Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

Nov 142023

Here’s some quick 3 THINGS for you:

  • In a Herculean feat of Adulting, I made the unilateral decision to stay home Thanksgiving weekend. Our tradition since 2018 I think had been to choose an open amusement park and do a road trip ( with the exception of 2020 of course) and this time around we were going to go to Nickelodeon World or whatever inside the American Dream Mall in NJ. But when I say that Coaster vacation that I am STILL recapping left us living paycheck to paycheck here for a bit, wooo boy. So instead, we’re going to do a daytrip to an H-Mart in Maryland. So, like, destination grocery shopping you guys! The only kind of grocery shopping I can get behind.

  • The cats are still living on high alert thanks to the GUTTER GUYS who are taking forever. I don’t mind it too much but they are borderline derelicts and the leader is SO LOUD. It legit sounds like he is so pissed off but he actually isn’t?? At least twice an hour, I hear a HUGE COMMOTION/clattering and then “OH SHIT U AWRIGHT??” Pregnant pause. “...yeah. Yeah I’m good. Ow.” And there’s a broad who is part of the crew – Margot. The leader calls her BABE constantly. She doesn’t seem to mind though so I guess I don’t mind either, I dunno. Also before they made it to our house, they were at the next house over pulling out bushes and shit. They removed a lilac tree and I started to panic bc we also have a lilac tree, one that I have a love/hate relationship with, BUT it gives us some shielding from HNC’s house so I didn’t want it to be removed. I asked the leader one day, “you’re not gonna take my lilac tree are you?” I even used PRAYER HANDS which is a tactic I like to employ when I’m playing the role of ANTI-KERIN aka ANGEL BABY ERIN. “Yeah I’m sorry, I’m under orders to take it—Nah im just playing!! I won’t take your tree. That tree is too nice! I promise you’re tree is safe” and I was like “ok whew, close one amirite!” And then he proceeds to tell me every time I see him that my tree is safe. Ok guy, cool! Got it. Meanwhile I caught one of his workers pissing on HNC’s house and I want to NARC so bad bc I’m a grown up tattler but I also don’t want my tree to be felled in retaliation.
  • I took some more photos of chooch over the weekend to go into the consideration pile for senior portraits. He was so pissed off too because he had just come from this coding class he’s taking at Pitt (he’s getting paid $13/hr for it btw, and they gave him a brand new Surface Pro, why am I constantly so jealous of my kid) and it’s an all-day thing, 9-4, so he was “tired” and wanted “to relax” and even rationalized at one point that he will be senior until June so there is plenty of time to take pictures (I hate him lol) but then he eventually caved because I was a total manipulative mom (exactly what he always says that I am and I deny it but then prove him right within hours). So we went to our fave location, Jefferson Memorial, bc I thought it would be special to get some shots there. So, that happened. Got a few keepers!


Nov 132023

Well guys after pretty much exactly a year, Henry has finished (well, to the point where it’s presentable at least) the second incarnation of the Seoul Subway Sign!

You probably don’t remember (or care, most likely) but while Henry was making the first version*, he began to realize that there were better ways to do it but he was too far into it to start over. The first version was fine-ish but he used regular LED lights and some of them were plain white (he claims he didn’t know this?? was he building parts of this bitch in his sleep??) so he couldn’t change the color of those strips to match the subway lines, and THEN anytime the electricity would go out (we live in an old house so it’s more often than you’d think) all of the lights would reset and nothing would match anymore.

*(OK weird but the first version was completed exactly one year and 2 days ago. And now this one was completed ALSO exactly a year after he started it last November?!?)

Not to mention the paper was glued down on plexi glass and almost IMMEDIATELY started to bubble.

The original frame was painted gold and I lowkey hated it. It was more meBLAHlic than metallic if you know what I mean. (Why can’t I ever make sense to you?!)

So even though I really wanted a better version I think Henry wanted it even more, as a pride thing you know?

This time around he used the led lights that people use for programmable Christmas displays – you know the ones that move in time to music? So each light was programmable. This new sign has its own wifi and a box full of computer-y electrical shit that I don’t understand but Henry put together all on his own.

The frame has better colors and now each different subway music clip has its own illuminated button!

Tonight, he finished matching each light to whatever subway line it belonged to and I love it so much but also I’m so impressed that he was able to make this for me??!! I don’t give Bandanna Husband enough credit – some broads are cooing over their mans for far less (“He spray painted a rock, I’m so proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone!”) and I’m over here like THATS NICE BUT U COULD HAVE DONE BETTER?! after everything Henry does. I need to be nicer lol.

The only things he left to do is to build the sides and cover the screw hole-thingies along the front.

I literally can’t believe it’s done. We thought – THOUGHT – it was nearly done in September but when he hung it and turned on the lights, I was like, “Um, bro? Why is the entire left half of the sign not in line with the lights?” Apparently, he used different glue on that side and as he was pasting the paper down, it was stretching JUST ENOUGH for him to not notice at the time, but also JUST ENOUGH for me to notice IMMEDIATELY as soon as he hung it.

So, then he had to strip the paper off which required a heat gun and a scraping tool thing and that took weeks upon weeks.

The anxiety I get when I think about this process, and I’m not even the one who made it. Big props to Henry who spent countless hours sitting in the basement hunched over it, listening to hours upon hours of audio books and probably willing himself into a coma.


Nov 122023

I woke up on the ferry Tuesday morning, officially in Finland and also feeling sick. :( I dunno if it was just the air in the cabin or what, because I did eventually start feeling better once I got up and ready. I will say that while the overnight ferry was SO CONVENIENT AND CHEAP, it was also kind of chaotic because you have basically an hour to eat breakfast before the ferry docks around 7:30AM. That…is an early start.

We did pay extra for the breakfast buffet – I think it was $16pp which is not bad, really – after I realized before our trip that it was going to possibly be a bit difficult to find somewhere to eat breakfast once we arrived in Turku. Most of the cafes seemed to open around 10 and I really didn’t see us lasting that long without food. Especially Chooch and me. We be bitches.

But dang, that buffet was chef’s kiss. I mean, every breakfast buffet we had on this vaca up until now was impeccable, delectable, incredible, all of the bles you can think of, I’m not a fucking thesaurus. Sadly, we would be on own for breakfast after this, since we weren’t staying in a hotel in Helsinki.

Don’t worry, we’d survive.



Um, I wrote IN REAL TIME from that morning so you might already know that Henry jacked up my Turku plans and we ended up just taking a train to Helsinki almost immediately after getting off the ferry, but not before standing on a platform for something that Henry “wasn’t sure” was correct and seeing some kid get bit on the stomach by a dog. That was pretty dramatic. I mean, the kid was screaming and crying but the mom was like, “*shrug*” after half-assedly checking for broken flesh, and meanwhile the dog-owner was like a comic cell of the word SKEDADDLE come to life. She and the dog peaced out big quick. I mean, I didn’t blame her. I am always on the dog’s side. Why did he bite that kid? What did that kid do to him? Probably SOMETHING, you know what I’m saying.

I wonder what the law is like in Finland. Here, if that mom would have pressed the issue, that dog probably would have been put down, and I really fucking hate that about America. So,  dogs can’t protect themselves? OK cool. Great.

Anyway, the train ride was about 2 hours, maybe less. Henry slept immediately for the entire duration, Chooch did god knows what on his phone (actually, he spent almost the whole trip doing deep dives into critically acclaimed music lists during all of the bus rides, etc), and I looked out the window marveling at the Finnish landscape.

My first real observation, while Henry tried to explain to the cab driver that morning what we were trying to do is that English didn’t seem to be AS second-language-y as it was in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. So this was our mistake not being prepared with better translated instructions for the driver after becoming way too complacent in the first half of our trip. Ugh, we probably totally came off as “those” kinds of Americans, and I 100% swear to god we are not and do not ever expect our dumb language to be spoken by all.

Fuckin’ English.

I was still kind of annoyed with Henry by the time we got to Helsinki and also nervous to see how scary it was going to be to navigate. Turns out, NOT TOO BAD. We were able to get our luggage locker with success, and this was the first time on the whole trip being in a city where you have to pay to use the public restrooms so that was fun (no really, it was cool!). I haven’t had to do this since I was a kid in…probably Italy? Germany? I can’t remember which other countries had pay-to-use restrooms back then. Definitely only accepted coins back then though, lol!

