Apr 212019
 

A Chooch For Every Year: 2006-2019

My LITTLE BABY (lol) is going to be THIRTEEN on Thursday, and even though we’re going to be celebrating his big day of birth at King’s Island next weekend, I still wanted to do something small & casual so that our close friends and family could be there too. He’s teetering on that crazy-emotional Not a Kid Anymore But What Am I precipice where he irrationally thinks that we don’t care about him so…fun times!

I thought a small surprise dinner the weekend before his birthday would be perfect, and I made real life invitations to send out too because, you know, how do you invite people to a party when you’re not on Facebook anymore?

And even such a small event still gave me pee-jigs and puke-feels all day leading up to the surprise.

Chooch has been craving Mexican food like a pregnant lady binge-watching telenovelas (he actually is binge’ing* Jane the Virgin and yes I know they’re not Mexican but it’s kind of funny because it basically is a telenovela and in fact, he’s sitting next to me as I type this, trying to give me recaps of the last episode he watched and I truly, sincerely don’t care), so it seemed obvious that we should make Old Mexico the location of the festivities.

*(That word is so weird—like, how do you even spell it. It doesn’t look way no matter which way I’ve seen it and I wish it wasn’t a thing.)

And then the night before, Chooch told us he was going on a hike the next day with the Teen Center and I panicked because WE HAD TO BE AT THE RESTAURANT BY 4:15 AND HAD ACTUAL RESERVATIONS AND THIS LITTLE SHIT WAS GOING TO RUIN HIS OWN PARTY! It ended up being fine, and they got back way earlier than expected, plus he was with his friend Liam so I suggested that he ask Liam to come to dinner (he knew we were going to dinner, but not that a bunch of guests were going to be waiting for him) and Henry was like “GREAT, ERIN” because Henry hates socializing with Chooch’s friends but I like Liam! He was allowed to go so that was cool.

Anyway, everyone managed to get there on time (except for Wendy but I knew ahead of time that she would be late so I wasn’t mad!) and he was so shocked! I was also shocked that everyone who RSVPd really came! MY MOM AND DAD WERE BOTH THERE YOU GUYS. This has never happened. I almost cried, and my dad paid for my mom!! (They divorced like 20 years ago or something but have grown amicable over the years so it wasn’t really that huge of a deal, but now Chooch is like, “MAYBE THEY’LL BE LIKE XIOMARA AND ROGELIO!!” which is a stupid Jane the Virgin reference, so it Chooch tries to do some Grandparent Trap action, that’s not my fault!!)

Tommy and Jessy brought this big birthday balloon with them which was a GOOD CALL because I brought nothing. No party artifacts. No birthday ephemera. No Eyes Wide Shut masks.

After we got to the table, I asked Chooch if he was surprised and he said, “I mean, the hostess asked us if we were with the table of 15, so…”

FUCK.

I think he was still surprised though. In my head, he was surprised.

This was his first time seeing Tommy after THE PRANK. Tommy signed the card “and Charlie” which was the name he was using to prank Chooch with last week, haha.

Wendy made me take this picture of her and then I threatened to put it on our department’s wiki page and she was like, “Oh god, please don’t” and then I told my parents, “This is my friend Wendy, we work together and she’s like my boss, I guess.”

I was so happy that my parents and brother Ryan were there! My other brother had to work, and another person who had to work WAS BLAKE. He tried so hard to get someone to switch with him but it was a no-go and he was pretty bummed out, but Haley, Calvin and Lily were there to represent the Robbins side of the family!

I was so happy that everyone seemed to mesh well with each other, because you never know with dinners like this – they could be awkward!

Also, Henry never looks at us the way he looks at Calvin!?

e

I think it helped that half of us were drinking margaritas. Patty asked me to go check the parking lot toward the end of the dinner to see if her ride was there, and I have to admit that I have no recollection of how I got from the dinner table to the front door of the restaurant, so…

Also, I rarely drink anymore so it really doesn’t take much.

Liam got fish which was an interesting choice I thought for a kid at a Mexican restaurant. I got the vegetable plate with rice and I thought I would be food-shamed over it because again, who goes to a Mexican restaurant for undressed vegetables but I knew that anything else would make me sick for the rest of the night, so I went for it. When it was served to me though, everyone was like, “Whoa, that smells so good! What did you get?” and it was literally just Mexican rice and a boatload of fajita-esque vegetables and it was SO GOOD. I scarfed down that whole plate, felt fulfilled, and didn’t want to puke later that night!

Thank you, Old Mexico!

OMG Wendy talking to my dad, lololol.

Patty and Jessy just met that night but hit it off!

This might be favorite picture of the night: Chooch and his soon-to-be sister-in-law Haley, and believe me, they are definitely sibling-ish!

Chooch and his pal, Patty! She volunteers at the nursing home she used to be a resident at, and she said some of the residents remembered Chooch from when we would visit and he would play piano for them, so they asked her to relay their birthday wishes for him and I thought that was so sweet. Look, I’m really grateful that Patty was able to leave there and go back to her own house, but I do miss when we used to visit her there. Some of those people were major characters!

Chooch with Jessy and Tommy! Tom is his frenemy for real, but they’re like family to us even though we don’t see them often anymore. I was so freaking happy that they could make it, because they live pretty far away.

Wendy and Summer with my family!

Chooch and Janna—man, she has been there from the beginning and is basically family to him. I actually confirmed the date of his dinner with her first before I even made invitations because it was imperative that she be there, duh.

Poor Liam had no fucking idea what he signed up for. He thought he was just tagging along to a quiet family dinner with his friend, lol.

And then Chooch ordered a sopapilla, not knowing that it was going to turn into A THING because he didn’t grow up with the horror of being birthday-shamed by the staff at ChiChi’s like the rest of us did. (RIP, ChiChi’s, and also the people who died because of your poisoned green onions.)

(OMG that fucking corn sidedish they had. WHY, CHICHI’S, WHYYYYYY???? COME BAAAAAACK!!)

One of the waiters gave Chooch a handful of whipped cream to the face and I died. If anyone deserves whipped cream to the face, it’s certainly my kid.

This happened after Jessy commented that Chooch looked the same as he did when he was younger except without the constant ring of ice cream and dirt around his lips and he was like HOLD MY LEMONADE.

This kid will forever make a mess at dinner,

What a great turnout! I think he really felt loved and at the end of the day, this was all I wanted from that dinner.

On the way home, I told him that Chronica couldn’t make it because Chris was flying home from Calgary that day and her flight was delayed. (She ended up not getting home until after 10PM, sadly.)

“Chris and her stupid countries!” Chooch cried.

And when I told him that Kara had tickets to the Beer Barge, he scoffed, “Really? Kara chose BEER over ME?”

Anyway, I’m glad that we pulled this off without any drama and minimal stress so that now I can selfishly focus on King’s Island which you have to know is really more for me than anyone else, lol. LOOK, HE WOULDN’T HAVE A BIRTHDAY IF NOT FOR ME, SO.

Apr 202019
 

Why does winter drag the fuck along like a person with a poorly-fitted prosthetic but then April hits the deck running? This month is more than halfway over and it’s been a blur, and we still have two more weekends that are teed up for some action.

I haven’t had much energy or free time to blog as much as I would like, so I’ve been kind of taking a natural progression of just blogging less each week. To be honest, when I blogged on LiveJournal, I only posted a handful of times each month. I hope that I’ll be able to get back into it mentally, but an increase in stress at my job and also a more rigorous workout schedule that I have been holding myself accountable to has really left me with very little in the tank at the end of the day.

Ugh lifestyle changes, amirite.

Anyway, here are some photos and quick recaps of things that happened this week.

  • The trees all look like this ^^^ for the time being and even cloudy days are that much more happy because of it. It’s also helping me get in the Mood for Easter, which is probably my second favorite holiday after Halloween which makes no sense because I’m not religious and I don’t have a little kid who still believes in the Easter Bunny but I guess it’s because it always arrives on that wave of SPRINGTIME HOPE where we’re all starting to realize that winter hasn’t killed us. Tomorrow is Easter and we don’t have grand plans but I did get an idea of how I want to celebrate so we’ll have to see if that pans out – CHECK BACK. #suspense
  • Speaking of Easter, Marlene came over to my desk yesterday before leaving work and, hesitantly, asked, “OK, curiosity has gotten the best of me. I have to know – how do you celebrate Easter?” She recently learned about our cemetery Christmas picnics and some other things that I always forget aren’t the norm for regular families, so now she’s kind of slowly pulling off my layers, one holiday at a time. I told her my hopeful plans and she was like, “Oh for god’s sake. I love you.” The other day, she overheard me telling Carrie some ofhand remark about how I always thought that my mom’s younger sister was actually my mom and she slowly turned around and said, “OK, I have to know—WHAT are you talking about?!” and then that started a landslide of family history falling out of my mouth and she was like, “You could be a writer for a soap opera.”  I don’t talk much at work these days, but when you get me started, look out. (I used to get called into the office for talking too much back when BARB still worked there, lol. Now I’m like a mute.)

  • In other work news, Sue walked past me one day and chuckled because I was wearing my desk cardigan backward, so that my arms went through the sleeves the opposite way and the back was actually covering my front (JUST IN CASE YOU NEEDED MORE WORDS IN ORDER TO VISUALIZE IT) and I was like, “What? I’m aiming for that Snuggie-feel!” I know a lot of people have this same problem — our office’s thermostat is set to Indoor Winter and it’s a struggle. Now with summer on the way, we’re preparing for the worst of it because as the temperatures outside rise, the temperatures inside turn to REMEMBER JANUARY. Nate will sometimes stealthily do a thermostat-check drive-by and crank it up a few notches when the Hot Ones aren’t around. Anyway, Sue came over to my desk yesterday and said, “Here, I saw this and had to get it for you” and IT IS A SNUGGIE! I’ve never had a real Snuggie before! You guys, it’s wonderful, and you can’t tell from this picture, but it’s actually OMBRE! I sent this picture to Henry and he thought for a second that I was in a hospital gown and got scared, lol. Henry has feelings, too, you guys.

  • Here’s a picture of Chooch, lambasting Henry via speaker because we came back from our evening jog and Henry had left for the store after CHOOCH SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM to wait because he wanted to go too. Not because he had some secret personal items he needed to procure, but because there’s a fucking geocache in the parking lot of Kuhn’s. I guess we’re back on the geocache kick, sadly. The other day, he shoved his phone in my face and yelled, “THERE ARE SO MANY GEOCACHES IN SEOUL!” Yeah, I’m not spending my birthday trip to Korea searching for geocaches on Naver maps, my friend.

