Dec 092023

Thursday morning, our second to the last full day of vacation, we had to wake up stupid-early in order to start our trek to the ferry. The timestamp on the above photo is 5:56am so there you. Rise and shine.

I think our ferry departed at 7:30am so we had to leave around 6am to take the various modes of transportation from our airbnb in TAKA-TOOLO (love that so much but I’m too careless and dead inside to fuck with finding the accents to put over the o’s) to Central Station and then to the ferry dock thing.

I am a great travel blogger! I have ALL OF THE FACTS AND INFO. Planning a trip to Tallinn from Helsinki? Hit me up and I will….ask Henry how we did it.

Took this while walking to the bus/trolley stop, near Linnankosken Puisto, a park. It made me think of NCT DReam and their song Puzzle Piece <3

The quiet Toolon halli stop.

Central Station – we were here quite frequently!

Final leg of our trek to the ferry harbor (West Harbor)!

We had some time to kill before boarding or whatever they call it when it’s a boat, so of course we had to smash some cinnamon rolls in our faces. I’m telling you, not a bad cin-roll was had on this trip.

Hi, it’s me! In shorts for the first time of the whole trip! Actually, I’m having deja vu…did I already write about this??

(Confirmed, I apparently blogged while on the ferry, LOL.)

Henry didn’t sit with us the whole time because we were gang-complaining about his breathing lol.

The ferry ride took about 2 hours and I have to tell you, for being a short commute situation, that ferry was pretty banging. Bar/lounges, game rooms, Burger King. It was pretty comfortable!

Immediately upon arriving, Henry let it slip that we were catching the 6pm ferry back to Helsinki and I was like, “Excuse me, sir?” because one of the most anticipated things on my list was to visit the Depeche Mode bar in old city, which didn’t even open until 6?? And Chooch conveniently found some run-down city park with a credit that he wanted to get and normally I’d be like, “This isn’t about you, go sit down!” but even I had to admit that the possibility of Chooch obtaining some obscure Estonian coaster cred was something that I, as a loving mother, needed to help make happen. So, we both started harping on Henry BIG TIME, who was RULL agitated now that he didn’t have the COASTER CREW shield to hide behind. All travel hiccups were now his cross to carry.

Anyway, he did end up getting our return trip changed until later, so we were moderately nicer to him after that. It occurs to me that if any one came to this blog for the first time, not knowing me, they’d be like, “WOW THIS LADY IS A REAL FUCKER SHE DOESN’T EVEN DESERVE THAT GUY” – lol, who am I kidding, there are people who actually do know me that say the same thing! One time, my AWOL friend Barb (BARB COME BACK) said that Henry must have Stockholm Syndrome and that has been something I laugh about fondly from time to time. LOL oh Henry. But if not for me and Chooch, would he have ever even gone to Estonia?? WOULD HE HAVE EVER EVEN HEARD OF ESTONIA? We have really broadened his horizons. He should be thanking us.

OK, I am busybusybusy today so I will report back later this weekend with probably non-vaca stuff.

Dec 072023

Hello. I have been obsessed with the above Heinz pickle ad for at least 10 years, if not longer. Back when I was on Facebook, the clown in the lower righthand corner was my banner photo for a long time and it pissed off all of my coulrophobic pals.

Every so often, it would come up as a memory in my phone and I knew someday I wanted to do something cool with it.

Then about a year ago, I wanted to redo the beverage buffet we have in our living room. I really loved it for a long time, and it helped me serve many great punches and sangrias at an array of parties over the years. But the gold glitter lost its sparkle, Jan. I wanted Henry to revamp that one but then he was like, “I have its twin in the garage, we can just start from scratch.”

Why the hell did we ever have two of these?! I don’t even know where they came from?? Henry the Hoarder’s Magic Garage, I guess. Like Mary Poppins’ bag, but with tools and random furniture that he must trawl the streets for on garbage night?? Now I know what he’s doing when he leaves at 3am “for work.”

Anyway. The original iteration of this that I had in mind was not what ended up coming to fruition. That’s what happens when projects come to a halt for literally an entire year because other more important things came up. Henry only got as far as priming it, so when I asked him last month if we could start it up again, I already had a different vision. Still the clowns! Still the same color palette! But different.

Enough words. Here is Henry hot-gluing faux fur to the sides the other night!

When I was in 8th grade, there was an issue of Sassy magazine that had a piece of wild clothing – there was a pair of faux fur overalls that I wanted DESPERATELY from a shop in NYC called Antique Boutique. My mom even called  to see if we could buy them over the phone (lol 90s) but they were sold out! Basically every since then I have had a soft spot in my heart for faux fur.

Which has encroached onto Henry’s life and he hates it so much. “This is the worst stuff to work with!” he always huffs and puffs.

I found the perfect fabric from Spoonflower, which has a few coats of resin, then the cutouts of each clown was placed down and coated with more resin. You can’t tell in the photos but it gives it a 3-dimensional feel.

I knew that I wanted the cabinet pulls to be pickles, and then thought it would be cute to use dill pickles for the drawer handles. I found perfect versions of both on Etsy but then at the last minute (ie two days ago) I said, “Henry! Can you make a drawer handle out of a rubber chicken?”

And he was like, “Sure, Erin” in a low, guttural FML tone.

The chicken arrived today!

And now the buffet is complete! The old one is getting moved to the attic so Chooch can keep his games in it. So don’t cry for the old buffet-tina.

I’m really into it!

Squirrel snacks already in place!

Hard to take a good photo without glare from  the resin, but these are so good IRL. It’s literally exactly as I had envisioned. Henry is really amazing (I mean, OK, let’s not get carried away, he fucked up several times and I screamed my head off, but here we are!).

I have to send a photo of this to the seller on Etsy because she makes crazy realistic pickle chips and these worked perfectly!

I’m so happy with this garish, ridiculous chunk of furniture. Another item that Chooch is going to inherit one day and be like, “the fuck am I gonna do with this, now?” Family heirloom! Imagine if Henry could quit his idiot job and make OOAK pieces as a business. Oh, Honestly Stupid Furniture. What if he went rogue though and started making like, Ted Nugent Cat Scratch Fever-towers or THE SERVICE servers.

Dec 052023

Uh, somehow, I forgot to my October book recap, I can’t imagine why. #stress #changes #newneighbors #help

  1. Delicate Condition – Danielle Valentine

I gave this a 4 at the time based on peer pressure, but in hindsight this was barely a 3. Just go read Rosemary’s Baby instead.

2. Just Another Missing Person – Gillian McAllistor

I really enjoyed this multiple POV thriller. My second McAllister book – I think she’s going on the short list of authors whose new releases  I look forward to! This was a very twisty missing person (wow you don’t say) story and the only issue I had was that one of the POVs was kind of pointless and didn’t add very much to the plot, and she wasn’t even an interesting character.

3. Mary – Nat Cassidy

Yoooo, remember what I was just saying up there about Gillian McAllistor? Punt Nat Cassidy to the top of that short list because his horror-writing skillz made my heart swell. Interesting characters; biting, snappy, witty dialogue; actual well-written horror scenes that made me feel sickly and gave me chills even while listening to this audio book (superb narration BTW) in broad daylight on neighborhood strolls. I LOVED THIS BOOK. If I was backed into a wall to give a gripe, I guess I would just say that it felt a tad longer than it needed to be. But the characters! The ghosts! The story! M A R Y!! There were parts to this book that I felt under my skin. Loved it. His new book is currently waiting for me at the library so I will RUN NOT WALK there tomorrow after work to snatch it up!

4. The Family Game – Catherine Steadman

Eh. Writing was fine. Really unlikeable characters – some intentionally unlikeable, but I didn’t care for even the good ones. Unoriginal plot. Just eh. Mindless thriller.

5. A House With Good Bones – T.Kingfisher

This is my third or fourth Kingfisher book and I just adore their writing. Dialogue can break a book for me so easily, I don’t give a shit how well-built a world is or how brilliant the plot is. If someone can’t write natural discourse for their characters, then I am immediately taken out of the story.  But this was chef’s kiss, an original take on the haunted house trope, and honestly it was also a depressing and very real exploration into family dynamics and loss. I highly recommend this. ESPECIALLY the audio.

6. Burn the Negative – Josh Winning

See above re: dialogue writing because I’m sorry Josh but you ain’t Winning at that. This wasn’t even remotely scary, but actually so fucking stupid which sucks because the synopsis made it sound like something I would love.

7. Looking Glass Sound – Catriona Ward

I loved “Last House on Needless Street” by this author so I was stoked when this arrived at the library for me. Guys. I’m sad. It was FINE but it didn’t punch me in the face like her last book. Also it was kind of hard to follow and I’m still not sure I completely understood it so maybe this book is actually utterly brilliant and I’m just too much of a stoop.

