Nov 062015


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.


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.


(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!):  


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


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


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.


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.


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.)



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.


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!


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!


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.)


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


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.


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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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


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?”


“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?”


“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.


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.


Henry never sword fights this gently with me.



Ladies and gentlemen, Wendy’s pink shoes.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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Oct 142015


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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!


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!)


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’.



I made that bunting myself. I really hate crafting.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.



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Oct 122015

I’m not trying to say I’m some weirdo 50-year-old man living in a letter man jacket, but my high school experience was pretty awesome and I’m one of those rare breeds who genuinely enjoys reminiscing about those lost years. Of course there was drama and heartbreak and weird family bullshit, but the amount of fun times, crazy experiences, and really interesting friends I had definitely outweighs the bad. Some might say I even peaked in high school! (My personality and social skills have been on the fast decline ever since.)

Back in high school, my core group of friends consisted of Lisa, Angie and Martha (née Melissa). Given our first names, the obvious moniker for our crew was L.A.M.E. There were some boy members too, like Russ, Evan, Lawson, and Justin, but they weren’t cool enough to change the acronym. Girls rule, boys drool, obvi. Some of my best high school memories involve these people, and I always start to get just a tad bit nostalgic for those days in autumn, because let me tell you: we knew how to do haunted house hopping right.

Lisa, Jason, Jason, Angie, Jason. I believe this was at Phantoms in the Park.


Henry LOVES my LAME stories. J/k. He rolls his eyes at them pretty hard and then smirks but this is just because he’s jealous that I actually had friends in high school.



I loved being part of a group. I loved it so much that I even made a newsletter for us! Granted it was short-lived, but at least I made the effort to keep our group abreast of each others comings and goings. (I even rolled up each individual newsletter like a scroll! I don’t half-ass these things, guys.)

Lisa and Angie helped me get settled into my first apartment in January of 1998, when we were 18.

Sometimes we would let other people hang out with us too, like in this case, my friend Shawn.

I would usually invite That One Person to my parties that completely killed the vibe, which is why everyone always looks like they’re at a funeral in my party pictures. Typically That One Person was someone that I had just met in a chat room or literally invited in off the street. At this particular party, I distinctly remember it was my Iraqi next door neighbor Abdul, who was in the States to go to PIA – Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, and who my mom wanted me to call the FBI tip line about years later because she’s a racial profiler, but I low-key kind of wondered about him myself.

Anyway, my point is, these guys were used to my awkward social gatherings yet they still came around because Tru Franz, yo.

Seriously considering the ceiling Slinkie motif for my current home.

I lost touch with most of the LAME crew after high school, except for Lisa. Barring a few hiatuses due to geography and life in general, Lisa and I have managed to maintain a pretty consistent friendship. (It always blows my mind when someone willingly sticks by me for longer than three years! That’s usually the shelf life of my friendships because I’m so stupidly annoying and whiny and melodramatic and probably you could add a lot worse things to that list depending on which person you dig up from my friend graveyard.) But then over the summer, Angie posted an old group photo of LAME + our silent members on Facebook and it spawned a comment thread full of nostalgia and “I miss you”s and “We should”s. So I sent a group message to our crew, minus Martha who lives in Florida now but hopefully she will visit soon, and Russ who isn’t on Facebook. We all agreed that meeting up would be fantastic, and Lawson said that Russ was on board with it too.

But, you know how that goes.

That conversation wound up dead in the water, but then a few Friday nights ago, I was bored at work (Friday night late shift, you guys; the worst) so I resurrected the convo and BAM – plans were made to meet up at our old Denny’s hot spot less than a week later.  All day long, I was so excited for this to happen. I hadn’t seen Angie in over 10 years, and it had been even longer since I saw both Lisa and Angie together! Probably at one of my awkward parties in 1998. Lawson had to unfortunately back out the day of, but Lisa and Angie made it. I even snagged the corner booth in the back for us because I got there too early. (Story of my life.)

The level of comfort I felt was off the charts. We talked about our current lives and cracked up over old English project memories and there was definitely some gossip thrown in for good measure. Something terrible happened though! I always pride myself on having the best memory out of everyone I’m friends with—probably because if I write every goddamn thing down, and back in high school, I was VIDEOTAPING everything too. One might say I’m a little obsessed with preservation. Out of all of my friends, Lisa is probably the worst when it comes to remembering things. Sometimes I’ll call her and say, “Guess who I saw from high school?!” and then it’s like we’re on a really boring game show where I’m trying to help her guess who for a brand new washer and dryer. Anyway, on this night, we got on the aforementioned subject about how I was always pulling in strangers off the street, etc, and she said, “Do you remember when I was with you and you picked up that hitchhiker?”

Now, I definitely had a hitchhiker problem for several years, this sick compulsion to pull over and cart them around, and at one point it got so bad that I would actually drive around on highways SEEKING THEM OUT because death wish, I had one. But I didn’t remember Lisa ever being with me! She kept talking about it though, about how pissed she was, how it happened on the side of 79, and it started coming back to me. I began having a vague recollection of a blue-collared man getting in my car and then Lisa and I having a mild argument about it afterward.

Yes, that sounds about right.

And then Angie brought some letters and post cards I had sent her over the years and started reading them out loud. Lisa was like one gigantic eye roll at this point and I was fucking loving it. In case you were wondering, I haven’t changed much.

In 1993, I was in love with a man in Morocco and the sad part is that I remember this VERY CLEARLY and even the fact that Inner Circle’s “Sweat” was playing on the radio in the shop he was working in when I first saw him, what the fuck is wrong with me. And the waiter in the hotel in Capri, 1997? Yup, remember him too. Sorry, Henry!

And I still make my hearts like that, except mostly only with one strike-thru now, in case you were wondering.


Angie started reading this one letter I wrote her right after senior year, where I tell her in painstaking detail what my job at Olan Mills Portrait Studio entails and then SLICKLY delve right into a SALES PITCH. OMG I am definitely the same person. I try to trick Glenn into buying a painting from me pretty much 8x a week.

“Oh my god, Erin, what are you even writing about?” Angie cried, continuing to slough her way through my handwriting circle-jerk. Honestly, I was just in love with my handwriting and would start transcribing the ingredients of my omnipresent Slim Fast meal bars if I started to run out of original thoughts to scribble. And then she paused and asked, “I don’t know what letter this is…” I looked to where Angie was pointing and with that faux-exasperation that everyone loves to hate about me, I sighed, “That’s part of a PARENTHESIS, Angie. GOD!”

