Jan 192018
 

Perhaps you remember me whining last spring about how my good friend Lisa was moving to Idaho. Well, she moved to Idaho. And I have been missing her so much ever since! Even when she lived in Pittsburgh, she was really the only friend I talked to on the phone (LITERALLY TALKED TO ON THE TELEPHONE who even uses phones for talking anymore?!) so you would think that we would still talk fairly often even now that she’s gone and ditched the ‘Burgh, but those pesky time zones, man. Those pesky motherfucking time zones.

Ugh.

Luckily, she hasn’t completely forgotten me because I made the short list of people she wanted to see when she was back for a visit last week! She asked me about a month in advance if I was free on MLK day for dinner and I was like look if I wasn’t free, I’d make myself free! I mean, unless my prior plans were with G-Dragon. Then sorry, Lisa. We’ve seen enough of each other since high school, I’m sure we could skip this one time.

But sadly, I did not have prior plans with any beautiful Korean, so Lisa got lucky!

We met during a snow storm at Needle+Pin, which I had been wanting to try since it opened last year and Lisa was enthusiastically on board. It worked out for both of us because, since it’s Indian-English fusion, there are several vegetarian options, and it’s also one of only three gin bars in Pittsburgh and coincidentally Lisa has recently become a gin drinker.

Right off the bat, we had excellent rapport with not only the waitress, but the bartender as well, who came to our table to answer Lisa’s 1548452 questions about gin, while I was super low-maintenance and ordered the Blackberry Bramble simply because it sounded delicious and despite the fact that I’ve mostly avoided gin ever since my ex-boyfriend psycho Mike grabbed a bottle of it from my grandparents’ basement bar and got shit-faced on a hill in South Park in high school.

I just vomit-burped at the memory.

Anyway, the bartender–a sweet, young boy–praised my choice and I was so smug about that. Lisa had two different lemon-y gin drinks and was “meh” about both of them while openly coveting mine. It was so fucking good, you guys. And the best part was that the single, large ice cube slowly melted and mixed with the leftover blueberry syrup stuff at the bottom of my glass, so it was like the gin-gift that just kept gin-giving.

The ambiance and decor was just my style.

After the drink-ordering, we stressed over the food. The waitress broke my heart because they didn’t have the vegan bangers & mash that night, but the Tikka Masala I ordered was freaking delightful.

Lisa had ordering remorse again and it was just like old times.

And then I went back to 2008 and took this picture with my red Blackberry Curve. Here’s Lisa trying to steal some of my paneer.

Gin phone booth!

Lisa told me that on the plane to Pittsburgh, she was randomly sitting next to a man who started talking to her about he CS Lewis book she was reading and eventually she learned that he’s my second cousin Mike! His mom was my Pappap’s sister, and I haven’t seen him probably since I was 10 so I have very vague memories of him and that side of the family, however, Lisa said that the way he talked about my Pappap to her was exactly how I talk about him and I started crying right there over my Blackberry Bramble. Time has healed a lot but shit, I still cry about my Pappap A LOT.

A LOT, A LOT.

Overall, it was an emotional dinner. Ugh, it was so good to see her again and catch up!

MOVING OVER BY THE ELEPHANT FOR PICTURES WAS MY IDEA, OK!?

Lisa made me pose for this one and I hated every second of it. Payback for all the years of shoving my camcorder in her face I guess!

Before we left, we stopped at the bar and chatted some more with the bartender, who gave us straws and let us sample some gins. I think it’s safe to say that I will probably not be venturing out from the mixed gin drinks, but it was still fun to try and listen to him and Lisa nerd out about gin baths or whatever.

And then, just like that, the night was over, and I had to say goodbye to her all over again. Hopefully the next time I see her will be in Idaho. She was showing me pictures of where she and her family moved and it is definitely NOT Potatoville everywhere in Idaho, apparently!

Jan 022018
 

Henry and I worked hard to make sure that we were offering a good array of Korean fare. We have both learned so much about it over the last year and honestly have adapted our daily diet around it, no joke. Most of my meals are seasoned heartily with gochugaru and swimming in gochujang that my tongue rarely feels the heat of spicy food anymore. I’m over here like, “Here try this, it’s not spicy at all” while people are gasping and reaching desperately for a glass of cold milk.

So we tried to keep it authentic* while not incinerating our guests’ cheek linings.

* (As authentic as possible considering neither of us are Korean; but as someone who really likes cooking, I will say that Henry treats this cuisine with utmost respect and doesn’t try to Americanize it at all. He even added eomuk – fish cakes – to the tteokbokki.)

The final menu was:

  • japchae
  • tteokbokki (this is seriously one of my favorites and I can’t wait to eat the fuck out of it in Korea)
  • bossam (pork belly lettuce wraps)
    • plus a vegetarian pork version for Chooch and me
  • Korean fried chicken
  • Korean fried tofu
  • a handsome (lol) array of banchan

I wanted him to also make kimchi jeon (pancake) but he answered me with a glare; also, we ended up being properly stuffed with what he provided, so perhaps we’ll save the jeon for the next K-dinner party.

The banchan included:

  • lotus root
  • perilla leaves
  • bellflower root (one of my faves!)
  • kimchi
  • pickled daikon
  • fernbrake

All of these were procured from New Sam Bok, a Korean market in the Strip. Henry made the lotus root himself though. I mean, he didn’t GROW it, but he boiled and marinated it and our house smelled so fucking good while that was happening.

I was worried that our guests were going to recoil at the banchan, because let’s face it, this isn’t like your standard side of fucking cole slaw, you know? But these are staples in Korean households, and I have to say that for the last year I have been eating kimchi on a regular basis and it’s to the point where I will sometimes sit at work thinking about it and longing to be home with a side of it in front of me.

Henry also prepared bean sprout (basically just fresh bean sprouts marinated in sesame oil – it’s so good), but we forgot to put it out on the table. C’EST LA VIE, BEAN SPROUTS.

Everyone was waiting for JANNA to get there. She had some excuse about TRAFFIC.

But then she finally arrived and the pouring of the soju commenced. We had two bottles on hand, and Chronica brought two more, so we were set. I wanted to also have magkeolli but we live in shitty Pennsylvania with their prohibitionist liquor restrictions so none of the Asian markets around here sell it. Henry was going to order it from the state store but they were like, “Nice try, you have to buy a whole case.” We obviously didn’t want a full case so no magkeolli for this go around. Maybe next time we’ll plan ahead and take a drive to the nearest H-Mart or something, or Henry can buy a fucking kit and make some.

Holy chopstick holder.

You guys! The banchan was a success! Blake said his favorite was the bellflower (doraji) and everyone resoundingly enjoyed the fernbrake which I thought was going to bomb, even though apparently in Korea it’s the favored banchan. I liked it, but the texture was a bit off-putting. I read that it’s really good in bibimbap though so I think I’m going to have Henry make some of that this week. (He recently bought a dolsat pot!)

Sorry this picture isn’t very appetizing but I was off my food-photog game that night because I was too busy Edward Chopstickhanding all the food into my face. But here’s the tteokbokki and japchae!

And Korean Fried Chicken & Tofu! No pictures of the bossam, though — SORRY.

Every kept saying how much they liked the food, and I was glad for Henry. He deserves all the props and hat tips!

Also, Chooch finally tried kimchi and admitted that he sort of liked it, kind of. I’m actually not sure if he ate anything all night because I was too busy with my face in my plate. I guess I should ask Janna.

Chooch got What Do You Meme for Christmas and was itching for dinner to be over so he could finally play it with Blake and Chris. (“And maybe her,” he said, putting at me as an afterthought. Monica was delighted to not be included because she didn’t want to play. I DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO PLAY EITHER!) At one point, he could contain his excitement no longer and started rummaging through the game; he was so pleased when he pulled out the Kim Jong Un card. Sigh.

Also, Chooch had a seating chart all planned out in his head and his brain all but exploded when people arrived and started sitting wherever they wanted. But he still got to sit next to Blake, which was his ultimate goal, so he left everyone else stay in their seats. It was kind of up in the air there for a minute, though.

Henry spent most of the dinner in the kitchen and then holding his grandson Calvin, but he had no complaints.

And my favorite kpop videos played in the background all during dinner. I even got to answer questions about kpop, the food we were eating, and Korean holidays! It was all I could ask for and I was so happy that everyone there was showing interest and not making me feel dumb for bear-hugging an entire culture that’s not my own. Monica at one point said that everyone has a thing, and some people’s thing i making the rest of us feel bad about having a thing.

This is really true.

After dinner, Chooch finally got to play his damn game, which is basically just as vulgar as Cards Against Humanity and Janna kept putting cards back in the deck because she didn’t want to read them in front of Chooch. I think Janna’s modesty was my favorite part! Monica and Henry wee so happy that they didn’t have to play.

My favorite part of the night was when we played MY favorite game, which Chris says isn’t actually a game, but it’s called, “Use Google Translate to give Chris Spanish sentences to translate” and of course she always gets it because she’s a freaking bilingual genius, but the funnest part is listening to Chooch read the Spanish out loud, even though all of his sentences are disparaging about my cat Penelope and way too complimentary about his dumb cat Drew. Mine was, “Jimin is Henry’s bias because he likes his chipmunk cheeks and luscious lips.” It was so dumb, and maybe it was the wine, soju, and Chris’s homemade eggnog talking, but I was in tears laughing.

I wish I had more pictures, but goddamn I was so into the food and company! It felt nice to be moderately social without the accompanying anxiety for once. It’s been a while. The night was so awesome, but more importantly, my friends are awesome! I’m thankful that they came over and partook in my favorite things for an evening. <3

Jan 012018
 

I was going to have a Christmas party this year because it just seemed like the thing to do, but my heart wasn’t in it and I didn’t want to stress myself out anymore than I already was by trying to force the yuletide spirit up my ass, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Still, I felt that doing something on a smaller scale could boost my mental well-being, so I got Henry to agree to let me have a Korean dinner party, and by “let” I mean that he had to be on board because otherwise we’d just be sitting around eating ramen and kimchi, unless of course I couldn’t find the strength to open the jar.

Of course Henry said yes though because that guy loves to cook and he has really embraced the nuances of Korean cuisine. And thank god because how else could I have spent the last year eating a primarily Korean-based diet? Henry is kind of the best.

I promised him that we would keep it small since he would be doing all the cooking, plus our dining room table is small as fuck. Technically it’s only meant to comfortably seat 6 but I managed to squeeze in two extra seats.

The guest list was:

  • Chronica
  • Blake & Haley (Blakely? Halke?)
  • Janna

This was kind of like their reward for putting up with my complete Korean immersion without judging or mocking me.

A few weeks ago, I had this grand idea that we should put Korean stars on the banchan bowls. (Pro tip for you Westerners who might not know much about Korean food because let’s be real before last year I only knew kimchi and bibimbap: banchan is an array of Korea side dishes that are traditionally served with meals – you don’t order it, they just appear on the table and they are fucking glorious. It’s mostly vegetables, like kimchi, bean sprouts, pickled cucumbers or radish, etc etc. Ah, service.) So that’s what Henry and I had been diligently working on around here lately and I am so happy with the results! For starters, here’s this gorgeous G-Dragon bowl and Chooch’s Got7 tea cup:

A BIGBANG dessert tray (this is my favorite!).

