Sep 272020
 

Ok I don’t know why but one of my favorite things ever is watching idols eat, ESPESH G-Dragon and Taemin. Well, I was in for a treat today because Taemin did an Instagram live mukbang. With wet hair. In pajamas.

“Thank you Lord Jesus,” she whispered before screaming into her pillow.

Henry watched it with me because he’s Kpop Dad (earlier today he flashed his phone at me so I could see a picture of BTS’s Jungkook lifting his shirt and showing his abs; Henry scoffed and said, “This is pathetic. He’s got NOTHIN’ on Wonho.” He felt very strongly about it!). Anyway, henry happily sat through all 20 minutes of this and then at the end he said, “Now I want cereal” and he came back with a bowl of Cheerios.

The power of Taemin.

That’s all. That’s the post.

Sep 262020
 

(Random pic of Peenlop)

Remember in my last post when I mentioned that we were taking a daytrip to Maryland today to go to our favorite Korean market and stock up on makgeolli and soju? Well, I had been internally bugging out about it all week because I just want to be as COVID-compliant as possible and I definitely know that crossing state lines for Korean liquor is far from “essential” travel. But Maryland isn’t one of the states we’d have to quarantine after visiting, we wouldn’t be staying over night or eating in restaurants…and everywhere I look, I see people on social media getting on planes to Florida and going to Disney, so I felt like what we were planning should be OK, right?

But then this morning as we were getting ready to leave, Budget called Henry to tell him that they regrettably had no cars (our car has some mild issues that need attended to but it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of HENRY’S EPIC TO DO LIST so he wanted to be safe and take a rental). Henry reserved a car an entire week ago, but OK cool story Budget. So then he was going to rent a car from Enterprise at 8:30 this  morning but I was like, “Look. This is a sign. This was a dumb idea. Let’s just stay home and get more stuff done” and I could tell he was sad, but that’s how it has to be. I MAKE THE RULES. So now he’s at the local Asian market and that will just have to be good enough for him for now, lol. 

So I’m sitting here on the porch while the weather’s still nice enough for morning porch sits, drinking a latte, and I just talked to Chooch’s favorite neighborhood dog Spencer and his owner Bob, and now I’m writing in you, Dear Blog, because it feels like it’s been a while since we were freeform and candid with each other.

(Speaking of the porch, I’m really going to miss all of the pretty flowers when the stupid motherfucking piece of shit winter comes in and takes them all away. I really hate winter so much. I’m getting fucking angry just thinking about it and we’re only like one day into autumn.)

I mean, it’s also been a while since I really had much to say….

  • I was watching the sequel to To All the Boys…on my day off last week and some indie cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was in it. Because this version was much slower and also the closed captioning was in, I learned something. “HOLY SHIT THATS WHAT CYNDI LAUPER WAS SAYING THERE?” I screamed and Henry just stared at me blankly so I repeated “when the working day is done????” Henry was like wtf did you think she said and that’s easy: “what in the world ohmmmmmblahhuhgirls they wanna have fun.”
    • Yeah, I was off on Monday and Tuesday and I can summarize those days for you real quick: I took copious walks and read books. The end. 
  • Sasaeng fan alert: I paid $3 to get exclusive texts from Taemin in the Lysn app and look, I know that he’s not sending them JUST TO ME, I’m not that much of a delulu, but he does actually send them because I’ve seen him do it in his Insta Lives, etc. and sometimes he sends voice recordings too and do I always know what he’s saying? No. But is it worth it? FUCK YES. I get so excited when I get the notification that he sent a message! He was really quiet the other day but that was expected because it was the day the SuperM album was released so I know he was busy, but yesterday there was a flurry of messages from him and he said he’s going to clear his schedule so we can eat together at 2pm (KST) on Sunday so watch me set my alarm. Anyway, sometimes I like to send screenshots to Chooch but he refuses to read them. I sent him one last night and then walked over to him at the computer to urge him to read it, but instead, he googled this:

 

  • Some guy just jogged past my house and I swear it was my old boss from when I worked night shifts at FedEx as a billing broad and it would be so quiet in that office and then he would suddenly appear out of nowhere blowing an airhorn and I fucking swear to god I have a little bit of PTSD from that shit. Great guy though, but I feel confident that every single person who worked there has attended at least 8 Trump rallies since then. When I worked there, it was during the 2008 election and let’s just say my Obama bumper sticker stoked a lot of racist fires. Ah, the joys of being a liberal woman in a workplace full of right wing testosterone.
  • Sorry, I took a break to chase a squirrel around the block, trying to feed him peanuts, while my cats watched with secondhand embarrassment from the porch.

  • Oh shit, on Thursday, I worked late shift so Chooch was able to walk with me on my lunch break since he was done with school for the day (it’s been really weird going for walks by myself on most days now that he’s back “in” school). He was chatting away and I was like, “WAIT. NO, NEVERMIND. I thought I heard a goat, lol.” Then we took a few more steps and I heard it again! WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, THERE WAS NOT ONE BUT TWO GOATS in this random person’s backyard in Brookline!? If you’re reading this and don’t live in Pittsburgh, Brookline is a city neighborhood so, you know, it’s not everyday you stroll past pet goats in this area, but what a treat! City goats!
    • When I was growing up, we had sheep, ducks, mallards, and at one point, a donkey. But we lived on a private street in the suburbs, surrounded by woods, so that was less weird though I guess people were still like, “wtf you have sheep?” when they’d come to my house, and I’d be like, “wtf you don’t?”
  • Speaking of when I was growing up*, I’m in LOVE with the SuperM album and this is my favorite song (so far) and I want you to listen to it.

    • *Because this song reminds me of the smoooooooth r&b slow jamz I had on constant rotation back in the mid-90s, duh.
  • I have to laugh when people assume that Henry is in hell because of kpop and Korea stuff, but when he came home from work yesterday, he sat down and said, “OK, put it on” because he knew there was a new SuperM video and he wanted to see it, and then we had a nice chat about it afterward and that never used to happen back when I liked post-hardcore, etc. He would just be like “it was fine” or “Jonny Craig is such a douchebag” but now he says things like “I wish there wasn’t so much English” and I catch him smiling when it’s Taemin’s part DON’T DENY IT HENRY, YOU FEEL AFFECTION TOWARD THAT PERFECT SPACE ANGEL AND YOU KNOW IT. Henry also sat through 45 minutes of a SuperM reality show and chuckled openly and then watched episode 4 of Taemin’s reality show and laughed when he got everything set up for a BBQ and then invited friends over to do all the cooking for him, lol. Taemin is so relatable. 
  • Henry’s back from the Asian market and of course he got all the good snacks for HIS GRANDCHILDREN next door UGH. But at least we got banana kicks!

OK well now that Henry is home, Imma wrap this up because I have to make sure he starts his chores and also I’ve been tasked with finding a place to get vegan takeout for dinner tonight, and that’s definitely something I’m good at!

Have a good weekend! Listen to SuperM and Taemin’s recent solo release! Stan Taemin!

 

Sep 242020
 

Dear Diary,

Remember when we used to go on road trips and stop at cool places but now we can’t because god only knows how much Covid is swirling around these tourist traps? We’re actually taking a modified road trip this weekend to get Korean liquor in Maryland and it pains me to know that we will be passing cool things (probably) but won’t be able to stop. Unless it’s like some sparsely populated nature thing. 

But definitely nothing quirky like the SHOE HOUSE we toured five years ago. Here, please read about it. I beg you.

***

A few years ago, we were going to Lancaster, PA for a Pierce the Veil show and I thought it would be incredibly fun to stop at this storied house that’s shaped like a shoe in Hallam — a true road tripper’s wet dream. I had seen it on some local roadside attractions show and started obsessing. Like I do. Since it was off-season, I emailed them two months in advance to see if we could stop by for a tour. The reply I got was curt and also kind of rude. I don’t remember what they said exactly, other than it made me rage vocally at my desk. I mean, don’t live in a shoe  if you don’t want people to email you about it!!

Fast forward to several weeks ago. My anger had subsided a bit over the years and I decided to look the house up again since we were going to be in the area in a few weeks. The website announced that not only was this still peak season, but the house had new owners! I asked Henry if we could stop for a tour on our way home from Philly this past weekend, and he said yes, which leads me  to believe that he is either cheating on me or dying.

I excitedly told Glenn  that not only did I get my way about going to Philly, but Henry was also taking me to the shoe house!

“He really needs to stop rewarding behavior,” Glenn sighed. He was really happy when Henry initially said no to Philly because I came back from my break crying. But you know, THINGS CHANGE. It’s harder for Henry to say no to me in person, anyway.

The Haines Shoe House is really close to Rt. 30, so Henry couldn’t bitch about it being out of the way, like he did about every single place we stopped at on the way home from vacation last month. The man who built it in the 40s put it close to the highway so it cold be seen because it was essentially advertising his shoe company.

The tour is $5 a person, what a steal.

“Nope, I’m good,” Henry said as he handed me $10. Chooch wasn’t too excited about this either, but I was like, “DO NOT MAKE ME TAKE THIS TOUR ALONE, PLEASE, I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD.” And he was like, “Yeah, a world full of stupid novelty houses to tour.” He and Henry just don’t get excited about these things.

After I paid the lady in the gift shop, she asked Chooch for his hand so she could stamp it. I stuck mine out too and she said, “Oh, no. We just do this for the kids.” She laughed a little and then realized my hand was still there. “But I mean, that’s fine, if you want a stamp too.”

“I mean, she basically is a kid, so…” Chooch said with a roll of his mean eyes. Shut up, Chooch.

She stamped my hand but didn’t even bother to re-ink the stamp first so it looks STUPID.

It’s supposed to be a shoe! You can’t even tell! Chooch’s was so much nicer than mine.

So then our tour guide came in and retrieved us. Immediately, she made a passive aggressive comment about not sitting on the furniture, because of course as soon as we entered the house, Chooch’s ass helped itself to an armchair cushion. But you guys, his leggggs. They were so tireddddd. He was so exhausteddddd. His life is so roughhhhh.

We learned some boring ass facts about Mahlon Haines and his shoe company. He was really into pimping out his company and even ran for Congress at one point just so he could essentially advertise his company with promotional compact mirrors. I didn’t know what else to say, every time the guide stopped talking and looked at me expectantly, so I just kept saying, “Wow, he was like, really smart.”

Chooch just looked really bored and annoyed the whole time, but I swear to god it was really cool to walk around and see that even the windowsills were curved. The guide kept encouraging me to take photos, and I’m so used to being told to not take photos so that I have to take clandestine spy-cam shots the whole time that I actually felt too nervous to take more photos than I did.

In the early days of the shoe house, Mahlon held contests for newlyweds to honeymoon in the shoe. In the honeymoon suite, there’s a laminated letter of marital advice he typed up for his guests. “YEAH, TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT!” the guide said when she saw me awkwardly taking out my phone. I felt so on the spot through the whole tour!

He really thought highly of himself.

My favorite thing about the house’s interior was the eccentric color scheme. The upstairs bedroom was mint and lavender, for fuck’s sake. I commented on this and the tour guide said that the new owners are actually in the process of repainting all of the walls neutral colors. “They’re trying to get the house back to the way it originally was, since the people who owned this for the last 15 years had it painted this way,” the guide continued, practically turning her nose up at the glorious hues. Apparently, they’re using old black and white photos as their reference. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. You own a house shaped like a shoe! Why try to downplay that with a neutral interior of beige and egg white? Go big or go home!

In the maid’s quarters, the guide said, “I bet you’ve never seen one of those before!” pointing at an old sweeper leaning against the wall.

“It’s a vacuum. Mu grandma has one of those in her house,” Chooch said, spitting chunks of ennui onto the floor for the invisible maid to sweep up. He was just not impressed by a single thing in this giant shoe, byt at least he was being quiet about it.


And then the guide instructed us to sit at the kitchen  table so she could take our picture, because that is apparently what all of the other tourists like to do. I got really nervous and stressed out because I hate having my photo taken and what if one of my furry-lovers sexted me while she was holding my phone!?

(Just kidding. I don’t have any furry-lovers. Yet. #Anthrocon2016)

But would you look at my happy face!? And Chooch’s pained expression.