  • Drew is so taken with BTS’s latest comeback* that she has stolen Henry’s bias, Park Jimin. *(This is probably because she’s brainwashed by it since no matter what we’re watching on YouTube, it always automatically goes right back to some BTS performance when the video ends and it’s so fucking annoying. LIKE STOP TRYING TO CONTROL OUR YOUTUBE, ARMY!! I will say though that now that they’re doing their official comeback on all of the Korean music shows, it feels so much more normal to me. Their SNL performance was just…OK…compared to their real Korean stages.)
  • This morning, Henry was cleaning and found some cat pee-stained note that he wrote to me FOUR MTHS INTO our relationship. He was trying to throw it away but I grabbed it and read it dramatically out loud in front of him while he mumbled about it all being lies and he didn’t mean any of the lovey shit he wrote and then when I asked “You’re not going to keep this?” he yelled, “No! It has CAT PEE on it” and by cat pee I think he means “evidence” that he once loved me.

  • Chooch was being pranked Monday night by the Green Man, aka our friend Tommy, and I was going to write an entire post about it because it was so funny but really it just makes me look like a shit mom o hause Chooch got really angry about it at the end even though he was laughing his ass off throughout the rest of it. Basically, Tommy was pretending to be the Green Man and texting him faux-menacing things. Obviously Chooch knew it wasn’t actually the Green Man and actually was positive that it was Janna until Janna finally sent him a picture to prove to him that she wasn’t even home, and then Tommy started actually calling him and talking to him in a creepy growl. Chooch was cracking up and then after Tommy hung up, Chooch called him back and it went to his voicemail, which clearly stated his name, so I was like, “Oh well, the jig’s up, that was fun while it was lasted” BUT CHOOCH TOTALLY DIDN’T NOTICE. He called back like 5 more times and still never caught that Tommy was actually saying his full name in his voicemail message! THAT’S MY GENIUS SON. Anyway, this went on for like an hour, just harmless “I’m watching you” type things and I was like, “I can’t believe he hasn’t accused me of being involved in this yet” especially considering how hard I started laughing from the moment Tommy sent the first text. Henry eventually was like “This is getting old” and went to bed, but I stayed up with Chooch because I had to see this through to the end at this point. Guys, it went on for awhile. I sent Jessy the above photo of Chooch reading the first of the messages to us and Tommy started to saying things like, “I LIKE YOUR UNICORN” or whatever so Chooch was like,  “OK IT HAS TO BE SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN IN OUR HOUSE” but then Tommy started asking me things that Chooch was doing in real time, so I texted that he was chewing on a piece of paper, and when “The Green Man” called Chooch out on that, he got RILL PARANOID, Y’ALL. Never mind the fact that I was sitting right next to him, texting him the whole time, never once considered it was me. So then I made the mistake of suggesting that he was being watched through his iPhone and HE FLIPPED HIS SHIT. That’s the beauty of this wonderful hormonal shit he’s going through — you never which way the wind will blow around him these days. He got a piece of masking tape and put it over the camera on his phone, THREW HIS PHONE ACROSS THE ROOM ONTO THE CHAIR, and frantically said to me, “Forget King’s Island*. Don’t waste money on that. Buy me a new phone instead. I don’t trust Apple. I want a Samsung.” He was REALLY ‘noiding out by now and actually was on the verge of tears, so I had to put a moratorium on the mystery messages immediately. “Chooch, it’s TOMMY,” I said. “TOMMY is pranking you.” There was one, drawn-out moment of silence where we just stared at each other. “You knew?” he whispered, with steely resolve. And then he just snapped and started screaming about how much he hates me and just to clarify, it wasn’t THE GREEN MAN he was afraid of, it was the possibility of some creepy old man watching him through his phone, so OK OK OK, touche dear son! You have a valid point — this is an honest concern in the year 2019 with all this fucked up technology we have. Anyway, he ran off to his room and we went to bed that night hating each other because my natural instinct is to automatically get mad in return when someone is mad at me because I’M A FUCKING PSYCHO LEO, but by the next morning, we were fine and even laughing about it, and Tommy apologized to him too and Chooch said he accepted it, so what a HAPPY VALLEY ENDING. They should make a Family Circus comic about this.
    • *(I’m not “forgetting” King’s Island. WE ARE GOING THERE NEXT SATURDAY FOR HIS FUCKING BIRTHDAY EVEN IF HE HATES ME. We will ride Mystic Timbers hatefully!)

  • This was me ^^^ during the meeting I had to call in for on Thursday when I was working from home, only without the hamburger, although I was pretty much chewing on my fist, so..? It was originally supposed to be a video conference which wouldn’t have been that bad because even on days I work from home, I’m usually presentable because I’m the vainest bitch you’ll ever meet even if it’s not outwardly noticeable at first. But, I didn’t want my messy house to be seen and also, Penelope runs around the house nearly all day screaming at her weird collection of pom poms, so I was pretty excited when Amber decided to nix that idea.
  • I’m just as excited as everyone else that Game of Thrones is back, but even after watching the last episode of the last season and watching an hour-long recap of all of the seasons on YouTube, I still asked, “Wait—who’s that?” every other minute during the Season 8 preview. Why am I such a failure. Also, the people who were shaming people on Twitter for being excited about this can suck a diseased one because if someone’s joy over a TV show is affecting your daily life, then perhaps it’s because you don’t actually HAVE a life. I see a lot of people being excited about a lot of things I’m not into or understand and I just scroll past and literally never think about it again. Social media really gives people major personality disorders, I fucking swear to god. I’m 100% off Facebook, have a reminder set up to let me know when I’ve spent an hour on Instagram so that’s really helped me pare down the amount of time I waste on that app, and Twitter’s next. I don’t think I’ll ever go cold-turkey on those two apps but I definitely want to minimize my time spent there, for sure.
    • On the flipside of this, my unwillingness to be more involved on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter definitely keeps me from expanding my businesses but shit you guys, I just don’t have time to post Stories about the cards I’m working on, or the money to buy followers.

Is this an adequate update on my life? I think so! Hope everyone who celebrates it has a great Easter weekend! And if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you at least get to clean up on discounted Easter candy at the store!

Apr 182019
 

One of my favorite places to take visiting friends is the Mattress Factory. It’s like the hidden gem of Pittsburgh–everyone wants to go  to the Warhol but I would recommend the Mattress Factory over that one any day because it’s such an immersive experience and I always feel a tiny bit like Alice in Wonderland when I visit.

I also walk away with a myriad of interior design concepts, much to Henry’s chagrin.

(I think if I ever wrote an auto-biography, it would be titled And It Was Much to Henry’s Chagrin, actually.)

Anyway! I was stoked when Michelle opted to explore the MF over the Warhol, so I met her and Kira there during a Sunday downpour. I had hoped that the rain and the Penguins playoff game would keep people at home and out of my sacred factory of no-mattresses, but alas, it ended up being the most crowded I’ve even seen it.

Which still wasn’t that crowded, but I’ve been spoiled over the years and have grown accustomed to having this place nearly all to myself!

The top floor is currently occupied by an eye-candy expo produced by a Brazilian duo called OSGEMEOS  I was gushing about how it was living room goals for me and Michelle was like, “Yu’re pretty much halfway there, aren’t you?” SIGH, I GUESS but Henry still hasn’t helped me with the humongous light-up Seoul wall-hanging I dreamt up. And my dining room and kitchen are crying for color.

Maybe OSGEMEOS can take up residency in my house and help out a little. (A lot.)

I was really inspired back then by an artist I met at the Three Rivers Arts Festival – Robert Villamagna. That man really opened my eyes to the world of making art from repurposed materials and I still have the postcard he signed for me from 1996!

When I was dating Psycho Mike, back in 1997, he moved out of his parents house in the beginning of that summer and was living in some glorified drug den (let’s be real, he lived with an ex-con and some other questionable character above a Pittsburgh Paints store in Little Washington). I made him this awesome (in my eyes) mixed media piece for his room so he would have some sort of character, flavor if you will. Plus, he lived an hour away from me at that point and I didn’t drive, so we didn’t get to see each other that much. Anyway, I used some leftover wallpaper from my bedroom as the background, and that wallpaper was a throwback to that foil-craze of the 60s and 70s. It was awesome, silver foil with purple and white splatter-overlay. I can’t remember offhand all the things that went into this piece, but it was like a nostalgia collage that featured things that were pertinent to our relationship, and I had strands of beaded curtains hanging from it (the chunky plastic ones that Spencer’s used to sell in the 90s) and I had it rigged with several large Christmas candle bulbs, so it lit up too.

That motherfucker appreciated it as much as Lori Laughlin’s brat-daughter appreciated her bullshit college admission. I wish I had taken it back but I’m sure somewhere along the way it ended up in some syringe-filled dumpster in Washington.

Anyway, my point is, I have been a fan of outrageous mixed media works since my impressionable teenage years and still cherish the one lone Villamagna piece I have on my wall that I bought 15 years ago when I was broke and definitely probably should have been using that money to pay rent or like, buy food maybe. So yeah, these OSGEMEOS bros really breathed some color into that rainy day.

I feel like Henry would have really liked this wall for some reason? (HAIRSTYLE INSPO?)

There’s a zoetrope in one room which only runs at certain times, and Michelle had to explain to me what a zoetrope is because I’m an art poser. We had about 45 minutes before the soonest zoetrope showing so we decided we’d explore the rest of the exhibits and go back up closer to 2. It was about 1:55 when we returned and that room was already starting to fill up with people and of course the tallest people were standing in  the front, flaunting their giraffe-like physiques while the rest of us were trying to peer through the crooks of their arms.

One of the MF docents, before gearing up the zoetrope, did ask all of the tall people to move off to the side so that was kind of them but then some asshole mom who was “looking for her son” (yeah right) came out of nowhere and planted her feet right in front of me. What an asshole.

Through a series of calculated contortions, I was able to see enough of the zoetrope and then I retreated to the back of the room because it was starting to feel like being near the barricade at a metal show and I couldn’t breathe. This is not how I want to experience art, thanks!

It was still cool though and Kira got a good front-row spot so that was all that mattered to me because I am a selfless human being (at times).

And now, here are some more fotos of our jaunt through the Mattress Factory.

The Yayoi Kusama exhibit is a permanent installation and I probably have 57 photos from this room over the years but it just never gets old posing with the polka-dotted mannequins.

Taemin came with me this time!