Weekly Idol & IU tea cups. (I love Weekly Idol so much.)

#수고했어요 💔 #craftingthroughthepain

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I made this one to honor our recently departed Jonghyun. The inside is Korean for “You worked hard.” This dinner party was actually a secret memorial for him in my head. I brought down his picture from my bedroom wall and surrounded it with candles. It made me feel moderately comforted.

For our serving bowls, we made one with Goblin and Boys Over Flowers (two of my favorite k-dramas) and the second one is RUNNING MAN. I used the original 7 members because that is my favorite line-up. Now Gary is gone and they have two new members, but it will always be 7012 in my heart. (THAT’S A RUNNING MAN THING.)

Ugh, Taemin’s beauty makes my heart hurt.

Here’s all the banchan bowls on the lazy susan! In addition to the G-Dragon and Taemin ones, we also did BTS, SHINee of course, 2NE1, Sistar and a larger rice bowl in the middle was Twice.

Henry wanted Blackpink to be his tea cup but I gave him…

Hyuna instead, because he loves watching her scandalous music videos. Also, he’s actually redoing this one right now as I type this because he fucked up the one mouse ear. This is why I was just in charge of the Photoshop part and he got to do the actual decal placement because I have zero patience for things like that!

Wouldn’t be a K-dinner party without a Girls Generation plate! Don’t worry, this picture was taken the day after the dinner. The cats were not on the table at all prior to that. Also, Chris initially thought that was a kimchi-scented candle and not just me using an empty kimchi jar as a votive holder, which made me laugh!

Another view of the EXO tea cup. This one was hard to make because they currently (allegedly) have 9 members but there is some weird “scheduling conflict” that constantly comes up with their Chinese member, Lay, and he has been AWOL for like every promotion they’ve done in 2017 and some people say that SM Entertainment is trying to quietly force him out of EXO!? I only know like 4 EXO members and am not qualified to make assumptions about this at all, but Kpop’s got some drama.

We used my precious G-Dragon table as the dessert table, natch. We had a type of traditional Korean rice cakes which are often eaten during celebrations such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), honey cookies called yakgwa, and Haley made delicious orange cranberry cupcakes – I was obsessed with the frosting and commented on it like three times like it was the only thing I was capable of talking about.

Also! Korean cinnamon punch, OMG. It tasted just like the kind we bought at the Korean food festival last year! It has a shit-ton of ginger in it and dried persimmons. Chooch was happy because for once we had punch with no alcohol in it.

This was what the table looked like after I finished fussing with it. Everyone got a BIGBANG tea, as well, which I thought would be a nice souvenir but NOT EVERYONE TOOK THEIR EMPTY BOTTLE HOME!

OK, I have shit to do so I’ll be back later to write about the food.

Oct 232017
 

*I searched the word “seven” in every language looking for one that starts with “p.” Congratulations, now you know how to say “seven” in filipino! My dedication to alliteration is alliterastupid. 

Also, I originally had this titled as the eighth pie party because I can’t count.

Pie People:

  • Scott & Maya
  • Gayle & Jeffrey
  • Chris & Monica
  • Sandy, Ben, Elena, & Zoe
  • Janna
  • Lori
  • Sue
  • BARB
  • Wendy & Summer
  • Andrew & Karen
  • Blake, Haley, & Calvin
  • Haley’s mom
  • Robbie, Nikki, Eli, & Levi
  • Maggie, Ivan, Annabelle, & Lila
  • Amber, Steve, Teddy
  • Valerie & Dustin

This is the first time Kara missed a pie party! But she was running in the Chicago marathon so I guess that’s an acceptable excuse. 

Ok guys. You know the drill by now. We rented a pavilion, people brought pies, people ate pies. After seven years, there’s not much deviation to the formula. This will mostly be photos because I remembered to bring the good camera.

This year was exciting though because we had some new blood! Maya & Scott were here from Nashville (I liked to tell people that the pie party was THE ONLY reason they traveled here, though they did say it was the reason they picked that particular weekend to check out Pittsburgh as potential new digs), Henry’s co-worker Andrew and his wife Karen came, and Valerie brought her husband Dustin who I was excited to finally meet! And this was Lori’s first pie party too, because she couldn’t make it to last year’s pig-out.

I wanted to go bare-bones this year, because I honestly didn’t want to have one at first but then some of my friends talked me into it. Originally it was going to be bomb shelter themed, with just some old newspapers thrown down for tableclothes and some scattered slices of Velveeta for tablescape decor. But in the end even that was too much. We left the table bare-boned, no succulents to meet & greet, no mason jars of crayons to assist with doodling on the tables.

We did decorate the actual pie table though and thankfully Scott and Maya were there to help me because oh what a shocker, Henry ditched me again to go and fetch so forgotten item at the store. He does this every year and now I’m beginning to wonder if it’s intentional?!

I enjoyed this time with Scott and Maya though because Chooch wasn’t there to interrupt constantly – I have things to say too!

Also, Scott is super tall and excelled at hanging things from the rafters.

Obviously, my contribution was something Korean. Choco Pies 4 lyfe. (Surprisingly, every single kid at the pie party took one bite and then slowly handed the rest their moms. I’m offended!

I saved the “BABY” balloons from Blake and Haley’s baby shower because I figured I’d find a use for it again one day. October 6th, 2017 was that day! Mmm. Pie, baby!

(Every time I looked at it, I kept hearing Joey Tribbiani yelling it with zeal.)

Remember when I joked that the theme was “pies that Trump hates?” Maggie won the whole entire event with her ImPEACH 45 pie. Maggie’s Pie for President!

Twins!

I was sad that Amber1 and her twin sister couldn’t make it because I wanted there to be two sets of twins at the pie party just so I could say, “Yeah well MY pie party had TWO sets of twins, how many did YOURS have?” and then that person would be like, “None because wtf is a pie party, that sounds dumb.”

YEAH WELL FUCK YOU IMAGINARY PERSON I’M COMPETING WITH!

I think this was a picture of Henry staring adoringly at all of his grandbabies and kids, all under one pavilion roof covered with the graffiti of high school lovers.

(They must have painted it recently, actually, because there seemed to be less adolescent devotion up above our heads than usual.)

Lori literally made a cherry pi. So good!

There were so many savory pies this year! Sandy made a delicious corn and tomato pie, Andrew made some kind of chicken pot pie thing (the first pot pie ever, if you can believe that!), Blake & Haley went above and beyond with this super-hearty butternut squash, goat cheese, pine nut concoction that ate like an entire Thanksgiving meal in one slice. I can’t even explain how filling that sucker was! Henry conceded to my begging and made a kimchi quiche which even the pickier people enjoyed! It had a quinoa crust, which I thought was interesting.

You guys. I’m so excited to tell you — I’m betrothed to a pie! I never want to be without it.

Chooch had Sandy’s kids and Blake playing some dumb game with rocks. It had something to do with The Kingdom of the Unobtainium Rock? Who cares.

Except those guys cared and played it for like a solid hour until Blake got carried away and tried to hide one of the rocks in the rafters, which caused Sandy’s kids to try to climb to retrieve it, so I had to be a mom for once in my life and yell at Blake to get the goddamn rock for them.

Maya’s first pie party!

Janna brought a Mexican chocolate mousse. We did not build a wall around it though. Mexico is cool.

Anyway, this mousse brought the heat! It was delicious.

Pie party or not, his face always looks like this.

Here’s Monica holding Calvin, freshly pulled from the oven.

This was taken sometime after I told Chris she had a spider in her hair, landing me above Chooch on Monica’s list of least favorite people. I’m a really awesome friend!

My favorite part of the pie party is how welcoming my friends were to Scott and Maya. Here’s hoping they move here and can join us for more pie in the future! My least favorite part of the pie party was when I was on hug-giving auto-pilot and misread Lori’s body language when she was saying goodbye and started to make a hug motion with my arms, then quickly dropped them down to my side when I noticed she was slightly recoiling, and then the next day she texted me to  tell me that this was her favorite part of the whole pie party and that was sad I wasn’t at work because she wanted to tell everyone about it and embarrass me and I died a little but. I have a NO HUMAN CONTACT reputation to uphold, but the stupid pie party always ruins that because there are always people there who demand to be hugged upon departure and I have trained myself to leave my body for a bit in order to get through this.

I am so awkward, it hurts sometimes.

On that note: it’s hard to believe the 7th pie party is in the books! 7 parties-worth of hugs. OMG.

Oct 112017
 

I am so excited to write this blog post and it will likely be rife with typos because of said excitement (and also because it’s me typing this, remember). Ok ok ok. So, my friend Maya and her husband Scott have been tossing around the idea of moving and somehow, someway, Pittsburgh made it on their short list of options.

Maya and I go way back, and by way back I mean to somewhere like 2008 when we were both active members of a sellers group on Etsy called Etsy’s Dark Side. It was a lot of fun – people in the group would swap business cards, etc so when an order would go, you could include a cute little pack of swag from other shops in the group, kind of like back in the PENPALLING DAYS when you’d throw in some FBs* with your letter for an added bonus. Maya was so great at organizing these swaps! Our one friend Agony’s Decay used to send us little skull-shaped soaps to include with our orders. I was just thinking about this yesterday and felt inspired to re-order business cards from Vista Print for the first time since 2011. I’m good at running a fake business.

*(Pre-Facebook, “FB” stood for “friendship book” which was a small handmade book of stapled paper, sometimes just index cards, that would get passed on from one penpal to the next with each person writing their name, address, interests, etc with the hope of making new penpals; it was like a super rudimentary Craigslist.)

Anyway, some of us became “outside of Etsy” friends and by that I mean we friended each other on Facebook. Mostly, I didn’t interact very much with any of them but Maya was one of the few that I felt like I clicked with, even after I stopped being as active on Etsy as I was back then. And you may remember that Maya is the maker of my favorite dolls!

(Christofer Drew, Jonny Craig, Vic Fuentes, Birthday Clown keychain!)

Technically, that Christofer Drew doll is Chooch’s, along with a Ju-On doll she made him a few years ago, which is in his room because she’s one of his favorite possessions.

Maya and Scott have been wanting to head on over to Pittsburgh to scope it out. When I told her the date for the pie party, they decided that would be a fine weekend to come out, eat some pie and check out some possible neighborhoods. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE! I was at work when she told me and I made some (probably disruptive) exclamation at my desk and then ran around telling people. SOME PEOPLE were like, “Great, if you’re giving her the grand tour, they’ll probably scratch Pittsburgh off the list.”

Ugh, shut up guys.

They got in Friday afternoon but I was working late shift that day (#fml), but they hit up 21st St. Coffee, Primanti’s, and the Wood Street Gallery on their own because they’re capable humans. We didn’t actually meet up until Saturday. Janna joined us because I was afraid they’d ask simple questions about the city and I wouldn’t be able to answer, like, “What is that building?” or “Is it safe here at night,” but I figured if they asked me things like, “Hey where did that creepy guy hug you that one time?” or “Where did that machete thing happen?” I’d be fine.

