Nov 102020

It was the epitome of “Indian summer” here in Pittsburgh over the weekend, so I tried to spend as much time as possible outside because pretty soon, every blog post is going to start with my signature whines and cries of OMG I HATE WINTER EVERYTHING IS GROSS AND COLD. Gotta soak up the sun while it’s still radiating warmth, you know?

I haven’t gone to the cemetery by myself in a hot ass minute so while Henry was doing chores at home, I headed off to my favorite boneyard, Uniondale, armed with an audio book (“Night Swim”) and head mercifully empty of negative thoughts and impending doom and gloom for once (this probably won’t last long but I was still basking in election afterglow).

I was really enjoying my quiet time when some utility-esque truck rolled up and two guys got out. One of them was wearing Henry clothes (ugly pants with ugly shirt) so I could tell he was some sort of maintenance worker man….I mean, the walkie talkie in his pocket was also telling. We exchanged pleasantries the first time we passed each other but then when he walked past me on another part of the trail, I kept my eyes on the ground because one hello is enough, you know? We’re established now. Let’s not get carried away.

I’m obsessed with chonky tree trunks.

In my perfect world, spring would start at the beginning of February and go until the beginning of June. Summer would be June to the end of August. Autumn (and I mean true autumn/sweater weather, every day between 50-60 degrees and leaves staying yellow and red through the whole season) would be September until mid-December. Winter/Shitty Days would be mid-December through January. That way all those OMG SNOW YAY weirdos can have their moment, too, I guess. But in my world, winter HAS NO GRAY SKIES. Every single winter day has got to have blue skies and sun.

And all amusement parks stay open with all rides running because the temperature will never dip low enough to render coasters inoperable.

After cruising around the cemetery for a bit, it became clear that the worker guys were not leaving anytime soon (I think they were just doing a sweep of the grounds?) so I cut across the street and walked around the other part of the cemetery. Uniondale is divided into three sections by streets so it seems like there are three separate cemeteries in that area but they’re all the same. I definitely prefer the one I started out at because it’s more secluded and less likely to have other people there. Not on this day though!

But then in this part of the cem, a tree cutting service was loafin’ all up on one of the paths!!

I mean, doesn’t this just look like the perfect November day? Except that it was like 70 degrees!

I didn’t encounter anyone in this cemetery (not sure where those pesky tree cutters were), but once I went back to the other section, I ran into that walkie talkie again and he STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION WITH ME so I had to hold up a finger while I paused my damn audiobook and I’m all for exchanging pleasantries, but we had already done that! Anyway, he started interrogating me on my walking habits.

“You walk a lot?” he asked, and I said yes and then he said, “About how much?” and I’m like, “I mean….every day?”

Like, did he want actual stats? Should I add him on FitBit?

“‘Cause I seen you walking here, and then I seen you walking all the way over there on the other side, too!” he said, pointing over at the cemetery on the other side of the street.

I mean, I get around, I guess. Oh, those trusty feet o’ mine.

“You come here every Sunday or something?” he pressed and now I was getting concerned even though it’s always been my dream to get picked up in a cemetery, you know, but the “you come here often?” line? Really?

I mumbled something about coming here every now and then, and then awkwardly veered onto another path so I wouldn’t have to keep walking with him.

Luckily, there was a couple chilling nearby in the grass with their dog, so I wasn’t like, fearing for my life or anything.


Then I came home.

Later in the afternoon, I threw a fit because it was still so beautiful out and I wanted to have family fun time and also get ice cream to celebrate, you know, election outcomes. We went to Bill’s in Elizabeth and they REALLY SKIMPED ON THE CRUNCHIES.

Chooch had to walk away once Henry reached the cone part of the ice cream experience. Chooch REALLY HATES mouth sounds.

Then we went to a playground in Cedar Creek park!

It took us a billion tries to get this picture! It was like a really sad tuba consolation since we haven’t been able to add to our collection of traditional family carousel selfies this year.

I couldn’t stop laughing because Henry & Chooch accidentally matched, lol.

Then we got stuck behind a pickup truck with a Trump flag billowing it like a visual fart, and we were making really exaggerated barfing noises but then I was like, “wait…did that flag say Trump 2024??” Like, they already knew that the big orange crybaby was going to lose and had a 2024 flag on standby?

Anyway, we had a lot of fun walking on the trail, and Henry was especially excited when he heard A REMOTE CONTROL TOY JET that someone was flying in the distance. Chooch and I were like, “That’s not that great.”

On the way back to the car, we saw a bald eagle! Chooch was like, “This feels symbolic…”

May 232020

Henry and I have a pandemic tradition where we go for walks in cemeteries every weekend while listening to an audio book together, which I am sure I already mentioned but everything just melts together lately like a clock in a Dali painting so who can be sure what I divulge anymore.

Last weekend, we went to this one cemetery in Greenfield called Calvary Cemetery, which I hadn’t been to since Chooch was a baby, like a fresh-ass BABY baby, and I just remember pushing him in his stroller and he was screaming his face off and I was probably wading through post-partum depression waters, if we’re being frank here, and I was like OMG SHUT UP I HATE YOU UGHHHHH and then never went back to that cemetery. I told Henry this cute little anecdote last weekend and he just stared at me. But look at our well-adjusted 14-year-old! I did ok! We moved past it!

Prior to that, there was this other time we went there, pre-Chooch. I vaguely remember it being winter because I tried to sled down a hill without a sled, and I was totally manic but not in the fun way, and then we came home and I tried to create a recipe by swirling peanut butter into scrambled eggs, and I think I got sick so maybe that’s why I never went back to that cemetery in all of these years? Bad associations?

Well, this time it was so lovely (and I honestly recognized NO PARTS of it) that we went both Saturday and Sunday! Usually we go to different ones but I was like, “Nah dude, let’s go back to the same one.” Maybe it was because I was really vibing with the book we were listening to (Love From A to Z), but wow, I was in a great mood on both days, the weather was beautiful, there were other people around but not enough to be alarmed, and it was just a really peaceful place.

