Mar 042020

Hey-o, the month is over and here I am with a run-down of the books that helped me pass the time & forget that it’s winter. Somehow, I started the month on a weird possession kick. I guess because I started watching these “Booktubers” (god, I hate that term, it’s so dumb, like me) talk about their latest favorite horror books because that is my genre of choice but I have been so far-removed that I needed guidance on where to start, who’s on trend, etc.

One interesting thing to note is that I read two books, by chance, that each referenced the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 which I never knew about and I actually thought it was made up when I read it in the first book, but by the second reference in a different book, I was like, “HMM MAYBE I SHOULD GOOGLE THIS…” Oh, and also two books featured broads pissing on a grave.

(The weird coincidence for my January books was that two of them used the word “palimpsest,” what a random-ass word.)

The hits-n-misses were pretty even, I would say. As I did last month, I had hyper-linked the titles so you can get legit synopses, because my book summaries tend to be major mouthfuls – I have definitely bored Henry to tears on our walks around town!

1. Saturday Night Ghost Club – Craig Davidson

I started off the month strong with this one. This is a collection of short ghost stories that the main character experiences as a kid in Niagara Falls (in the 80s, even!), but they’re all interwoven and has a bit of a twist at the end which was actually quite sad and did, in fact, make me cry. What I really liked about this was that it was written from the perspective of the main character as an adult. He grew up to be a neuro-surgeon, so each chapter starts out with an anecdote about the human brain, which all ties in at the end. It’s a smart book, and a very quick read; I read it in only two sittings. Highly recommend!
This book came up in so many BookTube horror recommendation videos, and I picked it up because it’s an exorcism plot. I knew going into this that a lot of people were crying that it was an Exorcist rip-off, but to the author’s defense, it does clearly reference that in the book. I’m really torn with this one. It started out just fine and actually made me jumpy because, and here is where Henry will roll his eyes but he can cook on because he pointedly refuses to watch horror movies revolving around churches and exorcisms BECAUSE HE IS SCARED, I truly believe that people can become possessed. In fact, I went through a heavy phase in 9th or 10th grade where I actively tried to let the devil in. “I used to stand at my bedroom window at night, facing the woods and cry ‘HERE I AM DEVIL, I’M READY!” I guess I was too eager. Satan wants someone who plays hard to get. He wants the chase. When I told Chooch about this era of my life, he just murmured, “Wow. Good job.” He doesn’t care about my sordid past.
Anyway, back to this book. Overall, I didn’t like it and wouldn’t recommend it. I didn’t care about the family it focuses on, and the twist was kind of ‘…..’ What really ruined it for me, no spoilers, is that there are “blog posts” interspersed throughout the book and they were SO ANNOYING. Every time I read it, all I could think was, ‘God, this is probably what it feels like to read my own blog.” It was super obnoxious. Like this blog.
People on YouTube keep saying that this author is like the new horror king or whatever and if that is the case, I am clearly just not capable of being scared anymore, I guess.
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Oh man, this fucking trash book.  I was so excited for it. An exorcism set in the 80s? YES PLZ. But this book was not scary, and the writing was on par with like, RL Stine. Except that this was supposed to be for adults (am I wring about this? was this actually YA horror?! that would make a lot of sense). I didn’t give a single shit about any of the characters, and it reminded me of the dumb, bullshit, stream-of-conscious stories I used to write in my notebook in 7th grade, like the one where my best friend Christy married then-rookie Pittsburgh Penguin Jaromir Jagr and in real life my family hosted a foreign exchange from France that summer so I wrote him into the story too because he was in love with Christy and it was just the most indulgent, ridiculous story that I literally wrote in pencil and I would give anything for a copy of it today but I know it would make me cringe 3 pounds off my face to read it and that is how I felt about My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
I had two of his other books on my “want to read” list but now I’m nervous.
I always feel bad about ragging on a book though because I know that it’s like the equivalent saying someone’s baby is ugly, so I will end this with two positives:
  • I appreciated that each chapter was named after a song from the 80s;
  • The edition I got from the library was really cool because it was like a high school yearbook:
THIS BOOK. It was one of my favorite books of the month, and year even though we’re only 2 mths in. I didn’t know much about it going in and I think that’s for the best because once…the thing…starts happening, I was like, “OK, we’re doing THIS? Let’s go.” The writing?
*Italian finger kiss, washing hands first though* The characters? LOVED THEM ALL. The dialogue? Yep, I can hear these bitches in my head. I was so excited about this book that I couldn’t even talk about it without getting choked up and it’s not a SAD book. It’s hilarious! It’s scary! It’s bizarre! There’s a crazy twist! This book was totally my style, from the writing to the plot. If it wasn’t a library copy, I would have kissed it with tongue.
I keep trying to get Janna to read it but I don’t think she has yet because this is the kind of book that you read and then immediately want to talk about as soon as you finish.
To give you a small taste, whenever I see stuff written about Bunny, people always say the same thing: It’s like Heathers meets the Craft meets Frankenstein.
100% accurate. The only synopses you need. Go read it. It’s fantastic and I want it to be a movie now.
This is a possession story told from  the perspective of the woman who gets possessed and it is fantastic. Short and sweet. Some genuinely laugh-out-loudable (???) moments while also maintaining a certain amount of tension. It was so interesting to read a story from the possessed’s point of view, watching her marriage suffer as she slowly loses herself.
Super quick read. Would recommend if you like possession tales and, like me, are back to pondering how to let the demon inside. DOOR’S OPEN, MOTHERFUCKER.
Disclaimer: it didn’t legitimately scare me, but it was fascinating.
I picked this up on a whim from the teen section of the library, having just read a slew of horror novels and needing something light to carry me over until my new batch of book requests came in. Obviously the grilled cheese on the cover is what drew me in.
This was a great coming of age tale about a boy in high school whose family moves and now he’s forced to go to some Catholic school even though he’s atheist. He walks in with the worst attitude, not even bothering to make it work, because he figures his family is just going to move again someday anyway since his dad is always having to relocate due to his job, and who wants to make friends with Catholic school dorks anyway? Then he realizes that not everyone in that school fits perfectly into a Catholic mold and he’s invited to join the club for heretics, which is great until he decides that they should start making anonymous statements, which then end up going too far because what’s a teen novel without the dramz.
I dunno, man. I really liked it. The characters were likable, the writing wasn’t cringey, it was a bit different from your normal high school novels. I think this might be a series, and if that’s true, I will probably read on, motherbookers.
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UGH I hated this book. The writing was soooo annoying. The man dragged out the simple action of throwing another log on the fire into an entire paragraph. Just page after page of gratuitous descriptions, extremely unlikable characters (oh this person died? WHO CARES). The plot sounded so enticing too: several famous horror novelists spend a night in a haunted house, etc. The house itself did give me the creeps, but the book was so fucking boring and I figured out one of the twists very early on, however, I will give him props for the ending. The VERY end-ending.
I don’t recommend this.
Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone
My friend Elissa recommended this to me and it was a fucking JOY to read after Kill Creek. The horror was so perfectly subtle, so real. Each chapter alternates between several children growing up in what appears to me a semi-rural German village…in the 60s? 70s? Did we ever really know? The cruel things that they do each other is scarier than any haunted house/possession plot, in my not-quite-obtained English degree opinion. Loved this one – thank you, Elissa!!
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Oh shit, my first Karin Slaughter! I kept seeing this pop up on BookTube and my favorite book reviewer, Kat, highly recommended it.. She has yet to steer me wrong – this was a GREAT thriller! I’m always so hesitant to pick up thrillers because sometimes the writing can be so basic and it turns into…reading just to read. But the main characters in this one were so fleshed-out, and I felt INVESTED. It was also truly scary because again – real life horror, man. However, maybe I’m just desensitized but everyone was like, “THIS IS THE GORIEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ” and they were issuing trigger warnings for violence but, eh. I mean, the descriptions weren’t a walk in the park, but I didn’t need to keep a vomit pot  next to me (that was Sunday night, thanks stomach bug), if you know what I mean.
I can’t vouch for her other books, but if you’re looking for a good, chilling thriller with actual good dialogue and characters you can root for, try this one. But I guess, trigger warning for extreme torture porn?
The Perfect Nanny
This book is short, and I kind of wanted more, but I also appreciated the succinctness of it. It starts with the aftermath of children murdered by their nanny, not a spoiler, and then goes back in time to show, in short paragraphs, what transpired to get her to that point. It’s set in Paris, so if you’re a Francophile, definitely pick this up, perhaps in its original French format!
I devoured this, couldn’t wait to get to the end. I really started to fucking hate the parents of the kids, and it was all because of very slight and subtle things, so props to Leila Slimani for accomplishing that.
Nothing to See Here
AHH, TIED WITH BUNNY AS MY #1 BOOK OF THE MONTH. I cannot even explain this other than to say, it was my style. The plot was so nonsensical, but framed in a sense where it made just shrug and say, “I guess this isn’t really that big of a deal, OK, I’ll roll with it.” I had the biggest book-crush on the main character and wish she was real, and you know I’m usually *eye roll* when it comes to children, but the two little kids in this book stole my heart and they will fucking steal yours too and also the main character is always slipping in a “fuck” and “fucking” in every sentence to the point where I was actually reading the whole book in my own voice.
Oh, and you best believe I cried at the end.
Read this and tell me you didn’t also fall hard for Carl. I kept picturing Will Sasso.
The Haunting of Hill House
Literally a classic and I have shamefully never read it until now. I’ve seen the 1999 movie, and of course the recent series loosely based on this novel, so needless to say I was well past due. What a great book! I was so worried that it would be too dry but it was…moist? No seriously, the characters were so colorfully written and the house, just as it did in the series, gave me chills even while reading this in broad daylight.
Reasons She Goes to the Woods
This was hard to ingest at times because this girl was a real piece, but it’s essentially what Baby Teeth really wished it could be. Each page is a new chapter detailing some incident in the life of Opal, starting from when she was a very small girl all the way to her teen years, and she is pretty fucking messed up. I loved it. Super quick read too!
This was the book that I got from that “Blind Date with a Book” thing at the library where the books were wrapped in paper so it was a real mystery. When I saw that this was my choice, I was like, “Oh.” Definitely not something I’d have chosen on my own and maybe a normal person would have just straight returned it, but now I felt invested. So I did eventually read it and it was…OK. I didn’t care much for any of the characters but the setting was so cozy and made for a perfect winter read, if you’re into choosing books based on that.
Basically, people get stranded in a countryside inn. Then people start dying. Oh no! I didn’t care when anyone died, to be honest, but I wanted to find out who did it which ultimately kept me from DNFing it. It was…you know…a’ight. It’s a book that you can read.
“The writing was very simple. Basically, it was like a book that you could read,” I explained to Henry.
“OK. I’m not illiterate!” he huffed.
It’s true though. This is the kind of book you give to an elder relative who you think should fuck off of Facebook and read a goddamn story. Will I read any of, what was her name? Shari Lapena? Would I read any more of her books? S’mrobly not.
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
OK am I dumb? This is a fucking YA book and I was so lost at times when it came down to the actual “WE’RE LOOKING FOR THE LEY LINES!” part of the story that the actual PLOT actually became secondary to me and instead I stayed for the characters. Wow. Love them. All of them. I would happily take any raven boy (I mean, if they were over 18) and could so vividly picture each of them in my mind (I mean, if I were under 18). Maggie Stiefvater wrote the Shiver series, which was a werewolf trilogy that I super-loved, I think it came out 10 years ago? Maybe more? So when I saw that in my reading absence, she wrote a new series, I had to check it out. I will definitely be moving on the book #2 as soon as the dumb library gets it for me.
Maybe by then I’ll start to understand what they’re doing?
The Devil Crept In
Fuck this book. BookTube is always going on about Ania Ahlborn, how if you love horror, you have to check her out. How she is this budding indie horror writer. Ania Ahlborn, Ania Ahlborn, Ania Ahlborn.
Ugh, I didn’t like it. I really wanted to, but it was so boring and I hated everyone in it. It’s told mostly from the point of view of this 10 year old boy who has echolalia? And maybe I’m an asshole for saying this but it was really trying to read his dialogue, and I would get so angry because he’d do this thing where he ended his sentences with rhymes but the words were kind of, advanced? So I would be like, “WHY DOES A 10 YEAR OLD FROM SOME HICK TOWN IN OREGON KNOW HOW TO RHYME LIKE THIS” and that just made me angry. Also trigger warning to child abuse and graphic animal stuff.
What I liked the least about this book was that there were chapters from someone else’s point of view which were interspersed throughout and they were dreadful. Also, a really horrible, small, bold font was used for these particular chapters and I was not pleased. Neither were my eyes. Ugh, I wanted this book to be so much more but instead I was left extremely frustrated.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Thankfully, I had enough time left at the end of the month to squeeze in one more, and this one was a gem. Some of my friends reading this might remember that I was actually offered a job at a funeral home, pre-Chooch, and I had to regretfully decline the offer because it interfered with my college classes at Pitt. I think about this all the time, and how I ended up not even finishing college anyway, and I should have just done it. And then I even considered dropping out of Pitt and going to actual mortuary school but the lady who gave me (and my friend Alisha) a tour basically discouraged us by saying that you essentially need to already have family in the business or else the odds of you running your own funeral home will be slim to none. Well, I wish this book was written before that because maybe I wouldn’t have been so quick to, uh, bury that dream.
So this book is different from what I expected: I thought it was going to be a straight-up memoir, but it’s so much more than that. Caitlin uses real-life anecdotes to teach us about a wide range of funerary customs, history, and her general disdain for the American death industry, and if you close this book without having a lot to think about, then are you already dead, maybe? Because I finished it and screamed at Henry, “WE HAVE TO HAVE A GREEN BURIAL. HENRY, WE HAVE TO. GOOGLE IT. FIND ONE NEAR US.”
Yeah so if you’re a cemetery frolicker like me, or maybe have seen a few seasons of Six Feet Under, you might like this book. Caitlin has a real “sitting down with a friend for coffee” writing style that I enjoyed very much. I will probably read more of her books.
And that’s it – my February wrap-up! I fear that March will have much less books, but that’s OK. I started the month off with a real good one and have several other potential bangers in my stack, so we’ll see how it goes! I’m 2 away from smashing my 35 book challenge!
Mar 022020

