Jun 252019
 

God, if I only give Saturday its own post, Sunday will never let me hear the end of it, and we only just recently became friends so I don’t want to create any waves.

That being said, here is some crap I did on Sunday.

First, I woke up.

Ate cereal (I have cinnamon multi-grain Life with almond milk every single goddamn day unless it’s Summer Breakfast Club Day).

Exercised and watched a K-drama while Chooch was at piano lessons.

Took a picture of Penelope, who is majorly camera shy these days (maybe because Chooch mercilessly body shames her??!!) so I promised I wouldn’t post this on social media.

Then we were treated to a visit from Calvin who has reached the point of toddlerhood where nothing else matters but CARS.

It’s amazing how most kids go through this phase. My brother Ryan was massively into Hot Wheels and even I got into it too – we would make these glorious parking garages out of waffle blocks on the family room floor and it was always a good time, man.

Henry found a bunch of Chooch’s old cars in the basement (probably? I wasn’t there and I don’t care enough to ask) for Calvin to pilfer, but first Chooch had to go through them and take out the ones Calvin wasn’t allowed to have because Chooch is Bratboy Forever.

I shouldn’t talk – one of those cars was actually my old Goodyear Blimp that I feel like is special for some reason so god only knows how I let it end up in that collection, so I yelled, “YEAH YOU CANT HAVE THAT ONE, BOY” and Calvin was like, “Well, it doesn’t even have wheels anyway, so…”

Later that afternoon, we went to the Larimer Farmer’s Market which was interesting because that’s generally a pretty sketch area – I used to work 4-midnight right around the corner and we’d hear the police helicopter every single night. One night, I was in the parking lot on a break when there was a bang and I screamed “WAS THAT A GUN SHOT” and my coworker Eleanor calmly said, “yeah babe” and I did actual Loony Toons air-running in my haste to get back inside while she stayed out there smoking her cigarette.

And one time they found a DEAD BODY in an alley down the street!

Anyway, Henry said we would probably be ok since it was daylight and I really wanted to try this vegan Trinidad food vendor that was going to be there (I mean, I wanted to try the FOOD not the actual man vending it but ask me again if I get stranded in an avalanche with him, I guess).

Guys, we ate a lot of great foods at this place and the best part was that it was small and not swarming with vegan hipster assholes!

(I should note that we got there like 5 minutes before it opened though so we were literally the first customers which was awkward bc all the vendors stared at us hungrily, waiting for us to get close enough to be called into their admittedly delicious webs.)

First though, Chooch and I were drawn to Jak’s Bakery. You guys, he bakes traditional Bulgarian things! This was appealing to me because I was almost part-Bulgarian in that my birth dad had a fling with a Bulgarian exchange student and that’s how my older half-sister was created, so…close enough.

Chick chose the most traditional one—a banitsa, which is fluffy phyllo dough filled with ricotta and it was excellent.

I went for the most traditional of the sweet variety—the kiflo, which was filled with rosehip jam.

Also, Jak was super friendly and had a great accent so now I want to buy all his breads forever.

Next we hit up the Crustworthy table because whatta name, also more breads. This time though we went a different route and Chooch chose a strawberry trifle and Henry and I shared a vegan raspberry mint chocolate bar thing which tasted as wonderful as it looked. I like to pretend than vegan pastries have zero calories hahahahaha ugh.

Chooch fell in love with some old lady and her homemade chèvre and cheese curds and insisted on buying a bag of Cajun curds which was delicious but have I ever told you the story about when Henry and I went to Wisconsin for a music festival and ate so many cheese curds that we couldn’t poop for like a week and I thought I was going to need an operation?

Yeah. I watch my cheese curd-intake nowadays.

But then we finally (“finally” – this was set up on a tiny patch of grass which only around 10 vendors, so…) made it to ShadoBeni’s table which specializes in vegan Trini street food and this was what brought me to the yard, yo.

He currently just offers two different things: aloo (potato) pies and doubles, which are made with two flat dough things called baras and filled with glorious curry channas. The aloo pies are stuffed with various chutneys and sauces and I actually liked that better than the doubles, which are apparently the most popular item he serves.

Chooch wolfed down his doubles and then asked, “Does this mean I’m starting to be more….adventurous?” Yeah, finally, you picky little shit.

But even with all these glorious new foods we tried, he still maintained that he was not leaving that place without a pickle on a stick.

So he got himself a pickle on a stick from a food truck run by two bumbling, crude older guys who looked like they just got chased out of another town by the Goonies.

On the way home, I briefly fell into the Trinidad rabbit hole and started planning a future trip there but then I got sidetracked by the desire to listen to Tony! Toni! Tone! because I swear one of their songs mentioned Trinidad and Tobago but then I couldn’t find it and then in my search for that elusive song that may or may not exist, I stumbled upon the Wiki page for Black Men United which was a group of some of the best male R&B singers of the 90s who came together to sing a song for the JASON’S LYRIC soundtrack (one of the best movies, don’t @ me) and guess who was a part of that, none other than EL DEBARGE who was my favorite singer for most of my high school days so then I put on “Can’t Get Enough” but EL DEBARGE and theatrically lipsynched it to the side of Henry’s face while he was driving and then I was so giddy but also secretly depressed because I listened to that CD so much back then that I wore out TWO COPIES of it and my current copy is the THIRD one, who in the world even likes El DeBarge that much!? Me, apparently! Gone, I used to cry to that CD so much, thank you very much, Justin Kail a/k/a my first love who ruined my life. J/K, I’m fine and stopped being obsessed with him senior year when I met Psycho Mike who then went on to ruin my life even more than Justin Kail.

Later that night, I finally got Henry to sit down with me and start penciling out an itinerary for our Korea trip, which was exactly one month away at that point! We booked a tour of the DMZ and JSA which was something we wanted to do last time too but were leery because relations between the Koreas and US were even more strained than they are now.

Jun 232019
 

It’s hard to believe it’s officially summer already, especially after the creepily chilly June we’ve been having here in Pittsburgh. But the sun was out in full-blaze all day yesterday and the sky was blue. It improved my mood exponentially!

Here are some pictures from yesterday, because it was a really pleasant day that I would like to remember for always.

(It occurs to me just now that I have been journaling/blogging my life since 5th grade like some kind of megalomaniac. Someday when I’m dead, someone will unearth of all my diaries, vacation journals, and blog and think, “Who the hell cares?”)

Pretty much every Saturday starts with cereal / Korean YouTubers / walk to the post office to mail cards. Lately, my Saturday post office experience has been less than stellar because there’s some new, young girl who has no personality and also doesn’t know what to do with scan sheets (we usually are mailing a clump of cards so we have a bar code that we print on a scan sheet which makes life easier for the postal clerks unless they don’t know how to do their jobs, then it just make it harder). My favorite Saturday clerk is this guy named Michael who will swear when the scale isn’t registering a weight and he’ll say things like, “If you take the survey at the bottom of the receipt, my boss will wash your windows.”

But this new broad is just resting bitch face all the way.

Then we walked to the coffee shop down the street because I wanted a chocolate chip cookie, OK?!

On the way back, right after I said hola to my Mexican taco cart boyfriend, we were waiting to cross the street when the first car in the line of traffic waved for us to cross. So I did. All I knew was that this guy was being nice and letting me cross and I can’t tell you how infrequently that happens when I’m walking to the Trolley on weekdays, trying to cross the street, and no one stops for me and I have to stand on the sidewalk and scream, “CROSSWALK! RIGHT OF WAY!” to all these fuckers.

Anyway, I pranced (literally, that’s how I cross the street when someone lets me go because I’m all nervous and trying to get to the other side as quickly as I can) across the street and right when I was in the middle, some other car started blowing their horns because apparently, they had a green light.

So the guy who let me go started screaming out of his window, and I thought he was yelling at me so I was confused and scared, but no, he was yelling at the person beeping.

“PEOPLE ARE CROSSING THE STREET, YOU ASSHOLE!!!!”

Like, he fucking bellowed it in his thick Yinzer accent AND EVERYONE AROUND THE BLOCK STOPPED AND LOOKED.

The firefighters loafing outside of the firehouse.

The elders sitting on benches.

The old man who owns Pitaland and sits at a table with his coffee.

MY MEXICAN TACO CART BOYFRIEND.

And Henry, who was still on the other side of the street.

So now I had to stand there and wait for the light to turn red so that Henry could cross.

“WHY DIDN’T YOU CROSS WITH ME?!” I cried, when we were finally reunited.

“Because they had a green light!?” he answered incredulously.

“Yeah, but that guy told us to go.”

“THEY HAD A GREEN LIGHT. WE DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.”

Ugh, I hate when he knows rules.

Anyway, he said he didn’t even see that guy wave us across because he was looking the other direction, watching the streetlight, and the next thing he knew, I was leaping to the other side like a baby deer.

Anyway, I survived, thanks for your concern Henry.

Then we came home and I tried to convince Henry to turn his gift from Chooch into a pin. He won’t.

Speaking of Chooch, I think he was at the library during all of this…?

Later that afternoon, I met Jiyong for our 4th language exchange meet-up and I feel like this was our best meeting yet. I’m definitely getting more comfortable with her and we had a great conversation at Panera in Oakland for three hours! We talked about everything from cemeteries to maternity leave to The Cure (I was wearing one of my Cure shirts and then “Friday I’m In Love” came on the Panera soundsystem so that was an easy segue to my FAMOUS CURE STORY that literally everyone who knows me has to endure at least 8 times), we talked about Ouzo and our personal drinking habits (she and I both one-and-doners) to Song Mino to pierogies.

I’m really enjoying this friendship! She was is a really lovely girl and I’m happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone by suggesting that we meet in person.

She brought this really book she has where it takes dialogue from “Friends” to help Koreans learn English, but in this case, it works well for me too. She read the English side and then I would read the Korean side, but my problem is that I can sightread Korean fairly well, but since I’m studying alone, I make the fatal mistake of NOT READING OUT LOUD. So I’m not getting any practice of actually saying the words because I’m a dumbass, and even though in my head I know how to say them, as soon as my mouth wraps around it, it comes out sounding like garbage.

Since meeting her, I have been trying to recite things more when I’m alone, but I still read out loud at the speed of a kindergartner. Jiyong said that I can read it well, and I appreciate that, but I need to really work on speeding it up so I don’t sound like Encino Man.

We only did one chapter and I was fucking sweating by the end. Literally. I had to pull my shirt away from my body and fan myself. “I feel like I just exercised!” I exclaimed, and she  just laughed and said, “Cute.”

I gave her this little souvenir handbook of Pittsburghese that I bought on Friday at the History Center. Obviously I don’t want her to start saying “Yinz” or “dahn’ere” (down there) or anything because that’s a huge language foul, but I thought it would be a fun keepsake for her for when she goes back to Korea. Plus, in addition to the weird vernacular, there are legit things in there too, like various food explanations (haluski, etc.).

She asked me if I would want to come to her place next Saturday to make kimbap and YES OF COURSE I WANT TO! Henry thinks this is hilarious  because he makes kimbap from time to time and I have never expressed any desire to learn or help, but I want to learn everything that Jiyong is willing to teach me!