They didn’t ask, but don’t worry: I SHOWED THEM ANYWAY!

I feel like I’ve been training for this day though, all these years, all those lunch break walks. I have gotten so good at Pittsburgh! Well….kind of. I know the good alleys and where to get ice cream. I also know when to avoid walking around down there (4pm – when all those fucking school kids are running the sidewalks acting like they own the goddamn town, ugh GET OFF MY LAWN) and where to get a good non-Starbucks cup of coffee. (Pro tip: anywhere that’s not Starbucks.)

Henry dropped Janna and me off at Scott and Maya’s hotel in the Strip District and I was prepared for awkward greetings because have you met me? Maybe you haven’t. I’m missing very valuable social skills. We’ll touch on that when I get to the Pie Party post, don’t you worry. But thank god Maya and Scott have enough of those skills to make up for my deficiency because I immediately felt at ease.

Plus, it helped that right away Maya gave me this adorable Monster-era G-Dragon that she made me, so that got me talking animatedly about kpop which is my ultimate comfort zone, <3

She even embroidered the “BB” on his back, I love this little baby G-Dragon so much!

The first thing we did was walk under the Convention Center, because there’s this cool water-path thing that’s usually lit up by pretty lights but I think that it must be turned off for the season now. But at least it gave Janna and me a chance to tell them about the annual furry convention, WHICH THEY WILL GET TO EXPERIENCE IF THEY MOVE HERE.

Add that to the “pro” column, guys.

We walked down Liberty and I was sad that my favorite homeless guy wasn’t out for them to see. Actually, I don’t think he’s homeless, and I’m mad at him (again) because he was shaking his Big Gulp cup of change super aggressively the last time I saw him which I thought was just completely unnecessary because he should know by now that I don’t have any change to give him.

Then we walked to the Point so I could show them the fountain. (“When you start seeing 87 pictures of the fountain a day on Instagram, that’s when you know it’s officially summer,” I read to them from my guidebook. I’m good at this.) They saw the fountain. They took pictures of the fountain.

Then Scott asked a question!

“Do you get much flooding here?” he asked innocently, not knowing that his simple inquiry was forcing my brain to do things and I JUST DID NOT KNOW THE ANSWER nor could I think fast enough to make one up. It was hot that day, OK? Really hot and humid for October.

Thankfully, Janna started spewing out some mundane flood facts and to myself, I thought, “This is why I brought her. Thank god for Janna and her knowing of things.”

You might notice that this post is curiously remiss of photos of them. That’s because I was still testing the waters and trying not to be as extra as I tend to be when I’m excited about fresh (faux)meat. 

I decided I would lead my tour group to Market Square. Janna and I told them about how the restraurant NOLA catches fire a lot and they were like, “That’s concerning.” Janna was all, “Yeah but the food there is good” and I couldn’t really back that up because I’m a vegetarian and New Orleans-centric cuisine hates my people.

We walked past some scary propaganda thing being filmed and then I lead them to Millie’s for the best ice cream in Pittsburgh. Actually, I lead them past Millie’s because I wasn’t paying attention, and also the Market Square location of Millie’s didn’t have super impressive choices this time, but my condensed milk nectarine was a delight. Janna got strawberry (*snore*) and Maya and Scott both got milkshakes (blackberry cobbler and Vietnamese coffee, respectively) and I was really excited about this because for some reason, I never think about getting milkshakes at Millie’s. They said it was good though! Janna made me get sprinkles on mine because she wanted it to look like I was trying to emulate her. It was OK.

Fine, it was wonderful. I usually only get sprinkles on soft serve! I am a very particular ice cream orderer!

There were old people in Millie’s talking about Nashville which was coincidental because you know, Maya and Scott live in Nashville. I felt like the old people thought we were totally in their way and hated us because we were like half their ages.

We pulled some tables together in the center of Market Square and talked about our lives, and Pittsburgh, and the fact that Maya is too scared of haunted houses (#fakegoth!). I was acutely aware during this time that conversation was flowing effortlessly and I was getting attached to these people, oh god!

Check back later for part 2, where I successfully got them on the trolley, compared every bird in the aviary to one of my cats (past or present), and caught Janna stealing. It was a jam-packed day, you guys. We did lots.

Sep 222017
 

Henry and I were going to take a break this year and hope that the season would slip by quietly without anyone noticing we didn’t have a pie party…

…but then friends started asking me as early as July if we were having one this year. I held firm on my decision but after the eighth person asked, Henry and I had an emergency meeting, which means I paused Running Man and said, “People want a pie party, do you want to have one?”

He was like “whatever you want to do” because duh. So I guess we’re having one!


The one downside to not being on Facebook anymore is that it makes party-planning a bit tricky. What did we do we before Facebook events??

Oh yeah: Evites.

I don’t know hardly anyone’s email address though.

Most of my pals are on Instagram so I hoped that posting this rough Photoshopped invitation would suffice but I’ve still been approaching people directly too because I have no way of knowing if anyone has seen it if they don’t heart it or flat out tell me they’re coming. So I have a feeling this pavilion is going to be super-empty.

If you’ve never been to the pie party before, it goes like this: you either bake or buy a pie, bring it to the designated pavilion, put it down with the other pies, grab a plate and go to pie-town. You don’t need to worry about bringing enough pie to feed everyone, because people come and go all day — we have yet to run out of pie!

It’s literally an all-you-can-eat pie buffet. Bring some beverages and enjoy the (hopefully brisk & sunny) autumn day! I won’t make you play weird social ice-breaker games or anything. I’m too busy keeping tabs on THE PIE.

What else can I tell you…oh! Themes. My friend Maggie just asked me the other day if there will be a theme. I never enforce themes because most people seem to ignore me and go rogue, so it’s a basic creative free-for-all. Although, I did jokingly respond with, “I don’t know….pies that Trump hates?” which got us excitedly throwing options out there like a varying flesh-toned Equality Pie and one that’s rainbow-filled, a glass ceiling creme brulee pie, perhaps a delicious dotard custard? Barb is bringing a Covfefe Pie, so that one’s off-limits.

I mean, I GUESS if you swing the other way, you could bring a pie with a popsicle stick wall around it, or a KFC chicken pot pie with a dusting of Cheetos on top. Can’t promise anyone will eat it though.

I’m pushing Henry to bake some Korean pies. We’ll see what he comes up with. I have an idea for Korean pie-pops but after our tense foray into mini pies at the 2015 pie party, I think Henry may have thrown out the little pie-mold maker thing.

Above, please find a sampling of pies we’ve had in the past. Everything from savory to exotic to mini to tarts. Personally, I loved the cupcake pie that Henry made a few years back but it was critiques harshly by some.

So, if you’re reading this, we’re friends (whether IRL or through The Computer), you live in/near Pittsburgh, and you love pie, please consider coming to this thing! It’s also dog and kid friendly. There’s a playground next to the pavilion and my kid is like KIND OF ok at watching younger kids now, and he also doesn’t run around with sticks anymore so it’ll be safe. 

Probably. 

Here is a very basic and not flashy or pretty map that Henry made to help people get to the pavilion but it probably won’t help because most people get lost no matter what – South Park has that effect on people. 

May 092017
 

You know how you pick a date for a party and you’re like, “Oh I have so much time” and then it’s the day of the party and you shut the front door on people and make them stand on the front porch because you’re not ready and why did so many come early when usually everyone comes late or not at all?!

Yeah, that was us on Sunday before Blake and Haley’s baby shower.

Luckily, I had the smarts to decorate the night before, so that was one less thing on the list that I had to break my neck trying to accomplish.

I love/hate decorating! Henry doesn’t know this yet, but we’re swapping out those letters for a G D R A G O N.

Or at the very least: K P O P.

He’ll be fine with it, don’t worry. #StockholmSyndrome

Blake and Haley have a mutual love for cacti and succulents, and they had a distinct woodland theme all up on that baby registry, so I was like CACTI AND FOXES IT IS. Henry said he would bake sugar cookies, and I was like OK cool you should do that Friday night, but he picked that moment to suddenly have a mind of his own and said Nah I’ll do that Saturday.

And then guess what happened? He fucked those cookies high up to the heavens and then sucker punched them down to the hell.

We went to bed angry.

He woke up at one point and mumbled, “I used too much butter. That’s what it was…”

When I woke up Sunday morning, he was already out of bed, making a new batch of those motherbitchin’ cookies.

And then he left me alone with them and several bags of icing while he took Chooch to piano lessons because neither of us had the foresight to cancel the lesson since we had a gazillion things to do, and then on top of that the fucking Pittsburgh marathon was happening so Henry couldn’t get to any of the Asian markets he frequents on Sunday in order to procure last minute ingredients pertinent to the appetizer recipes we picked out, so our kimbap had no damn daikon and the tteokbokki kkochu was just fried tteok with whatever sauce he came up with on the fly.

SUCH SAD.

Anyway, me and the cookies, alone in the kitchen. Good goddammit I might be able to kind of doodle and maybe I could pass with a C- in Painting, but when it comes to arting with icing?

I AM ALL THUMBS.

I cried.

I raged.

I did that thing where I make like I’m going to kick a hole in the wall but then I stop at the last second and just scream instead.

You know that thing.

You do it too.

YOU DO.

Finally I motherfucked the bags of icing because they were making my CLENCHED FISTS shake too much, and I opted for the medium beloved by my preschool brethren.

That goo-goo ga-ga go-to.

That fingerpainting formula.

It mostly worked, but I was so angry and stressed out by the time Henry and Chooch came home that I could barely hear their compliments overtop the rage-ringing in my ears.

I was in the kitchen for a really long time doing this! Like 35 minutes! When all  wanted to do was Kpopx! (I have a problem. At least it’s not heroin, though?)

I was putting last minute touches on the foxes when people started arriving and the stress and HURRYHURRY of the situation found my hands stained with ink-black icing, which I inadvertently spread to my mouth and teeth because that’s how I clean myself.

So when I opened the door to let everyone in, Blake immediately followed his hello with, “Were you eating…chocolate?”

ALL OVER MY MOUTH AND TEETH.

You know who said nothing about this and let me open the door to a host of party-people?

HENRY.

He said he didn’t notice.

You know why he didn’t notice?

BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LOOK AT ME.

Anyway.

The shower!

Here are the people who came:

Judy, Kelly, Sam, and Steph

My mom

Janna

Chris and Monica

Blake’s friends Tyler and Bob

Christy

Kara

Their main shower was the day before, this was just for Henry’s side of the family and my friends to dump all of the baby goods on Blake and Haley. So it was super caj and low-key. Which was great for Haley because she seemed pretty exhausted. We didn’t make them play any weirdo games or anything. They got to lounge around, eat, be annoyed/entertained by Chooch, and then open presents.

Chill and food-filled. The best kind of party.

I kept changing my mind with the cake and before I knew it, the shower was a week away. Luckily, Bethel Bakery was beyond accommodating and whipped up this babe for us (the inside had blood orange buttercream, STFU). We stuck with the woodland/fox theme and Blake & Haley seemed to like it so that’s all that matters in the end!