However, I can’t deny that Ward is an incredibly gifted and smart writer. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right place for this one. October was pretty fucked up for me emotionally and mentally, so…let’s blame it on that. I might revisit this one day.

8. Lay Your Body Down – Amy Suiter Clarke

It was OK. If you enjoy religious coverups / church scandals / grooming / then you might like this one. I like all of those and in theory this book should have been super enthralling to me, but it ended up being just OK, fine. I think I’m just too hard to shock because when “the thing” was revealed, I was just like *shrugging unicorn emoji* Why am I so hard to please.

9. Death Valley – Melissa Broder

Oh how it pains me to say that I only gave this a 3. I loved Broder’s Milk Fed so goddamn much, it was a 5-star for me, so this one was highly anticipated. Oh, it still was packed with her irreverent asides and hilarious comedic writing, but it was the story itself that fell flat for me personally. I loved the first half. I loved her conversations with the desk people at the Best Western she was staying at, and her subsequent unhinged sexual fantasies involving them. But then she gets lost in the desert and the rest of the book is just a fever dream fuller of inner monologues and observations. I quickly grew bored, I’m so sorry Melissa!!

10. Black Sheep – Rachel Harrison

LOVE this writer so much. She is top tier with witty dialogue, and her ability to write…well, not really “horror comedy,” but maybe…”light-hearted horror”? Is that corny. That’s corny. That’s too Lifetime. Quirky horror. We’ll go with that. She writes the disgusting scenes, isn’t afraid to get bloody, but her books still have me cracking up bigly. I’m glad that I didn’t read much about this one going in because I had no idea what the actual plot was, aside from the fact that it’s about a woman who goes back home to the town she couldn’t wait to escape. And her mother is a great American scream queen, but I just kept picturing her as Elvira, lol.  This was a great read, perfect for October.

11. Cover Story – Susan Rigetti

I needed this book more than I realized after a month of horror and lots of misses. It was quick, engaging, set in NYC and partially revolving around an ELLE internship, turns into a caper. This was a lot of fun. And I liked that there were emails and text messages breaking up some of the chapters.


And that was October. I guess 5 “I really liked this” books isn’t too bad…?

Dec 042023

Hello from the other side of Trudy’s blinding lights! She is fully dressed and ready to face another December holiday head on. I do have to admit that I am way less into decorating her lately and prefer to let a few strings of lights and her rockin’ bod do the talking, you know what I’m saying? Less is more in the case of Trudy.

I still asked Janna to come over and we admittedly just sat on the couch, wine in hand, watching Henry fuck with the lights. Then I strangled her with some garland, topped her off with her Santa hat, and found a pair of daisy sunglasses which were calling her name.

I mean, it’s hard to fuck it up, really. She’s already such a dish that it’s essentially just gilding the lily, AS THEY SAY (I learned that from TERESA STRASSER on While You Were Out!).

Then I made Janna watch a bunch of NCT Dream stuff and roller coaster vlogs while we ate Chooch’s homemade version of Chipotle guac. It was a nice night, overall! And I’m so happy to have the room awash in Trudy’s majestic glow once again.

Dec 022023

You guys. I admit, I had my doubts when Chooch suggested going to this place called SEURASAARI in Helsinki but then he sold it by pointing out that it’s also affectionally called “squirrel island” by the locals, since it’s inhabited by adorable squirrels and other allegedly friendly wildlife. Anytime we plan a trip, I’m always begging Henry and Chooch to throw some of their ideas into the hat because while I do enjoy being in control, sometimes I want other people to step up and say, “This is what we’re doing today, and that’s just how it’s going to be.”

Henry suggested nothing, as I’m sure you could have guessed, but Chooch did provide some suggestions. I can’t ask for this and then reject it all, you know? So Squirrel Island it is!

It was just kind of a hassle to get to because we had to transfer one or two times, I think and then walk a bit because we couldn’t figure out if there was a bus that would take us straight to the island, so we basically were just dropped off at the entrance of the long road leading up to the island, but that ended up being a nice walk, actually.

I wanted to talk briefly about the bus ride though because we were facing a trio of girls, maybe 19-21? I have a hard time detecting ages nowadays. But it was clear that one of the girls was the leader, as she was sitting in the middle showing the other two things on her phone. It sounded like they were looking at apartment listings maybe? They were speaking in Finnish but every once in a while, parts would be in English, like when the leader said, “Oooh, super cozy!” And then at one point she was like “*Finnish Finnish Finnish* That FUCKING BITCH!” in unaccented English, and I was trying so hard not to crack up because she said it in such a cheerful tone. I was obsessed with her and wanted to go wherever she was going, but our stop came up first.

On the walk to the island’s entrance, we passed several old houses that had been converted into restaurants and cafes. They all looked, well, super cozy that FUCKING BITCH. It was pretty much like walking through a wooded park – not too much traffic and very tranquil. I’m kind of glad that the bus dropped us off on the main drag because it was a very pleasant walk!

Immediately upon arriving at squirrel island, there was a refreshment stand so we had to get some ice cream.

SALMIAK for me, of course! God I miss that salty licorice goodness. That FUCKING BITCH.

OK, I know – it’s getting old. I’ll stop.

The actual “island” is accessible by a pedestrian bridge, no need for a ferry. The cool thing about this island as well is that it’s an open-air museum, where you can see old buildings from rural Finland in the 18th-20th century. It’s free to walk around, since it’s a public park, but paid admission is required to access the insides of the buildings. We were there STRICTLY for squirrels, so we opted out of that.

I’m gonna go ahead and give props to Chooch, because this place was an absolute delight. We really needed to get out into nature after days upon days of amusement parks and big cities.



(One of my favorite YouTubers says that and now I have this impulse to say it constantly like a nervous tick even when shit’s ugly.)

So over me, lol.

Ugh, these trees. Gorgina.

Ugh, this windmill! Gorgina.

My fucked up eyes couldn’t even tell at the time that I was taking unfocused pictures in portrait mode, lol I hate myself.

Dude, a telephone booth from 1913!!

Apparently, this place has a NUDE BEACH but it was CLOSED on the day we were there lolol.

Here’s a video that Chooch took of me trying to give a squirrel a leaf (SORRY, I DIDN’T KNOW WE WERE ALLOWED TO BRING ACTUAL FOOD TO FEED THE SQUIRRELS! I’m so used to people here yelling at me for feeding the squirrels so I assumed it would be verboten!):

For some reason, this was viewed over 10,000 times in Instagram/Facebook?! Why?

Then we lost Chooch at some point and at first I was like, “Whatever, he’s 17. He’ll be fine” but we were also near water and I started panic that he fell in and drowned?? I don’t know why my mind immediately went there, oh wait because underneath it all I’m still a mom, but I got REAL SWEATY about this. Henry was like, “Can you calm down, I’m trying to identify this bird over here” but then Chooch eventually rejoined us – stupid ass was looking for a goddamn geocache. He is so annoying!!

Here are Chooch’s photos from that day as well! He actually created a shared folder, I can’t believe it. Also, his camera lens appeared to be super smudgy so that’s cool.

This was the bridge leading to the island, btw.

Ugh, his idiot geocache.

Other notable things:

  • there are tiny birds there that will land on your hand if you’re patient enough. Chooch spent many minutes trying to make this happen. It never panned out for him, though;
  • we saw some people playing some game in a field with sticks and a ball – maybe it was this molkky thing? (see video!)
  • there were several groups of college-aged foreigners that we encountered and it looked like they were for some team-building camping thing? I’m no camper but if I had to camp somewhere, I wouldn’t mind doing it there I guess.
  • clean bathrooms

Then we walked all the way back to the main road again and caught the bus back to our place and got vegan pizza for dinner. We tried to make it an early night because we had to get up fucking early as shit the next day to catch our ferry to our fifth and final country – Estonia!

Nov 302023

Hello from 2023 where I am currently stressing out over Chooch / college / etc. When I say it’s eating away at me…well, that’s a lie because then I would be actually losing weight instead of gaining weight, which is what all of this absurd stress is doing to me. IT’S FEEDING ME. Anyway, I was searching for something on my blog yesterday and this old post from 2014 came up which made me feel all nostalgic and sad. Also, it’s apropos because Pitt is in his Top 2 currently which is pretty cool. So I’m resharing this. Enjoy the pictures of 2014 Chooch *cries in Aging Mom*


Sometimes, Chooch and I give Henry a break and venture off on our own, except that by “on our own,” I mean “definitely with a chaperone.” Originally, Chooch and I (+ our chaperone Janna) were going to go to see The Secret of NIMH at the Hollywood Theater, because that was one of my favorite childhood movies of all time but no way does it still make me cry, OK? But then I saw that the sun was going to be out all day and I didn’t want to be in a dark theater during that, and it’s all about me anyway so I didn’t really ask Chooch and Janna if that was OK.