I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but in our last meet-up, we were talking about G-Dragon and I said that for our last trip to Korea, we wanted to stay at his pension in Pocheon, but the website said that guests have to be 19+, no exceptions. Obviously, Henry wasn’t going to call them to inquire further, and my Korean is definitely not good enough to attempt an email, so we never pressed the issue and just wrote it off.

A few days later, I was at work when I got a Kakao message from Jiyong – she emailed the pension all on her own and asked on behalf of us if a 13-year-old was permitted to stay there, and they told her yes! She did that for me!!

Anyway, when we were talking about that yesterday, I mentioned that G-Dragon’s dad runs the place and she said that the person who emailed her back had the last name “Kwon.”

“Maybe I emailed with GD’s dad?!” she exclaimed. I love having a friend to talk with about these things!

Before we knew it, it was after 5 so we parted ways with the promise to meet again next week. Jiyong texted me pictures of the pages we went over so I am going to spend all week reading them out loud until I sound like a second-grader at least.

Also, the word for lesbian in Korean is lesbian – thanks for teaching me that, “Friends” dialogue book!

Henry got us Subway for dinner because sometimes you just need to have Subway for dinner, and then we went to Sugar Spell Scoops for some after-dinner vegan ice cream. So, the thing with Sugar Spell is that they used to only vend various festivals, etc. and it’s nearly impossible to get any because the lines get so outrageously long.  But sometime last year they opened a store front in Sharpsburg which isn’t a very trendy area – BLESS – so we didn’t have to deal with any assholes on our visit. (If this shop was in, say, Lawrenceville, I might never go.)

I wanted to go when they first opened, but their flavors in the beginning were really basic, like vanilla and chocolate, and I think Superman which I hate no matter who is making it, so I kind of put visiting this place on the backburner. But then Kara texted me last week and said they had blueberry lavender so that reignited my interest in this place!

The guy who scooped for us last night was SO NICE AND PERSONABLE. He kept having cone malfunctions (the sugar cones kept breaking on him) but he handled the pressure like a champ – it helped that we were the only people in line at that time, probably, and also that we weren’t getting all huffy about it. If anything, it gave me more time to figure out what I wanted – it’s weird having legit vegan options!

(I’m not vegan, just a plain veg, but I do opt for vegan when available.)

Chooch got Dunkaroos and let me taste it – IT WAS PHENOMENAL. You could taste the icing and the scoop was dense with moist dunkaroo bits. The scooper even took time to talk to Chooch about Dunkaroos, since they were before his time.

Honestly, the service is always half of the experience so based on this guy alone, I could easily see myself making this my new go-to ice cream shop especially since Millie’s is so fucking annoying to me lately.

I REALLY WANTED to get Dunkaroos as well, but I have this thing where we all need to get something different, so I went with the cherry chocolate chip and I must say – no regerts here. It was great!

The vegan ice cream I have had in the past (*cough*Millie’s*cough*) has usually been practically devoid of flavor and has a strange texture, but this was loaded with palate-pleasers. The consistency wasn’t too far off from dairy-based ice cream and it didn’t leave me feeling like I was a growing a brick-baby inside me afterward.

Notice I went with a cake cone to spare the poor scooper after he went through two bad cones on his journey to create Chooch’s dunakroos scoop.

I made Henry order the Blueberries n’ Biscotti sundae (he claims he was “probably going to order that anyway, so there”) because it came with GLITTER SPRINKLES.

He chose the Blue Moon ice cream to go with it, which is lemon-based, and I have to say, if I thought I had ordering remorse after trying Chooch’s, my taste of Henry’s sundae basically exiled me to the Land of Poor Choices. IT WAS SO GOOD and unlike any sundae I have ever tasted.

Henry refused to show emotions, as usual, but he was really happy with his sundae. I mean, doesn’t it suit him so well?!

I will definitely be returning to this place. They’re only open Friday – Sunday and their flavors change every day. I want to try every single one.

Afterward, I want to walk around that street for a bit because I’m still doing that Job Spotter thing where I take pictures of Help Wanted signs and submit it for points which can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, lol. It’s so stupid but I like doing it so leave me alone. However, Chooch remembered that he has the app too so then we started fighting over who was going to get the pictures first (if you submit the same one at the same time as someone else, they reject it as a duplicate). Chooch beat me at getting the first one we came upon and I was so mad so then I got the next one after forcibly shoving him out of the way and then we had a big fight and Henry was like WHO CARES?!!?!? THIS IS STUPID!!! and then Chooch stormed off ahead of us and it was Big Trouble in Little Sharpsburg but then eventually we all moved on.

Me: Henry, please stand here and point at that sign.

Honestly, this picture might be peak “THE SERVICE” for me.

Capped off the night watching “Us” which Chooch and I had already seen at the theater with Janna, but Henry wanted to watch it so I felt obligated to watch it with him in case he didn’t understand it (lol). I like that movie a lot.

Then right as I was starting to fall asleep that night, I sat up in bed because I smelled smoke which is the scariest smell to smell late at night, scarier even than Henry’s farts. So Henry jumped out of bed and got all VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER mode. He threw on all his clothes and walked across the street to try and determined where it was coming from. We started hearing sirens almost immediately so knew we didn’t have to make the call, but it was scary because smoke had made it all the way to our street. We decided to drive and see where the fire was coming from, and it was a house a few blocks away from us which made me feel sick to my stomach (I was hoping it was just an empty building on West Liberty Ave, not someone’s home) but we found out this morning that no one was hurt (I was only worried about the possibility of animals being hurt so I’m hoping that “no one” also includes pets) so that’s a relief.

YEAH, THAT WAS MY SATURDAY, HOW WAS YOURS.

Jun 212019
 

This past week has somehow flown by even though it was pretty hectic and chaotic at work. But, I made it without any breakdowns and to reward myself, I will….exercise and write in my blog.

Wow. Livin’ large.

Since I’m mentally drained though, let’s just look at pictures from my phone from the last week+ plus whatever I deem newsworthy. (I know, I know, isn’t everything in my life newsworthy?!)

Oh and if you came here expecting an update on my NEIGHBORHOOD VIGILANTE PROJECT, forget it—those Pittsburgh cops are dicks and still haven’t replied to my email.

  1. Neighborhood Shakeup

A few months ago, new people moved in next to HNC&Co. You might remember that I hated the previous occupants because they never said hello to me and the husband took up the whole back driveway with all of his broken cars that he fixed in a perpetual loop. An older broad replaced that family and while she hasn’t really stirred the pot much, her son IS A FUCKING DICKHOLE. First of all, he used to park a DUMPTRUCK at the top of the driveway, which is shared by four families (two duplexes, it runs down the middle and all four garages face it). Now, this doesn’t affect Henry and me because we park in a lot across the street, but HNC and his wife have several cars down there, which were constantly getting blocked in. And Haley likes to briefly park at the top of the driveway when she comes home from the store because she has two kids ages 2 and below that she needs to get in the house, so she was going to leave a note on his dumptruck but Blake talked her out of it.

In addition to the dumptruck, this kid also has a horrible temper, a megaphone mouth, and a large fleshy backside that he LOVES TO SHOW. Honestly, I’ve seen his ass crack enough times that it helped me lose weight maybe even more than Jillian Michaels.

Eventually, the dumptruck disappeared, but he’s still over there screaming his face off in the front yard when he gets locked out of the house. Now he has some kind of Blazer, which he also keeps parked in top of the driveway. One day last week, I was upstairs after work and he was outside hollering like a derelict and I HAD HAD A BAD DAY AND JUST WANTED TO COME HOME, DRINK A CUP OF COFFEE IN QUIET, EAT MY FUCKING DINNER, AND EXERCISE. But now I had to listen to this caveboy yelling in his front yard so I came stomping downstairs, whipped open the front door and started yelling over my shoulder at Henry about how this kid was such a psycho asshole because I cook all my Beefs on a passive-aggressive setting. Psycho Asshole was lurching back to his Blazer-thing with long Yedi-like strides, barking indecipherable threats at me, so I slammed the door and Henry was like, “Great, now he’s going to kill us all.”

A few days later, HNC texted Henry a picture of Psycho Asshole’s Blazer. HNC DUCT-TAPED A WARNING ON IT that said “STOP BLOCKING THE DRIVEWAY” and advised Henry to let him know if he continued to park there when HNC wasn’t there. Great, now that kid might think it was me since we just made hateful eye contact a few days prior.

Anyway, HNC calls him “Baby Huey” which kills me and said that Baby Huey’s mom said he has “anger issues.” YEAH NO SHIT. But, apparently they’re moving at the end of the month so I’m really happy about this and now Janna wants to try to move in there but I told her to wait because Blake and Haley are apparently moving soon too and I just want to die because they have been the best neighbors I’ve ever had, wahhhhh.

So, that’s my neighborhood update that you never asked for.

2. SURPRISE MAIL!

One day last week, Henry received a package and the above text exchange ensued.

Dude is constantly getting packages in the mail and it’s always dumb shit like ink for the printer or envelopes for our card shop.

But then a few days later, I was working from home when a package arrived that was actually for me!

Maya got me a burrito blanket! I really wanted one of these too! I actually sent Henry the link a few months ago and said, “Buy this for me” but of course he didn’t – I should have said, “Buy this for Blake” and then he probably would have.

I was born to be a cat chaise. 

3. One of My Purest Pleasures In Life…

…is getting into bed at night with a sheet mask on my face and then when it’s time to take it off, slapping it across Sleeping Henry’s bare back, or sometimes his face depending on how I feel. He only wakes up sometimes.

Chooch recently got into sheet masking so maybe I should clue him into the secret final step of sheet masks.

4. SONG OF THE DAY

Monsta X released a new song today, a collab with French Montana, and at first I was leery because all of these collabs with western artists never seem to add anything magical to the songs, but I am so happy to report that this one WORKS. But my favorite part is that it gives off STRONG Charlie Puth vibes. You know how much I love Charlie Puth – sometimes when I’m working from home, I play “Attention” on repeat real loud, reminding the neighborhood that I sometimes listen to things other than Kpop.

(Chooch just called out from the other room, “Is this the new Monsta X song? It doesn’t even sound like Kpop. It sounds like…The Weeknd.”)

 

We had Father’s Day dinner at an Indian restaurant because Chooch is obsessed with Indian food now and if his obsessions are anything like my obsessions, we’ll probably be going to India one day soon. Also, he criticized Henry throughout the entire meal. On Father’s Day. 

5. Summer Breakfast Club: Guest Clubber Edition!

Kara and her crew, Harland & Theo, joined Chooch and me for breakfast yesterday at Pamela’s and it was awesome! It’s been a hot minute since we all got to hang out together and we had a great time.

I really love Summer Breakfast Club because Chooch is always running around during the summer and I barely see him so it’s nice to have something that both of us enjoy doing (eating breakfast, I guess). We always walk to breakfast so it gives us time to have good talks (usually making fun of Henry and/or Korea memories) while getting in some morning exercise and just good, old fashioned quality time. Plus, it’s something that Henry’s not a part of so I feel smug about that because my end game is obviously to always be the favored parent, come on now.

It’s nice to have a morning once a week where we can sit down and bullshit over food (on this day it was an omelet that had an egg shell in it, so that was cool) before I have to log on and start working from home.