“Well, I didn’t know that!” she laughed. “There’s this weird line through it—-”

“Because that’s how I do it, Angie!”

Lisa was just like, “Oh my god.”

I get dramatic sometimes. Sometimes Lisa’s presence exacerbates that and 1996 Erin wants to come out and play (and whine and pout and cry and be bossy). It’s a familiarity thing.


LOL at my Precious Moments stationery and “A-Sexy Nemov” giving me the BEST birthday present when he took his shirt off at the Gymnastics Gala, OMG. I think this was Summer Olympic mania in 1996. I texted this to Christy and neither of us have distinct memories of loving this random Russian gymnast, but we both agreed that it sounds pretty typical of us. Especially the “A-Sexy” part.

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We totally overstayed our welcome at Denny’s and I loved every minute of it! Now we just need to drag Martha back from Florida and convince Lawson and Russ (and Evan if he’s not too cool for us now that he owns a tattoo shop — the same place I got my Marcy tattoo, actually!) that we won’t annoy them if they come hang out with us. (I mean, I can’t really promise that.) I think they should all come to my house and help me give Henry more gray hairs.

P.S. The Vegetarian Dinner Party of 1996. NEVER FORGET.

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Aug 272015

Our final day in Savannah was the best one. Octavia graciously invited us over for quite honestly the best meal we had on the entire trip – fruit salad, sweet potato hash with sausage (and a version with faux-sausage for me!), cheesy grits, eggs, and fried green tomatoes. And coffee in pretty cups!

All prepared by her husband, Dustin.

I’m drowning on my own drool (and not someone else’s, for once, you know, when I’m out whoring around) over here just thinking about it. I am always so terrible at hospitality issues. For example, if you were visiting Pittsburgh and came to my house for breakfast, I would hand you a Poptart, or guide you down the street to Eat n Park.

And that’s on a good day!

Octavia and Dustin’s kid, Tallulah, immediately glommed on to Chooch. I absolutely love when this happens. PAYBACK, CHOOCH.

Although, he only just pretends to be distressed by this. Deep down, he loves the attention. (But you guys, would you look at how freaking adorable she is? THOSE CURLS, THO.) They got along really well, if you don’t count the time Chooch was pushing her outside in a swing and accidentally slammed her into a tree, ugh.

Octavia’s house is stimulating in all of the best ways. They have two cats and a dog, and an entire room of instruments. It’s a musician’s wonderland and they told Chooch to have at it. He was like, “Seriously? You want me to make noise? YOU’RE TELLING ME I CAN MAKE NOISE?!” They very nearly acquired themselves a son that day.

OCTAVIA EVEN PLAYS THE ACCORDION. These people are swimming in talent and I kept hoping some of it would waft over my way.

And then she showed me some of her mixed media pieces and I was just like, “OK, when can we be sister wives already or nah?!”

As much as I was enjoying talking about art and music and our dislike for other mothers, it was getting later in the afternoon and we needed to hit the road. The plan was to spend the night in Charlotte, NC and continue on our way home the next day. Chooch gave Tallulah one of the birthday balloons that Octavia used to decorate our hotel room, and when that one was whisked away into the tree tops, he gave her another. Sometimes Chooch is not a dick!



As stoked as I was to gallivant around Savannah, this is what I was really hoping to do in Georgia. Casually talking all morning and into the afternoon was what exactly what I wanted and was honestly the zenith of the trip for me. I have a tricky temperament and there are a LOT of incompatible personalities out there for me. And I’m not saying that it’s not me, it’s everyone else — I am voluntarily admitting that I can be tough to get along with. (Just ask Janna. It takes a saint!) I start out fairly introverted and observant, until my comfort and trust levels go up. (Which doesn’t always happen.) But I knew within minutes of meeting Octavia that it was going to work, that conversation was going to be easy and two-sided, and that I was going to learn a lot from her.

Also?! SHE WAS BORN IN ROMANIA. We were bound to become friends at some point in our lives and I left her house that day feeling really good about things, and also determined to have some of my ribs removed so I can fold myself in half to better fit inside her luggage the next time she visits Romania.

Kismet! I’m so grateful that we met, and apparently, I can thank Barbara and her fucking denim jacket for that.


Just a few days ago, Octavia texted me a picture of the purple balloon, still branch-snagged. “Miss you,” she texted. I MISS HER, TOO. :(

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Aug 202015

I haven’t done a throwback Thursday in a few months, and today I came across an old LiveJournal post from 2006 about the first time my friend Kara and I met in person!  10 years and three babies later, we’re still friends! Thank god for Myspace and awesome taste in music. Kara, I can’t believe Blogathon alone didn’t scare you away!


Sometime last summer, I received an email notification that someone wanted to add me as a friend on Myspace. I was surprised to find out that it was neither a:

[a] screamo band from Idaho
[b] girl trying to break into porn
[c] married middle-aged man looking to just chat, he swears, with a young chick

Instead, it was a real life girl, Kara, from Pittsburgh who actually seemed to be adding me out of sheer interest and not to bolster a high friend count. A glance at her profile told me that she could type and spell properly, and didn’t have an annoying layout spewing out the latest Mariah Carey single, forcing me to scroll up and down in search of an off button. We began sending messages back and forth, making empty promises to meet up real soon for coffee. I didn’t have much faith in that, because the only other time I tried to meet someone from MySpace, she blew me off three times in a row (once was because she got her period).

But then a coffee place opened up in my town of Brookline (and it was about time since the only places around this dump to get coffee is an Eat n Park with awful service or a varied selection of gas stations) right by Pizzarella, no less! I figured this would be a great opportunity to meet Kara, until I sent Henry there one day for a smoothie and he was told that they had no refrigeration. The second attempt to humble them with my patronage was shot down when I wanted a cappuccino and was told that their microwave was broken. If they’re making their cappuccinos in a microwave, I don’t think I want one after all. I’m glad that I discovered this before having Kara meet me there, since I feel like a representative of Brookline and taking her to a bunk coffee house would be sure to hurt commerce.

Another month went by and we finally solidified plans to meet yesterday at an Eat n Park near her part of town. She was already there when I arrived and I feared she would flee in horror as I waddled through the doors with the thunderous steps of a pregnant Godzilla. The most recent picture of me on MySpace was taken in November, when my face was half of what is now, so I hope she wasn’t too startled.

As we walked back to our booth, I begged her not to laugh as I kept my jeans hitched up with clenched hands to prevent them from slithering down my hips. Still, the crotch was halfway to my knees by the time we were seated. I embarrassingly told her that I’m between sizes in maternity pants.