First impression of Helsinki was that the people were chill and laidback.

I think the subway was easy to use? I seem to recall Henry and Chooch fighting over this a lot but we always seemed to get where we needed to, somehow.

He hates us lololol.

We had some time to kill before our apartment for the week was ready, and it was nearing lunchtime, so we stopped inside Hakaniemen Market Hall for a small bite.

First we walked all the way around both floors to get a good idea of what was offered – a lot, that’s for sure, and quite a few vegan options as well! Chooch and I made friends with an older man who had a booth of his original artwork on postcards and magnets plus general souvenir fare like patches, etc. Of fucking course I didn’t have my credit card so we promised the guy we would be back while we went to fetch Henry who was probably erotically sniffing meat odors somewhere. I’m sure the guy was like, “Mmm, heard that one before,” but we really did come back, after snagging some chocolate samples from another vendor and then collecting Henry.

This reminds me that I need to get my print framed still! I really liked that guy! His Helsinki city art was bright and fun.

Then we went back to the very first food vendor we saw, all the way at the entrance, and got pastries and sandwiches. Isn’t it funny when it works out that way?? I homed in on those pastries as soon as we walked in and plus they had meat-free sandwich options, so it was perf.

It was the perfect lunch.

Chooch was desperately looking for Hoobastank to buy for Bill. Inside jokes, you guys. At the time of this trip, our record player was broken had been broken for a few years and Henry kept saying he was going to buy a new one. Our other one was legit from the 70s or 80s and worked so well, but then the needle broke and apparently in this modern area, replacing a needle on an old turntable costs as much as buying a new, good record player. So anyway, every time I told Chooch, “Why don’t you buy something for yourself,” he would say AND PLAY IT ON WHAT?? Anyway, like a month after coming back, Henry finally bought a new one, so I bet Chooch is kicking himself. Dude, I was still buying records the whole time our player was broken! I didn’t understand Chooch’s logic, but then again, I don’t usually understand him at all, ever, so why am I even wasting time typing words and thoughts and feelings about this.

Just can’t escape that piece of shit!

Dude, the amount of times we would be in the area of Helsinki’s Central Station over the next three days….

Anyway, we eventually retrieved our luggage from the locker and figured out which streetcar we needed to get to our apartment, which was in an old building with a super scary vintage elevator, and a mini-geocache sesh was required to procure the key from its hidden spot. It was a very small studio with a double bed and a futon but it was worth it for the amount of time we were actually there, and the neighborhood was so quiet with lots of conveniences nearby, like small markets, cafes and restaurants. And there were bus and trolley stops within walking distance too so I wasn’t mad about it.

View from the window.

Here’s a map for reference.

Taka-Töölö!! I love that name so much!

Anyway, after getting settled in the apartment, it was time for our first Finnish amusement park! STAY TUNED. This park was actually so magical and I think about it lovingly at random parts throughout the day. I would love to go back! It had VIBES, man. VIBES.

Nov 112023

Wow I was going to write this on Friday so it would be a Friday Five but then I forgot so here’s a Saturday (S)five I guess:


Dude, I’m sitting here having a Pineapple Upside Down Cake beer from this local beer joint and it is the 4th beer from this place that I have really loved. “I think this is my favorite beer personality or whatever,” I said to Henry and he knew what I meant because he has spent the last 20+ years decoding my dumbness.

Honestly though if you live in Pgh and you can procure for me their Jelly Donut one, I will love you bigly. That was my gateway beer into Hitchhiker Addiction and it’s my favorite so far. But of course I haven’t been able to find it since then and they don’t have it at their two locations. It’s legit all I want for Christmas. (OK that’s a lie, there’s a lot of things I want for Christmas, let’s be real.)

Henry and I went to Market District in search for other beers that I might like. Aside from this current Hitchhiker delight, I had a sip of some Doghead thingie pumpkin ale and it was OK. When Henry asked if I liked it, I said, “Yeah I guess but it tastes like beer so I don’t want to drink it again.” Like, if I had ordered this at a bar (or berr as I just typed), I would probably drink it down with only a light grimace but I wouldn’t be stoked about it. I tasted no pumpkin!!

Anyway, this Hitchhiker beer is a SOUR which I have been told that I LIKE but I had one in Chicago that I definitely did NOT like, so you tell me.

2. The Resort

Dude?! I am a bit behind the times on this one since I think it originally aired in 2022, but I remembered last week that we have Peacock on Roku and I needed a sitcom to watch while walking in place in the morning because the weather has not been inspirational for my AM walks and my pathetic life revolves around step counts since what, 2012? 2013? Wow, literally at least 10 years of That Pedometer Life. I hate myself.

Anyway, first I binge-watched Based on a True Story which was fun but then there is a thing that happens with a dog which, IYKYK, totally killed the spirit of the show for me.  I see no reason at all why that needed to happen, but OK. Cook on, show writers. So then I was like, “OK what is this now” and started watching the first episode of the Resort without reading the synopsis because “Oh the guy from the Good Place and Mother from How I Met Your Mother!” The first episode was very slow and I admittedly was looking at my phone a lot but then a turn was taken and just like that, bam, I was in. This show was SO GOOD. I was very sad that it was only 8 or 9 episodes and I zipped through it in like 3 days. That’s fast for me! I’m not a binge’r!!

Holy shit, this beer is getting me to me. Hello, are you still here? Am I still here?

3. That Damn WayV Song!!

I’m still on that WayV tip. “On My Youth” has taken over my life for the past week. It gives me that raw, inconsolable, “My heart is like a tooth with cavity and I’m going to keep swishing with this song like it’s hot tea spiked with bourbon, make it hurt more please!!!” feeling similar to Howard Hewett’s “This Love Is Forever” presented to me back in the 90s when I became obsessed with it after seeing the video probably on MIDNIGHT STORM or whatever BET’s late night love song video marathon was called. Quiet Storm?? No, that was on the local R&B radio station I think??

Earth to Erin!! God, this beer.

So, I used to listen to this Howard Hewett song on repeat AND WEEP. I remember vividly sleeping over my Aunt Susie’s house on NYE in 1994 because my BFF Christy and I were house-and-dog sitting for her and my uncle Mark, and I legit curled up in the fetal position and sobbed while listening to this song, totally torturing myself because I was going through probably the 17th breakup with JUSTIN KAIL, like he even rates anymore and shit I wish I had listened to Christy that night when she told me this sternly in 87 different ways, but I think on some level, this song hit me in ways where I was experiencing feelings that I didn’t understand, like I was mourning a loss that I couldn’t remember?! DOES THAT MAKE SENSE??

I told my friend Veronica this on IG because she is my only Sister from an Imaginary Korean Mister, and I knew she would GET IT and she GOT IT. She said the strings this song remind her of a movie from the 70s or 80s, a theme song from that movie, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. “Mahogany?” she suggested, and that sent me on a DIANA ROSS spiral because that damn song of hers from that movie made me feel like I had suffered the most incredible loss as I listened to it in my Pappap’s kitchen at the ripe age of 4.

Anyway, here is another version of the WayV song in question. The ending where all the different parts of the song merge together just KILLS ME DEAD. (I still prefer the Chinese version so much more but they seem to be predominately performing the English one so what can you do.)

Kun is such a bias wrecker.


LOL here’s the Howard Hewett video too!

OMG the amount of mix tapes that contained that song, you guys. I had a sickness. A big one.

Ugh, I’m 15 again crying in my stupid purple bedroom.

J/K my bedroom wasn’t stupid it was fucking awesome. The predecessor to my very specific interior design tastes.

I wonder if Christy’s eye would start twitching if I sent her this song right now…

5.  Henry Wants Me to Say “Henry” for #5

I’ll allow it ONLY because he has been galloping toward the finish line re: SEOUL SUBWAY SIGN REDUX today and it is actually kind of attractive I guess. He did something cool with the audio portion of the sign this time around, which made me exclaim, “Hey so you could like, make a doorbell from scratch then?” and he was like, “Yeah, I could. Oh. Goddammit,” as he realized he just signed on to a second project when this one isn’t even done LOL j/k he’s already working on another project right now too so the doorbell would be project #3.


