Jan 232020
 

It’s tradition for Janna, Chooch and me to go out for lunch on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, if only doing this once prior counts as “tradition.” We’ve already started this tradition with a strangely volatile track record, because last year I chose a restaurant that was extremely crowded with awkward seating, so we left after being seated at a crowded counter, and then ended up having another awkward seating experience at the ramen place we chose as our fall-back.

But then we had a great time at a post-lunch cafe (Black Forge, holla!) so that made it seem, in our memories, that we should do it again this year. I guess kind of like how some women forget the horrors of pregnancy/child birth and do it again.

This time, it was Janna’s turn to choose an uncomfortable eating establishment!

First though, the day started on a high when Janna got yelled at in the parking lot across from my house for allegedly thieving Hot Naybor Chris’s wife’s parking spot. Janna had to swear that she’s not a weirdo after HNC’s wife ranted about all the weirdos in the neighborhood and swore she didn’t realize it was someone else’s spot (newsflash: none of us have our own assigned parking spots, so…).

“Wow, she’s very shrill,” Janna laughed when she walked into my house and Chooch and I were dying. We wanted her to get beaten, but verbal abuse is just as good!

We immediately set off for Ineffable Cà Phê which I’ve wanted to try for awhile, but anytime we’ve been in the area, it’s always looks very crowded. Well, today was no different and it didn’t help that we arrived right smack in the middle of noon.

Maybe I’m just FUCKING OLD, but I really dislike places that force you to order at a counter. I get that this is also a cafe, but perhaps separate the two areas, I dunno, because the menus were all split up in different spots and by the time it was our turn to order, I was teetering on the tip of a tantrum and blurted out, “I’LL HAVE THE SAME AS HIM” and nudged Chooch, even though I didn’t know what he ordered because every time I asked him, he ignored me.

Then the real fun began—looking for a place to sit. Again, this is a cafe that also serves food (and some of  the food is pho, so…not exactly something you can casually eat while standing. I was having ANXIETY by this point because we were just standing there, lost, in everyone’s way, looking for a place that could seat three people, but because THIS IS ALSO A CAFE, 90% of the seats were occupied by people who were not eating, but staring at their laptops with dead eyes.

Booths? People working.

Shared tables? Full of lazy hipsters and surrounded by a moat of coiled laptop cords on the floor, which I almost tripped over numerous times.

It was absolutely trash as far as comfort levels went.

We finally settled on an armchair (which White Knight Jr, a/k/a Chooch, argued was “very comfortable” and he was “just fine”) and a couch in the corner, with some extremely enlarged spool-thing to use as a table. It was SO FUCKING UNCOMFORTABLE. The couch was so low to the ground and I had to bend in half every time I took a bite of my tofu banh mi (good choice, Chooch), so I guess at least I was getting an ab workout, I dunno.

It was so bad that while we were waiting for our food, Janna could see Mt.Erinsuvius getting ready to erupt and suggested that we just get our food to go, save it for dinner, and then go somewhere for lunch.

NOT AFTER I JUST THREW DOWN $20 ON TWO SANDWICHES (AND NO DRINKS!!).

Luckily for this damn place, the banh mi was really good. It’s so hard to find GOOD TOFU on sandwiches, and theirs had a really great marinade to it. I approved. So did Chooch, who was blessedly silent while inhaling his lunch.

The worst part about this though was that I had to go to the counter and retrieve both sandwiches after my name was called, and it was a veritable slalom course of laptop cords and backpacks but I persevered all while muttering, “Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me.”

When Janna’s was ready, the guy was like, “I will bring it to you” because she got pho and she still walked over and kept trying to take it from him and he was like, “I WILL BRING IT TO YOU” and Chooch and I were dying. Finally, something good was happening! Then he gave Janna a sauce recommendation but she of course didn’t pay attention, so when he left, she was like, “What did he tell me to do?” and I was like, “Mix the sriracha and hoison.” As she embarked on the  treacherous journey to the counter to fetch said sauces, Chooch was like, “Oh, I thought you said sriracha and POISON and I was like ‘Yes, we’re killing Janna!'” Hahaha.

Actually, once we got our food and established ourselves in the corner which was DEFINITELY meant for relaxing with a book and coffee, not hunched over a lunch you’re trying not to spill, it was OK. Would I go back? I AM NOT SURE. Maybe I’d get it to go, but I can’t foresee myself ever attempting to dine in there again unless I get there immediately when it opens or like, right after a kitchen fire,  idk.

However, there was one super positive aspect about this place, and that was when we stumbled on  the adjacent boutique on the way out. It’s just a tiny little nook in the corner of the cafe but just secluded enough so you feel like you’re in another space altogether, and it’s run by a super lovely lady who chatted us up but not in the sense where I was trying to peel my skin off and lift it up over my head to form a nice bloody flesh tent under which to camp out with my social inadequacies.