After the initial awkwardness of saying hello 3 dozen times, laughing nervously, and trying to decide what to order (which is hard when two pages of your menu are glued together by an unknown and hopefully not unsanitary substance) everything went well. We lounged around in the booth for two hours drinking coffee (YES I HAD DECAF, GOD) and laughing at our waitress who looked like Gerard from My Chemical Romance. Then the smoke alarm went off and everyone sat there, staring stupidly at one another. “Should we leave? Is there a fire?” The host slouched past us and mumbled, “I wish this place would burn down” and judging by his lax movement, we figured we weren’t in any danger and there was no need to evacuate. But oh, that was the most excitement I had experienced all week!

I don’t think that I scared Kara away (I’ve learned through trial and error over the years what subjects to avoid) and she claims (CLAIMS) that she had a nice time and would like to hang out again. I hope so, because I have this feeling that all my old friends are going to head for the hills once my chitlin’ is born. She said she likes babies!

That night, Henry treated me like I had just come home from 1st grade after making my first friend, and gave me that “I’m so proud of you” look. I realize that I’m a bit reclusive in my pregnant, unemployed state, but really, I’m not that bad. OK, I am. It’s just that you think you have a lot of friends until you actually need one of them, so I started to pull away from some of them. I’ve been very disenchanted with my selection these days.

Then I took my prenatal vitamin this morning like a dumbass (I always take it at night) and threw up so fiercely that I was seeing bright starbursts around the edges of my vision and one of them morphed into Cap’n Crunch, which is the second time I’ve seen his likeness outside of a cereal box (the first was within the scalloped texture of my old apartment’s ceiling).

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Aug 182015


A bunch of years ago, like 26 or 7, I met Octavia through Etsy. Specifically, it was my fauxtography Etsy shop, Appledale. No one ever paid attention to that shop of mine, full of lomography before iPhone apps made that shit cool (and so much easier and cheaper to achieve that vintage effect, bastards), accompanied by my signature idiotic short stories.

But Octavia noticed. And she sent me the greatest convo ever; a meaningful, deep virtual handshake from one person happy to meet another person of like-mind. I will never forget how excited I was to read it! We started writing back and forth; I was enchanted by her own art and deranged imagination. She is incredibly talented.

Thank god for the Internet! I feel like if the Internet didn’t exist, then Octavia and I probably would have met through the world of pen-palling. Somehow, someway, we’d have found a way to meet!

This meet-up has been in the pipes since we bought the Williamsburg vacation package thing at the 2013 Big Butler Fair. Because clearly, Williamsburg, VA and Savannah, GA are so close to each other! The first half our trip was fun, but this was the part that I was really looking forward to, so when I woke up the morning of my birthday, I was S-T-O-K-E-D!

We had plans to meet Octavia at the Bonaventure Cemetery at 11:00am that morning. I was so nervous on the way there! I love meeting people but I am beyond awkward about it and sometimes that awkwardness never goes away because that’s just who I am, you know? Be nice.

Luckily, Octavia was chill as FUCK, sang-froid in a green dress. She claims she is awkward too but I definitely didn’t sense that, thank god, because then I would have just fed off it and it would have unraveled into some socially depraved banquet of stutters, ticks, and twitches. Instead, I felt at ease. I mean, once we got the obligatory “now is where we hug as normal people do” act out of the way.

I didn’t take any pictures of Octavia at first because I was scared to, but those will come later!



There is one super huge difference between Octavia and me: she actually knows shit about where she lives. Out-of-towners visit me in Pittsburgh and ask me simple Yinzer 101 questions like, “What river is that?” or “How are the Steelers doing this year?” and I have to politely decline answering.

That’s accomplished by either shrugging, grunting “I dunno”, or a combination of the two. But Octavia taught us shit about the war and the Masons and Johnny Mercer, and then a ton of stuff about NATURE because she went to college for botany so immediately Henry’s ears perked. You know how he gets nature boners. Especially when she turned her nose up at the moss issue. HENRY HATES MOSS. Now he had someone to hate moss with him!


While we strolled around the cemetery grounds, we talked about Jonny Craig (I mean, duh; I’m sure Octavia couldn’t wait to have THAT conversation in person) and the nightmarish insects that live in Georgia, holy shit. We saw salamander things and skinks:


The skinks really freaked me out but Chooch was trying to figure out how to turn his t-shirt into a skink carrier. Then we walked under a tree with berries on it and I cried, “WHAT ARE THESE, OCTAVIA!?” while trying to get Henry to eat one. Now I can’t remember what she said they were. But I think the final verdict was that they were not poisonous. Don’t worry, she didn’t let me eat any of the mushrooms I saw, either.


I also learned that you can eat that ballsack thing in the middle of the palm thingie! “Like, right now!?” I asked.

“Well, I mean, you have to cook it first, probably,” Octavia patiently explained before I had the chance to whip a fork out of my bra and dig in. God, Octavia was determined to prevent the cemetery from becoming my test kitchen.

At some point during our aimless journey across Bonaventure, a butterfly popped out of a bush and Chooch groaned. I relished the chance to rat out Chooch’s wussy phobia and blurted out, “Chooch is afraid of butterflies!”

“Do you know what the German word is for butterflies?” Octavia asked Chooch. “Schmetterling!”she yelled like a witch in an uncensored fairy tale.

“SAY IT AGAIN!” I begged, and she did. It was glorious! I couldn’t wait to go back to school work and talk about my educational vacation!


There was some douchey guy there leading a walking tour and they were everywhere we wanted to be. Octavia hated him too for the same unsubstantiated reasons as me (he just looked like an asshole and I hated his blond swoop-y hair and monochromatic clothes) and that was when I knew for sure that was the real deal.


“Ow, my head.”

“Ow, my back.”


We got to see Little Gracie! This is one of the most popular graves in the joint, and Octavia said that it used to be more easily accessible but there has always gotta be those assholes who like to be destructive. So now you can’t get beyond the gate for a closer experience. I was just happy that we got to see her at all, and I wished we had brought something to leave behind for her.


I suggested leaving Chooch, but Henry said no. :(


Being in Bonaventure was surreal. Cemeteries are one of the few places on this earth that I feel at home (and also Warped Tour, duh) and Bonaventure has always been one of the cemeteries of my dreams. Finally getting to see it, on my birthday no less, was amaze. And the best part was that instead of getting sucked into some touristy walking tour, or blindly stumbling around on our own until we started fighting within 20 minutes, we got to meander about at our leisure with Octavia. Which was great because it was like 299 degrees and walking any faster than I already was probably would have set me alight.