OK now I’m going to go and sample one more beer before it’s CUT-OFF time. My limit is like one full beer.

Wait I’m back. Here’s one thing I don’t like in November, like absolutely fucking despise:

UGH SO DISGUSTING!!! I almost spit it out everywhere and started to frantically cough in a way that it was scraping the taste from my throat. I hate this!!!! Roll off a cliff and die, Urban Artifact you sick fuck!!!

if I ordered this at a bar or restaurant, I would have shouted “THIS IS DISGUSTING!” to everyone within earshot and beyond as a public service.

Nov 092023

Things with the new neighbors are staying interesting, that’s for sure. First of all, can we talk about this AJAPO agency? What a bunch of shady assholes. I may  have mentioned that after the landlord gave us the agency’s name (he must be getting a sweet tax break for renting property to their clients, that’s all I’m saying), I had tried calling numerous times but it doesn’t even ring – it goes straight to voicemail and then I’M SORRY, THIS VOICE MAILBOX IS FULL.

So, I emailed them several times. I started our politely, because I like to believe that I am a nice person deep down and need to be pushed. However, these days, you only have to push me with a feather before I morph into Hulk Erin. After two non-responses, I started using CAPSLOCK and told them that I was prepared to take this to A NEWS OUTLET. Well, that got a response, which started with “Hello Kelly” – are you kidding me. That is my biggest pet peeve! So instead of being happy that I got a response, I went into the reading of the email with great ire and disgust. But yeah, total run-around. “They should be doing things on their own” etc. Interestingly, their website went down right after they emailed me so no, that’s not sus.

Whatever. I have my eyes on them though.

Then, after spending two days trying to help the neighbor mail a package of gifts to her best friend whose surname she doesn’t know (that was fun), I got a WhatsApp message from her last night with a picture of her call log with the same number appearing several times.

“This number called us a lot, we didn’t understand anything, please ask who is this and who gave my number.”

Great! Sure! LOVE talking on the phone, this is the PERFECT task for me…So I call and immediately a very angry and impatient-sounding man says YEAH. Great start!!!

So I’m like, oh boy how to start this convo. “Hi I’m calling for my neighbor who doesn’t speak English…” and he cuts me off to say YEAH I BEEN TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO HER MAYBE YOU CAN BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, I WORK TWO JOBS, IN FACT I’M ON MY WAY TO ONE OF THEM NOW YOU FEEL ME??

OK, so this will be the tone of the call, hot right out of the gate like one of the partners who loves to call and scream at us at work.

His explanation is that he knew someone with the same number a few years ago – A FEMALE someone in case you were wondering – and the number is still a contact in his phone. IT IS LOCKED IN THERE HE CAN’T DELETE IT OK.


So now suddenly, that number is popping up on his Telegram app. “You feel me?” he goes, and I was like, “Uh, I think so” because I was trying to think if I ever heard of the Telegram app before and he SNAPPED ON ME because I guess I sounded too UNSURE in my response. “OK you’re a female too right and you mean to tell me you don’t know how an APP works??” The pure disgust in his tone, man. Palpable.

That just pissed me off because if there is one thing that would be great to scratch into my grave, it’s “SHE HATED BEING YELLED AT BY MEN.” Matching his level of rudeness and volume, I retorted, “YEAH I KNOW HOW IT WORKS I’M NOT DUMB???” and Henry at this point is turned around in the computer chair watching this with great interest, because I guess since he handled the Mailing of the Package, he was free to sit back and spectate the CALLING BACK THE UNKNOWN NUMBER task. Literally, we are this woman’s personal Task Monkeys. I mean, happy to help, etc. but some of this is really past my comfort limits.

Angry Man with Two Jobs and No Time explains it AGAIN and I go “OK yeah, like the number came up in your app as ‘someone you might know'” and he goes “EXACTLY but like I said, it’s someone I USED TO KNOW” *cue Gotye* at which point he explained the whole “can’t remove the contact from my phone” thing again. It was the most frustrating cyclical conversation, lasted 10 minutes, and he NEVER SAID WHAT INSTIGATED THE PHONE CALLS in the first place. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that seeing THE FEMALE’S number sparked interest and HE CALLED IT but got Tamanna who can’t speak English, and chaos ensued.

He was playing dumb though and made it sound like SHE called HIM but I can’t imagine why she would have done that, unless she saw that she had a missed call and called it back. I can imagine all hell breaking loose at that point because Tamanna doesn’t handle things quietly.

The picture of the call log she sent me shows that they talked for 59 seconds at one point so I’m sure that was lovely and not stressful at all for either party. He told me again that this is what he was trying to tell her, and I interrupted to say, “Well, she doesn’t speak English, she is Afghan and literally JUST moved here from Turkey.”

“Well, people should know English first before they move here you feel me?”


He kept me on the for 10 minutes over this dumb issue but he’s the one who doesn’t have time for it, ok. When I hung up, Henry was like, “He’s totally saving your number.”

But wow, what a roller coaster! I went from being polite, to royally pissed off, to sounding like I was on the phone with an old friend and laughing. What a wild ride.

Anyway, I texted her back and said, “It was the wrong number. If he calls again, just ignore it.” She gave me the thumbs up.

Nov 082023

Remember in my last post when I was like, “Hi this is the last chapter for the Sweden section of these vacation recaps” and you guys were like, “Thank god, please tell us the end is nigh, these posts are boring and tedious”? Well, I lied. But we’ll run through this one right quick, aye aye.

When we were originally planning the second half of this trip, we were going to fly from Stockholm to Helsinki, and then we tossed around the idea of flying into Tallinn, Estonia. But then we realized that, for basically the cost of one plane ticket, all three of us could take an overnight ferry, cabin included, from Stockholm to Turku (I dunno why, but I had my heart set on going to Turku first and then taking a train to Helsinki). Literally, this cost us under $200, the Viking Glory was AMAZING – like a mini-cruise ship, and it was pretty comfortable.

The best part is that it made our canceled Norway ferry trip sting a bit less knowing that we would still have the opportunity to do the overnight ferry thang later on in the trip.

Wow, I just realized that there are NO PHOTOS OF ME on the Viking Glory.

Before the ferry departed, we got some drinks and chilled on the desk, listening to an actual good DJ who played a sick remix of In the Air Tonight. It felt like legit vacation times, finally. Chooch ditched us to give his friends a tour of the ferry via Facetime, and Henry and I actually acted like we were a real couple, enjoying our drinks and talking about our trip so far, our favorite coasters, the Coaster Crew – it was SO RELAXING and made me think, “Could I do a real cruise one day maybe???”

I dunno. Overnight on a large ferry in the Baltic Sea was one thing. I’m not sure about a full scale cruise though!

I felt really choked up and sentimental watching Stockholm fade into the distance.

But! I was excited to wake up in Finland, for sure. Finland is one of those countries that I always thought would be interesting to visit but I can’t imagine any scenario when we would wake up one day and decided to plan a trip there for no reason. I am so so so so so glad that this Coaster Crew trip happened and this became a viable option!

For anyone considering a Sweden/Finland trip, I do highly recommend doing the overnight ferry. If we had flown, we would have had to pay extra for our bags, PLUS get a hotel for that night in Finland. It would have cost so much more than what we paid for the ferry.

We had a good dinner on board too! There were numerous choices, and a lot of veg/vegan options as well.


Mmm…a greasy meatless culinary delight!

I imagine if you do the day trip, there’s a lot more action, but I didn’t want to spend an entire day of our trip stuck on a boat, you know?

Anyway, that will FINALLY do it for Sweden. Here is a video collection of our non-Coaster Crew day in Stockholm:

Nov 062023

Yo, guys. You’ll never believe it. I think this might be the last of the Sweden series and then we can move on to a new locale! That being said, I will try to keep this snappy and concise.