She was SO LOVELY that Chooch was like, “I WANT ONE OF HER CANDLES.” They were all very earthly, masculine smells, er, scents, which I appreciate in a candle from time to time; one can only have so many pumpkin spices and clean cotton fragrances in the house, you know?

The special thing about her candles is that you can DIP YOUR FINGERS INTO THE HOT WAX, which is like every kids’ and my dream, and then RUB IT INTO YOUR SKIN BECAUSE IT DOUBLES AS ESSENTIAL OIL.

Brilliant. Yes, let me buy one of those.

It took Chooch forever to choose a scent (black currant is what he ultimately went for?!) and then Janna had to copy us and buy one too but when the lady asked her for her email address, Janna rattled off something I’ve never heard before, so I yelled, “HEY I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT EMAIL ADDRESS!” and it was quiet for a second while the lady’s eyeballs looked like they were watching a scary tennis match, but then Janna just nervously laughed it off so then the lady laughed too but I WASNT LAUGHING.

Meanwhile, there was a dog behind the counter but Chooch wasn’t able to reach it so he was terribly upset about that.

THEN WE WENT DOWNTOWN. I started laughing when I realized that it was exactly 2::00pm, which is what time I would normally be ambling about down there on a regular workday. First, we stopped at this art installation thing because Pittsburgh sometimes tries to hang with the Big City Kids by doing artsy things for people to either enjoy, scrutinize, or vandalize. I walk past this every day but have never bothered to stop and explore, so I was happy that we parked literally on the same block as it.

It was pretty cold that day but not as cold as it was last year when we did out MLK outing, because I think it was like 10 degrees that day. If you ask Mr. I Never Get Cold, he’ll tell you that both days weren’t cold at all. I hate him sometimes.

IF YOU LOOK, YOU CAN SEE ALL THREE OF US OMG.

I’m like way good at posing.

AnywaySSSS, the reason we were downtown is because Bae Bae’s Kitchen opened a brand new cafe down the street called, well, Bae Bae’s Cafe. I’ve been stalking it for months on my daily lunch break walks and was excited to get there on their second day! (I feel like the first opening day would have been stuffed to the gills with influencers and the like, so…no thanks.)

Chooch and I are both avid boba fans, so I got a taro and he chose earl gray which I thought was an odd choice for him and turns out he ended up thinking the same once he sipped it. He added some cane sugar to it after awhile and then deemed it drinkable.

This is DEFINITELY an Instagram-cafe. That’s not to take away from their drinks which are wonderful; they also serve lunch items but we had already done that so I ordered chocolate chip cookies for us to share and they were REALLY DELICIOUS. Like 진짜 맛있어요!

(Bae Bae’s is Korean, yo.)

So, the seating is pretty non-existent here, which was hilarious to us because all we wanted to do was be able to sit together today while eating and drinking?! Like, I can’t think of many more basic wants, you know? But this space is pretty small so probably prepare to pop in and pop out if you go on a busy day. As it turned out, Janna had to sit by herself and then when she left her seat to go to the counter to get her drink, some asshole stole her seat! AND THE GUY HE WAS WITH WHO WAS ALREADY SITTING ACROSS FROM WHERE JANNA HAD BEEN SAID NOTHING!

To be fair, either did Chooch or I. Chooch was just like, “LOL, Janna lost her seat” and then continued slurping up boba.

My bedroom is almost this same color and now I know that UMERELLA-ELLA-ELLAS ON THE CEILING is what it’s been missing. Get on that, Henry.

The guy on the couch is the d-bag who stole Janna’s seat, but then he moved to the couch once it became available, so Janna got her seat back. Damn. Anyway, these guys were v.annoying.

It’s a very elegant and, to use a word people hate, no not moist: WHIMSICAL. I personally liked it because it gave off Wonderland vibes and that’s my jam. My favorite Alice In Wonderland is  the version that as Carol Channing and Ann Jillian in it, in case you were wondering. I think it’s from the early 80s.

Seriously,  the best. Followed by that weirdo Jan Svankmajer stop-motion film “Alice.” Horrifying.

Janna Sits Alone.