The other day in the car, we had the regular radio on (weird, I know) and the intro to a very familiar song started to play. I screamed, “OMG IS THIS—-” but then it morphed into some dumb song which was decidedly not what I thought it was going to be. Yet another homogenous rapper sampling a really great song from my youth, that’s all. 

Meanwhile, Henry was still shook because if there’s one thing he loves to experience while driving, it’s my random, sudden loud outbursts from the passenger seat.

I had to Shazam the song on the radio, because I couldn’t for the life of me remember who sang the sampled song, other than it was three girls from the mid-90s who were signed to Michael Jackson’s label. 

Turns out the rapper is some Canadian, Tory Something (I already forgot) but now that I knew that, I was able to Google to find the name of the group AND IT WAS BROWNSTONE. Holy shit, I hadn’t thought of them in years and years but I had their debut CD and this song was a mixed tape staple of mine. Of course, I put it on Spotify while regaling Henry with the highlights of their Wiki page, such as how ONE OF THEM WAS FOUND DEAD in 2015?! She cut herself after falling in her home. Ugh.

Anyway, here is the song, please revel in its luscious R&B tones:

Oh man, this song brings back so many memories of crying over Justin Kail in 10th grade, lol. I was so pathetic.

This past Saturday night, Henry and I went to Sugar Spell Scoops because two of the Saturday flavors were calling to me: black forest and coffee cake. But as we walked in, and I mean literally as we crossed the threshold, BROWNSTONE’S IF YOU LOVE ME started playing, almost as if Henry had called ahead and requested it (that would never happen). This was such a mind-blowing moment for me that I blurted out to the shop owners, “JUST THE OTHER DAY I COULDN’T REMEMBER WHO SANG THIS SONG BECAUSE SOME RANDO RAPPER SAMPLED IT AND I HAD TO GOOGLE IT AND THEN I DID A BROWNSTONE DEEP DIVE, AND I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S PLAYING RIGHT NOW.”

They just laughed and one of them commented upon how the shop’s playlist is so random, but that’s just it: it’s not a song that you would typically hear on the radio anymore, let alone a vegan ice cream shop’s soundtrack. WHAT ARE THE ODDS. 

I dunno, but it made my scoops taste that much better. (Not that they ever need any help!)

It reminded me a little bit of the Boz Skaggs Rabbit Hole. 

On that note, I’m going to put on a Brownstone playlist while I continue recovering from the awesome stomach bug I caught after spending the last week sterilizing everything and taking my temperature every 20 minutes after so many people at work contracted the flu. At one point in the middle of the night, I was laying on the bathroom floor, sobbing into a towel, and promising God that I would be good if he would just put a moratorium on the vomiting. Ugh.

Mar 012020


BTS win:

If your answer is: One has clear displays of respect on both sides and one clearly lacks that, you’re correct! One of the things I loved about Kpop when I first got into it was how there seemed to be a distinct lack of arrogance among the bigger/senior groups. The Asian culture of bowing as a sign of respect is not tossed out the window once a certain level of fame is achieved, but watching BTS’s recent music countdown win, I think they’re maybe spending too much time around Americans lol.

BIGBANG are legends but stay humble and never act like they’re above their industry peers even when those groups are clearly in awe of them. BIGBANG FOREVER!

Feb 292020

Last week, Indiana Beach announced that it’s not going to open for the 2020 season and I was like WHAT YOU SHUT YOUR FACE INDIANA BEACH. While we only ever visited this amusement park once, it gave us a lifetime of memories (such Hallmark words coming from me, I must definitely have a fever, let me check—99.4!!!! THAT’S GETTING CLOSE!!!). I actually had been tossing around the idea of trying to make it back out to this park this summer, and I’m bummed that it won’t happen now (unless someone buys it! CEDAR FAIR?! THE KENNYWOOD PEOPLE!?!?) so I have been mourning the loss of such a unique, historic park by watching YouTube videos of my favorite coaster enthusiasts having fun on the Lost Coaster, which was one of the most unique coasters I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding.

I’m taking a break from my obsessive-compulsive temperature-taking and ritual hand sanitizer application to share with you, today, my day at Indiana Beach from 2014. RIP to a super quirky, incredibly fun amusement park in some small town in Indiana. Sigh.



My criteria for planning a road trip is pretty simple:

  • Are there friends along the way that I can impose upon?
  • Does my Roadside America app approve of this route?
  • Are there amusement parks in the vicinity?

I’ve wanted to go to Indiana Beach (fun fact: not actually a beach) for awhile now, and it seemed logical to combine this with a long overdue visit to Michigan to hang out with Bill, Jessi and Tammy and also meet up with some other ladies I have been Internet friends with for YEARS. (More on that later!)

We had to drive through actual farmlands to get to Monticello, Indiana, at which point a man of about 100 years of age collected $7 from us and told us where to park.

Which was “anywhere in the wide open, empty parking lot.”


We got there right when the park opened, and not only was it a ghost town, but none of the rides were running. We roamed around for awhile, getting turned away from the Hoosier Hurricane and wasting time at the shooting gallery. Also, the humidity was so bad that it felt like Hell with the lid on; my face took on the sebaceous sheen of a glazed Christmas ham in no time. It was disgusting. But not so disgusting that I would consider visiting the dilapidated water park portion of Indiana Beach, which was included in regular admission because the lazy river wasn’t running. God only knows why not.


No thanks, dirty pastel water slides. God only knows what kind of fungi you’re getting ready to launch into my vagina. (I have phobias, OK?)


Chooch killed some time at the shooting gallery, while I paced around, waiting for the adjacent Frankenstein’s Castle to open their dumb doors already. I refuse to partake in the shooting galleries at amusement parks because HENRY won’t teach me how to aim. So I almost never hit anything. And then I pout, which morphs into an inevitable Hulk Rage later on.



Fuck you, Henry.

Lame Henry didn’t get the ride-all-day wristband because he’s too old to have fun at amusement parks now. But he sure does enjoy the ones with free general admission so that he can walk around and complain for nothing. I promise you, we broke up at least 87 times that day.


The main (OK, the only) reason Indiana Beach made my list is their staggering collection of THREE dark rides. Two of them, The Den of Lost Thieves and the most-anticipated House of Frankenstein were basically the last rides to open that day. But oh, were they worth the wait.

The Den of Lost Thieves is a shooting ride, which I generally do not enjoy. Kennywood took out a great dark ride, the Goldrusher, and replaced it with a modern shooter-type dark ride and the only thing remarkable about it is how incredibly boring it is. I would gladly bypass this one every time we visit Kennywood, but Chooch always drags me on it. I hate waiting in line for it too! You wait and wait and wait only to get put in this holding room, like a foyer, where they force you to watch some animated portrait on a wall telling you the story of Ghostwood Estate and then the door opens and it’s a fucking free-for-all. Everyone pushes their way through so even if you were the first one in line before entering that room, chances are you’ll take a fanny pack to the groin and wind up 17 people back.

So when I realized that the Den of Lost Thieves was also a shooting ride, I was like, “Damn, we drive 8 hours for this?” But it turned out to be FANTASTIC! Old, musty and full of old-school scares. I loved the shit out of this ride. Especially since I got more points than Chooch.



Another dark ride in the park doubled as a coaster! It was called the Lost Coaster of Something I Forget Who Knows. There was no one in line when Chooch and I walked past, so I shoved all of my belongings into Henry’s chest and bolted for it.

“Um…it’s gonna take a few minutes,” the older, orange-shirted ride operator said. “It got stuck, and I’m waiting for someone to push it back out.” Oh OK, no big deal, you guys. Rides get stuck like all of the time, right? And probably not back-to-back times, right?

He said something about the cars not being “properly weighted” and I was like, “Oh well if you’re looking for all of the weight, you’ve come to the right thunder thighs.” Four more people joined us right as a mechanic came grunting out of the fake cave, pushing the double mine cars in front of him.

The ride operator seemed confident that we had enough bodies to successfully propel the mine cars from start to finish, so we loaded up with me and Chooch and some lady and little girl in one car, and a guy and kid in the one behind us.

Awkward thing about this ride: four people fit in a car, but the seats face each other, so unless you’re with three of your homies, you get to stare at strangers for the next two minutes and I hate that you guys. Looking at people who are looking at me, it’s just…ew. Not for me.

This ride was pretty thrilling and volatile, just like a relationship with me! All of the ups and downs and whiplash and violent shoves. Will you need a PFA? Maybe! And then…nothing. It just stopped, right in the middle of the dark cave.

“Is it supposed to do this?” I asked the people in the car with us.

“I DON’T THINK SO BUT THE STEEL HAWG GETS STUCK ALL THE TIME,” answered the little girl in an octave only little girls can manage.

****Mental note to be wary of the Steel Hawg. (Which never opened that day anyway, so moot point.)

Anyway, guess what guys? We were stuck! I think this may have been my first time ever getting stuck on a ride, too, so thanks Indiana Beach! That’s a cherry I sure needed popped.