As you can see from the photos, we had some more subway funway after lunch. I think Henry was scared that I was going to become obsessed with Stockholm’s subway system and ask him to re-design the Seoul Subway Sign, but Mona, I’m here to tell you that I don’t think anything will ever dethrone ANY part of South Korea from my heart’s top spot. Honestly.

I did enjoy exploring the public transportation in Sweden, though. It was clean and, not that any of this ever falls on me, but it seemed pretty easy to navigate? Henry? Chooch? You wanna weigh in on that*?

*(LOL as if they read this. Trust me, the last thing they want is to relive their life events through my blurry kaleidoscope* eyes.)

*(OK the way that I spelled that correctly on the first try, no hesitation, like it’s my middle name, but then I misspell common, everyday words in every single blog post. Got it.)

I could go for some Swedish chocolate bars right about now.

Subway shot.

We went back to Skeppsbron, where we had caught the ferry earlier, in order to have honest to god fika at Skeppsbron Bageri which evidently has the “city’s best cinnamon rolls.”

They were good! We got the OG cinnamon and also cardamom, which I have to say was my favorite roll variety everywhere we went. I just REALLY enjoy me some cardamom.

In a much better mood for photos after fika, that’s for sure. I have to laugh though because the whole point of fika is to take a break during the day to have coffee and a treat with family and/or friends. You’re supposed to slow it the fuck down, put your phone away (probably, I’m making the rules up as I go), maybe play some old school hangman on the back of a receipt, etc. But that’s supposing that you’re there with someone whose company you enjoy. I’m…not sure you can say that about the three of us, lol. So basically we chilled for about 20 minutes, probably didn’t talk – actually, I have a FAINT memory of verbally eviscerating Henry for preparing my coffee improperly and him saying THEN GET IT YOURSELF NEXT TIME.

Can you even imagine? The audacity. The sheer gall.

Walking around, walking around.

Literally every street is gorgeous in Gamla Stan.

You know what’s crazy and I just realized it while looking at a map? Gamla Stan is right next to an area (neighborhood?) called Norrbro which a Hipstamatic film pack is named after. I’ve also been to a place in South Korea that one of the film packs is named after (Hongdae)!

Also, yes, I still use Hipstamtic almost exclusively to edit my photos, how 2010 of me, I know. I actually created my own “favorite” action and named it Gamla Stan!

We took the subway back to a bigger, more modern area called Norrmalm because I wanted to continue my futile search for Beartown. We must have went to three bookstores and one salesclerk said, “Oh, another store has it – we can have it shipped here for you!” and I sadly said, “We’re leaving today.” :(

This was in one of the malls and I thought it was so smart and a great idea! Also in this mall, we went into a toy store to buy Pippi merch and happened to wander downstairs where I found a rack of name stickers and one of the names was Saga, which is the name of one of my friend’s daughters – I couldn’t believe it! What are the odds that I’d randomly spin a rack of stickers with no agenda, just kind of in passing, and it stops spinning on Saga?? I guess that name must be popular in Sweden?? Anyway, I totally had to buy it even though I have never met Saga! My friend’s other daughter’s name is Ophelia but they sadly didn’t have her name in sticker-form. I got her cute unicorn stickers though because I might be a jerk and lacking in a lot of areas, but I at least know that you can’t buy one little sister a present without getting something for the other too. Come on, now. You’re talking to Erin Kaleidoscope Kelly here.

We had a LITTLE bit of time left before we needed to return to the hotel to grab our luggage and get our asses to the ferry, which was scheduled to depart at 8PM with or without us American schmucks.  So we just strolled around and soaked up as much Stockholm vibes and vapers as possible.

I gotta cut that bitch out of the background. She looks so stern! I hate it.

Guys. You know what’s funny? I just realized, looking at this photo on the map on my phone, that this was Norrbro, lol. Nothing like getting your bearings two and a half mths after you left to come back home.

There is so much I wanted to do here, but with less than a full day, it was impossible to even scratch the surface.

Back at the Sheraton to claim our luggage and use the bathroom in the lobby real quick, where Chooch got to report a “poop incident” to the front desk and this time THANKFULLY it wasn’t his own. I didn’t see it because the restrooms weren’t unisex but Henry said it looked like someone opened the stall door and just bent over and sprayed the wall with their ass. So….similar to my story in the last post re: puking in the restroom of the science center after the viking movie gave me motion sickness! FULL CIRCLE.

Kind of.

Nov 052023

After my anger subsided re: GAMLA STAN PHOTO OP FAIL, things got a lot better. Well, sort of. The plan was to go to the Vasa Museum but then Chooch downloaded some app that Coaster Crew people told him about and he decided that in addition to counting coaster creds, he needed to start counting ALL RIDE credits. And this app listed all rides in general, even if they aren’t in a traditional amusement park. So this is how he found out that the Viking Museum has a dark ride whcich counts as a credit.

I gotta admit that the prospect of visiting a museum solely for a dark ride was tempting and probably definitely something that I would suggest anyway. So I was on board.

First though, we had to walk past some woman protesting in front of the royal palace, burning a book, and shouting about how Sweden killed her mother. Not really sure what was going on there but it didn’t seem fun.

The Viking Museuem is on the same island-thingie (archipelago or whatever) that Grona Lund is on so we got to see it from the water which was amazing!

Ugh, I wish we could have popped in for an hour or two!

I don’t have too much to note re: the Viking Museum. It was small, not too crowded which was nice, and pretty interesting. I have a love/hate with museums though. I usually walk in all gung-ho to do some learning, fill my empty headspace with some cold hard facts, but tend to run out of steam after one room.

There were some good photo ops here though!

I kept thinking about the time I was pregnant and Henry and I drove to Columbus to go to the science center with two dumb people we no longer associate with because they turned out to be terrible humans. While there, we watched some Omnimax thingie about Vikings and the combination of the CHERRY SLUSHIE I had earlier and the full theater screens made me so nauseous that I had to run out of the theater to the bathroom. I was just about .05 seconds too late though and instead of puking in the toilet, I puked ON the toilet, on the floor, etc. It was a bad scene man. I felt awful about it.

So yeah, vikings. Barf.

And I got to learn how to write my name using the Viking alphabet!

The dark ride itself was actually pretty cool, I’m not going to lie.

I started to get HANGRY at this point though. The ferry ride was back was annoying because some dumb bitch – also a tourist – was like, “Excuse me” and I thought she needed to scoot past me or something so I stepped aside and she STOLE MY SPOT on deck?! I was like, “Hello bitch, really?” I think she was FRENCH. I made sure to stand REALLY CLOSE to her so that her sightseeing was as uncomfortable as possible.

I loved that ferries were part of the public transportation system!

After this, we got to take the subway, which was not that bad but also not Seoul. Henry and I just had a real time argument about the order of transportation but I’m pretty sure what happened was that we took the subway, walked to a burger place that has vegan option but then I was like I DIDN’T KNOW THIS WAS FAST FOOD I DON’T WANT THIS and Chooch was like JESUS CHRIST HERE WE GO so then we continued to walk aimlessly which you’d think was our preferred mode of transportation while traveling.

Anyway, we found a used book store in our search for lunch. One of my Swedish quests was to find a hardback Swedish copy of Beartown but shoooooo, that was not easy. I struck out in Gothenburg too but hoped that I would have better luck in Stockholm. The bookstore clerk suggested that we try a mainstream book store and directed us down the street but we all needed food in a bad way so we put that on the backburner and trudged along in search of food that we could all agree on.

Which ended up being some rando bistro called Snaps, an establishment that was so mediocre and unmemorable that I had to look at the geotag of the following pictures to even determine the name of the place.

We had to order at the outdoor bar and I was like, “WELL SINCE WE’RE STANDING HERE AT THE BAR, WHY DONTCHA WHIP ME UP AN ELDERFLOWER SPRITZ” so then Chooch had to get a non-alcoholic bevvie to look cool, I guess.

You know what’s funny is that it’s almost like Henry didn’t exist in this part of the day, lol. I have no pictures of him at all and have no idea what he even ate.

Chooch and I both got the fake chicken sandwich, and it was fine. I was just content to be sitting outside in nice weather and feeding my fat face.