And you know what else? Henry checked in here on Facebook, which means he was excited in his own weird, silent way and wanted his “friends” to know that he was living it up in a famous cemetery in Savannah. Sure, he probably would have chosen a nap over this in a heartbeat, but I think he at least recognized that it’s not the worst thing he could have been doing that day.

Until I forced him to pose for this, that is:


I took this with my phone that day because I needed to be able to plaster it all over social media ASAP, because: HENRY ON THE GRAVE OF HIS ROLE MODEL, NUGENT, what a great birthday! Of course this inspired Chooch to tell Octavia the story of Henry at the Ted Nugent show, which I was actually trying to tell her at the same time, but Chooch always has to steal the show…AND MY FRIENDS! He kept hijacking the conversation by bringing it back to video games and I was getting so jealous.


“Are there crocodiles in there?!” I asked Octavia as we looked down over a small hill at the water below.

“No,” she assured me. And then she added, in the most non-patronizing tone possible,”and they’re alligators, anyway.” Something about her delivery made me crack up. The people I need most in my life are the ones who will gently correct me when I’m wrong and also make sure I don’t eat poisonous berries. Octavia exceeds expectations in both departments.

I just asked Chooch what his favorite part of Bonaventure was and he said when Octavia told us that sometimes there are dolphins in the water there. He hasn’t learned Henry’s favorite response yet, which is: “When we left.”


We waited until it was time to leave to look at the map, because that’s smart.

From here, we continued on to downtown Savannah so that we could eat food that was cooked in a kitchen and not picked up off a boneyard floor, and Chooch was thrilled that Octavia got to sit in the back with him SO HE COULD CHEW HER EAR OFF SOME MORE. Ugh. I’d steal his friends to show him how it feels, but…kids and I don’t get along.

I must have said, “UGH!” in response to Chooch’s charm at least 87 times that day. Ugh!

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Aug 092015

Hello, let’s briefly pause the vacation recaps so I can post proof that occasionally, people outside of the Cult of Erin (otherwise known as Henry and Chooch) hang out with me. Friends, I have them.  

Thursday evening, Wendy and Barb took me to dinner for my birthday! Wendy and I left straight from work and met Barb (THE QUITTER!!) at Cafe Io in Mt. Lebanon. I didn’t meet Wendy’s navigational standards so by the time we arrived, she said exasperatedly to Barb, “YOU can take her home. I’m done with her!”

Wendy has made a seamless transition into the Mean Pregnant Lady spot that Amber2 has vacated!

I mean, I was already stoked that I was getting a free meal, but they both had presents for me too! I LOVE PRESENTS! I think it stems from my past of being a very spoiled child. Wendy got me an awesome bracelet that has a ribcage cameo on it. Totally screams “Erin Rachelle.”

Barb has entered the Adult Coloring stage of her life and I’m the first recipient of the fruit of her labor! I LOVE BEING FIRST! Not only did she put it in a frame for me, but she signed it too! 

So sweet and thoughtful and abundantly clear that she idolizes me so much that now she’s trying to be a fake artist like me now, too.

I miss seeing these two everyday at work. I mean, I still see Wendy, but it’s only half as good without Barb being there too. LE SIGH.

As Barb crossed the street to her car, I shouted that I was going to hang the picture up when I got home. “In my BASEMENT!” I added, and oh how we laughed. Just like old times. :(

And then on Sunday, I got to see Barb again, at Wendy’s baby shower! Did I tell you, Internet Memoir, that Wendy is PREGNANT?! I mean, aside from the second paragraph of this chapter.  Well, ICYMI*, Wendy is WITH CHILD.

*(Barb, that means “in case you missed it.”)

Normally, the idea of these types of functions makes ash slough off from charcoal heart, but I was excited about this one because Wendy is one of my dearest friends (ugh, it pains me to be sweet) and I was doubly stoked about this event because Nina and Angie were going to be there and I never get to see them anymore since they left The Law Firm and moved to different states!

Angie and Nina, and Debbie who also left The Law Firm last January! It was a nice reunion.

Nina harassed me because I get so stiff when someone tries to take my picture. Deer in headlights might not be as accurate as, say, girl in a dentists chair with a drill approaching.

Bridget got roped into being the gift-writer-downer and the poor girl probably needs physical therapy for her hand now. She made a comment about how it should be me in that chair with the pen and paper, and I was like “LOWER YOUR VOICE!” Seriously, if I had been nominated for that duty, I’d have knocked Barb the fuck out the way and dove through the closed window behind her. I hate being in front of crowds!

Wendy got a SHITLOAD of awesome gifts, and because she’s Wendy, she had an anecdote for pretty much every gift she received. She could find a way to drag out the opening of a bottle drying rack into a 7 minute Rose Nylund-esque trip down memory lane. Another one of my work friends, Regina, was one of the shower planners and she was trying so hard to get the present-opening portion of the afternoon moving less like a Sunday Driver and more like Justin Bieber driving through a Florida suburb.

I got the baby “The Adventures Of Beekled: An Unimaginary Friend” because the illustrations were cool as fuck and that’s the most important thing to consider when buying a book for a baby. Also maybe stop and think and if there will be any literate people around who can possibly read this book when the baby is born. I also made Wendy a painting for the nursery, because she has me on lock for three pieces. So, one down!

The book and the painting both inspired two separate wendylogues and Regina gave me a seething look. A thing you should know about Wendy is that her ability to get sidetracked and take you down an oral rabbit hole is one of her most endearing qualities!

It was a really beautiful baby shower and so great to see some of my work friends outside of The Law Firm, and to some quality time with those who aren’t there anymore. But if I’m being honest, my favorite part was the fact that the favors were TEA CUPS. You guys might not know this, but I have a thing for these little plants called succulents?! And tea cups are my preferred potting object for them! In fact, I had two at home that were homeless, so I was really excited to bring home something for it to rest its roots!

But then I noticed that all of the tea cups were different, and I promise I was trying to be subdued about it, but I started examining the other cups at my table. Nina and Angie’s mom were like, “Uh, you can have ours” and Barb tried like 87 times to give me hers even though I kept telling her IT WAS TOO PLAIN!

Debbie pointed out that hers was still at the table she was technically supposed to be sitting at (she dragged her chair over to our table and we made room for her). I noticed that Missy was walking toward it, so I got up and lunged at it, swiping it off the table before she had a chance to. She was just like, “Um, OK.” And then I kind of felt bad because she was just trying to get an extra one so that her daughter could have a tea party; I offered Barb’s bastard tea cup to her but she didn’t want it either.