As if it wasn’t hot enough that day, now we were stuck inside some muggy faux-cavern, in a near-enclosed car, with no rescue in sight. I had sweat rolling into my eyes and mouth, I could feel it dripping from the backs of my knees, my whole person was slick with the moist essence of PANIC.

And I had these strangers staring at me and I had nothing to say other than nervous laughter and then the kid in the car behind us started to cry and his dad was mouthing off about how this was such BULLshit and Chooch kept meowing and I was like, “WHY IS NO ONE TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH US OVER AN INTERCOM OR MORSE CODE OR CROP CIRCLE?!” And then finally, after a good FIVE MINUTES OF NOTHING, that same disgruntled mechanic came trudging up the track behind us, shouted an answer to a garbled voice over his walkie talkie, fumbled with some switches in the breaker box next to us, and then said “Enjoy your ride” just as the motor kicked in and we went STRAIGHT DOWN A HILL. Oh that’s right, we were stuck on the zenith of a hill and had no idea because it was so dark in there. So…that was definitely a thrill.


Meanwhile, Henry had been dreaming of buying a taco all day. That’s what he’s thinking about in this picture, as a matter of fact. Indiana Beach has a taco stand that was apparently featured on the Food Network for some reason. I love me a good taco, but I knew that Indiana Beach was for sure not going to have a meatless option. So Chooch and I decided to get pizza and then Henry was going to get his coveted taco afterward.

Except that Chooch only ate one slice of his personal pizza and Henry acted like a motherfucking martyr and ate the rest of it. Like, who cares? Sometimes I think he does this shit on purpose, like he’s some Leftover Scraps Hero. OK, you ate three small slices of crappy pizza, good for you.

Oh, you ate the rest of Chooch’s waffle for breakfast? Well, FUCK Henry. Thanks for taking one for the team. Shit.

I knew all of his moaning and groaning over this would eventually paint a bigger picture, and I was right: Now that he had eaten Chooch’s pizza, he was “too full” to get a taco, and that was ALL THAT HE WANTED, you guys. A fucking taco, but now Chooch and I had ruined his life by having the audacity to get pizza for our own lunches. Last time I checked, no one was forcing pizza down Henry’s enlarged hatch.

I kept coaxing him to get a taco, but he was being such a bitch about it. He was acting offended almost, like he was on a porn diet and I was trying to get him to succumb to peer pressure by showing photos of naked broads going to town on tacos.

So bizarre. Maybe he’s trying to fit back into his SERVICE costume?


Wistful thoughts over the taco stain on his shirt that could have been.


Dreaming of brushing a taco with his moustache bristles to the tune of a Selena song.


He had his chance right here! Going, going….


Gone. This was right after he said, “I DON’T WANT ONE NOW. JUST FORGET IT.” Oh wow, someone’s come down with a case of the Erins.

Imagining a lake where all the sailboats are tacos and he’s a great, venerable taco sailor.


Not buying a taco.


Yeah Henry. Don’t forget. Bitchbaby motherfucker.

(I think Mexico might find it hard to believe that the world’s best tacos are in Indiana.)



Honestly was about to scratch a Will on my leg with a paint chip from this sad, downtrodden Paratrooper—it was such a janky ride! On one hand, I was like, “At least if we’re flung from this shoddy piece of mechanics, we have a 50/50 chance of hitting the lake and surviving” and then on the other hand I was like, “EW I DON’T WANT TO TOUCH THAT GROSS WATER!”

I’ve only ridden on one set of Paratroopers more run down looking than this one, and that was at the Washington County Fair.

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way, Indiana Beach. Just pretend like each umbrella is one of Tammy Faye Bakker’s eyelids. Go wild!


Faces of Paratrooper survivors.


That guy has what we call 1950s Indiana Swag.


I love the Tilt-a-Whirl so much but not on days where elves are spooning viscous scoops of oil from my facial pores to use as liliputian love-stick lubricant. Let me spell it out for it: IT WAS HOT AND HUMID. I can’t ride spinny rides when I’m in the throes of heat stroke. But Chooch rode this three times in a row. God, good for you, Chooch. Why don’t you just write a song about it on your dumb keyboard, ugh.


Obligatory ice cream cone shot. Can I get any more predictable.


Seriously, these guys. I was obsessed. Also note: this was pretty much how crowded it was all day until late afternoon when the water park mysteriously closed down and a horde of Indiana’s finest invaded the park like beached whales.

Pale, so pale, very pale beached whales.


This is not where I got my ice cream.

I haven’t even finished writing about this park yet and I’m already trying to con Henry into taking us to another one. I’M NEVER SATISFIED. Just ask the doves when they cry.


I read some reviews online (because that’s what I do: read amusement park reviews all day long; I don’t have any friends to occupy my time, remember?) that complained about the employees were terrible. This was definitely not the case on my visit, because they clearly know I have a blog and want all of the glowing words written about them. I will say that I didn’t have a single run-in with surly orange-shirts all day. And I even left the park with two favorites: the dude from the Lost Coaster ride and this sweet Russian broad from the Hoosier Hurricane.

The Lost Coaster guy reminded me of the Salute Your Shorts camp counselor, Ug, in that he thought he was way cooler than he was and tried to act tough by yelling things like, “LIKE DON’T SIT ON THE RAILING!” But I guess he was still more intimidating than me because Chooch never listens when I tell him to get off the rail but when Ug hollered it, Chooch hopped off with a quickness.

I accidentally left my phone on the ride and realized it about 3 minutes afterward. When I ran back up the exit ramp to the ride platform, he was checking the next riders’ seat belts and casually holding my pink cell phone and it just made me crack up so bad.

“Hey, that’s my phone,” I said in faux-outrage and he put his hands up.

“I tried to chase you down but you were already gone!” he explained, handing it back over and we both had a good laugh. Why, I’m not sure. But I think I probably was definitely in the beginning stages of heat stroke by then so everything was funny to me except for things that Henry said/did/didn’t do because those things just made me inexplicably ANGRY.

OK, now let’s talk about the Russian. (I mean, after I type out hundreds of words that seem totally unrelated to a Russian broad, of course.)

A few days before we left for our road trip, Chooch acquired some sort of cut/scrape thing on the top of his ankle. Something about he went to kick a soccer ball, missed, tripped over it, bent his foot all the back and scraped it against the sidewalk. Then he proceeded to wear Converse high-tops, which ended up rubbing his scrape raw while forming a blister all at the same time.

So now he had a mutant cut/blister injury in addition to his foot hurting in general from being bent all the way back. He would be fine in the morning, but once he started walking too much, it would aggravate the wound and make his ankle get all red and slightly swollen.

The humidity that day, and also the OINTMENT (I love that people hate that word) that Henry slathered on the wound, made Chooch’s ankle too MOIST (hahaha) for Band-Aids to stay adhered for very long. So when were walking up the metal-grated steps of the Hoosier Hurricane coaster, Chooch forgot how to walk and fell, banging his ankle against the metal edge of the step below him, knocking off the Band-Aid and making him wince in pain.

Henry wasn’t with us, since he wasn’t RIDING anything that day, so I had to try to be a mom and tell Chooch things like, “It’s probably going to be fine” and “You’ll probably still have a foot after all of this is over” and “PLEASE START WALKING, I REALLY WANT TO GO ON THIS ROLLER COASTER.” As soon as we made it into the station, a super sweet Russian girl took down the chain for us and said to Chooch, “Oh no! What is happened to you?” But Chooch was still blinking back tears so I had to do my best to make it look like I hadn’t abused my child.

“There is first aid down there,” she said, pointing over her shoulder. She was really concerned about Chooch’s ankle, which was really endearing. But then we got stuck standing awkwardly next to her while we waited for the coaster to come back, so she made broken-English small talk about the weather.

“It is hot,” she said in a staccato.

“Yeah,” I agreed, struggling for words. And then after a stretch of about 30 million acres of silence, I thought of something else to say. “That, uh, humidity makes it worse.”

“Oh yah! The humidity is worst!” she agreed, and I thanked the arrival of the coaster for interrupting our cliche weather discourse.

She made sure Chooch and I were safely buckled into our seats and then said, “Enjoy ride!” and I secretly hoped it was meant just for us and not any of the other sweaty bastards behind us.


After we got off the ride, Chooch ran ahead of Henry and me because he knows everything, including the way to the first aid trailer. Eight-year-olds don’t need parents, you guys. By the time we caught up and walked into the first aid trailer, Chooch and the park medic were just sitting there silently, Chooch on the edge of the bed and the medic at his desk.

“He just came in and sat down,” the medic explained. “Said he was waiting for some people.”


And then Chooch relayed the entire, sordid saga of the Origin of the Wound.

He loves to talk about it. Last night, as soon as we got to his piano lesson, he sighed and mumbled something about his foot hurting. (Side note: that fucker is pretty much healed by now, so I guess he’s experiencing fantasy pains similar to Henry’s imaginary war wounds that don’t exist because Henry was never in an actual war when he was in the SERVICE.) “Oh no, what did you do to it?” his piano teacher Cheryl asked.

“Ugh, why does everyone ask me about it?” Chooch cried and I was like, “OH OK, MY LEFT FOOT, MAYBE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T STOP BRINGING IT UP.”


Here’s Henry re-doing Chooch’s Band-Aid 3 minutes later.


There was another Russian girl working the Cornball Express, another roller coaster, but she wasn’t as nice. I mean, she wasn’t a dick head or anything, but she didn’t go out of her way to smother us with attention like Hoosier Hurricane did. The other Cornball Express girl routinely helped me unbuckle my seatbelt all 137 times we rode that coaster (honestly, there were no lines to wait in). Chooch, who had quickly mastered the secret of the Houdini-approved seatbelts, kept crying out, “Oh for Christ’s sake, mommy!” Before eventually just not waiting for me anymore.

I seriously have never struggled so hard with a seatbelt in my life. It was almost embarrassing. Ok it was embarrassing.


After hours of stalking Frankenstein’s Castle, those fucking garage doors were finally a’lift and we had the confusing task of trying to add dolla dolla bills to the Indiana Beach cash card thing. I forget to mention that this is one of those amusement parks where, if you don’t want to plan on riding much, you can load money onto credit cards and then scan it before you get on the rides. Even the ride-all-day wristbands have barcodes on them and everyone is required to stick their wrist under a scanner at the front of all of the lines. Waldameer Park in Erie does this, too. It’s annoying, but whatever.

Anyway, Frank’s Place wasn’t included in the ride-all-day admission price. Some dark rides are like that and while I’m not exactly sure of the reason (Chris? Can you help here?), I have a few theories, mostly that it’s a restoration thing. It was an additional $3.50 per person and BE STILL MY HEART, Henry actually paid for THREE. At first, I thought maybe there was some sad albino kid in line behind us, tugging on Henry’s bland heart strings and making him do charitable thangs. (I didn’t want to end on a rhyme. You understand.)

But no, he was paying for himself! Henry was finally going to not sit on a bench with his nose pressed against his phone, looking at Pinterest! (Honestly, Chooch and I made fun of him from every line in which we stood. Because why not.)

As soon as the ticket booth broad granted us admission, our nostrils were slammed with the unmistakable vintage bouquet of moth balls and Aunt Edith’s cedar closet of muumuus. It’s a smell that I love because it means old school amusement park. Fuck those flashy sterile, steel concrete jungles known as Six Flags.

I want that fancy dark ride musk.

If they bottled it as perfume/cologne, that’d be a surefire way to get me into your backseat.

(Oh come on, don’t pretend like you thought I was classy.)