Of course, this was the one day that I wrote NOTHING about in my vacation journal so I could be leaving out some major facts here but oh well. That’s what happens when I wait nearly three mths at this point to recap this idiot journey.

Nov 032023

Sorry, I needed that to rhyme because I have a disorder. I feel like I haven’t done a Friday Five in a while and today is Friday so what better day to resuscitate this dumb series?

  1. I know you guys probably thought I’d still be obsessing over the Taemin comeback, and I am! I am. BUT. Just listen. Listen, Linda. WayV came out of leftfield with their best song yet, IMO and I haven’t been able to stop listening to and dissecting it. I even got JANNA obsessed with it. I think she’s mostly just happy that it’s the one NCT unit that doesn’t include Haechan so I can’t scream, “WHO’S THAT JANNA??” whenever Haechan has screen time. Anyway, this song does that thing that presses down on something in my brain that makes me nostalgic for something that I can’t explain?? It feels like my heart is breaking and you know, like a toothache, I have a love/hate with that feeling because I’m psycho. I will share both Chinese and English versions with you because I’m such a sweetheart.

Kun is such a bias wrecker for me in this song particularly. Jesus.

2. I talked to my landlord for the first time ever last week. Just to put that in perspective, I have rented this place since 1999 (ughhh) but his dad was the OG landlord (and an awesome one at that). But after he died, the son took over in 2007 and it’s been not great since. Anyway!! You know it’s dire straits if I actually initiate conversation with these types of people on my own, but I saw him hulking around last week because he’s apparently come into some money and is “sprucing up the properties.” Mm. Watch the rent go up, but anyway. I come flying out of the house and he’s like, “Oh Erin I’m glad you’re home—” and I cut him off and start firing off questions to him about the new neighbors because as I mentioned earlier, I am actually losing sleep over this situation and am so stressed out trying to help them get everything in order, these poor sweet people!!! UGH. Also, LOL I had no idea this guy even knew my name / who I am because Henry does all the dealings with him because he’s afraid I’ll lose my temper and get us evicted, but whatever. The whole point of this is that I got stuck talking to the dude for over 30 minutes and there were two occasions when he said really terrible things but I was too stunned by anger to open my mouth and speak up and have been dwelling on this for a week now and I really hate myself:

    • 1. He said that he gave the neighbor, Tamanna, a nickname. I’m thinking that it’s going to be something based on her personality or something related to the fact that she bakes a mean loaf of bread (Mean Loaf, maybe?) but NO. It’s TAMMY. “I told her that when you come to America, you can’t expect Americans to assimilate to YOU. We shouldn’t have to struggle to learn a long or difficult name. So – Tammy!” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Watch me NEVER call her Tammy. Watch me call her by her actual, beautiful name because fuck America, for real. OMG. FURTHERMORE HIS WIFE IS LITERALLY FROM CHINA. WHY IS HE LIKE THIS. HE DIDN’T CHANGE HER NAME TO MARY.
    • 2. Apparently, another Afghan (OH I’M SORRY, “AFGHANI” – because they’re objects, might as well call his wife ORIENTAL while we’re at, JESUS CHRIST) family was renting one of his other properties and don’t you know that when they moved out, they left it cleaner than it was when he bought it? AND HE BOUGHT IT FROM SOMEONE WITH OCD. Um, OK. Great story. But wait, he’s not done. “And it’s just crazy to think about it you know, since they came here after, what, living in a hut with dirt floors? But I guess they did what they could to keep the dirt floors clean too, probably.”  Yeah. I needed to swish my skull with acid after that chat.

3. Chooch had me read some of his draft college essays and….Jesus. Thank god this kid is such a math and computer whiz because….just because. The one essay had something to do with, I can’t remember, it doesn’t matter. But it began with something about how before he started high school, he never thought about computer science, he never thought about anything. HE. NEVER. THOUGHT. ABOUT. ANYTHING. This was in an essay. An essay that COLLEGES ARE GOING TO READ and be like, “Well, we don’t want someone who doesn’t think. Next.” I knew what he was trying to say, that he never thought about any future career path at that point because he goes on to talk about a class he took in 9th grade that shifted everything for him, so he was on the right track but OMG I’m not rewriting his essays for him, don’t get it twisted, but I am certainly pointing things out and saying, “Let’s uh, rethink this sentence here, shall we?”

Then there was one about his time in Mexico. “Really? You had ‘though-provoking discussions about socio-political issues’?” I screamed incredulously.

“Yeah,” he said. And then, “Well, I didn’t. But Julian [his roommate] did. And I was there. So.”

Then in the same essay he mentioned going to a playground and playing soccer with a group of younger boys who only spoke Spanish and there was a broken slide there. “What’s the point of mentioning the broken slide? Did you fix it for them or something?” and he goes, “No….but do you think I should say that??”


He also used “tantalizing” in one of them and I made him change it so fast before my body cringed so hard that it caved in on itself. “You didn’t use ‘scintillating’ in here anywhere, too, did you?” I asked, feeling fully assaulted. Ugh.

4. We were over the neighbors’ one night last week and, please remember that we are either sitting there in silence smiling at our hands as they rest in our laps or we’re struggling to use Google Translate in Conversation mode. It’s…so difficult but worth it when we’re able to establish a groove. This is usually only when the 13-year-old boy is around though because what I’m learning, I THINK, is that Turkish is his main language, but Dari is his mom’s main language, so he is better at Google translate than she is since Dari isn’t on there and she has to default to Turkish. If he is across the room, he knows before she even finishes speaking into the phone that it’s going to be wrong, and he’ll cluck his tongue and come over to do it for her. It’s adorable, really. Anyway!! This one particular night, we were sitting there, and the 10-year-old boy came downstairs. He grabbed the remote from the 13yo (we gave them Chooch’s old smart TV because I dunno what this agency is doing – like please give this family some creature comforts, you know? I know a TV isn’t technically a necessity but come on. Anyway! He grabs the remote and changes whatever his brother was watching on YouTube and I wasn’t paying attention until I realized, “Hark! Is that….KOREAN that I hear?” You guys, the way the Korean language makes me feel, it’s inexplicable. I imagine it’s how some people are so drawn to French. Korean is my French, boy. It makes my ear drums and heart feel like they’re wrapped up in the warmest, fluffiest blankest on Christmas Eve. Just so comfortable and familiar. OK, so that happens and then I go, “STRAY KIDS?” and Henry and I exchange a HA! look because STRAY KIDS. The kid looks at me and goes, “Stray Kids.” And I ask, “DO YOU LIKE STRAY KIDS??” and he legit gives me this look like, “Duh, who doesn’t??” so then I showed him videos on my phone from when Henry and I went to see them in 2022! Then I pushed it too far by asking if he also likes NCT. He looked at me blankly so I showed him a picture and he quickly waved them off and said, “No.” Wow, ok, so I have work to do. Challenge accepted. I will mold this child into a NCTzen before you know it, don’t fret.

5. We got a new storm door put on last week after years of not having one because it was like 206 years old and was so broken that Henry eventually just ripped it off like A MAD MAN. It will be nice in the spring and summer to keep the door open like old times. I’m hoping that by then, my cats will have adjusted to it because right now, they are living in fear of The Door.

It’s really concerning sometimes how freaking skittish these two are! Well, Drew way more so than Penelope. I think Penelope has already acclimated to it but Drew just stares at it in fear regardless if the main door is open or not. SHE KNOWS THAT THERE IS ANOTHER DOOR BEHIND IT NOW AND SHE DOESN’T LIKE IT.

Well, that’s all for me. I have to go back to watching NCT content on YouTube now while asking Henry, “Is it done yet? Is it done yet?” re: my upgraded Seoul Subway Sign.

Nov 022023

Wow, why do I even bother acting like Halloween is my favorite holiday? The last handful of 10/31s have been eh, blah, meh, boo. WTF man. I mean, I’m probably sounding super dramatic and it honestly wasn’t BAD this year but just…boring. Cold. Kind of sad because my child is 17 and hasn’t asked me to help him with a costume since 8th grade I think! But I still take the day off work (I use my floating holiday and request the day in the beginning of January every year, why am I so lame) under the pretense that I’m going to live my best creepy life on this day, take a blood bath while listening to the Suspiria soundtrack, etc.