Instead, we went to Oakland because I thought it would be fun to show Chooch the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning, which is part of the University of Pittsburgh. (Maybe some people reading this aren’t from here, I don’t know! God.) I’d call it my alma mater, but I didn’t actually graduate and I’m not a liar.

On the drive there, I jokingly said I had to quit college because I became a mom*.

“To who?” Chooch asked, and then within a minute of me posting that exchange on Facebook, someone corrected Chooch’s grammar. Thank God for the Internet. But you know, I guess that’s my fault for typing my conversations verbatim, instead of editing to make my 7-year-old sound like a pretentious grammar douche and not, you know, a 7-year-old. He’s got the rest of his life to learn how to talk like Mr. Belvedere.

*(Anyway, this isn’t true. I quit because I was bored, frustrated and realized that college definitely wasn’t for me. I mean, it didn’t do much to help me, because luk att how turrible i still write-z0rz.)


As soon as I parked the car, I realized that I didn’t have my wallet which was devastating because the plan was to eat lunch there afterward and I’m not going to lie, I was already starving.

When you walk into the Cathedral, it’s like being swallowed by a gothic cavern. There’s this amazing Great Hall that would make Hogwarts’s figurative weener shrink; you set foot in it and it’s like being transported back in time. The Cathedral of Learning was my favorite thing about Pitt. It had been about 6 years since I had gone back, so the novelty of it was definitely there.

You know what else was there? Chooch’s Grand Canyon-esque echo. Just what everyone there wanted: my kid’s ever-running mouth in primitive surround sound.


The audio tour for the Nationality Rooms isn’t free, but the rooms are open to the public regardless, so we just took our own tour, renegade-style. Whatever that means. I’m on my fifth cup of coffee. This was just as well, because Chooch’s attention span did not allow us to stay in any one room for more than 3 minutes. (Except once, and it wasn’t even a nationality room; just a regular classroom as non-descript as Henry’s wardrobe.)



Chooch’s attempt at college math. In his head, this made sense.


A ceiling in one of the rooms, the nationality of which I do not recall because I quit caring after the fourth room when I noticed that Chooch was no longer carrying his phone and Bunny (I didn’t even notice that he brought that damn thing!) so we had to backtrack and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s backtracking.

(I just imagined myself having to backtrack in Alaska and I think I’m done with this day now.)


Chooch made a beeline for the blackboard in every room and immediately left his mark. In a lot of the rooms, there was the same writing in Chinese characters, so Janna and I started saying, “Looks like Chinese Chooch was here” and of course Chooch didn’t get it which made it even more fun to say.

We kept trying to get him to look at the shit in each room, but he was under the chalk’s spell. So basically, it was for the best that I left my wallet at home and couldn’t pay for the audio tour.


 “Guys, come on.” Sometimes I really have no idea where he gets his independence, but that kid walked around like he owned the place.


Don’t worry, Chalkboard NARCS & Religious Zealots, I erased it. (2023 Erin: Wouldn’t it be funny if this was FORESHADOWING.)



Sadly, being a non-traditional student (and part-time to boot) didn’t leave me with too many fond memories, though a painting of Copernicus in the Polish room recalled a time when I made Janna enroll in the same Magic, Medicine and Science class, because see above where: I really have no idea where my kid gets his independence. This was back in 2004, Jesus Christ—TEN YEARS AGO. (See? I don’t need no college degree.) Anyway, that class was a piece of shit and our instructor was some young broad named Holly who hated us because we sat in the back of the class with some lady we befriended and we would literally sit there and write shit to each other in our notebooks while Holly and her class pets would go off on tangents about Plato’s Cave.

Anyway, one of the things Holly would make us do was read a million pages of super-dry Galileo bullshit from our overpriced text book and then write an outline, except that she called it some fancy word steeped in academia because “outline” was too pedestrian. Turns out I was a natural at these bullshit papers, and you know who wasn’t? Janna. On the first one we got back, Holly had scribbled angrily in red marker about how Janna had PLAGIARIZED and to this day, this is the best thing that ever happened to me in college. Not making the Dean’s List. Not having my Creative Non-Writing instructor tell me I was her favorite student (hahaha). Not watching my College Algebra teacher repeatedly Windex herself in the face instead of the overhead projector.

No, it was Janna being accused of plagiarizing her HOMEWORK. That was the best fucking day.


Having to PeeSoBad in the Italian room.


 Seriously, this kid. I tell him, “Go stand there so I can take your picture” and he does something Chooch-y every time.


Ladies Room Selfie. Yeah, that’s right. When Henry’s not around, Chooch loafs in the ladies room.

Haha. “Loafs.”

We walked past the room where I had an English Comp class and that made me think about the time Christina was visiting from Cincinnati during the spring of ’05 and she decided to come with me and hang out on campus while I had class. I specifically told her what time class was over and I made sure she had the room number memorized so I EXPECTED her to be waiting outside the door like a good fucking puppy at exactly 3:30.

Of course, she was nowhere to be found, and this was before either of us had a cell phone (I was notoriously anti-cell phone; she was just notoriously poor) so I marched all over the fucking Cathedral, breaking out into a sweat and eventually having to stop into the bathroom to pee because hide and seek has historically always revved up my bladder. Finally, I ran into her as she meandered out of a stairwell, no big deal.

“Oh, was class over early?” she asked casually, BECAUSE THAT BITCH THOUGHT SHE WAS EARLY. Do you know why she thought she was early? Because she never set her watch ahead for daylight savings time and she was actually an hour late because she was too busy lounging outside in the grass, watching people JOUST.

I was only That Mad because everything Christina did made me That Mad.


Thoroughly interested in reading about this giant tome of sheet music. Thank god.


I’d love to see how he sits in his actual 2nd grade class.


I found the aforementioned College Algebra classroom from 2006. “This is where I used to sit while you were in my belly, I mean, sitting next to me in your unhatched pod,” I sighed with maternal warmth to Chooch, who was 100% not interested.

Like so many dummies, I was forced to take remedial college math courses because my cumulative high school math average was not cutting it. (Somehow in high school, they kept putting me in advanced math classes even though I kept telling my guidance counselor that I was bad, just plain no good at math.) But I didn’t hate college math because I had the best instructor ever. Joanne was the fucking shit and quite literally gave me so many “a-ha!” moments from which I definitely would have benefited in high school. Her classes were the only ones I enjoyed going to and actually spoke to the other students. (I’m still friends with one of them IRL, actually. You know, as opposed to just in Toon Town.)

On the first day of that class, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves. When it was my turn, I blurted out, “AND I JUST FOUND OUT I’M PREGNANT!” Totally taboo to make such a public declaration so soon into the pregnancy but I was so excited. This class was full of older, non-traditional students, so no one really shirked away from me like the younger students did in my geology class, but that might have been because my pregnant, bloated belly got stuck behind a desk one day, and that was when the professor had to go and get me a desk that had a detachable chair. That was a really awesome memory.

Anyway, this particular math class was split in two, but most of us ended up together during the spring semester too, and those sneaky brats, along with Joanne, had a fucking baby shower for me during class one day! (Much to the chagrin of the men in that class.)

I still get all teared up when I think about it. OK, sorry Janna the Plagiarist, but maybe that’s my favorite college memory.


(2023 Erin again: I hadn’t fallen down the K-hole yet – LOL OK that doesn’t work here, now it just sounds like I’m a drug addict and not a Koreaboo – so I didn’t realize in 2014 that the first thing written there in this picture is HELLO IN KOREAN. I actually assumed that I had written it until I saw that this was 2 years pre-lifestyle change.)

Report if you see bullying to the chancellor’s office, is what that is supposed to say, but Chooch kept saying “chandelier.” This was after he tried to force his way into said “chandelier’s” office. Thank god it was Sunday.

And locked.

Like real life college students, we were starving and thirsty, so Janna suggested that we go to the basement and see if the vending machines took credit cards but they only took Panther Cards, which are the dumb college card things and Chooch was like, “YOU WENT HERE SO WHERE IS YOUR PANTHER CARD? USE YOUR DAMN PANTHER CARD!” But Mean Henry would never let me put money on my Panther Card because what…I’d use it to buy Adderall? Who knows. And even if I did have one back then, hello, I haven’t been a student since 2008; go get your own Panther Card, Doogie.

Look at me, giving my kid a taste of true college life! Spread your wings, Chooch!


Even though we were ready to collapse with hunger and thirst, we’d have been remiss to leave without taking Chooch to the 36th floor to take in the nauseating view.