Anyway, the best part of the day was that the proprietor of the Bae Bae’s empire, Ashley, was there and she came over to talk to Chooch and me and she took our picture for the cafe’s Instagram story! She also said I looked very familiar to her and I was like, “Oh god, am I on some Koreaboo list?!” Like Megan’s List but for Koreans to watch out for people obsessed with their culture. But it turns out she just recognized me from all the times I’ve cupped my hands next to my face and peeked in the cafe’s windows JUST KIDDING she said she thinks I looked familiar because I follow Bae Bae’s on Instagram. To be honest, I rarely go to Bae Bae’s Kitchen even though it’s right near my office because:

  • it’s kind of expensive
  • it sits super heavily in my stomach (BUT IT’S SO GOOD)
  • I don’t want to be a creep

We tried to stay as long as we could because there were three “super hip” Modcloth chicks hogging the best seat in the house and I wanted to get pictures there too but they came with A CAMERA, like a real DSLR, and just when I thought they were getting ready to leave, one of them went back up  to the counter to order dessert for them to share, see also: NEW PROP FOR MORE PICTURES.

I saw later that night that Bae Bae’s reposted some of their pictures and THEY SAT ON OUR SEATS AFTER WE LEFT, which was like 15 minutes before closing, so maybe the whole time THEY were trying to wait US out?? Like, if I had just gone over there and politely said, “EXCUSE ME, CUNTS WE WANT TO SIT HERE FOR A SEC, BEAT IT” everyone could have gotten their way!?

Anyway, it was a tumultuous day. A real roller coaster of emotions. Maybe next year, we’ll just go to the movies and Taco Bell.

Jan 192020
 

Hello potential customers! I am very excited about this brand new, ink-is-still-drying, mini Valentine set I recently designed! They’ve been in the works since last year, but…well…I got lazy and didn’t get them finished in time for last year’s Valentine’s Day and then I lost motivated, but the a few weeks ago, I revisited my Cult Leader folder in Bridge and powered through.

It took lots of coffee and research, because I REALLY wanted to have 16 different designs, instead of just 8×2. Needless to say, I have been having some pretty not-great dreams lately, especially Thursday night after I spent most of the day with Scientology/L. Ron Hubbard videos playing on the TV behind me while reading Aleister Crowley Wiki pages.

LE SHUDDER.

I know, you’re used to seeing serial killers in this shop, but there is a very fine line separating these deviant walks of life!

I included some televangelists here too. Sure, perhaps they weren’t actively plotting mass murders, but they were still knee deep in scandals and scams!

These are designed just like my other Valentine sets – mini cards just like the kinds the kids pass out in school, except are they even allowed to do that anymore? Did some parent somewhere make a frantic phone call to the superintendent regarding the possibility of their precious Stacy Bitchtoast getting a papercut from handling big, bad, dangerous Valentines?

Sigh. School was so much better in the 80s.

Use these to recreate those special moments from back then, when kids didn’t have gluten allergies and it was OK to wear a mask in the Halloween parade. Except now you’re passing them out to your coworkers or whatever. Maybe you live in an apartment and feel like leaving anonymous love in some of your neighbors’ mail slots? Or maybe you just feel like passing them out on a street corner next to the weirdo Jehovah’s Witness doling out doomsday pamphlets.

In this set, you can find fan favorites like:

  • Charles Manson
  • Jim Bakker
  • Jim Jones
  • David Koresh
  • Jimmy Swaggart
  • Tammy Faye Bakker (an icon, really)
  • Marshall Applewhite
  • L. Ron Hubbard
  • David Miscavitch
  • Aleister Crowley
  • David Berg (founder of Children of God)
  • Luc Jouret
  • James Arthur Ray (self-help guru infamous for the sweat lodge deaths)
  • Anne Hamilton-Byrne (leader of Australian cult The Family)
  • Victor Houteff (Pre-Branch Davidian, Shepherd’s Rod, leader)
  • Warren Jeffs (gross President of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Each one has the person’s name on the back in case your recipients are like, “….who the fuck…?” then they can follow Google down the Wiki Hole!

My 13-year-old son was like, “I hope no one ever searches our computer because the shit you google for your cards is just….wow.” But then he was looking at this set and said, “Wow, these are actually really good quality.” LIKE, HELLO, I KNOW. WHERE HAS HE BEEN ALL THESE YEARS?

So in case you needed any reassuring, please accept my son’s review. I mean, he looked away from his Nintendo Switch for a whole 5 minutes to flip through this set, and that really mean something these days.

I…can’t believe people believe in Scientology. And I’m a preeeeeetttttty gullible broad.

I might have actually peaked as a card designer / dad joke writer with that Koresh one.

I stared at David Berg’s face way too long when I was making the Flirty Fishy card and I think I have PTSD now.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share! (This one lifestyle blog I hate-read always says that and I’m like….but you didn’t ask.)

$8 will get you all 16 cards, so please consider being That Creep who gives out super uncomfortable cards on Valentine’s Day! Click here to purchase, mothercheffers! And don’t forget to check out the rest of the shop while you’re there. I have everything from serial killers to the Golden Girls to the Cure to vintage porn stars….so….something for maybe not “everyone,” but a strange niche of the population, for sure.