Henry and I only almost killed each other 4x over the cake-ordering, but who’s counting.

When Blake was here for Chooch’s birthday party, he asked if his baby shower was going to be Korean themed. I promised him I wouldn’t do that and that we could just have standard party food, but then he said, “I mean, if you want to have Korean food…”

“Do you want me to have Korean food?”

“….maybe?” he said with a suggestive shrug.

“That means yes!” I said later to Henry, but then that was quickly followed with, “I can’t tell if he’s just instigating me though….” and Henry just laughed because Blake has always instigated me when it comes to my obsessions.

Nevertheless, we added some Korean fare and flair to the party in the way of daikon-less kimbap (boo) and some Henry-bastardization of tteok kkochi, as previously mentioned. Everyone was like “this is good” but in my heart, I knew what it was supposed to taste like, and this was just “so-so.”

(Sorry Henry but you know it’s true!)

When Christy arrived, she said, “I guess I’ll just put my present down here on the…wheelchair,” and then she looked around the room at everyone with this, “Erin is a fucking weirdo, amirite guys?” We’ve known each other since we were 4 years old so really nothing I do shocks her…ever.

Don’t let this picture fool you – the guys were REALLY INTO the presents. Blake especially was like freaking the fuck out over last onesie and washcloth. He’s easily excitable.

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I made this cacti painting for Calvin’s nursery, which doesn’t match their theme at all, but cacti! It was the first painting I’ve made in months. Ruts, you know?

“How long is this flag banner going to stay up?” Henry asked after it got snagged on his hat for the millionth time since it was initially hung for Chooch’s surprise party last week.

“Forever,” I said with a smile. I love it. PARTY DECORATIONS FOREVER.

Things took a turn when Chooch asked if his neighbor friend Marky could come in; everyone said No! and I said Sure! because I love how annoyed he makes everyone. Chooch put on some YouTube video of a guy pretending to package up his family and mail them to wherever they were going on vacation…??? I’m not exactly sure what was going on other than this family thought they were SO FUCKING FUNNY with all their basic white walls in their McMansion.

Anyway, every time a family member would get into the box, Marky started gleefully chanting, “SUCFFOCATE! YEAH! SUFFOCATE THEM! KILL THEM! DIE! DIE!”

Welcome to the darkest baby shower ever.

I’m not sure if this picture was taken before or after Henry made some flip comment about, “She ran away and became lesbian” at which point time stood still, an ostrich ran backwards across the dining room floor, a tea cup full of blood hovered midair, and Monica broke through the barrier to say, “No, that’s not how any of this happens.”

GOOD JOB, HENRY. This is why we don’t have friends!

(Well, it’s usually because of me. But still.)

Then Chooch came in and did some spontaneous Beyonce squat, slapped himself on the ass, grabbed some chips, and left the room.

My mom brought artichoke dip and Picky Chooch was all, “Ew that sounds gross,” because he hates everything that’s not perched atop a waffle cone or from a vending machine (j/k, he likes grilled cheese too), so Monica slyly said, “That’s Chris’s favorite.”

“Really!?” Chooch exclaimed, spooning a huge dollop onto his plate. He is like obsessed with Chris (that said “Christ” at first and I really considered leaving it as that) to the point that Monica probably fears that Chooch will suffocate her (Monica) in her sleep.

Or have Marky do it.

In any case, Chooch now loves artichoke dip and when he found out my mom made it, he told me to tell her she’s hired.

“Marky wants to ride in the wheelchair, so I’m just going to take him out back,” Chooch casually said, filling Monica’s head with images of Marky rolling up to her house in the middle of the night in a creaky wheelchair, knife in hand.

The parents-to-be!

We’re all so excited to meet baby Calvin next month. These two are going to be great parents!

So yeah, another baby shower in the books! I think I’m taking a hiatus from party-throwing though. Two in a week was a bit much even for me! Um, and apologies to the shower guests for any Marky-inspired nightmares they’ve been having since Sunday. Any other offensive remarks that may have been/were definitely made.

Apr 022017
 

It started out that I didn’t want to be around people on Thursday. I even took the day off work in advance, because I know myself all too well. I reminded myself to stay away from Timehop and then attempted to fill my day with healthy things to keep my mind from reliving the bad memories from the last March 30th.

I went for a walk in the rain.

I practiced my Korean.

I went to lunch with Henry.

I watched a Running Man episode.

All good, healthy things to keep my mind spinning in positive directions, and not unnecessary downspirals. Anniversaries are so weird. I could have stayed in bed all day cried but fuck that noise.

I had a ticket for the Stolas / Icarus the Owl show that night, but I wasn’t particularly in the mood to be around strangers. The idea of staying home was very tempting, but I really like Icarus the Owl and I hadn’t seen them since September 2015. I had to go. I let myself be selfish for most of the day, but now it was time to get over myself and go support a band I love.

And I am so glad that I did because it turned out to be not only an amazing show, but just an overwhelmingly healing night for me in so many ways.

I got to Smiling Moose about twenty minutes before the opening band, Atlas Decay, went on. The room was still relatively uncrowded and the tiny bar area was empty. I grabbed a stool, had a brief conversation with the bartender about wheat beer before settling on Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (I’ve been making an effort to try new things rather than fall back on my old standby—cider). A few minutes later, I was looking down at my phone when a girl sat down next to me and said, “Hi, how are you?”

Alarms went off.

No one ever acknowledges me when I’m alone at a show. I’m invisible, remember?

I blurted out that I was fine and then tossed some side-eye to my left and saw that it was a younger girl in a Contortionist hoodie. I realized within seconds that I recognized her from other shows at the Smiling Moose, and that she too tends to always be there alone.

After the awkward salutations wafted off into the ether and were now just a faint memory, that familiar, uncomfortable silence set it. But when the bartender set down her Boddington’s, I used that as my chance to start a real conversation.

So I told her that I’m just learning to drink beer.

Because I’ve found that people who drink beer always want to talk about drinking beer.

And that worked! We started talking fluidly, without any awkward pretenses. This is how normal people do it! This is how I used to do it, too, back when I still had a personality and self-esteem! And then she asked what band I was there to see and when I said Icarus the Owl, she said, “Me too!” We animatedly discussed bands we liked until Atlas Decay started, and once they were over, we immediately resumed our conversation.

We talked a bit about Emarosa and she asked me how many times I’ve seen them. When I told her about the first time, at a skate park in 2008, opening for Pierce the Veil, she exclaimed, “Wow! That’s one for the books!”

HOLY SHIT, SOMEONE WAS INTERESTED IN MY GRANNY TALES!

Anyway, her name is Cat and she is only 22, but she’s an old soul. I could sense it.

We hung out for the duration of the show, and I really hope I see her again. It was so cool to have someone to stand with, as simple as that sounds. At one point she said, “Erin, you’re awesome” and I almost cried because usually I hear, “You’re weird” “you’re annoying” or “you’re dumb” and that’s just when I’m not being interrupted, talked over, or just ignored completely.

#life

And holy shit, Icarus the Owl. I am even more in love with them. Their music filled the holes in my heart that night and I knew I made the right choice. Not just for myself, but for the bands. Our scene here is not the best and these shows at Smiling Moose never really fill the room, so it’s my duty as a fan to boost the attendance by at least one. These guys sacrifice a lot to go on tour. I live 10 minutes away from Smiling Moose and had no other obligations that night. No excuses.

Joey Rubenstein makes me smile. <3

When they played “Skysweeper” I had an out-of-body experience. It was beautiful.

Next was Mylets, who I had never heard of but Cat was like, “OMG you’re going to love him!” and she was right of course because she’s awesome and has impeccable taste! So Mylets is Henry, a one-man band. It’s almost like he’s playing DDR up there with his pedals, and it was mesmerizing to watch.

Mylets was just one guy doing it all. It was beautiful.

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I almost left before Stolas because I’ve seen them numerous times and while I don’t dislike them, they’re not a band I generally tend to listen to on my own. But something told me to stay, and I’m so glad that I did because they blew me away. I don’t remember them being that good!

After Cat and I said our goodbyes, I was about to leave as well, but I noticed Joey from Icarus the Owl standing nearby. We made eye contact, and I thought to myself, “You had two beers. YOU CAN DO THIS, ERIN R. KELLY.” And so I walked over and told him that I think he’s amazing, and he was all, “Me?!” in the most adorable, humble way, and then he said, “We’ve met before. About two years ago….here, I think, right? And….you’re on The Twitter.”

“Yes! I’m the girl who’s always wishing for you guys to tour with Artifex Pereo and Emarosa!”

He remembered! People don’t remember me! I’m too average!

I couldn’t believe it.

And we had such a good, effortless conversation about the scene and their tour, and he said that actually, they were supposed to do a tour with Emarosa but plans fell through. Ugh!

I bought their newest album on vinyl and he legit wouldn’t let me leave until he had every last band member sign it for me, which required him to text, call, and flat out leave the merch table to seek out the last guy. Some of the people waiting in line looked annoyed, but I was like I’M SORRY OK.

Anyway, he hugged me two times and said it was nice to re-meet me and by the time I got to the car (Henry and Chooch were annoyed that I came out later than I originally said, lol), I was super giddy.

“That’s great,” Henry sighed, and Chooch just mumbled, “Cool story.”

I mean, probably that’s what happened. I still had so much buzzing in my head.

Oh! And the bartender said, “You look so clean cut but then you have hand tattoos. I love it.” That made me laugh so hard, because I make no sense. 

Fuck, I needed this night. Pity party officially canceled. 

Mar 252017
 

Mayday, mayday. I’m here at Chooch’s school for something called Night at the Museum which was all a SICK RUSE but I’ll get to that in a bit. 

I asked if I was going to be bored here and Henry was all “God yes, you’re always bored” while at the same time Chooch muttered, “Yeah. there won’t be any KPOP there, god forbid.”

But then I asked if there would be cookies and Chooch said probably so here I am. 

TURNS OUT IT’S SOME EVENT FOR DORKY CHILDREN TO SHOWCASE THEIR NERDY SCIENCE PROJECTS AND EVERY TIME I WALK PAST ONE OF THEIR TABLES, THEY START TALKING TO ME. 

I had to pretend to care about some bitch’s SEASHELLS. 

WOE IS ME. 

WHAT IS MY LIFE. 

But then I was actually enrapt in some tiny child’s display on inertia* and was all OH TELL ME MORE, OH YOU DONT SAY and as we walked away, I said to Henry, “HE WAS SO CUTE!”

*LOL I just walked by and it was FRICTION not INERTIA so I guess I didn’t really care that much. 

And under my breath, I creepily whispered, “Because he’s Korean!”

I’ve seen many foes here so far and it’s only been 15 minutes. 


Chooch and I made it almost to the top of this staircase, ignoring Henry’s warnings of “Don’t go that way. Don’t go that way. You can’t go that way” and then when we looked up and saw the caution tape, it all started making sense. 

There were witnesses. 