I proposed to Chooch on our nightly walk down the Blvd tonight that we eat at THE NO NAME CAFE next week for SBC, because that’s where Psycho Asshole’s MOM WORKS – we actually saw her in there when we walked past and Chooch went, “Why is she sitting on the other side of the counter?” and I was like, “Uh because she works there?” and he acted all surprised which goes to show you how well he listens to me because I have fucking told him this before and also I wrote about it once on here, so way to read Mom’s blog, asshole! Anyway, Chooch thought that this was a terrible idea but I think I talked him into it, so next week’s breakfast should be a real adventure. I’M GOING TO TALK TO THAT LADY.

Ok, well, that’s five things. Well, four things and a video.

Jun 202019
 

Our Big Day On the Loose W/O Henry wasn’t over after we left Conneaut Lake Park, oh no. We had some kind of famous frozen custard that we needed to motorboat.

But first! Janna had to go the wrong way when leaving the Conneaut parking lot and proceed to turn around.

Janna’s murder podcast was still playing. Chooch told me later that he was frustrated because she had it playing on the back speakers only so he couldn’t hear what we were talking about and if there’s one thing about Chooch, it’s that he’s exactly like me and HATES missing out on adult conversations.

When I was a kid, I would always be desperate to know what my Pappap was talking about to other adults in the room so I would constantly be piping up with a “Who?” or “Why?” and he’d be all, “Are you writing a book? Leave this chapter out.”

HARSH.

Anyway, this joint isn’t too far from the lake and Janna seemed to know where she was going once she got her bearings. I guess Janna used to patronize this establishment a lot back when she went to college in this area, so that makes more sense now that I know this is why she follows them on Facebook and not just because she collects the Facebook pages of random ice cream parlors in the boonies.

I was mad when we got there though because it’s a CASH ONLY CREAMERY and Janna did not WARN ME of this! So we had to stand in line and wait for these two elderly women to push every button on the courtesy ATM and I feel like it’s blasphemy to mention my Pappap in a blog post and then go on to bash old ladies a few paragraphs later, but these bitches were so slow and annoying! I swear to God, I almost flipped out (not on them, on Janna) and demanded that we just leave because the hatred was making me not care for ice cream so much anymore!

ALSO, THE FLAVOR OF THE DAY WAS BANANA AND I DON’T LIKE BANANA-FLAVORED THINGS USUALLY.

(I love real bananas though and will typically slice one up as a mix-in for my pathetic everyday lunch of instant oatmeal at work.)

(Actually, for a while, A-ron thought that I was putting a banana in my tea because I make my oatmeal in my coffee cup using the hot water that everyone uses for tea…so he was going around telling people that I was making banana tea which I can’t tell if that sounds good or gross.)

Once those bitches finally got their money, it was my turn and now not only was I mad that those ladies got to the ATM first, I was additionally angry at the $2.50 service fee! UGH, JANNA!

AND THE SMALLEST DENOMINATION WAS $20!!

This is what happens when I’m out in the real world with Henry and now I have to be responsible for paying for things. Shit’s expensive! That inflation hullabaloo is real talk! Ugh, I really like it when I can be all young and ignorant while Henry is the one opening the wallet.

Luckily, the line to order went super fast because they were well-staffed and efficient. The guys in front of me got TWO SCOOPS each – one of banana and one of chocolate.

Well, now I was intrigued. I never considered mixing the banana with another flavor. So on a whim, I ordered the same and then prayed I wouldn’t have regerts. Unless it was like, banana cream pie, I would probably never get a banana-flavored scoop of ice cream so this was a big step for me.

I really hate banana popsicles too.

WAIT A MINUTE – banana pudding pops are pretty good though.

Sorry, I’m like really writing a research paper on my palate here.

You guys. Janna was right. So were the guys in front of me. This custard was AMAZE. I had assumed it was just going to be like the soft serve-esque version of custard but NO. It was thick, rich, creamy, and scooped straight from these giant metal vats.

And the banana tasted l like decadent banana pudding so I was SOLD. Even Chooch was like, “Wow, I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I do…” I mean, we liked it so much that it wasn’t even worth pretending like we didn’t just to piss Janna off. That should tell you something.

We were in love with these sweet lickable mounds.

Meanwhile, Janna got two scoops of chocolate (#NoAdventure) and then had the audacity to ask for JIMMIES but of course the scooper was like, “WTF, you mean, SPRINKLES?” I was so offended that Janna said “jimmies” and I’m glad that I didn’t hear it happen because it might have caused me to lose one of my scoops.

God, Janna.

It was still raining so we stood under the overhang of Hank’s right in front of the car of the OLD LADIES, like we were having an scoop-slurping standoff.

Then it was time for post-dessert dinner. We were still starving even though we were filled with Hank (gross) and to be honest, I probably could have sucked back another scoop or three. But we wanted real food now, and I was adamant that we go to this place we passed hours ago when we first got off the highway – it was a family restaurant/truck stop diner called Aunt Bee’s and for some reason, I had really latched on to it.

But first, Janna made us drive around Meadville so she could show Chooch her old college and say things like, “I REMEMBER DRIVING ACROSS THIS BRIDGE WHILE LISTENING TO KC & JOJO” and Chooch probably thought she was talking about Jojo Siwa but also he probably couldn’t hear her over all the murder in the backseat.

It was while looking for Aunt Bee’s that Janna committed the most U-Turns. When I think of this day, I will think of U-Turns first. I lost count of how many U-Turns happened, but there was definitely one instance where two U-Turns went down on the exact same part of this road road.

In Janna’s defense though, several of the U-Turns happened because the road that Aunt Bee’s is on literally looks like some gravel dumping ground for machinery, so we didn’t think it was right, but the Google bitch just kept repeating over and over to TURN LEFT ON SMOCK and Janna was like THIS CAN’T BE IT! And then somehow we ended up on a road above it, looking down at Aunt Bee’s, screaming, “HOW DO WE GET THERE?!” Finally, I told Janna that she was just going to have to take a leap of faith and drive her car off the overpass into the parking lot for Aunt Bee’s and she did that and sadly perished but Chooch and I survived.

See?:

Janna’s ghost took this picture for us. And by ghost, I mean the pinwheel made from her vertebrae.

Anyway, see how that sign that says “WELCOME”? Oh yeah OK. Sure. We were anything but welcome! We walked in and all the elderly townies swiveled in their seats and leered upon us like we were three Pee Wee Hermans entering a senior citizen biker bar after knocking over a row of their Hover-Rounds.

“Maybe they think we’re a lesbian couple!” I said to Janna and she was like, “You’re not my type.”

Their tagline should be, “GOOD LUCK FINDING US.”

Also, I love that they bake wedding cakes.

We were the youngest people there, except for our waitress who was so nice but Janna was kind of mean to her?! She was like, “IS THERE MAYO ON MY BLT?! OH WAIT, NEVER MIND THERE IS” and didn’t apologize for jumping to conclusions!

Also, Janna ordered potato soup that looked like a clump of mashed potatoes in a cup.

(The following Monday at a work lunch, Sue mentioned that she likes thick soups and I was like, “Boy, do I know a place for you!”)

Chooch ordered spaghetti and failed to note that it came with meatballs, so while making gagging noises, he attempted to transfer them onto his napkin but then one went rogue and nearly rolled off the table, causing all carnivores within a 5 mile radius to feel a sharp pain in their heart.

Me? Oh I just had a grilled cheese and the best fresh cut fries I’ve had in some time, so I was alright.

Baby animals and life advice on the wall of the bathroom. I was going to text this to my pal Alyson but her band was in LA playing a show at the Whiskey Go Go (!!!!!) so I didn’t want to interrupt that with a loo text even though I don’t think she would have minded too much!

Selfie in Aunt Bee’s bathroom.

Now I’m kind of sad that we didn’t have Hank’s way earlier in the day, before we went to Conneaut Lake Park, because I would have like to have stuck my thumb in one of their alleged fresh-baked pies.

And then we went home, but first Janna had to literally pass up the highway exit immediately after leaving Aunt Bee’s. Like, she even slowed down and looked right at it then failed to turn.

I can’t wait for our next day trip!!!

Jun 192019
 

Janna follows some frozen custard place on Facebook and mentioned that she had wanted to stop by and get some but that perhaps driving 90 minutes to Conneaut Lake was a bit much just for ice cream but I was like BITCH PLZ, BEST REMEMBER WHO U BE TALKIN’ 2 so after I took off my queen bee rapper chains, I quickly convinced her that this was the best idea she’s had probably ever and that I would be happy to accompany her.

In my head, I had it billed as some big deal GIRLS DAY OUT and wonder who would be Romy and who would be Michelle, and I was so giddy about this all last week! When Saturday rolled around, aka THE BIG DAY (god, my life is so rich), Chooch was moping around. “Where did you say you and Janna were going again?” he asked, and then sadly murmured, “…oh” when I told him.

Later that morning, when I was upstairs drying my hair, MOM GUILT crept in. “Do you want to go with us” I texted him. A moment later, he bounded up the steps, dove onto my bed, and screamed, “Yes!”

Janna was like “Sigh.”

No, j/k, we’re all BFFs here.

The plan was to swing by Conneaut Lake Park for an hour or two as well even though it’s sad and decrepit…but, it’s there and it’s $10 for a ride-all-day, lol. They have a really old wooden coaster and a pretty rundown but fun dark ride, too. Janna surprisingly was on board with this even though rain was in the forecast all day…

…and it started literally the moment we turned off the highway on the Conneaut exit.

I blamed Janna because it took her so long to come and pick us up!!

We were going to alter plans by going to a cafe first so Janna pulled over in some spookily small town so we could troll Yelp but since we weren’t in some metropolitan area, the options were very slim. I got frustrated and eventually just decided for the whole car that we would continue on to the park even in the rain.

In the few minutes it took to get there (Janna had to turn around a few times), the rain had ceased! It was still a dreary day though, and kind of chilly too so I was glad I wore a jacket. Janna parked basically in a field and we immediately found ourselves surrounded by LAKE FREAKS. Just like, you know, townies trying to enjoy a rainy day at the broke down amusement park, same as us BIG CITY CREEPS.

STICK IT TO THE DEVIL.

We rode the Devil’s Den right away, as soon as we got our wristbands. (Janna reluctantly bought one too once she realized that otherwise, she would have to buy $5 worth of tickets just for one ride–maybe Henry could have found her a coupon during one of his Bored Housewife Coupon Hunts.)

The ride operator has to actually push the cars into the entrance and around a corner until the car catches the chain on the small lift hill. Basically, Henry might be able to build something like this, is all I’m saying.

I thought it would be funny for Janna to go first for some reason and then the next day, I started cracking up because what if we had sent Janna in alone and SHE GOT MURDERED. I tried to tell Henry this but it came out as a indiscernible bray courtesy of my giddiness.

Janna was playing some podcast about the Susan Powell case during the whole ride there and back so I guess I just had murder on the mind.

I don’t know why I’m laughing like a maniac here because the ride isn’t really all that great but it has been long enough since my last jaunt through the Den that I forgot enough of it to make actually scream. But yeah it’s most just a bunch of darkness and Kmart decorations from the 1970s.