“I just paid $3.50 to walk through a fake castle with two screaming d-bags. I bet that taco would have also cost $3.50 and have been way less annoying.” – Henry, if he ever thought about anything.

After sitting on a bench and listening to a crackling recording about what scares we were about to encounter, a disinterested young Indiana Beach employee opened a door and ushered us in for the “OMG crashing elevator” segment. At first I thought this was going to be totally lame, and that part was, but then she opened another door and set us free, on our own, to shuffle through the guts of a mostly pitch-black haunted house.

Here is Henry’s review:

It was fun. I got pushed through by two scared little people. That’s about it.

Wow. Titillating as always.


There were no scare actors, just the effective non-use of light bulbs, enclosed animatronic displays that managed to pop on when I was always the most unsuspecting, moving floors and enough enclosed spaces to make a claustrophobe fake their way through the rosary.

THIS IS A CLASSIC DARK ATTRACTION. One that keeps it real and doesn’t rely on modern, high-tech scare tactics. Let me put it this way: there are chicken doors located throughout the length of the castle and if Henry hadn’t gone in with us, I guarantee the first one would have a chunk taken out of it in the exact outline of my body.

This is the type of haunt you want to walk through with the person you’re obsessively crushing on or maybe the hipster you just met IRL on Tinder and want to terrorize in the dark with rusty hedge clippers while wearing your mom’s skin on your face. Butterflies!

I’d go back to Indiana Beach every summer just for another 10 minutes inside Frankenstein.


Feb 282020

I bought tickets to the 15 year anniversary tour of Armor For Sleep’s “What To Do When You Are Dead” album and now I have a little over 4 months to prepare my heart for the inevitable suffering it’s going to endure that night. Goddamn this album was my audio Bible for some Big Times in life.

In other news, a bunch of people at work have the flu, and one of them had been handling food for a Fat Tuesday party at work but thankfully I was off that day and never ate any of the leftovers the next day but great – now I have a new sub-phobia to add to my growing list of food fears. I might take the day off every time there is an office party now. TERRIFIC.

I am fixated on taking my temperature now, it’s like my new nervous tick. I took it five times in a row last night and Henry was like PLZ STOP OMG.

Today I texted him, freaking out because my temperate was 99.4.


I only took my temperature twice at work though because it makes beeping sounds and it is SO QUIET in our quadrant and I didn’t want people to be like WHY ARE YOU CONSTANTLY TAKING YR TEMPERATURE and then an Erin has corona rumor will start probably, so then I was going to take it to the bathroom but I didn’t want to just traipse around with my fancy forehead temperature reader. I considered shoving it in the waistband of my pants but would that be worse? probably. So instead I googled “how to be normal” and “tutorial for staying calm and carrying on” until I got distracted by an AllKpop news alert.

I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic but I feel like I have the flu-chills now so THAT IS GREAT. I already told Jiyong I can’t meet tomorrow because I might have the flu by then, who knows? I guess I’ll know.

Current temperature: 98.6.

Feb 272020

I don’t even know if that title makes sense because I don’t really understand ARMY terms.

Remember a few weeks ago when we were chilling at my dining room table, sippin’ lukewarm tea from chipped cups, and I told you that our neighbor HNC hates his newish neighbor? He’s this single guy who moved in after that fucking loud ass-crack baring dumptruck-driving slob-boy and his mom moved out last year. At first, he seemed normal. Ex-bartender, probably in his late 30s, doesn’t seem trashy but he does seem to hover dangerously on that Ed Hardy line, so who can be sure.

He moved into the other side of HNC’s house, so we don’t have to share a wall with him and have to deal with him as intimately as the HNC clan, but as I have explained in the past, we have a shared driveway which separates both houses. All four units have their own garages, but they are your typical narrow city caves that you can potentially park your car in, but who wants to chance nicking up  their paint job, you know?

But this guy doesn’t care, so he actually uses his garage. I have an issue with this only because he comes home after midnight every night, stereo BLASTING, and leaves his car idling in the driveway, which is right beneath my bedroom window, while he fucks with opening the garage door. So I am propelled out of sleep by his car’s bass. If there is one thing to know about me, it is THAT I FUCKING HATE THE SOUND OF BASS. Unless I’m at a concert or it’s coming from my own car, I absolutely cannot stand the sound of someone else’s bass seeping through my walls.

HNC has an an issue with the garage-usage because his kitchen is right above new guy’s garage, and new guy often leaves the garage door open while he’s out and since it’s winter, the cold air turns the cement walls of the garage into a veritable freezer, which affects HNC’s kitchen above.

So HNC will close the dude’s garage door when he leaves it open, which makes new guy get super passive aggressively belligerent. He wrote IN BALLPOINT PEN on the garage door “No trespassing” but spelled it “truespassing” so maybe HNC should counter with a dictionary page taped next to it.

In addition to my bass beef, I also had negative feelings toward the new guy because I had attempted numerous times to say hello to him and he ignored me each time and I HATE BEING IGNORED and also I am the Pioneer Ave OG Neighbor so better respect, bitch. But then my beef turned raw and murderous two weeks ago. It was FEBRUARY 12TH, NEVER FORGET. I had just come home from work, stepped inside my house long enough to grab the books I needed to return to the library, and then left again. As I was starting to walk along the sidewalk that crosses over our driveway, new guy came BARRELING up the driveway from his garage and NEVER EVEN STOPPED WHEN HE GOT TO THE TOP. He was going to just shoot right out onto the road, I guess, and then saw me at the last minute, but only after I had jumped back. Now that he was blocking the entire sidewalk with his car, I had to walk BEHIND HIM, through the driveway, to get to the other side of the sidewalk. I screamed, “YOU ASSHOLE!” at him, and I think he had turned around to say something shitty back to me, even though I couldn’t gear because all of his windows were up, and then in a flustered huff, he floored it and pulled out into oncoming traffic because he was too stupid to look, so a car blew their horn at him and he had to slam on his breaks and I just laughed and skipped away happily up the sidewalk, library books in my arm.

Apparently, HNC witnessed this but didn’t know it was me, because he was telling Henry about how the neighbor almost hit someone and Henry was like, “Was it Erin?” so he said maybe, unless new guy makes a habit of almost hitting pedestrians when he flies up and out of the driveway, and this could be possible!

Monday morning, I was walking to the trolley and HNC texted me! He said he was going to call the landlord that day and wanted to get an accurate account of what happened to me before he made the call. I was so excited! It was like giving a statement to the police, except I don’t hate HNC and I hate the police, so I was polite and didn’t use a shitty teenaged tone with him like I would have if it was A COPPER.

HNC asked me if I noticed if the garage door was open that morning, but I sadly did not, and the only thing I could offer was that when I was working from home last Thursday, new neighbor, who used to have a SLUT LIFE sticker on his car so let’s just call him SLUT LIFE from now on, came home in the afternoon blasting, and I mean blasting, Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” a song which I only know because ex-bff was obsessed with it when it came out because she likes shit music.

I felt really smug and satisfied that I got to be a big fat tattletale because we all know that is how I truly identify: BIG FAT PETTY WHISTLEBLOWER. Helping HNC made me feel like I was  part of a real gang, you know? Like I finally belong somewhere, my window-peering skills are being utilized after all these years.

However, after I hung up, I thought about HNC calling the landlord. That asshole didn’t do shit the whole time we had a heroin-ring kingpin living next door, or Boots who was over there Hulk-smashing the property and raping people. (Allegedly. But I really believe he was.) And the landlord was all, “Well, they’re paying rent, so. Call the police.”

And that’s what he told HNC about Slut Life, until HNC countered with, “HE WRECKED INTO THE GARAGE DOOR, FYI” and I guess that got the landlord’s attention because it’s a new garage door and he only cares about superficial shit like that.

I happened to have the day off on Tuesday when I heard a truck door slam and someone talking in  the driveway. I immediately locked the deadbolt (lol) and ran upstairs because I always have that underlying fear that someone has come to take me away. But when I got upstairs and spied out of Chooch’s bedroom window, I noted that it was some lady from a GARAGE DOOR COMPANY. She was assessing the damage (to me, it just looks like a little dent, but what do I know about garage doors) to someone on the phone, and I was frantically texting Henry pictures and as many of the fragments of conversation I could pick up over the steady traffic outside.

Henry was just like, “OK cool” because he has literally no investment in this drama at all.

THEN HNC CALLED HENRY AND RELAYED THE SAME INFORMATION BECAUSE AT THE SAME TIME I WAS SPYING FROM CHOOCH’S WINDOW, HE WAS SPYING FROM HIS BASEMENT DOOR!!! And then we both reported back to Henry, like he’s some Yinzer Charlie and we’re his bumbling amateur spy Angels. EXCEPT THAT HENRY NEVER ASKED TO BE IN THIS POSITION! But he has somehow found himself caught up in the middle, listening to reports from both me and HNC, and what he chooses to do with his information is beyond me but probably involves pouring it straight into the commode from the other side of his head, and flushing.

WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. WILL SLUT LIFE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE NEW GARAGE DOOR (the quote was $600!) OR WILL HE SAY HNC SABOTAGED HIM? Oooh, winter is really heating up here on Pioneer!

Feb 252020

I don’t have too much to say about this past weekend. It was a….weekend. Not terribly exciting, but definitely not terribly…terrible either. Henry pissed me off Saturday morning on our walk to the post office though because I started to recount all of the things I have been asking him to do around the house and how he has done none of these things and then I got mad because DO NOT TURN ME INTO A NAG, MOTHERFUCKER. And then there were these two old ladies walking in front of us and I couldn’t get around them so I was stuck walking in between them and Henry and it was really awkward and I was trying to contain my psycho-level anger.

Once I finally managed to blow past those old ladies, I had just stepped onto Brookline Boulevard right before some older man who stopped to pick up a dollar on the sidewalk outside of the Teen Center and in my head I was screaming THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MY DOLLAR IF THOSE FUCKING LADIES HADN’T HELD ME BACK, FUCCCCKKKKK.

Henry is lucky that the library is just on the next block from the post office, so I went there while he was in the post office and perusing the stacks really brought down my heart rate. They didn’t have any of the books I had requested yet but I ended up grabbing one that my favorite BookTuber talks about a lot even though it’s a YA Fantasy/Supernatural, leave me alone, OK.

When I left the library, Henry was coming out of the bakery and handed me a cookie. Usually, he gets two peanut butter and two chocolate cookies. “I only had a dollar on me, so I could only get two cookies,” he said, after I was like WHERE IS MY SECOND COOKIE.


God, that sounded like we live like peasants.

Then I ate lunch while watching YouTube videos about books. “She organizes her book shelf by color? I hate her,” Henry spat all judgmentally but to his credit, she really was pretty annoying. Alphabetization or GTFO, am I right?

Later, Henry dropped me off at Panera for my weekly meet-up with Jiyong, and then he went to the Asian market to get ingredients for banchan. My Korean lesson was fine, but Panera was extremely crowded for some reason and only one cashier was working so we had to stand in line forever, and then I had to stand and wait in another line for my chai latte, and some Spicolli-type kid was like, “I like your shirt.”

“Thanks!” I said too-eagerly because a younger guy was paying attention to me, hooray.

“Yeah,” he said in a surfer-y tone.

My “shirt” was a pink sweater with sheep on it, one of which is black, so I was able to use it as an example of an English idiom later in the afternoon because yes, I actually teach Jiyong English crap sometimes too!