Our guide said something about the arch at the top of the steps, so I took that as my cue to take a picture of it.

The tour was over after a soft 10 minutes. We found Henry in the parking lot, leaning against the car, and looking at boring Henry-things on his phone. Probably pallet DIYs and computer part auctions.  I made him go back into the gift shop with me because I didn’t have my wallet and I wanted a post card and a magnet to add to my growing tourist trap desk-shrine at work.

It’s actually pretty nightmarish, now that I really look at it. I found out later that Henry had checked in to the Haine’s Shoe House on Facebook, like he was actually so stoked to be there. He didn’t even go inside of it! What a shoe house poser fan.

There’s even a shoe-shaped doghouse in the yard. And Chooch wants everyone to know that he was “as calm as [he] was at the stroller place.” I asked him if he learned anything at the shoe house and he said no.

After we left, Henry kept asking me questions about the Haines shoe company and my response to every question was a solid, “I don’t know.” So, I guess I didn’t learn much either. Except that I need to do a better job advertising all of my crappy wares. Maybe Henry could build me a Jeffrey Dahmer-shaped house?

***

Today after work, I asked Chooch if he told any of his friends about the shoe house.

“Nah,” he shrugged. “I told them we went to Panera, though.”

OK, but Panera is not SHAPED LIKE A SHOE.

Sep 222020
 

Like the title said, this is PART 2 of the August books. God, context clues, people! Pick them up!

9. Catherine House – Elizabeth Thomas

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I gave this 1 star only because Goodreads doesn’t allow ZERO OR NEGATIVE STAR RATINGS. What a shit book full of insufferable human beings. I was led to believe this was going to be a thriller or have at least SOME horror elements to it but it was so fucking dumb and I think I will never give “dark academia” another chance unless someone I actually know personally recommends it to me because the last 4 books I’ve read from that genre have made me absolutely mad.

I wanted Suspiria vibes! Or at least a main character to root for! But instead I had no idea wtf was happening except that all the students seemed to subsist on desserts which was actually the only appealing part of this piece of shit stack of words.

The worst part is that I listened to this on audio while I was painting my front door so now every time I look at my door, I think of how shitty this stupid book was.

Shame that such a beautiful book cover was wasted on this junk story.

10. Follow Me to the Ground – Sue Rainsford

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This (short) book is about a father and daughter duo who heal the people in their town. Doctors? Who needs ’em when you can go visit the creepy non-human family at the edge of the village and have them crack open your body and then bury you in the dirt.

The daughter, Ada, mostly goes through life not getting attached to the people in the village until one day she meets a boy, falls in love, and basically has to create a vagina on her non-human form in order to do the thing with him. And, as it usually does with LOVE, shit starts to get complicated.

I admittedly picked this up just because of the vagina part (it was talked about a lot on Booktube, OK?!) and to my surprise, I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would. Every other chapter is a short little interview-esque thing from various villagers who have either been cured by Ada and her father, or are just generally suspicious of them.

Super bizarre and fun to read and wouldja get a load of that book cover!?

11. In the Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami 

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I was really afraid to read this because for one thing: Japanese horror scares me more than other kind of horror. I mean, I’m haunted by various scenes of Japanese horror movies that I watched 20+ years ago, but certain images are seared into my brain.

I think some parts of this book might be added to my nightmare mental vignette.

This book follows a young Japanese man who works as a red light district “guide” for foreigners. The book starts out with him being hired by “Frank,” an American businessman who is really trying to live his best life while in Japan.

I will admit, it takes A LONG time for anything to actually happen in this one, but that’s not to say it’s boring. The buildup is slow and steady, and it’s told from the perspective of the guide, and while there is dialogue and a small cast of characters that are introduced as the story progresses, most of the book is a running internal monologue. So if that’s not your thing, skip this one.

When shit finally hits the fan, the violence made me feel queasy. If this were a movie, I’d probably have had to look away and said, “tell me when it’s done,” to Henry, lol.

HOWEVER!!! This wasn’t *as* traumatizing or horrific as I had been bracing for. Still, it was a solid read for me and I got so attached to our main character and kept screaming, “RUN!! JUST RUN!!” I really love Japanese horror.

Oh, and when I realized why the book is called this, I was a full-blown version of the “hmmm” emoji.

12. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

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This has to be one of the most-hyped books of the year, and it took me forever to get it from the library. But, I will say it was worth the wait.

There is a lot of race explorations here and it was interesting to see how differently people reacted to the same situation, which was that a young Black babysitter is asked to come to the house of her employer relatively late at night because there was a non-tragic disturbance at the house requiring police assistance, and the mother doesn’t want her three year old daughter Briar to get upset, so she asks the babysitter to take her to the uppity grocery store down the street.

While there, another shopper (some dumb Karen) alerts the security guard that the babysitter may have kidnapped the kid, because *GASP* the kid is WHITE and the babysitter is BLACK. I actually thought the whole book was going to be about this, but as it turned out, it was just a quick scene in the beginning of the book, but it was interesting to see the domino effect it had on everyone. The babysitter just wanted to forget it ever happened, a (white) bystander recorded the whole thing on his phone and keeps pressuring her to sue, the mom of the little girl decides she needs to become BFFs with the babysitter after this happened and has major WHITE GUILT over it and does a whole lot of really cringey things throughout the book and honestly, I hated her. There was a lot of really questionable behavior going on under the guise of good intentions, and I kept getting a lot of secondhand embarrassment.

Like, the bystander at the grocery store? All of his friends are Black and he actually says the “n-word” out loud in front of his Black girlfriend, and like, I just can’t imagine EVER thinking it’s OK for me to say that word because I have some Black friends. This book is full of moments like this and maybe there are white people out there reading this book right now who never really thought about these things before – but now they are.

The one character that I REALLY LOVED and rooted for SO HARD was that damn little girl Briar. I mean, she was EVERYTHING. The relationship the babysitter had with her was so fucking wholesome and pure and if you think I’m sitting here tearing up while I write this, I will punch you in the nose, because ERIN DOESN’T CRY OVER CHILDREN.

But Briar, man. If she were my kid, I would never neglect her!!

Anyway, I went into this thinking that it was going to be some sweeping, pretentious literary fiction but it’s written with a very light, airy vibe. Which is deceiving considering it’s largely a critique of white savior complexes. Honestly, fuck that dumb mom.

13. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

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Unless you avoid anything having to do with books, you have probably heard of this book by now. It is follows, over several decades, twin sisters who are white-passing. They run away from from home together when they’re teenagers and then become estranged from each other. One lives her life as a Black woman, and the other marries a white man and proceeds to live her life pretending to be someone she’s not. I didn’t care for that twin much at all, but later in the book, they each have a daughter and I actually enjoyed their stories even more.

Brit Bennett is an incredible writer and storyteller. I was actually nervous to read this because I thought it was going to be super dry and pretentious for some reason but nope – these sisters will suck you right the fuck in.

14. Sleepwalking – Meg Wolitzer

Sleepwalking

Meh. Talk about pretentious. This is it. I couldn’t wait for it to end and don’t even feel like writing any more about it.

15. The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones

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Ughhhhh this fucker. It’s a horror story about these 4 Native American friends who have an…experience 10 years ago and then revenge is sought.

I haven’t read many (if any??) books written by Native Americans and I really enjoyed the little nuggets of culture that Jones tucked in through this story, and while it didn’t really scare me, the animal parts made me extremely upset and queasy so does that count as horror? Definite trigger warnings for dog death, hunting, etc. I was traumatized. And there was a LOT of human violence and gore in this book that didn’t bother me at all, so you know where my allegiance lies!

While the story was kind of “Eh” for me, I did really enjoy the writing and I have another book of his waiting for me at the library so I’ll keep you posted!

Jesus I am so bad at reviewing books lol.

Sep 212020
 

Today was a PTO day for me except that I woke up and couldn’t remember if that was today or next Monday so I had to log on and check for myself instead of texting my boss to ask her because I’d like to at least keep somewhat of an air that I have my shit together, you know? So yes, I was correct, I have today and tomorrow off. HILARIOUSLY, when I talked to Henry earlier today he was like, “How’s work going” and I was like, “I DUNNO BECAUSE I’M OFF TODAY, DUMBASS, I TOLD YOU THAT LIKE 7 TIMES” and he was like “SORRY I FORGOT” – little did he know that I kind of did too.

Anyway, I had grand plans of sitting down at the computer this morning with some nice hot coffee and actually writing in this thing for real like I used to do in the LiveJournal days, when I would be in a good writing headspace and have no distractions and I treated it like it was some professional thing that needed to be free of grammatical errors and typos, but here I am at 7PM with my laptop balanced precariously on my knees with book review and NCT videos oscillating in the background, and all I can say is, “At least I’m not writing this on my phone in bed” which is how way too many of my blog posts are written these days, lol, oh reality.

Wow, what kind of a fucking intro is this, even? All I really wanted to say was, “Here is what I did this weekend, before it’s next weekend.”

I was really looking forward to Friday because we had planned on ordering pizza at Spirit and it’s been a hot minute since I had pizza (when we first started tearing up the kitchen, we were eating pizza a lot and my body was really starting to reflect those choices). Spirit has some vegan options as well and we love to eat it.

Chooch’s choice was the #3 which is not vegan, but it IS meatless. It has clumps of pesto and ricotta and when I was eating it I started to think about when I was kid and how I would reject my mom’s stuffed shells because I hated ricotta, or thought I did, anyway. Wow, I was a dumbass. Adult Erin loves ricotta. I wish I knew the exact moment when I realized that I liked it.

My choice was the Vegan Supreme, which had like, vegetables and seitan on it, oh and an oatmilk bechamel sauce which now that I think about it, I’m not sure I even noticed it. I love real bechamel. Henry has made me vegetarian mousakka in the past and the bechamel is the best part. Literally every time I typed “bechamel,” I spelled it wrong.

Then we got the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and suddenly, who cares about pizza. Can we just set the GOP on fire? IN A PIZZA OVEN??

Penelope is all of us in 2020.

On Saturday, I went to my mom’s to get some wallpaper that we found back when we were cleaning out my Pappap’s house in 2016. I’ve had some ideas for them (none of those entails actually wallpapering a wall with them, sadly!), but I have honestly even considered framing small parts of them too because all of the wallpaper from that house is fucking art.

I’ll never forget this one time, I posed pictures from my Pappap’s house on my old LJ (OMG BACK ON LIVEJOURNAL, it’s amazing the shittiness from that era that has stuck to me like….gum on ribs, there I go with the old lady talk again) and some stupid bitch was like, “Wow that’s gaudy” and I was like “SHUT YOUR UGLY MOUTH.”

This particular wallpaper was from my aunt Sharon’s room and I specifically had it in mind for this lighting project that I want to do after seeing a picture on some upcycler’s Instagram; honestly, I was prepared for my mom to say that she threw the wallpaper out of that it got damaged, etc etc but instead she was like, “It’s in the garage, come get it” so I did and it was also the first time I got to see my mom since quarantine started!

(Not sorry that I’m actually taking the pandemic seriously. I haven’t seen anyone but neighbors — at a distance — since March!)

(And various co-workers on video calls. Speaking of, a handful of us had a virtual happy hour on Thursday and it was the first time I got to show friends the kitchen “in real life” so that was fun! Also super depressing. I want to have a party.)

OMG I GOT HENRY TO READ A BOOK! HERE HE IS READING THE BOOK! (It’s “He Started It” by Samantha Downing, in case you too would like to read it.)

(Don’t mind that package on the table next to him. It’s just that damn pinball backglass that will probably continue to sit there until next year because apparently Henry is just one person and cannot do all these projects as quickly as I want him to but I think that he would just not sleep as much, and maybe take some days off work, he could finish it all?)

Later that night, we finally began hanging Chooch’s pictures back on his wall. But then! Henry threw a minor fit!

“LET’S JUST DO THIS TOMORROW,” he said out loud to himself. “CHOOCH IS TOO BUSY WITH THE CATS AND SHE’S CRYING OVER TWEETS ABOUT DOGS.”

And then he just left us!!