Meanwhile in the cafeteria, they have a table of food set up, food from Ireland I guess? There were Irish potatoes which I hadn’t had since some kid brought them in to class when I was in elementary school. There were also birthday cake cookies and I wasn’t sure if they were just for kids so it became this big game of me whining about it and Chooch saying “Just go get one” until he finally threw his hands up, marched over to the table and yelled, “Can my mom have a cookie? She’s TOO AFRAID to ask” and everyone laughed at me. 

Chooch found his friend Sharyn so we’re chilling with her grandma who is one HIP LADY. I like her a lot. 

“She reminds me your mom,” I said to Henry. “But not as—-”

“—crass,” Henry finished as I was saying “abrasive.”

Someone gave Chooch a hammer. 🙄

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Some dumb geode-smashing experiment. They gave Chooch a hammer. I stood far away. 

****

I just outed Chooch as a butterfly phobe in front of a cute broad from the Carnegie who brought insects for the kids to scream at and now a bunch of his peers are mocking him and he totally loves it. 

Payback for outing me as cookie-taking scaredy-cat. 

Ok I just learned about Islam from a Yemen family here and now I’m woke.  

I asked Chooch why he didn’t contribute anything to this event, like some artifacts and a poster board about his fake Siberian heritage, and he just shrugged and said “because I didn’t know about it.” 

He is so dense. 

There is no Korean table here so I’m pouting. 

Henry and the principal* just complimented each other’s beards but Henry pointed out that the principal’s is grayer. “I guess you have more stress in your life,” Henry laughed.

Oh you’re saying I need to up my game?

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 

* (The principal knows us pretty well, it’s safe to say.)


I mean, a real school would have written that in Hangul, but whatever. 

“You should have made a Korean exhibit,” Chooch said. 

Yeah, that would have looked legit. Some dumb Caucasian mutt sitting behind a table of red bean taffy, ttkeokbokki, and Kpop lightsticks, talking about kai bai bo and BIGBANG. 

Such credibility. 


Protecting Sharyn’s identity because I’ve already been this down this road once LOLOLOL. 

On the way home, Henry asked Chooch who the lady was at the concession stand. 

“Why?” Chooch asked. 

“Because she knew your name,” Henry said, with a silent but implied, “and that makes me nervous. 

“Because he’s NOTORIOUS,” I sang, and when no one responded, I said, “That was supposed to be Duran Duran.”

And still no one said anything. 

Turns out the concession lady was the mom of one of Chooch’s friends. I knew it definitely wasn’t MISS DEBBY THE MISERABLE LUNCH LADY because she actually smiled at Chooch. 

(I’m trying to get Chooch to blog about his years-long war with MISS DEBBY.)

Anyway. Now I’m home. It was fine. The kids did a good job I guess, ugh—THE PAIN! I feel like I need to flip off an elderly nun now or something. 

ETA: Henry just pulled up my blog on his phone and said, “Oh great, I can’t wait for all the parents to read this” and I was like “WTF, I was actually really nice! I said nice things about Sharyn’s grandma and that Yemen lady, and—”

“Erin, you called the one girl with the sea shells a bitch, and the rest of the kids dorks and nerds, and that was just in the very beginning!”

But I mean, that’s not super bad. 

(That seashell girl was super pushy with her seashells though. She was all, “Pick the up for a closer look.” Bitch, you pick them for a closer look! UGHHHH.)

Mar 162017
 


Lisa is moving to Idaho in a few months so I have been trying to squeeze in as many hang-outs as possible.  She and I kept saying we wanted to hang out with our pals Sarah and Liz again so I had them over for some kind of girl’s night thing, I guess. Liz brought delicious pizza and I brought the Kpop.

“I was wondering on the way here, ‘Is Erin going to invite anyone in off the street?'” and Henry just groaned before leaving the house with Chooch because Too Many Girls, but I’m sure he probably also felt very thankful that my penchant for poaching strangers off the sidewalk to attend my house parties was several lifestyles ago, currently replaced with a K-lifestyle.

Sarah and Liz were supportive of my new lifestyle and even encouraged me to try and audit a Korean course at Pitt, and Liz said that she even has a friend who tutors Korean, and then they were like, “Yes, play us some BIGBANG, Erin” while Lisa sat there disapproving of the whole scene.

“I feel like I’m in high school again and this is Bone Thugs n Harmony,” she said without even attempting to mask the disgust. It’s so true though! Lisa has known me a long time.

“You’re always obsessed with something,” Sarah laughed.

I told them that I feel like I imprinted on the whole entire country of South Korea.

Blank stare.

“You know, like Edward and Bella,” I explained.

Blank stare.

“From Twilight?” I mumbled sheepishly, realizing that I just admitted that I’ve read that piece of trash. IT WAS FOR POP CULTURE RESEARCH, OK?!

Anyway, I want to make a genuine effort to hang out with these girls again. I even had Henry put out the good fruit (the pineapple that Andrew gave him as a thank you for hanging out, and my cherished persimmon) so you know these are good peeps.

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Chooch took this picture for us when he and Henry came home, and after Sarah chased him around the house mercilessly. “We learned all about G-Dragon,” Liz informed Henry, who just gave me the How Do You Have Friends? frown.

***

On Saturday, after visiting Robbie, Nikki and the brand new twins at the hospital, we went to our friend Patty’s birthday party. This girl has had a rough time of it lately, but she still was the most joyful person in the room. She really is an inspiration and I was honored to celebrate her birthday with her.

My favorite part was when Chooch kept getting mistaken for a girl, I guess because of his hoodie. He was playing Checkers with the boy in the above picture, and a teenaged girl was helping the boy out; for some reason they both kept using female pronouns when referring to Chooch and he was STEWING. Henry and I were on the receiving end of his murderous glares and we were just like “Shrug?” I mean, Chooch even said, “I’m a boy” at one point but then later, when they were playing Battleship, the teenager exclaimed, “Wow, she is REALLY good at Battleship!” and Chooch tossed us an “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME” look over his shoulder. I almost had to leave the room, I was laughing so hard.

And before you’re calling Child Services because Oh Honestly Erin is giving her kid a complex, please know that I wouldn’t have laughed if he was genuinely upset. But you know, when you reside beneath the Roof of Schadenfreude, these are the situations you relish. 

Besides, Henry was laughing too!

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Meanwhile, there was a girl sitting across from me who I briefly met a few years ago when I went to a Horror Realm after party luau thing with my friend Kristy, and she seems so cool and I wanted so badly to start talking to her, but I just couldn’t do it.

How did I go from being the girl who picked up hitchhikers for sport and invited strangers straight off the street to her parties, to someone with crippling social anxiety and a paralyzed tongue who can’t even make conversation with a girl sitting across the table from her.

I loathe myself.

But then I had cake so who cares.

I was surprised at how good the icing was because I’m so picky with cake and was prepared to not like it. “It’s probably because I got a piece that had a pot of gold on it” I reasoned later on to Henry, who said, “all of the icing tasted the same, Erin.”

DISAGREE. 

When I was saying goodbye to Patty, I mentioned that we had to go home because Henry had some printing jobs that he had to do.

“Yeah right, she just wants to watch her Korean shit,” Chooch scoffed, rolling his eyes in my direction.

What a little fucker!

But really, we were both telling the truth: while Henry was busy printing things, I was watching my “Korean shit.”

And then when I was saying goodbye, Choochetta popped a balloon, causing everyone in the room to turn and stare at us which is my favorite thing in the whole world. 

***

The thing Henry was printing the night before was actually a large picture of the Millennium Falcon and numerous cut-outs of Monica’s head, so that people could play Pin the Monica on the Millennium Falcon at her birthday party on Sunday, which was at Spoonwood.

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I had one beer and also one sample of another beer and was so fucking worthless for the rest of the day.

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Nate, April, Sandy and Zoe were also there! I let Zoe play with the Num-Noms that I keep in my eyeball purse and Sandy told me that after she left, Zoe said, “That lady with the yellow hair was so nice.”

THAT’S ME SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT.

I’M THE LADY WITH THE YELLOW HAIR.

AND I’M NICE.

Chooch spent more time roaming around, pestering Monica, trying to get Chris to adopt him, and asking Nate random video game questions. I observed this and started to hate myself again because how does my kid have more social skills than me? Furthermore, where did he LEARN those social skills?? He eventually ditched us all together and moved over to Nate and April’s table, and made them put together a puzzle with him.

“Little do they know he’s theirs now,” Henry whispered into his beer.

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Chris made these peanutbutter Deathstar cups and MOTHERFUCK they were divine. And also these Princess Leia and Admiral Ackbar cupcakes!

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(Like I know what I’m talking about.)

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There was a girl there who looked like Carly Rae Jepsen! I didn’t take her picture though. I was trying not to be creepy.

Henry ordered a hummus plate and I was like, “This would taste better if it came with kimchi” and Henry was like, “PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT KOREA” but he knew I was right.

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Henry finally trimmed his beard!

Did I mention that this was a Star Wars-themed party?

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The birthday girl and her frenemy!

Chooch for whatever reason assumed that Chris and Monica were coming over later, and Chris was like, “Sorry, we can’t! We’re going to be here all day.” Chooch’s face fell into this pathetic look that said, “I’LL PUT OUT THE GOOD FRUIT FOR YOU!”

He’s obsessed with Chris, if I haven’t mentioned that on here a million times over the last three years.

Anyway, what a great weekend full of great people! I felt so happy afterward–I love my friends!

Now I’m torn between throwing a huge house party or camping out in Misanthropy Cave for a while.

Jan 232017
 

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We had a lowkey supplemental baby shower here on Sunday for Nikki and Rob, mainly so that Henry’s side of the family could have a chance to, you know, shower them with baby gifts. As you do at a baby shower. My mom and Janna also came and it was a nice little party!

Except that Henry left me alone with the streamers beforehand. Why does it seem like streamers were pulled straight from Satan’s asshole? I have never had a good experience with them, ever! Those crepey pieces of frustration push me right to the edge every time. And on this particular go-around, I FELL OFF A CHAIR trying to hang them up along the window!

INTRUDERS. 🎈🎈🎈

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Turns out Drew is terrified of balloons, but luckily she didn’t have to see them all day because she was too busy hiding from the other things she’s terrified of: strangers in her house.

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These are the streamers that almost killed me! ^^

I don’t even know how it happened. I literally tripped over myself as I tried to step off the chair I was standing on and as I began my descent toward the hardwood floor, my foot caught the lip of the seat and then it was two of us falling. I landed all along my left side and have some great bruises today. I think this is Karma for last week at work when Lauren asked James from the mailroom how his back is doing and then I sarcastically asked, “Oh yeah, how’s your back James?” in that shitty little tone I get that I swear happens because I become possessed by a grade school bully.

As the day progressed today, I kept discovering new parts of myself that hurt. Fucking streamers.

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Ugh more streamers. LOOK AT HOW ADEPT I AM AT HANGING THEM FROM A THING! At least I didn’t have to stand on a chair for that one.

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It was a very laidback affair. Nikki just had her main shower last weekend and I just wanted her to be able to relax, eat some random Korean food, and open presents. NO GAMES!

(In all honesty though, I did briefly consider devising some type of Change Chooch’s Diaper game.)