After perusing the four floors in the main building, Kira cried art-uncle, so we said our goodbyes and made a million promises to hang out again soon (I want to take them to Kennywood and Michelle tipped me off about a new art museum opening in Columbus, so I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see each other again before summer ends!), and then I walked down the street to see the two annexes. One of them still had the same exhibit as the last  time I visited and while it’s really cool, I hate that building because the hallways are extremely narrow and it actually reminds me a little bit of trying to navigate through the old Chuck E. Cheese “Cheese Factory” of yore, props to you if you remember this hell-house from the 80s! The only way out of this building is the same way you entered, so once you get to the third floor, you have to turn around and squeeze past everyone behind you and it’s so incredibly awkward and uncomfortable and the last time I was there, I panicked because I bumped into part of the exhibit and thought I broke it BUT PROBABLY NO ONE WOULD HAVE EVEN NOTICED.

The second annex was sad times because the main room was closed in preparation for the next display, so there was way less to see, considering most of the stuff in that building is a permanent collection. However, I was only there for the “Screen” exhibit anyway, so what did I care.

I kept seeing people posting pictures of it on Instagram but I couldn’t see past MY FAVORITE COLOR COMBO OF PINK AND GREEN (maybe second only to pink and gold) to realize what was actually going on here until I was there myself.

Fun fact about me: when I was about 3 or 4, we moved into my dad’s house in Castle Shannon (this was back before my mom married him and he officially adopted me). I’m sure it had something to do with the trauma of being uprooted, but I fucking SWEAR TO GOD I used to see this tiny green man running across my bedroom floor. Like three times I saw him! It could have also been because my aunt Susie used to try to scare me when we’d be in the car by pointing out the window and saying, “DID YOU SEE THAT LITTLE GREEN MAN OUT THERE?!” and then I’d be all, “PAPPAP MAKE HER STOP BEING MEAN TO ME!” Rinse, repeat. Maybe I just had little green men on the brain and psychically manifested them into my vision, OR MAYBE THEY WERE REAL. In any case, these green men were a definite blast from the past, albeit a bit taller and, um, nude-r.

I would definitely remember if I saw a green man weener back then. It probably would have changed the trajectory of my life, even!

GUYS, THAT’S ME!

It took me a hot minute to realize what was happening here but once I figured it out with my Big Bad Brain, I was obsessed with playing around with it!

Welp, that concludes another trip to the Mattress Factory. I wonder how many times a day someone asks the docents, “but when are we going to see the mattresses?” a la Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Apr 162019
 

You know, I had a feeling that April was going to be the month where the metaphorical ice melted off my social life. Goddammit, I love it when I’m right. My friend Michelle was in town to see Les Ballets Trockadero with one of her daughters and had an extra ticket so she invited me to join them! I was really excited because it seemed like something that would appeal to me, plus I haven’t seen Michelle since our Great Michigan Road Trip of 2014 where we missed Chronica’s engagement party and now “Michigan” is basically the name of the stripper I cheated on them with!

I’ve known Michelle for a HELLA long time thanks to the friendship-creating powerhouse known as LiveJournal, but we only met that one time “in real life.” She lives a lot closer now, in Ohio, so hanging out will be a lot easier!

When I was telling Blake about my ballet plans at breakfast that morning, he was shocked. “You still have friends from LiveJournal?!”

UM, YEAH, BLAKE. Only about 75% of them turned on me or ended up having personality disorders*, but I’ve still got the rest!

*(I could write a book just on all of those failed e-friendships, LORD JESUS.)

I met Michelle and her daughter Kira in front of their hotel Saturday evening and it was so great to see them! They were both dressed super cool for the ballet – Michelle had on these slick silver shoes that made me want to listen to some 80’s new wave in a big way. Ugh, they were so cool! We walked across that one bridge by PNC Park and I got to point out the only thing I know — the building I work in. I’m such a good tour guide!

(Speaking of tour guiding- the Army Navy store that sold the machete to the guy who went on a Voorhees-esque rampage at the Wood Street T station has closed! That was one the landmarks on my unofficial walking tour of Pittsburgh!)

Here I am keeping my streak alive of looking like shit in a group selfie, and also Kira was so lucky that I didn’t try to steal that giant Kit Kat from her. I love a Kit Kat every now and then, where “then” equals “constantly.”

I realized when we arrived at the Byham that I hadn’t been there since 2003 when Henry and I went to see Sigur Ros, where my passionate review could be summarized by “it was a religious experience and I was re-Baptized by my own face fountain of tears,” whereas Henry’s review was “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

So, wow, Byham – it’s been a while!

(Maybe this is sign that I need more culture in my life, though?)

Guys, I didn’t know anything about this thing until Michelle told me that’s why she was coming to town and I was like, “HMM WHAT IS THIS TROCKADERO” and then slowly slammed-spelled it out with one finger on the keyboard. I figured it must be Really Something because it was sold out, so I didn’t hesitate to take Michelle up on her offer when she found herself with an extra ticket. Not only did I get to hang out with Michelle and Kira, but I got to see a fabulously entertaining poke at tradition ballet. Admittedly, my only knowledge of ballet comes from my terrible one-year stint at it when I took classes at St. Elizabeth with Amy L. in 1st grade and pretty much cried before every class, and “Suspiria” (the original Argento version, not the remake, obvi).

Oh, and I did see “Black Swan” too – does that count?

Anyway — I loved this! I didn’t realize that these guys are actually classically trained, not just some random Joes off the street. They were fucking fantastic and I felt that they parodied the dances just the right amount and pulled back each time just before it became too heavy-handed or Loony Toons-esque.

Afterward, we got to walk back over the bridge and sometimes I forget just how cool Pittsburgh is at night with all the bridges that I am generally afraid of but was distracted this time since I had company. Michelle commented on how Pittsburgh has so many bridges and I waned to wow her with Real Facts, but I couldn’t remember off-hand that cool bridge trivia I learned five years ago on the Just Ducky tour I went on with some co-workers. Something about how we have more bridges than Venice? Like over 400? I can’t remember. Maybe Google that before you quote me. And DEFINITELY don’t ever use me as your Phone a Friend if you ever get asked a Pittsburgh question, Jesus Christ. I’m the un-Yinzeriest person living here, I think.

I made Henry watch some of their YouTube videos when I got home that night and when I saw an interview with this dancer, he became my immediate favorite because I got major Ten from WayV/NCT vibes! I would totally go see this again if the opportunity ever arose. Big ups to Michelle for culturizing me in my own town!

****

SIDEBAR: Speaking of Ten, here’s this recent choreo he made with Winwin that I am obsessed with and I saw that one of the kpop pinmakers designed a mock-up for this and if she gets it made into an actual pin, I am 100% there for that. I could watch Ten dance all day long. He might be my second favorite dancer, right behind Taemin.

Apr 142019
 

My egghead son got straight A’s again and our half-assed tradition is to let him pick a place to eat out (as opposed to our usual parenting tactic of forgetting to feed him). He almost immediately chose the neighborhood sandwich hotspot, Parker’s, and no one argued with that.

  • Can we walk there? CHECK
  • Is it cheap? CHECK
  • Is the owner the coolest guy in town? CHECK TIMES OUR ZIPCODE

Parker’s is one of those places that we love but don’t hit up very often. “Why don’t we eat here more often?” Chooch and I are known to questioningly lament when we walk past it, which is nearly everyday.

Well, it’s one of those places that closes at 3pm so weeknights are out. And we honestly just don’t dine out too often, because I’m always freaking out about things I learned in that nutrition class I attended once in a dream.

We invited Blake and his brood–Haley was working, sadly, so it was just me, Lily, and a bunch of boys. When we got to the Boulevard, it was POPPIN’! Spring has definitely sprung. I always bitch about my town but there is really something special about that main street in spring and summer. And there have been so many improvements over the last few years so it’s not just a row of dives and pits.

The addition of Parker’s is definitely one of the best improvements!

I ordered the Sunnydale which is meatless and comes on a pretzel bun and who doesn’t like a pretzel bun other than people who don’t like pretzely breads.

Chooch and I gloated because Parker himself acknowledged us as usual and NOT HENRY. Not gonna lie, I’d probably try to pursue Parker if I were single.

Lol.

Gotta get them free ‘wiches.

Meanwhile, Calvin got french toast sticks and licked every single one of them so then no one else could try one, THANKS CALVIN!

Henry and Lily scrutinized Chooch’s coloring skills.

Then the guy who owns the gaming place came in with his gf and said, “Congrats on being student of the month at the teen center!” and I was like, “Well, there are only like 8 kids there, so….” because my self-deprecation extends to Chooch, but then I whispered, “How did Ed know!?!?” and Chooch just shrugged.

After breakfast, we went next door to the post office to mail some card orders and our favorite postal worker Michael gave Chooch and Calvin suckers and I was like, “Really, we come here every Saturday and this is the first I’m seeing of these suckers?!”

Then! We walked past the fire station and the firemen let Calving sit in the fire truck for no reason other than he is a baby and for god’s sake, I miss being a baby! Also, I miss being a blond 18-year-old, because I got a lot of perks at that age too, just saying.

Then! Immediately after this, we crossed the street and Chooch tripped over the curb and twisted his knee, causing A Scene right in front of our Mexican friend manning the taco cart so that was great, but luckily Chooch lived to take another step.

Then! We went to the library so Chooch could get a new library card and the librarians scowled because they are the only people in our neighborhood who hate them. I just asked him why and he said because they’re stupid…and also because he talks in a volume one level up from a whisper, and one time he–GOD FORBID–helped someone on the computer.

I’m sure there isn’t ANY OTHER reason, you guys.

Our last stop was the bakery for post-breakfast dessert (what, that’s a thing) and then on the way home, some lady was all HI RILEY and it turns out it was the woman who is in charge of the teen center, and then the weird lady who lives in the big house up the street started asking me about Lily because I was pushing her in the stroller and my immediate response was to yell, “SHE IS NOT MY BABY” like a paranoid kidnapper, and then some girl who lives on our block walked by with her dogs and said, “I saw on Facebook that you’re student of the month at the teen center!” so then Chooch and I exchanged “a-ha!” looks and he checked Facebook and found this:

So, mystery solved!

Also, Henry and I went back up to the boulevard later that day to get our weekly supply of pita bread and dates from Pitaland, and the guy working was all, “HELLO FRIENDS” because we’re there so often, and then we went to CVS and Chooch’s cashier-friend Hayley rang us up and then later I saw Chooch’s friend Spencer the corgi and his owner Bob and I started cracking up because it’s kind of like a Yinzer Stars Hollow, now that I think about it, and Chooch is Rory.