Man. What a great afternoon.


When we went home to retrieve my wallet, Henry was lounging about like the goddamn Sultan of Brookline.

“I can’t believe you didn’t check in on us, not even once!” I cried.

“I knew where you were,” he said casually, so now I’m convinced he’s having me tailed.


Nov 292023


Actually, the only surprising thing is that WayV’s On My Youth didn’t make it in the Top 5 Songs because I feel like I listened to it an absurd amount of time over the last month, however, now that I think about it – a lot of those listens were on YouTube, same with Taemin and NCT DJJ. And retrowave and The Black Queen playlists lest you think I’m only kpopping.

Plus, I use Henry’s Spotify account a lot too because that’s what is connected to our Echo, so I guess this UNWRAPPED isn’t really all that scientifically accurate IS IT.

Wow what a boring fucking post. But here’s a live video for THE BAT so maybe you can see why it’s my #1 song lol.

Nov 282023

Chooch was texting me from the library earlier and it made me remember that on Saturday, Janna’s sister asked him if he’s read “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” since it’s about coding and gaming and computer brainiacs. OFCChooch said no because every time I think that he’s finally been bitten by the book bug, he reads half of one, maybe a full book if we’re lucky, and then goes back to his old ways. Anyway, I was like, “I HAVE!” and then almost instantaneously, tears sprung to my eyeballs, like, ‘wow, am I really about to cry at this table in the middle of Eat n Park with Janna to my right bugging me for another Splenda??

Also from that Saturday time capsule, our server was like, “I HOPE I DON’T SPILL THIS HOT COFFEE ON HER” as I was holding my coffee cup DIRECTLY above Janna’s arm while the server was topping me off, and I muttered, “I hope you do,” for just Janna to hear because I was trying to be on my best behavior in front of her sister and brother-in-law, lol, Erin the Matured.

Speaking of maturing, I think I can sincerely say that I have done a lot of growing up lately. For instance, Henry had just finished folding a pile of shirts over the weekend. The old, immature, bratty Erin would have walked past and knocked the whole thing over.

But the new, aging-gracefully Erin walked by and only knocked off THE TOP SHIRT. That is major character development.

Henry, on the other hand, still reacted like a big Justin Timberbitch about it. #crymeariver

I posted that on Instagram and when he read it, he scoffed, “That’s only because you didn’t lean over far enough to get the whole stack.”

I mean…

Moving along.

We were supposed to go to Maryland on Sunday to stock up on some Korean alcohol at HMart but when I woke up, I was full out of motivation. None to be found. I made the unilateral decision to just go to Cleveland instead because some of the Asian markets there sell alcohol unlike dumb Pennsylvania but fml, even that was too much for me. I was so irritable and bitchy all morning and afternoon until we got home and then I was still irritable and bitchy. No PMS to blame it on either. That was all me, au naturale!

I bought this for Chooch aka Baby Is Hungry thinking he’d either eat one and forget about it or just fully hate it, but instead he’s addicted so hopefully I can find these in Pgh!

I was off on Monday and Chooch didn’t have school so I thought it would be nice to go to lunch but he made it sound like I was asking him to eat food I made myself while blindfolded in a hoader’s kitchen. Literally was so rude when I suggested it. So then I was like FORGET IT and he came downstairs and gaslit me as usual (“I never said I wasn’t going but fine you clearly don’t want to go…”) so then we comprised and decided to just walk to the local cafe instead which necessitated a secondary compromise when Chooch attempted to walk out into the 30 degree (F not C!) day in shorts and a T-shirt and refused to wear a coat but finally agreed on a hoodie.

Here’s a bunch of books that Chooch the Bibliohater didn’t care about.

Anyway, of course the cafe didn’t have the latte I wanted (FIG AND VANILLA, OFC THEY WERE OUT OF FIG) but I was like, “No, I will not be a brat. I will get this apple amaretto latte that will probably be too sweet but I will drink every last slurp of it” and then Chooch got the CHANDLER which was a maple pumpkin cheesecake iced latte and it was so much better than mine. He got RULL WEIRD when I opted “FOR HERE” instead of “TO GO” and I thought it was just because he didn’t want to spend extra time with me but it was really cold out there and I wasn’t looking forward to head back out immediately.

While we were sitting there having a non-convo (well, more like one-sided as I was trying to ask him questions about the recent iPhone update because there were things I didn’t understand as usual), I noticed a girl walk in out of the corner of my eye, and I interrupted myself to say, “Hey is that—” and Chooch very tersely said, “YES, AND PLZ DON’T.”

It was a girl from his school that I always tease him about because they are straight up frenemies from what I can tell or maybe it’s just on his side, I don’t know. Anyway, he somehow knew she was going to be there and that’s why he was in such a hurry to get his coffee and split, lol. She ended up sitting right behind him but now acknowledgement was made until we were leaving and she acted like she just noticed him, causing him to have a full blown public crisis, like it appeared that his internal organs were combusting and he was trying to smile through it? So then the two of us introduced ourselves and had brief small talk and as soon as we walked out, Chooch blurted out, “THAT WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE AND I LOVE HOW THE TWO OF YOU ACTED LIKE YOU DON’T STALK EACH OTHER’S INSTAGRAM.”

Then we went to a new Halal market down the street and Chooch bought a can of beans apropos of nothing (fava, Egyptian-style, apparently) and the cashier was very nice and offered us a plate of chocolates after we paid.

In other news, I watched A Nearly Normal Family on Netflix (I swear to god I wasn’t even intentionally looking for Swedish things!) and it was bra. (THAT MEANS GOOD IN SWEDISH.) I think I really liked it because the music reminded me a lot of the music from The Killing and if you know anything about me, you’ll know that The Killing is one of my all-time most favorite TV series ever. I wish it had lasted more than 4 seasons but we are lucky we got that many IYKYK.

Image result for the killing

OK I have to go and supervise Henry while he does his chores.

Nov 262023

Honestly, I should have just included this stuff in my last Helsinki post but I was being lazy. But after we chilled in Senate Square, we continued walking toward the water and spent a good amount of time checking out all of the wares being shilled. We bought some gifts and souvenirs, and met a really lovely couple who makes jewelry from spectrolite, “an uncommon variety of labradorite feldspar.” I bought a pretty little pendant and the wife part of the couple burned all three of our names and the date into a nice little wooden box, which is her husband’s contribution to the business. There were one or two other booths we saw with people hawking spectrolite jewelry, but I got the best vibes from this lady and I felt very good about the purchase. She was just a joy to talk to!

Finland is amazing.

Chooch rode the sky wheel on his own because it counts as a credit on some stupid app he downloaded at the suggestion of someone from our trip, causing him to branch out from just collecting coaster credits. Now he needs ALL CREDS.

It was lunch time by then, so we decided to get that out of the way before attempting for the second time to make it to this elusive “squirrel island.” On the way to Hesburger – a local fast food chain with vegan options – we ran into the South Korean embassy! I love you, Korea. Don’t you ever worry – as much as I loved Sweden and Finland, you are still bae.

<3 <3 <3

I don’t know what this building is but I thought it was beautiful.

OK yo – Hesburger was amazing. I don’t LOVE going away and eating at fast food places, but I made an exception here because I had heard so much about how great Hesburger is and I wanted to support a place with vegan options. Plus, this trip was expensive, you guys. We needed to take the frugal route every now and then, and that’s what’s up.

The whole vibe of this place was so cool, like a vintage garage. Did not feel like a fast food joint at all, honestly, but more like…a gritty cafe? I got the VEKE soy tortilla and it was divine. Anytime fast food doesn’t kill my stomach, I take the win.

I loved the stools!!

Kasarmitori Square, where Hesburger was located.

Definitely didn’t choke myself nearly to death on immature giggles here.

And then it was time to – fingers crossed – embark on our journey to Squirrel Island, which I was told that “the bus will only take us so far and then we have to walk but I don’t know how far.” 0.O

Moimoi for nown0w.

Nov 252023

I am having a pretty good day and I hope you are too. (Look at me being positive and nice!) The past week was pretty good too aside from some weird work anxieties – nothing major but I think I am just very on edge lately since OMG CHANGES IN MY LIFE. I just really don’t adjust to change all that well. The best way I can describe the last month-and-a-half is by comparing it to the time middle school was on vacation with my grandparents. I think we were gone for nearly 3 weeks, just long enough for me to really experience homesickness. I was happy to come home to my dogs (mm probably not the rest of my family though LOL savage) and the familiarity of my bedroom. EXCEPT THAT MY MOTHER CHOSE TO REARRANGE MY ROOM WHILE I WAS GONE.

