to pie! Especially when most of us were foregoing lunch in favor of turning our bodies into pie trashcans.

 

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Amber1 made a delightful S’mores pie which I have never had before and it was a big hit! Gayle brought apple pie, apple donuts, and apple cider from the Apple Castle apple festival! She’s still sucking up to me for MISSING MY BIRTHDAY. (Her self-assigned penance has been to give me an unbirthday gift every 30th since July. This arrangement has been working out well for me.) Kara brought a shoofly pie that she bought from a real Amish man at a farmer’s market last Friday and I didn’t manage to snag a piece! I hate myself.

We had pumpkin pie, an apple pie pizza from Rob, French silk, chocolate peanut butter, pecan, pistachio pie, Angie’s ricotta pie (light and lemony!)…so many pies.

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Carnage of Crust.

But! If I had to play favorites, there are two that make me salivate just at the sheer thought, and those are Chris and Monica’s ground cherry pie and Maggie’s cherry pie. Two completely different, totally winning cherry pies.

I may have mentioned to Maggie a few weeks ago that cherry pie is the most under-represented pie in pie parties of yesteryear, and it’s also my favorite type of fruit pie. I got Gayle to cut me a piece because right place, right time, and I was really happy to find that it was still warm! It was perfection. Not too tart and the crust was all buttery and grandma-approved. When Maggie told me it was her first attempt at a cherry pie, I was like STFU liar! But no, it’s true: Maggie was a powerful pie princess in a past life who heroically brought war-torn countries together with her baking prowess. So my only question is why doesn’t she bake us for us at work more often?!

And Chris and Monica’s ground cherry pie, good lord. Have you ever had a ground cherry? I only first heard of them last summer when one of my co-workers brought some in from the farmers market and said to me, “I heard you like weird fruit.” And how! So, ground cherries are yellowish-green and bigger than an average blueberry but smaller than a grape. They’re wrapped individually in husks and have a very mild flavor. At first, I was like, “These ground cherries are bomb!” But then I started to taste something familiar in them and it eventually dawned on me that they had a faint tomato flavor. I’m not a big fan of tomatoes on their own so I started to feel turned off by these not-cherries.

Until Chronica turned them into a sweet ass, bitchin’ pie. AND THE RECIPE WAS MENNONITE! I was so stoked to have Mennonite shit AND Amish shit at my pie party!  You guys know how open-minded I am about that stuff. If you ever see Chronica, give them a high five for ground cherry skills.

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The pie table is always completely jacked by the end of the day. I was bitching to Henry about how nice and pretty it looks until everyone starts plopping their pies down and then we forget to bring the little rustic buckets I use to put the forks in, so there’s an ugly bag of plastic forks junking shit up, and then Henry doesn’t care about paper plate aesthetics and brought leftover Halloween plates and super ugly, generic white plates with an ugly blue design that completely clashed with the autumnal tones of the burlap, leaves, and pie stands, but no! No, I’m not going to get all stressed out over this. I’m going to hand Sandy an ugly plate when we run out of the others and make some tight-lipped comment about how Henry ruins everything and then I’m going to move on from that moment of rage and instead of storming off into the woods and punching a tree until bark is protruding from my knuckles, I’m going to have another piece of pie.

OR IS IT PEACE OF PIE.

 

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