Every time I start to consider moving away from Brookline, I think of the boulevard and how it has everything we need short of an Asian market (it does have a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese massage parlor, and a Vietnamese nail salon though!) and then I realize that I have somehow become attached to this town over the years.

Saturday was just a really perfect spring day all around. And the rest of the weekend was great too but that’s a post for later!

Apr 122019
 

Oh damn, end of the week already. Well, let’s get this Friday Five thang started. I know, I can’t  believe I’m still blogging, either. Stick a fork in it, Erin!

Random “look it’s spring in the city” picture. 

  1. WTF Lunch and Apple Slumming

Typing this takes guts, because I’m about to admit something that goes against my every belief. You guys know that I am an apple snob, a forbidden fruit aficionado, a pomme princess, only permitting those designer hybrids to touch my palate…

…but on Wednesday…

I ATE A BASIC RED DELICIOUS.

Literally, the Walmart brand of apples.

And…it was surprisingly OK! Perhaps I’m becoming less apple hipster-ish now that I’m nearing 40, or maybe Red Delicious apples aren’t as 1950s Housewife Vanilla as I remember, or maybe I was just really hungry because we had a meeting that day and boxed lunches were provided, but us handful of vegetarians got a pretty unusual option. I actually thought the veg box I grabbed was an accident, the one defective box in the bunch, but after talking to Maggie–another meat-free department co-worker–I confirmed that our option was actually intentional. In the year 2019, this catering company couldn’t think of anything better to fulfill a vegetarian order than a sandwich roll loaded with one piece of lettuce, a ziplock bag with two tomato slices, and another (leaking) ziplock filled with some weird marinated cauliflower shit that I think was meant to be put inside the bun?! I ate less than half and threw the rest out because WTF was that.

Maggie said she took the lettuce off, saved the bun, and made a PB&J in her office with it after the meeting. Ugh, maybe I should stock up on some Uncrustables for these situations.

Seeing that I wasn’t eating my sandwich, Todd tried to offer me his apple but he had a GREEN ONE and I was like, “EW TODD ARE YOU KIDDING ME I DON’T EAT GREEN APPLES!” Ugh! Nice try.

So yeah, that Red Delicious that I was given in my lunch box was a welcome source of sustenance at that point! I forgot how OK-tasting those classic fruit-balls really are.

Meanwhile, Lauren was sitting next to me and her choice was like, roast beef or something and that sandwich was fucking LOADED.

I sound like a bitchbaby, but I’m really appreciative that there even WAS an option provided for us veg-lifers, but come on, catering people. It’s 2019! Surely not all of your clientele eats meat. Do better!

2. Still Crying Over Jonghyun

I mentioned earlier this week that it was the late Jonghyun’s birthday.  I wore some of my Jonghyun memorial pins on Monday in his honor and tried hard to just be a nice person to everyone I encountered (with the exception of Henry, haha) all week, even strangers on the street. I even tried real hard not to scowl at the abortion protesters who have set up shop again in front of Planned Parenthood.

I was doing OK until last night. I kept seeing this “Classical Musicians React to Jonghyun” in my YouTube feed but I kept scrolling past because I knew it would upset me. But then after Henry went to bed last night, I ended up putting it on because I’m a glutton, and before I knew it, I was straight sobbing. And not just “fake Instagram crying” but like, full-body weeping, entire face wet, choking on eye-spit, violent nose-blowing, now-my-stomach-hurts C-R-Y-I-N-G. Not only were they saying really complimentary things about Jonghyun as an artist, musician, vocalist, and lyricist, they were genuinely moved and some were visibly overcome with emotion. They talked about how it’s a shame that he left the world so soon, but how lucky we are that he gave us so much of himself.

When Jonghyun died, it hit me harder than when I lost any other celebrity or musician I loved, and it felt even more shocking than when Bowie or Prince died. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I felt very emotionally-connected to this one and it affected me on what feels like an extremely personal and intimate level. Maybe it’s because Kpop idols in general let people into their lives more than most, what with all the fan events, reality shows, and variety appearances they make. It makes it feel like we know them as people, we see their personalities and their know their quirks–granted, I know that a lot of this is for show and they still have their private versions of themselves, but I can’t deny that I feel like I know a lot of these idols on a deeper level than any Western artist, for better or worse.

So, even though it’s been a year and a half since his passing, it still feels so raw. I woke Henry up last night and buried my tear-soaked face into his chest and he just murmured, “Why do you do this to yourself?”

“I feel like my whole entire body is one gigantic heart AND IT’S BROKEN,” I wailed, and then I threw away my sorrow-streaked contacts and passed out.

Anyway, that reaction video was really great and you should watch it.

You should also watch this wonderful live performance of Tell Me What To Do because Jonghyun was still alive then and Taemin is wearing a see-through shirt:

3. Props To My Non-Secret Son Not-Named Clive

I mentioned in another post recently that Chooch was chosen as Student of the Month at the Teen Center and he got to choose the dinner menu (isn’t it awesome that they feed the kids there?!). He asked for tteokbokki but they went above and beyond and planned an entire Korean night! He texted me this picture on Wednesday:

I freaking love the Teen Center, you guys. Almost so much that I’d consider donating household junk to be used for craft projects, or volunteering….Henry.

Additionally, he came home from school today with his A-filled report card! I try not to be that mom who brags about her kid all the time (and trust me, he’s not perfect!) but man, sometimes I feel spoiled because as far as his school-work and grades go, Henry and I are able to be pretty hands-off. He just naturally knows what he needs to do and he gets that shit done on his own, PRAISE BE. Helicopter-parenting is not my style, so thank you Chooch!

Oh wait, one more Chooch update – he’s been binge’ing Jane the Virgin and now he says “Oh my god” exactly like Jane, which is also how my EX-BFF used to say it, so that’s been pretty annoying.

4. Henry’s Fucking Face Instrument

You know those old-timey guys that peddle their music-mobiles down the cobblestone road, tooting all the horns, smashing the cymbals, stroking the washboard, blowing their whistles? It sounds like one of them lives inside Henry’s nose. His nasal bells and whistles get worse with age, I swear. Chooch and I are constantly groaning and complaining about it and then Henry will bark, “FINE I JUST WON’T BREATHE THEN, I GUESS!” and then we’re like, “Yay!” but he always goes on breathing.

At least his beard is growing back so he doesn’t look so much like  a 1950s science teacher now.

5. Current Favorite Kpop Jam!

And no, it’s not the new BTS which just came out today and is good but also kind of underwhelming and features too much English; however, my expectations were pretty low to begin with because it features Halsey and I really don’t like her at all and every time they collab with another American artist, I lose a feather from the Korean wings I made out of the household junk that I could have donated to the Teen Center, BUT maybe I’m maturing and as mentioned above, becoming less hipster-y in my old age, because she actually didn’t bother me! I thought it was well done, and her voice really works well with theirs, and also she didn’t overpower the song or steal any of the limelight like NICKI MINAJ did in the shitty American remix of “Idol,” and it’s weird because I actually like Nicki but she really had no business being on that song at all and added NOTHING to it. In “Boy With Luv,” though, I thought Halsey’s vocals were tasteful and subdued. I approve.

But I digress! My current favorite jam is this real tooth-rotter from a rookie girl group, Everglow. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first but then two of my favorite kpop cardio YouTubers uploaded a routine for it and I was really feeling it.

Then I saw a comment somewhere that said they thought they were saying, “You go to Walmart everyday” and now that’s all I can hear too but it’s still the fucking jam.

OK gotta go, I have two Bon Bon Chocolat workouts with my name on it!

Apr 112019
 

After Halloween, Easter is my favorite holiday. I guess it’s just because I have spring fever, definitely not because I’m a Religioso, plus also it’s another holiday that revolves heavily around candy and chocolate.

Anyway, this old post from the Easter season of 2015 popped up in my blog stats, and I got all kinds of nostalgic! This was one of the best Easter-esque memories of all time and I have to share it again as a Throwback Thursday because I’ll seize any opportunity to mention Janna’s Robitussin abuse!

*******************************

I Kind of Threw a Fit: The Story About a Girl & Her Robitussin
April 2015

A few weeks ago, Janna sent this devastating message to my cellular phone. Naturally, I sent it to Corey and then also posted it on Instagram with the hashtags #JannaWhite #Heisenjanna #JannaMakesMeth and Corey immediately piggybacked with #JannasDoubleLife #JannaPaystheToll and #LockYourMedicineCabinets

I was laughing so hard about this that I started to see sparks in my vision. Henry of course was scowling because he just doesn’t understand. It’s the generation gap, I think. Probably.

A couple nights later, Janna and Corey came over because we were going to attend a Tenebrae service at my old friend Brian’s church. Brian is actually the music director at the church; he doesn’t own it. I haven’t seen him in years (he lived in Nebraska for awhile) and I’ve always wanted to attend a Tenebrae service, so this seemed perfect. Janna agreed to go even though she was sick, and she showed up at my house with an entire box of Kleenex in tow. And then Corey said he wanted to go too, because Church on a Saturday night?!?! Yes, please!

I tweeted something about this and Barb immediately said something along the lines of how we better behave, which made me crack up, because what a horrible idea, Corey and I going to church together.

On the way to the church, Janna told us the Robitussin story. In a nutshell, she tried to go through the self check-out line and it wouldn’t work so a clerk had to come over type in codes and then that still didn’t work, so then they made her go to a regular checkout line, at which point she was asked for her ID and she didn’t have it on her.

“I kind of threw a fit and just slammed the bottle down into the candy bars and left,” she said, and Corey and I were crying over this image of Janna hulking out over needing ID to buy cough syrup. Then apparently she went to the bathroom and when she came out of the stall, the manager was waiting and accused her of stealing the Robitussin and taking it into the bathroom to slurp it in privacy, so then she had to take the manager over to the checkout line and prove that she left it there.

The whole point here is that Janna was sick as fuck and had a coughing fit during the Tenebrae service and had to excuse herself, which made Corey and I start cracking up in God’s House. It was even worse when she left, because she had been separating us, so now we were able to see each other laughing, and that just made it worse and oh god, my kidneys. I had to turn to the side and cover my face with my hair so that I wouldn’t see Corey in my periphery and that hopefully none of the somber church-goers would notice that I was red-faced and crying in the back pew. (Yes, we were smart enough to sit in the back pew.)

Meanwhile, some old man in front of me had pulled out his phone and was blatantly recording the service and kept slowly panning from left to right, so I was like, “Well, if this dildo is going to be so obvious, then I’m at the very least going to grab a quick Instavid.”