Kevin, excuse me but do you know how disorienting that is??

I think that’s similar to how I have been feeling lately. To be honest, I don’t think I really got back into the groove since we came back from vacation. That was a long time ago at this point. I just feel so uncomfortable every day? Nothing feels right? And then the new neighbor situation has really fucked me up and I can’t explain why. Yes, it’s been sort of stressful, but I think it’s more of the fact that my routine was bulldozed for weeks and I just can’t get back into it. I’m trying to start up my exercise routine again because that was totally ruined and my diet was fucked, all of this PLUS the stress causing me to gain weight and you know the underlying theme of my life is WEIGHT OBSESSION / FOOD PHOBIA etc. so god bless my neighbors for sending over plates of delicious food and homemade bread, but I know associate them as a whole unit with WEIGHT GAIN and I am to the point where I am almost hiding from them and that’s so fucked up. I am fucked up. Do I need therapy, you think? Here are these people just trying to be nice neighbors by feeding us and I’m over here developing an aversity to them because I’m fucking neurotic. I hate myself.

Anyway, all of that aside, some nice things happened over the past week to get me out of the house and talking to people aside from online chatting with my work friends (not knocking that AT ALL but sometimes I need some IRL conversing).

I had brunch plans last Saturday with my friend Lindsay and I was reallllly looking forward to it. It’s only our second time hanging out but, at least on my end, it feels like she is an old friend (I mean, she *is* Internet-wise!) and the nerves are not there at all, which I really appreciate. Henry drove me though because Chooch had his gaming class at Pitt right before that and it was convenient for us to drop him off together so that we could then go to Home Depot and pick up paint for our current project. There is this one person I used to follow in IG who would drop little bread crumbs about her latest project and then say I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT IT IS and half the time she never would. I will not be like and just tell you that we (LOL *WE*) are redoing the twin to the current beverage buffet we have and we are doing it in a garish clown theme. No big secret to reveal later, unless you want me to assign it a gender and have a dramatic announcement when it’s done.

OK so the whole point in me telling you this is because we had the best cashier ever, this super personable older black woman who first initiated conversation by saying that she liked my hamburger purse and then she started asking me questions about it like is it wagyu I don’t fucking know and I was like, “Oh, I just bought it because I thought it was funny since I’m a vegetarian” and she was like, “Oh ok. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What are you cooking?”

I laughed, like a really hard staccato HA! and said, “Nothing!” She looked at me like I was FUCKING CRAZY. “Trust me, no one wants me cooking!”

Henry was off to the side making grunts of agreeance. Then he said he does all the cooking and she was like, “WHY YOU DON’T YOU TEACH HER??”

“Oh trust me, we’ve been together over 20 years. There is no teaching her.” And I added, “It’s true. He has tried and I get so distracted and start looking up at the ceiling.”

She was dying. Then I told her about the time I tried to make Chooch pierogies and didn’t realize that I had melted the spatula on it until I saw him about to shove a forkful of pierogi and spatula tendril into his mouth.

We had actually already finished checking out and were still standing there talking about this and it was one of the rare times lately where the small talk felt so real and natural?? It reminded me of how I used to be before the world and texting and the Internet ruined my knack for verbal communication. I forgot that I used to be really good at it and would have good chats with people everywhere I went! I kind of feel inspired to do that again??

Then it was time for brunch with Lindsay at Scratch!! First of all, it was so awesome to see her again and eat what were quite possibly the best donuts I’ve had in Pittsburgh? My friend Wendi was raving about them to me, and I can confirm that they were worth the hype!

The avocado toast was also totally filling and also beautiful – look at it up there! I can be kind of bratty about avocado toast because trends also annoy me but sometimes a good avocado toast can be so satisfying.

Then one of the waiters interrupted us to tell Lindsay that she has the best laugh and I totally second that! But then it was kind of awkward because I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask to join us….? He just sort of lingered there and then eventually offered to take our order because our original server was busy with a large party, but honestly, I kind of felt like he was he interested in Lindsay and then lost his nerve and tried to play it off by taking our order?! LINDSAY IF YOU’RE READING THIS, DID YOU GET THAT VIBE FROM HIM?

We overstayed our 90 minute welcome window and were asked (politely!) to leave, lol. I mean, the host did offer to move us to the bar area, to be fair! I can’t believe how fast that 90 minutes flew by though! It was so fun to catch up, complain about Pgh’s food scene (eff you, Oak Hill Post!!), and tell her the Coaster Crew trip deep cuts.

I totally forgot to ask someone to take our picture!

My Coaster Crew friend Pam is in town this weekend for an event at Kennywood (it’s being held by a different coaster club) but she made time to see me after she got into town yesterday! We met at Yinz Coffee (owned by the former owner of Crazy Mocha which was the ONLY cafe in Pgh that had a good chai latte and I’m happy to report that Yinz Coffee uses the same recipe thank god) and had a wonderful catch-up sesh! Kind of surreal seeing her here in Pgh and not out in the wild of some Scandinavian amusement park. #tears

Henry came in toward the end and Pam was like, “IT’S HENRY!” Ugh, Henry! Henry! Henry! Henry barely even talked to anyone on that trip and I guarantee he’s still the one people would remember the most!

That was really fun, and it made me want to have a reunion with everyone from that trip so I posted on Instagram that we should have a Phantom’s Revenge marathon party next year and then everyone can stay at my house and Jean (!!!) commented and said, “Let’s do it!” and Henry was like, “DO THEY KNOW HOW SMALL OUR HOUSE IS?!?!” But if we wait until Chooch goes to college, we’ll technically have two spare rooms to fill with beds and sleeping bags?!

Or we could be grown-ups and buy a house.

I was really thinking a lot last night about our Coaster Crew friends and it made me wonder if any of them were at the Coastin’ By the Ocean event we did in 2022 – it was technically an event held by Morey’s Piers but you had to be a card-carrying member of a coaster group to be able to register, so we were able to do it as Coaster Crew members. Of course, we had never done a Coaster Crew event before that so we had no idea if anyone from that group was there.

I looked up the group picture and literally SCREAMED:

FREAKING DAWN AND ROBERT, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO WE ALSO RAN INTO IN FINLAND?? (Spoiler – I haven’t written about that yet, oh well!) And they were RIGHT IN FRONT OF US? I am shook. Honestly, the world is so small sometimes. It’s humbling.

Today, Chooch and I met Janna, her sister Julie and bro-in-law Marcus and their son August at Eat n Park so that they could talk to Chooch about his college plans, tell him about their experience at CMU, answer questions for him, etc. It was really informative and interesting even for me, the big stoop at the table. It also occurred to me on the drive there* that I don’t think I have seen Julie since high school??

*(You’ll be shocked to know that I actually drove Chooch and myself there and here’s why I did: I knew I would be able to park there; if I am going somewhere with street parking, Henry better drop what he’s doing because I will have an anxiety attack before I even grab my purse, requiring him to drive me and drop me off like I’m fucking Miss Daisy or a 4-year-old going to preschool.)

Anyway, I really really really appreciate that Julie and Marcus took time out from their holiday visit to meet with Chooch and I don’t know how he’s feeling about it because he never tells me this shit, but I know that I for one felt a bit better and less stressed about it by the time we left.

The college process in general I think (OK I  know) is another reason why this fall has felt so alien to me. Most nights, I lie in bed with such anxiety, that I can feel my blood rushing even in my gums. Like a sizzle/tingle along my teeth. I know, I know, “this too shall pass,” but I am having such a hard time calming down. I need one of those sweaters that dog’s wear to keep them calm during thunderstorms. Maybe the human version of that is a hug? I don’t know.

Nov 242023

Hi from the other side of Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a GRAND day spent with the people of their choosing and eating whatever the hell you wanted, or doing nothing at all. I kind of think that this is an overrated holiday, probably the one I’m least excited about mostly because of my past struggles with family and forever food phobia.

I try to “get into the spirit” some years, but this year we chose to have a lowkey, quiet dinner catered by The Zenith (bless them) with some pumpkin burek from Jak’s Bakery as an extra treat.

Chooch actually came out of his lair!

Action shot of Henry serving us. He was mad because I chose small plates to use but I thought that they were cute!

Zenith Thanksgiving dinner! All vegan.

Pumpkin soup included! It’s my favorite part. I always love Zenith’s soups.

Bulgarian pastry filled with pumpkin courtesy of Jak’s Bakery. We first discovered this place at a farmer’s market in East Liberty numerous years ago, I want to say pre-pandemic so perhaps 2019? Jak was just getting started then and now he has a brick and mortar bakery which is opening this Sunday! That same farmer’s market was also the first time we had vegan Trinidad food from ShadoBeni and he also has his own space now! Love that for both of them.