Jan 122020
 

What’s up, Diva cups, I’m checking in on this cozy Sunday night to regale you with another non compos cards  Valentine commercial!

The Cure is my all-time favorite band, as in: cash in your savings account and fly to Australia to see them after they hastily announce that they’re not going to tour again after that but that was in 2000 and you have since seen them like 6 more times because Robert Smith lied but that’s ok!

True to form, this is a cringefest so get your groans ready.

The set contains 16 different mini-cards, just like the kinds we used to pass out in elementary school except much cooler because, you know, The Cure.

Henry was like I DON’T GET IT and I’ll tell you why – it’s because he’s not actually a “fan” of The Cure.

This set is now available in my shop and I am so happy about it! Part of me wants to track down all my old friends from the long defunct chatroom I used to frequent in 1998/1999 called Darkchat and send them all one of these cards (and by frequent I do mean I used to stay up until like 5am private messaging with all of my goth paramours). God, those were the days! Now when I tell people that The Cure is my favorite band, the general response, “I don’t know who that is.” Well, just break my goddamn heart.

I think this set goes wonderfully with all the serial killer ones, the vintage porn star collection, the Golden Girls series and of course all the Kpop varieties in my Hello Hanguk shop too! I’ll repost all of those ones throughout the week in case you missed them last year. I love Valentines so much!

Interested in purchasing a set of The Cure valentines for all the lovecats in your life? Click right here!

Jan 062020
 

Sorry fiends, but it’s that time of the year when CEO Erin Rachelle comes out of hiding and begins acknowledging her greeting card business. I’ll try to not be too annoying about it, but I AM working on a new set of mini-cards for the 2020 season that I’m pretty stoked about so hopefully I’ll be ready to share those soon! But until then, let’s revisit my best sellers, the mini-sets of serial killer love cards!

Stop looking at my tacky, chipped nail polish for a second and peep these mini serial killer Valentines instead! In the past, I was selling these as six-card perforated sheets, but let’s be real – you guys want more. I get it! So we made them just a TAD smaller and now you can get SIXTEEN of these babies (SIXTEEN!!) in a set for only $8!

I love these cards so much because they bring back fond memories of Valentine parties in elementary school, when we all got to fuck a shoebox with a glue stick and crepe paper and then we all got to run away, stuffing Scooby Doo sentiments into everyone’s “mailbox” even if we didn’t like the person because THE TEACHER SAID. My favorite part was the candy and cupcakes though. I was a fat kid.

And then in fifth grade, I was the fat kid with a perm.

AND BRACES.

FML.

But I somehow still got Valentines so I didn’t hate the damn day.

Even now, as a grown as adult, I like passing out Valentines at work. I passed the serial killer ones out one year to mixed reviews. My one co-worker received an Albert Fish one and sent me an email that said, “OMG I just Wiki’d that guy. He was so terrible! Why would you give me that card?!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Surprisingly, no one reported me to HR.

Life is all about taking risks, you know?

Each set comes packaged in these adorable little bags. I’m obsessed with them. (Please note: bags vary year to year, depending on what’s available to us! I’m also on the prowl for a more eco-friendly option. Might not be as cute, but either is global warming. So…)

These are perfect for the true crime buffs in your life, and with all new TV shows and Netflix documentaries focused on murder, these are super timely and relevant. I’ve had customers purchase these sets to turn into garland for their mantle, and another customer bought both sets to hide around the house for her husband to randomly stumble across throughout the year. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT. Every day can be Valentine’s Day with these little cards!

This set features some old standbys as well as some brand new designs that I made specifically for this set:

  • Harry Powers
  • Ed Gein #1
  • Gary Ridgway
  • Richard Speck
  • Charles Manson
  • HH Holmes
  • Richard Ramirez
  • Ken & Barbie Killers
  • Lizzie Borden
  • Aileen Wuornos (new design!)
  • Ed Gein #2
  • David Berkowitz (new design!)
  • BTK (new design!)
  • Zodiac Killer (new design!)
  • Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Jerry Brudos (new design!)

I should have taken new pictures for this blog post because my current nail job is much neater.

Nope…I just looked at my nails. Not that great.

Aren’t I great at product photography!!?!?!?

I’m so into these little guys. Please purchase some! If you mention that you came from Oh Honestly, Erin, I’ll throw in a surprise freebie! (Not frisbee, which is what I originally typed. That would jack up the shipping fee considerably.)

There’s also a healthy selection of regular Valentine cards over at my Etsy too in case the minis aren’t your cup of (laced) tea. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. Cook on, mothercheffers!