So I did, but then it started PLAYING BACK AT FULL VOLUME. I was like “Abort! Abort!” and ended up accidentally deleting the video in the end, but at least no one seemed to notice what was happening because the real life singing was so loud.

Janna eventually came back and Corey and I were bracing ourselves for another laughing fit, which started as soon as we heard rummaging in her pocket for a cough drop, followed by the rustling of the wrapper as she opened it.

Maybe I should quickly inform you what a Tenebrae service is. It’s like a Roman Catholic church thing that happens around Easter. It’s supposed to start out with all these candles lit, right? And then as the service goes on, the candles are extinguished one by one until the church is all dark by the end, and then there is supposed to be a loud bang, signifying the earthquake that followed Jesus’s death, and then everyone is supposed to leave in silence.

These things did not happen. Some candles were snuffed out, that part is true. But the overhead lights stayed on the whole time and there was no apocalyptic bang at the end! I was pretty bummed about that, because in my mind, this thing was billed as a Scary Church Event.

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Actually, now that I’m looking at the poster, it says nothing at all about Tenebrae. I KNOW THAT THE FACEBOOK EVENT DID THOUGH.

Luckily, the music and the singing were actually really sad and beautiful (Song of the Shadows, y’all), which obviously is my favorite kind. One of the soloists is an attorney-by-day, and Corey and I were obsessed with her. She was also in the Miss America pageant once! Maybe I’m making that up! I can’t remember! Where’s my program when I need it?!

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I paid real money to light a candle! I didn’t cheat the church! #newleaf #Ijustlikefire

We were going to just leave after the bang-less ending, especially since Janna was feenin’ for her ‘tussin, but then Brian grabbed the mic to thank everyone for something and urged everyone to stick around for the reception. And then he said the magic words:

Sugary treats.

Corey and I exchanged looks of exaggerated merriment. “Sugary treats!” we mouthed to each other around Janna, who was looking like she might pass out at this point.

We followed those “in the know” out of the church and across the street into an adjacent building, where tables of sugary treats were set up in a small room. Right before we entered the room, Janna had a truncated coughing fit and some old man amiably commented that “uh oh, someone sounds sick!” I almost died. Janna was drawing attention from The Olds. Maybe they could have a cough drop exchange in the parking lot.

We were among the first to forage for sugary treats, THANK GOD.

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It was difficult to be so close to the parishioners because I was giddy. The Laughter was threatening to eject from my mouth at any given moment, so I made sure to not make eye contact with anyone. I filled my plate with the critically acclaimed sugary treats and hightailed it to the back of the room, where Corey and Janna joined me and we proceeded to stand in a suspicious circle, looking totally out of place, and giggling nervously. The unfortunate part of our location was that it was near the garbage can, so a steady stream of church-goers kept interrupting our heretic huddle in order to pitch their empty punch cups.

Finally, Janna had enough of this and brusquely picked up the trash can and then slammed it down a few feet away from us, so it was just chilling alone in the middle of the floor. Corey and I were like, “HOLY SHIT, JANNA IS SO VIOLENT WHEN SHE’S SICK!” She had this “Nothing is funny right now” look on her face, which just made us laugh even harder, and there is a thing that you should know about my brother: he has a REALLY LOUD LAUGH. The kind that ricochets off walls and bald heads and causes all eyes to fixate on us. It is simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing.

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I think this picture was taken before Janna slammed the garbage can down.

Some old lady came over and asked, “IS THIS ON?!” because there was a coffee maker on the counter next to us. I was like, “Bitch who knows?” She pushed a button and cold water squirted out, so she was like, “I guess not” and then walked away. Even this was hysterical to us. And then another old lady attempted to get water out of a water cooler but it was empty, so she shouted, “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME THERE’S NO WATER” and then Janna pointed out that there were bottles of water on the counter, so the lady was like, “I’M TAKING ONE” and then stormed away. I think Corey wanted her to be his spirit animal. He was pretty entranced. Everything just seemed like a blatant parody that night, like all of these people were walking caricatures put in this room just to test our resistance to cracking up. Newsflash: our threshold is ridiculously low.

I wanted another peanut butter thing, but I was afraid to go back to the table because the room was way more crowded and everyone knew each other, which meant they knew that I didn’t belong. IT WAS SCARY.

After awhile, I decided that we looked too suspicious, so we went out into the hallway to wait for Brian, and this is where I honestly came very close to peeing my pants, so I cried out, “DON’T MAKE ME PEE I’M WEARING A SKIRT!” and possibly people heard this, but everything was So Funny!

“I feel like we’re a sleeper cell,” I blurted out, and Corey was like, WTF is that so I explained it to him and he was like, “WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT!?” I don’t know, actually. It seemed to make sense at the time because we moved in a tight huddle everywhere we went, like we didn’t want religion to penetrate us.

Corey kept hashtagging everything that was happening (there was even a #tenebraeslut!) and Janna was like “#canwegonow” but I wanted to say hello to Brian since he invited me there, after all. We ended up having to go back to the church to see him, because he had slipped out of the Sugary Treats Room to go back to his office. On the way there, Janna reminded us for the 87th time that she was really sick, so I told her she could just wait in the car as long as she didn’t spill her syrup everywhere. But she just sighed and trudged along after us.

Brian gave really bad directions to me via Facebook messenger so we ended up in parts of the church that we probably shouldn’t have been. (Corey started to walk into a room right behind the altar and came backing out in a hurry, waving his arms in an “abort! abort!” motion. He said there were two men back there, reading the Bible.*)

*(Literally reading the Bible, you guys. This isn’t some weird Altar Boy euphemism.)

We eventually found him, and it turns out the problem is that I just didn’t understand “front of the church” versus “back of the church.” So we had a quick reunion with Brian, who pelted Janna with a handful of cough drops for the road, and then we left before the whole Church thing started to make us soft, like we’d start picturing Jesus frowning at us every time we started to laugh at Janna’s pratfalls. The whole night was almost funnier than the “Janna Stole Her Mom’s Car” incident.

Almost.

Janna was like, “I NEED TO GO HOME AND DIE” — which obviously is drug addict speak for “I need to go sit on the bathroom floor and drink my Sizzurp” — so she left as soon as we got back to my house. But Corey stayed for awhile and we giddily filled Henry in on the evening’s events, and he laughed at exactly zero parts. Then Corey drew a picture of Janna drinking Robitussin and we were both crying while Henry shook his head disapprovingly and Chooch drank in the bad influence filling the air around him.

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Apr 092019
 

We finally had our first legit spring weekend and it was wondrous. We went for walks and left our coats at home! I mean, I love my coat collection but it was really nice to walk down the street without being swathed in heavy fleece and tapestry, you know?

Here are some things that happened on this lovely first weekend of April. I love April. DON’T YOU LOVE APRIL?!

First, we kicked off the weekend Friday night with a viewing of “Annabelle” which I am ashamed to say I had not yet seen. I saw a preview for the newest one and had no idea that this is the THIRD in the series?! I am off my horror game, you guys. Anyway, I do love the Conjuring franchise so much, and I assumed I would love Annabelle as well, but it was kind of just OK. I mean, there were a few times when I jumped a bit, but the whole movie felt like it was missing something, like someone wrote it in a hurry. The highlight for me was when Chooch couldn’t remember the priest’s name and referred to him as “Mr. Father.”

Henry left halfway through because he can’t hang. Any horror movies about possessions or churches scare him too much, though he’ll deny it if you ask him. But I remember VIVIDLY that he told me this back when we were freshly dating and I wanted to watch Lost Souls.

So…

Then, I did a craft-thing. I had been looking for some type of glass pendant thingie to display the sea glass I collected last year from Songdo Beach in Busan. I found this perfect orb-thing on Etsy and I was so excited to put it all together, but then after I glued it, I realized that there was a streak of glue inside the orb, and also a cat hair, so then Henry had to take it apart and re-do it.

But by Sunday it was fully finished so I got to wear it to work on Monday! That night, I was admiring it and said, “I love this much. I can’t believe I made this.”

“You didn’t make it! You put it together sloppily, and then I had to take it apart and fix it. made it,” Henry argued. God, he always has to have the fucking limelight.

Bottom line, now I can keep tiny pieces of Korea close to my heart. Actually, when you think about it, it’s really just Korean garbage. This sea glass was probably made from broken soju bottle. *shrugs*

Oh shit and then one of my favorite Kpop cardio instructors replied to me on YouTube and I was so excited!

I have such a big fat life, you guys.

Saturday night, we had dinner plans at Buca di Beppo with our Castle Blood friends – Ricky, Dawn, Kari, and Kate. Chooch was supposed to go with us as well (Kate is only a year older than him and we like to watch him writhe in her presence) but then Saturday morning, he mentioned something about going to a play with the Teen Center people and I was like, “Wait, what now?” and he was like, “Yeah, you signed the permission slip” and I was like, “You said you were going with us to dinner!”

“Oh that’s tonight too? Shit,” he said and I died a little knowing that we’re at the age where he has his own mini-adult plans that don’t include us and how did this even happen?!

I was OK with it though since it was a cultural thing he was attending (Doll’s House Part 2 at the O’Reilly Theater) and am just happy that he’s not out vaping, eating Tide pods, or being a destructive teenage shit.

Henry and I decided to be Responsible and took the trolley to Station Square in case we decided to drink like real life adults. It was annoying riding the trolley with Henry because he was trying to act all cool and metropolitan. I was like, “Bitch, this is Pittsburgh. Public transportation is lame AF in this hole.” Ugh and it took him forever to put the fare on his (see also: MY SPARE) ConnectCard because he kept hitting the wrong things.

Then we ended up getting down there way too early and there is really nothing to do in Station Square unless you’re a meathead or attending a wedding reception or possibly dumping a body in the river (you do you, bro) so we just wandered around inside the half-desolate “mall” area and I reminisced about the one time I went to see some comedian at the Funny Bone with MEAN CHRISTINE and I got really drunk and was screaming in the parking garage. Henry was like, “Wow, that doesn’t sound like you at all” and I thought he was being serious at first but no.

We walked past one bar that smelled like beer farts and then went into some other lame Pgh sports bar so that Henry could get a beer and I was pouting because I didn’t like the vibe of the place, although an Al B. Sure song was playing on the jukebox when we walked in, so that was cool. But otherwise, it just wasn’t my scene and I made Henry chug his dumb beer so we could leave, even though he was trying to be drunk and leisurely.