This year, I…read a book. Went for a walk. Watched Taemin videos. Helped my new neighbors. I didn’t even bother putting scary music on during TRICK OR TREATING (well, I did put on some creepy MTV Euro playlist from the 90s and some of the videos were making me very uncomfy in a big way).

And you know what? This year we beat our record of least amount of trick-or-treaters: 2. TWO FUCKING KIDS. And that was only because I verbally accosted (in a friendly way) when they were walking past my house with their dad on their way home from better streets I guess. I was like, “TAKE A WHOLE BUNCH” and literally let them walk off with fistfuls.

Meanwhile, the day before, Chooch decided to go to Spirit and buy a costume to wear to school. I was so excited that he did this of his own accord and that I didn’t positively ruin Halloween for him by following in my mom’s footsteps and hijacking his costume ideas every year. (Sike, love you, Val! I fondly look back on my old costumes every year even though they were borderline traumatic for me at the time LOL.)

He came home with this big blow-up Garfield, totally random but it made me laugh. FOR A STORE BOUGHT COSTUME, THAT IS.

I’m actually surprised that he was allowed to wear it at school, considering how schools have been no-fun zones since Columbine and food allergies.

His school is basically on the Pitt campus and he said that after school, he was a celeb with the Pitt students, people were asking to take pictures with him. “It was totally worth the $60,” he texted me.

SIXTY FUCKING DOLLARS. Oh well, he has a job again and used his own dumb money so what do I care.

I was also happy that he and a bunch of friends went trick-or-treating too! Like a last hurrah, which I think is so important. I know a lot of you Karen types out there don’t think that teenagers should be welcome to trick-or-treat but in my opinion, if you’re wearing a costume, in the Halloween spirit, and not being an asshole, you are welcome to my candy.

Especially if you’re dressed as Michael Myers. And an adult. Please have my candy.

The night before, we took pumpkins over to our new neighbors’ house and helped them carve their first jack o’lanterns! That was really special! We have to communicate through Google translate but it’s worth it. I can’t remember how much I have mentioned about this because so much has happened in the two weeks since they moved next door to us, but they are an Afghan family consisting of a single mom and her three kids: 16, 13, 10. She is from Afghanistan, her kids were born in Russia, and they came here after living in Turkey for the last 6 years. I don’t really know the full details of their story yet because it’s so hard to communicate, but the sitch doesn’t seem great and they were placed here by a refugee agency who is doing the BARE MINIMUM to help. When I say that they are coming to us for everything, I’m not exaggerating.

It’s been really exhausting (being a good person is hard work!!! My inner demon has been fighting tooth and nail on this) but it’s worth it to make them feel comfortable and welcome. I just wish this fucking agency would work a bit harder to get them situated and introduce them to other Afghans or even just anyone who speaks Turkish which is the language they appear to default to, because while it’s OK to hang out and be neighborly here and there, THIS AIN’T 227.

Sorry, j/k. That was mean. But I am trying to establish boundaries because this lady doesn’t realize it yet, but I am literally the last person that anyone should use as their crutch. YOU GUYS KNOW.

So yeah, this October started off strong, but then I gained a spare family and now I just feel very tired, stressed (last week was REALLY bad because of all of the caring I was doing and I was losing sleep over it) and disoriented. Add to that the fact that I barely see Chooch anymore because of his extracurriculars and job, and I’m just like…lost. I don’t know. It’s weird. I’m weird. NO YOU’RE WEIRD. GO AWAY.

Oct 312023

So much has been going on but according to my blog, it’s all haunted houses and August vacation recaps. Blogging is a struggle in my old age.

Anyway, today is Halloween and I’m off but it feels like the day is slipping by so fast and I’m mildly panicked about not having time to get all of my pointless, absolutely useless tasks complete:

  1. finish a book (done!!)
  2. write in a blog that’s basically the equivalent of scribbling misspelled thoughts inside my closet wall that no one will see
  3. exercise
  4. hand out candy to maybe 3 kids
  5. go for a walk
  6. have 7 cups of coffee
  7. feed the squirrels x9

All of this while narrating each activity to my cats aka best friends.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the haunted houses we went to over the last two weekends. This season felt, weird. This October has been, weird. I feel out of place and, weird.

  1. Castle Blood!

Annual jaunt to Castle Blood! Tried to get people to go. Failed as usual. It was such a fun time as always, and great to chat with Gravely and Hexibart, but sad to not get much face time with my Castle crush Boris, and there were a bunch of familiar faces that we were missing that night. Nevertheless, the experience was still on point, the denizens (ever since I got into Kpop, I want so  badly to call them Netizens) were perfectly scathing, and the challenges were as fun as ever. I think my favorite part though was when I was tasked with giving a grumpy old vampire a new-fangled (OH SHIT I DIDN’T EVEN MEAN TO DO THAT, NEWFANGLED LOLOL) food alternative called a BLOOD DISK to prevent him from feeding on us. I thought I was doing a really great job selling it, calling back to my years as an Olan Mills telemarketer obviously, but then I added, “I heard you can even get a subscription box…” to which Henry started full-throttle laughing behind me and bro NEVER laughs at my jokes so I was on high alert, thinking he was laughing at something else and I missed it, was I suddenly the butt of the joke? And then the vampire was all, “OK, I don’t know what that is, you’re taking this too far.”


AKA the night Henry took the most unflattering photo of me in his entire career of taking unflattering photos of me. Anyway, we met my sister Amy and bro-in-law Dick here, and I made friends with this monster guy in line when he was going around asking children for string to add to his collection. It seemed like he was prepared to exchanged candy for said string and I was DESPERATE to be a part of this. I worked diligently on pulling a tiny thread from the sleeve of my denim jacket and then practically tackled him when he walked by and panted, “HERE! I HAVE A STRING FOR YOU!”

He straight squinted at my string and exclaimed, “WHERE IS IT?”

I was like, “HERE!” and aggressively dangled it closer to his face.

“That’s not a string! I can barely see it, I can’t use that!” And then out of sheer exasperation, he goes, “Here, just take a Tootsie Roll, NO YOU CAN KEEP THAT!” when I tried to force my denim thread on him.

Then he came back a few moments later and said, “Do you want to see what I do with the strings??” and lead Amy and me over to a staircase and pointed up. I honestly had no idea what I was looking at initially and then I saw the strings, like actual ROPE in some cases, tied from a railing.

“Do you like, hang people from those?” I asked, and he was HORRIFIED?? I was like, “Sorry, I just thought there was some nefarious use for them since you’re a monster or whatever!”


Apparently some broad gave him a bra. One of the other line monsters told us it only took her three seconds to take it off. Wow.

Anyway, the haunt itself was fine but not as good as past years because groups started catching up with each other and entire scenes were being bypassed to keep the traffic flowing. That was annoying because of the best scenes was done for the group in front of us but when it was our turn they had us just walk through and I wanted Amy and Dick to experience it :(

But for me, the highlight was AFTERWARD when we followed Dick and Amy to Hightower Brewing Co nearby in Ohio. I fell in love (you know me and my emotions!!) with their butter beer and also their orange hard seltzer! I also had a pumpkin cheesecake sour which I think I would have liked a lot better if I hadn’t also been drinking the incredibly sweet butter beer. And I had a peanut butter porter which my whole party advised against me ordering but I did it anyway like the girl with braces who went and ate the popcorn anyway, and boy I had regertz. Henry couldn’t even finish it for me.

But what a great night, two unflattering pictures of me aside! I’m happy that we hung out with Amy and Dick twice in a year, actually ALMOST three times if you count the pie party from 2022! I really gotta be better at hanging out with friends, especially actual family, but NOT relative strangers who send me unhinged and accusatory texts at inappropriate hours of the day.


This past Friday, Janna and I went to DARK VIEW in Toronto, Ohio!

But first, JANNA HAD TO PEE.

We had a nice chat with the ticket guy who I think I recognized from past Dark View visits. This was their first year at a new location, and he told us it was because their old location on the hill got completely trashed by “you know that storm from last year” and I nodded like I knew when in fact I do not know.