Jan 012020
 

See also: It’s 2020! HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 

A few months ago, I started seeing people post on Twitter about the best/worst things of the decade and I was like holy shit it never even occurred to me that the decade was ending??! And then I started thinking about my own personal decade and 10 years doesn’t seem that long but shit, I am a very different person than I was in 2010. For starters, I went into 2010 unemployed and in the lowest financial rut of my life. I started working at the law firm in April that year but it took years for us to climb out of the hole.

I started the decade mourning the metaphorical loss of a supposed best friend and it took me half of that decade to realize that she wasn’t a friend at all and suddenly, my life went on!

I left Facebook in 2017, which seems like such a minor thing, why would I include it here but look – I had always been SUPER into social media attention. I used to live for blog comments, Facebook likes, adding to the virtual friend collection—come on, I’m a narcissistic Leo. But I finally matured a little bit and realized that NONE OF THAT MATTERS! Now I write what I want to write, post as much or infrequently as I like, set my phone down for longer than 5 minute increments god forbid…I realized people were looking at me like I was a character and not an actual person and that’s when it suddenly seemed really appealing to dial it back some.Sometimes I even think about quitting this blog altogether and going back to old school journaling, but….writing with a real life pen on actual paper makes my hand cramp.

Now that I’m off Facebook, I stopped comparing myself to other people who post perfectly curated scenes of their life online, and instead I focus on my own life so that I too can do the things I want to do! There was no visit from Lady Luck here, no cheating the system. Just staying patient and positive, and being careful with spending, and that’s what got us to Korea when, just as recent as the beginning of 2010, we could barely afford to go to, I dunno, the county fair. I wish I had known at the beginning of the decade that I was capable of changing my life. I was chained down by really terrible depression and low esteem, that I really didn’t think my life could ever be “OK.” When people say “it gets better” – it really does, but what’s missing from that sentiment is that it’s probably not going to get better unless you want it to and are willing to put in the hard work. And it is HARD WORK. I really think that I had hit my rock bottom back then, and now that I know what that feels like, I never want to go back, therefore, I will never take anything for granted.

What else?? I still live in the same place but I finally realized that the all-white walls were seriously killing me so now my house looks like Pee Wee could film on location here and if you knew me in high school or when I lived in my first apartment, this makes so much sense because my living spaces were always an explosion of color, lights, toys (I had glow in the dark Slinkies hanging from the ceiling of my first apartment)…it’s just who I have always been and sitting here writing in my blog with blinking lights all around my periphery is just, I don’t know, comforting to me.

Health-wise, I entered the decade weighing around 200 pounds. I didn’t feel unhealthy and my check-ups were always fine, but I felt really uncomfortable in my skin. Finally got off my ass and did something about it (there are no magic pills or shakes that are going to make the pounds off, you gotta move and actually pay attention to your damn diet!) and am entering 2020 in the 130s which is something I never thought I was capable of. Now exercise is a huge part of my daily life and maybe Henry will say I’m borderline obsessed, but I guess that’s just my personality.

OK, now I’m thinking about how I lost all 4 of my original cat crew  over the last decade and I’m starting to get depressed so I’m just going to say that the 2010s had its moments but I’m ready to start a new decade as an Older Person.

So that was my decade in a nutshell, and I won’t miss the first half of it at all. AT ALL.

2019 as a whole was a really nice year for me personally (I mean, politically and globally, we were fucked as ever so nothing new there). My only goal in life is to have as much fun as possible without, I don’t know, losing my job or whatever. I think we managed to cram in a lot of fun into 2019 (for Henry, my version of fun loosely translates into STRESS for him, or PAIN, like driving 13 hours to Silver Dollar City with a half-broken back):

And here’s my Top 9 Instagram posts, apparently:

The more I think about it, the more I realize that 2019 can honestly be filed away in the FUCKING FUN drawer. Of course, not every day was great. I still had flip-outs but I think I’m doing OK at managing my moods. (Somewhere Henry is reading this and muttering, “You might want to consider putting in some OT, ‘babe’.”) Having things to look forward to is what helps me get through the work week and combat the Sads. I know it’s not a cure-all, and maybe it’s really not much more than a crutch, but even just having small road trips on the horizon really keeps me giddy.

Not trying to jinx anything, but I think 2020 has the potential to be pretty great and I’m going to make sure I work hard to steer it in that direction! Hopefully kpop will be better this year; 2019 was super traumatic and depressing in that scene. Also, I hope 2020 is a better year for the environment. I’m going to try and make more changes to my own lifestyle as well for the environment’s sake. I keep getting angry at myself because I always forget to bring a damn canvas bag with me when I go to CVS and we have TONS OF CANVAS BAGS so there is literally no excuse. The last time I went to CVS was for a jug of milk and a bottle of Coke for the holiday party we were having and I was like, “NO I DO NOT NEED A BAG” but then I had to carry those damn beverages home and I only live a few blocks away but that shit got heavy after a while!