I’m so excited that Henry has been so agreeable about listening to audio books together. I let him check out my Libby shelf during the week so he can choose one to start for the upcoming weekend, and it’s pretty adorable. He didn’t pick “Love From A to Z” though – I did because it was about to expire and this definitely isn’t something he would have chosen because it’s YA romance but also fairly heavy-hitting with Islamophobic themes.

Anyway, the majority of this book takes place in Doha so then we started watching Doha travel videos and OMG when will we ever be able to travel again. Sorry, sometimes I just have to get my meaningless complaints out of my system and let my perspective regenerate.

I had to pause the audio book numerous times while we were casually strolling around the cemetery because I was getting so angry about the way the Muslim character was treated and I kept screaming at Henry, “DOESN’T THIS PISS YOU OFF??” and he just mumbled something that sounded curiously like, “I’m a white privileged male.”

Honestly though, I have really been looking forward to these weekends because they are the only times I get out of the house (aside from casual walks around the neighborhood during the week) and it’s fun pretending like Henry and I are in a book club together even though he doesn’t usually bring much to the table opinion-wise…

Chooch won’t come with us because he doesn’t want to listen to books with his lame parents, fair enough lol.

This was a good book, you guys. I thought it was going to be a fluffy YA romance but nope, there’s substance here! I’ll include it in the next bunch of books I review for Asian Readathon, don’t you worry!

I don’t think anything else ground-breaking happened last weekend, except that I remembered the name of this one Japanese horror movie that Henry and I watched back in…2005?? And for years, the only thing I could remember was that there was something with a cello player and also there was a scene where a little girl was forced to watch her parents have sex and I thought it was from a locked closet, so I googled, “asian horror cello parents make girl watch them have sex” or something and I found it! It was called Strange Circus which you would think would ring a bell in my brain but it doesn’t, and also, the girl was forced to watch the parents from inside a cello case, so there’s the cello connection! I’m so happy I finally remembered!

But also I’m very sad because I know for sure that we rented this back then from Incredibly Strange Video still existed and Henry and I used to walk there because it was like 10 minutes away and we were bros with the owner who would automatically recommend new horror he obtained to us and that is how I watched some of the best foreign horror and bizarre student horror films in the early 2000s and sure everything is at our fingertips now thanks to the internet and hundreds of streaming services, but nothing can beat that feeling of walking into a small independent video store and bullshitting with the long-haired man behind the counter, renting shit that sometimes didn’t even have a cover.

Goddammit, I miss that. :(


May 052020

I had a mental health day scheduled for today. The place where I work encourages that we use our PTO during these homogeneous, blended-together-into-a-flavorless-smoothie days and I’m normally of the mindset that I won’t take a day off unless I have something to do, but look Linda, give me a day where I don’t have to sit at my home computer and join group calls and I will gladly take it.

Henry came home early because of house bullshit, and then we took an hour drive out to this old-ass cemetery I used to really like called Livermore, because I figured we’d be pretty safe from other humans out that way. Anytime we have ever gone there, it’s been, well, DEAD OH HO HO HO HO. Plus, there’s a nice walking trail nearby that takes you over the spot where some town was purposely flooded and now it’s called Devil’s Seat, I don’t know, I’ve only ever quickly glazed over the facts but the whole area is supposed to be haunted and I fucking swear to god that the first time Henry and I went pre-Chooch’s Earthly Arrival, something grabbed my pant leg.


Anyway, enjoy some pictures. It was a dreary day (I think it’s been that way every time we’ve come here) and we almost turned around and came home halfway there because I was being bitchy and whiny. A regular day.


Choochy Loggins.

This is just how he looks at me now. 14 is so great. 13 was too.

Right before I took this, I walked over and pretty sure Henry was trying to count the rings on the tree which is such a Henry thing to do.

Some kind of gross tombstone funk. Henry probably knows what it is but I purposely didn’t ask him because he’s so annoying when he knows answers.

My mom joked, “school field trip lol?” But yeah, actually let’s go with that! There’s like history here, plus Professor Henry pointing out wildlife. I think this counts. Maybe I’ll have Chooch research the town flooding and blog about it separately.

Coincidentally, I was checking my blog stats on the way there (I like to see what’s being viewed so I know if I’m being stalked by past friends searching their name on my blog, or if Jonny Craig is in the news again because the views on my JC-centric posts will skyrocket in that case, lol) and I saw that one of my old Livermore Cemetery posts was just viewed today! WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

Chooch chucked a pine cone at me really hard and it hit the back of my thigh and I started screaming and then Henry yelled at Chooch HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I WIN.

It didn’t even hurt that bad.



Fuck America.


We did not keep out.


A bunch of trees were cut down from the perimeter so it doesn’t have as much of a secluded feel anymore. Which is too bad.

Ah, springtime in the haunted boneyard.

All in all, it was a fine day. Chooch found a geocache but couldn’t open it and then apparently we “left him” so he threw it back on the ground and ran and it wasn’t because he was “scared” or anything. It *almost* felt like the Old Days because we were in the car for more than an hour like we were actually going somewhere. Which is what you used to do.

Go somewhere.


Apr 222020

In an effort to get out and beg the sunshine to help ward off depression, Henry and I have been really taking advantage of the beautiful cemeteries here in Pittsburgh, and it’s been kind of nice because we used to take walks in the boneyards a lot in the early years of our relationship so it’s kind of a throwback. And I really love cemeteries so much in the springtime – you get to enjoy all the pretty flowers and foliage without dealing with crowds that you’d find in the city parks or public gardens (or wherever we would normally go to look at nature, it’s been so long, I can’t remember), which is really relevant in the age of social distancing. However, we would typically be the only people there, and now we’re one of like…6 or 7, which is odd for these places (we go to the smaller ones) so now we just pretend like we’re dodging zombies. 

The cemetery we went to on Saturday was one that we used to visit a lot way back in the beginning of our relationship and I actually haven’t been here in a while because there were some times I’d roll up solo, get out of the car, and almost immediately get REALLY BAD VIBES. Like legit “Somebody’s Watching Me” skin-crawls. 