I thought for sure Chooch would just sleep on the couch rather than clean his bed off (after Henry put all that stuff there only to quit and storm off like a little bitch!!) but he actually moved everything to the floor like an actual adult. I was impressed. I would have just slept in the car or something.

Then Henry and I watched “Winchester” which is based on the Winchester mystery house and it had several good jump scares but it was overall pretty stupid. I am just as good at movie reviews as I am with book reviews and I should probably quit this blog and just do that exclusively.

Sunday started out OK. I went for a walk and that put me in a good mood, and then there were new live Taemin performances (he’s been doing the live music show rounds in Korea, which is always fun to look forward to!) and Henry called out from his Greeting Card Prison in the dining room, “Is that a new one?” and then came in to join me because the other song Taemin has been promoting from his new album is Black Rose, and that’s Henry’s favorite!

The song is so good and of course the choreo is amazing, so I was inspired to post a clip of it on Instagram, explaining that it’s Henry’s favorite, etc etc and some broad said “He has the same music tastes as my 21-year-old daughter *laughing emoji*” and IT REALLY RUBBED ME THE WRONG WAY.

I GUESS YOU COULD SAY I WAS TRIGGERED. Because I know she meant it as a blow, you know? And not like “wow Henry is so hip” omg why couldn’t I think of any other word to use. Dude finally enjoys the same music as me, and now you’re gonna shame him for that, cool, thanks.

I didn’t realize that there were age and gender restrictions on music genres. If I want to listen to fucking KidzBop, I will….probably need to be evaluated, but still, who the fuck cares? Is it disrupting your life? I mean, assuming you don’t live next door to me while I’m hosting a psycho dance party for one.

I know the comment was meant to be a jab at Henry for, god forbid, liking kpop (but can we even classify Taemin as kpop? His music really transcends all those constraints and he records full albums in Japanese too), but I am just tired in general of the “lol you like the same music as my kids.” I got that when I listened to screamo, post-hardcore, pop punk, emo, and now I get it for listening to kpop. I’m so fucking sorry but I guess I missed the memo that once I turned 25, I had to trade it all in for adult contemporary, and, what? Kenny G? Please tell me what a 41-year-old lady is expected to listen to, and while you’re at it, better make a Spotify playlist for 55-year-old Henry, too.

My one online friend posts these friendly reminders every once in a while about how it’s not funny or cool to belittle someone or make fun of them for the things that they like. What is even the point of doing that?

*(FULL DISCLOSURE: I have totally mocked Slut Life on here for blasting Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” in the driveway BUT THAT IS DIFFERENT. THAT GUY SUCKS AND I HATE HIM. MOVE TO FLORIDA ALREADY, YOU DUMB DICK.)

This came so close to ruining my day. But then we worked on piecing together more of Chooch’s room, so that distracted me.

I picked out that party bunting and was so excited at how well it matched the new color scheme of his room. Chooch was just like, “Yeah it’s fine” because he IS AT THAT AGE.

The only contribution he had was suggesting that all of the cat art be clustered together above his bed, so that happened. I love that one in the middle so much! Henry and I bought it for Chooch at one of the Riot Fests from an artist who was vending there and you would think that I would have had that information available before I started typing this yet here I am, completely clueless as to who the artist is and which Riot Fest I purchased it at.

Today, I was walking around the ‘hood and saw that there is a house that just went up for sale on the street behind us, which is one of the super-few areas of Brookline that I actually like and have even said in the past, “I would never buy a house in Brookline unless it’s on x, x, or x streets” but before I even called Henry, I looked up the listing and it was OK but not something that made me excited, though how hilarious* would it be if I just made Henry spend the entire summer fixing up our dumpy rental only to turn around and move?

*(Probably not the word Henry would choose.)

Anyway, I’ll end this here with Taemin (A Singer For All Ages and Genders) performing Black Rose on Inkigayo (the show that has the sandwiches!) because fuck the trolls.

Sep 202020
 

Halfway through September and it occurs to me that maybe I should do a book-dump for August in case someday in the future, I’m on a life or death dystopian THIS IS YOUR LIFE game show and one of the questions is NAME THREE BOOKS YOU READ IN AUGUST 2020 and I’m like, “CAN I USE THE ‘CHECK MY BLOG’ LIFELINE??” and they’re like, “No you already used that for the HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU AND HENRY FIGHT AT RIOT FEST 2014 question” so never mind, I’m dead. We had a good run.

Let’s get into it. (That’s what some of the Booktubers say! I’m a loser!)

  1. Black Flower – Kim Young-Ha

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I wanted to like this so much more than I did. On one hand, I wonder if historical fiction just isn’t for me, but I don’t think that’s it. So this is a Korean novel about the emigration of 1000s of South Koreans to Mexico in the early 1900s, after being promised land and a better life.

First of all, I never knew that this happened, so I really appreciated that aspect of the book. And while I also appreciated what was clearly a lot of research and work by the author, a large part of this book just read like a textbook. There were times when I forgot that I had picked this up for pleasure and not because it was some course requirement. So by the time the ship transporting the Koreans reached Mexico, it had turned into something that I was slogging through. And that’s never a good thing.

However! I was pretty invested in quite a few of the characters (I will warn you that there are a lot of characters and it became hard to keep track of everyone, especially once they reached Mexico and became divvied up amongst the farm owners) so I pushed through.

I think I gave this a three because my takeaway was that I learned about a part of history that I definitely never learned in school and that was actually pretty fascinating. There was some war-stuff that happened once they were in Mexico and I am notorious to zone out when it comes to war of any kind. Even in Game of Thrones, I always had to ask Henry wtf was happening.

2. No Exit – Taylor Adams

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I left on one of the Booktubers I religiously watch one night when I went to bed, and Chooch migrated from the computer to the couch and got sucked into one of her videos where she talks about thrillers and the next thing I know, I’m getting this text:

So I requested it from the library and of course he never fucking read it so then I read it out of compulsion because I feel like a failure if I take something out of the library and don’t read it ugh. The whole thing takes place at a highway rest stop in a blizzard and I don’t really like…snowy books? Is that a thing? I mean, it was summer when I read this and it felt weird to read about people crunching around in the snow, and it also just made me miss rest stops which I never thought would be a thing I’d be typing since Henry has to constantly stop and pee on road trips and it’s so frustrating.

Anyway, it was fine. A thriller that was mildly thrilling.

3. Circe – Madeline Miller

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Circe is a retelling of, well, Circe. Man, I didn’t know anything about Circe going into this but hoo boy was she was treated like SHIT. I’ve never been much into gods and goddesses of any sort (Roman, Greek, Nordic, take your pick) but this was pretty interesting and entertaining. I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator had such a beautiful voice that I’m not sure the book would have really done much for me if I had just read it with my eyeballs (I was also anti-audiobook but this year has REALLY CHANGED me).

However! I did start to lose interest midway through. I think I ended up giving this a three?

The general consensus in the book community is that Song of Achilles is far superior so perhaps I will give that a try too. Otherwise, I think it might be safe to say that I should just go back to my cave of mythological ignorance.

4. Another Brooklyn – Jacqueline Woodson

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I fell in love with this author’s latest book, Red at the Bone, and I powered through this one in less than a day. A really powerful coming-of-age tale, very short, written in elegant prose. I liked Red at the Bone a lot better, but I think that I need to keep reading more of Woodson’s work because her writing actually makes my eyes tear up.

5. Broken Things – Lauren Oliver

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A YA mystery that I actually didn’t guess and was moderately captivating. However, there was this one character that just seemed to be “there” and she was so annoying and served barely any purpose. I kept waiting for some big reveal but it never happened. It kind of made me laugh a little though because it’s about this group of 3 girls who were best friends in middle school and so obsessed with this fantasy novel that they started writing their own sequel for it and I was definitely in a friend group back in middle school with these girls Kim and Kelli and we were really into writing stories but everyone knew that I was the best writer (lol) and Kelli and I had a huge fight because we just couldn’t write well together and then we didn’t talk for months and it all culminated into one giant blow-out in the girls locker in 8th grade where I slapped her across the face and knocked her glasses off and then a few days later, I was at the Halloween dance and some girl came up to me and asked me if it was true that I did that and I said yes and she said, “WELL KELLI IS MY FRIEND AND IF YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN, I’LL KICK YOUR ASS” and then flash forward two years to when that girl threatening to beat my ass became one of my best friends ever, LISA. Lol.

I never talked to Kelli again though. I BET I AM STILL A BETTER WRITER THAN HER.

Anyway, this is one of those YA books that I think I would have enjoyed a lot more 20 years ago.

6. All Boys Aren’t Blue – George M. Johnson 

All Boys Aren't Blue

I am super into LGBTQIA+ memoirs. Even if you think you have an open mind and you’re a “friend to all,” reading stories about what LGBTQIA+ people have had to overcome and are still fighting for is really one of the only ways we can truly have their backs.

George M. Johnson is a fucking DELIGHT. What I really enjoyed about this one is his relationship with his family. They are so loving and supportive of him, and even admit to not fully understanding a lot of the times, but they have his back nonetheless.

I usually choose the audiobook route for memoirs and it was even more impactful to hear these stories and essays read my George himself.

I am really bad at reviewing memoirs.

7. The Guest List – Lucy Foley

The Guest List

This is one of those super hyped books for 2020 and even though I started to see some mediocre reviews, I was really excited to finally get my hands on it (well, virtually, anyway). It was…not really that great.  There’s a wedding on some island. The entire wedding party is made up of fucking douchebags. There’s the wedding planner/owner of the property where the wedding is taking place. The “plus one” of a dude in the wedding party. The bride’s little sister. The chapters alternate between the POV of various characters and they are all pretty unlikeable.

Anyway, someone dies, OMG. But you don’t  know who it is until the end because the timeline alternates between the day before the wedding and the moment the person is murdered.

It wasn’t very thrilling.

8. Sodom Road Exit – Amber Dawn 

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I fucking adored this book. I don’t even know how to explain it but it’s a “going back home” story set in the late 80s about a Canadian girl – Starla – in her early 20s forced to leave Toronto because of debt and move back to her childhood home with her mom in a small town in Canada that happens to famous for its abandoned amusement park called Crystal Beach (IT’S REAL, I LOOKED IT UP AND AM NOW SO SAD THAT IT REALLY DID CLOSE IN THE 80S AND NOW I CAN NEVER EXPERIENCE IT).

She has a very strained relationship with mom and then starts being haunted by a ghost connected to the amusement park and now you’re thinking, “Oh OK this is a horror novel,” but IT IS NOT. It’s actually really dark contemporary, I guess? But also SO FUCKING FUNNY. Like, I should have counted the amount of times I said, “THE FUCK?” and laughed out loud, but I didn’t because I’m not a professional reader who takes notes, etc while reading.

Amber Dawn wrote the characters in this book so well that I felt a legit kindred with all of them. It’s the most rag-tag band of characters you can imagine, coming together in this fucking campground while the main character is being possessed by this ghost girl from a bygone era (some of the chapters are written from her perspective, too, and they are a real goddamn delight) and I swear to god, by the time I finished this, I hugged it to my chest and screamed, “WHAT DID I JUST READ?” and then laughed until I cried. I want a full series with these characters, do you hear me, Amber Dawn?

P.S. This book also taught me about Crystal Beach suckers which apparently is still being made from the original recipe!

*********

And that’s the first half! I think I only have 7 more books to recap – August was a light reading month, apparently, lol. I’m always looking for some books to request from the library (still cheering about it being semi-open again!) so please leave a comment if you’ve recently read something I’d like! My work friend Megan gives me lots of thriller recs, but I need some good, sick horror and contemporary lit too so fire away!

 

Sep 182020
 

Lol – lofty statements.

1. Brookline Gets a Veggie Burger

…and is this the best picture of it? Nope. But it’s the best you’re gonna get from me at least because I was in a big hurry to start gnawing at this beast and couldn’t really bother with angles and close ups, etc etc. This picture makes the veggie burger look like a Frenchman though. SEE IT?

Up until a few weeks ago, Brookline had zero veggie burger options. I mean, I could walk a few blocks away to Dormont and get one at Eat n Park but they literally serve Gardenburgers like it’s 1999 but without the party.