But before that could happen, I had to continue waiting for my chai. Why they couldn’t give me a buzzer thing for that, I have no idea, but I ended up standing there for at least 8 minutes, most of which were devoted to feigning interest in this strange old lady’s rant about how Door Dash ruins everything, and how she owns a pizza shop in Plum and blatantly refused to sign up for Door Dash but then she started getting Door Dash orders and was like WTF and she called them and said, “REMOVE MY PIZZA SHOP FROM THIS SERVICE I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS” and they told her that someone clearly did and she was like, “WTF” and then she started getting complaints because Door Dash was delivering way farther than her normal jurisdiction so customers were getting cold pizza, or the cheese was sliding because these Door Dash drivers weren’t her actual drivers and now she’s getting bad reviews and it IS DOOR DASH’S FAULT.

“Wow, I never thought about that,” I mumbled, literally not giving a single shit about this and then my chai latte was finally put on the counter so I just walked right out of the conversation while she was still talking, I am not very people-y but somehow, strangers always want to talk me up and I just don’t know what else to do since my resting bitch face and standoffish vibes are clearly not strong enough, so I guess my next step is to stand in a corner flicking a switchblade.

By the time I found Jiyong in the bowels of the Panera dining area, my face was flushed and I was sweating. Then I pulled out my textbooks and a lipstick fell out with them and rolled across the floor so I had to chase it, and then when I picked up my pencil, my grip was too lax and I flung it over my shoulder, so that was how my lesson started, aren’t you sad you’re not teaching me things too?

There was this one word in our lesson that I was tying my tongues in knots trying to pronounce, and of course it means “I forgot” which is a really important word that I should know since I’m always forgetting my vocabulary, and Jiyong kept making me repeat one of the sounds over and over and FOR SURE people were spectating this and I was like “IGNORE THEM IGNORE THEM IGNORE” but then I worried that I sounded like I needed medical attention, but luckily, no one rushed over to see if I needed CPR or whatever.

Later that night though, for the hell of it, I opened up my Naver app (basically the Korean google), tapped the microphone icon, took a deep breath and spoke into it.


I excitedly sent it to Jiyong and she was excited for me and I hope she patted herself on the back because she is really making me work for this!

Then Chef Henri made vegan Korean chicken for dinner and we feasted like wangs (that’s “king” in Korean!).

Sunday was a real laid-back, no plans, let’s buy Erin new clothes, kind of day. Sometimes you need a day like that, you know? It was super-relaxing and I snagged a mound of clothes from the clearance racks at H&M, which is the only store I ever have success when it comes to sale items. I know so many people who find the cutest things for cheap at TJ Max and Marshalls, but HOW?! I walk in, get super angry, and walk right back out. I need to know the secret. Should I self-medicate beforehand?! Is that the trick??

Well, H&M will just have to be my go-to for cheap clothes until I find the will to look up “how to shop at TJ Max” on YouTube. Because you fucking know there are videos for that shit.

Let’s see, Chooch and I fought on Sunday about mechanical pencils because I told him that I learned the word for it in Korean (phonetically, it’s “sharp” pencil but the Korean pronunciation is “sha-pu” – Jiyong told me they call it that because literally the lead is sharp and my mind was blown). Then I started complaining about how I have to use Chooch’s mechanical pencils for my Korean lessons and they are so crappy and cheap so he was like THEN DON’T USE MY PENCILS!!! And I said that’s fine, because Henry is going to buy me a good mechanical pencil, and um, this really set Chooch off for some reason, lol.

“WTF SHE gets a GOOD one now!? I asked you to get ME good ones and you said no!” Chooch cried.

“Yeah, because you always give your pencils away to your dumb friends!” Henry yelled back, defensively, so then they started fighting over that and I sat back an waited to get tagged back in.

Ah, the Murder House.

Speaking of Murder Houses, the hotel Henry booked for the first night of our trip is super creepy, on a German hillside in the middle of nowhere, basking in its Bavarian-ness. I’m super stoked about it. Surely someone has been murdered there.


Feb 232020

We have a little more than a month before we leave for our mini-theme park Euro-trip so I’ve been spending most of my free time scouring the Internet and YouTube to ensure our itinerary is as padded and stacked as possible because I am super high-strung when it comes to DOING THE MOST AHHHHHH WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Now, I have previously been to several places we will be hitting on this trip, but I was a kid and sadly, unless I pull out the old travel journals, I have very spotty memories of these times which is pathetic because some of these cities I have been to more than once.

For instance, my only memories of Amsterdam:

  • Getting stuck in the elevator of the Pullman? Astoria? hotel we were staying at;
  • My Pappap finding a piece of glass in his dessert at the same hotel’s restaurant (I have a vivid memory of the dessert being a peeled pear, like straight of a can, sitting on top of a chocolate sauce pool);
  • Another time being in Amsterdam as a surly teenager and having a huge fight with my aunt Sharon and writing horrible things about her in my vacation journal, and then going on a tour of a diamond factory and her buying me a diamond ring for my birthday and being all, “Dear diary, I take back everything I said about Sharon; I was just tired and hungry. Oh yeah, and she bought me this cool ring!” And I definitely probably didn’t use a semi-colon though because I’m sure I didn’t know how to use those yet, but I mean, do I really know how to use them now.

And Cologne:

  • Milling about in a courtyard and walking along some slanted brick thing, the kind of things that usually have a tree or flowers in the middle, and I lost my balance and fell, sending my camera skidding across the courtyard, batteries popping out and rolling all over the place, and I skinned my knee too probably, that sounds about right;
  • Another time we were in Cologne and I was like, “OH HAY GUYS REMEMBER??” And then I began to do a mocking reenactment of The Fall and then accidentally fell again and injured myself;
  • I think it was also that last time, I spotted these two people who looked like the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock. The lady was straddling the man on a bench and they were slowly rocking back and forth and I was like look at those people, they look like Fraggle Rock and Sharon was all OMG THEY ARE HAVING SEX and then slapped her hand across my eyes and lead me away.

Brussels was the only city in Belgium that I’ve been to and we’ve opted for Bruges instead on this trip, but either way, my only memory of Brussels is seeing the statue of the peeing boy and fighting with Sharon.

We were honestly the WORST travel partners. I mean, it was ok when my grandparents used to travel with us because I could at least seek refuge and reprieve from Sharon in their room.

Anyway, now it’s hours later and this post inspired me to dig through the treasure trove of photos I took from my Pappap’s house when we were cleaning it out in 2016 and I actually found a photo that Sharon took of me in 1995 standing in front of that dumb thing I fell down when I was 10 and you can tell by my scowl that I loved having my picture taken. And right after this was when i was like HAHA I WAS SO STUPID LOOK AT ME I’M ERIN FROM 1989 NOT KNOWING HOW TO WALK and then I accidentally fell down.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

I also found a picture of this guy I was in love with from one of those trips and I have been wanting to write a travel memories post about him for quite some time now so maybe that will inspire me to do so someday when I feel less lazy.I really got away from my point here which is I really appreciate that I had the opportunity to do so much traveling as a kid and thank God I kept travel journals else I would barely remember anything. For instance, we are going to Frankfurt and I have to actually flip through those ancient tomes* at some point because I am not sure if I have been there before?!?! That’s…pathetic.

*(The best edition is the one where I was going through a phase when I spelled ‘really’ as ‘rilly’ and replaced any ‘s’ at the end of a word with a ‘z’ just BCUZ KAY GUYZ? And every paragraph was in a different color ink. Would you believe me if I told you I’m actually less obnoxious now?)

I tried to get Chooch to start vacation journaling when we took him to Disney in 2016 but he is super not into that at all so I guess at least he has my blog to fall back on. For instance, when we were hate-watching these dumb Australian travel vloggers who were in Savannah. They went to Leopold’s for ice cream and I shouted, “WE WENT TO LEOPOLD’S WHEN WE WERE THERE TOO!” and Chooch was like, “I wonder what flavor I got” and I said “Probably something dumb, here, I’ll check my blog.”

“Yep, as suspected: Probably Something Dumb,” I happily reported back.

I think I veered off track somewhere up there but the whole point of this post is that this is my first time traveling to this region of Europe as an adult and without the shackles of an organized bus tour so we will be in full control of the things we do and I want to make sure we do the right/best/most funnest things and eat all the good foods because unless stroopwafels weren’t a thing yet in the 90s which I find hard to believe, our stupid tour guide never made sure they found a way into our mouths, not a single time I was in Amsterdam, how can that be so!? That is just an example of the things on my Erin Returns: The Redemption Trip.

That’s just a name I thought up on the spot. It’s subject to change, a work in progress. We’ll see where it goes.

That’s all for today. I’m revisiting Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program and today I started Workout 5 and still feel slightly nauseous from that so I think I might go and dry heave into a waste basket and then put myself to bed early WHO CAN BE SURE.

(Do I have a waste basket though? Is it just a garbage can?)

Feb 222020

…I got distracted and didn’t finish writing it, so now it’s Saturday and you can have four things instead of five because what good are rules if you don’t ever break them? Fuck off, Friday Fives! We’re here for Saturday…Fours now.

    1. It Always Comes Back to Days Of Our Lives

Yo, I was watching SuperM on some YouTube video from when they were doing their US promotions and they were each asked to name a song that’s the playlist of their lives, or whatever, and I had to do a doubletake when Baekhyun chose PEABO BRYSON?!!?

How fucking random. I feel like a ton of Americans wouldn’t even know Peabo Bryson, but I know him because he sang STEVE AND KAYLA’S SONG FROM DAYS OF OUR LIVES:

Also, when it was Taemin’s turn, he picked one of his own songs, haha, I love him so much.

[ETA: Ok when I first was writing this I could have sworn that it was Hope & Bo’s song but LE DUH that was a DIFFERENT Peabo jam, “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” god I’m so dumb.]

2. Math Mystery Night

For the last several years, Chooch has been attending the Gifted Center once a week during school. Every year, they have this thing called Math Mystery Night and he always either forgets to tell us, or tells us 10 minutes after it started, or actually gives us the flyer in advance which gives us plenty of time to make excuses for not being able to go. Ew, math on a weeknight? No thanks.

But this time, I saw the flyer in his backpack and as soon as I noticed that it was on a Thursday night, I stuck it up on the fridge and told Henry to go.

“I don’t want to,” he whined.

“Well, I can’t go because that’s my late shift. So, you can go. It’s his last year there!”

Thank god for late shift, haha.

So, that’s what Henry ended up doing Thursday night while I stayed at home and worked. He said Chooch was the only 8th grader that showed up and all the other kids were like, elementary-age. But, Chooch was happy to solve dumb math problems and collect prizes, and apparently Henry even managed to solve one.

It was probably some basic word problem like, “Susie has 8 soft pretzels. She eats 7 of them while watching an episode of NCIS while sitting in her car in the Shop n’ Save parking lot. How much salt is on the car seat now?”

Anyway, later in the evening, Henry said they were in one of the classrooms when some bitch-mom was whining to the teacher about how her son didn’t get into SciTech and Chooch piped up, “I got into SciTech.”

WOW, SON. Maybe we should enroll in SciTACT, you know what I’m saying?

(When I told Todd and Glenn this at work the next day, Todd said he didn’t know what I meant, so I explained it and he was like, “Sike, I knew what you meant, I just wanted you to have to explain the joke.” COOL.)

Henry said that he actually wasn’t mad at Chooch for his ruthless outburst because the mom in question was a bitch.

“She reminded me of [name redacted for my own protection]’s mom, only—”

“—alive?” I offered, because that mom kicked it last year.

“Wow. No. I was going to say ‘mouthier,’ but OK,” Henry said, shaking his head at me.