Henry found this Henley in his dresser of unworn clothes so now watch him wear it constantly all winter, as he is wont to do with one article of clothing. Usually, it’s the same goddamn flannel.

Chooch was annoyed that I took this picture. “REALLY. DO YOU REALLY NEED A PICTURE OF YOUR GLASS??” Yes, actually. I collect glass memories. Thanks for asking.

THE BEST PART. Zenith pumpkin bundt cake. Oh sweet Jesus.

Chooch didn’t get the color-coordinating memo. It’s fine.

While Henry was cleaning up (LOL), Chooch and I retreated into the living room where we continued our tradition of watching & heckling random birthday party videos on YouTube. There were some real…winners this time. This one family was so annoying – it was like a biker gang married into a family of WASPS, first of all, and it was A JOINT PARTY for a 2 year old (boring safari themed and no one cared about her) and an 8 year old ginger (NERF-themed complete with garish blue and orange cupcakes?? ugh ew). It was a pool party to boot, so when it was time for NERF tag, we saw soooo many biker butt cracks. It was actually scarring. But our main takeaway is that in addition to singing the birthday song, they also sing some JESUS LOVES YOU verse, AND THEN it ends with some bizarre ditty about making your favorite dish and then everyone pauses for a dramatic beat before screaming FISH??

The fuck?

“Is this is a real thing?” I cried, because I grew up JUST SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY and didn’t even know anyone personally who did the stupid “cha cha cha” bit until much later in life and even learning about that was extreme for me. I guess because I’m just generally not into singing Happy Birthday to begin with? I usually just mouth the words at parties (unless it’s for Chooch, then I will sing, ugh) and I HATE HATE HATE having it sung to me. So when I come upon families that turn this into a whole fucking concert, I feel alarmed.

“I can’t find anything on Google,” Chooch reported back. “It must be something these idiots made up. Also, the grandma makes me uncomfortable.”

“Oh yeah, I fucking hate that bitch,” I agreed. “We should start singing the fish song at our birthday parties and then somehow make it go viral so then that family will find out about it and we can have a public feud over who created it.”

Chooch is not on board with this.

Then Henry stormed in and said to Chooch, “MOVE OVER, I AM GOING TO SIT WITH YOU GUYS, MY LOVING FAMILY.” And that was fine for about 5 minutes until Chooch and I both started to fixate on Henry’s heavy, whistle-y breathing so he eventually threw tantrum and went upstairs while tossing insults over his shoulder the whole way.

Henry did eventually come back down and we watched travel vlogs on YouTube (I finally got him to seriously answer my “Top 3 Places You Want To Visit” question which he has NEVER done in the past – Italy, Switzerland, Thailand), and then I stayed up late working on my gem painting while listening to Britney Spears’ memoir on audio and crying because Team BritBrit 4L. I’d like to punch her parents and sister in their fucking faces.

So, yeah! A typical Thanksgiving here at the Oh Honestly Household. I do wish we were going to Dollywood or somewhere fun this weekend as TRADISHUN calls for, but it’s fine. Saving money is good. Sigh.

But there are still things to look forward to this weekend! Such as:

  • hopefully seeing PAM from COASTER CREW this afternoon!?
  • the Annual Lighting of Trudy later tonight
  • Saturday is wide open, endless possibilities (watch me do nothing)
  • daytrip to Maryland on Sunday specifically to go shopping at HMart
  • I’m off on Monday from back when we were supposed to go away this weekend, so…TBD for now, I guess.


Nov 222023

I woke up on Wednesday feeling kind of allergy-ish which was bound to happen. Henry and I walked to the nearby K Market (it is with a heavy heart I report that the K was not for Korean) and OFC I found my favorite industrial strength cough drops in LICORICE flavor!

And why am I not surprised that Finland has the cutest toilet paper mascot??

While in this tiny market, I decided that I wanted to get a loaf of the good-good brown bread that I had been almost exclusively relying on for a.m. sustenance throughout the whole trip until now. Fending for ourselves for breakfast?? This was really one of the only drawbacks to trading a hotel for an airbnb, honestly. Anyway, Henry was being a big fucking jerk about it because he didn’t want to have to buy AN ENTIRE THING OF BUTTER as well, when we were only going to be here until Saturday and couldn’t take it with us. He’s such a cheapskate sometimes, I really swear to god. So, then I slammed the bread back down and stormed off. Then I came BACK and shouted some stuff about how I’m A FUCKING GROWN UP AND I MAKE MORE MONEY THAN HIM because this is definitely how GROWN UPS ACT IN GROCERY STORES. So, then he was like CALM DOWN (probably, it seems like something he’d toss in my face like a patronizing grenade) AND GET THE BREAD AND BUTTER, I DON’T CARE but then I was like NO I’M NOT ALLOWED AND I DON’T WANT IT ANYMORE ANYWAY.

I ended up getting the bread and the butter and I ate it several times a day and yes, we left a nearly full tub of butter behind in the fridge when we left Saturday morning, but it was worth it because that bread and butter made me happy every time that I ate it.

Fucking men.

There was a Fazer Cafe right across from K Market so we popped in there too for some coffee and to get Chooch breakfast before heading back and by then, I was simmering down a bit.

Oh also! (Sorry, it is now several hours later and I had approx. 5 sips of a BEER so buckle up, baby.) This was one of…what? Two? Days where we were able to sleep in and get a slow start to the day even though I was in everyone’s ear, being bossy about NEEDING TO GET STARTED. The main plan for the day was to head out to Squirrel Island, which is actually called Seurasaari. When I told Chooch to please for the love of god give me some things he was interested in doing on this trip, that was his big want, and it was sweet because obviously I’d like it because SQUIRRELS and he was interested in it because NATURE and who cares if Henry wanted to go because we were going. End of story.

Of course, there was a fight betwixt Henry and Chooch over how exactly to get there. Chooch was like, “We have to take the Blah Blah Bus” whatever that means, so we walked to the bus stop and waited.

This lady ended up getting super flustered and scolding Chooch in Finnish for not flagging down the bus, like any of us knew we had to do that and if she knew it, why didn’t she flag one for the team?!

(At least, I think this is what was happening. Maybe she was just angry at the bus driver and was trying to commiserate with us about it?!)

It turns out the next bus wasn’t going to come for quite a while so Chooch was like, “We can walk to another stop and get a street car” or something, I don’t know, it was two months ago at this point and I was sick, if you recall.

So we got on a street car / tram / trolley whatever it’s called and about 5 minutes in, I started having A COUGHING FIT totally reminiscent of all the times I would be on the T going to work and I dunno if it was the dry air or what but sometimes I would get a TWINGE in my throat that was uncontrollable and this was well before COVID but even still I didn’t want to be That Disgusting Person hacking away in an enclosed space so I would get off the T waaaaay before I was supposed to and walk the rest of the way to work.

Because I’m neurotic.

Anyway, this happened that morning and I was like WE HAVE TO GET OFF OF THIS THING ASAP and I practically pitched myself headfirst out of the door.

We were right by some mall thing so we went in there and found a pharmacy where I bought cough syrup and allergy medicine. There are the exciting and exotic details of my life that you came here for.

Coughing fit quelled, we got on the SUBWAY/TRAIN whatever they call it there and took it to Senate Square! Actually, we just took it “near the water” because I wanted to go where all of the local vendors are, but we ended up accidentally running into Senate Square. We’ll just pretend it was part of the plan.

There was a little cafe there so we bought cafe and sat down to eat the donuts we bought on a whim from a donut kiosk in the subway station. They were good!

This might have been one of the only days that I left for the day with NO JACKET. Just me and the NCT U shirt on my back.

Chooch racing the little brother he obtained somewhere along the way.

I wanted Henry to take our picture here but then some guy was I WILL TAKE ONE OF THE WHOLE FAMILY and I was like, “Oh. I mean, OK sure, yeah. How…nice.”

I wanted an obnoxious filter and I got it.

Being out in the fresh air was definitely helping me feel better, that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure I get sick every time we go somewhere longer than a weekend.

More later!

Nov 212023

Today’s STORY TIME requires a bit of a flashback sequence, which will happen in the form of a fancy copy/paste from 2019:


OK how to even start this story. Well, I guess it starts the same way they all do: I became obsessed with this one YouTube channel that features a group of guys who go to amusement parks and carnivals and vlog about it, but sometimes the friend of one of the guys shows up and for some reason, I have really taken to him.

In an effort to keep my blog out of search engines, let’s just call him Fleece Radkins.

Now, Fleece sometimes shows up in the vlogs of his friend, Flint Yesvac. Their home parks are King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and actually, one of the Busch Gardens vlogs was the first time I saw Fleece. I liked him because after every ride, he would stoically and confidently state, “That’s my favorite ride in the park.”