You guys know I loved Brookline’s sandwich shop, Parker’s, and shed legit tears when the proprietor (I just realized that I think this is one of my favorite words and it started in high school but that is a story for another time) announced he was closing in order to focus on the bar he had recently opened. Parker’s last day was about a year ago now, I would say, and it sat there, dormant for months and months until one day last winter, the paint changed from Parker’s signature bright blue stripes, to some plain blah neutral color that would be right at home in Henry’s basic wardrobe. I did a lot of muttering and foot-stamping over it because PARKER’S 4 LYFE, but I have to admit, every time I walked past (which is like every day because I’m a seasoned Brookline walker) I’d cup my hands around the windows and try to squint through the darkness to see if I could make out a menu on the wall or any semblance of a decor.

One night, Chooch was able to get a glimpse of the menu on the wall inside and he cried out, “VEGGIE BURGER!!!” I hesitated to get too excited. This could mean anything. A nuked Boca Burger, maybe dressed up a little with some Heinze pickles and enveloped in a Mancini’s bun? A sad attempt at a “homemade” black bean burger, dry as fuck, on a Wonderbread roll?

Then one day a few months ago, they painted their name on the storefront!

I checked them out and they’ve had an Instagram presence for quite a while because they’re not exactly new, it seems. I guess they have been operating as a pop-up at various local breweries (which would explain why I’ve never heard of them – I avoid any brewery event like the plague; that is NOT my scene) and have amassed a bit of a following. The food that they’ve posted in their feed is like hipster gourmet, if I had to terminology-ize it. (SMRT PPL MAKE UP WURDZ.) I was kind of like, “But is that gon’ fly in Brookline?” I remember when there was a rumor that the old Zippy’s Bar (a total Yinzer den) was going to be a wine bar, and people on the boulevard were buggin’ out over that (OK actually just the waitress at NO NAME CAFE, but if she was acting like, I can guarantee others were because, herd mentality. TRUMP TAUGHT ME THAT WORD.)

(J/k, I already knew it but laughed when he said herd mentality instead of immunity the other day and by laugh I mean I screamed OMFG I HATE YOU, YOU DUMB ORANGE PIECE OF SHIT.)

(This is why I lost 70847203947 blog readers. GET TO THE POINT, ERIN,  YOU STUPID YOKEL.)

On their Instagram, I saw that they have, in the past, created NUMEROUS versions of veggie burgers, and they all looked like BEASTS. You could tell they were “from scratch,” the buns looked artisinal AF, and they had toppings with names that only a true gourmand would understand. I was ready.

They opened last month and we ordered take-out (the only thing they were offering until this week when they decided to open up with limited seating and I’m like, “OK but did you not see that news report that came out over the weekend? You know, THIS ONE?

Adults With COVID-19 Twice As Likely To Have Eaten At Restaurants, CDC Study Finds

But OK, go on.

Anyway, holy.fucking.shit. This burger. It had goat cheese and carmelized onion jam and cucumbers and tahini and and and…it was PRECIOUS. Not like, “Aw, look how precious Erin looks when she’s eating an ice cream cone and thinking about Taemin” but THAT RING IS MADE FROM PRECIOUS GEMS INFUSED WITH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. That kind of precious.

WOW. Just wow. It was a taste sensation. Not vegan, of course, because of the goat cheese, but if you’re just a regular veg like me or someone who enjoys a meat fast every now and then, this is where it’s at. I imagine even the most professional carnivore would enjoy sinking their teeth into this fake flesh.

And we also got a side of the “chipped cabbage” which booted every cole slaw I’ve ever had right the fuck out of my heart. This shit was fire. I mean, literally because it had Thai chilis in it that I didn’t know about and wow that was a nice surprise. (No really, I like spicy stuff.) And it had parsnip in it! I love parsnip! Such an underrated root vegetable! (It’s a root vegetable, right?)

So, on their Instagram, I kept seeing their regulars Q-tipping their dickholes* over the biscuits. So finally, I caved and told Henry to get some the other day. WOW BOY, ok. I get it. I get it now. I’m not a huge biscuit person, and usually find them to be too dry, but these ones are monstrous mountains of carb-fluff. I don’t even have any pictures because I inhaled mine. But they’re on the “sweets” section of the menu because they come with a side of lemon curd and some type of house jam. GOOD GOD DAMN. This is where it’s at.

The one I had ended up being my dinner that night and I was fulfilled. I will happily get another one soon for, um, photographical purposes. I’d do that for, you.

*(So one time, way back when I was on LiveJournal, I submitted my journal to this stupid LJ Review community that was full of the meanest, most pretentious assholes** you’d ever meet, including Yours Truly eventually, and everyone was like “A+ let this bitch in” except this one dude was all salty and said, “I mean her journal is OK but nothing to Qtip my dickhole over” and I thought that was the best review of all time and about once every 4 years, I like to sling that saying as an homage to the guy who didn’t want to let me in and never did end up liking me.)

**(I’m still friends with some of those assholes, lol.)

2. Corneal Capsaicin

Wednesday evening was a memorable one.

Henry wasn’t home from work yet and Chooch was loitering in the kitchen, mumbling about wanting something spicy for dinner. He called Henry to bitch about being hungry and Henry was like “there is plenty of food in the kitchen, you and your mother just don’t know how to make it” which always pisses me off when he says that, like he’s some Food Magician or some shit. They had some dumb argument about this which ended with Chooch yelling, “DON’T BRING ME FOOD HOME” and Henry said, “I WON’T.”

“Make some of that buldak ramen,” I shrugged, only half-caring because I’m a great mother.

Chooch was pretty ambivalent about this idea but set about putting water in the kettle (side note: do you use a water kettle? It is apparently uncommon for American households to use one but I’ve one for years which I use to make coffee and I would be lost without it).

So everything is going fine, and the ramen is done, and I come into the kitchen to grab a set of chopsticks because I just want a bite (THE CHICKEN FLAVORING IS ARTIFICIAL). Chooch has just finished squeezing the packet of sauce into the bowl and had turned around to go to the sink when suddenly…

“OMFG. I touched my EYE. I AM SO STUPID WHY DID I DO THAT OMG,” and I was like “Haha” and about to snare some noods with my ‘sticks when I realized that oh shit, my kid isn’t just being hyper, he’s actually scream-crying and dry-heaving into the sink.

He started doing a FIRE IN THE HOLE dance in the middle of the kitchen, half bent over, arms fluttering, squealing like a pig.

“HELP ME!!!” he screamed.

And I’m standing there, chopsticks in midair, paralyzed as I often am when confronted with Mom Duties.

Or, Any Duties.

“UM, SPLASH WATER IN IT!” I yelled over my shoulder, running to get  my phone, where I proceeded to Google, “HOW TO FIX PEPPER EYE.”

The first thing that came up:

Do not put water in eye. It will make the pain spread.

“OK, DON’T PUT WATER IN IT!” I yelled from the family room, to which he responded in a gurgle of snot and saliva, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME I HAVE BEEN WATERING MY EYE THIS WHOLE TIME” and then punctuated the sentence with an ungodly wail.

Now, I don’t know what this means* but whenever I’m confronted with a situation like this, my fight or flight response is, well, to FLY FAR AS FUCK AWAY, but also to laugh. I CAN’T HELP IT!

*(OK, look I know it means I’m an asshole, but I was hoping that some armchair psychologist would stumble upon this and reason that it actually means my empathy is SO INTENSE that the brain actually can’t handle the stress and just straight up splinters.)

By now I had found that the most common remedy is a cotton ball soaked in milk.

I swung open the fridge door and muttered, “Oh shit.”

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I HATE HIM!! I HATE HIM SO MUCH! HE NEVER GETS MILK!!!!” Chooch screamed. Now he was rocking back and forth on the kitchen floor and I was trying so hard to eat my laughter that I was coming very close to peeing my pants.

Chooch meanwhile was still screaming about hating Henry and how it was all Henry’s fault even though he wasn’t home, and I was like, “YES, THIS IS HIS FAULT. DOWN WITH HENRY! LET’S PILE UP ALL HIS THINGS AND BURN IT!” I let the narrative take this turn while I quietly slipped into the into the bathroom, where I was able to unleash a minute-long torrent of hearty, wheezy laughter. I emerged, red-faced with tears streaming down my cheeks, so now it looked like I was sharing a sympathy sob with my son, like the good little fucking mommy that I am.

We had both been trying to call him during this whole fiasco but he wasn’t answering.

Do you know why? Because he stopped at Oak Hill Post to get me the aforementioned biscuits, LOLOLOL.

Here’s Chooch fanning his eye while trying to unsuccessfully call Henry for the 80th time.

Things had finally started to calm down when Henry eventually came strolling in through the front door with the stride of a man who did nothing wrong and we immediately started screaming at him.

“How was this my fault?” he scoffed.

“Because you weren’t here to make dinner!!!” we screamed in tandem, always in sync when Henry is the common enemy.

“What’s this!?” Chooch screeched as Henry handed him a hunk of something in foil.

“It’s falafel. I stopped at Pitaland.”

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO GET ME ANYTHING!!!” Chooch screamed and then started sobbing, because is nothing if not a flesh bag created to hold my access emotions. He flung it down in the counter and ran off screaming, “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!”

“Yeah,” I said smugly, biscuit crumbs spilling out of my mouth. “You made all the dominos fall.”

“YOU’RE THE ONE WHO TOLD HIM TO MAKE THE RAMEN!” Henry yelled. Shit. This is what I was thinking all along but kept hoping that the focal point of the hate stayed on Henry. I looked at Chooch, silently pleading with my precious (Not like, “THAT RING IS MADE FROM PRECIOUS GEMS INFUSED WITH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST” but “Aw, look how precious Erin looks when she’s eating an ice cream cone and thinking about Taemin) eyes.

I watched as Chooch connected the dots. “Hey! YEAH, YOU TOLD ME TO MAKE THE RAMEN!”

OK moving along!!!

3. WHAT? MORE SIDEWALK SAGA?

Remember when Chooch tagged a wet-cement sidewalk with his cat’s Instagram handle and then Henry was like THAT IS A CRIME and made Chooch think he was going to go to jail and then oh yeah the sidewalk belongs to his friend’s family up the street from us and her dad busted him when he went back up and tried to cover it up but Chooch failed to tell us that part until weeks later when he couldn’t take the pressure of his sins anymore and confessed in one long-winded blurt? Well, now the city is doing work on the entire street (gas line stuff? I think I have also seen the water company out there?). This has been going on for weeks now and is slowly working its way closer to my block. They spraypainted the areas where the work (aka THE DIGGING) will be happening and one of those places was The Sidewalk. We were like OH SHIT ARE YOU KIDDING but no, they weren’t kidding, because they started working on this week!

I walked by yesterday and there is now a huge hole in their yard and the sidewalk is gonzo.

Also, speaking of the road work, these guys doing the work are complete assholes. (Maybe they used to review LiveJournals!?) In the beginning, I used to smile and say hello when passing but they would just grunt or ignore me so now I have this bubbling hatred brewing from within and I finally upchucked a freshly baked Karen Cake from my mouth yesterday when I went for a walk and they had the sidewalks all cluttered with their manly accessories and machinery and then they PARK ON THE SIDEWALKS as well and loaf against their trucks, bullshitting with each other, while I’m left to zigzag from one side of the sidewalk to the other. I was on the phone with Henry and this is always when I’m the most passive-aggressive and feel emboldened to shout to him all the things I’m feeling about these people so that they will hear me and, you know, definitely not cry about it in their thermoses. But it still feels great to get it off my shoulders!

“AND THEY’RE SO FUCKING RUDE TOO! THEY TAKE UP THE WHOLE ROAD AND SIDEWALK AND THEN ANYTIME I TRY TO BE NICE AND SAY HI THEY IGNORE ME BECAUSE I’M JUST A LOWLY PEDESTRIAN WHO DARES TO SPEAK TO MANLY ROAD WORKERS.”

“Wow,” Henry mumbled on the other end.

“ASSHOLES!” I yelled over my shoulder. Then I went home through an alley so I wouldn’t have to pass them again HAHAHA.