Therefore, I felt like it would be the perfect locale for Saturday’s stroll because Henry and I had started the audiobook for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (I also read along on my Kindle, but you guys, if you’re going to read this, definitely get the audio too, you’ll know why when it happens) and this book is tense. I definitely recommend it. Henry and I sat on the back porch late Saturday evening and powered through the rest of it because we couldn’t wait until the next day. I kept saying, “One more chapter?” and then finally I was like, “Maybe I can just speed up the audio?” and we ended up finishing it right after midnight, on the back porch, with the kerosene heater on, and it was so cozy and scary! 

Chooch kept coming out to check on us and he was like, “IS HE SLEEPING OR CLOSING HIS EYES TO IMAGINE WHAT’S HAPPENING?” and just couldn’t accept the fact that his dad was listening to an audio book with me, haha. 

Henry, when I’m like, “let’s read a book!” And then after we finish it, he starts googling for info about the upcoming film adaptation, lol.

What a great day for a cemetery walk! The next day, we went to a different cemetery but instead of listening to a new audio book, I jawed Henry’s ears off with stories from my past, which he just loves, especially when they involve BOYS. 

I’m glad that the sun was out on both Saturday and Sunday. It’s hard enough staying home, but even worse when it’s gray and rainy. I feel like I’m on the ledge enough as it is, at least give us some sunlight for Christ’s sake. 

Mrs. Drew Beringer.

If we’re going to be stuck at home, at least we have a small sanctuary in the back of the house that’s pretty worthless during winter but now it’s SO INVITING. 

I don’t even know what else. The weekends are just extensions of the week at this point. We’re home. We leave only to take carefully plotted and strategic walks. Maybe Henry will put his mask on and go to the store for essentials. But mostly, we’re here, we’re doing nothing but something being extremely loud about it. We’re watching K-dramas (Itaewon Class and Welcome are my two current faves), eating things that Chooch bakes for us, I’m obsessing over my Libby shelves and examining the house for new projects for Henry (I want him to redo the entire kitchen in a cost-effective way because we don’t own this house but I really can’t stand the kitchen any longer and now that Chooch is all about baking, he’s echoing all of my FIX THE KITCHEN demands). 

What are you guys doing to pass the time? I feel like March was the longest month ever but somehow, against all odds, April is flying past. Maybe I’ve grown accustomed to this new lifestyle. 

LOL, nope. Never. 

Oh! Also, you know it’s dire straits when I succumb and play Heads Up with Chooch because I hate that game so much and every time he sees people playing it when we’re standing in line at amusement parks (OMG what is an amusement park), he’d be like, “PLEASE CAN WE PLAY” and I would always say no because I get too heated to play shit like that around so many strangers, but anyway, we’ve been playing in the evenings sometimes and it’s fine. Everything is fine. I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re ALL FUCKING FINE.

Dec 262019

Hello from the other side of Christmas! I still have that ubiquitous holiday hangover that comes from too many cookies, days off work, and spending quality time with favorites (the cats, obviously). So while I’m still trying to get my head out of the clouds, here is a photo story of Chooch and me not being able to jump at the same goddamn time yesterday during our annual Christmas in the Cemetery thing that we do. Henry was ashamed.

I mean, is it us, though, or is it really Henry being too slow to take the damn picture.

I dunno, man. I had a lot of energy yesterday.

I was really trying not to pee.

I almost broke my ankle on this one.

You would think that with all the rockstar jumps that Jillian Michaels had us doing (apologies again to our neighbors, Blake and Haley), we’d really excel at this.

Chooch just walked by and mumbled, “wow” at the memory of these.

Maybe our 2020 resolution should be to practice this every day.

Dec 292017

Ugh, it was so cold on Christmas and while I would have preferred to stay inside, keeping warm with non-stop kpop workouts, I dragged Henry and Chooch to the cemetery because even though we cut out the hassle of the Christmas picnic this year (which sucks because how magical would cemetery kimbap be!?), I still wanted to get some photos of Chooch — you know, TRADITION, etc etc.

But it was extremely ill-planned and painfully cold, like “Call CPS, these idiots are forcing their kid into a frostbitten state” cold. So we wrapped it up after about 15 minutes and decided to just wait for a day when it’s warmer than in the teens. Plus, Chooch’s pants had cat hair all over them, so….

Hope it’s warmer where you are, friends.

May 142017

Today is Mother’s Day and it was fine. Nothing spectacular. We’re all lethargic a little from our Cleveland day trip yesterday, which always seems like no big thang until it’s 2:30am and we’re just rolling into Pittsburgh and I say “we” because I do everything short of propping my eyelids up with toothpicks in order to stay awake out of solidarity while Henry drives (and also because I have a huge fear of him falling asleep at the wheel). Needless to say, I was kicking myself for telling him we didn’t need to spend the night there. 

(That’s how yow know I’m serious about saving money! I HAVE MY EYE ON THE PRIZE.)

Chooch actually said Happy Mothers Day to me this morning without being prompted by Henry, which was nice I guess. Then he said, “I’ll make your coffee for you. Never mind, I don’t know how to make coffee” and then walked away when I tried to tell him to how. 


Chooch is too old now for teachers to force him to draw me some dumb picture or write some MOTHER acrostic and if Henry doesn’t remember to take him to the store to buy me at least a card, I get nothing. 

This was one of those years. But I’m still riding high on G-Dragon and KCON and also seeing Emarosa last night so I’m good. I mean, I’m still going to bitch about it because that’s who I am, but honestly I’m fine. 

I’m not a big breakfast fanatic so I told Henry to just make me an egg and an English muffin. Wow, when did I become so easy? Then Henry asked, “Do you want to watch Running Man since we didn’t get to watch it yesterday?” And he never seemed hotter to me than he did at that moment, except for Friday when he was like “Fine get the P4 KCON tickets instead of the P5.” 

So we watched Running Man and it happened to be the episode where they announce that Song Joon Ki is leaving and everyone on the show was crying and I was practically choking on my tears because they fell so fast that I wasn’t able to close my mouth in time. 


Um, what else. 