When we rode it the second time, we were all supposed to ride separately so that we could each take a picture of each other but then Janna wasn’t privy to that plan I guess because after Chooch departed alone in his pretzel car, Janna got in the same car as me! So then there was no one to take my picture!

I mean, the obvious solution to this would have been to get back in the non-existent line and ride again, but we were over Devil’s Den by then.

One of the things I was most looking forward to was riding the Witch’s Stew again, I guess just because it looks cool?! I mean, the ride itself isn’t that great and it’s actually in pretty bad shape. There were cobwebs in the car Chooch and I chose and when the operator slammed the door shut behind us, a swarm of tiny gnats awoke and fluttered out from god knows where, you guys, it was creepy and I was afraid of inhaling them.

Anyway, the ride takes forever to start because the cars can only be loaded one at a time due to the fact that there’s not an platform that people can walk up to access the cars that are on the incline. So jacked.

Janna stood by the fence and diligently took photos of us like she was our mom. It was adorable. WE ARE ADORABLE.

lol jk we’re annoying.

Yeah boi finally time to ride the Blue Streak! It wasn’t running when we first arrived because it had been raining. I was really stoked about this one and let me tell you something: absence make the body forget pain because in my mind, all I remembered was, “Yeah, I think this one is pretty rough if I remember correctly, but it’s not like, the worst.”

Oh no. It’s actually the worst. I mean, it starts off great! You go straight into a tunnel that seemingly goes on for miles and Chooch was screaming, “I love this already!” and we were pretending to pull Janna’s hair, Janna who stupidly sat in front of us, Janna who had no idea this ride was going to be the difference between a relaxing Sunday at home and a painful Sunday getting fitted for a neck brace in the ER.

As soon as we began the ascent up the first hill, I started to have flashes of recognition and suddenly wondered if this would be the worst idea we made that day. The ride is in BAD SHAPE. I mean, the track going up the hill wasn’t even straight! It was all warped and the wood looks like a termite commune. And then as soon as we hit the bottom of that first hill, the discs in my back cracked like knuckles on a cold day and Chooch started howling in pain and Janna passed out and then slid out of the car and her limp body somersaulted into the woods of Conneaut where the townies came and made pinwheels out of her vertebrae and then stole her ride-all-day wristband for their five-year-old who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

DAMN JANNA, YOU AND THOSE PODCASTS.

Chooch’s review was, “I feel like an old man. I never want to ride that again.”

The best part honestly was the two weirdos running the ride. They had more personality than all the fishermen on the lake COMBINED.

We had to recuperate on the carousel after that.

Carousel crew. I love this picture so much! I need to get a frame for it and keep on my desk at work to remind me OF THE GOOD TIMES. This is also such a great depiction of the relationship the three of us have – it’s not like “me and Janna and my kid” but it’s like we’re all the same age and just hanging out for the day. Chooch has always been one of the grown-ups! Or maybe it’s just that I have always been one of the kids…maybe Janna feels like she’s our babysitter?!?

For years, I wouldn’t ride carousels because I have a fear of heights, even low heights, and I would GET STUCK on the horses because I’d be too scared to try and get off when the ride ended. Many embarrassing episodes resulted from that. I actually almost fell off the one I rode a few weeks ago at Waldameer.

You guys. This ferris wheel is NEW FOR 2019! I’ve seen nicer ones at church carnivals, but Conneaut’s trying, I guess. I mean, this place is on the brink of shuttering it’s proverbial windows every season so this is a good sign!

We walked over to the lake for a brief look-see and Chooch immediately tripped and nearly took a nose-dive into the wet sand that might as well just be mud.

Hotel Conneaut is haunted!

We saw a wedding party getting their pictures taken in the “midway” of the park which is cool if they were going for a post-apocalyptic carnie style.

These were supposed to be pictures of us “relaxing” but we just look like Janna roofied us.

Chooch took this picture as an example of the shitty framing Henry does when we ask him to photograph us and I love how it turned out because I was literally in the middle of bitching about Henry so I imagine this is how my face must look the majority of my days.

Meanwhile, we were in front of the hotel and Janna said, “Wow, I guess this is where those people got married. That’s weird.”

This infuriated me.

“Why is that weird?! People get married here all the time!” I exclaimed. “Did you think they got married in the amusement park?!”

“No, but I mean, this is just a weird place. Like, why here?”

“BECAUSE IT’S A BEAUTIFUL HOTEL?!” I screamed, and then I realized what Janna was talking about was the chairs set up in THE CAR PORT in front of the hotel. Like, they literally got married in a glorified driveway and so then I was all touché, Janna.

And then it started raining again, pretty hard too, so we left and went to get Janna’s beloved frozen custard. Chooch and I were actually getting pretty hungry at this point (Henry wasn’t home to make us lunch before we left) so it’s a good thing we left when we did because our OTHER FACES were going to show very soon.

Conneaut needs another coaster, like a Wild Mouse or something, and maybe a log flume. Then it would be more worth the whole whopping $10.

Jun 172019
 

There’s always some type of confrontation or strange activity going on in front of my house, especially on weekends, and you know I love to gleefully spy on this shit through my front window. Look, I’m not standing there waiting for it to happen but when the commotion is so loud, it distracts from my Korean lesson or playtime with the cats, I’m gonna pop my head out that window to see what’s what.

And it’s usually Chooch’s frenemy Larry drunkenly mowing the lawn at 9:30pm or motherfucking passing cars on our street; or maybe it’s Tourette’s ambling home from wherever it is that someone like Tourette’s spends his days, while screaming obscenities at the imaginary foes around him.

So Friday night, when my language studies were interrupted by screaming outside of my house, I was like, “woo hoo, here we go, Brookline weekend!” I wasn’t even going to give this trashiness any of my attention at first, but then I heard “YOU’RE A F*GGOT” being tossed around at incredibly loud volumes and that’s a big nope for me. I leaned onto the windowsill to get a better look-see at what kind of trash was oozing on by this time, and at first glance, it appeared to be a couple arguing. I did note that the woman was taller and hovered over him every time she turned around to get back in his face to call him the f-word again. I was impressed by the guy’s restraint. He just kept standing there, letting this broad pummel him with derogatory zingers, and when he did speak up, it was at a normal volume so I could barely hear him.

One of those times, after calling him the f-word for the fifth time in front of my house, I heard her spit. Now, I wasn’t looking directly at her when this occurred so I’m not certain if she spit on him or near him, but it was definitely her spit.

Then she said something about ruining mom’s night out, so I decided that maybe they were siblings.

Now they were further up the block, but she was still screaming her face off. She stopped and got in his face again, real close in his face, and said, “Look me in the eyes! I want you to see my face when I tell you that I have no respect for you because you’re a F*GGOT.”

I flung the front door open and Henry was like, “Oh no, here we go.”

“GREAT WORD TO BE CALLING SOMEONE!!!!” I yelled as loud as I could. She just kept stumbling along the sidewalk like she didn’t hear me, so I slammed the door.

By now, Chooch was also looking out the window.

“Um, that lady is like in her forties, and that’s a KID,” Chooch said, always the first one to point out how shitty my eyesight is.

OK now look, I was already fucking PISSED that this broad was out there using a homophobic slur as an insult, repeatedly, for the entire neighborhood to hear (there are kids on our street and bitches like her are the reason why kids keep growing up thinking it’s ok/cool/badass to use these kinds of degrading words). But now that Chooch pointed out it was possibly her SON she was saying this to, the rage shot up inside me so fast that I had chest pains and started to tremble with anger.

“We have to call the police,” I said.

“For what?” Henry asked with a shrug, donning his white knight helmet and flinging one leg over his steed. “She didn’t hit him. The police aren’t going to be able to do anything—”

“SHE WAS VERBALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ABUSING HIM, HENRY. THIS IS WHY CHILDREN FUCKING KILL THEMSELVES!” I shrieked. And then, “I’m following them.”

Chooch was 100% on board with this idea because we are the Brookline Vigilantes (remember when we saved a moth and found a lost dog!?), so Henry reluctantly threw on his shoes and followed.

I’m not going to lie, as I bounded down the front steps of my house, it occurred to me that maybe I might die that night. I didn’t know what kind of headcase I was dealing with, or if she was high on something with superhuman strength. This is the problem with Good Samaritanism these days — you want to do your part in keeping society safe and honest, but you never know at what cost. However, if riding the trolley to work every day has taught  me one thing, it’s that IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. That recording plays on a loop on the platform so it’s ingrained in me.

Well guess what, I saw something and I said something, but now I needed to do something.

Chooch and I had to jog to catch up  to them because they had already made it a block away before we started to follow. My plan was to follow at a safe distance and record her behavior if needed, and  then call the police, but as we crested the slight hill on our street, we saw the blue and red flashing lights — someone had either already called the police, or one had pulled over in passing.

When we reached that part of the sidewalk, we saw the boy standing off to the side, away from his mom who was swinging her purse around while drunkenly gesticulating to the cop.

“I’m so sorry about this,” the boy said to us, his eyes filled with tears. HE FUCKING APOLOGIZED TO US. This simultaneously broke my heart and filled my body with even more rage. Chooch and I both assured him it wasn’t his fault and I asked him if he was OK – dumb question, but I needed him to know that I cared.

He said he was OK, but I’m sure he wasn’t. He might have been used to this though, and that makes it even worse. I wanted to rip his mom apart with my words right then and there but…that wasn’t going to help anything and he didn’t need to hear that. He already heard enough for one night!

I wasn’t sure what to do at this point — was I allowed to insert  myself and tell the cop that I was a witness? Would that escalate the situation? WOULD IT BE ME GOING TO JAIL  THAT NIGHT?? You have no idea how angry cops make me. When Henry finally aught up to us later (lol, you didn’t think he jogged with us, did you?), he admitted that he was afraid I was going to get into it with the cop because UGH COPS.

We lingered several yards away from the scene, trying to figure out if there was anything else we could do. One of Chooch’s friends walked by with her brother and they were like WTF IS HAPPENING so we filled them in and they were like OMG and then right after that another one of Chooch’s friends (an older woman who walks her dogs around the neighborhood) paused on her way by and we filled her in too so she stayed with us for awhile and we talked about how awful it is that parents could act that way and then I realized at this point that I was starting to cry so I guess maybe deep down I don’t really hate kids that much, who knows. But this whole event really had me shook.

I couldn’t get that bitch’s screaming voice out of my head all weekend, so imagine how much worse it sounds inside that boy’s head.

Eventually, we kept walking around town. Henry said that by the time he caught up to us and passed by the scene, the mom was going on and on to the cop about how much better she is than everyone else. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, HUNTY. We started coming up with scenarios, like maybe Dad told Son to go to the bar to get Mom and that’s what set her off. Obviously some TRAGIC thing happened to spark her shrill comment about how mom’s night out was ruined. Or maybe he had the “audacity” to come out to her, or she found out from someone else, and her vicious name-calling was aimed directly for his heart.

In any case, I don’t care what sparked this incident, no child deserves to be spoken to / screamed at that way, whether it’s on a sidewalk in Brookline or behind the closed doors of their house. I  just kept looking at Chooch, imagining myself going off on him like that, and I couldn’t. I could not picture myself, in any situation, attacking his sexuality or his self-esteem or confidence or TRUST IN ME. The safest place for a kid should be with his mom!