4. Slut Life Moves to Florida

Remember that asshole who lives next to HNC and they had all kinds of drama and HNC wrote a letter to the landlord and name-dropped me in it three times because I was his ally? Well, HNC ended up signing a proverbial peace treaty with that dumb fuck because Slut Life’s grandma got involved and made him behave. I think what happened was that somehow they realized that have a family connection or something because it is SO BUDDY-BUDDY over there now and I hate it because HNC got me all fired up and made me the star witness of his imaginary trial and then abandoned me to steep alone in my solo-hate.

Yeah that’s right, I still hate the guy. He is so obnoxious the way he peels in and out of the driveway and into the road, never even looking before pulling out! Henry and I witnessed him nearly cause an accident three different times when we were sitting on the porch.  (Oh also Slut Life told HNC he doesn’t like Henry so we always laugh whenever we’re outside and he goes out of his way not to look in our direction haha.) Anyway, not only is he a truly shitty driver (he almost hit me, remember?!), he also has extreme anger issues and will fucking scream at other drivers in his grating high pitched voice – trust me, we have front row seats for his outbursts as they often happen when he’s pulling out of the driveway.

Well, I overheard him telling HNC a few weeks ago that he’s MOVING TO FLORIDA IN OCTOBER. BITCH, BYE!

5. TAEMIN HAS BLACK HAIR AGAIN

This was originally going to be about how I’m still getting emails for other Erin Kellys and last week, I received an e-gift card for $150 CAD from Barbara Kelly, who even included a sweet note and I was like, “Barbara, you are lucky that I believe in karma and don’t want to cash this in and then get hit by a Facchiano truck” but I have already written nearly 3000 words on a FRIDAY FIVE, ARE YOU KIDDING, so instead let’s watch this video and be so excited that Taemin has black hair again!!!

 

Sep 162020
 

If I still had a really sharp memory and retained dates as well as I used to, then I would probably always associate the weekend of 9/12/20 with the book The Great Believers and how it shattered my heart, but as it is, I can barely even keep my years straight anymore, let alone singular weekends within those years.

But yeah, I finished that book Saturday morning and it was a real time, but I’ll talk more about that when I do my September book wrap-up, which reminds me that I haven’t even done the August wrap-up yet, I’m just really on top of things over here, what can I say.

Another thing I’d attribute to this past weekend is the fear that paralyzed my heart Friday night when I was sitting on the couch, probably watching Taemin videos, and then the sound of shattering glass and steel cut through the tranquility of the evening. There was that suspended moment where the mind races inside a frozen body, trying to figure out what carnage awaits, and then everything catches up with itself as you realize that it was just a mason jar filled with steel balls for a Pachinko machine, knocked off and split open by one of the cats during their psycho acrobat practice.

It was probably Drew.

The weird thing is that, and I am not joking, probably 5 or 10 minutes before this happened, I had glanced over at the cats chasing each other and I thought in my head, “Someone should move that mason jar, it’s going to get knocked over” but then I got distracted by whatever I was watching, probably Taemin videos, and then…well the rest is history.

There were just shy of 300 steel balls in that jar, and I’m still finding strays.

Then came Saturday, the day I sadly finished that book and had a total eclipse of the heart.

Is that even what that means?

It occurs to me that I have no idea what that even means.

Anyway, not important. What IS important is that we got patbingsu from Bae Bae’s and I was almost in tears because red bean is MY FAVORITE BINGSU FLAVOR. They were sold out of it for the longest time but when I saw that I had it this weekend, I couldn’t focus on anything else.

We took it to the cemetery to eat it and then Henry had to go to his job, which was nearby, to let one of his drivers back in so he was like CAN I TRUST YOU AND CHOOCH TO NOT KILL EACH OTHER IF I LEAVE YOU HERE and we were like WE WILL BE FINE so we walked around and competed to see who could find their birth date first on a tombstone and Chooch found his like 5x and I never once found mine so then I was like THIS GAME SUCKS and realized that we had been there too long so I called Henry and was like WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK FOR US and he was like MY DRIVER ISN’T HERE YET but we threw a fit and he was like GOD DAMMIT so he came back and got us before he was done doing his dumb Faygo stuff and he was so pissed and then we had to go back with him to his office while he finished his manly man man Faygo shit which is the most boring thing in the world so joke’s on me I guess.

That night, Henry and I watched the movie adaptation of a REALLY GOOD HORROR BOOK we read together (listened to in the cemetery!) “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and…ugh. I had hopes for this because Charlie Kaufman directed it and the cast was solid (the acting was phenomenal) and honestly, so much of this was great. The book has a lot of dialogue between the main characters while they’re in a car, so I wasn’t sure how that would translate to film without being a snoozefest, but it was done very artfully; actually, the whole film was just one big two hour existential art piece, if we’re being honest here. It was stunning to look at, and the little clues sprinkled throughout made me giddy, but can we talk about dat ending, tho.

No, we can’t, because spoilers, and also because I don’t have the energy or passion to care about it anymore, because I spent all day Sunday mulling and stewing over how disappointed I was. If you’ve read the book, you will PROBABLY hate the ending of the film. If you haven’t read the book, you will probably be like WTF to the whole enchilada.

(I don’t know what’s up with me lately, but I think I’m turning into a midwestern mom from 1981. Last week I saw “hemming and hawing,” and earlier today I said that my pumpkin spice latte from Potomac Station was “nothing to write home about” and Chooch was like, “WHAT” and started cracking up and I said, “What? That’s a real saying” and he said, “Yeah I know but I’m laughing because YOU said it.” So, I dunno when I went to bed and woke up a Mom, but here I am world, the pot roast is in the oven! Now bring me my Aquanet, turquoise track suit, and strap some LA Gear on my footsies because I’m ready for my Jazzercise class.)

Then on Sunday, Henry went and picked up our Sugarspell pints! I forgot to set a reminder the last time and all the flavors I had my eye on were already sold out that same night, so this time I was prepared and thank god I went to their website at the exact time the presale started because the pumpkin cinnamon roll flavor sold out in THREE MINUTES. That’s insane and I’m sad for all the Johnny Come Latelys out there but feeling pretty smug that I was checked out by 7:03 and got the ones I wanted. The other ones I got are peach crisp (so refreshing!) and chocolate mousse which I am scarily addicted to. It is SO SMOOTH AND RICH, and I mean, I know it’s in the name but it tastes JUST LIKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.

Sometimes I can’t even believe that this is vegan.

But the real star here is that goddamn pumpkin cinnamon roll. WOW. You know how more often than not, pumpkin-flavored things are so synthetic and artificial? This tastes like your great-aunt Mildred made a pie using pumpkins from her motherfucking farm while wearing a gingham apron and I’d say butter churned from her own cows, but then this wouldn’t be a very vegan-y review. Anyway, I’m just trying to say that this tastes like a stroll through a pumpkin patch on a perfectly crisp fall day with the hint of a jaunt through a haunted house later that night. And you’re probably wearing a really cute red flannel under the perfectly-distressed denim jacket too.

And the back is peppered with patches from the best 80s goth & synthpop bands.

And you’re not wearing a mask because WE BEAT COVID but you ARE wearing a really soft and warm cowl scarf. It’s probably burnt orange and you don’t care if it clashes with your flannel because you’re the kind of person who has a very specific fall fashion aesthetic and sets reminders on their phone for vegan ice cream pint pre-orders.

I consulted with Phil and he agrees that this pumpkin ice cream is completely worth the hype.

Later that afternoon, we went to Oakland (oh don’t you worry, we never took our masks off once) because eventually Chooch will be going to school in real life and this is where that will be.

I mean, not HERE specifically. But I had some classes in that beast and now that I only have like $3000 left in student loans, I’m kind of starting to miss it a little…should I go back? NO. I’M KIDDING.

Oakland is the home of Pitt and CMU as well as Chooch’s new high school so I have to admit, it kind of felt like we were preparing to send him off to college. “You can walk to the Carnegie Library after school! And there’s a Korean fried chicken place that has TTEOKBOKKI! And and and!” I was also pointing out various buildings where I had classes (“My vampire class was in the same building as the science classes and one time we had to evacuate when there was a fire in the chemistry lab,” I said, lost in the memory, while Chooch just stared at me. Then finally, “You took a literal class on vampires?” Yeah I did, sonny boy. One of our homework assignments was watching The Hunger (in my heart, David Bowie isn’t dead because he’s UNdead) and we did an entire unit on LESBIAN VAMPIRE FILMS.) but no one really cared. Henry just kept murmuring “mmhmm” because my college days were really stressful for him, I guess, probably because he feared I’d meet an older professor and run away with him, because that’s totally on brand, but mostly I think because of the debt I was racking up.

Even the dinosaurs are smart enough to wear masks.

Well, I don’t think anything else super spectacular happened. So that concludes another weekend wrap-up.

Sep 152020
 

Look, I’m still riding the Taemin Wave over here so just be quiet and let me get this out of my system lol.

Today I want to share the stage that Taemin did for my favorite song off his new album, Nemo. When I first heard it, I was immediately transported to my childhood bedroom in 1994/1995, talking on the phone/writing pen pal letters/ generally brooding in bed with BET’s Quiet Storm on my tiny TV. I was obsessed with 90s slow jams, and Nemo gives me that distinct retro vibe. I’ve said it before on here but there is something about his voice, the whispery huskiness maybe, that brings to mind Anita Baker. I will never take back that statement and I don’t care if HENRY HEARS OR NOT because I do!

Anyway, I was just watching an interview/behind the scenes thing he did and he said that Nemo is his favorite song from the new album and that he was inspired by the 90s r&b that he was listening to, BAM!!!

Um, yeah. Whew. Let me collect myself.

Ok so you should watch this and decide for yourself and let me know what you think:

And while we’re here, might I also suggest the stage he did for Black Rose, where his choreography nearly shot me through the roof? THOSE FORMATIONS.

I sent this to Janna last night and she said nothing so maybe I should take the hint. Lol nah.

This boy has more talent in his pinky than all your faves combined, I fucking swear to god.

Ok I swear my next post will be non-Kpop/Taemin related. Probably. Maybe. I hope. You hope. We hope.

Sep 132020
 

Dear friends and foes*,

I am currently reading a book about a roadtrip and it’s bumming me out more than all the dystopian books I’ve read this year about viruses and pandemics. I miss hitting the road! But I’ve also been enjoying taking some strolls down memory lane and being grateful for the fun experiences we’ve had over the years.  Tonight, I want to (re)share with you the time I made my cohorts take a detour on the way home from Chicago to a town called MUNSTER in Indiana, so I could frolic in a psychedelic grotto. (AS THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG POST INSINUATES.)

So, here it is. Read it or not, but I’m going back to my book. (He Started It by Samantha Downing – I AM TOTALLY HOOKED.)

*(It’s OK! I hate-read my own blog every now and then too! And then grudgingly go into edit mode to fix the copious spelling errors.)

***

September 2017

Way back when I was live-blogging our boring-ass drive home from Chicago, I mentioned that we stopped at a religious-y place and that it would get its own blog post…and then of course it got put on the back-burner. But tonight I finally sorted through the pictures and I AM READY TO GET THIS CHURCHY BLOG POST PARTY STARTED, BOI.

Let’s start with a quick backstory: the first time Henry and I went to Chicago in 2014, I stumbled upon this place on Roadside America unofficially dubbed “Ultraviolet Apocalypse” in Munster, Indiana. I begged Henry to take me here on the way home, but then I saw that it’s only open on SUNDAYS. Ugh, leave it to a church to only be open on Sundays.

What it actually is: the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery founded by Polish friars who emigrated to the US in 1950. But the big ticket item is the man-made grotto on the grounds, which is three-stories tall and fashioned from 250 tons of sponge rock–I had to look this up because I actually thought it was made from geodes. From what I read online, parts of the grotto are illuminated by black light and the photos I saw looked like the holy version of black light posters sold at Spencer’s.

This place was MADE FOR ME. Religious AND tacky? Take me there.

I looked it up again during this last trip and noticed that it said you could call ahead to schedule a tour. So while we were in the Lincoln Park Zoo that Sunday, I made Henry call (begrudgingly so) and he confirmed that the broad in the office said that the grotto would be open, especially since Monday was a holiday (Labor Day).