Henry made me a lovely bowl of dangnyeum for lunch and then we went to Jefferson Memorial for a walk even though Chooch declared that he suddenly doesn’t like cemeteries anymore? And I pouted because they weren’t putting me up on a grand enough Mom Pedestal, to which Chooch cried, “Literally every day is your day!” And ok fine he has a point but still. 

Then I made Chooch pose for this picture right after he was loudly talking about how he had to piss, not realizing that some broad was sitting in a nearby car with the window down, listening to his crude soliloquy:

I bet all the old rich suburban people preening their mothers’ graves really loved Chooch’s shirt. 

There was a patch of buttercups next to a stream in the cemetery, and I taught Chooch the whole “buttercup nose reflection” thing which really isn’t that big of a deal but I remember doing it a lot as a kid with my friends so maybe it was a big deal? I mean, we also weren’t preoccupied with Snapchat and Musicaly and cyber bullying back then, so the simple act of making the tip of our noses glow yellow was a fucking barrel of monkeys. 

 Chooch originally was unimpressed, but then a few minutes later he said, “No really, how does it turn your nose yellow?”

He’s kind of slow sometimes. 

We ended the day with a walk to Scoops, where a fourth grader came in and proceeded to stare at Chooch. 

“Do you know her?” Henry asked. 

“Yeah, she calls me Beaver.” And then when we stared at him expectedly, he casually added, “Because I ate a stick one time.”

Ugh, his reputation at school must be completely unenviable. 

On the way home, I was running like I was in the BTS “Run” music video and then Chooch was going to live at a bus stop and I was laughing so hard at everything that I was practically screaming and Henry just continued to walk faaaaaar ahead of us. 

So, that was my Mother’s Day. It was… a day. But yesterday was pretty close to perfection, so I guess it all evens out. 

Jul 062016


Usually by the third day of a three day weekend, Henry, Chooch, and I are at each others throats. But I mean, that’s normal family talk, right? YOU LOVE ‘EM BUT YOU DON’T LIKE ‘EM.

Except that by some crazy act of god, we had an exceptionally peaceful day and actually, dare I say, ENJOYED each others company??

And this was all without the aid of roadside tent-purchased firecrackers!

How motherfucking un-American, I know.

We went to one of our favorite nature spots—Homewood Cemetery—and ran amok like morons (two of us, anyway), namedropped birds (one of us), and spent a good ten minutes enjoying the show a groundhog put on by peeking his adorable head out of a nearby hole (ALL OF US). So much nature and dead things!

Here are some photos.

Chooch serenaded his broken stick with a creepy rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA-anthem “Angel.”

Surprisingly not pissing in the pond. “Looking for frogs” is their claim.

This shirt was one of my Gillcrest finds and I love it so much. Battle of the Network Stars ringer tee vibes all up on yo’ girl.

Reppin’ that Hotel Books sad boy scene. You know what they say about families that listen to emo together….

….they cry together?

He looks so put out as usual, but I’ll have you know Chooch and I entertained him right down to the individually-wrapped prunes on his cargo pockets. He only yelled at us and called us idiots about 29 times! A low number for one of our family outings.

Shit really got crunk (lol yeah I went back to 2003 and I’ll do it because I’m a blogging renegade) when Chooch found a rogue TENNIS BALL and we played CATCH in the CEMETERY and successfully intimidated some poor kid who was learning how to drive in mom’s SUV.

I think “playing catch” is something that people did before smartphones happened.

Our version of playing catch is more like imagining that Chooch is perched above a dunk tank. Henry apparently “hurt his arm” from whaling the ball so hard at HIS LAST BORN SON.

I hurt my arm too, but my hurt happened the day before when we were doing YARDWORK at my pappap’s house and I used….wait for it…

….hedgeclippers for the very first time and wound up with a callous and arthritis.

I did it for like 45 minutes!

Which, if you ask Henry, is more like 20 minutes in Erin Time.

Even my mom was kind of like, “I can’t watch this” and went in the house.

After the cemetery (and after I nearly peed my pants because LOL PLAYING CATCH), we went to Millie’s for an ice cream cone lunch because that’s how we chose to celebrate the day, OK? Also, no cookouts to go to. We’re loners, Dottie.

I had pistachio rose and yogurt date — what a divine combo. It felt like a real mythical pairing, you know? Like I should have been straddling a Sphinx.

Chooch got CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA. God, his palate is so fucking pedestrian. I’m so embarrassed. What a piss-poor job I’ve done at parenting. Here’s my basic kid, World. All your intricate and sophisticated flavor profiles make him puke in his mouth.

We have to seat him by the nearest napkin dispenser everywhere we go. (SPEAKING OF NAPKIN DISPENSERS!!!)

Later that night, our GROWN ASS CHILD went to Dormont Park with Dimajio and his older sister to watch the fireworks. I was equally “WOOOO FREEDOM!’ and “OMG DO YOU THINK HE’S OK WITHOUT US?!”

I didn’t grow up as a city kid–I was allllll suburbs and sheltered, baby.  So it’s pretty interesting watching Chooch living that city kid life.

Anyway. That was how we chose to celebrate our 7/4 and it was hilariously perfect. Look at that, I guess sometimes I like these assholes, too.

Mar 052016

Everything about Sunday screamed, “IT’S SPRINGTIME, EVERYBODY! SPRING CAME EARLY! DUST OFF THOSE BOOTY SHORTS!” (Or maybe that was just Henry screaming that.) The sky looked like it was colored by the purest blue Crayola crayon and the sun was straight out of a cartoon. It was warm enough to open the sunroof on my car, even.

And now, at the time of this writing, it’s 30-something degrees out with a layer of snow on the ground. Weather is so weird.

Henry had shit to do around the house, and nothing assures that the shit will get done more than me leaving him alone. You know I really wanted him to work on the kitchen (we’re* just doing minor cosmetic shit to it, like painting) when I tell Chooch that yes, we will go geocaching.

*(Lol, “we’re.” All I’ve done so far is pick out the paint!)

Honestly, I can’t find enough hateful words to properly illustrate how much I hate geocaching. But my damn kid loves it, so I thought maybe it could be a nice Mommy-Son day.


Even when it’s at one of my favorite cemeteries?

Still nope.