One of our gifts to them was a set of Dance Gavin Dance onesies. As soon as they told us they’re having The Twins, the first thing I thought of was, “OMG, Downtown Battle Mountain 1 and Downtown Battle Mountain 2 onesies!” IT’S A DGD THING YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND.

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No but seriously, those are the names of two of the DGD albums that Jonny Craig sang on, and since they’re both JC fans, I thought it would be cool. Henry literally waited so long to make them, that Robbie and Nikki were DOWNSTAIRS when he finished ironing the things on. Ugh. I hate how last minute his sorry ass is!

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Henry made these really delicious cucumber tea sandwiches which also had avocado and alfalfa sprouts. We thought for sure no one would eat them, but the whole platter was devoured, THEY WERE SO GOOD. I think they’ll be a new party staple. I also conned him into making a tray of kimbap and we had a small tower of chapssaltteok because this is my life now and I’m not trying to PUSH MY NEW BELIEFS on anyone, but I still wanted to add a little Eastern flava to the snack spread, and surprisingly, even JUDY liked the kimbap and most of the chapssaltteok was eaten too. I love when my SUBTLE attempts to infiltrate my lifestyle choices onto others is a success.

Unlike the time I tried to get people to start tying scarves around their ankles.

ANKLECHIEFS.

Whatever, I thought it looked great. Maybe I’ll start doing it again.

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chapssaltteok chapssaltteok

gunghabi uri uri gunghabi

Henry needs to learn to make his own.

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And what’s a soiree without a cake from Zia Desserts? Kaitlin’s mad baking skills were met with rave reviews as usual. She is insane. (The swans are an inside thing between Rob and Nikki and Kaitlin knocked it out of the park with her sculpting skills!)

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Chooch wanted to play Catchphrase and I was all, “NO THIS ISN’T GAME NIGHT” but then Nikki said, “Yeah, I’ll play Catchphrase!” because she is desperate for Chooch’s affections, so Chooch shot me a smug “ha ha” smirk that looked suspiciously familiar until I realized I was practically looking in a mirror. Ugh I love/hate how much alike we are!

I opted out, but sat on the floor and watched everyone crash and burn BECAUSE THEY NEEDED ME TO KEEP THAT GAME AFLOAT. I’m so good at Catchphrase, it’s almost gross. (Not as good as I am at Scattergories though. That game was pretty much invented for assholes like me.) It was during this time that Nikki learned what bukkake is (no one wanted to say it out loud with Old People nearby so she had to google it and the expression on her face as the knowledge cascaded down upon her in sticky drips was the highlight of the day for me, for sure.

This topic arose from trying to explain gwiyomi. Which is basically the most innocent thing in the world. 

Also, can we take a moment to admire how adorable Nikki is!? I did not look even remotely “ok” or “semi-presentable” when I was pregnant. I looked like I had another person growing from under my chin, not just my stomach. Nikki looks so great!

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Underwear model.

Everyone left around 6 (some football game was on, I guess), but Henry’s kids and their ladies stayed for an impromptu after-party and it was so much fun! We talked about Korea and music and old times and Korea and the fact that they’re all going to be parents super soon and then we circled back to Korea.

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Baby Shower After Party: Blake and Robbie enthralled with Bigbang videos while Haley checks her phone for the time and begins to question reality.

(I think Blake’s bias is Taeyang, btw.)

Henry said that Blake and Robbie were only watching all of my videos because they were hammered. WHATEVER HENRY. Honestly though, poor Nikki and Haley were like, “Now we’re the designated drivers, too?!” Nothing like being pregnant and watching people drink.

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TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL.

Now I regret not coming up with a shower game that required smearing Butt Paste on Henry’s beard.

Oh well! We have another shower coming up soon so I can rectify that.

Can’t wait to meet these babies when they get here!!

Dec 312016
 

 

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I was preparing for another boring Friday night on the homefront when Haley messaged me and told us to come hang out with her and Blake at the bowling alley right down the street and I was like “Yo, don’t gotta ask me twice!” Get me outta this house, you know?

But then Henry was sleeping (it was only 8!!) because he’s Henry and that’s what Henry does.

Sleep.

It took Chooch and me a good 25 minutes to get him out of bed because he’s the absolute worst. I think he’s narcoleptic and I hate him. But seriously, Papa H should be happy that his grown-ass son willingly wants to be seen in public with his dopey dad.

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And that’s how we ended up having a really fun Friday night instead of staying home where I would probably just watch Kpop videos all night and maybe have a glass of wine and Chooch would probably play some dumb computer game and then we would both take turns yelling disparaging things at a slumbering Henry.

Blake and Haley’s friends Arthur and Claudia were there too and it was so much fun! I love being out in a group. SAFTEY IN NUMBERS.

Here are some pictures!

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Henry was pissed because he got three strikes in a row toward the end and no one fell to his feet in adulation.

“Sorry, I don’t praise people for cheating,” I shrugged, and he started mumbling how he wasn’t cheating and Blake was just like, “Yeah OK dad.”

Nice try, Henry.

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Haley and Chooch are the best frenemies. Haley told me that at my Christmas party, they were playing Likewise with Robbie & Nikki. The whole point of that game is that everyone has a dry-erase sign that they have to write their answers on, and you’re supposed to try and get the same answer as everyone else. At one point, the prompt was “female tool.” Obviously, everyone had the same answer of “vibrator,” but when Chooch held up his sign, it said “motorized weener.”

“I couldn’t think of what it was called!” Chooch cried. Oh my god, I’m so glad I wasn’t in the room for that! Ugh, my son, ladies and gentlemen.

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Blake brought a whole purse full of patience last night.

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We left around 10:45 because the bowling alley doesn’t allow kids there past 11 (not even smart-mouthed ones like Chooch). Henry, Chooch and I walked over to Tom’s Diner before  going home, and that’s when Chooch casually recounted all of the weeners he’s accidentally seen at Warped Tour, the fuck?!

So many weener convos. I guess I’m OK with that though.

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For actual New Years Eve, it’s just the three of us, chilling at home. Which is exactly how I like it. Henry will probably fall asleep 837248972348 times before midnight though. What an asshole.

Here’s my NYE gift to you: my current favorite Kpop song!

Dec 172016
 

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While our country was in the middle of imploding last month, the only thing I could think was, “This year has been like toddler backwash in the cup of life. I just want to be with my friends and not care about anything for a few hours, Henry we’re having a party.” And Henry was like, “—-” and I was like, “Too late, I already invited people.” Henry LOVES when that happens, but at least this time I gave him a three second heads up before he got the Facebook event notification.

I created the event on my phone, probably through tears because a veil of salty face water is 2016’s little black dress. As such, I accidentally spelled party as “parth” and WENDY had a field day with that one. The next day at work, she was like, “I’m going to dress like Jennie Garth to your holiday parth” and then Lori, who had stopped in Wendy’s office right at that moment, was all, “LOL and I’m going to be Shannon Doherty” so then they wanted me to be Tori Spelling?! I was like, “Why do I have to be Tori Spelling!?” and I got unreasonably upset about this, so then Wend was all, “Fine you can be David Silver then. Or Andrea!” and I cried, “I DON’T WANT TO BE ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE!” and stormed back to my desk, even after Lori offered to relinquish her claim on Brenda.

“Wow, that took a turn,” Lori laughed.

#blamewendy

As usual, this was poorly planned. HENRY waited until the last minute to start preparing, after ignoring my month-long texts of food suggestions. His big idea was to make mini ham BBQ sandwiches and I was like, “Wow, how Yinzer of you. Can we fill an old tire full of Coors Lite, too?” And then he waited until two hours into the party to finally serve the vegetarian meatballs I begged him to make, and he only made like 10 of them and had to cut them into little pieces, and then he didn’t even make fancy sauce, he just used STORE BOUGHT ONES. Whatever, Henry. Go fuck yourself.

Also, I spent like FIFTEEN MINUTES at the idiotic grocery store, trying to decide what kinds of crackers to buy, and then we forgot to put them out on the table. And Henry wouldn’t buy fancy bread and instead bought some gross, dry, tiny loaf of party bread that no one ate because it was a real saliva-sucker and I didn’t eat it either. Chooch tried one and then threw it out in front of everyone.

(OK FINE I PICKED OUT THE BREAD BECAUSE I WAS CONFUSED AND FLUSTERED AND JUST WANTED TO BE DONE.)

We were really crunched for time, so I actually offered to help Henry with kitchen-y things. He had me cut peppers (!!!!!). First he gave me a huge knife, then thought better of it and swapped it out with something less dangerous. Still, it took me forever to dice them the way he showed me. I kept asking him what the peppers were for, to which he repeatedly responded with a vague, “Um…I’m not sure yet.”

OH I’LL TELL YOU WHAT THEY WERE FOR: his motherfucking ham BBQ!!! That bastard had me sous-cheffing for his gross meat shit!! Talk about betrayal.

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I wanted Henry to make more sweet things too but he made no such thing, so then I just had Janna bake cookies and she did because I told her to. Obedient friends are important to have, guys. And Chris and Monica brought salted caramel bars too so thank god!

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At least I didn’t screw up the punches. (And yes, that sign mentions pregnant people because Robbie’s girlfriend is having twins! HENRY IS GOING TO BE A GRANDFATHER!!! And someone else is pregnant too but hasn’t officially announced it yet so I won’t out them on here. And no it’s not me, ew.) Honestly, the beverage buffet is my favorite part of having parties. Plus, I get joy in seeing Blake daintily holding a tiny punch glass.

I did this! Here’s my Pinterest-worthy step-by-step DIY:

  1. Hand garland to people.
  2. Have them do it for you.

In my case, the “people” were Henry and Robbie. WELL DONE! Robbie also hung my “Merry Christmas” garland for me above the beverage buffet, because Henry was “too busy.”

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But then people started to arrive and I didn’t care about the dumb food anymore because woo, distractions!

Guest list:

  • Robbie and Nikki
  • Blake and Haley
  • Sandy, Elene and Zoe
  • Amber1 and Brian
  • Janna
  • Barb
  • Lori
  • Lauren and Tony
  • Chris and Monica
  • Wendy, Shawn and Summer
  • Sean and Ines
  • Shawn and Jess

Lisa and Kara both sadly had to un-RSVP earlier that day because they were sick. :( I was so sad! It seemed weird without them. Although I think maybe Kara was just trying to avoid Henry because she is the QUEEN of finding ridiculous things for sale that she knows will get me all riled up, so she’ll text me the link to various oddities knowing that an impending headache will ensue for Henry, having to hear me whine and beg for things like an old bumper car being auctioned from a defunct amusement park. And then Henry will scream, “THAT THING WOULDN’T EVEN FIT THROUGH OUR FRONT DOOR” and Kara will reply, “If he really loved you, he’d find a way.”

Like, we have a roof you know — cut a hole and drop it through, Henry!

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Holy fork receptacle — I DID THIS.

YOU GUYS, THERE ARE TWINS IN THERE. I can’t wait to be the weirdest young faux-grandma ever!!!! LET’S GO TO WARPED TOUR, BABIES!