Do I ever yell at Chooch? Sure I do! BUT NOT LIKE THAT! It’s always over something like his shitty attitude and I never insult him or degrade him — it’s always me screaming about how I can’t stand the way he’s acting or something. And it’s not very often.

Henry NEVER yells though. He’s afraid of us, lol.

By the time we circled back to our street, a female cop was also on the scene. She was standing off to the side with the boy, both of them watching as the first cop was straight yukking it up with the “mom.” Honestly, they were carrying on like they were bar buddies, exchanging stories, and the “mom” kept doubling over in laughter.

It was…it was so fucked up.

Back at the house, Henry turned on his police scanner app, or whatever old dorks with cop fetishes like him use, just in time for me to hear a male cop say something about how he was headed back, it was just a “mom trying to parent her child.”

OH I’M SORRY, A WHAT NOW?

IS THIS WHAT WE’RE CALLING THAT?

“TRYING TO PARENT?”

Because what I saw and heard was classic emotional child abuse.

No, I didn’t see her hit him, but abuse comes in many forms.

Abuse is abuse is abuse. And what I witnessed was abuse.

And thus began my nightly hysterical rant about how cops are worthless while Henry tried to hide his toy sheriff’s badge down the back of his pants.

“Look, she probably didn’t give him any just cause to take her in,” Henry reasoned. “And the boy probably didn’t want to say anything against her.”

And deep down, I know these reasons are probably accurate, and that there really isn’t a happy ending in a case like this. He’s either going home with an abusive mom or being taken away from his home. I just kept feeling like I didn’t do enough though!

Finally, last night, I said to Henry, “Can’t I like, email the police or something?” At first, he seemed scared to answer me. But he ultimately agreed that giving my witness account of what happened might be beneficial, so he diligently looked on the Pittsburgh Police’s website for an appropriate person for me  to email. I ended up emailing someone whose title I already forget, but she’s a woman so I have hope that maybe she will actually read my email and take it seriously.  I explained in detail what I saw and that I strongly disagree with it being written off as a “mom trying to parent her child,” like he had just stolen a pack of gum and she slapped his wrist.

That’s how that sounds to me.

I also said that I would like there to be some record of this on file in case it happens again, and if possible, I felt that a wellness check would be appropriate here.

It’s been about 24 hours and I haven’t received a response, and maybe I never will, but I couldn’t in good conscience let this one go. I hope he’s OK. I hope he has people in his life telling him he’s loved and that he has worth in this world. I hope he has a good best friend or a teacher he can confide in. I hope this isn’t every day for him.

Jun 162019
 

The annual arts festival is going on currently in Pittsburgh, but the real art is at my house.

I decided on Friday that maybe it would be a good idea for us to make something for Henry for Father’s Day even though Valentines Day and Mother’s Day have both passed by without so much as the latest Taemin album gifted to me. But, you know, IM NOT PETTY so Henry will still get something born from our sweet side.

I worked late shift from home on Friday, so that was the perfect opportunity to churn out one of my signature backhanded, inside joke-laden gifts for Henry. This year’s theme was CIRCULARS because I’m always throwing them away before Henry has a chance to look at them because in my eyes, they’re junk mail. So then he starts stomping around in a fit when he’s about to leave for Kuhn’s and needs to know what’s on sale but if he’s already going there anyway who cares?!

Of course, that means I had to dig through the garbage for one to use for THE ART.

Gross.

I managed to churn out the actual picture in no time but then my project stalled when I realized we didn’t have any rogue picture frames for me to Mod Podge with the circulars so I called Henry at work and told him he had to stop somewhere and get me one and he was like “OK but why do you need it right now? I’ll be near a Pat Catan’s tomorrow—” and I was like, “BECAUSE I FUCKING NEED IT NOW, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHY” and apparently this is how he knew we were up to something, especially when he came home from work and Chooch and I ran separate directions with our projects under our shirts.

We’re good at secrets.

Anyway, here’s my finished masterpiece! I surrounded Henry’s mug with things I associate with him, such as Faygo (who doesn’t?!), Ted Nugent, benches at amusement parks, THE SERVICE, getting us lost for HOURS in Gangnam, and of course, the favorite: Chooch’s and my imagined relationship he has with a stripper at Blush named Cheetah Girl.

HENRY HATES THIS SO MUCH. Chooch and I will collapse into flesh-clumps on the floor, laughing and in tears over some dumb insinuation we made about him and “Cheetah Girl” (Chooch named her, btw). It all started because one time Henry was allegedly at the laundromat and Chooch was like, “What if he’s actually at Blush” and a years-long inside joke was born, one that Henry despises but brings the rest of us so much joy!

Friday afternoon, I had to force Chooch to come home from the Teen Center so he could draw a picture of Henry for his piece of artwork, and it actually went way more swimmingly that I imagined — usually any creative project makes us scream our faces off at each other, but this time, he slipped away into his bedroom and

IT IS SO GOOD. His image of Henry just kills me. Anyway, Henry always does this thing where we’re talking to him, about him, and he’ll go, “WHO?” and we’re like, “YOU, you dumb lump! We are literally talking to you about you!” OMG, you have to be there (Janna witnessed it last night!) but this is a Thing that he Does and it is so Frustrating.

LIKE, TRY FOLLOWING ALONG, MAYBE!?

Lol, 69. #MatureArt

Chooch thinks he’s such a bad artist and I want to flick his forehead every time he says that because his style reminds me a lot of the illustrations I see in places like the City Paper and other publications. He doesn’t give himself enough credit!

We couldn’t wait so we ended up giving Henry his presents last night after we came home from our Day Trip with Janna (we survived a day away without Henry!). He was a mixed bag of emotions. I could tell he liked them, but then to Chooch he asked, “What is that sticking out of my ear?” and Chooch went, “Oh yeah, a q-tip” and I almost peed my pants because that is SO ACCURATE. Even Henry was trying not to laugh at that one, but he did point out that he’s not “that hairy.” Wow, why to criticize your son’s art work, Jerk Dad.

Anyway, after “admiring” the pieces for another minute or so, he said, “You guys are assholes.”

YESSSSSSS.

We’re thinking about adding big, bulky chains to them so he can wear them around his neck like medallions.

Happy Father’s Day to the guy who doesn’t drink coffee, wear ties, or play golf so all those basic dad gift ideas don’t work for us.

Jun 142019
 

Yeah boi! Now that Chooch is done with school for the summer, and I get to work my weekly late shift from home, we decided to start up our Summer Breakfast Club again! Chooch was all gung-ho about this even though the last time I called it a club, he was like, “We only went to breakfast 4 times, though?”

Whatever Chooch. I like doing this because once late morning/early afternoon hits, I won’t see him again until late evening because he’s out and about with his goof troop. These breakfasts are a good time for us to chat it up (re: make fun of Henry behind his back) and, you know, be seen around town.

Chooch chose Parker’s for the inaugural summer breakfast and I didn’t argue because Parker’s is the best and it’s like OUR THANG.

Right as I was taking this picture, Chooch tripped over his bike and fell into the frame. It’s a keeper!

Look, it’s a real simple thing: breakfast sandwiches. Each has a pop-culture-y name. Coffee is Zeke’s (awesome local company). The ambiance suits my aesthetic. The patrons are the normal locals and not the hardcore hooligan locals –  those people do their AM dining either in prison or a few doors down at the No Name Cafe.

Literally, it’s called the No Name Cafe and seats about 5 people. Our new neighbor, the one who moved in next to HNC with her fat son who drives a dumptruck and her other not-as-fat-but-still-a-slob younger son who likes to scream at his mom from across the street and then give me threatening glares when I whip my front door open to scowl at him and also he parks his dumb Jeep at the top of the driveway AND WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO PARK THERE BECAUSE IT’S A SHARED DRIVEWAY.

Anyway, the mom is a waitress there but I honestly can’t figure out why one is even needed but OK.

Also, I hate those people so bad.

But look, the #1 reason why we patronize Parker’s is because the owner is such a cool dude. He talks to everyone who comes in there whether he knows them or not, and even though Chooch and I aren’t exactly regulars, he gets so excited when he sees us! Today, he came over to see what our summer plans are and was legit one of the only people who has seemed stoked when I say, “We’re going to Korea!” The average reaction I get is “….oh?” Bizarretown.

Mr. Parker was totally about this though and asked us all kinds of good questions. Talking to him was the best part of breakfast!

I usually have one late shift a week so we’ll see how many different joints we can hit up this summer (NOT NO NAME CAFE THO!!!). Of course, Henry takes the car to work so we’re limited to places accessible by trolley or within walking distance. I usually have a bowl of cinnamon Life cereal every.single.day so mixing it up once a week probably won’t kill me, ha! Maybe we’ll have some guest breakfasters here and there too!

Jun 132019
 

Friends, if you’re ever passing through the Wheeling/Moundsville area of West Virginia and have the desire to be killed time to kill, I highly recommend making a pit stop at the Palace of Gold. Even if you don’t want to do the whole shebang with Govinda’s Cafeteria, slurping rose water in the Temple, gawking at the looming decrepit idol statues by the weird man-made lake, the actual Palace is worth the stop. They do tours every 30 minutes and it costs $9 (I think?), the tour is pretty quick but informative, and roaming the grounds is FREE so if you’re not into shuffling along in shoe-booties while a robe-clad guide stammers through her memorized spiel, you could easily eschew that and just go and like sniff some roses and maybe buy some cheap-ass bangle bracelets in the gift shop which is what I do every time I visit.

…which is what I thought FO SHO Henry was going to do — eschew the tour (though he did sniff the roses and buy a cheap bangle from the gift shop) — but he surprised me by saying, “No, I will be joining you two on this tour and I am CRAZY EXCITED.”

But first, we strolled around and yelled at Henry for taking shitty pictures of us.

Chooch has been really into wearing ponytails lately – not quite man-buns.

Before we went in for a tour, I was trying to take a selfie of the three of us and was not having great success, when some old lady with green-rimmed glasses strode over and was like, “Oh for Swami Prabhupada’s sake, do you want me to take the picture for you?”

She kind of reminded me of a character Francis Conroy would play in American Horror Story, if we’re being honest with each other here today on my blog. Anyway, she took this super strange photo of us from way too close and from a low angle. I was literally just grinning-and-bearing it at this point and the old Erin would have deleted this because OMG she looks awful, but it’s pretty hilarious to the new Erin who is trying her hardest to stop living her life by the Vanity Handbook.

So bad, lol.

Then we took the tour. There are no photo allowed and in the past, I have definitely sneaked a few here and there but nothing changes inside there so I kept my phone tucked into my purse like a good girl which was good because our guide was having a hell of a time getting through her sentences without the added stress of scolding people for taking contraband photos.

It was just the three of us, an older Indian family of 4, and a youngish couple who I found out are from Tyler, Texas and I desperately wanted to ask them if they know EISLEY but Henry was like, “Keep it moving, sister.”