I just hate it. The clues were for the birds. I slipped down a hill. I yelled a lot of things that probably left a lasting blemish on Chooch’s childhood.

After about 30 minutes of digging around the same tint area, I threw my arms up in the air and cried, “FUCK IT, I’M DONE.” And Chooch was like, “You have like no patience, OMG” and I said, “Let’s go for a walk around the cemetery” and he said, “Ow, but my legs are so tired. Walking is terrible” and I said, “Then we’ll get ice cream after” and he said “Fine.”

I should be a playwright.

One of my biggest downfalls is that I don’t spend enough time with Chooch, just the two of us. It’s mostly because I like that when Henry is with us, I won’t have to worry about anything. Or, you know, parent. So I’m trying to change that. I mean, we’ve been fine at the hockey games and we’ve managed to survive two concerts together without Henry’s supervision, so what’s a little Sunday stroll, right?

Except that I wasn’t paying attention when we left the cemetery and I ended up missing a turn or something and I knew where I was, but couldn’t think fast enough about how to get back on track. My mind always works against  me when it comes to directions. I have been to Homewood Cemetery a million zillion  times and even know at least 4 different ways to get there, but something broke down in my head when we left last Sunday, probably because Chooch was talking. Anyway, we ended up near Oh Yeah!, so it felt like kismet. We were originally just going to get ice cream in Brookline, but now a wrong turn put us right in the vicinity of one of our favorite ice cream places!

I was so fucking proud of myself!

Look what I did!!

Except it’s not there anymore. There Facebook page is rife with drama. There was some kind of scandal? I don’t know. But that place never served me a bad cone, and I had some pretty weird add-in combinations there.

So then we were lost again and I kept trying to make a left turn against traffic and that was stressing me out, while Chooch was looking up other ice cream places on Yelp and I snapped, “WE’LL JUST EAT ICE CREAM AT HOME BECAUSE FUCK THIS SHIT!” And he was all, in his best grown-up voice, “Would you just calm the hell down?” And I was like, “Son, that’s good advice. I will try to calm down.” And so he directed me to the Scoops that it’s in Bloomfield, the sister shop to the one down the street from us where we were originally going to go, and I was miraculously able to get a parking spot on the street and everything seemed to be going my way, until we got inside the super tiny shop and there was a group of 5 assholes standing there, taking up valuable real estate while eating their ice cream, and they stared at us while we looked at our choices. Meanwhile, some old broad in front of us ordered a large freeze, and did you know those things take like 10 MINUTES TO MAKE?! So we just stood there, while these assholes licked their cones and bore holes into us with their judgmental eyes, the old lady waited for her freeze, and a group of 4 young hooligans came in and tried to cut in front of us.

It was a really stressful experience. I  think Chooch felt pressured too, because when it was his turn to order, he couldn’t blurt it out fast enough. I paid for our cones and whisked Chooch out of the shop, where we ate our ice cream under the peace and wide-open space of the great outdoors. I couldn’t believe those assholes were standing in there like that. They weren’t waiting for anyone! They were just quietly eating their ice cream and stealing precious oxygen from the rest of us who hadn’t ordered yet. Way too many people for that tiny shop.



I can’t believe I wasted so much time writing about this. I guess I was more mad than I thought, since it’s 6 days later and I’m actually rage-biting my lower lip right now.

I think I might need to take up kick-boxing again.

Chooch was adamant on having “Let’s Go Pens” sprinkles on his Moosetracks.

I yelled, “NO ICE CREAM IN MY CAR” so we casually strolled around Bloomfield until our cones were sufficiently masticated. We walked past many of the tree beds that my Law Firm crew helped mulch last year and I was sad, yet not surprised, to see that our hard work had since unraveled, and all the spots were covered with weeds and cigarette butts once again.

Aside from the geocaching, the getting lost, and the idiots breathing my air inside of Scoops, I had a nice afternoon with Chooch. He must have had a nice time too, because a little while after we came home, I found him in his room folding his clothes! NO ONE TOLD HIM TO DO THAT! In fact, no one has ever taught him to do that, either. He said he learned by watching the employees at Target and Kohls. Maybe I should try that since my version of “folding clothes” is “rolling them up and punching them into the drawer.”

And this is the end of my Sunday afternoon recap. Look for the stage version coming soon to a Walmart loading dock near you.

Dec 282015


Mouth lined with crumbs? Check.

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Later that night, my dad asked if Chooch’s neck tattoo was real. Yes, I had a guy I met in prison come over and do it at the house, dad.


Chooch is down to one good pair of jeans because he trashes them so quickly. This is not that pair.

That pair was home in a laundry basket, caked with mud.

Yes, we fought about this on Christmas. You know how tightly-wound I get when it comes to my dumb pictures!


We had a fight about his hair, too.


We all felt this way.


Throwback to 2011.

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Practicing his freestyle.

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Who knows how many more years Chooch is going to exasperatedly give me. Gotta milk the “Because I’m your mom and it’s all I want for Xmas!” canned response as much as I can

Dec 262015

It occurred to me yesterday as we were in the middle of eating that this was the 10th Cemetery Xmas Picnic for us! It started in 2005, when I was pregnant with Chooch and my family was being a bag of dicks and not speaking to me. Henry and I had nowhere else to go for Xmas so I yelled LET’S JUST EAT WITH DEAD PEOPLE THEN since no one living gave a shit about us.

So that’s what we did. 

I specifically remember buying Moonpies at CoGos on the way. Really fucking festive. 

And even when we do have a place to go on Xmas, we always hit up the good old cem first. It’s definitely been met with a lot of weird reactions over the years, but it’s our norm, you know? I mean, we’re just eating sandwiches and potato salad, not roasting babies over open graves and drinking goats blood. 

Just so you know. 

We keep it clean. 

 This year, we were able to sit for more than 5 minutes without the threat of hemorrhoids or frost bite!  Except it started to drizzle a little bit. 
It’s funny how traditions start. I wonder if Chooch will continue it when he has his own family…

 Sorry, Chooch’s Future Wife. 