As if everyone didn’t already feel under-dressed, Zoe had to go and add a garland boa to her ensemble. <3

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Chooch said he had a good time at the party but his favorite part was when everyone left. Wow.

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Henry and Shawn coming up with a hopeful Mouse Attack stratagem.

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Ugh, everyone LOVES Chooch, blah blah blah.

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A Somber Convo.

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Blake and the dainty punch cup. PINKIE FINGER ACTIVATED.

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When Barb walked in, Chooch casually said, “Wrong house.” I love their weird frenemyship.

Also, I think this is the first time I had a party where everyone was there at once (usually my non-game night parties are of a revolving door-variety where some people come early and some come late) so my tiny house was pretty packed. Sorry guys!

Not sorry to my ASSHOLE NEIGHBORS though. Hope all the loud laughter and talking disturbed them. (It probably didn’t though, ugh.)

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I jokingly mentioned in the Facebook event thing that perhaps we also do lame crafts, but then it became a reality. Chooch picked out some s’mores craft thing with was evidently extremely frustrating to create, but luckily Sandy came prepared with foam snowflakes, stickers, and markers, so that seemed to appease the kids (and Blake and Haley). I think my favorite scene was Zoe crafting on the Devil rug.

Pictured: Haley using the s’mores craft supplies to make a snowman, while Chris waves her hand at this impromptu display of ingenuity and says, “WHOA.” Meanwhile, Blake just played with an electrical current.

(The s’mores craft really played with Chooch’s patience, that’s for sure. “It was TERRIBLE. Did not work” — Chooch’s 1 star review.)

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Henry was in his glory because all of his favorite Sean/Shawns were there.

I wouldn’t let anyone leave without taking their picture with Trudy the Beauty:

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The night before, I had a dream that I forgot to make the punch and didn’t realize it until the next morning, but then it ended up not even mattering because no one showed up anyway. I was nervous all day, wondering if everyone was going to cancel on me, but it ended up being such a nice turn-out! Someday, I’ll move out of this shanty and into something bigger, and then EVERYONE CAN COME!

P.S. It’s been a week and my house is still clean! The best part of having parties: Henry DEEP CLEANS.

Nov 052016
 

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My mantra on Friday was, “Soon this hellacious day will be over, and you will be hanging out with Chris, and definitely drinking wine.” Having something to look forward to later definitely made work much more bearable!

Henry, Chooch, and I went over to Chez Chronica right after work. Monica was working, sadly, and she was missed! But…more tots for us? A small consulation, I guess.

Chris is the best hostess ever, I’m not kidding. Look at how beautiful the table was! And it was just the dumb Appledale/Robbins family she was hosting, not anyone important. I felt so spoiled, which is exactly how I like to feel! And she plied us with homemade caramel apple cupcakes, which is exactly how I like to be plied!

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Chris made us vegetarian French dips (they had portabello mushrooms in them) and they were so damn good, unless you’re Chooch, then you just ate bread and tots because TEXTURE ISSUES.

After we ate, Henry left because our refrigerator is dying and he wanted to go scope some options for us but really he just didn’t want to watch A SCARY MOVIE which was the whole point of Dinner & Horror Movie Night, but whatever Henry. Just don’t let Trump grab you by your pussy while you’re out, I guess.

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Here’s a picture of Monica’s frenemy with two of her favorite things: her cat Graham and Star Wars Legos. This photo was taken a few minutes after Chooch called Graham a “dirty prick” for absolutely no reason.

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Chooch kept himself busy and non-annoying all evening by putting things together. Thank god for brain stimulation, otherwise it would have been “Chris Chris Chris Chris Hey Chris” all during the movie. 

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Chris didn’t feel like breaking up the ice cubes for Chooch’s lemonade, but it just made it look fancy.

We watched I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House and I can’t figure out if I really loved it or was duped by the indie-ness of it all, but I can tell you this: it was beautifully filmed and I had an intense chill crawling all the way up my leg by the end. It was a slow-burner, you guys.

Chooch mocked Chris for saying, “Whoa!” every time something happened that shocked her.

Henry came back before it ended and pretended to be VERY INTERESTED IN HIS PHONE so that he wouldn’t have to be scared. Then he fell asleep. But who needs Henry’s company when you have Chooch churning out stories left and right?

Pablo's bones.

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SATURDAY

After a ton of planning and numerous reschedules, the stars aligned and breakfast was officially a go with Lisa and Stacey. We went to Coca Café and even though we had to wait for about 30 minutes because it’s a hipster haven. Lisa commented that her husband Matt would hate it there because of the clientele and I started cracking up because SO WOULD HENRY. And the funniest part to me is that both of them have the perfect beards to blend right in with all those d-bags, too.

There was a couple waiting out there with us and I know I have seen them somewhere before and it’s driving me nuts. I mentally ran through a list of all the shows I’ve been to this year BUT I JUST DON’T KNOW.

Oh well.

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Waiting wasn’t even an issue because it just meant more time to bullshit with Lisa and Stacey — why doesn’t this happen more often!? Conversation flowed so easily (probably because I SAVED STACEY’S LIFE on the way there when Lisa made us jaywalk, and once you save someone’s life, there’s a pretty strong bond there, you know?) and the food was amazing. You’d have never known that it’s been like, 6  years since the three of us hung out together.

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We started out by developing a delightful rapport with our fabulous waiter, Tristan, and each ordering a buttermilk donut slathered with raspberry hibiscus icing. They were served to us WARM and we all immediately wished that we had ordered double. This is the kind of donut worth breaking a diet for. I mean, if you were on a diet. Clearly I am not.

My donut had more icing than Lisa’s, hence the sad face. YOU KNOW I GLOATED. Meanwhile, Stacey tried to be a martyr by offering to swap donuts with Lisa since hers also had more icing.

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OMG I ordered the Breakfast Bowl which was divine, even though Stacey was terrified of every ingredient in it. I was really leaning heavily toward the pumpkin-stuffed French toast, but I almost always get sick when I choose sweet over savory for breakfast. Anyway, it was a wonderful mixture of some of my favorite things, like quinoa, edamame and kale! (I might reject everything they stand for, but I definitely have the palate of a hipster, that’s for sure.)

On the walk back to the car, I noticed that I had been carrying my take-out box on a tilt, and breakfast juice was dripping all over my hand. I HATE MESSES! This rendered me partially-paralyzed, and I started screaming things like HELP ME HELP! Stacey assured me that she had wet wipes back at the car, so I was momentarily pacified—–until seconds later when I realized that I was DOING IT AGAIN and this time the juice was sluicing all down my OTHER HAND. NOW I HAD TWO MESSY HANDS OMG I’M DYING HELP SOMEONE GRAB THE OXYGEN MASK.

Lisa was all, “Oh for God’s sake!” and grabbed the nearest LEAF off the ground, ROLLED MY SLEEVE UP, and wiped away the drops of juice with the dry, scratchy leaf at the exact moment Stacey commented it was probably covered in dog piss and now I WAS ABOUT TO PASS OUT.

Somehow, I made it back to the car and fell into the sweet angel arms of a baby wipe. Stacey tried to hand me the package of wipes because she thought I needed another one, but I didn’t, so I just let it drop to the ground because that’s the kind of thing I do. Stacey was just like, “OK great” and picked it up, because I was already walking away, so…..

Lisa was like, “SEE, I TOLD SHE’S A JERK!!!!” and I just laughed because this is me! Nice to meet you!

Honestly though, what a satisfying weekend full of awesome friends this has been so far! Very thankful and content right now. Especially since Henry just said that he MIGHT take me to see Balance and Composure on Thursday and oh I will just cry the happiest of tears if this is true.

Oct 152016
 

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According to some of my friends, this was the BEST PIE PARTY YET, so LOL if you missed it.

Just kidding. That was rude. And my new thing is trying not to be rude.

But it really was a mighty fine display of people and pies and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s peruse some pictures of these particular people and pies, perchance.

PIE PEOPLE:

  • Judy
  • My mom (!!!) and her friend Debbie
  • John, Jen, Gavin and Abby
  • Blake & Haley
  • Alisa and Cara
  • Kara, Harland & Theo
  • Lisa, Matt, Matt’s dad Mike, & Gigi
  • Erin, Brian & Padraig
  • Lauren & Tony (and their dog, Charlie!!)
  • Chris & Monica
  •  BARB
  • Rocky, Angela & Ryder
  • Brad (and his dog Tucker!)
  • Sandy, Ben, Elena & Zoe
  • Maggie, Ivan, Lila & Annabelle
  • Glenn, Amanda, & Eve
  • Chris & Rebecca
  • Felicia, her mom Donna (my old Girl Scout leader!!), and Lila
  • Amanda, Adam, Alia, and Annika
  • Brian, Cathy & Clara
  • Debbie S.
  • Gayle & Jeffrey
  • Rob, Nancy & Nancy’s mom
  • Valerie and Brian
  • Amber2 & Teddy

I think I got everyone. If I missed you and you’re reading this, obviously it’s because you don’t rate. JUST KIDDING. This is one of the downsides of waiting two weeks to recap the damn thing. But the upside is that I get to write in my blog while watching HOCKEY because HOCKEY SEASON IS IN FULL EFFECT.

OK, back to the pie, though. There were so many delicious pies! It’s a good thing we don’t actually do any judging because there’s no way I could pick a winner.

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We made that weird sweet potato thing which Henry fucked up and it came out sooooo dense and not very sweet at all which is a shame because it was beautiful-looking. The second pie he made was Nesselrode, which no one would consider because the name was so horrible but my god, it was fantastic. It was made with like, pecan puree? I can’t remember. But it was sweet and creamy and this is the stuff broads should be wrestling in, not jello.

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Sandy brought a tomato & corn pie that was so good, I wan to use some cheesy adjective that Dick van Dyke would jovially exclaim if Disney presented a theatrical release of the pie party.

(Sandy, why don’t you slide that recipe into my DMs? Or you can just give it to me at work on Monday like a normal person.)

(And then I’ll give it to Henry because LOL recipes.)

Rob also brought a savory pie! Spinach and cheese. Savory pies are often the unsung heroes of the pie party because you can only eat so much sugar before your body starts to crave a vegetable.

Or salt.

Speaking of vegetables, though….

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John & Jen brought two pies made with vegetables from their kids’ garden: a chocolate ghost pepper pie and a carrot pie, which was sweet not savory. Holy shit, both pies were great but the ghost pepper experience was lit AF. It was just the right amount of heat, right at the end, just when you think you’re home safe…

And Lauren brought a key lime pie with a jalapeno twist, which was also delightfully fiery!

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I was so into this year’s accidental spicy theme!

Kara made a pineapple cream pie which she was afraid wasn’t going to be exotic enough—Kara, you’re crazy. That pie should be the official dessert of Hawaii. And she worked so hard mixing up the whipped topping!

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(FYI THE PENS JUST SCORED.)

Everyone LOLd when Glenn showed up. I’m friends with his wife Amanda on Instagram so I made sure she had the details because apparently he never tells her about the pie party!? They brought a pumpkin cheesecake thing that all these people kept raving about and I’m sad because I was too busy trying to socialize like an authentic human and by the time I went back to get some, it was all gone. UNLIKE THE NESSELRODE.