And if you’ve stuck with this blog til now, thank you! I will try to be less annoying/better at proof-reading in 2020 but I can’t make any promises. My brain is fried and I’m usually blogging from my phone in bed or on the trolley, but I will make some attempts to be more disciplined like I was during the LiveJournal years when I refused to hit “post” until I read the damn thing 17 times and then also made Janna proofread it but no one’s got time for that.

On that note: cook on, mothercheffers.

Dec 312019
 

Our “tradition” used to be having a lunch picnic at the cemetery, and then taking fancy pictures of Chooch, but it started to be more stressful than fun. Henry would spend all this time whipping together, I dunno, egg salad sandwiches and whatnot, and then we’d sit on a blanket while shivering, getting  bread crumbs on our gloves, and then Chooch and I would argue once it was time to do the photos and you know what? Fuck it, man. Last year I declared a moratorium on the picnic portion of our “tradition,” and we somehow ended up at Pink Box in Squirrel Hill, a Chinese/Taiwanese bakery, where we got those good, sweetly-filled buns and, well, still ended up at the cemetery. But it was a lot better now that we just had some bread to hold while walking, so just like that, a new tradition was born.

Of course, now that we nixed the picnic, this year’s Christmas weather was downright spring-like: 50s with the sun shining! The cem was actually pretty rockin’ too – joggers, bikers, and small groups of tombstone gawkers were out in full force. It was really, well, lively.

I got the yam bun, boiiiiiii. Henry always opts for red bean, and I think Chooch got a custard.

What a relaxing, bun-full day!

First thing Child Genius does? Steps on the ice.

We were really giddy. Well, I mean, Chooch and I were. Henry was bitter and muttering to himself because it was but another year of having his wish list ignored by Father Christmas.

HENRY’S WISH LIST FOR SANTA

  • quiet time
  • quiet time
  • naps
  • quiet time
  • naps part 2
  • muzzles for Erin and Chooch
  • quiet time

Perfect cemetery weather.

I love these stupid-asses.

Back at home, we spent time with the girls, who were also struck by the Christmas spirit and actually acted like they liked each other!

Oh, did I mention that Henry gave me the ultimate Christmas present by agreeing to start exercising with me? I’ve been going easy on him by putting on low-impact walking workouts and strength training, which is how I found out he can’t do grapevines or step-touches, which is hilarious and helps me get an extra ab workout from all the laughing. So that’s how we ended Christmas: exercising and watching When the Camellia Blooms, which we have since finished and I really think this is in my Top 5 favorite Korean dramas, wow. If you have Netflix, why aren’t you watching it!? GO. And, Happy New Year!

Dec 302019
 

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but this Christmas just felt so….peaceful. I used to be so sad about not having family dinners anymore, but this year, my brother Ryan organized a pre-Christmas dinner at Calabria’s on the Sunday prior to Christmas. I suggested that we also invite our dad because he and our mom have been friendly over the last several years and they were both at Chooch’s birthday dinner last year, so I thought, why not, right? So Ryan cleared it with our mom, and our dad accepted the invitation!

It was really nice and actually didn’t feel as surreal as I imagined it would. Everyone talked and there were no bad vibes, even though it was the first time brother Corey and I have seen each other since Christmas 2016 (long story, but that whole business with my Pappap’s house and my aunt Sharon’s death that consumed almost all of 2016 really created a lot of waves and brought up some bad feelings). I appreciated that we could all be adults and sit at the same table together without any tension because life is too short so yeah, I’m going to show him a picture of Trudy 2019 on my phone even though he didn’t ask.

Our waitress was abysmal but it made my dad and me exchange smirks behind her back so that was fun.

It was really cool to have some semblance of a normal family dinner. If someone would have told me 20 years ago that one day this would be happening, I would have broken a rib from falling down an elevator shaft while laughing. I’m not saying that I’m trying to parent trap my divorced parents, but I’m not NOT saying it either, if you know what I mean. I have this daydream of my mom finally selling her house and moving down the street (literally) into his house. It doesn’t have to be romantic! They could be roommates with history, lol.

Anyway, this was an awesome way to kickstart Christmas though. Props to my bro Ryan for organizing this! Maybe next year I’ll see if everyone wants to come here for some strange broken family dinner thing.

I fucking threw a fit at one point though because I cannot wrap a gift to save my life. It’s pathetic.

“You know, my mom really failed me. She didn’t teach me how to cook, or how to wrap a gift, two things she’s fairly good at,” I sighed, kicking the roll of wrapping paper.