Aug 182015


A bunch of years ago, like 26 or 7, I met Octavia through Etsy. Specifically, it was my fauxtography Etsy shop, Appledale. No one ever paid attention to that shop of mine, full of lomography before iPhone apps made that shit cool (and so much easier and cheaper to achieve that vintage effect, bastards), accompanied by my signature idiotic short stories.

But Octavia noticed. And she sent me the greatest convo ever; a meaningful, deep virtual handshake from one person happy to meet another person of like-mind. I will never forget how excited I was to read it! We started writing back and forth; I was enchanted by her own art and deranged imagination. She is incredibly talented.

Thank god for the Internet! I feel like if the Internet didn’t exist, then Octavia and I probably would have met through the world of pen-palling. Somehow, someway, we’d have found a way to meet!

This meet-up has been in the pipes since we bought the Williamsburg vacation package thing at the 2013 Big Butler Fair. Because clearly, Williamsburg, VA and Savannah, GA are so close to each other! The first half our trip was fun, but this was the part that I was really looking forward to, so when I woke up the morning of my birthday, I was S-T-O-K-E-D!

We had plans to meet Octavia at the Bonaventure Cemetery at 11:00am that morning. I was so nervous on the way there! I love meeting people but I am beyond awkward about it and sometimes that awkwardness never goes away because that’s just who I am, you know? Be nice.

Luckily, Octavia was chill as FUCK, sang-froid in a green dress. She claims she is awkward too but I definitely didn’t sense that, thank god, because then I would have just fed off it and it would have unraveled into some socially depraved banquet of stutters, ticks, and twitches. Instead, I felt at ease. I mean, once we got the obligatory “now is where we hug as normal people do” act out of the way.

I didn’t take any pictures of Octavia at first because I was scared to, but those will come later!



There is one super huge difference between Octavia and me: she actually knows shit about where she lives. Out-of-towners visit me in Pittsburgh and ask me simple Yinzer 101 questions like, “What river is that?” or “How are the Steelers doing this year?” and I have to politely decline answering.

That’s accomplished by either shrugging, grunting “I dunno”, or a combination of the two. But Octavia taught us shit about the war and the Masons and Johnny Mercer, and then a ton of stuff about NATURE because she went to college for botany so immediately Henry’s ears perked. You know how he gets nature boners. Especially when she turned her nose up at the moss issue. HENRY HATES MOSS. Now he had someone to hate moss with him!


While we strolled around the cemetery grounds, we talked about Jonny Craig (I mean, duh; I’m sure Octavia couldn’t wait to have THAT conversation in person) and the nightmarish insects that live in Georgia, holy shit. We saw salamander things and skinks:


The skinks really freaked me out but Chooch was trying to figure out how to turn his t-shirt into a skink carrier. Then we walked under a tree with berries on it and I cried, “WHAT ARE THESE, OCTAVIA!?” while trying to get Henry to eat one. Now I can’t remember what she said they were. But I think the final verdict was that they were not poisonous. Don’t worry, she didn’t let me eat any of the mushrooms I saw, either.


I also learned that you can eat that ballsack thing in the middle of the palm thingie! “Like, right now!?” I asked.

“Well, I mean, you have to cook it first, probably,” Octavia patiently explained before I had the chance to whip a fork out of my bra and dig in. God, Octavia was determined to prevent the cemetery from becoming my test kitchen.

At some point during our aimless journey across Bonaventure, a butterfly popped out of a bush and Chooch groaned. I relished the chance to rat out Chooch’s wussy phobia and blurted out, “Chooch is afraid of butterflies!”

“Do you know what the German word is for butterflies?” Octavia asked Chooch. “Schmetterling!”she yelled like a witch in an uncensored fairy tale.

“SAY IT AGAIN!” I begged, and she did. It was glorious! I couldn’t wait to go back to school work and talk about my educational vacation!


There was some douchey guy there leading a walking tour and they were everywhere we wanted to be. Octavia hated him too for the same unsubstantiated reasons as me (he just looked like an asshole and I hated his blond swoop-y hair and monochromatic clothes) and that was when I knew for sure that was the real deal.


“Ow, my head.”

“Ow, my back.”


We got to see Little Gracie! This is one of the most popular graves in the joint, and Octavia said that it used to be more easily accessible but there has always gotta be those assholes who like to be destructive. So now you can’t get beyond the gate for a closer experience. I was just happy that we got to see her at all, and I wished we had brought something to leave behind for her.


I suggested leaving Chooch, but Henry said no. :(


Being in Bonaventure was surreal. Cemeteries are one of the few places on this earth that I feel at home (and also Warped Tour, duh) and Bonaventure has always been one of the cemeteries of my dreams. Finally getting to see it, on my birthday no less, was amaze. And the best part was that instead of getting sucked into some touristy walking tour, or blindly stumbling around on our own until we started fighting within 20 minutes, we got to meander about at our leisure with Octavia. Which was great because it was like 299 degrees and walking any faster than I already was probably would have set me alight.

And you know what else? Henry checked in here on Facebook, which means he was excited in his own weird, silent way and wanted his “friends” to know that he was living it up in a famous cemetery in Savannah. Sure, he probably would have chosen a nap over this in a heartbeat, but I think he at least recognized that it’s not the worst thing he could have been doing that day.

Until I forced him to pose for this, that is:


I took this with my phone that day because I needed to be able to plaster it all over social media ASAP, because: HENRY ON THE GRAVE OF HIS ROLE MODEL, NUGENT, what a great birthday! Of course this inspired Chooch to tell Octavia the story of Henry at the Ted Nugent show, which I was actually trying to tell her at the same time, but Chooch always has to steal the show…AND MY FRIENDS! He kept hijacking the conversation by bringing it back to video games and I was getting so jealous.


“Are there crocodiles in there?!” I asked Octavia as we looked down over a small hill at the water below.

“No,” she assured me. And then she added, in the most non-patronizing tone possible,”and they’re alligators, anyway.” Something about her delivery made me crack up. The people I need most in my life are the ones who will gently correct me when I’m wrong and also make sure I don’t eat poisonous berries. Octavia exceeds expectations in both departments.