Fun fact: Glenn used to work with my high school buddy Chris, who also came out for his first ever pie party! AND Chris is a beekeeper so he brought an amazing apple pie with brie and fresh honey from his bees! I’m posting his own Instagram picture here because I wasn’t able to snap my own photo before it was mauled:

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LOOK HOW ADORABLE!! And it tasted fantastic.

So Chris is a beekeeper and so is Lisa’s father-in-law who was also there, and Glenn is a WASHED-UP beekeeper! So many bee experts under one pavilion!

I don’t have a picture of this one, but Maggie brought a mango pie which definitely was a star of the exotic pie theme. I’ve never had a mango pie before and now I want one all the time! I just had a quick side-bar with Henry about this one and he said, “Yeah it was good” but he used a tone that had actual life and emotion to it (the opposite of hope he did earlier today when I asked him if he thought the new Joyce Manor album is great) so that’s how you know it was a good pie and he wasn’t just trying to tell me what I wanted to hear so that he could go back to half-watching the Pens game and pretending he’s an NHL coach.

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I think Lisa was revealing some foolproof weight-loss secret. I mean, that’s the only thing that would have me so enrapt. Plus, look at Henry smirking.

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Lisa’s amazing lemon blueberry thing (one of my favorite flavor combos!) and her father-in-law’s pecan pie chilling in the background. I was super nervous to meet her FIL Mike, who was visiting from Colorado, because Lisa told me that he’s been reading my blog and I always feel embarrassed when that happens. And I know, “Then Erin, why have you been writing on the Internet since 2001?” I guess the short answer is that I pretend it’s because the only people who read this are the ones I made up in my mind.

You know, “you guys.”

Duh.

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It was really cool to meet him, though, even though he made a joke that went right over my dumb blond head, and when I mentioned it to Lisa a week later, she said, “Oh, so THAT’S why he mentioned that he thought you were going to be so smart in real life, but was disappointed to find out you’re kind of dumb.”

UGH, LISA.

And then when I won at Beer Math last week, she was like, “Aw, I’m going to have to tell my father-in-law that you actually are smart sometimes.” THANKS, LISA!

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Speaking of Lisa, my favorite part of the pie party migt have been when she told Monica and me that we have really pretty eyes and Monica was like, “AW THANKS’ and I was like, “Really? It took you 20 years to tell me that?”

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Alisa might troll Chooch harder than anyone and I love her so much for it. Here she is antagonizing him over a heated game of Pokemon. (Also, Cara brought these really cute apple tarts and I didn’t get one because as usual, I’m snoozin’ and losin’. You can see them on the bottom of the pie tier below!)

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Felicia and her mom Donna took this challenge very seriously and brought a fancy tray of mini mouthgasms, a/k/a Canadian Buttertarts.

“Excuse me, did you say Canadian buttertarts?” Monica asked, popping up from under the table, fist to her mouth in an effort to plug her hysteric enthusiasm.

Monica is really into these things, I learned!

And she and Felicia both, in tandem, attempted to show me the proper way to eat it.

“You need to hold it over the wrapper,” Felicia said. 

“No really you need to eat that shit over top of something,” Monica tried in vain to warn me.

But I stubbornly chucked the wrapper in the trash and took a big bite.

“You’re gonna get it all over—-oh, OK. There it is,” Monica sighed, as the liquid-y butter innards gushed all the way down my chin, onto my arm, probably into my hair.

“We tried to tell you,” Felicia said as I fled in search of napkins or wet wipes or a babbling brook in which to dunk my whole person.

“You’re an idiot,” Henry said as he cleaned me up.

Henry would probably make a really great preschool teacher.

Or at least, the preschool teacher’s creepy helper.

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Monica’s practicing her hitchhiking skills for the next time she feels trapped in public with Chooch and Chris isn’t ready to leave yet. Also, Monica has the best shirts and Chris has the best hair. And so does Lauren, who sits in front of me at work and taunts me with her ability to french braid her own hair!!! Ugh!

By the way, Monica was on pie duty this year and made Butterscotch M&Ms and Cookie Dough pie, which tasted super fattening and delicious and I probably got the name wrong because I had to ask her at least 7 times during the course of the day to remind me again what it was.

So I’m just going to rename it:  Lots of Chocolatey Things In a Pie.

Ugh it was fantastical. Like Neil Patrick Harris in a pie.

I’m drinking some kind of pumpkin beer while I write this.

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LOL Gayle! She brought these adorbs S’mores tarts and I was so happy to be able to use the pie tier twice at one party! I’m glad I decided to bring it.

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Gayle’s tarts were serious business. She even brought a lighter to torch the marshmallows. When Brian reached for one, I was like, “WAIT DON’T EAT IT YET WE HAVE TO GET GAYLE” and there was this big To Do with the lighter and the wind  kept blowing it out and finally Brian was like, “OK look, I’m fine with cold marshmallows. NO REALLY GO AWAY.”

I love putting my party guests in uncomfortable situations with people they don’t know!

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Chooch is not so low-key obsessed with my friend Rocky because one time I made an offhand remark that some YouTuber Chooch likes reminded me of Rocky. Anyway, Chooch had all these pink balloons that he insisted on blowing up before people arrived (he kept one aside and named him Bobby which was funny and sad at the same time), so naturally at some point, two balloons found their way up Chooch’s shirt and Rocky apparently said “Nice rack” to him, which sent Chooch running over to tell me, “MOMMY ROCKY RECALDINI TOLD ME I HAVE A NICE RACK!”

Like, calm down son. You’re acting like you just received an autographed headshot of some Sky TV personality you were obsessed with in 1991 which totally wasn’t something that I personally sent away for, but just a random example that means nothing.

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I invited Barb because I like to hear her run down the list of Erin Rachelle Kelly superlatives that she has scrawled on a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte (holla!)* receipt in her pocket from 2011. I like to believe she adds to it constantly, and that there are like 18 of them stapled together into a little flipbook called Erin is the Best.

*(INSIDE BARB JOKE. Except that it’s not really an inside joke because I’ve shared it here before and really it’s just that she came into the office one day with a PSL fresh from Starbucks and straight up sang, “Pumpkin spice latte, holla!” which was funny because you know, Barb said it. And then she promptly sat down to tweet about it on her phone in the “blinged-out” case.)

Man, I miss Barb.

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And I miss Debbie, too! She and Barb took care of me and soothed the hysteria I often felt from being out and about in the real world. Now who do I have? WENDY?! UGH. She makes me do things for myself!

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LOL j/k – Gayle is still available to make sure I don’t stick forks in the toaster and accidentally strangle myself with the phone cord.

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LOLOLOL Glenn and Henry! Glenn said something to Henry that was disparaging about me, something about being sorry Henry has to deal with me, and Henry was all, “LOL, at least you get paid to deal with her.” Or something terrible like that. WOW why don’t you guys just start a stupid Boys Only club in a treehouse and make dumb patches that look stupid and I don’t want one anyway!

Amanda thanked me for giving Glenn a hard time at work, and I can’t even take all the credit because many other people are mean to Glenn too, but I will say things got a lot easier for him after Natalie and Barb left.

Meanwhile, Brian was saying something about having to chase his little girl all around to make sure she didn’t fall into peril, and Kara said, “Oh just wait. By next year, you can just set her loose on the playground with the other kids and not have to deal with it.”

Brian said he turned around to look at the playground just as Chooch was riding a log.

That’s my kid.

I feel like Blake probably had something to do with the appearance of the log though.

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I AIN’T.

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I somehow didn’t get any pictures of Kara at the last pie party so I was on the prowl this time. Also, I should consider running a million races like Kara does so that I can eat a ton of pie without feeling like I was cast for the gluttony scene in Se7en.

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I wish I had written down all the pies. I know that Erin brought a really unique and wonderful Girl Scout cookie pie (I wonder if my old Girl Scout leader Donna had a piece!?!?). My mom brought a frozen Cold Brew pie, adorned with chocolate espresso beans. I don’t think anyone has ever brought a frozen pie before! NO WAIT I think Amber1 brought a frozen pink lemonade pie one year?! God, so many pies, you guys. Who can keep track!?

Valerie brought a chocolate peanut butter from the Pie Place which I barely even cared about because I was just so excited to see her face! I’ve known her from all the way back in the LiveJournal days and when I met Kara, I learned that they were “real life” friends so we all went to lunch once in 2008, and it was actually my first time going to Zenith, so now I equate Valerie with cool bathrooms and good vegetarian food.

Anyway, I haven’t seen her since then so this was a big deal for me and I nearly pushed people out of the way so I could greet her.

Also, I made her try the Nesselrode pie and she agreed that it was really good. “You should have named it something else, though,” she said. Ugh, I know, but it’s named after some man named Nesselrode for some reason that my eyes skipped over because I get bored easily but I read enough to know that it sounded weird and that probably no one else was going to bring a Nesselrode.

No one else brought a Nesselrode.

Even if it had a better name, it still looked like a unappetizing  gray blob so probably no one would eat it unless I was aggressively slipping it into their plate. It’s a good thing I’m not this pie’s PR person. 

Rocky and Angela brought a banana cream pie which I always forget how much I love a good banana cream until I’m elbow-deep in one and it’s all over my face and I’m sobbing because why do I have no self-control.

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Look at this carnage!!

Also, Sandy: remember when Maggie lost her mind and screamed at Elena for no reason and Elena was completely unfazed but you and I jumped? #scaryMaggie

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Brian made fun of Dance Gavin Dance but THAT’S OK. I will probably still invite him to the next pie party. Cathy and Clara are more than welcome, at the very least!

(Also, Cathy makes horror movie cookies, you guys. She is someone I need in my life.)

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Judy tried brie for the first time and her taste buds apparently revolted harder than most rational, intelligent, self-respecting women when shown a picture of Donald Trump. Brian and Monica witnessed this with me.

Sorry Judy, I’ll tell Chris V. to bring Kraft Singles next time!

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Guys. We love Blake’s girlfriend Haley. Like, a lot. And I think Chooch has met his match with her! She dishes it right back to him and it’s amazing.

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Amber2 came right as the party was winding down because she was waiting for Teddy to wake up from his nap, so she was probably thinking, “Wow this is the worst pie party yet!” I’m really glad she made it though and I was so happy to see her that I actually CUT HER A SLICE OF BRAD’S APPLE CRUMBLE PIE ALL ON MY OWN! I mean, it was a struggle and she probably could have done it herself more efficiently while holding her kid and standing on a unicycle, but at least I made an effort OK.

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I wish I had had the forethought to force everyone to have their picture taken under the pie portal.

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There was the most vivid rainbow that appeared as we (lol “we”) were cleaning up. This picture does no justice whatsoever, but I can honestly say that it’s the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen, and then Kara pointed out that it was actually so big and bright that it was starting to repeat the last several colors! AND THEN WE NOTICED THAT IT WAS A DOUBLE RAINBOW ON TOP OF THAT. What a great ending to a satisfying day of pies and good people.

HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

I spent the whole hockey game writing this. You’re welcome. Well, maybe not YOU, but someone is welcome.