I think part of the problem is that I’m just unable to fucking relax anymore. I’m so on edge and ready to move on to the next thing!

So then I was in a bad mood for a little bit but we left and sat on a bench by the river and talked about Seoul and then Henry made fun of some girl who stumbled by in huge heels because one of his pet peeves in life is when girls wear shoes they can’t walk in and then he made fun of her makeup too but I white-knighted her because THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WEARING A LOT OF MAKEUP IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. I can’t believe I defended her though. What is wrong with me. I must be dying.

She was wearing one of those stupid “dressy” rompers though and I hate stupid “dressy” rompers, mostly because they look stupid on me and I really want them to not look stupid on me.

Ugh.

Eventually, it was time for our reservation, and when the hostess took us back to our booth, in a restaurant that has three stories and a bunch of fucking rooms, we realized she had seated us RIGHT NEXT to our ex-neighbors (specifically HNC’s stepdaughter’s family, the son is in Chooch’s class) whom we have had not so great experiences with but the husband isn’t too bad so we exchanged pleasantries with him while the broad ignored us, but whatever.

Their party was large and celebrating a birthday, it appeared, and  there were numerous obnoxious children screaming and some Yinzer yapping to her kid to get her cigarettes, so that was awesome. Eventually, I was able to block them all out, but I was also sitting the farthest from their table, so…

In spite of that, and our waitress who had no personality and looked dumbfounded every time she came over to our table AND FORGOT TO PUT IN MY PIZZA ORDER, we had a great dinner with our friends! Usually, we only get to talk to them briefly as we’re exiting Castle Blood, so it was nice to be able to sit down and actually chill for a few hours with them.

Plus, Dawn is always saying super flattering things about this here blog, so I got to hear a lot more of that this time! Plus x2 – sangria! Plus x3 – she is such a good influence on me and was basically bullying Henry into taking me to Canada’s Wonderland. *prayer hands*

It’s not often that Henry and I go out without Chooch in tow, and most of our friends like him better than us anyway so they’d be disappointed if they were stuck with just us. So, after we left, I realized something.

I ACTUALLY GOT TO TALK.

Like, the real Erin got to come out and play!

I was able to start telling a story without Chooch cutting me off because he always thinks he can tell a story better than me and  then we start bickering with each other over who is going to tell the story that probably no one even cares about hearing about anyway and that’s good because in the end, usually NO ONE tells the fucking story because we’re both too pissed off at that point.

UGH.

Other notable “First April Weekend” events:

I got this new addition to my pin collection:

It stems from a speech Obama gave in 2017, in which he referenced SHINee and their global impact on the kids of America and even mentioned their love for In-n-Out, lol.

And then Sunday, even though it was gloomily overcast, was 70 degrees so we had “family time” in the park which basically involves me mocking everything Henry says and Chooch screaming HI DOGGIE like a toddler to every last dog that trots past us.

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Being dicks on the exercise trail as usual.

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I nearly peed my pants 16 different times because the warm weather and my weird family had me in such a good mood! I’m so ready for winter to be in the rear view mirror.

This was what I’d call a Solid Weekend. More of these please.

Apr 072019
 

Today is Jonghyun’s birthday and I’m trying not to be sad about it. I wish he was still here with us, but instead I will take comfort in the beautiful music he left behind for the world to enjoy. Can’t ask for much more than that.

I hope everyone is having a good day. Tell someone you love them and maybe dole out a hug or two even if you’re an anti-hugger. It could make all the difference in someone’s day!

<3 5hinee forever.

Apr 062019
 

[I love how this sounds like a Christopher Pike book. (LOL, I just Googled it and it’s actually an R.L. Stine book!)]

Back in 10th grade, so let’s say 1994 (I honestly googled “what year was I in 10th grade” – that didn’t help), my friend Christy was sleeping over. It was pretty late and we were just getting ready to go to bed when my phone rang. I had my own phone line in high school, to go along with my purple not-because-of-drugs pager, and LOVED to talk on the phone, so getting calls late at night was not unusual.

I have to side-bar here for a minute because I am hilariously the opposite as an adult and rarely ever answer my phone. In fact just the other day, I got a local call and figured it was a robocall or a bill collector tricking me by using my own area code, so I ignored it. Less than 30 seconds later, Chooch texted me and said, “Call back that number, it’s the school nurse.”

MOM OF THE YEAR.

But, on that night in 1994, I actually did answer the phone, because it could have been JUSTIN, my on-again-off-again sometimes-boyfriend who I was fucking obsessed with. It was a guy, not like a creepy dad-age man, it sounded like an older teen, and he was asking for Celeste. I remember without a doubt that it was Celeste, because there was a Celeste in my class and it was just wasn’t a name I heard that often outside of that.

I told him he had the wrong number because, you know, I’m not Celeste.

“Wrong number,” I said to Christy, and then she rolled over and went back to sleep.

But then! A minute later, my phone again.

It was the same guy, but this time, he was calling to talk to ME.  Look, I was 15 at the time, and it was the 90s, the term “Catfish” was a whole decade away from being coined, so yeah, I’m going to tell this stranger my name when he asks.

“Is that that same guy?” Christy asked. “HANG UP!”

But of course, I stayed up and talked to him for probably an hour that night, because I never listened to my friends. Case in point, several years later when Christy told me not to  date this dude she knew from her school because he was crazy and literally set his best friend’s house on fire over a borrowed video game and that my friends is how I ended up in the most emotionally and physically abuse relationship of my life with Psycho Mike! So yeah, preach, Christy!

But back to the wrong number. I learned that night that this guy’s name was Kevin Wilson, he was from a nearby neighborhood called Brentwood, I think he said he was 19 or 20–he was definitely not in high school anymore. So right away, you’re thinking that this is going down some rocky statutory street, right? Well, here’s the weird thing: we became solid phone friends and he never once crossed that line. It always remained platonic, no, “What are you wearing?”s or even any sweetly-veiled manipulations to meet in an empty parking garage at midnight. And this was pre-cell phone, pre-email, pre-text age so he wasn’t sending me dick pics or trying to get me to cyber with him.

I was the one who was always trying to hang out in person. You know, like, let’s go to the mall or Denny’s! I’d get all whiny about it too, probably. But he always had excuses or reasons why he couldn’t and I just went with it because I was dumb. He did throw me a bone once though by dropping pictures of himself off in my mailbox one day, and I was so mad that he did it while I was at school! But oh my god, you guys, he was so cute! Like, classic young American boy who probably played football in high school and can drink three chocolate milkshakes a day and not get fat. I can remember taking the pictures to school and showing everyone at my table during lunch and girls were PISSED that this guy was calling ME. I mean, I wasn’t the worst-looking girl, but I had braces and was going through a pretty heavy Yo-Girl phase where I lined my lips with brown liner and practically swam in my clothes, so….

He was almost like a big brother to me, giving me advice, checking up on me, making sure I was doing OK. I don’t think we talked every day, but probably weekly. And it was really good for me  too, because that aforementioned sometimes-boyfriend Justin was always giving me the run-around and was hardly available, so having someone else to talk to really filled a void. Plus, he would say brotherly things like, “DO I NEED TO KICK THIS GUY’S ASS” and “YOU ARE TOO GOOD FOR THIS JUSTIN KID” and even though I didn’t believe it at the time, he was so right but of course I didn’t listen to him and I’d go right back to writing ERIN <3’Z JUSTIN all over my Composition books.

So, I know what you’re thinking: Wow, Erin, you’re 15, talking to some older stranger on the phone who KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE and COMES TO YOUR HOUSE WHEN YOU’RE NOT HOME, do your parents even know the shit you do!? How did you live to see your 30s?!

Well, let me tell you something: my mom not only knew I was talking to this boy-guy, but SHE MET HIM! I had left him pictures of me in our mailbox and when he came to get them, she happened to be coming home or leaving at the same time, and they got to meet! I was so devastated that my mom met him first!

BUT IT GETS WORSE! She freaking gave him a job at our family’s drywall company! So now she got to see him everyday! She’d come home from work and tell me things, like, “Kevin is so cute! Kevin is such a boy!” and I would just be like, “GOD WHY DON’T YOU JUST DATE HIM THEN.”

I don’t remember how long we were in contact, maybe around a year, but then he ended up moving away to Virginia Beach, I think. And we lost touch after that, having never met in real life, not once.

Something made me think of this last Friday and after spending the last week racking my brain and texting friends for more information, but no one remembers this. Janna said she doesn’t remember, and Christy said she vaguely remembers but that I was always friends and penpals with “so many prisoners, etc. so they all blur together” and then went on  to ask me if I remember my pen pal Alisha who was obsessed with the movie “Newsies” and I was like, “Of course I remember her, she was my best penpal friend!” but when I found her on Facebook a few years ago, she DID NOT ACCEPT MY FRIEND REQUEST.

Janna was like, “Can’t you just check your old journals?” Look, 10th grade was a very traumatic year for me and I’m not trying to revisit that by reading my own emotionally-damaged words, thanks Janna.

The one person who would probably remember is some broad who I haven’t talked to since Chooch was born because she chose free beer over our friendship. (LONG STORY.)

Then I texted my mom and asked her if she remembered him and her immediate response was “LOL are you serious!?!?!?”

Now, knowing  my mom like I know my mom, I read this in the most paranoid way as possible and my suspicions immediately peaked. To me, that meant, “All these years later and you still haven’t figured it out?” So my conclusions catapulted straight to, “HOLY SHIT MY MOM HAD ME CATFISHED.”

She hasn’t admitted to anything and probably never will BUT THIS IS MY THEORY:

She hated Justin SO BAD that she had this guy “accidentally” call me and then become phone-friends with me as a DISTRACTION. Probably he was already someone who worked for her, maybe!? And those pictures that he “dropped off” could have been of ANYONE. I mean, my mom often threatened to send me to an all-school because of the serious problems Justin was causing me, and I wasn’t even allowed to get my driver’s license until I was 18 and living on my own because she didn’t want me to driving to see him when I was still in high school which is hilarious because by then I was dating an even worse guy. (See: Psycho Mike.)

But then, the more I thought about it that night, and the more Henry had to sit there and listen to my delusional rantings, I came up with a second possibility that’s EVEN WEIRDER but still HIGHLY PROBABLE.

OK, bear with me.

When I was 19, my mom dropped the HALF-SIBLING bomb on me. She told me that my birth dad had a kid with the lady he was with prior to my mom, and that I have an older half-brother. Apparently, my mom and his mom stayed amicable after my dad died when I was super young, and my brother knew I existed but I had no idea about any of this. I agreed to meet him and was a little shocked to know that he had basically kept up with me my whole life through my mom. She would tell his mom things like when I would be at Spinning Wheels, so then his mom would take him there so he could see me. So yes, my mom basically let my half-brother stalk me in the 80s. Seems weird now that I see it in print!