I just asked Chooch what his favorite part of Bonaventure was and he said when Octavia told us that sometimes there are dolphins in the water there. He hasn’t learned Henry’s favorite response yet, which is: “When we left.”


We waited until it was time to leave to look at the map, because that’s smart.

From here, we continued on to downtown Savannah so that we could eat food that was cooked in a kitchen and not picked up off a boneyard floor, and Chooch was thrilled that Octavia got to sit in the back with him SO HE COULD CHEW HER EAR OFF SOME MORE. Ugh. I’d steal his friends to show him how it feels, but…kids and I don’t get along.

I must have said, “UGH!” in response to Chooch’s charm at least 87 times that day. Ugh!

Aug 062015


In addition to the Cheese Shop, my friend Jeannie also recommended that I visit Bruton Parish while in Williamsburg. Jeannie went to college in Williamsburg and she knows what is and isn’t relevant to my interests, which is why she didn’t send me to a golf course or butcher shop.

Bruton Parish was established in 1674. I know this not because I read a placard or went on an historical walking tour, but because I just now Googled “Bruton Parish” and skimmed the first three lines.


It’s basically against the law for me to be that close to a cemetery without stopping by. Actually, Jeannie’s official travel tip to me was to get sandwiches (with House Dressing!!) at the Cheese Shop and then take it to the cemetery to eat, but Henry was being an impatient douchebag, probably a lasting side effect from his Toby smoking habit. and made us eat at a table outside of the Cheese Shop.

“WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO EAT!?” he snarled, which might seem like it would be scary and threatening, but it just really annoys and pisses off me and Chooch. I hate when he uses That Tone on us!

“In the cemetery!” I cried, and then he went on to postulate that there was “probably nowhere to sit there.”


Gosh, Henry. What’s this here wooden butt-crate thing? Is this one of them there benches that I heard about? In a cemetery? TO SIT ON?! WHILE EATING A SANDWICH IF ONE SO DESIRED?


Way to ruin a perfectly good hypothetical picnic, Henry. Go choke on a Toby.


The fact that skulls were so prevalent on headstones back then fills me with joy.

The guts of the cemetery was cordoned off, so we were only able to admire the graves from afar. It was still worth it though. There was so much beauty there, even if the constant chute of sweat sluicing into my eyeballs made it sometimes difficult to see.

Seriously, we’ve been having such an unusually mild summer here in Pittsburgh, that we were left woefully unprepared for the blistering heat and sweltering humidity that left my face moist and oily like a glazed donut, like where’s that spare slice of bread when I need it to soak up my sebaceous facial splooges, like my cheeks are a fucking fount of extra virgin olive oil (that’s EVOO to you Food Network sluts) I’m a real goddang babe in the south, y’all.


Wishing he was six feet under.




I think this was after I told him we were going to come back here later that night for the ghost tour that I keep mentioning but haven’t had a chance to write about, and by now it probably seems like it’s going to be the greatest story ever told (on this blog) because I keep foreshadowing. Goddamn are you going to be sorely disappointed.

P.S. We hated basically everyone in town that day because HELLO LEARN HOW TO NOT TAKE UP THE ENTIRE GIRTH OF A SIDEWALK. And don’t try to tell me you’re just really engrossed in the sights and sounds of Williamsburg. Because no, you’re just an asshole.

May 242015

Chooch and I were on our own last Saturday morning. Henry had Judy Obligations, so we took MY* car to the cemetery so Chooch could ride his bike and I could fake-jog**.

*(Don’t worry; I’ll eventually tire of this.)

**(I can run for 2 miles and then I automatically stop without even trying to see if I have anything left in me, because running is boring to me.)

Right away, I was annoyed. There was another car there, parked near where I always park (I’m the ONLY person at this particular cemetery 99% of the time because it’s not as “cool” as some of the other ones in Pittsburgh, I guess. But I’ve been a regular here for 15 years and even though I sometimes go to the more popular ones, Uniondale will always have my heart. <3 So when I saw this car, my immediate reaction was GFTO! But then I saw they were Elders, so it was very possible that they were actually there visiting a grave; I gave them a pass.

Then we thought a ghost was there because we saw what we thought was an apparition, but it turned out it was just the landscaper kicking up dirt. After we parked, the first order of business was getting the bike out of the trunk. I kept pressing the trunk button on my key fob and nothing was happening. I got back in the car and started searching for a trunk release button in there, but all I saw was the hood release and other things that I didn’t want to touch.

Basically, I spent 30 seconds on this Rubik’s Cruze before using my Phone a Henry option.

He was at the doctors with his mom and I could tell he was trying to act like he wasn’t annoyed that I was yelling at him on the other end, because I go from, “Huh…I can’t get the trunk open” to “I’M GOING TO COME TO WHERE YOU ARE AND WASH THIS CAR WITH YOUR ARTERIAL SPRAY IF YOU DON’T FUCKING HELP ME GET THIS TRUNK OPEN NOW MOTHERFUCKER.” Meanwhile, Chooch was just standing there calmly, saying things like, “We can do this, Mommy. We can figure this out.” When all Henry was saying, “There’s a button on the key fob. Then I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know why. Push the button. Are you pushing the button? It works on my* key fob.”

*(Yeah, he thinks he’s so great because he got his own set of keys for MY car.)

I hung up on him of course and decided to instead Google, “How do I open the trunk on a 2014 Chevy Cruze?” because the manual SAID NOTHING. Yes, I looked in the manual! GOD. And while this was going on, I happened to turn around just in time to see some young hipster couple strolling around with armfuls of vegetation that they were casually pulling off trees, presumably to garnish their artisanal cocktails later that afternoon. UGH THIS MADE ME EVEN MORE MAD GET OUT OF MY CEMETERY NO WAIT HELP ME OPEN MY TRUNK FIRST.

While I was trying to read all of these idiotic posts on some forum, Chooch said, “Found it” and just like that, the trunk popped open. I guess there’s a release on the outside of the car, but it only works if the car is already locked. (I checked, so don’t even think about breaking into my trunk!) Turns out I need to take my dumb key fob back to the dealership and have it reset, and what I mean by that is that I’m swapping mine out with Henry’s and then he can deal with it.