Catherine found out what was happening, so she gave me hers, which she didn’t want because she found a better one unclaimed at another table. When she showed me that one, I said I preferred that one over the first one she offered me, and she was like, “Tough shit, I’m not giving this one up.” IT WAS SO PERFECT. It had TWO HANDLES and a beautiful gold, Greek-like design embossed around the lip.

Then Regina caught wind of my tea cup hoarding and gave me a tea pot that no one chose as a prize. As soon as I got home, I ran straight to my bedroom, changed out of my dress and into my gardening garb, and potted the shit out of my two homeless succulents.

I texted a picture to Barb who replied, “You don’t waste any time!” Maybe if Barb understood what it was like to be passionate* about plants, she wouldn’t respond in such a surprised manner.

*(See also: obsessed and lacking an actual life.)

Later, I went to dinner at Grant Bar in Millvale with Henry and Chooch because god forbid a day goes by that I don’t allow them to hang out with me.


Henry made a silverware sculpture, I had the best coconut cream pie I’ve ever had in my whole life, and Chooch NEVER STOPPED TALKING. (He also was on the verge of verbally attacking the waitress when she came back from the kitchen to inform him that they were out of the pumpkin pie he ordered “with a la mode” but managed to catch himself just in time and instead expressed his disappointment in a long, drawn-out groan.)


The food at Grant’s Bar is fine, but it’s those faux-stone walls and small-town, outdated ambiance that keeps me coming back. These are the types of restaurants I’m always trying to eat at when we’re on vacation too! Speaking of, I will continue that saga tomorrow. Busch Gardens or the Whirligig Park?!  I KNOW YOU CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT.

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Feb 102015


Janna and I walked down the street to the trusty Hollywood Theater, where we sat numbly through the incredible film Birdman. The whole time, I kept thinking, “Henry would fucking HATE this movie.” Goddamn was it fantastic, albeit emotionally draining. As we sat staring blankly at the closing credits, Janna said, “This movie made me feel so strange, the same way that—” and here I was thinking she’s going to say  Lost In Translation “—Lost in Translation made me feel.” Because I swear to god, I felt exactly the same. MOVIE TWINSIES.
Also, Michael Keaton all fucking day long. This might actually dethrone Mr. Mom as my favorite Michael Keaton movie of all time, and I REALLY LOVE MR. MOM.

But let me watch Mr. Mom again real quick and then I’ll tell you for sure.

Then we came back to my house and Chooch dressed up like a pretty, pretty princess for us.



Totally robbed my style.


I was so excited to have a mini-reunion with some old friends from high school, Sarah and Liz! (And Lisa too, but I see Lisa too often for any necessary reunions!) I actually became friends with Sarah and Liz through Lisa, and I’m pretty sure the first time we hung out was at a haunted house on a rainy night in October. The kind of nights where friendships are destined to be born! I stayed in touch with Sarah for quite some time after high school—she was even at my baby shower—but haven’t actually seen her in person since 2007. And I got back in touch with Liz through Facebook and even ran into her randomly when I was at McGinnis Sisters spending too much money on fancy cheese.


We had brunch at the Yard in Shadyside and it’s a good thing I made reservations, because moments after arrived, a flood of people in varying degrees of “Mumford & Sons fan” showed up. In otehr words, we could have played Hipster Beard Bingo.

I made the rookie mistake of feeling obligated to order from the brunch menu instead of just getting a gourmet grilled cheese like I originally planned, and subsequently suffered through some seriously underwhelming Johnny Cakes (if you know me and my Lizzie Borden obsession, you will understand why I order Johnny Cakes any time they’re on a menu!). However, the company and bottomless mimosas made up for the saliva-sucking, overcooked cakes.

(Quick side-note: I was thinking about this on the way there, but Sarah is actually the reason I started up a LiveJournal in 2001 and got into writing again, although those initial journal entries were a far cry from “writing.” So, thank you, Sarah! Look how many years I’ve been polluting the Internet with my misspelled words!)

It was such a pleasure to get to hang out with Liz and Sarah again. The conversation was easy, Liz still has disgustingly amazing curly hair, and just hearing Sarah laughing brought back so many great memories. Ugh, I love days like these.

The best part was drunkenly stumbling into Chooch’s piano lesson (after nearly falling out of the car because my purse strap was completely wrapped around my legs—don’t worry, Henry was driving) and then starting to nod off in his piano teacher’s living room armchair. A+ parenting, would drink bottomless mimosas again.


Henry spent most of Saturday tackling the landfill that is Chooch’s room, and by Sunday afternoon it looked like this:


I’d have taken a “before” picture, but it was bordering on hoarder status, and…. just no. I don’t understand where Chooch gets it from, but he clearly does not care at all if he can’t see the bottom of his bedroom floor. I however do care. Which is why I started tossing everything into garbage bags last weekend, whether it was garbage or not, while he just stood there smugly, with his arms crossed, sneering at me and saying, “I know you’re not really going to throw all this stuff out.”

And he was right, only because DUMB HENRY intercepted and made me go count to a billion in order to get the voices to stop screaming at me in rhyming couplets.

There was also an Ikea trip in here somewhere, which was OK except that the bedroom set I wanted to buy Chooch was out of stock and I had my heart set on it because I’m an eight-year-old! Seriously though, it’s a loft bed with a shit ton of storage and a desk attached and it’s just basically a dream come true for someone obsessed with maintaining order. That lump of furniture could solve a world of problems in Chooch’s room and I stalked one of the Ikea bitches until she wobbled over to her computer and printed out the info I need in order to repeatedly call and harass and the Ikea warehouse for a status update.

My bedroom was the shit when I lived at my mom’s house. All kids should have a fucking spectacular bedroom, and Chooch gets so pissed when I show him pictures of how fabulous and cozy my room was and I’m like, “PROVE TO ME THAT YOU WON’T LURE RATS INTO THIS SPACE AND THEN WE’LL TALK.” God.

And then, The Walking Dead. Because I love ending the weekend on a depressing note.

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Dec 302014

Initially, we weren’t going to host any Christmas-y festivities since we were spending Christmas Eve at Henry’s sister’s and then visited my dad on Christmas day. But at the  last minute, I decided to try to have one of those White Elephant things that people are always going on about. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is in the middle of flu season, so party attendance was at an all-time low. We still had fun!

Blake arrived two hours early and then left after about 30 minutes, but we’ll take what we can get with that one.