3. Beetle Ring Story Time

Sometimes when I’m rummaging through my jewelry boxes, I stumbled upon shit I forgot I had, like this here (wow I typed “hear” at first please send me back to 2nd grade) steampunk-esque ring that my ex-bff bought for me years ago on Etsy because I said I wanted it and back then, all I had to do was say that I wanted something and it was mine because she was like, some pimp salesperson at a window company at the time and always bragged about how much money she made so I was like, “OK cool then buy me shit” and she would because I’m the best, have you not figured that out yet?

Anyway, the very same day, the ring arrived in my mailbox and I was like HOW THO. Turns out, the maker actually lives in my neighborhood so when she saw my address, she packaged it right up and just walked it over to my house. We struck up a casual friendship through Etsy because of this and ended up meeting – she had moved her from San Francisco after spending years being the number fan of this local college-rock legend Weird Paul and then he was like “Be my girlfriend” I guess and so that’s what she did. I went to their house one time for tea and snacks, and she pretended to use a banana as a telephone and then we watched some documentary about a photographer I think, and then another time she and Weird Paul came to my house for game night and brought a bag of pretzels (“If Weird Paul brings a bag of pretzels to Erin’s game night and Henry eats the whole bag, how high is Henry’s blood pressure?”) and a vintage board game called Uncle Wiggily.

I have to laugh because Weird Paul’s Pittsburgh popularity has had a bit of resurgence lately and smugly think to myself, “He came to one of my game nights, so…”

MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER GAME NIGHT SOON?! The last couple were kind of…eh.

4. A Psycho Surprise

I have this little gold picture frame on my desk at work that contains a vintage photo of a dead man in a coffin  that I used years ago for one of my Halloween displays but then ended up keeping it as perma-desk decor because, hey, that’s just who I am, a person who enjoys looking at real life photos of finely-dressed corpses throughout the work day. Sometimes, when I’m struggling through a particularly sticky conversation with a lawyer, I stare at that picture and remember that someday, I won’t have to talk to people on the phone anymore because I too will be a corpse.


Well, one day recently, I noticed that the picture was all askew, and I would accuse the cleaning people of bumping it but we all know that they never dust our fucking desks so who knows who the culprit was; in any case, I opened the back of it so I could adjust the picture, and this photo came fluttering out:

THAT’S A FUCKING PICTURE OF MY EX-BOYFRIEND PSYCHO MIKE FROM WHEN HE WAS A CHILD! I can’t remember why he gave this to me when we were dating, BUT HE DID, and then eventually I covered it with a picture of my boss from Olan Mills and I guess the dead guy has been in there for 6 years now, which evidently is long enough to make me forget that Child (but still psycho, no doubt) Mike was in there, lying in wait.

It was real jolting and I had to stifle a scream, since this happened in the middle of the work day and you’ve probably never been to my office but it is usually so quiet there that you would think you were in a morgue, so my Dead Guy probably feels quite at home. Then I started laughing because the fact that I was more scared of a picture of my psycho ex-boyfriend than one of a dead guy in a coffin is extremely telling of our sordid relationship.


Well, hell. That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime.

Feb 202020

Tonight, I marked “The Haunting of Hill House” as “read” on Goodreads and realized that I’m 22/30 into my reading challenge. What the hell. I think my brain was craving a return to reading more than I realized!

This month has been GREAT bookwise so far, although it started off kind of weak with a series of mediocre-to-bad recommendations. I’ll have a wrap-up of all I read at the end of the month, and I’m already dorking out at the thought of that blog post. My life is, um, super rich.

Chooch told me last week that our local library had a stack of paper-covered “surprise” books and at first I was like OK Way to rip off the Kdrama “Romance is a Bonus Book” because they do that as a marketing gimmick in one episode and I’m sure it’s not the first time that was done but I am super protective of my dramas because I’m a DRAMAMAMA.

Great, now I want to watch that show all over again. And also possibly get a temp job making copies at a small book publishing company and then amaze them with all my LOFTY IDEAS THAT I AM ABLE TO FLAWLESSLY EXECUTE AGAINST ALL ODDS BECAUSE I HAVE A SECRET MARKETING DEGREE AND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE THAT I PURPOSELY OMITTED FROM MY CV and then they’ll be all, “Why have you been over there refilling the coffee bar when you’re clearly a book genius, here have a promotion.” 

(I don’t get a sleep anymore. I can’t be held responsible for the cringe I generate on this website.)

(Yes, “a sleep.” I’m leaving it like that to ILLUSTRATE MY POINT ABOUT HOW I DON’T GET ANY.)

Wait, where were we? Oh! The mystery books at the library!

Chooch had to draw me a map of where these books were located, because he didn’t wish to accompany his dorky and extremely dependent MOMMY to the library. His map actually quite sucked, but I figured it out once I got there. It was right before Valentine’s Day, and they were calling it Blind Date with a Book, which I thought was so adorable and also kind of gross, but whatever. I wasn’t planning on picking one out, because I was really there to pick up another book I had requested, and I also had some others lined up at home, but like a Big Dumb, I chose one. 

Anyway, I already knew it what it was before I got it home, since I had to scan it to check it out: “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena. It seems like it will be an OK read! Just a thriller, probably nothing I would have reached for if the cover was available for some good ol’ judgin’. 

I have that one plus three others sitting here looking at me, and hopefully I’ll get them all read before the 2/29 so I can include them on my February Round-Up!

My favorite thing about this challenge is that my screen-time is waaaay down. Like, people online probably think I died. I think it’s been a week since I even posted on Instagram*, and I barely even look at my feed on there lately, which is insane because Instagram was the really my one big social media vice. I don’t want to quit that altogether, but it’s nice distancing myself and not being chained to my phone like usual! Although, I really just replaced with it obsessive scrolling through the Goodreads app, so…

*(And then I posted a picture of my cat 30 minutes later lol.)

I’m so neck-deep in this reading game that I’ve resorted to watching “books to read on flights” videos on YouTube. Henry, with glazed eyes, murmured, “omg” the other night when he realized what I was doing. Look, I want to be better prepared for our flight to Germany, unlike when I went to the library last summer and blindly checked out two books (using Chooch’s library card because I didn’t have my own yet, and so I had to pay his stupid fine while I was there too, thanks asshole) in preparation for Korea and the one was a big fat hate-read and the other one had me snoozing before the first chapter was over. I cannot let that happen again. 

So that’s where I’m at in life: watching people talk about books on YouTube.  

Feb 192020

I feel like it’s been a hot one since I dropped some Kpop vids up in this rotting word-dump, so here are some of my current faves, because that sweet, sugary kpop is still fueling my lame-ass motherwhompin’ life.

FIRST, I want to show you guys (lol, every time I type those words, I’m 5-years-old again and talking to the stuffed animals lined up on my bed. I guess this is just the digital version of that) THE BEST ONE, which is SuperM performing “Dangerous Woman” on Jimmy Kimmel last week! I watched it 4x before I went to work that morning and cried happy tears each time, is it weird that it made me feel so proud of them?! Taemin, ugh. I’m really glad they chose this song because it’s nice to see them being relaxed and singing joyfully without focusing on choreo. When we saw them sing this live last November, I was like WHAT IS THIS SONG I LOVE IT!??! because it’s not on their album, and they debuted it during their tour last fall. UGH I LOVE THIS SONG!

Next up, let’s enjoy together the new IKON! It’s bittersweet though, because last year, they lost their member B.I. over something FUCKING STUPID and their dumb agency (YG, ugh!!!) didn’t do shit to fix the situation, and B.I. was one of the main songwriters of the group, so…this new album has his fingerprints all over it. I hate that he’s not with them anymore. Still, IKON never disappoints and I will support them always.

This one is Henry’s pick. He’s a HUGE Super Junior fan boy. Like, HUGE. Maybe even YYYYYUGE. I asked him one day, “If Super Junior did a US tour, would you go—”

“Yes,” he said, full of confidence, the rest of the sentence still dangling off my lips.

I just asked him who his favorite member is, and he thoughtfully said, “I don’t know” and like, not in that shitty I DON’T KNOW, STOP BOTHERING ME tone that he usually uses when I ask him to pick favorites, like who does he like better, Chooch or Blake? Me or Chooch? Red Pop or Moon Mist?

OK back to me and my favorites now. Pentagon just had a comeback last week and I have to say, similar to IKON, I applaud their resilience and determination to power on in the wake of scandal. I’ve touched on this numerous times in the past, but during the summer of 2018, they were riding high on the success of their single “Shine,” and two of the members, Dawn and Hui, had also just made a comeback with the side project they were in with Hyuna, one of Korea’s more controversial female solo artists, when Dawn and Hyuna admitted that they had been dating for the last two years.

I know, big deal right? Artists date all the time. Taylor Swift always has boyfriends. Whoopdie-doo. Yeah, but Korea has a PRETTY DIFFERENT mindset when it comes to their idols dating. So, fans got pissed, netizens were disgusted and betrayed, and their agency was all, “OK, Hyuna and Dawn, GTFO.” Yeah. They got kicked out of Cube Entertainment. Hyuna literally MADE that agency. She fucking carried them on her back, and her back alone. Dawn was a pivotal member of Pentagon. But OK, Cube. Cook on.

We can imagine how much it sucked for them, but then also you have to consider the remaining members of Pentagon. They had been CRUISIN’, their popularity was at an all-time high, they were slaying the music shows. And then they had the rug pulled out from under them. It was devastating. But, Hyuna and Dawn got signed by Psy (come on, you know “Gangnam Style”), who has his own agency now, and they’re still together, and they’re still making fucking great music. So, I guess, don’t cry for them, Argenteenagers.

And, Pentagon has continued to bounce back, with comeback after comeback, and while their momentum hasn’t really seemed to pick back up to what it was that summer, I have yet to be disappointed with anything that they do. Here is their latest!

And, for old time’s sake, here’s a live performance of “Shine,” as well, because that song MAKES MY HEART SING and it is a true mood improver (Dawn is the one who starts the song, FYI):

And I’ll end with this new-ish Stray Kids that is also uplifting, because it’s winter so let’s listen to this shit and put on a pep rally for our mental health. RAH RAH, MOTHERFUCKERS.

OK I LIED ONE MORE. I was just telling Henry that I dare someone who thinks that kpop is dumb to watch this video and then tell me that they didn’t like it and he was like, “Oh ther will always be someone—” and I was like, “I AM BEING RHETORICAL HENRY BUT OK COOK ON” jesus christ! But seriously, if you watch this whole thing and don’t smile or like, I dunno, tap your pencil against your desk or start a conga line with your goldfish, then you’re fucking dead inside. And maybe that’s how you like your insides. If so, that’s OK. We can still be friends, but I’ll probably side-eye you every now and then.

Feb 172020

Well, here I am, on a Monday, being all wistful and internally whiny that the weekend is over. For me, it’s not even the fact that I have to go back to work, because my job is not bad; it’s not even waking up early and getting ready for work that sours my mood. It’s literally the whole trolley-aspect of it all. Will it be crowded? Will it come late? Will it get stuck somewhere and we’ll just sit and rot because the driver won’t have the decency to get on his dumb little speaker-thing and let those of us in the second car know what the fuck is going on? Will Aggressive Throat Clearer sit near me? Will there be noxious piss-aromas that eventually will get to my head and I’ll start to be convinced that the stench is coming from myself?

It’s all of these dumb little things that make me dread Mondays. By Tuesday, I’m over it. But Mondays, man. Mondays.

Let’s dive into the weekend memory pool, shall we?

During Saturday’s meet-up with Jiyong, I learned the word for “the couple next door,” which is 옆집부부. (yeopjip bubu)

So, of course I became obsessed with it because it’s so fun to say, and I happily blew through the recitations. This is what I am going to call Blake & Haley, and Hot Naybor Chris and his wife from now on.