And we had no accidents or other mishaps that resulted in blood loss! These are my favorite kinds of Henry-less outings.

I am so thankful no one was around to record Chooch & me struggling to put his bike back in the trunk (or as I call it: “The Nail Biting Conclusion To Figuring Out How To Open the Trunk”). We are barely-functioning cripples without Henry. Chooch was like, “We got this, don’t give up!” and, after having a minor rage blackout which left me with visions of pulling a tombstone out of the ground and bashing myself in the head with it, I was like, “Well, I guess this is your bike’s new home, Chooch. Say good bye to it. Or….we can all just stay here forever. BECAUSE WHY BOTHER.” I was just about to curl up into the Fetal Position of Defeat when Chooch moved the handle bars a certain way and we were able to shove that two-wheeled bitch into the trunk like we were regular wiseguys and the bike was a fucking snitch.

Chooch is a HERO!

I think it got my heart rate up more than the run. I HATE FIGURING THINGS OUT.

A few days later, Chooch and I were on our own AGAIN, this time it was just a simple walk down the street to CVS where I needed to get nail polish remover and I could hear Henry calling out the front door, “JUST nail polish remover!” and then I proceeded to spend $20 because it’s CVS. Anyway, Chooch’s favorite thing to do at CVS is read every single greeting card they have (he has always been super into greeting cards, so any future broad that dates him is going to get a card for every occasion). The card aisle is near the magazines, so as we were walking down it, he stopped and screamed, “JEFFREY DAHMER!” and then ripped this murder publication off the rack and started naming all of the criminals he recognized on the cover, which was most, so I felt simultaneously proud and worried.

“Oh, and Ted Bundy. Obviously,” he was saying just as some old woman nervously walked past us.

He might be fairly desensitized to this shit since he’s grown up picnic’ing in cemeteries, watching horror movies, and listening to his parents talk about the latest serial killer greeting card they made, but it’s counterbalanced with such an extreme love for animals and one sane parent (and Minecraft?) that I don’t think I need to worry.

However, if it goes the other way, at least he’s experienced with trunks.

Mar 102015

Sunday was a delightfully mild March day and I refused to spend it indoors. Henry got all huffy-puffy at first, like he always does when I decree that it’s the perfect day for a family cemetery outing. Chooch was annoyed about it at first too and even said he hates cemeteries—WTF. Serious tears welled up in my eyes because how could my own son say such a blasphemous thing to me?! I was just about to throw a fit about it, when I decided to compromise by switching cemeteries to the one by the craft store so that Chooch could get more Perler beads. (His obsession with perler bead creations has been going strong since December. It’s such a curious hobby for my trucker-mouthed spawn, but…at least he’s found something that keeps him off the streets? Who knew he had the patience for it. He’s been begging me to start an Etsy shop for him so that he can sell this shit for $50 a piece. Oh OK, son.)

Not considering that 45 degree sunlight + snow = wet ground, I wore TOMS and regretted it as soon as I stepped out of the car and into rushing rivulets of melt. This was right after I mocked Chooch for wearing boots, by the way.

I haven’t abused my Hipstamatic privileges in a while. I know you missed it.

Don’t worry, Henry and I mumbled some things about not stepping out onto the frozen pond.


It’s so easy to slip into hibernation mode during winter, and even though all three of us are usually home together on weekends, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re spending actual TIME together. Chooch is usually watching stupid YouTube videos, I’m painting, Henry is being a domesticated bitch….you know how it is. So I thought it would be nice to go for a walk where we wouldn’t be distracted by technology. EXCEPT FOR MY PHONE, TAKING ALL OF THEIR PICTURES.

Henry and Chooch have some sort of unspoken snowball rivalry transpiring. As soon as we step out of the front door, it’s Game On. Typically, they leave me alone because they know that I’m a delicate flower and cry easily. (Seriously, snowballs hurt my feelings.) And these two go hard with their snowball pitching. Even just walking from our house to our car across the street on Saturday, they engaged in this outrageous battle that had passers-by stopping to watch (and laugh when Henry pelted Chooch super hard in the side of the face). It’s like child abuse disguised as WHAT GUYS WE’RE JUST PLAYING. I imagine it must relieve a lot of pent up anger for Henry, considering that the first thing Chooch says to him when he sees him everyday is “DADDY WILL YOU IRON MY PERLER BEAD CREATION?!” Every goddamn day with the ironing requests, oh my god. Perler beads are so fucking annoying.

They even had an impromptu battle outside of the Boulevard Restaurant after dinner on Saturday:

So basically, our entire walk was a snowball battlefield, and I nearly peed my pants 87 times. I know it’s corny coming from me, but I have the most fun with these two idiots and I am forever appreciative that we all like each other enough to want to spend time together. I think about my own parents a lot, and how it was pretty rare for all of us to do things together — it was either my mom and us kids going shopping together, or my dad taking my brothers out. And if we were all together, there was usually some tension, someone was mad at someone, someone didn’t want to be there. Who knows.

I’m sure we looked like idiots to the few cars that drove past us in the cemetery, and that just made it even more fun.

It’s got to feel so cathartic for Henry to bombard our ever-blabbering, smart-mouthed kid in the face with icy orbs of retribution.  Seriously. I love Chooch so much, but sometimes I sit here at work and I can still his voice in my head, asking really annoying things, like, “Feed me.” Ugh.

I wonder if I have the same effect on Henry…

Chooch’s crowning achievement was when he pelted a snowball at Henry, which ricocheted off his neck and smacked me in the face just as I was turning around to say something.

Finally, Henry was like I’LL SHOW YOU and dumped Chooch headfirst into a snowbank and I almost peed my pants because it was so funny and then Chooch really DID pee his pants because it was so funny, which caused Henry to go off on a tangent about how it concerns him that our first instinct when something is funny is to pee our pants. Sorry, I guess our bladders are just ultra-sensitive to mirth, Henry, something you know nothing about.

I think Chooch has a bright future as a dunk tank clown.

Plus, we also went roller skating! So, this weekend was pretty fucking grand. I mean, if you’re the type of person to say things like “grand.”