I had spent literally all day dealing with Etsy/Facebook drama that really killed my mood. Seriously, it was the biggest party foul of all and Henry and I didn’t even start getting shit together until an hour before people were set to arrive. It really seemed like it was going to be a bust. Especially considering that one of my punches didn’t turn out right (that peppermint coconut crap on the right) and we all know that my parties revolve around the goddamn beverage buffet. Luckily, that red nose shit was exceptional.


Henry made bite-sized versions of the Funfetti grilled cheese we had on Christmas, but was mad because he had to use French bread since the lame Brookline bakeries didn’t have any brioche. I bet if he had a food blog, he’d have ranted about it on there by now.

Now I want to ghost-write a food blog for him. Henry’s Hankerings. I’ll porn it up real good so you won’t be able to tell if you’re reading about how to fill a burrito or knocking on backdoors in a Tijuana hostel. (Don’t mind me. I’m getting over a fever.)



Corey and Janna were the first to arrive, just in time to hear Chooch’s rousing rendition of Jessie J’s “Bang Bang.” We completely lost all good sense and bought him a Singing machine for Christmas, and it connects to the TV so we can all sit back and read along as Chooch sings songs brimming with sexual innuendo.


 That Time Henry Had a Friend Over.


We’re all obsessed with Trivia Crack (and sometimes Quiz Up, but Trivia Crack has my heart) so Chooch and Corey decided to try and teach Wendy about it since she’s always the last to learn about the cool things us kids are doing.


Seriously. This, for hours.


But then Chooch pulled out his Perler beads, which he has recently become obsessed with. They’re just these little colorful beads that you put down in a pattern on a pegboard and then you iron it (or, in Chooch’s case: you get Henry and not Erin to iron it because Erin is no good) which fuses all the beads together and now, hooray, you have some relatively useless plastic thing. Chooch made a Minecraft sword (see above picture) out of these things, using no pattern somehow, which I thought was pretty impressive.

“I’m going to see this on Etsy for $50, or maybe $20,” Chooch told Blake.

OK, maybe not THAT impressive. He did make me a super adorable Michael Myers though. I bet if he made O-Town perler bead guys, Amber1 would be his best customer.


Chris came over later with her cousin, Amber, just as Chooch was preparing to sing some terrible Backstreet Boys song. You guys. Do I know how to throw a party, or what? Basically, put out some booze, choke Chooch’s neck with a bowtie, and then sit back and watch as it escalates. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to go back to entertaining when he’s out of the house. HE DOES IT ALL FOR ME.

Now that everyone was here, we got to fumble through the White Elephant exchange. Wendy was pissed because I told her that she could literally bring stuff around the house that she didn’t use, so that’s what she did and then she accused everyone else of bringing real gifts, but hello, my thing was a plastic vampire that you put on top of a ketchup bottle so it looks like it’s bleeding when you pour it out. It cost $3!

OK, bad example. My thing was fantastic and you could tell that Amber, who had picked it, was not letting that gem get plucked out of her arms.

Anyway, Wendy brought two gifts: one from her and one from Shawn, which is how Janna scored a fabulous lens cleaner kit that she can even use on her binoculars and scuba gear, and Corey got a stationery set that may have been made in the 70s.

Seriously though, the Facebook Event thingie said this:

Make a potholder! Regift that candle that reminds you of your ex-boyfriend’s grandma’s bathroom! Turn some lint into a throw pillow! Put some gasoline in a mason jar & pretend it’s moonshine!

I don’t care what you bring, just come over! I’m desperate for human contact.



Chooch totally got Chris and Amber to finish one of his perler projects for him, because he’s got that Charles Manson charm. “Here. You do this while I go and do something better.”


Everything was fine and then Marcy had to come downstairs and inspect the situation. Of course she sat with her back toward everyone though, because she’s rude.



Janna brought over a very delicious dessert dip, the leftovers of which she said that I could keep but that she would eventually need the plate back, because it’s her mom’s. This reminded me of a few weeks ago, when we went to Nemacolin Castle, and Janna’s mom supposedly gave Janna permission to just take her car since Corey, Janna and I all have unreliable cars. We had just arrived at the castle, about an hour away, when Janna’s mom called her and was all concerned because she apparently looked out the window and saw that her car was gone, so they had what sounded like an argument, even though Janna was like, “No it’s fine. She told me I could take her car, so I don’t know what she’s talking about” and I’m thinking we’re going to get dragged to the local Brownsville slammer once Janna’s mom reports her car as stolen.

Since we had met up at Janna’s parent’s house, we had to go back there to get our cars. “I’m not going in!” I cried, as Janna rolled her mom’s car to a stop. And then Corey and I joked about seeing the silhouettes through the front window of Janna getting beaten by her mom.

“Does your mom know you used her plate?” I asked, my voice cracking with giddiness at the end.

So of course, Corey and I were practically bursting blood vessels from laughing so hard, and we had to retell the Nemacolin story in a tag-team fashion for Chris and Amber, and Henry just shook his head in that “For Christ’s Sake” way of his.

“Apparently, something bad happened in Brownsville that night we were there,” Janna said, her tone pregnant with somberness.

“WERE PEOPLE SLORING?!” Corey cried, because that was his favorite word the night we went to Nemacolin Castle, when we tried to start rumors that Janna had a secret life where she wore a beeper and “slored” around Brownsville.

“No!” Janna said exasperatedly. “There was a fire or something.”

And then we lost interest because it had nothing to do with neither sluts nor whores.


Chooch and the finished product of Chris and Amber’s labor. Plus his $50 Minecraft sword.

It was around 1:00am at this point and we were all super slap-happy (except Henry; never Henry), so Corey decided he was going to write Wendy a thank you note using the stationery he got from her and Meghan Trainor song titles. Because Wendy HATES Meghan Trainor and if there is one thing you never want to do, it’s tell me the things that you hate because I will use it in my Jerk Cannon for the rest of the time we’re friends. One time, Janna told me that she hates that Billie Myers “Kiss the Rain” song so I bought the CD (this was like, 1998 you guys) and put just that song on repeat one time when she came over. And she dealt with it. Because that’s what you learn to do when you’re friends with me.


As the party came to a close and Janna left with her lenscleaner kit, Corey looked at me and asked, “Does Janna even wear glasses?”

I said I didn’t think so, and then we promptly lost it all over again. Oh, Janna.

So really, not the worst White Elephant party in the world.