Meanwhile, Jiyong said, “Shall we record you?” as she reached for her phone. I freaked out and yelled NO! which made her fall into the wall laughing. I’m glad my Korean-infant speak is so amusing to her, lol.

I always feel so inspired by the time our Saturday session is finished. I feel a bit more confident now, especially with pronunciation, and she said that my vocabulary is really good. I just need to buckle down and start practicing verb conjugations, because that’s where I’m always like, “CAN I PHONE A FRIEND.”

It’s funny though, because even though we have been meeting now, regularly, for nearly a year, I still get a little stressed out on Saturday mornings knowing that I have to, OMG, do work. The pressure! But then when I either already know something in that day’s lesson, or I figure it out on my own, or she gives me a better explanation for something I’ve been struggling with and it’s like a code has been cracked in my brain…it just makes it SO REWARDING.

That night, we ordered pizza and did some vacation planning, which is my favorite thing to do except that I’m the only one in the house who feels that way: Henry is just stressed and annoyed because he has to figure out the logistics, so there’s no fun in it for him; and Chooch is never really excited until it’s the day before we’re leaving. So that’s cool. Then Henry left around 8:30pm to weep and soul-scream in the anonymity of a dark parking lot (ie. he went grocery shopping, his escape). Lately, he’s been obsessed with Fresh Thyme, and that’s OK with me because he comes home every time with fresh peanut butter, and that is basically my fuel.

Anyway, re: vacation planning, I try not to put too much time and effort into this stuff until we’re 100% sure we’re going and have booked the flights, because god only knows. I fought really hard for this trip though, and have been obsessively hoarding money in our vacation account. I think I’m going through an early midlife crisis, maybe because Henry is already so old (haha), where I am always in this frozen state of panic, feeling like I’m running of time to do things and I am frantic to get it all in. I am so tightly-wound. This is why I take so many walks!

Sunday was glorious! I had breakfast with Jeannie and Wendy at Pamela’s. When I left the house that morning, I saw an older couple walking up the sidewalk to Blake’s house so I started to say good morning and then realized one of the people was Blake’s mom, a/k/a Henry’s ex, and she had this determined “KEEP LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD” vibe to her walk, so I stopped at “good” and went about my merry way, lol. Nothing like a little spot of awkwardness first thing in the morn’.

It’s been awhile since we managed to successfully plan a Pamela’s meetup, so this was much-needed for all of us. I was really mad though because I arrived early as usual and decided that I would just sit in the car for a bit and read some of my book because I was so close to finishing it and it was a GOOD ONE (“Pretty Girls” by Karen Slaughter, highly recommend). At 8:58, I started walking down to Pamela’s just as Wendy and Summer were getting out of the car. I ended up walking in right behind them, and Jeannie was already there, saving a table for us. So then it was all, “OH MY GOD, ERIN WAS THE LAST ONE HERE!” because usually I’m early, Jeannie is on time, and Wendy is woefully late.

I got super up-in-arms about this and yelled, “I’ve been here since 8:45 but I was in my car reading!” and then it turned into, “IT DOESN’T COUNT IF YOU’RE NOT INSIDE, AT THE TABLE” so fine, I was “late” I guess, whatever!

Jeannie told me that she had a dream where she was at my wedding reception (“That is a dream,” I interjected) which was apparently at an amusement park I had rented out, so did I marry a Disney heir or what?! She said in lieu of seating arrangements at tables, I had assigned everyone  to certain rides, and there were challenges, which Jeannie begrudgingly did ONLY because it was for my wedding, lol. She said everyone was having a lot of fun and then I got sad because this needs to be a reality but I don’t think I’d be able to rent  out anything grander than like, Fun Fore All, as it stands.

I got an omelet and then spent most of the time low-key coveting Summer’s strawberry and chocolate chip waffle. I’m just never satisfied!

Then we went to Oakland because Henry to drop something off at an Amazon Prime thing so I was like OOOOH WE CAN GO TO THE GOOD LIBRARY and Henry was like yay.

You may have been there through the roller skating phase. The Jonny Craig obsession. The succulent infatuation. Well, please join me now for the library addiction.

(I didn’t include Korea in the above list because it’s not a phase, it’s who I am. Back off.)

There were three specific books on my “want to read” list that I knew were available at this branch, so I scooped those up because I know how to find books now, and then on the way to check them out, I found another one that I had requested in the beginning of January but was never sent to me, so I HAVE THAT ONE NOW TOO. I used to think libraries were dumb! They are not dumb! They have helped me complete 63% of my reading challenge and it’s only midway through February, LET’S GO. (I hate when the kids say that.)

On the way out, Henry pushed the door open and it got caught on the corner of a rug in the vestibule, so then the door got stuck and the girl behind Henry nearly slammed into him because it all happened so fast and he was struggling to fix the rug and the girl had to struggle to get around him, AND THEN HE JUST LEFT IT so the same thing happened to Chooch and me when we were trying to leave next and we were so angry I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE but it was yet another time Papa H embarrassed us in public. Ugh.

After that, we went to Pink Box for Chinese breads and then Henry popped into a nearby Crazy Mocha to quench his newely-acquired cold brew thirst (you’re welcome) but they were out of cold brew and he had to just get a regular iced coffee so then he complained about it to us later but I’m sure he was all good-natured and pleasant to the barista: we always get his whiny side!

So, no Henry’s Coffee Corner this weekend, I know you’re really sad because who wouldn’t craze those insightful 350 word reviews he plonks out with his manly sausage-fingers?

The rest of the evening was very relaxing. Chooch watched dumb movies from  the 90s on Disney+, I read, and I can’t remember what Henry did. Boring stuff, I’m sure. Then I finished the book I was reading and cried about it and made Henry walk with me to the Brookline library even though it was 8pm and they were closed because I like to return my books immediately (see: tightly wound) and now I’m afraid to walk alone at night because I don’t want to get kidnapped and then put in a snuff film.

On that note: ciao for now, go braid a uni-brow.

Feb 152020

For a little pre-Valentine’s Day treat, my coworker Joyce added a picture of TOP from BIGBANG to our daily Roll Call email. She always includes a meme or something in every Roll Call but this was unexpected! It’s also pretty hilarious because she’s one our colleagues who work in the Chicago office, but I have still managed to sprinkle her with a bit of kpop powder without even needing to see her everyday!

And then for some reason, another coworker, Marlene, emailed me because she randomly found out that she shares a birthday with ANOTHER BIGBANG member, Taeyang. I will turn our whole department into VIPs* one of these days. 

*(BIGBANG fans.)

I think that selling Valentines has me somewhat desensitized to, well, serial killers, but also the actual concept of Valentine’s Day. Henry and I spend so much time hustling to make sure other people get their cards that we don’t always remember each other. 

Um, I know that I for one totally shit the bed when it came to whipping anything up for Henry. And I assumed he had also dropped the ball, until I got to work yesterday and pulled out a card he had tucked inside my SuperM bag.

I admit, this had major shock-value when I pulled it out of the envelope and saw a close-up of Henry’s mug, but then I noticed the finger-hearts! And then I opened it…

…and saw that he wrote “I love you” in Hangul! “OMG I hate him!” I laugh-yelled, and then showed Carrie, who was like, “*TEARS*” and then I kind of got tear-eyed, too?! I AM BROKEN. 

Apparently, Henry made this the other night while I was sitting in the other room thinking that he was just making actual orders from our shop. I am so oblivious!

We didn’t exchange gifts or anything but Henry was a nice man and went to Sugar Spell Scoops after dinner last night and picked up some scoops to go. I got one scoop of purple sweet potato which was so wonderful that I can’t even think of any good words to describe it other than SMOOTH, MAN, REAL SMOOTH. I am such a huge fan of vegetables-turned-into-dessert, like: carrot cake, carrot pie (!!!!), zucchini pie, etc etc. So when ice cream is made with shit like butternut squash or corn, things like that, I will opt for that over chocolate-y flavors every single time. This scoop was so pleasing and I wish it was on regular rotation!

The second scoop was a strawberry rose with tiny white chocolate chips, and I was worried that it would too tart, too sweet, too floral, but it was the perfect balance of all three, and those little chips really took the flavor to brand new heights. At first, I was like, “I will just eat half of each and save the rest for tomorrow,” but wow look at that, all gone.

Anyway, there was one thing that happened yesterday that took what would have been a fine, but maybe not too memorable, Valentine’s Day and punted it into ONE FOR THE SCRAPBOOKS:

Let me back up.

Living in the city of Pittsburgh means that choosing a high school for your kid can almost be like college-lite. We could do nothing and he would automatically become enrolled in Brashear, which has a seriously bad reputation and even if it may be less bad than it has been, it’s one of those schools that will probably always have a bad connotation to its name. So for Chooch’s entire life, we have been having frantic conversations about how to prepare for this. Should we try to move? We like living in the city, and even moving to a different part of the city might not really solve anything because then he’d just end up in another just-as-bad school. I always had a dream of him going to CAPA, which is our creative and performing arts school. I always felt like he could get into the writing program, but he fought me tooth and nail on it and very early on was like, “Look that is not what I want to do” and I had to get myself into check as I realized that I was sincerely starting to sound like my grandmother. And also I had to admit to myself that I only wanted him to go there because I had wished I had gone there in high school, lol. Oh, being That Mom is a lot of fun.

But I’ll never forget his fifth grade teacher telling us, “Look, your kid? He’s a math whiz. You gotta send him to SciTech. He’s your ticket to a beach house.” 

The beach house part is especially what I remember, haha.

I knew that Chooch had always gotten As in math and science, but I had no idea that he actually enjoyed those classes. Not until that day, in that teacher’s room. And it’s true – he fucking adores math and does it for fun on his own time. So, he applied to SciTech last fall and then we waited. 

I don’t think he cared nearly as much as me, but it was something I would think about everyday. “What happens if he doesn’t get in?” “Will Brashear break him?” Granted, he applied to another school, as well, and either one of those would have been fan-fucking-tastic. 

Henry always gets pictures of our mail emailed to him from the post office because he’s a weirdo, but it was beneficial yesterday when he saw that one of the letters was from the Pgh Public Schools. My pulse quickened. I had that “Waiting to get called into the office” feeling ALL DAY. Henry kept texting Blake to ask him to check for the mail, which usually comes around 9:00am but of course on this day it didn’t get delivered until the afternoon. So Henry texted Chooch and was like, “Go home after school before you go to the teen center and open that letter.” So Chooch did and said he was going to wait for us to get home before he opened it and I was like YOU TELL THAT SON OF A BITCH TO OPEN THAT LETTER RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I CANNOT WAIT 3 MORE HOURS!!! So he opened it.

And it was from SciTech.

He got it.

I burst into tears as soon as Chooch texted me a picture of the letter. A million pounds of inner-city dread was removed from my chest. Apparently, Brashear had more arrests last year than other Pittsburgh school (my resource for that fact is Henry; I don’t feel like Googling to see if it’s true, lol). Look, I know in this day and age, no school is safe. It fucking sucks to even have to think this way. But SciTech will give him a better chance for a good education, and it’s right by the University of Pittsburgh campus and he loves it there—he can walk to the main branch of the Carnegie Library, for Christ’s sake! He has multiple bubble tea options! THE CATHEDRAL OF LEARNING IS ACROSS THE STREET. 

His emotions are mixed right now, and I get it. He’s going to be separated from a lot of his friends after this year, and he was also hoping to get into the other school he applied to, because he knows a lot of kids there through the Gifted Center. But then after he went to the teen center last night, he found out his friend Zack also got into SciTech, so now he’s loosening up a little bit and he’s starting to get excited about it, like he used to be when we would talk about it when it was still so far away to really feel like a possibility. 