HOT HOLY FISH FRY, I WAS GOING TO THE GROTTO!

I couldn’t wait to finish breakfast the next morning and set off to Munster, Indiana, which thankfully wasn’t very far out of the way. We rolled up into the mostly empty lot but I did notice the occasional parishioner moving to and fro.

I wanted to save the grotto for last, obv., so we casually strode around the grounds, looking at the Stations of the Cross like we were knew what we doing, and oohing and awing at the statues. I know the general consensus is that I must be a fucking asshole at places like this, but actually, I’m very respectful and truly enjoy being around these things, even though I don’t have a lick of faith left in my Hell-charred bones.

And surprisingly, Chooch is also very interested in these types of places too, and we get a lot of joy out of reading plaques and running our fingers across the cold marble faces of saints we’ve never heard of.

The grounds were so lovely, and it was still early enough in the morning that it felt like fall, so Chooch and I happily wore hoodies.

I love the woodwork of this shrine!

OH SHIT SON, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Except that those steps were so hard and cold, covered in puddles and razor-edged pine needles. I was in pain (which was the point, I guess, because Jesus died on the cross, etc.) and at one point took my hoodie off and tried to use it as knee pads but that proved futile and I only ended up sopping up the puddles with it.

Meanwhile, Chooch scrambled up to the top like he was being chased by Jason Voorhees and then gloated for the next hour because it took me an extra five minutes to pull my fat body up to the top.

But I did it.

For Christ.

Henry, on the other hand, was like, “Nope” and walked around tp the other side where reverence wasn’t required.

My fucked-up knees.

The steps Henry took didn’t go all the way to the top, so he asked us what was up there.

“Um, I don’t know. Jesus on the cross, I guess,” I mumbled, pulling pine needles out of my busted knees.

Beneath this was an underground level which featured Jesus’s tomb, but the door to it was locked. I was half-expecting that though from reading the tips on Roadside America. And it was time to check out the Grotto anyway, so I wasn’t crying too much about it.

EXCEPT THAT THE GROTTO WASN’T OPEN EITHER!!!!!

HENRY!!!!! YOU SAID!!!!

Helpless, we walked back to the parking lot. “Maybe we should look for someone,” I said, and we walked over to the church, which had a few old people inside praying.

“That one guy looks like a priest or something but I AM NOT INTERRUPTING HIM WHILE HE’S PRAYING,” Henry rushed to finish before I could even ask. And the office had a “closed” sign on it.

THE FUCK, HENRY?!

So we hung around in our car like total fucking creeps for the next 30 minutes, deliberating. I didn’t want to leave, not after coming this close after three years of attempts. At some point, an older broad rolled up with a young kid, and we watched them waltz right on into the closed office! So then I got it in my head that she worked there and she became my new target.

So we went into the office too and it was completely dark. We noticed the lady and the boy went into the chapel, which was connected. They were just chilling on a pew and again, Henry was like, “I AM NOT INTERRUPTING PRAYING PEOPLE.”

Back to the car we went. We were just about to leave when another car pulled in and a lady in a pink shirt got out. She also had a small kid with her. The other lady came out of the chapel and was talking to her, so then we deduced that it was actually Pink Shirt who was in charge around there. She was pulling bins out of the back of her minivan, which made us feel like she worked there. Like maybe they were filled with Bible Study props or something.

It became clear that Henry wasn’t going to be proactive about this situation, so Chooch and I got out of the car and approached Pink Shirt.

“Let me guess, you’re here for the Polish school, too!” she asked happily. Immediately, something about her reminded me of Clea Duvall and I felt instantly at ease.

“No, the Grotto actually!” and I dove right into my sob story about how we came from Pittsburgh—-

“—Not just for this, I hope!” she interrupted with a laugh. “I mean, it’s great, but….”

I explained that we were coming home from Chicago, that I had been trying to see this place for years, and that someone in the office told us that it would be open that day but it wasn’t.

“Hmm, you’ll need to see Father [John*]. He’ll be able to help you,” she said.

*(I can’t remember his name, one of the perils in waiting a million weeks to blog about these things. #amateur)

I asked her what he looked like, and she laughed and said, “Polish!” but then she set down her huge plastic bin of Polish school supplies (maybe??) and brought Chooch and me into the office just as Father was emerging from the chapel.

He was a robust older man in shorts and a tshirt and I 100% never would have thought he was the guy I was looking for.

Pink Shirt explained to him our predicament and in a thick, beautiful Polish accent, he exclaimed, “Oh I don’t know who would have told you the grotto was open today!”

I shrugged and said, “My….husband spoke to a woman when he called the office yesterday.” Chooch shot me a sneer when I said ‘husband’ and later I explained that I didn’t want to say BOYFRIEND. ‘Husband’ sounded more legit since we were in a church, and not “Hi we are a couple of heathens and this here is our child born out of wedlock. Toss us them there keys to the grotto.”

“SO YOU LIED,” Chooch pointed out.

CAN IT, CHOOCH.

Father was super harried. Turns out he was the only one there that day, which meant he was getting pulled in a million directions. “Oh boy, let me see,” he sighed, blowing frustrated air up into his face. “Give me five minutes. Uh, go look at the church or something,” and he spun around to see about getting the key.

I LOVED THIS MAN. I loved his earthy accent, I loved his utter refusal to hide the fact that he was seriously annoyed by me and my ill-timed request, I loved that even though he was busy he was willing to pause his actual church work to help some dumb broad from Pittsburgh see a roadside attraction.

Long story still long, Father John found a dude to open the grotto for us! Which was fortuitous to the handful of people who had arrived in the interim and now got to reap the rewards of my relentless puppy dog-eying the Polish father. (He was a friar maybe? I’m not sure.)

No pictures, no words, can do this place justice. Walking into the grotto, I expected to be disappointed. Ok, not disappointed….but maybe the sense that this wasn’t worth the trouble.

Nope. Did not feel this way at all. It was an operatic “ahhhhhhhhhhh!” moment and I immediately began to touch EVERYTHING (later Chooch would point out a sign that said “do not touch the walls.” Oops.

This grandfather/grandson power duo happened to be there as the doors were unlocked, so Chooch and I went in with them and let the little boy be our tour guide. He kept yelling, “GUYS, COME ON!” and his grandfather would just chuckle and say, “Let them go at their own pace.” But we humored the kid and let him tug us through all three levels of the beautiful grotto.

Yessssssssss.  I need my basement to look like this.

There were various pieces of quartz and crystal* encrusted in some spots of the walls, which was why I originally thought the walls were made from split open geodes.

* (?? I’m not up on my geology—I did so terribly in my geology class at Pitt because it was during the last trimester of my pregnancy and I didn’t fit in the desk because it had an attached chair so a janitor had to find me another desk and I was having hot flashes constantly so that’s what I think of when I see things like this)

Henry wasn’t with us, and it turns out he was stopped by another guy from the church who didn’t speak English, and that guy went into the closed gift shop and brought out a guide for Henry to borrow. So Henry got to walk through on his own with a book of info. Like he even cared!

After being mesmerized by the grotto, we walked back over to the holy steps to see if the tomb was opened now too and it was!

It was bigger than I imagined, with several alcoves, one of which had the next ultraviolet spot of the whole joint:

It was breathtaking, honestly. Even Henry said he was glad we stopped and things worked out, because it was worth seeing. It made my heart feel so big and swollen for a little bit (probably until around noon when I started to get hungry).

If you are ever in the Chicago area, I highly recommend taking the detour to Munster, Indiana. Just make sure if it’s not a Sunday, you’re prepared to hunt down some Polish Fathers for assistance.

Sep 122020
 

One might think that my life is super full and busy, keeping me posting timely recaps. But no, I just have blog-lethargy. Not bad enough to give it up totally, even though this is usual the time every year when I have super navel-gazey internal debate of To Quit Blogging Or Not To Quit Blogging, like it’s some major life decision, but usually what happens is that Chooch or Henry will have some rando memory, the details of which are blurry, and I’ll be like, “I BLOGGED ABOUT THAT, PLEASE HOLD” and then viola, I am here to serve the facts (but if you ask them, they will frown and say, “This feels a bit skewed, but at least you have the date right.”

And that’s my intro into another weekend update, in the middle of a new weekend! Last weekend was a three-day holiday weekend (in the US) which was fine but you know, these three-day weekends are much less exciting when you’ve got nowhere to go. I actually considered driving to the other side of the state just to go to one of the big Korean grocery stores and stock up on makgeolli because god forbid it should be available in Pittsburgh. But then I remembered that Henry still has lots of chores to do and wanted to keep him at home doing said chores, but instead I had him doing a freaking tour of all the Goodwills in the tri-state area because I was looking for a VERY SPECIFIC type of picture frame for a ceiling light fixture design I created in my head and why is it so hard to transfer my head-ideas into tangible things!?

I was feeling extremely gross after the third Goodwill we tried so we went home and I pouted.

It’s really fucking sad how all the days blend together and I can’t be sure if this is 100% pandemic-related or maybe also a bit of me getting old and perhaps needed to do some brain exercises? But I can’t fucking remember what happened when, except that I know for a fact, we went to Page Dairy Mart on SATURDAY because precious baby Henry wanted to get their raspberry torte sundae and when I went on their Instagram, I saw that one of their fall flavors was APPLE BUTTER which sounded like a nice change from that basic bitch Pumpkin, so I wanted to get that and was excited but then we got there and it was super crowded which you could argue was maybe because everyone was social-distancing but it still looked like it was a bit much so Henry was like I AM NOT WAITING IN THAT LINE and then we went to another Goodwill and can I just tell you that one thing about Goodwill, god bless them, is that they are trying so hard to follow COVID guidelines and they have their aisles marked as one-ways and do not enters, which I really appreciate but it’s still Goodwill and the people who go there are gonna be all whatever about it anyway, so I felt super uncomfortable and just raced to the picture frame sections in each one and the split the moment I saw they didn’t have what I needed, even though Henry was a massive fan of browsing every single aisle in thrift shops. I just have that kind of patience unless I’m not looking for anything specific.

Otherwise, I’m not very flexible and open-minded.

But ahoy! (I don’t even know what that means exactly.) On the way back, Page’s was much less crowded so Henry and Chooch got in line while I stayed safe in the car like the actual princess I am.

While I was waiting for them, I had to listen to some jackass have a loud conversation with his brother on speaker about how he’s going to be renting a car for two months and mom and dad don’t know he’s saved up money from his severance to buy a new car and his tone was so obnoxiously cocky. The guy was a huge dick who probably tries to flex on his gf all the time but I bet she responds by kicking him in the nuts, also they had their dog with them and I felt bad that the dog has to live with an asshole like that.

Yeah, so my softserve was fine! Dd it taste like apple butter though? Maybe? For a second? Then it slid into some other strange and tangy flavor profile, so I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t send anyone on a pilgrimage to try it BUT!! I do recommend Page Dairy Mart for their sundae offerings and actually every other soft serve flav I’ve had there in the past has been impeccable (the blueberry is the best but they only have it for a VERY BRIEF time, usually in spring I think, and they use fresh blueberries. It actually makes me giddy just thinking about it.)

What else happened on Saturday. I went for a walk that evening and right outside my house I went to move over to let some guy pass me and he said, “What’s up Erin?” and I was like, “………………………hi.” I had no idea who it was?! Then he said, “Stay safe kiddo” and I said, “You, too.”

“I always do!” he said jovially, and then he took a sip of his drink, pivoted on his heel and walked away.

If you are reading this and it was you or said hello to me, please let me know because my eyes are bad and I honestly didn’t recognize this guy but his voice sounded familiar?! I DON’T REALLY NO ONE WHO LIVES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD SO IT’S A MYSTERY.

Oh yeah, sometime on Saturday we also learned that Chooch has been doing laundry for the last several months with fabric softener and nothing else. I’m so worthless that I was like, “Is that bad? What does that mean?” and Henry just stared at me and walked away so I had to google it.