Then when I told him we were from Pgh, he immediately slammed Beto’s Pizza and I fully agreed because that pizza is SHIT and he said we should go to the nearby IGGY’S for good square pizza and he was really selling us on this pizza bro, like I was ready to ask Janna if she wanted to just leave right then and there and go get this critically acclaimed pizza instead. But then he offered a piece of FATAL INFORMATION:

“And they even grind up pepperoni and put it in the sauce to make it extra spice,” he said.

“Oh wow,” I monotoned. “Mm.”

“Well, there goes that,” Janna said later, and then I fell headfirst into a neurotic tailspin re: WHAT IF OTHER PIZZA PLACES DO THIS TOO AND I HAVE BEEN UNWITTINGLY EATING MEAT-SAUCE ALL THESE YEARS??


Anyway, Dark View is still doing these souvenir pictures which I love and also, they know what a good angle is, maybe learn from them, Henry. Find a way to pull a ladder out of your ass, don’t all you men come with one lodged up in there??

Anyway, there was a guy in there who reminded me lots of Bradley Walden from Emarosa because he was a “scare actor” but was “scared,” you know what I mean? So he was like, “Oh thank god, you guys are alive! It’s really scary here!” I feel like he was dressed like he was on safari.

Um, I dunno! This was not as great as previous years but knowing that they were forced to basically start from scratch, I gotta give them credit. And the kids they had in there generating the screams were a real delight. Super effective and they took their roles seriously.

Afterward, we went to SHEETZ where I got an iced nitro cold brew with hopefully NO HIDDEN MEATS and the cashier was SO CHATTY that I felt for a second like I was a real person again, like Erin pre-2004 even, and I was JUST ABOUT to say, “Don’t be nice to her” while jutting a thumbing over my shoulder but luckily I had half-turned around before the words came out so I noticed that JANNA WASN’T BEHIND ME but some burly trucker guy so whew, good thing my periphery vision isn’t as bad as my…frontal vision.

But yeah wow, substantive small talk with two strangers in one night (plus all that talking with JANNA ugh!!) – back to reclusiveness for me. Oh ho, just kidding, my new neighbors do not allow for any reclusiveness to be had. But that is a story for another day!


I think the most memorable thing about this night, and not in a good way, is THE FUCKING RAIN. It was miserable. Also (and um, sorry Janna if you’re reading this) but I realized at some point after we already bought our tickets that I had been looking at the weather for SMITHTON PA all day, and not SMITHFIELD which is actually where Rich’s Fright Farm is located. SMITHTON, wherever that is, said that there was absolutely NO RAIN past 5PM. So I was like, “OK great, we can still go tonight! This will be PERFECT!”


Then we had to wait for like 90 minutes. Chooch ditched us very quickly after we arrived. I think he only sat with us for approx. 10 minutes and then wandered off to act like an orphan, which is his most Oscar-worthy role. He’s basically type-cast at this point.

I didn’t really get the theme, except for the one part where I guess it was meant to feel like we were walking through a fumigated room? It was actually the best part of the whole fucking thing.


Overall, it was fine! No one was annoying which was good because they ended up sending so many people through at the same time that we were coming to complete standstills in certain areas because of bottlenecks. The one positive thing about that is that it gave us an opportunity to actually look at the props and stuff, since we’re usually flying through. Chooch and I were pushing every button we came across too. I started it.

I *think* Henry and I are going on our traditional date to the Wells Township lights out night this weekend but I’ll be wearing boots so as to not get my foot cut off by the chainsaw guy. 


Oct 302023

Wow, wowee wow wow. Two  blogs in one day but I couldn’t hold back from sharing Taemin’s comeback MV, I tried, I made it almost all day.




Taemin-ah, we missed you. Thank you for feeding us. You are TRULY a living legend, not just an idol but a motherfucking ICON.

And he has looked so happy and healthy in all of the interviews and shows I’ve seen him on so far during this promotion cycle. I worry about him so much, especially when he was enlisted, but he seriously looks like he’s thriving, back in his element, eating the stage. He is the BEST dancer in the world and no one can change my mind.



Oct 302023

Our first day without Coaster Crew was SO FUCKING SAD. Henry and I hung out at the hotel lounge the night before for a bit – Pam and Sherry were sitting at the bar so we joined them even though the bar was JUST CLOSING when we got there. Ugh! I blame Chooch because he made us go out and get him McDonald’s and also we had to get saline solution finally because it was a NOW OR NEVER situation at that point. We saw Pam and Sherry at the bar as we were leaving and figured we had time. WRONG I guess. I don’t know if it’s because it was a Sunday night or what, but it seemed like the bar was closing early-ish?

Anyway, some old man was also at the bar, TOTALLY trying to pick up Pam. It was fucking hilarious. Sherry was like, “Good luck with that,” and left. I feel like he said he owned a shoe store or something and even gave me his email address too, which I promptly left in the hotel room. “Do you want this?” Henry asked the next morning while packing, holding up the scrap paper with the email address.

I just looked at him liike, “What do you think?” so he tossed it.

Anyway, Tim, Brandon, Ally, and Jeremy were also hanging out in the lounge. It was a somber evening. Everyone was just quietly nursing their drinks. Tim came over and thanked me for the note I wrote on the back of the Liseberg print, having read it by then. It was also the first time we really talked to Jeremy, and he was so great. I wish I could rewind time, go back to the beginning, and talk to everyone more. HINDSIGHT, etc.

The next morning, I woke up in a foul mood because sometimes that’s how I project sadness: full-throttle bitchiness. We went down to breakfast and it was another MAGNIFICANT buffet but…it was missing Coaster Crew (I did see Amy and her husband down there, and even though we never talked to them – they really kept to themselves mostly – it was nice to see familiar faces). Still, the food was so good and I wish I could go back JUST for these amazing Scandinavian breakfast buffets. They were such a highlight.

We ended up sitting next to an American? Canadian? family – parents and two young kids. I didn’t really pay much attention to them, but Henry and I got up together at one point to get more FOODZ and when we returned, the parents were laughing and conversing with Chooch who was in the process of trying to SAW OFF one of his park wristbands with a BUTTER KNIFE. I was like, “Jesus, I thought we were safe leaving you alone for a minute now that you’re SEVENTEEN but apparently not!”

“Maybe you should ask the front desk if they have scissors!” the dad suggested with a laugh.

We left shortly after that and I made a big production of telling the family to have a nice day (and by “big production” I mean that I said, “Have a nice day guys!” with a fake smile since I was still trying to hold back COASTER CREW tears). As we passed through the lobby, Chooch stopped to have someone at the front desk assist with the wristband removal operation, and then as we got on the elevator to pop back into our room before checking out, THE FAMILY ALSO GOT ON THE ELEVATOR so then I was stewing in awkward sauce having JUST went out of my way to say goodbye to them, and now I had to do it again??

Henry and Chooch will tell you that it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I must have replayed this moment over and over in my head for like 3/4 of the day. This is what we call AN AFFLICTION.

Checked out. Got our luggage tagged so that we could pick it up later when it was time to get the ferry to Finland. Embarked on our walk to Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s iconic Old Town, which was pretty close to our hotel and actually even closer than we initially thought, as we would accidentally discover later that day.

But let’s just look at pictures of Gamla Stan because even though I was in such a bad mood, I did get over it and I actually love these pictures so much even though there was a lot of BICKERING that went on behind the scenes.

We really didn’t think we were going the right way, and then suddenly:

This square is REALLY iconic, total Instagram spam. It’s always crazy seeing sites like this in person because they often seem so much smaller in real life. This was one of those times. I thought it was so beautiful and was so excited to be there but also – it was just a very small square!

It was still really early in the AM so we beat the tourists, but the lighting was also bad since it was so early. You take what you can get, right?

We walked through here a few hours later and it was PACKED. I think this is where the arguing started. Sometimes I get so frustrated when it comes to photos and I know IT’S SO FUCKING STUPID because truly no one else cares but me, but in my very busy and loud headspace, all I can think about is wanting – nay, NEEDING – the perfect shot because what if we never come back here?? And every time Henry took a picture, we were covered in shadows. He kept yelling, “YOU CAN EDIT IT LATER!!” but I wanted to be PERFECTO from the GETGO.