Anyway, Chooch seemed to be pretty interested in the tour, especially the part about the Beatles being followers, but Henry’s main takeaway was that the followers who built the Palace of Gold were shitty builders and I was like, “OH OK ASSHOLE, BUILD ME A PALACE THEN AND SHOW ME HOW MUCH BETTER YOU CAN DO IT.” Honestly! He can barely build a gingerbread house!

But no seriously, build me a fucking palace, a replica of one from the Joseon Dynasty. IF I HAVE A CHOICE.

Then we meandered around the grounds and yelled at Henry some more for being camera-incompetent.

Like, he totally cut off the top of this pavilion.

I wanted to gleefully frolic and jump but Chooch admitted after the pictures were taken that he didn’t know what was going on, so that was cool. I look like my son just came and released me from the asylum.

Henry’s favorite part was the lily padded pond. He saw some fish and frogs! He was content.

Chooch and I talked to the ducks for a while but then Henry angered them and they started quacking and I really hoped they’d attack him but no.

Henry also liked perusing the rose garden with his hands clasped behind his back.

Henry really likes the simple things in life, which is why I feel like he’d really thrive in this compound…except for the no meat thing. I honestly don’t think Henry could ever give up meat.

Chicken, especially.

He always makes chicken at home because he’s rude and doesn’t consider the fact that he lives with two vegetarians and MAYBE WE DON’T WANT TO SMELL THAT SHIT.

Henry the Rose Garden Schlepper.

Chooch took this lovely picture and then was like, “BAM, this is how you take a good photo,” to Henry. Honestly, Chooch takes really good photos of me, bless that kid.

What a beautiful day trip, I can’t stop smiling every time I look at these pictures and think of our time there together. Every time I visit, I leave there thinking that I could really live this life. I already don’t eat meat, and I really like palaces! But, I already worship G-Dragon, so I guess there isn’t any room in my heart for any other idols.

I may not believe in god or whatever, but I sure do love learning about other religions and exploring places like this and also this temple in Illinois! There’s some Bible Walk in Ohio that I’ve been dying to get Janna to go to with me, so maybe that will be my next creepy religious tourist trap this summer! WHO KNOWS.

If you’re desperate to know more about the tour itself, you could feel free to click here and read my account from my first trip there in 2013, mayhaps?

Jun 122019
 

When I look back on this day now, all I can see is that we had really quality FAMILY TIME learning about another religion, eating good foods, and talking to peacocks.

But it started out to a completely different tune, less Donna Reed Show theme wafting from a 1950s den and way more Viking death metal blasting from behind a teenager’s locked bedroom door. Remember how I was just droning on last week about how I’ve been getting a bad case of the (je)Junes every year? (And, that’s putting it mildly.) Well, I have been READY FOR IT, you guys. I have been standing at the door with my paper mache armor fashioned from pages of self help books, I’ve been extra-exercising to keep those endorphins pumping like a bad 1990s club hit, and I have been trying to make plans – you know, the good old DISTRACTION TACTIC.

This…almost backfired. When I suggested to those two ass poles (this was the name of a company that I saw today at work!) I live with that we take a day trip out to New Vrindaban a/k/a The Palace of Gold after Chooch’s piano lesson on Sunday, Henry said nothing and Chooch just flat out said no.

Yeah, this went over real with me, the girl who wakes up on the perpetual wrong side of the bed on Sundays. So I threw a mini-fit, said JUST FORGET IT, pretended like I was going to go alone, and in the meantime, Chooch and Henry had some emergency meeting in Restrain Erin Headquarters, I guess, because suddenly Henry was like, “We’re going to Palace of Gold and we’re so excited about it! Yay! Woo! Look at us!” and he and Chooch were waving their arms in the air like they were trying to lure people off the highway to buy new mattresses.

So I grudgingly got in the car and then Chooch immediately started bitching because he realized he left his headphones at home and had to GOD FORBID listen to his lame parents talk which just consisted of Henry trying to butter me up and me telling him to fuck off in a myriad of super creative and sickening ways. I even told him to take us home three times and then Chooch started screaming about being kidnapped and I yelled, “I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT” and TURNED OFF the 1980s Soft Rock Spotify playlist that usually always pacifies me. This is when Henry was realizing that maybe this was a bad idea.

However, once we got to shitty West Virginia, things turned around because Chooch and I started making comments about how the rural town we passed through looked like a place where Henry would gladly live and then we saw a hick walking down the road with a fishing road jutting out of his backpack and I started dry-heaving and then I decided that if Henry didn’t have Chooch and me in his life, he’d probably live in a houseboat, and then Chooch and I started laughing so hard we were crying and JUST LIKE THAT our day turned around.

Thank god we worked out our grumps because it ended up being a fantastic day!

But first, we had to deal with the car from Florida doing 12 MPH that wound up in front of us as we swerved through the windy roads to Palace of Gold and suddenly we had a common enemy so we bonded as a family over this.

Then, I was disoriented because Henry brought us in the back way! Of course he’d have to go rogue with directions, this is basically what he was born to do.

Anyway, by now we were all pretty much acting like sane, non-possessed human beings again and maybe even sort of looked like a family who liked each other. We parked at the top of the hill, across from the Palace, and then walked down the road to where the compound, Temple, and–most importantly–the CAFETERIA are located. I marched them right into the establishment like I was a seasoned regular, even though this was only my third time eating there…

…but first time FINALLY indulging in the buffet!

Chooch almost ordered from the “regular food” menu but at the last minute, he sighed and said he would try the buffet.

Newsflash: Chooch has spent the last thirteen years of his life actively avoiding Indian food. Henry and I used to eat it pretty often in the glory days of our relationship, but then Chooch was hatched with a bland palate so we can only feast on paneer and curry when we’re sans Chooch.

Since this is a Hare Krishna compound, there is NO MEAT to be found on site. Henry said that there was actually a sign forbidding visitors to bring the fleshy contraband on to the grounds which made me wonder if Henry pitched his pocket jerky beforehand.

SPOILER: Chooch LOVES Indian food now. He kept going on and on about how shocked he was and how he never realized it was so good while Henry and I just glared at him.

He even went back up for seconds!

Meanwhile, Henry was writing an investigative report under the table about how everyone started at the buffet FROM THE WRONG END so then he was TRAPPED BY THE SALAD.

Honestly, boyfriend kept jawing off about this — NO ONE CARED.

After we ate, I wanted to take them into the Temple but they were too scared or something because there were a lot of people milling about probably because it was some sacred prayer hour.

Well, those heathens don’t know what they were missing because the Temple is one of the best parts of the joint!

You should have seen the first handful of pictures Henry took of us in front of this holy elephant. Most of them weren’t even centered! I kept yelling, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU” until I got distracted by an empty beverage can that someone had carelessly discarded by the pond so then I spent a good whole 2 minutes holding it gingerly between the tips of two fingers because GERMS, looking for a garbage can.

I’ll never understand what goes through a bitch’s mind when they toss trash onto the ground except that OH WAIT nothing goes through their mind because they’re self-centered pigs with low IQs.

Honest question: if you were strolling along this beautiful path, would you feel compelled to litter?!

“Why didn’t you tell me there are PEACOCKS here? I wouldn’t have been so mad about coming here then!” Chooch cried, and seriously, why didn’t I?? I should have known that would have been the biggest selling point for him and we could have avoided all the dysfunction in the car.

WOW I HAVE ORIGINAL IDEAS.

I’m trying to be less camera shy in my older age. I was thinking about how when Chooch is older, he won’t have many pictures of us that aren’t just shitty selfies so I’m trying to put aside my self-consciousness.

(I still delete a lot of pictures, though.)

(I need to find someone better than Henry to take pictures — he usually finds my worst angles and I’m starting to think he does it purpose.)

Man, we spent a good long while out in the area of the swan pond and Dancing Acolytes, listening to the mating calls of the peacocks and waiting for some crazy cult person to come bursting out of one of the cabins, wielding a handsaw and shrieking the Hare Krishna mantra in reverse.

Next, we walked back up to the Palace for a tour. Hoo boy, better tune in tomorrow (probably) for that installment.

Jun 112019
 

It’s standard practice as a mom to write some kind of sappy tribute for the kid who has just crossed another scholastic finish line. I almost forgot to take the LAST DAY snapshot to post side-by-side with the FIRST DAY photo on Instagram like all the good moms do.

And then we had to take this one with a cameo appearance from Window Cat and Chooch’s “I don’t need to dry it” Sopping Wet Hair.

7th grade was pleasant. No fights. No in school suspensions. (Although, we were looking at his yearbook earlier today and I made fun of one of the teachers and he was like THATS NOT NICE, I WAS ACTUALLY JUST HELPING HER TODAY and then he paused and said, “Although, she did give me In School once” and turns out, she had this map of Brookline in front of her classroom with pins on all the kids’ houses and Chooch said, “And this is how kids get molested.” She heard him and gave him a stern look and when he asked “What?” she said “YOU KNOW” and then that’s how he got In School once in 5th grade and god only knows how many other times.)

Chooch is really smart and motivated so we don’t have to put in much effort on that front but damn does he have friend drama. Not to be SEXIST but it’s because he has a lot of friends that are girls and also some of those boys seem like total bitches. So I’m excited for things to get continually more dramatic. 8th grade is going to be A BLAST.

Oh well, here’s to the start of summer vacation!

Jun 102019
 

Yesterday, we took a family day trip to my beloved Palace of Gold in West Virginia – it’s been six (!!!) years since I was last there with Janna and Corey and I know Henry and Chooch were getting annoyed when I kept saying, “When I was here with Janna and Corey…” because #jelis.

I haven’t finished going through my pictures from yesterday and writing an outline and draft of my Palce of Gold blog post (LOL – obvious joke, you know I practically write these things on bathroom breaks because I’m the worst blogger ever), so I decided it would be fun to revisit that last time I was at the Palace with Janna and Corey because we had so much fun! SO NOW YOU HAVE TO REVISIT IT TOO. Good luck, pea…cuck?

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Ever since I first went to the Palace of Gold in 2012, a Hare Krishna compound in the hills of West Virginia, I’ve been promising my brother Corey that I would take him there. And then Janna wanted to go too, and I had all of these wonderfully dark visions of her getting “taken” by the Hare Krishnas and spending the next eternity singing and selling books at some tiny county airport in Idaho. Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen. :(

But goddamn if we didn’t have the best day ever anyway!

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NO SHOES IN THE PALACE.

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Janna was asking me about the peacock stained glass before the tour started, and I was like, “Oh, you will learn about the significance of the peacock during the tour.”

The tour was much shorter this time around, mostly because we had the most apathetic, exhausted tour guide in the joint, and all she said about the peacocks was that there four stained glass windows in their likeness. Thanks, we can count.  Corey and I could have been more blatant with our clandestine photo-taking and she probably wouldn’t have cared.

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I’m not going to reiterate facts, but if you’re interested, perhaps my post from last year’s tour will enlighten you. Although it is likely mostly just full of smack-talk for the other people in the tour group. You know how I do.

Luckily, there were three middle-aged Indian men on the tour with us, and the one would occasional offer me extra information about the things that the guide was glossing over. They were really kind and I was relieved because when we first walked in, I thought for sure they were going to write us off as ignorant crackers. I mean, not that we aren’t. But it was nice of them to give us a chance.