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Dec 102014

Just a little preface: after I posted about the most recent game night, I decided to make a “game night” category so that I could keep all of the game night posts together because every so often, I get some kind of blog OCD. Anyhow, I realized that the only account missing was still over on my old LiveJournal. And it just so happens it’s the one where the infamous (not really) CARLY SIMON incident happened! So, this is a reposting of the very first game night I hosted at my house in 2006. You have permission to not read it. Aren’t I nice.


The last time I played Scattergories was in 2003 and I slugged Janna for challenging one of my answers (because according to her, frolicking is not a valid form of transportation, and not even my graceful demonstration of frolicking to and fro could convince her otherwise — bitch) and then Keri threatened to kick me out of her wedding party if I couldn’t get along with others.

I figured three years was long enough to cool down, so Scattergories was the first game we dove into during the Game Night that I hosted at my house Saturday evening. Brian, Janna, Ryan, Stacey, and Kara all spread out in a circle while I got all the pieces together. OK, Henry helped me with that a little. There were plastic things that hadn’t been assembled yet on the cardboard clipboard things because I usually only ever play Scattergories (and Boggle) with myself and I lost my patience within a cool ten seconds.

Henry decided he was going to sit this one out, because he’s afraid to play Scattergories with me.


We played three rounds, which was all good and fun, except that I discovered that Stacey is some brand of undercover Scattergories-Nazi and challenged about 3/4 of my answers. One of those she challenged was “earwig police officer.” I’m sorry, but who are we, as human beings, to say that earwigs don’t have police officers (category: Someone in a Uniform, Letter “E”)? And are you going to tell me that, in some fairy tale right now, someone isn’t sitting on a toadstool? The category was a very ambiguous “Furniture,” not “Human Furniture” or “Earth Furniture.” At one point, she got really angry and said, “Come on Erin, you’re a smart girl! Play right!” I was playing right! It’s called strategy, Stacey. I don’t want one of those dickshitters having the same answer as me!

Almost every time it was my turn to unveil one of my answers (it took about twenty minutes for everyone to grasp the concept of clockwise and Brian was really getting heated), I would be laughing to the point of tears, but no one else would laugh with me (sometimes Kara would because maybe she feels sorry for me) because there was a Serious Game being played and I was holding it up.

Because of Stacey’s iron fist, I ended up losing by ONE point to this asshole:


…whom I’m positive was cheating. I think he realized that he was down a few points whenever my answer of water buffaloes as farm animals was being challenged. I have to state for the record that Janna and Kara tried to sway the vote in my favor, but Brian, who had the distinction of being the swing vote, saw this as his opportunity to go in for the win so he gave me a big hearty thumbs down.

I was angry at Brian six hours before Game Night even started though, because he called me that afternoon to ask what time it started, which spun me into a frenzied tangent about invitations (or Evites, in this case, which always skyrocket my blood pressure because, unfailingly there’s always at least one asshole who doesn’t RSVP or downright doesn’t even view it and then I get all OCD because their name just hangs there, festering in limbo and no matter how many times I call them and email them with clear cut instructions, they refuse to make it right). I left him a lengthy voice mail, schooling him in the very narrow field of invitations, and how they are necessary because they contain pertinent info regarding the party, such as, oh I don’t know, the fucking time it starts, asshole.

He called me back later and left a message to see if it would be cool if he was fashionably late. But apparently, in Brian’s skewered land of party etiquette, fashionably late means retardedly early, because he arrived two and a half hours before game night even started. I hadn’t even dusted the games off yet.

I’ll probably just place a fake personal ad in his name and then I’ll be over it.

During the third round, Lisa arrived with her arsenal of games, which included the crowd-pleaser that is Catchphrase. I was thankful for this, because a girl can only take so much rejection during the same game, so I stuffed everything back into the Scattergories box and slid it under the chair, secretly proud of myself for not throwing any blows during the game but inwardly ready to blow a fucking gasket because goddamn, it’s hard to control your temper when you have explosive anger disorder!

Lisa explained the rules of Catchphrase repeatedly until Brian couldn’t take it anymore and screamed at Lisa to just start the motherfucker, already. I mean, once it was unearthed that Henry had played the game before, everyone relaxed and decided it couldn’t be that hard. I was thankful to not be stuck on a team with Stacey.

Right in the middle of the fourth practice round, Melissa arrived with her baby. I let her fill in for me because I was too rambunctious to be doing so much sitting. Instead, I stood behind Henry and pinched the back of his neck many times and mocked him every time it was his turn to get his team to guess the catch phrase. Most of the time, I couldn’t figure out where he was going with his hints, because he really is a special sort of durrr, but I guess that’s what makes him so endearing. I mean, if you’re the type of person who would think someone is endearing, who typically, I am not.

Every time Catchphrase ended up in Melissa’s hands, she would take too long to get her team to guess the word and the buzzer would go off. She attributed her distraction to Stacey’s “beautiful cleavage.” It could have been an uncomfortable moment, and my innards were aching from laughing so hard, but Stacey took the compliment with grace and the game went on. This would turn out to be a suggestive hint to where the night was headed: Down Girlsex Alley. Of course Brian took great pleasure in this and went to great lengths to egg Melissa on until finally she knew no other topics other than Boobs, Tits, and Pussy. It was very apropos later on when her Catchphrase word was nipple.

And don’t let Ryan fool you, but I was in the kitchen with him when he was getting a refill of his Faygo (haha) Blue Raspberry and totally saw him reach for the Windex instead and quickly try to play it off when I started laughing.

“I knew it was Windex! It was in my way and I was moving it, I wasn’t going to drink it!” Lol oh.

My favorite moment of the night was about an hour after Brian confided to me that, “I’m not trying to be conceited, but I really do know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.” He was trying to get his team to guess Stalingrad and decided to tackle the “Stalin” part first. He kept saying, “Russian tsar! He was a fucking Russian tsar, Janna, you idiot!” (Put those two on a team together and it’s truly like having a wholesome 1950’s TV family sitting in my living room.) Somehow, Janna was able to piece together his mis-hints and after she finally guess it, she quipped, “Stalin wasn’t a tsar, Brian.” I wasn’t on their team, but I did a jubilant fist pump in her honor. It’s not often Brian gets put in his place.

No, I was wrong! I have a different favorite moment of the night, because that one wasn’t about me. But this one is. It was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “I don’t know. Um, female singer” and I screamed “Carly Simon!” and it was totally Carly Simon and I seriously rode that horse for the rest of the night.

“Remember when all he said was ‘female singer’ and I totally guessed Carly Simon because I really am that many layers of awesome?”