So then Janna was visiting one time and Chooch was like “JANNA WATCH ME PLAY FORTNITE CAN I HAVE YOUR GAMING COMPUTER” and I was like, “JANNA CHOOSE AN NCT127 BIAS AND WATCH THESE ROLLER COASTER VIDEOS!” so I showed her one of the vlogs that featured Fleece and yelled, “ISN’T HE FUNNY” and she was like, “I guess?” and I was like, “OMG JANNA LIKES FLEECE!”

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And then Chooch abandoned Fortnight in an effort to help me harangue Janna mercilessly like any other Saturday night in Hell House and we decided that we needed to hook them up.

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So the first step, naturally, was to find him on Instagram. I did, but his profile is private and he doesn’t have a lot of friends so I didn’t want to request him.

“I feel like he’s much too young, though!” Janna pointed out, which means that she was at least considering it.

Anyway, on our first day at King’s Dominion, we were walking to Grizzly when Henry casually asked, “Hey, wasn’t that one of the guys in those videos you watch?” and I was like, “Huh? Who? Where? Why?” because I am the most unalert when it comes to other people while I’m walking. I mostly keep my eyes on the ground so that I don’t trip.

However, when I turned around to look, even from the back and with eyes as jacked as mine (and I do not mean jacked as in muscular, my eyes are basically saggy orbs that are close to serving as just facial decoration) I recognized one of the passersby as FLEECE RADKINS.

“Holy shit!” I screeched to Chooch, and we were frozen, watching him walk away with his group of friends.

“Was it really him?” Chooch asked, and there was only one way to find out: CHASE HIM SUPER STEALTHILY AND STARE AT HIS FACE FROM CLOSE RANGE.

We caught up with him just as he walked up to the Wayside Grill, so I stood right next to him and said, “HMMM, LOOKING AT THE MENU” while,  you know, looking at the menu. Then Fleece walked away and sat down on a wall while his friends stayed in line, and at that point, I was 99.9% confident that it was him so I made Chooch pose for a fake picture.

FLEECE RADKINS, ladies and gentlemen!

I sent the picture to Janna.

She was a bit less enthused than I expected her to be. I guess I wanted her to be upset that she wasn’t there but she seemed pretty flippant about it, what a bitch!


Henry didn’t know that Fleece was behind him, so Chooch ran up to Henry and whisper-screamed, “DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU BUT FLEECE RADKINS IS RIGHT THERE” and I was standing behind Fleece close enough to see that Fleece’s eyes were honed in right on Chooch and he totally had to have known that he was the subject of their DON’T TURN AROUND conversation.

I never did approach the guy because he’s not even a part of that YouTube channel, he’s just kind of like an occasional tag-alonger so I would have felt uncomfortable being like, “HEY I HAVE SEEN YOU IN THREE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND I HAVE CLEARLY WATCHED THOSE THREE VIDEOS ENOUGH TIMES FOR EVEN MY BOYFRIEND WHO ONLY HALF-WATCHES THE VIDEOS TO RECOGNIZE YOU CAN I GET A SELFIE?”

Yeah, no thanks.

Back at work (a/k/a The Place Without Roller Coasters), Glenn thought this was such a great story that he made me tell it in our weekly meeting and absolutely no one was shocked that I was stalking some guy that I kind of know from 3 YouTube videos. So, your typical Tuesday meeting.


OK, got that? You marinating in those juicy, wet fact-globules?

Yesterday, I’m sitting at home, chained to my computer, doing Law Firm stuff (remember when Chooch thought I was a stock broker, though?) when Chooch texts me from work. It’s a picture of someone’s Chipotle order, and I’m like, “What am I looking at, the fact that this bro is a meat-psycho, or what?”

And then I see the name.

Mmm, no way. I’m sure Fleece Radkins isn’t that uncommon so probably just a funny coincidence. But then I remembered that there is an ACE event at Kennywood this weekend, so MAYBE he was in town for that? I mean, odd to come in so many days in advance considering this is PITTSBURGH, but who am I to judge.

“Send me his picture, I forget what he looks like,” Chooch texted, just on the off chance that this was the same guy. Because my blog goes down EVERYDAY NOW, this was of course one of those times so I couldn’t search my blog for his picture and instead had to google his name plus the name of the guy whose YouTube videos he sometimes has cameo appearances in.

In doing so, I saw that the second result was a LinkedIn page for a guy with the same name, his profile picture was definitely the same guy, and it said PITTSBURGH, PA??

My heart started racing (LOL why tho) and sent it to Chooch who replied: lol should i say something to him


Anyway, Chooch finally texted me back a few minutes later and said it was definitely him, they talked, it was awkward. “I’ll tell you later, I have to go back to work,” he said, leaving me hanging for approx. 4 hours. Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to tell Carrie and Nate this over Jabber at work, knowing they would be the only ones who would care. I did NOT know what to do with this useless information!!

By the time Chooch came home from work and I accosted him for the 411, he had already half-moved on with his life and didn’t know what I was asking him at first?? How was this story not just PERCHED on the tip of his tongue, ready to roll the moment he walked through the door??

“Oh, that,” he laughed, “Yeah, it was really awkward.”


First of all, instead of being straightforward and saying, “Hey, aren’t you in some of Flint Yesvak’s coaster videos?” he instead decided to play a weird psychological game by pretending that he looked familiar but wasn’t SURE HOW.

So of course, Fleece is probably on guard. I know any time someone says, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” to me, hundreds of “wrong place/wrong time” scenarios whiz through my mind like a Rolodex of Ill Repute.

“Is this a hitchhiker I picked up in 1999?”

“Is this one of the moms from Chooch’s first (Catholic LOLOLOL) school where I was publicly shunned for being the MEAN GIRL who was blogging about all of the douchey parents??”

“Is this one of the people I met on WEBTV and invited to my house when I was going through an ‘Interviewing for New Friends’ phase???”

You see what I mean.

“I think I saw you in a video,” Chooch ended up saying to Fleece, like it JUST CAME TO HIM.

He said Fleece very cautiously asked, “What….kind…of video?”

“Oh, I think…coasters maybe,” Chooch said, still toying with him. I’m so glad I didn’t witness this. I was actually squealing in embarrassment just listening to his replay of the interrogation.

From there, Fleece deduced where Chooch had seen him which was good because Chooch legitmately couldn’t remember the name of the Fleece’s friend’s channel. Not having anything else to say, they exchanged “Nice to meet you”s and then Fleece took his burrito and left. Watch him never come back to that Chipotle.

“Didn’t you see the screenshot of his LinkedIn that I sent you? He went to school for Computer Science – you could have talked to him about that!” I cried.

“HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO LEAD INTO THAT??” Chooch asked incredulously. “‘Excuse me, but when I was perusing your LinkedIn page while waiting for you to come in, I noticed that you went to school for Computer Science’???”

Chooch also said that it was funny because when he first got the order, all he saw was the “Fleece R” and that the full name doesn’t come up until you print it, I guess? He said he immediately thought to himself, “Fleece Radkins lol.” AND THEN HE SAW THE FULL NAME AND WAS LIKE, “………….nah.” What a small fucking world.

But yeah, now that we know he lives in Pittsburgh, Janna has much better chances of marrying him! I’m so excited for her!!

(As I was telling this to story to people, it was kind of alarming to me to realize how many times I start off by saying, “OK remember that one person I was obsessed with from [insert CVS, MY NEIGHBORHOOD, THE PARKING LOT OUTSIDE OF A RESTAURANT, THE TROLLEY, OBSCURE BAND, NICHE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, AMISH CHEESE SHOP]???”)



Nov 192023

One of the first things I like to do before going to a new park is looking on their website to see if there are veg/vegan options. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but the websites for most American parks are stupidly unhelpful. If you’re luck and can find a “dietary restrictions” section, they might have a list of their “restaurants” that have something for us of the NO-MEATS persuasion, but then you get there and find out it’s a soft pretzel, a wilted salad, OR if you’re really lucky, a soggy ill-cooked veggie burger.

These parks on our trip though – they spoiled us rotten. Linnanmaki was no exception! Before we even left Pittsburgh, I had like 4 places there that I wanted to eat at and knew it would have to be a game time decision. Can I just point out that every single food place on this list has the vegan symbol??

We ended up choosing Hurlumhei, which offered TOFU BURGERS. I love tofu. I will choose that over an Impossible/Beyond/black bean burger any day.

Look how fun the interior is! It definitely didn’t feel like we were eating inside an amusement park. I think that’s such a great perk to parks that are free to enter – they usually tend to step up the food game so that non-riders are inspired to pop inside for food. There seemed to be quite a few nice sit-down restaurants in this place. Maybe not at the level of Bakken, Tivoli Gardens, or Liseberg, but better than, OH I DON’T KNOW, Kennywood.