“I think it was me she failed,” Henry sighed.

I spent a good 25 minutes on Christmas Eve trying to get a picture of the cats together.

Waiting for Ho Ho!

I had a YouTube video of the Seoul subway jingles playing over and over while Henry was wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and I think I actually saw his will to live snap in half.

We kept waiting for dumb Chooch to go to bed so we could wrap up Doll with a light switch, because all Chooch wanted for Christmas was a Nintendo Switch. For once, we bought it nearly a full month in advance instead of waiting until Xmas Eve which is our usual MO. We had Chooch convinced all day that we tried to get him one but it was sold out everywhere, which was a partial truth because it WAS sold out at most places. Chooch, in desperation, goggled and found a Target in West Virginia that had one and wanted us to drive there that day to buy it, LOL, dream on, Sonny Boy.

Christmas morning finally came and Chooch was in great spirits! We had Doll, his actual Switch, and his Switch-related gifts hidden under the coffee table. I waited for him to open all of his filler gifts before saying, “OH WOW, LOOKS LIKE SANTA BROUGHT ONE MORE.”

He was like, “Oh wow. Doll. OK, good one, guys.” I waited until right before the tears appeared to give him his actual Switch. It’s my right as a parent to eff with his emotions on Xmas, OK?! IT MAKES HIM MORE APPRECIATIVE.

Probably.

Literally the easiest Christmas ever. Thank you, Nintendo. Also, thank you greeting card side gig, for the extra $$$.

One of my presents was from the spider that was living in our kitchen for a hot two months! I had named him “Geomi-Nim” which essentially means “Mister Spider” or “Spider, sir” in Korean. Anyway, it was a huge South Korean flag which Chooch, I mean, Geomi-Nim, thought would be a great addition to my desk at work, except that it’s so big, I could potentially tent myself in with it. The ultimate privacy screen!

He also got me set of South Korean flag pins.

“$10 for both of those gifts!” Chooch proudly exclaimed. “Yeah, I tell prices.”

Anyway, it’s tradition for me to put ridiculous “from”s on the gift tags. This year included references to Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution. G-Dragon’s dad, the Seoul subway jingle, Onetrainops and Legend & Molly (coaster vloggers), etc etc.

At our Christmas party, Chooch asked Janna for wood for Christmas so that he could build a chair and now I regret not wrapping a tree branch.

He will, too.

OMG we haaaaate it when Henry eats bananas! IT IS NOT CUTE. I even have a “sexual banana time” jingle that I sing for these occasions. So when I saw this dishtowel online, I checked out immediately. Then we went to Branson, Missouri and Chooch and I exchanged Looks when one of the stores we were in had it because we didn’t want Henry to see it — the perils of purchasing trendy dishtowels.

Aside from Chooch’s damn Switch, we tried not to exhibit gross consumerism this year. We would much rather not blow our cash on things and save it to go places so hopefully 2020 will be action-packed with fun trips – that’s all I asked Santa for.

We spent way too long trying to take a last minute family photo to whip into some lame Christmas not-card (I posted the final version here on Xmas) and we surprisingly didn’t fight about this, whereas when we attempted to get this done the day before, you’d have thought the earth split into two and Lucifer himself rose up and dove into my mouth, that’s how guttural my yells were when nothing was going my way.

But it gave me another excuse to wear my favorite Lip Service blazer so it wasn’t all that bad.

So, this was the first half of Christmas! The rest of the day was just as great because I was with Henry and Chooch and the planets must have been doing the right thing because we were all amazingly in great moods and no one sniped at anyone all day?! This almost never happens. I think maybe we might all like each other.

Dec 282019
 

My favorite thing about hosting shit at my house is that we (we = Henry, mostly, but I do stuff too!) REALLY CLEAN THE HOUSE. And then sometimes it will stay like that for a few days afterward! So by Saturday afternoon, I was less stressed about entertaining and more preoccupied with basking in the niceness of this shanty.

Chooch’s friend Hoajie came! This was good because sometimes Chooch starts to get annoyed being around so many adults, especially if they’re not paying attention to him. I don’t know where he gets that from.

Trudy was ready to meet new people!

We were still putting food out even after people started showing up and I was mad because I always like the table to be IN FINAL FORM. Henry made a big Christmas tree spinach crescent roll thing which eventually went on that Christmas tree tray and then straight into Chooch’s and Hoajie’s stomaches.

Ugh, those Rice Krispies treats were a fucking bitch. Chooch was supposed to help me make them but he ditched me that day for the Teen Center so then Henry had to take over after I started crying out of frustration because I didn’t know where to start, lol. Anyway, you just essentially replace marshmallows with white chocolate. Then you have to make a form out of parchment paper and I was like, “HENRY” so he basically did the whole thing but I decorated they were refrigerated, so he can’t take all the credit.