After playing Catchphrase for about three hours, because we’re all clearly pathetic, it turned into Ask Uncle Brian comedy hour, wherein Melissa asked Brian questions of a sexual nature, but I do not have permission to go there.


Finally, it was after 1AM and I was coming dangerously close to achieving auto-annoyance, so everyone said goodnight and then Janna came with me to drive Ryan home. I started to pat myself on the back for not losing my temper and Ryan was like, “Really? You don’t think you lost your temper? At all?” and Janna kind of gave me this sad look that read, “He’s right, you know.” Fine, so I got a little angry, but I kept my paws and claws to myself and no one got hurt and nothing got broken. I did good considering what I’m capable of!

Unfortunately, it began to unravel after I dropped off Ryan. One of the scenes where Stacey gave my Scattergories answer a thumbs down started to replay in my mind and I punched the steering wheel. I slight honk was emitted, which kind of sucked because it was like 1:30AM and we were driving through a semi-scary area. I ended up bending one of my nails all the way back.

It hurts really bad today.


And now some thoughts on this night from 2014 Erin: That kid Ryan turned out to be the Biggest Douche and started a huge flame war with me in 2008, and prior to this, literally every last one of my friends were begging me to stop inviting him to my parties because no one could stand him, BUT I NEVER LISTEN; my thoughts on RSVPing have not changed and I WILL hold it against you; Melissa supposedly left her husband and child and ran off to the Playboy Mansion, and I haven’t heard from her in years; could my pictures be any smaller; Stacey’s work schedule prevents her from attending game nights now but there’s a part of me that wonders if it’s really because she just can’t take the blinding light of my Scattergories brilliance; I’m totally going to play Scattergories alone tonight after work.

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Dec 082014








Tim and Patty

Chris, Kari and Katelyn

In lieu of a traditional Thanksgiving at our house this year, I opted to have a casual game night the following Saturday night. And then it occurred to me that, Jesus Christ, I haven’t had a game night here since 2010! And if I remember correctly, we didn’t even really play any games that time.

So it was settled. I sent out Facebook invitations a few weeks in advance, which is how Henry discovered that instead of cleaning the house and cooking a turkey, he would be cleaning the house and cutting cheese cubes. I think he was OK with that.


All day, Chooch was like, “PLEASE CAN WE PLAY HEADS UP AT GAME NIGHT?!” and I was like, “NO BECAUSE THIS IS MY GAME NIGHT NOT YOURS GO AWAY UGH” and then Henry was like, “STOP FIGHTING! YOU TWO CAN SHARE GAME NIGHT OR THERE WONT BE A GAME NIGHT!” Ugh. So I took the high road and let Chooch play his stupid game as a sort of game night aperitif while we were waiting for everyone to arrive. I really dislike this game for some reason, probably because Chooch always wants to play it and then literally never knows the answer and he sucks at giving clues UGH. But anyway, I had one turn and Kara was like, “Blah blah blah, you probably think this song is about you” and I yelled, “CARLY SIMON!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!”

You guys. At one of our past game nights, we were playing Catchphrase. When it was Henry’s turn, he honestly only said, “I don’t know. She’s a singer” and just to be a jerk, I screamed, “CARLY SIMON!” because who really thinks of Carly Simon anymore other than maybe Warren Beatty. Everyone was like, “Yeah, haha, OK” but then Henry quietly passed the Catchphrase device over to the next person and I said, “Whoa, wait. Was it seriously Carly Simon?” and the next person checked to make sure Henry was fucking with us, and it was totally Carly Simon and I know it’s not that big of a deal but I think I have probably referenced this on my blog 87 times since that happened because I honestly consider it to be The Moment I knew that I wanted, NO–NEEDED, to stay with Henry for the rest of all Time.


Something totally devastating happened though, mere hours before game night was scheduled: I realized our beloved Catchphrase no longer worked! I thought maybe it just needed new batteries, but NO. I actually felt panicked, because this is pretty much the game we ALWAYS start with, since it forces people to have to yell out answers and serves as a good ice breaker. (Although my punches worked pretty good at soothing nerves, too.) Janna stopped at Target or somewhere, I don’t know I’m not her keeper, on the way over and bought an electronic version of Taboo, which is similar to Catchphrase, so I felt a little better. God knows how much how I hate change.



Hi this is Chooch my review of Game Nite is “Inappropriate Content Deleted”


Beverage Buffet, Game Nite Style. Some kind of red wine cider punch thing and a cinnamon roll punch, which was originally supposed to be pumpkin pie but for SOME REASON, I had trouble finding Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka immediately after the holiday with the biggest pumpkin pie demand. So I had to swap it out with the Cinnabon flavor, which was delicious anyway so who cares. Pumpkin is overrated.


Patty and Tim brought a STACK of games that we never got around  to playing and I’m pretty sad about that. They were going to teach me how to play Fluxx which everyone says is the easiest game to learn but I have read the directions 4 times (see also: skimmed half-assedly, one time) and I just don’t get it. I have a really hard time learning how to play games, which is amazing considering how stellar I am at playing people.





We are great at parenting. Also, Chooch won.


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I kept the hockey game on in the background because hockey yields to no motherfuckin’ game nights. And then this exchange happened:

Me: [Evgeni Malkin] reminds me of Don, don’t you think?
Corey: No! No, I do not! One is a Russian hockey player and one is YOUR CAT?!

But then Kara pointed out that Corey thought a seagull and pelican were the same, so I shouldn’t put too much stock in his opinion, and this made me super giddy because now I know that not only is my brother colorblind, but he’s also BIRDBLIND.

(On a serious tip though, Malkin really does remind me of my deceased cat Don and I just want to cuddle him so bad. No one sees it, though. Sigh. Does it help if I add that Don was a Russian Blue?)


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Something to note about Game Night: Resurrection is that I didn’t hit Janna. Not even once! I don’t even think I raised my voice at her! I’m going to go ahead and thank the beverage buffet for that one.


We finished the night playing some new game that Janna brought over that involved writing answers on paddles with dry-erase markers! One of the questions was something about a weird movie you’ve recently watched and I was stage-whispering to Henry (who played zero games all night, OK tough guy), “WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THAT GERMAN PORNO WE RECENTLY WATCHED? THE ONE FROM THE 70s* WITH THE PRIEST?!” And Ricky was all, “You do know the point of this game is to try and match answers with the rest of us, right?”



Anyway, now that these photos have been effectively dumped, it’s time for me to call it a day. Can’t wait until the next game night! (Right, Henry?) (Maybe in February? VALENTINE EDITION?!)

(No, that’s dumb.)

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