I mostly tried to not make eye contact with Corey because I knew he’d make me lose it and then we would end up doing our weird gang-laughter in the middle of the echo-y marbled halls of the palace.

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I noticed the grounds seemed to be in the same state of disarray as they were last year, so I guess they don’t get as many post-tour donations as they’d like to. I feel like organizing a 5K for them. What? Everyone else has a 5K! Why not the Palace of Gold?!

Let’s run for Krishna, you guys! Or from. Maybe that will be more fun. Running from Krishna and chubby little Butter Thieves in the backwoods of West Virginia. I’m going to organize this. I’ll let you know when you can sign up.

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The rose garden is so fucking creepy to me. I’m sure it’s something that is universally considered to be beautiful (it’s won awards, after all!), but it just seems like a really bad scene to me.

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I took this picture just for Chooch, who hates butterflies. Always thinking of my son. What a great mom I am.

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I got stuck on rose thorns right after this and Janna had to rescue me. Also, if I look drunk, it’s because I was DRUNK ON LIFE. (Seriously, I really look that dopey most of the time, though.)

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We laughed like total hyenas for like 10 straight minutes because of this picture.

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Corey took this when I wasn’t paying attention and I’m not sure what was going on, other than I was fixing my shoe and probably being eaten by rose bushes, but I love it. Also, I was wearing two different sets of stripes and polka-dot pants because I can. It enhances the fun.

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Krishna kat.

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OMG here’s Swami Jannamanama emerging from the Hare Krishna bathroom stall! She didn’t appreciate that I immediately posted this on Instagram but I was like, “What? It’s not like you’re nude.”

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Corey’s senior picture. Janna comes with the package.

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After we toured the Palace and the grounds, I was super adamant about eating at the cafeteria. I am obsessed with the cafeteria!! All cafeterias!!

The cafeteria (Govinda’s) is located about a quarter of a mile down the street from the Palace, where the Temple and Hare Krishna lodging can be found. Right across from Govinda’s is a courtyard and it was teeming with Sunday worshipers who all stared at us because, short of flashing fanny packs, everything about us screamed NOT ONE OF YOU.

Inside Govinda’s, we became immediately confused. First of all, we were the only non-Krishna people. Second, there was no clear instruction on what we were supposed to do, so we all kind of stopped and slammed into each other as soon as we entered the door. Then we did what all socially adjusted people do and whispered uneasily to each other like we had just been kicked out of the back of the Scooby Doo Mystery Van and landed on the threshold of a haunted house.

Ask if they have the buffet,” I hissed at Janna, who sighed and asked the young Indian girl at the register by the door.

“Oh, no,” the girl answered with a laugh and WHY DO I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE PEE WEE AT THE ALAMO EVERYWHERE I GO. I know I reference that all of the fucking time, but it’s because it’s true. “You may choose from our limited menu,” she said, Vanna White’ing her hand toward a black dry-erase board next to the counter. The undulating question marks in our eyeballs must have been pretty clear, because she added, “Would you like me to explain everything to you?”

We all sighed and shook our heads eagerly as she slowly explained in her best dumb white folk words what everything was. I still couldn’t understand half of it because I’m dumb with ingredients and wound up just picking something at random. Corey ordered something similar to what I got, I think our breads were the only difference, and Janna went with the safe bet of samosas because even dumb city folk know what samosas are. You can buy them in the freezer section!

Since Janna drove us there that day, and it’s kind of a long haul, I paid for her lunch. (And Corey paid for her Palace of Gold tour.) I wonder if she wrote about it that night in her diary, because Corey and I don’t generally do nice things for her.

We chose a booth far away from the other people already eating, and waited for our food over a soundtrack of our own nervous giggles.

A waitress (maybe the same person as the cashier? I wasn’t paying attention) set down Janna’s samosas and a tray that looked remarkably like hog slop and baby vomit, so I knew it was going to be good Indian cuisine, but Corey and I were unsure whose it was supposed to be. I thought she said something that started with a “d,” which is what my choice started with, so I dramatically stopped Corey right before he started eating.

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“I THINK THAT MIGHT BE MINE!” my inner fat girl beast cried. So then we had the daunting task of waiting for the waitress to return with the final meal so that we could finally put this minutes-long mystery to bed.

I was right! It was whatever I ordered. But Corey’s ended up being tastier than mine, so who’s laughing now.

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We didn’t have silverware, not that Janna needed any for her samosas, but it was kind of difficult for Corey and me to dig in to our lunches.

“I think maybe the Hare Krishnas don’t believe in forks,” I said honestly, trying to fashion my naan into a serving apparatus, but only succeeding in staining my fingertips orange like I had just smoked fifteen year’s worth of unfiltered Pall Malls. This went on for awhile, Corey and I alternating quiet exclamations of “ouch” every time we burnt ourselves on curry. Meanwhile, we kept darting our eyeballs around the cafeteria, craning our necks to see if any of the seasoned Indians at the nearby tables were also eating with their hands, but everyone seemed to be finished eating at the moment.

“You know,” I said, shaking the pain off my fingers, “maybe I’m confused. I think it’s the Ethiopians that eat with their hands.” And just then, another Govinda’s patron walked over to the kitchen and grabbed a plastic fork out of a bucket; Corey and I totally lost it. Eating lunch became a lot easier after that.

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Even though I was too stuffed to finish my meal, I kept harping on Janna to go up and buy me dessert. She totally didn’t want to, but I can be very persuasive. There were these golden balls of wonder that I was dead-set on devouring, so Janna returned with a container of those and a regular old push-pop for herself, which made me laugh because how much more Caucasian can one look in an Indian restaurant than by licking on an American summer delight? And then I found out that the golden balls of wonder cost about as much as Janna’s lunch, totally negating the fact that I treated her, so then I was performing the simultaneous trick of laughing and choking on balls, which is something I mastered my junior year of high school.

Anyway, these balls were made of chick peas, cashews and honey. They were an oral treasure, in my opinion. Corey kind of liked them, but not enough to finish the one I gave him, and Janna took one bite and then handed it back to me. MORE FOR ME.

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After lunch, we crossed through the courtyard, which was now suspiciously empty, and walked into the temple. There were shoes splayed all over the floor and on the shelves in the shoe room, but only three people were in the temple itself. One was an old white man who looked like he definitely has been foraging in the mountains his whole life. I wanted desperately to take his picture, but that motherfucker never took his eyes off me.

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The shoe:person ratio is all the evidence I need to know for fact that these deity statues are feeding on human flesh. You’re not fooling this girl, New Vrindaban society. I’m on to you.

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There was an Indian couple in the temple with us, and from a short distance away, I spied the man ladle some sort of liquid into his woman’s palm, which she then brought to her mouth and DRANK. I needed to do this too, so I lingered casually in front of a eerily realistic statue of Swami Prabhupada and waited for them to leave. Then I pulled Janna over to the bowl of hopefully-not-poison and made her try it first.

“It’s just like, rose water,” was her official Yelp review. So I allowed her to dump some of it into my palm, and then I immediately gagged and thought for sure I was perishing as the intense floral notes clogged my windpipe.

“Oh my god, what did you do?” asked Corey, who had just re-joined us after selling his soul to the Cult of Krishna by making accidental eye contact with one of the manga-like deity statues. Janna explained to him that I saw other people doing it and I’m sure she rolled her eyes too but I couldn’t tell since I was pretty much blacking out at that point.

Corey started laughing. “You were peer-pressured into drinking weird flower water?!” YES, PRETTY MUCH, OK?!

Janna had to use the bathroom in the temple before we left, so Corey and I stood outside and talked about her, obviously. Suddenly, a peacock trotted over from god only knows where, and it looked like it was going to start to head into the temple. I suggested that we try to usher it into the bathroom with Janna, and Corey thought this was the best idea since the Nintendo Power Glove, but there were two Hare Krishna people standing nearby so we thought maybe it wouldn’t be the hottest idea to disrespect their token animal while standing in front of the temple, no less. Even us Kelly kids know when to draw the line.

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After the temple, we walked off some of our curry-heavy lunch while paying our giddy-yet-horrified respects to the Dancing Acolyte statues on the other side of the creepy (one lone) swan-infested man-made lake. Hidden by trees behind the statues sat a cabin which had eerie Krishna tunes wafting out through the screened windows. I wanted to climb up the hill and peek into the windows, but Janna was like, “No. Don’t.”

The last stop on the agenda was the gift shop back up on the Palace of Gold grounds. I bought a religious ring and a pretty blue bracelet that everyone at work has been admiring and I say, “Thanks it was like $5 at the Palace of Gold!” and then I think that might kind of mar their opinion. But anyway, on the way back to the car, Janna was crossing the street at the same time a car* was coming. I shoved her out of the way while screaming, “JANNNNNNNA!! LOOOOOOK OUTTTTT!” I mean, I SCREAMED it. Corey had already crossed the street and was standing next to Janna’s car, so he whirled around to see what the fuck was happening, and then he started laughing really hard, because what I didn’t know yet was that the doors to the minivan parked next to Janna were open and about 10 Indian people were standing there looking horrified.

*(It might be conducive to the story to explain here that the car was like, a lot of yards away and going 15mph.)

Of course, they were standing on the side of Janna’s car that I had to get into, so it was extremely embarrassing and I was literally squealing from trying to hold back my laughter. At that point, I was also crying. So I opened the backdoor of Janna’s car and pretty much dove in, nearly spilling my container of golden balls of wonder on the floor of her car. Corey and Janna got in and once all the doors were shut, we collectively lost it. Well, maybe Janna wasn’t laughing that hard, but Corey and I were doubled over. I think Janna was probably just more exhausted from having spent so many hours with the Kelly siblings.

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Once Janna dropped us off, I came into the house and tried to recall the day’s events to Henry, while choking on another golden honey ball of wonder and having to squat down to keep from peeing; I was a hot, giddy mess. Chooch took one look at me and then went back on the computer.

Henry didn’t think any of it was funny, nor did he think I was a hero for saving Janna from vehicular manslaughter. I guess he had to be there.

Jun 072019
 

Wowie wow wow it’s Friday and here are five things + random pictures from my phone because it’s Friday Fiveday or whatever.

I can only wear this pin on Chooch’s denim vest because it’s so heavy that it pulls down whatever shirt I pin it to!

Scottish Chai

The other day, I went to Crazy Mocha and a new guy was working which was a blessing because the one broad who works there (but doesn’t seem to ever be making any of the drinks?) is really nice but she is a HANDFUL. Just a non-stop chatter. My friend Alyson often refers to this mindless need to small talk as “air displacement” and this is the perfect example of it. She has held me hostage on so many occasions, and like I said – NICE GIRL, RULL NICE GIRL – but can you just let the quiet barista man make my chai latte in peace? Yikes. Anyway, she wasn’t there on Wednesday but this new guy was and I was kind of nervous at first because he seemed like he could go either way – nice, or super callous hipster. And when he hit me with a Scottish accent, I was really caught off guard to the point where I couldn’t tell if he was fucking around, like he drew the “Talk in a fake accent” card and thought I looked stupid enough to fall for it. Well, nice try buddy, because I am like one rung below schizophrenic-level paranoia and I question everything. Honestly, Henry and I were leaving CVS one night and a car full of rowdy teenagers were screaming out the window at a red light and I cried, “ARE THEY MAKING FUN OF ME? ARE THEY SAYING I’M FAT?” and Henry was like, “…they’re singing.” ANYWAY!