This one was less bad because Chooch took it but it still wasn’t what I wanted and I was getting frustrated. This went on for probably 15 minutes – look, I’m laying it all out for you. I was being a fucking BRAT. I was. I admit it. Henry, if you’re reading this  – SHUT IT. I still think you take terrible pictures of me!! But I was overreacting bigly.

I just wanted to have one nice picture of Chooch in this square. You never know, one day he might actually care and want to show his future spouse these old dumb pictures.

Not even pretending to smile at this point, lolololol. I bitched because Choocg “cut the tops of the buildings off” and he was like, “Take it yourself, I’m out” and then literally left us there arguing and went to look at souvenir shops.

The Nobel Prize Museum opened while I was trying in vain to show Henry how to take the picture I wanted of myself and he just couldn’t fucking do it, his sausage-fingers kept rejecting any angle that wasn’t making me look like My 800 Lb Life so he would revert back to his usual way of setting up the shot and I looked so homely and PISSED probably because I ACTUALLY AM ONE OF THOSE THINGS 24:7 AND THE OTHER THING I AM MOST OF THE TIME.

I wonder how many times I ended up in the background of someone else’s photos, making stank face, radiating with SPOILED AMERICAN BITCH syndrome.

I took this photo as an example of what I wanted but Henry FAILED. Oh well, at least we got a decent shot of HIM out of the miserable process. Ugh.

Things got better from here after we left the square. And by that, I do mean “after I stormed off and acted like I had ANY IDEA where I was going.”

I pretended to be really interested in these monuments while Henry and Chooch casually strode behind me at a safe distance, knowing that I would eventually come around and not bothering to coddle me. WHICH I HATE. Sometimes I WANT THE CODDLING.


I let them catch up to me and decided that I’d give up on my search for a flight back to America that day and maybe go shopping for souvenirs instead. Plus, Henry and Chooch were like, “Coffee?” and I’m always up for coffee. So now we had a new plan to replace my TAKE FANTASTIC PHOTOS IN THAT GAMLA STAN THING quest.

You know, moving on and all that.

I was still pissed off, but what can you do?? The live version of this photo is hilarious because my smile is replaced SO QUICKLY with the most unflattering grimace/scowl and I completely walk away, lol.

These little alleyways though! I could have probably spent the whole day just poking around this area.

Henry chose this cafe and got completely ripped off by the old guy / owner. Lol. I know Sweden is notoriously expensive but I’m pretty sure the going rate for two coffees from some no-name alley cafe is not $25. Good one, Henry. More photos from here over in my last post re: photos from the “good camera.”

I loved this shop so much! It’s called Hilda Hilda. I bought Sue a dachshund print pouch because I just couldn’t pass it up. It was too cute and I loved that it’s quite literally made in Sweden as the tag says. See above for evidence!

I linked the shop – ya just gotta check it out, man. Ya just gotta.

We should have gone to THIS cafe!

Anyway, after shopping for about an hour (and running into Scott and Judy!) it was time to move out of Gamla Stan and explore some other areas. So, look forward to that post I guess.

Oct 292023

I read these during the 9th month of the year 2023.

  1. You’ve Lost A Lot of Blood – Eric Larocca

Short read, very graphic, a novella within a novella that, according to the Goodreads reviews, makes not a lick of sense to many others and not just me so I feel less dumb.

I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t really do much for me. Read at your own risk.

2. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

Can you believe I have never read this?? Of course, I’ve seen the movie adaptation, but I wanted to give the book a whirl and see if it holds up. IT DOES. I mean, obviously not in the sense that a husband could essentially rape his wife back then and the wife will just shrug it off like, “Well, he IS the man of the house and this is what I signed up for, that reminds me, I need to check the answering service for messages and then finish clipping my coupons.” So, you know, you’re very aware of what decade this takes place. But as far as the horror-aspect, shooooooo. I was hooked. In this aspect, Rosemary’s Baby totally holds up and is just as suspenseful and effective in 2023. In fact, this was way better than probably 90% of the new horror I’ve been clawing my way through.

Now I need to revisit the movie. It’s been YEARS. Maybe since I was in high school??

3. Seven Years of Darkness – You-Jeong Jeong

YES. YES YES YES YES. Monica-Explaining-Female-Erogenous-Zones level of YES. FIVE STARS – chilling, atmospheric, suspenseful, terrifying, SO SAD. Just thinking about this has me filling up with body-shaking emotions. Highly recommend it. Memorable characters, unique plot, Korea please turn this into a movie. (NOT YOU, HOLLYWOOD. BACK OFF.)

4. The Borrowers – Rebecca Makkai

Another 5-star from Rebecca Makkai. After four 5-star books from her (IMO ANYWAY), I felt inspired to sign up for her newsletter like this is 2002. She is a queen at story-telling and the way she works with words makes me positively giddy. I appreciate her writing so much. And I love that this book is about a librarian!!! I LOVE LIBRARIES.

5. 6. and 7. The Summer I Turned Pretty series: Jenny Han

I devoured all three of these books. I LOVED the first one, REALLY LIKED the second one, and LIKED the third one which kind of went off the rails a little bit. Neither #2 nor #3 was able to fully capture the magic and vibe of the first in the series because that one was set fully at the beach in the summer with the full cast / families.

I started to watch the TV series and even though there are A LOT of differences between season one and book one, I still genuinely liked the show. I couldn’t get through season two though. Sorry.

Jenny Han is just so great though. I would love to see her try her hand at an adult novel sometime too!

8. The Invention of Sound – Chuck Palahniuk

I went through a Chuck P. kick when I was in my late 20s and back then I probably would have considered him to be one of my inspirations for the flash fiction I used to write. It’s been A LONG time since I read anything of his, and I grabbed this off a shelf at the library feeling real inspired to get back into it.

I HATED this book SO MUCH. I found the writing itself to be so tiresome and cringe, and the plot was like….what. I was bored, confused, annoyed, disgusted. These are not things that are conducive to a good reading experience. So now I’m wondering – was it just THIS book, or have I “outgrown” him?

The only thing I got out of this was learning that psychopaths lack whatever it is in our brains that make yawns “contagious” which is how I THEN learned that neither Henry nor Chooch are affected in the slightest at the sight of someone yawning.


I can sit here with my cat and we will yawn back and forth all day, I swear to god. I read the word “yawn,” and off I go. In this case, I just yawned until my eyes watered simply from typing the y-word.

But yeah, fuck this book hard into a garbage disposal though.

9. Bright Young Women – Jessica Knoll 

DUDE 5 STARS but possibly this is partially due to the audiobook because Sutton Foster is one of the two narrators. Still this is a super engaging and entertaining dual-timeline take on the Ted Bundy murders. If you like true crime, I highly recommend this. I appreciate that he is NEVER NAMED, not once, throughout the book but if you know even the most basic facts about him, you would be able to put two and two together. Instead, it focuses on several of the victims, and the people around them whose lives were affected for, well, ever.

10. The Shadow Cabinet – Juno Dawson

Another 5 star read! Four for the month of September? Is it true?? This is the second book in the Her Royal Majesty’s Cabinet series and while I tend to shy away from book series because, commitment, I am well, COMMITTED to this one. The characters, the action, the magic, the twists, the witty banter. I’m here for it. The sequel was JUST as wonderful as the first one and I cannot for the third installment. I have hopes that perhaps it will expand from just a “trilogy” though? Please, Juno Dawson?


And that’s what I read in September. Take it or leave it.

Oct 282023

Hello here are some photos I took with the ‘good’ camera in Stockholm – mostly around the Gamla Stan area. Some of these were also taken by Henry I guess because I was making him carry the camera and he took that as an invitation to play travel fotog I guess. Anyway,  I have a bunch of pictures on my phone too that I haven’t gone through yet so I will post something more comprehensive soon but I can tell you right now that the first hour or so was BAD NEWS BEARS. I was in such a shitty mood because Henry wasn’t following any of my direction when I was asking him to take a picture of Chooch and me and it was actually embarrassing. Just didn’t want to give the impression that everyone was so fucking perfect OMG family vacation yee haw.