And he would sometimes visit my mom at her office. But my mom was so afraid to bring him into my life because she thought I’d flip out, which is actually a legitimate concern because I was highly unstable back then.

(Lol, “back then.”)

But my brother wanted to have contact with me so what if that was my mom’s solution!? WHAT IF HE WAS THE ONE I WAS TALKING TO. It would explain why the calls were so sterile and textbook platonic, why he could never hang out, why my mom didn’t flip her shit when she found out that I was talking to some older guy on the phone who was also coming to my house and leaving photos in the mailbox.

IS THIS CRAZY? AM I BEING NUTS HERE?!

It feels so plausible in my head! This feels like Classic Val!

I was telling this whole thing to Glenn yesterday at work and he was like, “Or….it really was some old man…”

OMG WHAT IF IT WAS HENRY!? Maybe that was his release back then – he’d sneak away from his kids, hide in the garage with a case of beer and start cold-calling girls. Ew, he would have been 30 then! Our age difference is so much creepier when we take it back to the way-past.

I just asked him right now, while he’s washing dishes, if it was him. “What year was it?” he asked. “Nope, wasn’t me,” he mumbled over the clinking of soapy silverware. But he had to ask, though!

That’s my story about the supposed Kevin Wilson. Maybe someday I will have a solid conclusion to this. Next time I see my mom, I’m going to start talking about it again and gauge her facial tics.

 

Apr 032019
 

I needed a recent non-iPhone picture of Chooch so we had a super-quick photoshoot yesterday before dinner, and Chooch was less-than-thrilled but he did go along with it without too much fuss and didn’t even hold out his hand for payment like he normally does these days.

Right before we went to go outside though, HNC had just parked across the street so I told Chooch I wanted to wait for him to go in his house because I’m more paranoid and twitchy than a tweaker under a Seattle bridge in 1991. It took him so long to cross the street, I couldn’t even believe it. Every time I looked out the window, he was STILL in the street so then I wondered if he was playing Frogger, maybe that’s what he does to blow off some steam after a day of doing whatever it is HNC does.

Finally, Chooch looked out and said he wasn’t there anymore, so I flounced out of the house like a weirdo with my camera, but HNC WAS STILL ON HIS PORCH, UNLOCKING HIS DOOR. And then Chooch came out of the house so HNC was all, “WHOA! YOU LOOK LIKE SNAZZY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!”

And Chooch just got all nervous and mute, so I said, “Oh, we’re just doing a photo shoot.”

“Oh! Where?” he asked, probably giving us way too much credit and thinking we were going to…Olan Mills, lololol.

“Um, behind the house,”  shrugged and he was just like, “Oh…ok. Have fun!”

But then I did that thing that I do where I’m trying to act like we’re not doing anything weird (and we actually weren’t!!!!) by continuing to spit out superfluous small talk.

“Thanks! Yeah, I need some 13-year-old pictures of him,” I over-explained, and then after HNC said he understood, I tacked on, “Plus, I like to abuse him” and nervously laughed.

“Nothing wrong with that!” HNC laughed, and we walked away.

“Why did you say that?” Chooch hissed. “Now he’s going in his house and calling CPS!”

LOL.

But really, hopefully he didn’t.

So last week, Chooch had to give a presentation on the project he did for Black History Month. His subject was James Beckworth and after two months of hearing about this guy and going to the main Carnegie library to look for books on this obscure guy, all I can  tell you is that he climbed mountains.

I don’t even know when he was alive.

Anyway, his Communications teacher is real uptight when it comes to things like this, which I actually appreciate because he is going to be so prepared for high school reports, etc., and she makes these things super formal. So even though the presentations only last 5-10 minutes, she expects every kid to dress up for it. Usually, Chooch waits until the last minute to drop this on me, but this time he gave me three whole days notice only because he wanted me to buy him a lavender suit!?

Trust me, I love the idea of a lavender suit. So many styling options! Such photo ops! But I wasn’t buying him a lavender suit for a five-minute presentation.

Perhaps for his first dance or…mock trial?

So my response to that was BOY YOU WILL WEAR SOMETHING YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR CLOSET and then I remembered this red blazer that I bought back during my shortlived I AM GOING TO BE AN AVANT GARDE FASHION DESIGNER phase but that quickly ended once Henry was like, “No, I am not buying you a sewing machine because you’ll never use it and then I’ll get stuck finishing your projects.”

….so?

Doesn’t this red blazer look fabulous with his watermelon shirt?! Even he agreed that it was the next best thing to a lavender suit, so we didn’t have to go through our usual head-butting routine. This is what he wore for his presentation and we all lived happily ever after.

KOREAN LESSON TIME: The word for watermelon in Korean is SUBAK.

EXTRA CREDIT: The word for pumpkin in Korean is HOBAK which sounds like ho-bag which makes me think of high school because ho-bag was the cordial “hey bitch” greeting of the 1990s.

He said his teacher’s reaction to his outfit was, “….THIS CHILD.”

Lol.

I can hear her saying that too. She is super sassy and has super-threatening acrylics. Chooch is always like “UGH Ms. SMITH” like everyday but I think he secretly likes her and she definitely likes him because she pushes him extra hard and he is obsessed with getting the best grades in her class.

In other Chooch news, this happened on Saturday:

They’re actually going to have tteokbokki for him this month! I’m not sure if I ever said it on here before, but that Teen Center (it’s actually called the Teen Outreach) is amazing and our neighborhood is so lucky to have it. They offer all kinds of extra-curricular activities like cooking classes, yoga, improv (which Chooch just signed up for) and he also gets paid to attend these weekly “Manhood” classes where he is being taught all the important things (re: PUBERTY, sex, etc.)  that Henry hasn’t talked to him about, and also things like HERE IS HOW TO RESPECT WOMEN, which we do talk about but how many boys don’t know these things!? A ton. And this awesome group is doing their part in preventing future date rapes / domestic violence / sexual harassment.

And yes, I did notice that there is something similar offered for girls, as well.

They even have field trips! He went geocaching last week and learned about aqua pods or something equally as boring, I can’t remember. And they go on hikes during the summer so they’re not actually all sitting around on dirty couches playing video games like I originally thought.

Man, I can’t believe I used to make fun of this place and get annoyed that he spends so much time there.

Anyway, that concludes my obligatory Chooch update.

Apr 012019
 

Drew & Me on Saturday, a folk song.

Whenever I have Friday late shifts, even though I get to work from home, my weekend automatically feels cut in half. I mean, I’m only working until 8:30 but it takes a toll. So any weekend that follows a Friday late shift is almost doomed from the start.

I AM SO POSITIVE.

Nothing much happened over the weekend. I didn’t make any plans, had nowhere to go, IT RAINED AND SNOWED ON SUNDAY, and I was in a bad mood because of that.

However, there were two highlights and here they are:

  1. TAEMIN WENT BACK TO BLACK HAIR YOU GUYS. Black hair Taemin is the best Taemin.

2. The Cure FINALLY got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and that alone would be enough to count as one of my weekend highlights, but then Robert Smith had to go and ONE-UP the actual honor by giving this perfectly glib interview, the first ten seconds of which went viral but the whole fucking interview is worth your time, believe me. He is perfection. Where the fuck did they dig up that interviewer?? The face Robert makes when she says she’s been a fan since birth is me every twenty minutes at work and every 5 minutes at home when Henry is talking.

This band has been my #1 since childhood, Robert will always be my ult bias, and my walls will always be dotted with Robert’s face. But the fact that past members were also there, LIKE LOL TOLHURST!!, really made my heart swell and I was crying on the couch next to Chooch who said nothing because he expects this from his emo mom. Obviously Robert’s stance on getting inducted was more of a blase, ambivalent, who really gives a fuck attitude, but I appreciated that Lol thoughtfully said that he was happy for the fans, that the fans must have felt vindicated.

YES, YES WE DO, LOL.

The last time they were nominated, they didn’t get in and I wanted to burn garbage, that’s how pissed I was. And when they were nominated for a Grammy in 2000 and lost, I wanted to flip desks while school children were sitting at them.

It is a travesty, A MOTHERFUCKING TRAVESTY, that there are still people I encounter who have….never heard of The Cure. Or even worse – confuse them with [x] 80s band.

For instance, when Todd was like, “Yeah I know the Cure” and started humming a song.

“THAT’S NOT THE CURE, TODD! THAT’S A-HA!” I cried.

UGH!!

It breaks my dumb black heart.

I wouldn’t fly to Australia alone for any old band, people. Remember that.

So, that was my weekend. NOTHING MUCH TO SEE HERE. Things will get more peppy in the next couple of weeks though, prob.

You’re dismissed.

Mar 302019
 

(I guess I could have saved this for tomorrow and titled it SUNDAY SUNBAES since I’m an asshole for alliteration.)

Hi guys! Korean lesson time: Sunbae means “senior” in any particular industry or school. I’m always posting comeback and debut videos on here so today I’m sharing some live performances of sunbae groups (1st & 2nd generation) because this is really such a golden era, when Girl’s Generation had 9 members and YG Entertainment wasn’t a sinking ship, and I really wish I could have experienced it in real-time but this was back when I was beginning my post-hardcore awakening, lol.

1. 2NE1: This girl group could pretty much eat all current girl groups for breakfast. It pains me to my core that I never got to see them live. Here’s hoping we get a post-YG reunion.

2. TVXQ: I got into Kpop waaaay after their peak but I quickly learned of their legendary status. They’re still active but only have two members now.

3. Shinhwa: I’m honestly surprised that there isn’t more talk of these guys.

4. F(x): Can SM please give these ladies a comeback?

5. Super Junior: I’d be remiss if I left this legendary crew off the list:

6. SHINee: You knew they’d be on here! This was their debut, so strong! It’s no surprise they went on to be one of the most iconic Kpop groups.

7. KARA: one of my favorite Kpop cardio routines is for this song so it will always feel nostalgic to me! That hip dance is famous in the Kpop world and boy groups are always jokingly mimicking it.

8. SNSD (Girl’s Generation): I think if you really pressed Henry he would admit that this is his favorite girl group. I think there are only 5 of them left now :( One of them left and came back to America and is currently making a name for herself here as a solo artist so that’s awesome!