Also, he had to write two essays for this application, and I have no idea what they said because he submitted it without showing us. He is too independent sometimes! We have barely had to help him with anything, aside from the occasional project which required the purchase of poster board and other craft shit. But his homework? Never once had to help. Never even have to micromanage him to make sure he’s doing it. I don’t know how we get away with that for this long, but I can only hope it continues through high school because I do NOT want to help with high school shit, lol. 

He told me that one of the things he put in his essay was that he hoped SciTech could help him stay on the right path toward a bright future, where he can have a successful career in order to buy his mom a pension in South Korea. So, basically, there’s that beach house. <3

On that note, here’s a song that’s perfect for 2/14:

Feb 132020

I am a tightly-wound ball of nervous energy this week. Let’s bullet it out.

  • Yesterday, I was waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. One of the mail room guys was waiting with me, but he was going up. When one of the elevators stopped, he held the door open and said, “This one’s yours!” I was like “Thanks Mister” but as I stepped onto the elevator and watched the doors slowly close, it occurred to me that in the 10 years I’ve been working in this building, I still have no idea how to determine if an elevator is going up or down.
  • Last month, I splurged and bought a bunch of pins from Etsy. These pins are Korea-specific and they’re sold by an ex-pat living in Seoul. I mean, she has Seoul subway station pins, one of which happens to be the line we used every single day on our last visit – we stayed right off of the Hongik University stop! I honestly burst into tears when this package arrived the other day and I started digging through everything. I’m wearing the Ghost Face and Michael Myers ones to work for Valentines Day!

  • Speaking of Valentines Day, I started to make department-specific Valentines to pass out at work but then I stopped. I’m tired. My brain hurts. Only 1/4 of the people there would even appreciate it anyway. Besides, we were very nearly in over our heads with our actual card business this season so I didn’t really have the time or energy anyway. This was the best season we’ve had yet! I am so grateful and humbled that perfect strangers out there like the stuff I design, and rave over and over in the feedback they leave over the quality of Henry’s work. We really care about our products and the last thing I want is to send someone something that’s sub-par. I’m glad that our customers recognize this! But at the same time, it will be nice to have a clean dining room table now that our busy season is over, oof.
  • Have you seen Parasite yet? How much did you love it? I am having the most fun watching videos of the cast and crew celebrate and the least fun every time I run into a comment saying that BTS paved the way. Please, BTS is not the be-all end-all of South Korea. Anyway, how fucking great are these movie posters for it? I want them all on my wall, to be honest:

  • I am still on a heavy reading kick. I’m sure a slump will hit me here soon, but I am really enjoying the excitement of picking up requested books at the library and getting recommendations from Booktube, but I gotta say, the last several horror recs I got from Booktubers (such a stupid term), have been pretty bad. Are my standards just that high? I mean, I’m not some literary snob and I am the LAST person who will turn down a cute/fun/teenager love Young Adult novel, so I don’t think my standards or expectations in general are lofty. I just really am craving GOOD HORROR but man, I have read some doosies this month. I’ll have a full recap at the end of the month, but the last one I finished yesterday had me so angry. Henry was like, “Wow.” But at least he didn’t tell me to calm down (UGH) or snidely suggest that I just write my own.

  • I was inspired to clean off my old painting desk the other day. It had becomes a catch-all for folded laundry that I didn’t care to put away; old, dried-up paint brushes; layers and layers of dust. So I dusted off my clowns, readjusted the picture frames, and tossed all the old art stuff because let’s be honest, I’m not sure when the painting bug will bite me again and even if it was tomorrow, I’d still have to get new supplies anyway because I’m the worst at taking care of that shit. I pointed out my cleaned off desk to Henry, and the first thing he said wasn’t the “good job” I was craving, but a nit-picky, “There’s still paint on it though…?” YEAH, IT’S A SOUVENIR. AN HOMAGE TO MY PAST SELF. GOD-uh.
    • Penelope was like “Woo hoo, I can sit up here again.”
    • Coincidentally, right after I tossed all my supplies, people started asking me to do art shit for them and saying no felt so empowering. I used to hate saying no and I RELISH IT. Like, I want to squirt my “no”s on a fucking vegan hotdog and eat it in front of the people asking. MMMMMMMMMMnonononono.
  • HEY GUYS remember a few weeks ago when I got all nostalgic about pagers? NO? YOU DON’T READ EVERY SINGLE BLOG I PUBLISH? I mean, it’s cool. We all have lives. I get it. You can click that link and read up, maybe during The Bachelor commercial breaks (do people still watch The Batchelor? Do people still watch any TV in real time?). Anyway! a few days after I wrote about that, my old friend Shawn from high school sent me this picture on Instagram and I died. Page me sometime:

Embarrassingly/shamefully, I had to crop this picture because this was back in the 90s when I thought it was super cute to tell everyone they were a gaybo; wow I was a real peach. So cool. Very edgy. Ugh, thank god I don’t have any political aspirations.

  • Henry gave me an early Valentine’s Day present last night by way of booking our flights for our next trip! No, not Korea this year. :( But we’re going to be spending Easter break in Germany/Luxembourg/Belgium/The Netherlands – of course this was all my idea and the main reason I wanted to go is because there are some theme parks in that region of Europe that I desperately want to go to, but it will also be Chooch’s first time in these countries so I wanted to make sure that he actually gets to SEE STUFF while we’re there, so I whittled the list down to the three I most want to go to. (Henry is so excited.) Our itinerary is still very fluid at this point, but it’s looking like we will be spending Easter at the park that inspired this entire trip: Efteling. I AM SO EXCITED!!

Image result for efteling

Image result for efteling

AHHHH!!! After my boss Amber approved my days off, she was like, “Where are you guys going?” and when I said, “Remember last year when I sent you that website for the weird fairytale amusement park in The Netherlands….” and she was like, “Oh for God’s sake!” Haha.

Well, cook on, mothercheffers!


Feb 122020


Two weeks, on a Sunday, Janna and I were walking back to my house from the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, having just seen Jojo Rabbit. (Have you seen this yet? It’s brilliant, and I rarely use that word to describe movies.) We were a block away from my house when two people were about to walk past us. I moved over to the right to give them room and noticed in my periphery that one of the people was looking at me and waving.

I glanced long enough to see that it was a young girl, maybe in her early teens? But again–just a very quick glance.

I waved back and then kept trudging along.

“Did you know her? She was really waving at you,” Janna said once we were a safe distance away.

“I have no idea who that was,” I admitted, and Janna said, “Well, she sure seemed to know you!”

I brushed it off, thinking possibly she was someone who knows Chooch, maybe someone from the teen center, and she just recognized me as “Chooch’s Mom.” That used to happen to Henry all the time when Blake was a teenager, because he was so popular.

It wasn’t even worth mentioning to Henry and Chooch when I got home that day; besides, I was too busy gushing about Jojo Rabbit to even give the waver a second thought.


One night last week, Henry left the house to go to “the store,” his favorite place ever. “The store” could mean: Aldis, Giant Eagle, Kuhn’s, Fresh Thyme, Shop N Save—I’m pretty sure Henry has a frequent shopper card for all Pittsburgh-area supermarkets. Just as we was about to get into the car, which we always park across the street from our house in the church parking lot, he said that a young girl approached him and asked for a ride to the Potomac trolley station. Henry, who unlike me, is adverse to giving rides to strangers, so he told her that he wasn’t going that direction, which I guess was true but who knows with Henry; he’s a habitual liar.

(He isn’t. I don’t think Henry has the balls to lie, actually. Or the imagination.)

So Henry embarked on his journey to The Store, passenger seat remaining empty.

While Henry was out, Hot Naybor Chris called him and apologized. Turns out, the transportation beggar targeted HNC first, but he had just gotten home so he sent her over to ask Henry instead, having spotted him in the parking lot. After Henry said no, she went back over to HNC and said, “He said he’s not going that way” so for some reason HNC was like, “Fine, I’ll drive you to Potomac Station.”

But, like all people who ask for handouts on the street, she continued asking for things. First, it was $2 for coffee. HNC said he didn’t have any money.

Then it was, “Can I use your phone?”

HNC said he didn’t have it on him, and then prayed that his wife wouldn’t call him, wondering why he had pulled into the parking lot and then immediately left again.

Anyway, I guess he got her to Potomac Station without her shanking him and digging out his kidneys, so that’s good. He told Henry that when he asked her where she lived, she said, “With Phil and my mom” like we know who that is. Turns out, she lives in the house on our block where the girl just died of an overdose two weeks ago, and Phil is that dead girl’s boyfriend. WTF.

When Henry came home and told me all of this, he described the girl and I was like, “Wait a minute…” and then he said, “I’ve seen her several times walking down the street and actually mistook her for one of Chooch’s friends, but she’s probably between 18 and 20” and that was when I realized that he had perfectly described the girl who waved me last weekend. Ew! So she must recognize me as a neighbor, yet that was the first time I had ever seen her.

Henry said that he was telling Blake this because at this point, knowing what house she lives in and how she has a mooching tendency, Blake shared his OWN encounter with her, which was that she knocked on his door recently and asked him if he has his license. When he said no, she walked away.

FURTHERMORE: Potomac Station is only a five-minute walk! Use your legs, lazy ass!

Night Knocks

Sometime early Monday morning, I woke up to urgent knocking on my front door. I rolled over and noticed Henry had already left for work. It was 3:45am. Maybe he forgot his keys…and also his phone….and was trying to get my attention?

I texted him.

“Is that you knocking?”

“No…?” he answered immediately. He was already at work.

Another series of urgent knocks and now I’m sitting straight up in bed with the comforter around me like a shield.

More knocks, angrier now. I was straight-up shaking in bed.

Without turning on the lights, I scooted over to the foot of the bed and peeked out through the blinds just in time to see a man quickly retreating down my sidewalk and then continuing on down the street. It was a chilling sight, but at the same time, it also looked like MAYBE it could have been Blake. The build of the man checked out, he was wearing a backpack, a coat, and a beanie in the style of one Blake Robbins.

“Maybe Blake starts work at 4am today and was going to ask me for a ride,” Henry texted, but our car clearly wasn’t out there so it didn’t seem to fit. Henry texted him, but didn’t hear back for several hours, because, you know, Blake was home next door and asleep like most normal people at that hour.

I was fucking shook. I mean, I don’t need to be a seasoned horror aficionado to know NOT TO OPEN THAT DOOR. And even if it was in broad daylight, I still wouldn’t have answered it. For god’s sake, my friend Tommy still makes fun of me for the time he and Jessy were over our house 10 years ago and I screamed and hid on the steps when the pizza man knocked on the door, AND I KNEW IT WAS THE PIZZA MAN.

So imagine me at 4am, shaking in my flesh boots, definitely not wanting to go back to sleep.

I kept texting Henry.

“What if he comes back?!”

“Why would he come back?”

“I dunno, to bring back up!?”

Meanwhile, after Blake texted Henry back later that morning, he went on to that the weird girl up the street has come back to his house several times since the first time, and that she looks strung out and half-dead each time. The last time, he called the police and the cops told Blake to call them again immediately if she shows up again.

And now we’re wondering if the knocker was this supposed PHIL, boyfriend of the dead girl?! It checks out—these people obviously live in a drug house and think it’s OK to just go around knocking on random people’s doors at all hours of the night, because what’s 3:45am to a druggie!? So now I’m on high alert in case either of these weirdos come back. I HATE THE COPS BUT I WILL NOT HESITATE TO CALL THEM IF ANY STRANGE FISTS TOUCH MY GODDAMN DOOR AGAIN.