We have season passes for Kennywood and I think we would go more often if they had better food options, where we could maybe say, “Hey, while we’re out this way, let’s go to Kennywood for dinner and ride Phantom several dozen times.” But instead, it’s like, “Let’s eat at home first and then go to Kennywood for rides and an ice cream cone.”

Chooch got a fancy frappucino-ish thing and then acted like I was making him cut out his own kidney with shrapnel from a sardine can when I asked for a taste. He is SO GERM-PHOBY and also really just a brat at the core of it all.

I honestly think he tries to mask the stinginess with the fact that he doesn’t want anyone using his straw. Mm.

FIRST FINNISH SQUIRREL SIGHTING!! Living his best life, lunchmeat in hand/paw. We spent entirely too much time interacting with this cutie, to the point where people were walking by and stopping to see what the hell was so fascinating to these idiot Americans.

Is it weird that I think a lot about how I wasn’t squirrel-obsessed yet when we went to Korea, so I didn’t notice the squirrels there but now that’s near the top of my list of things to do if we go back, above “get married”? Because I’m really gonna go to Seoul Forest. How we have been to S.Korea twice yet never made it to Seoul Forest either of those times is kind of criminal and in the vein of “But Did You Even Really Go to Korea?”

I will say that Finnish squirrels look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale, though. 10/10, exceeded expectations.

Omg the slowest ops in the world were running this ride. They really wanted every single car to be filled so they had us just sitting there picking at our cuticles waiting for more riders to maybe show up even though this ride was buried in the back of the park in a dead end!

Fun ride though.

Chooch made me take this picture because I think his phone was dead and he wanted to send it to a friend because it was the opposite of Ice Spice. I don’t know why I kept it?!

I loved this little arcade and snack area!I want to have neon spirals on my ceiling!!

Finally, it was #CAROUSELFIE time. Also, these benches. This landscaping. Am I in Snow White’s backyard?! I will never be able to properly convey the magic that this park exudes. You know a place has to be pumping out subtle wafts of serotonin when the three of us manage to go the whole time without temper tantrums, empty “THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE’RE GOING ANYWHERE TOGETHER” threats, or disparaging remarks about each other’s annoying breathing/eating/chewing/attitude. I mean, of course Henry was annoying but there is not very much out there that can distract from that.

Which one should we use for the #carouselfie wall??

17 and he still pouts when he doesn’t get the carousel animal he wants but this time he snagged his #1 choice of elephant so he was pacified.

Wouldn’t it be fun if Henry learned how to make fiberglass sculptures and then we could turn our yard into a creepy storybook forest type of nightmarescape that would maybe deter religious solicitors?

I also think it would be cool to have this is a bed post.


I will never stop missing the licorice selection. It was A++++++ in every country we visited on this trip. Lands o’ Licorice.

As usual, magnificent restrooms!

Ugh Kirnu. Back-to-back parks with these awful Intamin Zack Spins. I am not sad that there are none left in the US. Anyway, behind it, you can see the water tower that now houses an indoor family coaster, which you can choose to ride with VR goggles. I think there were three themes to choose from, and we all ended up choosing the horror one. IT WAS SO FUCKING GOOD!! I couldn’t believe how much it elevated this basic little dime-a-dozen family coaster that you find pretty much in every park. It was excellent and I have no idea why we didn’t go back and try the other two themes?!

Chooch and I also rode a bunch of unique flat rides, the rapids ride, and we all rode the train. We stayed until the park was about to close and then began our short journey back to the apartment. I felt sad immediately after leaving. This place, man. What a babe.

Here’s a video of our first day in Finland, including Linnanmaki footage but starting with arriving on the ferry that morning, the train ride to Helsinki, the rickety elevator in the apartment building we were staying in, to the walk back after getting off the tram from Linnanmaki. Now that I’m recapping this, it’s hard to believe that all of this was just one day. I feel tired reliving it.

Nov 172023
  1. Remember two years ago when I wrecked our 6mth old car in the cemetery – literally crashed into an ancient road marker – and I was so terrified of my MEAN SON being MEAN to me so I told him Henry did it and then Henry had to go along with it (“Yes, I am a big dumb idiot man, I crashed the car because I am stupid and reckless.”) which meant also telling everyone he worked with that he did it because one of his co-workers at the time was the best friend of his OTHER son who was living next door to us at the time and if HE knew the truth it was possible that something would slip and Chooch would find out? PANT PANT. The WEB OF LIES! The spiraling fibs! Are you following??!!

Well, last weekend I decided I couldn’t keep the secret any longer and texted Chooch to come downstairs for a family meeting. He was like NO I AM COMFORTABLE IN BED, WATCHING TV so I had to go upstairs and tell him and he was like “ok and? Is that all? You actually wanted me to get dressed and come downstairs for THAT?” Also, he said he doesn’t even remember any of this so that’s nice. Good for me. Got that off my chest.


2. Henry and I had an argument tonight because one time 20 years ago we were on a haunted hayride and I said something hilarious and he didn’t laugh and then some older woman said a discount version of my joke and he laughed so hard he was practically choking. I brought it up just now because it is clearly something that still PISSES ME OFF and he claims this never happened so I said LET ME PULL OUT MY HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL FROM THAT YEAR because I am sure I wrote about it while crushing the pen in my hand, imagining it was…OTHER THINGS. “Oh ok like I believe ANYTHING you write in your JOURNALS!” he just scoffed and now we will spend the rest of the eve arguing about THAT remark so let me get round 2 started with this unflattering photo of him trying to look unbothered while eating JARRED HERRING at the neighbor’s house last week!!! 😡

(Lowkey I just took both of those stories straight from my Instagram captions because I am too L-Z to rewrite it for this landmine of broken grammar.)

3. Speaking of the neighbors! We just came back from having tea and snacks with Tamanna and her older son. Well, he just sits there and tries to his best to watch things on his phone to block us out, but she often needs his assistance with translations so he is a good kid and sticks around. Anyway, I was honest with her and told her that I am attempting to diet – not really DIET per se, but I am back to food journaling because the stress of life and the world in general lately has been unraveling all of my hard work over the last 10 years. So, I’m just trying to stay on track with my nutrition. However! While we were there, my stomach was rumbling pretty bad and I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling too great. Probably GAS, but she asked me if I wanted something for it. I was like, “Yes please” thinking she was going to come back with Tums or something, but instead she had a large jar of honey, right? BUT IT WASN’T HONEY. It was a mysterious blend of spices that she ground up herself from an ancient recipe, I don’t know, and she was like, “Take one spoonful then drink water, my daughter and I love this, we lost 5kg.” OH THIS IS SOME KIND OF NATURAL WEIGHT LOSS WITCHERY? Lemme at it! I took that spoonful down like a fucking CHAMP because WEIGHT LOSS YOU SAY? Anyway, it was P O T E N T as expected but also very very very interesting. There was definitely ginger in it, but also a bunch of more savory spices that I couldn’t place because I’m not one of them there cookers, you know?  Anyway, she said I should notice a difference tomorrow and if I want, I can come back for another spoonful. OK watch me be knockin’ on her door every day. She found a hook me, you guys!

4. I found a way to incorporate one of my favorite clown pictures into a piece of furniture and I am very excited about it!

5. What do my fellow American friends reading this have planned for Thanksgiving? We go back and forth between sometimes having a “big”ish dinner to not giving a shit. This is one of the not giving a shit years. We were originally going to pre-order food from Onion Maiden, but true to fucking form, they had “issues” with their online ordering and then within 15 minutes the one thing that I wanted was sold out, which launched Henry into his THESE FUCKING ‘RESTAURANTS’ THESE DAYS rant which Onion Maiden ALWAYS has him pulling out the soapbox for, so we were like, “Fuck it, Zenith it is.” At least with Zenith, if you order during the window they provide, you know you’re going to have food on Thanksgiving Day. Henry said, “THIS IS IT, I AM DONE WITH ONION MAIDEN. IT WOULD BE LESS ANNOYING TO DRIVE TO COLUMBUS TO GET SEITAN REALM’S PRE-COOKED THANKSGIVING MEALS!!” I mean, also much more delicious too. But I’m happy that we get Zenith for Thanksgiving! The ol’ tried and true – and their cakes are the best so I’ll be content.

Chooch and I used to have a tradition of watching birthday party videos on YouTube and making fun of the kids. Maybe we will revive that trend this year. Who knows. He will probably tell us that morning that he has to work.

Dude, I have nothing else left in me. This Friday 5 is terrible but when aren’t they?!