On Sunday, Henry and I woke up very early and look I know I said I was against this, but we went to the flea market because I was still looking for a stupid frame and we though maybe if we went before 7:30am, it won’t be so bad, but there were so many maskless bastards, or people just wearing their masks improperly, and then there was some bitch who was seriously tryna sell us her “homemade” Frozen-themed dry erase board for $20 when all I really was the frame and even THAT wasn’t worth $20 nor was it really that great so Henry was like, “We’ll come back!” and I was like, “No we won’t.” Then we saw a table selling a slew of MAGA hats and I was loudly spouting off about that and then I overheard one hick-man ask another hick-man where he got his Trump flag and I was like I NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW.

Also I was wearing the Korea Times concert shirt that my girl Veronica sent me last year (IT HAS TAEMIN’S FACE ON THE BACK!) and all these rednecks kept staring at it and my Kore Limited mask which has KOREAN WORDS ON IT and I was like, “THESE RACISTS CAN STARE AT ME AS MUCH AS THEY WANT IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE THE FACT THAT MY CLOTHES ARE KOREAN. RACISTS ASSHOLES.” and Henry was like, “Calm down” SO I FUCKING KILLED HIM.

WITH MY BARE HANDS.

Yeah, so Ieft with no picture frame, but one corpse, and made sure I ran my mouth about Trump the whole way back to the car. My favorite part was when I shouted about how great it felt to be the so much better than everyone there. Hope they don’t get tetanus when they trip over their fleeing brain cells and fall face-first into their piles of rusted wares.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY HEAD ANYMORE BUT THERE ARE CONVERSATIONS AND THEY SOUND REALLY SOLID UNTIL I TRANSCRIBE THEM ON HERE.

Later!

There was more room-painting. They (I put a new battery in Henry so he could come back to life and finish his chores) got it mostly finished but there are still spots that need touched up, the doors need painted, I have an accent wall that I told Chooch I’m doing (whether he likes it or not) and Henry still has to hang all his pictures back up. Can I tell you a secret? A long time ago on LiveJournal I was friends with this bitch who I started to realize later on secretly hated me but before I understood that I used to support her stupid Etsy shop even though I didn’t think her art was that great (girl hush, I don’t think mine is great at all either so this was no fucking competition) and I bought several paintings back when Chooch’s room was “Chooch’s nursery.” Anyway, when I saw them in his stack of shit that needs rehung, I held them up and asked, “Do you even like these?” and he did that noncommittal shrug he does paired with a deep hard stare into my mind because he’s trying to figure out what answer I want him to give and I rescued him by saying, “Because the person who painted these is an asshole and I want to throw them out” and he was like, “OK whew, yeah, go ‘head.”

(Hey, I paid for them, they weren’t gifts!)

(I can only imagine how many of my own paintings are rotting in garbage dumps across the country, lol. #burnedbridges)

That afternoon, Henry and I went back out because I was like MAYBE WE CAN FIND SOMETHING IN MICHAELS OR THE HALLOWEEN SECTION OF TARGET and we didn’t but we DID find a Halloween hotel scratch pad! I was so stoked because I wanted to get one of these last year but they were sold out at every Target and not available for online orders, but this year they had a huge upgrade with this two-story version! Henry had the audacity to try and put the smaller one in the cart instead and I was “the fuck is wrong with you, cheap ass?” and swapped it out for the big one!

Chooch pushed it up to their Xmas one from last year, which is also a double-decker but nearly as grand, so whenever a cat is halfway in one and the other, Chooch screams, “THANKSGIVING!” Fucking dumbo.

Later, on our nightly walk, some lady started screaming about how she likes my jacket. ITS SO SPARKLY! YOU LOOK ADORABLE IN IT! And to my right, Chooch was stewing. His biggest nightmare! Strangers complimenting me! God forbid!!

(I mean, she was super over the top about it though.)

I don’t think anything super exciting happened after that, but MONDAY was the best because I woke up at 6am and was treated to a brand new TAEMIN MV which I already posted here that day, and then later on I realized, “OH HOLY SHIT THE WHOLE ALBUM CAME OUT TODAY?!” and shit, I can’t think of very many feelings that are better than getting to explore new songs from one of your favorite artists for the first time. The whole day was spent playing and replaying and pausing and jumping back 10 seconds all day long. I was in the best mood!

Especially because the night before, I did a Bad Thing and checked out Hobby Lobby’s website and saw that they had a mirror with a frame that was very close to what I was looking for. It was on sale for $45 which is not very “on sale” if you ask me, but it was supposedly down from $85 which is, just…wow. I can’t imagine thinking a mirror was worth that much, but OK. So the reason why this was a Bad Thing is because I have, until now, never set foot inside of a Hobby Lobby. Yes, this is on purpose. I’ve boycotted them ever since 2014 because fuck their “religious beliefs” (I won’t eat at Chik-Fil-A either, good thing I’m vegetarian anyway).

So now, here I am, in a fucking Hobby Lobby and not only did they have what I needed, but they had the mirror in the clearance section BECAUSE THE MIRROR WAS BROKEN SO IT WAS MARKED DOWN TO $11.

I was just gonna smash the mirror out of it anyway! (Until Henry took charge and carefully removed the glass before I had a chance to swing down my mallet.)

I was in such a good mood that I even made charismatic small talk with the cashier and hardly anyone gets to have that side of me anymore! THE POWER OF TAEMIN.

Afterward, we went to Sheetz so Henry could, I don’t know what he was doing actually. Getting a soft pretzel probably. But I looked at their app to find a coffee drink and saw that their limited edition flavor is APPLE BUTTER?? I guess this really is the new basic bitch fall flavor! Of course I had to try it even though Sheetz historically dishes out disgusting lattes. I mean, it had that distinct Sheetz aftertaste, but by george, it really did taste like apple butter! More than my softserve did!

The next part of my ceiling light project was to procure zebra print fabric so we went to Joann and THEY DID NOT HAVE ZEBRA PRINT FABRIC and not only that but one of their dumb old lady employees was in an aisle next to us humming loudly and it was really YUCKING MY TAEMIN YUM so I was like THIS STORE SUCKS WE NEED TO LEAVE because that’s when I do when a store doesn’t have what I want. I throw a passive aggressive tantrum to which Henry pantomimes an entire play titled I AM NOT WITH HER behind my back.

“Hobby Lobby has fabric,” Henry mumbled on the way back to the car and I was like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME I HAVE BOYCOTTED THIS BASTARD STORE FOR THIS WHOLE TIME AND NOW I AM GOING THERE TWICE IN ONE DAY? But I agreed to go back and they did not have zebra print either (is this…extinct?) but I happened to see a checkered print and thought, “You know what? Taemin released a new album today. I am not going to be in a bad mood. I am going to be FLEXIBLE and go with this CHECKERED PRINT instead” and then Henry wanted to check the cardstock to see if their prices are better than Michaels and I was like, “If this place ends up being your new cardstock supplier, I’m shuttering our card business.”

AND THEN A DAY LATER, Hobby Lobby got blasted for having a pro-Trump store display and I was like I AM A FUCKING HORRIBLE PERSON FOR BREAKING MY BOYCOTT!!! and then Henry the Mansplainer was like, “Boycotts don’t work anyway” because he literally is not affected by anything, being a WHITE STRAIGHT MIDDLE-AGED MAN.

I really do feel sick about it though. I hate that I put aside my morals just for one stupid ass picture frame. Fuck Hobby Lobby and fuck Trump!!!

The only other notable thing about Monday is that we got dinner from Onion Maiden, bless their hearts for being open for take-out on Labor Day.  I got Coffins which is a Korean-ish pancake stuffed with wonderfully marinated shredded jackfruit, cucumbers. It was delicious and fully satisfying!

Jackfruit is so fucking weird though. I mean, it’s so delicious but who would have thought that it would such a wonderful vegan substitute for like, pulled pork or whatever?

Not me.

But then, I can barely make toast.

Anyway. I think that’s all. Labor Day was just a regular day except without work. No celebrating. No cookouts. No weekend roadtrips. LE FUCKING SIGH.

Sep 102020
 

Hello! Coming through with another kitchen update because the side of the room with the cabinets is FINALLY done.

To be honest, the cabinets and drawers were painted and put back on a few weeks ago but remember I told you that we had lost a drawer a long time ago? Well, I was waiting for Henry to essentially make a new one from a drawer front he found at some construction junkyard place. He found a drawer that was an identical match to one of the larger ones you see below and made the smaller drawer from that. He even BEVELED the sides, which I didn’t even know was a thing until now. This dumb kitchen makeover is teaching me so much. Anyway, the drawer he made is that dark blue one on the far right. It’s just a fake drawer and doesn’t open but it’s better than having a gaping hole there!

Ignore the MISSING TRIM over there on the left because HENRY CERTAINLY HAS.

Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out! I mean, we did the best we could considering we don’t own this house. The cabinetry is about as rudimentary as you can get but I definitely wasn’t about to put any money into upgrading that shit, and our bastard landlord has been updating the kitchens in all of his other properties when people move out, so when we finally move, he’s just gonna demo this entire room anyway! But anything we spent any considerable amount of cash on (basically all of the stuff on the other side of the room) will be coming with us anyway.

So anything that’s imperfect, like the old-ass counter top, is whatever. We originally talked about redoing it with epoxy but honestly, it’s not worth the effort.

Painting these doors was SO SATISFYING except that I almost passed out several times from blowing too hard through straws, and then there was one time where I suffered a considerable blow-back and got paint all over my face and hair.

Top blue drawer is the fake one!

The Corey cabinet pulls make me so happy everyday!! I can’t tell you how nice it is to actually want to be in this space. Usually I would run in to make my coffee and then do my best to avoid it for the rest of the day because it was such an actual pit.

Oh! And our fridge magnets came last week, and I really like how they turned out!

Chooch was like, “OK cool, my parents were alive in the 80s. What else do you want me to say?” when I was like “LOOK AT THESE PICTURES. LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT THEM. WASN’T I FUCKING ADORBS??”

I mean, I really was though. I’m a classic case of “What the hell happened to her?”

Well, I can tell you that it all started to go downhill in 4th grade…

…and then I got braces in 5th grade….

…and also a perm…

…and gained like 20 pounds…

…and wore moccasins with socks…

I recently wrote a blog post about that picture up there of me and my DUMB BABY BROTHER RYAN (I love him now but when he was born I was like MY LIFE IS OVERRRRRRRR).

Yeah, now that I think about it, most of the pictures of me are from Wildwood and the ones of Henry are when he was IN THE SERVICE. Lol, age differences.

Over the weekend, I got Henry to do one of my favorite things ever which is MAKE THINGS LIGHT UP. He installed LED lights under the cabinets but had to do things like CUTTING WIRES and ADDING THINGIE-CONNECTORS and BLEEPY-DE-DOOS. At one point, while watching him thread wires into a thing, I asked, “How do you know how to do that?” to which he mumbled (probably with a pencil in his mouth), “It’s basic wiring.

OK Him-Man (that’s what the cats call him).

Anyway, it seemed to take forever and then he needed more of Something or Other and I had to wait TWO MORE DAYS for that Something or Other to arrive in the mail and do you know how much I hate waiting? I’m the queen of instant gratification. And Henry is one of those turtles winning the race type of people and it fucking infuriates me and then we get into a fight about it and he throws down his Wire Wand Tool Thing and huffs, “OK FINE IF YOU WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE SHIT I’LL DO IT FAST THEN” and then I’m like “WOW OK TOUGH GUY” and he usually sulks off to the back porch where he will sit and stew while scrolling through Reddit and then suddenly he remembers we need bread or milk or something and off he goes “to the store” which is his safe place. Usually, he will treat himself to a candy bar or some gross Hostess processed nightmare and then he’s ready to get back to work.

Like clockwork.

Anyway!! He finished it on Labor Day (lol the perfect day) and was like, “here’s your fucking lights” while probably envisioning jamming the remote control down my throat.

I’m so happy with it!!

Now he just has to do whatever it is he needs to do with the “switch” he keeps talking about to make the Conair telephone turn on the lights when the receiver is lifted. COME ON, HENRY. I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. FIGHTING!!