This guy may have actually been Scottish, who knows. He did say that he liked my necklace, which was the glass globe full of sea glass from Busan! So that scored him points. Also, it seemed like he was making my chai latte with utmost care and precision – real slow, with the cup tilted as he swirled in the soy milk. It was a delight to watch his methods, and maybe one of the best chai lattes I’ve ever been served, though I do have to say that the chai lattes at Crazy Mocha in general are some of the best I’ve ever had and have honestly spoiled me to the rest. I 100% threw one away from another cafe because it only took one sip to realize that use that chai mix that comes out of a carton and I hate that. Talk about first world problems, amirite. Crazy Mocha uses a chai powder and it makes all the difference in the world.

And when the guy told me to enjoy my day in his joyful Scottish lilt, I was like, “THANK YOU, I THINK I JUST MIGHT.”

This child, forever blocking the subtitles. 

Erin’s Bus Stop Plan

There is this one stretch of sidewalk downtown that absolutely drives me nuts (actually, Crazy Mocha is on part of it) because it’s a super poppin’ bus stop but the people who stand there are like the dregs of the earth, I’m really sorry to say that but it is trash of all sizes and colors. Today, I saw an overweight white trash lady in a REALLY SHORT DRESS leaning over a stroller and screaming in her baby’s face in a way that she I’m sure felt was lovingly but to the rest of us it was white trash acrylics scratching the side of a rusted trailer. While she was doing this, her dress was unable to cover her ass and she was fully exposed to all of Liberty Avenue, and her legs…those bare legs…I will never be able to get them out of mind. I was on the phone with Henry when this scene unfolded and it made me lose my train of thought and I just kept stuttering and Henry was like, “Did you get hugged by a stranger again?” – just kidding, he didn’t say that because he never remembers any of the horrible things that happen to me when he lets me walk around downtown alone.

And now that the sidewalks of downtown have officially thawed out, “urban campsite” is back up and running. It is the most absurd thing – just a bunch of weird and I do mean weird people who set up lawn chairs and loiter amidst two liter bottles of Mountain Dew and bags of cheese curls under a blanket of pot smoke AND NO ONE THINKS THIS IS A NUISANCE.

I just can’t stand it but it’s usually the most convenient route back to my office depending on where my lunch breaks adventures have taken me so it gets really frustrating when I have to bob and weave around these derelicts and their pee stenches.

So I came up with a plan.

First, I was going to write to the mayor.

Then, I thought: Fuck it, I’ll just BE THE MAYOR. So after that happens, I’m going to put my Liberty Ave Clean Up plan in effect which will start with digging a pit beneath the sidewalk to put the bus stop so that these rude fucks can stay underground.

Honestly, the amount of times I’ve nearly been spit on walking down that block is insane.

“How will they get on the bus then?” Henry aka Devils Advocate asked.

“Oh, I’ll have a pipe that just sucks them up right into the bus,” I said in my “le duh” tone and Henry gave me the “Yeah great plan” eye roll.

Margie was on board though. “Oh, the Termite Plan!” she said excitedly after I told her at work. Looks like I already have one vote for when I run!

Chooch found a bunch of shit from when he went to preschool and kindergarten at the shitty catholic school across the street and we had some big laughs at the (bad) memories.

Work Pride

I don’t usually write about where I work aside from funny conversations or whatever that I have with coworkers, but I have to break that rule today because I’m really happy to work there. The Human Rights Campaign compiled a list of corporations that have a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” and my firm was on the list. Yesssssss.

My work place really goes hard for Pride and it makes me, well, proud to work there. It’s really a great thing to know that in a world full of so much hate, I get to go to work everyday at a place where everyone is accepted and safe to be themselves, and they also do a lot of LGBTQ pro bono work which is amazing.

Today, rainbow sugar cookies and pins were provided on every floor, and the firm is going to have a contingent walking in the parade this weekend. Today was one of those “feel good” days that I think a lot of us needed. <3

Plus, YALL KNOW I’m a pin freak.

 The one where Ted goes to Jail

Guyzzzz remember how my old neighbor “Ted” lied to Chooch and me about his identity and then got his house (aka the other side of our duplex) raided by the popo? Well, there was an update on his case a few weeks ago and looks like he’s going to be sentenced even though his bitch ass girlfriend FRAMED HIM I JUST KNOW IT.

Henry made the mistake of telling me that Blake and Haley might be moving and I had a straight up panic attack thinking about what assholes our landlord could potentially fill that house with again. After what feels like a million years of living next to one criminal neighbor after another, having Blake and Haley next door has been a fucking godsend and if they move, I’m moving too.

NCT – Highway to Heaven

Gotta end this edition of Friday Five with a feel-good fam-jam. You guys know I love NCT127 but they’ve been gradually climbing to the upper echelon of faves. I have so many regertz for missing out on their North American tour – we were going to try and get tickets for the Toronto show but they changed the date and with our vacation coming up in July, we’re really trying not to have to take any more time off work. Well, Henry is. I always reach a point in late fall where I have to start taking random days off so I don’t lose them (we can only roll over so many or cash them in).

Anyway, NCT is one of those groups where I can put on one MV and just let a five hour long loop of NCT goodness play in the background – especially if it’s their variety show appearances because their personalities are larger than life and they entertain me to no end—even Henry will get sucked in and I’ll catch him chuckling him to himself, haha. He still won’t pick a bias though so I think I’m going to choose Jungwoo for him. Haechan is mine <3.

They just released a new album last week and this one song, “Highway to Heaven,” is SO DAMN GOOD. It’s been on a loop in my head since I first heard it and I think it’s definitely going to be a summer jam. It just has such a feel good vibe to it, and I love that the MV showcases each of them individually. The 2:23 mark where Haechan comes in makes SO STOKED FOR LIFE. This is going to be my go-to song for a while for whenever I’m feeling like I just can’t get out of bed.

 

 

This child, forever blocking the subtitles.

Jun 062019
 

Henry riding the bench at Waldameer Park.

I know this is like WAY OUT OF CHARACTER for me, but I wanted to take a moment to give good ol’ (like, really ol’) Henry/Papa H/Poor Henry/Henry Warbucks/TGFHenry and if you’re a real old school reader – Hoover, a shout out today on his birthday. I know I drag his name through the dirt on the daily but in reality…well, I’m actually worse, but I do genuinely appreciate the big lug so here are some pictures from the last year that we can use to like, tribute him, or whatever. They all ended up being pictures of him from places that I made him take us, so this makes it extra special haha.

Henry the Meat-Eater Not Eating Meat at a Vegan Restaurant Outside of Toronto

It’s pretty amazing how adaptable Henry is. On the outside, he may look like a lumberjack who keeps a family-pack of Slim Jims in his back pocket, but on the inside, he is considerate of Chooch’s and my plant-based needs and is usually the one who finds vegetarian joints for us to eat at when traveling. He’s not above eating seitan wings in a place that brews their own kombucha, but he’ll probably almost definitely shit-talk the rest of the patrons in the place.

Taking Selfies in One of the Places He Hates More than the DMV – Cafes

Henry, who hates coffee (let it be known), never begrudges me when I start to lose my mind because it’s time for my 4th coffee feeding of the day and I need a hot one in my hand STAT. He hates coffee snobs almost as much as vegans, but it won’t stop him from marching into a pretentious cafe and ordering me something frou-frou with lavender and cardamom.

He buys me tampons with just as much confidence.

That’s a real man.

Henry Taking a Selfie in the Bathroom of a Vegan Dimsum Joint in NYC

Instagram popped off when I posted this Henry mirror-selfie last fall. I should have bought him a new hat for his birthday. Also, I like it when he wears his hat backward but he won’t it like that in public ugh.

He takes us to so many amusement parks and would be perfectly content sitting on a bench eating a soft pretzel while holding our bags, but he always indulges my constant whines for him to ride things. It always makes him sick, but he still does it anyway….

…even when he has to ride alone or with a stranger!

And he stands in lines so we don’t have to!

Also, he makes sure we have necessities, like for instance – toilet paper. One time, before I met Henry, I had this big party and some girl that I wasn’t even friends with but was friends with some girl that I WAS friends and used to fucking invite herself everywhere came out of my bathroom screaming about how I didn’t have any toilet paper so I had to leave my own party and drunkenly stumble down the street to the gas station and buy generic toilet.

Now, I have Henry to do that!

Making Friends in Korea

Henry is the only guy I’ve ever been with who lets me be myself, even if that means suddenly imprinting on the entire country of South Korea and begging him to take me there. He never once scoffs at my interests, no matter how off-the-wall, crazy, or…pricey they may be. He’s not a rich guy but he does what he can to make sure Chooch and I are both happy…

…which is almost ALWAYS at his expense!

Henry with a Manly Map in Busan

Chooch and I would literally be lost without Henry. Anytime I have to drive anywhere on my own, I quickly realize how good I have it with Henry as my chauffeur!

Sad That His Bias Isn’t In this Picture

Henry can name more kpop idols than your dad, probably. I really want him to be the Official Kpop Dad. He knows so much and is always sending me kpop news updates.

I hope that someday, Chooch looks back on his childhood and realizes how lucky he is to have such a good dad who not only takes us on adventures but also makes sure we’re safe and,  you know, fed.

My go-to insult whenever I’m fighting with Henry is, “My Pappap would have hated you!” but in reality, and I think we all know this, my Pappap would have loved him and was probably like, “THANK GOD, NOW I DON’T HAVE TO HAUNT HER” once Henry came into my life.

Anyway, I didn’t get him a cake or even a pepperoni roll, but I have lots of quiet affections in my big dumb heart so I thought maybe this would be a nice little gift for him, admitting that I COUGH COUGHCOUGHlovehimCOUGHCOUGH ugh ow. 

But more importantly, I made my own dinner and I’m letting him take a nap. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG GUY!

Jun 052019
 

Yo, it’s been a minute since I spotlighted some strong women artists so here are several new MVs from Kpop soloists that have been looping through my head. Support these girls!

First up is Lee Hi, who has finally been released from the YG dungeon and all I can say is, that was worth the wait.

This next one I’m a bit conflicted about because I am such a fan girl for her but recently, she was accused of being a bully when she was in middle school; however it came out that her accuser was also a bully?! I don’t know. But there’s my disclaimer.

Up next is Boa who has been in the industry for nearly 20 years now. I love everything she does but the sad reality of music, no matter what country a singer is from, is that the older a female artist gets, the less people care about her. I feel like her last several comebacks should have gotten so much more attention, so please go and give this video a view!

Oh my god something about this next song makes me feel so nostalgic for the summer before 12th grade, like this is something I’d have heard on WAMO’s Quiet Storm. I hope we hear more from Katie real soon! This is such a summer night mood.

Speaking of summer nights, can’t leave out this light-hearted jam from one of the members of the iconic Girl’s Generation, Yoona. This song is so sweet and has inspired me to up my bobby pin game.

Ok, that’s all for tonight! If you watch any of these and like one or whatever, please let me know!