9. Miss A: Henry’s ult bias Bae Suzy was in this group! In all seriousness though I wish they were still together. The girl groups were such fire between 2010-2015. :/

10. BIGBANG: Sorry but I had to. I know there’s so much controversy and strong opinions surrounding them lately with Seungri’s scandal (I have not been able to bring myself to even talk about this on here yet but Henry will confirm that I chew his ear off and cry about it on the daily) but these 5 are my kings and their evolution and raw talent is what actually paved the way for the third generation.

I think it’s worth noting the parallels between 2007 BIGBANG and the post-hardcore bands I was into around that time. Literally Pierce the Veil had the same hairstyles and very similar fashion back then!

It’s really looking like I will never get to experience OT5 live, but I won’t stop hoping.

*****

So there you have it, some of my faves from older generations. These groups paved the way for BTS, Blackpink, etc. and they deserve respect and attention.

Let me know if you liked any of these!

Mar 292019
 

Today’s Friday Five is going to be MEMORIES. Ooh-wee, more insight into my past! Thank god I have such a steel trap up there in my head.

DIRTY JOKES

So this morning, out of nowhere, I had a flashback to my, shit, 7th? 8th birthday? I guess my memory isn’t that great. I didn’t have a party that year because we had just moved into our new house, maybe? And my mom was probably stressed from the move? I know it was that year because our yard didn’t have grass yet and remnants of the construction were still laying around. God, this is so interesting already. OK, I think Christy was probably there, but I remember Spring and Audra for FOR SURE were there because Audra got me some kind of kids soap set or something and MY DAD snickered, “HONEY DID  YOU TELL HER THAT YOU DON’T USE SOAP?” thinking he was SO FUNNY but I was fucking  mortified! I was like, “I DO SO USE SOAP!?” And you know the worst part? THERE IS A VIDEO OF THIS! It’s on a VHS tape somewhere and every so often over the years, it’d get plucked from the pile of HOME VIDEOS and shoved in the VCR to see what was on it, and every single time that scene cued up, my face burned all over again because it was so excruciating to watch, both the shitty Dad Joke and my subsequent reaction. JUST TYPING THIS has me feeling some type of way, and it’s the good.

Maybe Christy wasn’t there after all because I feel like this would be something she’d reference occasionally.

The only good thing about that incident is that I also got a WATCHIMAL and those things were so cool. DID YOU HAVE ONE?

Anyway, I do use soap.

(But I’m really picky and it can only be Dove, Olay, or Caress. Any scent is fine though. I hate soap like Irish Spring and Dial or any other basic soap that Henry buys for himself and Chooch because it makes my skin feel squeaky and I’m sorry, but I’m fine with being quietly clean, I don’t need to be squeaky clean. UGH I JUST GOT CHILLS.)

Scenic Precincts

This one time, for summer vacation, my grandparents and Aunt Sharon took me to Italy and Sicily which was really fun except that we were in Palermo during the time that some mob thing was happening where CARS WERE BEING BLOWN UP BY PIPE BOMBS and like, judges and cops were being targeted? All I know is that I was like 10 and had no fucking idea what any of this meant but everyone on our tour was talking about it and my Pappap made some joke about how we would be fine as long as we didn’t go near any precincts. I asked him what a precinct was and for some reason, when he explained it to me, I still didn’t understand but pretended that I did and then forgot about it until years later when I was watching something and someone mentioned going back to the precinct and it suddenly clicked and then, like 8 years later, my Pappa’s joke made sense to me.

WHY DIDN’T I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANT, THOUGH?? I swear, I was a smart kid. But I guess smart kids can be dense too, I type as I look at my kid over my shoulder.

This memory brings up a related memory of the time I lived in South Park and was watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in my living room with the aforementioned Christy and when Micky said whatever he said about just enjoying the scenery, I asked Christy what scenery meant and I’m sure she explained it to super well because she was (is) a genius, but shit that was too abstract of a term for me to understand, I guess.

(I know what it means now though, don’t worry.)

Oh wait, here: I remembered that I could use that Google thing and I found the Palermo bombing stuff! It happened in July 1992 so I was 12, I guess.

The Sun Roof Incident

#3 is a throwback to one of my favorite memories that I already wrote about once a long time ago but am resharing the link because I have been thinking about my Pappap more than usual lately – no I don’t miss my Pappap, YOU miss my Pappap! *sniff*

So yeah: The Sun Roof Incident

Accidental Greaser

One morning in second grade, I was getting ready for school when I noticed that I had dry patch on my chest, like a mild rash or something, who even knows, if that happened today I would probably have 97 tabs open on my computer, each one highlighting a different terminal disease. In all of my quick-thinking glory, I scooped a glopping heap of Vaseline from the jar and transported it my hand-hook petroleum jelly vehicle straight to my chest. Satisfied I’m sure that I handled this on my own, I then proceeded to take a shower, not knowing that my hand-hook petroleum jelly vehicle was now commuting that greasy paste straight atop my pate.

Oh don’t worry, I figured it out as soon as I started to blowdry my hair and then I screamed for my mom and she was like WHAT DID YOU DO OMGGGG and at this point I was having what might have actually been my first panic attack and even then, in like 1986 or whatever, I was so worried about going to school and getting made fun of for having greasy hair, so my mom let me stay home.

I guess it was ok the next day?!

Strange Maybe-Candies 

A few weeks ago, I was wearing blue pastel pants and a pink blouse. Carrie said I looked very spring-like, and then HOURS later, Wendy came over and said the same thing and Carrie and I were like, “Nice try, Wendy, but you’re a little late.” (This has nothing to do with the story but I can’t even pass up an opportunity to drag Wendy.) Then I was eating Reese’s easter eggs and realized that even the candy matched my outfit so I took a picture because we live in the age of Everything’s a Photo-Op.

But then this whole pastel passage conjured another old AF memory! WANNA HEAR IT, OK!

The year was probably 1985 but if this post has taught us anything it’s that I don’t know dates.

My brother Ryan had just recently been brought into the world to ruin my life, so I was just a little ball of raging fury in those days.

One particular afternoon, Ryan was being showered with an exceptional amount of attention. I couldn’t take it any longer so I stormed off to my bedroom. When you’re young and pissed off, what’s the first thing you turn to (before you discover drugs or hardcore gangsta rap)? For me, it was destruction. But if I wasn’t feeling in the mood to desecrate Ryan’s nursery, I would choose the next best thing – defiance.

We had a guest room that was really just a holding cell for family heirlooms and other assorted antiques that my mom had acquired when her aunt had died. I was never actually told not to go in there, but it was more or less implied; the air of the room screamed Do Not Disturb. Not to mention it scared the shit out of me and reeked of old person.

Knowing that I shouldn’t have been in that room was the one thing that was drawing me to it. At first, I sat on the immaculate white knit bedspread. Quickly becoming bored with putting butt prints in the smooth covers, I moved on to explore the dresser and desk drawers. It was in the desk where I unearthed peculiar pink and green wads of foreign substance. Each drawer contained various pieces of it and the shapes were random and inconsistent. Some were rolled into little logs, while others were mashed into the wood.

I pulled a chunk off from the bottom of the drawer and detected a taffy-like texture. Looked like candy, felt like candy, probably didn’t smell like candy but never mind — MUST BE CANDY!

And so I ate it. It didn’t taste like much, but I figured that was because it was really old, expensive antique candy. Clearly, I was having my own Lewis Carroll experience. I went to bed that night gloating and feeling smugly indulgent. Can’t remember dates, but I remember THAT.

From that day on, whenever I would get shafted by the parents, I’d run to my magic candy. It was something that was all mine and Ryan could never have it (I mean, he really couldn’t have it – he was barely crawling at this point). This went on for a few months, maybe a year, until I moved on to bigger and better things. Like pyromancy and staging my own kidnapping.

I remembered this out of the blue one time, about 20 years later. Surely it would be an OK time to tell my mom. I was hoping she would be really hurt. “Oh honestly! That candy had been in the family for trillions of years and it was so special to me and now I’m crying.”

But what really happened was this:

After telling her the sordid tale, I smugly spat, “Yep, that was me. Eating your cherished heirloom candy that Aunt Cill brought back from the motherland.”
Mom: “That wasn’t candy, you asshole. That was sticky tack.”

*************

Guys, while I was blowing fuses in my brain thinking of old shit to write in here tonight, I actually thought of another memory that has since evolved into WHAT MIGHT BE A TALE OF DECEPTION AND BETRAYAL so I will save that for its own post sometime this weekend because now I’m really freaked out. But also probably jumping to conclusions like I do.

Mar 282019
 

Oh shit goddamn you guys, Chooch and I did it! We made it through three months of grueling Jillian Michaels abuse! I am so proud of us! We worked out diligently 6 days a week, even getting up extra early on a day we were traveling to Toronto in order to get our scheduled Cardio in! WHO EVEN ARE WE.

I have always hated cardio, which is why I was so happy when I found KpopX because finally – enjoyable cardio! But this program somehow made it bearable since we only had to do the cardio routines every third day, and the strength training levels got so hard as we continued to advance, that I found myself actually being relieved when it was cardio day.

Yes, I dropped a pant-size, but I am honestly just feeling really good, physically and mentally, and that’s all that matters to me. It’s not about the number on the scale anymore. I can do all kinds of crazy pushups now and that is more rewarding to me than anything else!

No wait I lied – the most rewarding part is that Chooch finally gets it, exercising isn’t a drag to him anymore, and he has been so excited to see tangible changes. For instance, he texted me in all caps today because they had a fitness test thing in gym. The last time, he was only able to do three sit-ups.

HE DID SEVENTY-FIVE TODAY.

How amazing is that??

We’re current looking for a new routine to start (Chooch said it had to still be Jillian though which is good because I love her) but in the meantime, we decided to do one last run-thru of Body Revolution, so like each level one last time over the next two weeks. We did level one tonight and were cracking up at how easy it was for us now. I toned muscles that I didn’t know I had, you guys.

This is the first time I ever made it to the end of an exercise program – I would usually get bored, lazy, or frustrated when I got to something I couldn’t do – and I owe it to Chooch. Partially because I was trying to set a good example but also because it just made it more fun….er, tolerable...having a workout buddy. We cried and swore at the TV together A LOT.

Jillian for life!!

(I’m trying to get Chooch to start a fitness YouTube channel with me, lol. So far he’s a hard no.)

(But c’mon guys can’t you just picture it? Trudy the Mannequin could be one of the backup work-outers. We could put a pretty leotard on her, some sweat bands, vintage LA Gear hightops? YOU WOULDNT SUBSCRIBE TO THAT??)