Meanwhile, I bought this vintage pinball backglass on eBay and it arrived today so now Henry has to add that to the list. He needs to build a lightbox-type frame for it and then hang it up above the spice rack.

Of course it needs to light up!

Oh and now that I’m looking at this picture, it reminds me that he never finished the cabinet pulls on this side of the room!! (Michael Jackson, Boy George, and Rick Astley – I literally pictured the first three singers that came to mind. Also, this made Chooch ask, “Who the hell is Boy George?” and I was like “You know who he is” and I showed him pictures at which point he was even more perturbed and said, “No I really don’t” and I was like, “Yeah, the Culture Club. You know—” and I started humming Do You Really Want To Hurt Me and by now, Chooch was looking at me like he just walked in on me cooking a pot roast, so then I queued up some Culture Club on Spotify and he was like I HAVE LEGIT NEVER HEARD ANY OF THESE SONGS, fast forward a few days and he’s all, “Alexa, play Karma Chameleon.” Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout, Willis.)

*DEEP BREATH*

What a dumb fucking family! I love it!

I found a lot of places online that make reproductions of pinball backglass but they cost just as much in some cases, and I liked the imperfections of a vintage piece, knowing that it used to live in a machine that was played by many. This particular glass was made in 1979 (my birth year!) and even though it’s not specifically from the 80s, it was on the cusp and that was good enough for me! According to the description on eBay, it came from the estate sale of an avid arcade game collector, and I hope that wherever that person now is, dead or alive, they know that it’s going to continue to be loved and admired!

Aside from all this, we spent all weekend looking for a specific type of frame so I could make the ceiling light fixture, which is about 75% done so hopefully the next time I come back with a kitchen update, it will be to tell you that we finally have a ceiling light that’s not just an ugly exposed light bulb (I know those are on trend, but not the one we have in our kitchen now!), the Coney Island glass is framed and hung on the wall, the telephone turns on the lights, and all of the trim is back on. OH YEAH, and the curtain is made, which I keep forgetting about even though the fabric has been hanging over a dining room chair for two months now and I’m actually looking right at it.

See?! That ceiling light is not cool.

(Henry is going to read this tomorrow and run away.)

Sep 092020
 

*the accent in which I head-said this was offensive to all of France, straight down to the stale baguettes in alley trash cans, and definitely sounded more Swedish Chef than Ratatouille.

I’ve never even seen Ratatouille but imagine there’s some French-accent action up in that piece?

And also, who cares about offending France.

Also, why did I even title this in fake French?

Why can’t I ever just start a blog post in a normal fashion.

Anyway, nothin’ like a weekend recap a week later! I can’t even remember what happened!

But apparently at some point, Drew jumped on the fridge and I took this picture, because KIT-N-CABOODLE.

Honestly, I’m not even sure what we did on Saturday. I think “we” worked on the coffee table, and I have a vague recollection of spray-painting picture frames. The neighbors probably really wonder if this is a residence or an artist compound.

Sunday was cool though. I watched Halloween commercials from the 70s and 80s and the nostalgia pangs had me screaming.

Later, Henry and I went to some antique place (the same place I got my Mouse Attack sign and my oldest wheelchair, so it’s definitely a place where I’ve had great success) but you’d never know we were in the middle of a pandemic because all of the professional antiquers were out and about and it started to feel very crowded and I’m not trying to get corona for the sake of scoring a couple 1980s coffee cups, OK.

So I hissed at Henry through my mask, “WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE. NOW.” We hadn’t even made our way to the second floor yet but it’s OK – I’ll go back another time when it’s not as crowded.

Of course I was pouting about this when we left, but Henry saved the day by suggesting that we order lunch from Onion Maiden’s weekend pop-up, Chick Habit* which focuses on faux chicken sandwiches and  that’s pretty much my favorite when it comes to vegan/vegetarian fare. (Real life pause while Henry and I have a deep discussion on how the Toronto vegan scene is exponentially better than Pittsburgh’s. Damn, I miss Toronto.)

*You know, the place that Chooch made me unfollow on Instagram so that he could be the 666th follower.

We had some time to kill after Henry placed the order so we parked and walked to nearby Black Forge, which is hands down one of my favorite cafes in this damn city. If you* ever visit me, I’ll take you there. Their punch cards feature head shots of the Trump administration – ’nuff said.

*(Yeah, you!)

My inner Karen was gesticulating wildly inside of me because the mom-and-kid duo in front of us were so annoying. I think I was probably still experience residual anger from having to leave the antique place, and they probably weren’t that annoying. But still! I was mad because we would have been ahead of them if stupid ass dumb head worst child ever Chooch hadn’t texted me to change his fucking idiotic Chick Habit order, which resulted in Henry having to call them back before entering the cafe and sure, I could have just gone in ahead of him but I’m very clingy in this pandemic landscape. (I mean, just to him, not strangers! Trust me, having to socially distance myself from other people has been the best thing ever. Love that for us misanthropes.)

I love when establishments take mask-wearing seriously. I knew I could count on Black Forge!

Anyway, every one ahead of us had very relaxed and natural banter with the barista, and then when it was our turn, I had already completely shut down and fucking Henry looks like a serial killer when he wears his mask so she didn’t even bother striking one up with us.

My favorite parts:

  • when they were out of the cold brew that Henry wanted because I love when a place doesn’t have what he wants since I’m the one that usually happens to;
  • when she said she could make the specialty drink he wanted as a latte instead of cold brew and he said OK but asked for almond milk instead of whole milk, and then she came back halfway into making it and said, “Oh yeah, since this is a latte, it will have milk in it IS THAT OK” and he was like, “Um yeah I know but can I have almond milk” except that he was mumbling it and even I could barely hear him, so then it looked like they were having a staring contest until she broke first and said, “So is whole milk OK then” and he just completely gave up and shook his head yes.

I mean he pouted about this on the walk back to Onion Maiden but hello – he is not vegan nor is he lactose intolerant so shut up Henry.

“I just like the taste of almond milk in coffee!” he will cry when asked about this.

I stood outside while Henry went inside to grab the food. This was after I went into some goth apothecary store and tried to buy an old wooden clown head I saw in the window but IT WAS NOT FOR SALE.

“Why, do you love it?” the shop proprietor asked after I loudly groaned “UGHHH” behind my mask and stopped just short of stamping my feet. You never know what you’re gonna get with me: either a one-dimensional cardboard cutout with the personality of a robot or my full-blown manic, ebullient self. This guy got THAT.

(OMG NEXT TIME I HAVE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF WITH AN ADJECTIVE, I’LL USE THAT!!)

So then we chatted about that for a bit and I could see the relief in Henry’s eyes when I walked out without a large wooden clown head tucked under my arm.

Onion Maiden has some killer signage on their storefront.

Got our food and on the way home, we saw some bitch in a FLYERS SHIRT brazenly strutting down our street like she wasn’t doing a damn thing wrong and I wanted Henry to hit her with the car but he calmly said, “Let’s not go that far” WOW.

The Penguins are the only Pittsburgh sports team that I was defend until the day I die even though I don’t watch hockey anymore because we got rid of cable a few years ago and I had to forcibly divorce myself the obsession. :(

(Also, I got REALLY FUCKING ANGRY when Fleury was traded, so that helped with the divorce proceedings inside my heart.)

Get to the point, Erin! We came home and ate our amazing fake chicken sandwiches and they were delightful and the cashew cheese was better than some others I’ve had in the past, so that was a plus. Henry liked his too (“I JUST WISH IT WAS BIGGER,” he said which made Chooch scream THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID and Henry flipped out because he hates when Chooch TWSS’s him but I always laugh because Chooch has really good TWSS timing and gets a few good ones in a day (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID) so now we’ve decided that Henry is either a closet feminist or just very uncomfortable when his teenage son turns nearly every conversation sexual. Sometimes he’s not even in the same room as us and he’ll yell it to us without missing a beat.

Chooch is my idol sometimes.

Sometimes.

Pretty sure I spent the rest of the day being sad that I had to “go back” to work after my week-long staycation that I painstakingly recapped for you blog readers so you better read that!!

Sep 082020
 

The day has finally arrived. I’m officially the mom of a ninth grader. This whole online-schooling thing really made it kind of anticlimactic though. There was no making him a lunch (THANK GOD) or sending him off with a new backpack.

Making sure his shoes are tied while I’m running around getting ready for work, making sure my OWN goddamn shoes are tied.

Nope, instead I popped into his room and asked, “Are you like, ready, or whatever?”

He was, but of course the entire school district was having technical difficulties so kids kept getting booted from calls all day. He got booted from his Civics class right when it was his turn to introduce himself, and by the time he got back in, they had moved on to someone else and he was happy about it. I would have been mad. I always liked introducing myself in classes (but typically hated speaking any other time, especially whenever I’d have to read my own writing OH LAWD SCRAPE ME OFF THE FLOOR). I remember on the first day of this Indo European Folktale class I took at Pitt (it was fantastic btw), I blurted out, “AND I JUST FOUND OUT I’M PREGNANT!!” after all of my responsible friends and Henry were like, “OK but let’s wait until you’re at least in the second trimester before making any announcements” and literally the next day I posted on LiveJournal and then branded myself as a weirdo growing a baby in a college class where I was already considered “old” (I was 25, god forbid) and every one stared at me every week like I was a science experiment they were waiting to change.

Another time, I was in a training class for some dumb cable company job and we had to go around and say our name with an adjective starting with the same letter and I was like DYING FOR THEM TO GET TO ME because I didn’t want any other “E” person to steal my word which I don’t think was going to happen because literally no one else cared about this challenge but me and when it was my turn, I stood up and cried, “EFFERVESCENT ERIN!” and everyone glared at me, and it really set the tone for weeks of regular glaring (only from a certain bitter section of the class; I was popular with thw bad kids and that’s all that mattered!)

WOW look at me, making this all about myself.

That’s super unusual and out of character for me.

Anyway, we’re in the middle of making over Chooch’s room but it’s mostly done and already much more comfortable for him than it had been. He had an Ikea loft bed which was really fun for him for several years but obviously he’s outgrown it so Henry dismantled it and now he has a regular bed on the floor and a desk that he doesn’t have to smash his head while ducking underneath his loft bed to access.

(I had definitely banged my own head off his bed many times while attempting to clean off his desk. (Or leave him naggy notes on his white board, lol, no not me.)

His new high school is so STEM-hardcore that he’s taking geometry, Algebra II, biology, and chemistry all in 9th grade. (Geometry and Chemistry this semester, Algebra II and biology next semester.) I mean, I had to take a full school year of each of those and still struggled, so I can only imagine how fast-paced this curriculum is going to be and I only hope that I do not have to get involved with any of it, thanks.

What strange times though. I mean, I’m glad that Pittsburgh Public Schools made the decision to go full-blown online learning (do we not call it cyber school anymore?) for the first semester, especially after seeing so many spikes happen around the country as schools reopen.

So, yay, go 2020-2021 school year. Rah rah rah. Boom boom hiss or whatever.

Sep 072020
 

OK YES I KNOW IT’S 6:30AM ON A HOLIDAY AND I SHOULD STILL BE SLEEPING BUT TAEMIN’S NEW VIDEO FOR “CRIMINAL” DROPPED THIS MORNING AND NOW I AM WIDE AWAKE.

TAEMIN.DID.THAT.

Look, I loved “2Kids” which came out a few weeks ago but this is the side of Taemin I was waiting for. This is the Lee Taemin that tears me apart and makes me feel like I have lost my damn mind.

I am so fucking wrecked right now. This was 100% worth the wait (knew it would be). It was supposed to be released last winter (March I think?) then Covid happened. Then it was supposed to come out earlier this summer but Taemin injured his wrist (PROTECT THIS BOY AT ALL COSTS) so it was delayed again.

Then the SuperM comeback coincided with his solo and a lot of us were super pissed because while SuperM is fantastic in its own right, Taemin deserves as much of the solo spotlight as possible so please, please PLEASE do yourself and him a favor and watch this video, stream the song on whatever platform you use, share it on your socials, buy the album even??? I preordered both versions!

Well, one thing is for sure, I’m going to be floating through the rest of the day in my dreamland lalalala fantasy state. Hope you have a great too!