Aaaaaand….no one ate them. I made Janna take some home and we pawned some off on Blake the next day. Then I took one to work for Margie and she was like THIS IS SO GOOD and I was like YES I KEPT TELLING YOU PEOPLE ON SATURDAY!!!

But seriously: GAME CHANGER.

Jiyong brought a selection of mini jeon (Korean savory pancakes)!!  I was like, “Here you can just set this down on my lap” but ultimately I allowed her to put it on the table for everyone to enjoy. They’re: sweet potato, shrimp, chives, kimichi and corn. SO GOOD.

Janna was late of course, which made me turn to Jiyong and say, “This is why I wasn’t concerned when you said you were going to be late, because I knew that Janna would still be even later” and I think that made her feel better since it was her first time in my house DID I MENTION THAT YET. I was so nervous to invite her because our friendship is still in the blossoming stages and I don’t want to scare her off, and I especially don’t want her to think I’m some raging Koreaboo.

“Well, you kind of are,” Henry said, but luckily I feel there is so much shit in my house (clowns, weird art, horror movie memorabilia, THE CURE) that it really just makes me look like I’m some eclectic collector of junk.

Anyway, back to Janna being late. She texted me earlier and asked if Chooch could come out and help her carry her stuff in and then she also texted Chooch as well and guess who went out to help her – NO ONE OOPS. I forgot all about it and I guess Chooch did too because around 8pm, there was what appeared to be an audible struggle on the other side of the front door and then in stumbled Janna, arms full of fig-and-brie bread, spinach dip, and a huge ass jug of wine.

She was like, “Thanks, Chooch.” Hahaha.

That La Croix can really jacks up the aesthetic of this table.

We’re an anti-La Croix family but Wendy loves it so Henry made sure to bring some home from work for her. This is how I found out that JANNA ALSO LIKES IT?! I’m triggered. I saw this tweet last year and I have never resonated so much with anything on the Internet ISTFG:

That is the realest, right there.

“It’s like a special treat,” Janna said, sipping on her PAMPLEMOUSSE oh my god Janna I don’t even know you anymore.

Chooch coerced everyone to play Likewise and one of the categories was “gross drink” or something and literally everyone wrote LA CROIX on their paddles, even Wendy, who sadly said, “I disagree with this but knew everyone else would write it and I wanted the point.”

Wendy, Shawn, and Summer! That’s not a real mouse under the wheelchair, by the way. It’s one of the dozens of toy mouses the cats leave strewn about the house, the only indication that we even had any cats since they’re like STRANGER DANGER whenever people are here.

We were talking about G-Dragon at one point and Shawn was like, “wtf is a G-Dragon” so even Wendy was like, “OMG YOU DON’T KNOW” and I started gushing about him and then the subject of Korean military service came up and you could tell Wendy was getting her duct tape ready in case Shawn started going off the rails and embarrassed her in front of Jiyong, but I think it was a good conversation about Korean culture that really made Jiyong feel more included. This was her first American party and I give her so much credit for coming to it! Her English is great but I worried that she would feel left out.

She wasn’t scared away by Trudy (in fact, she wanted to be sure that Trudy was in our picture)! I’m really glad she met some of my friends because I would love to take our weekly meetings beyond just sitting in a cafe and me struggling to learn Korean, lol. It would be cool to invite her along when Janna and I go to, I dunno, the Mattress Factory or something. And then we can get Janna to start watching Korean dramas and start a club.

Ugh, Janna had just polished off a can of La Croix and then I had to stand this close to her.

Janna has the new iPhone 11 and Chooch is obsessed with it, fine, I am too.

Margie and me, standing uncomfortably. Margie brought several dozens of Christmas cookies baked by her uber-talented daughter (baker of the G-Dragon cookies!) and Chooch kept raving about how the peanut butter blossoms were the best he’s ever had and GUESS WHO DID NOT GET TO TRY ANY OH YEAH THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE.

We made everyone try faux-kielbasa and they were like, “Mmmm.”

Janna stayed for a few hours after everyone else left and Chooch and I were soooo hyper.

I used Janna’s phone to take pictures of my still-clean house because I was obsessed. I wish it could always look this dreamy! HENRY MAKE IT SO.

I dunno what Chooch is doing here.

The dopiest. (Henry was so tired, lol.)

I love that Janna looks like she’s in a hostage situation here.

Blake stopped by when he got from work at 11! I was SO PISSED AT CHOOCH because his ONLY JOB was to invite Blake and Haley AND HE TOLD THEM THE PARTY WAS SUNDAY. So then the morning of the actual party, Chooch was talking to Blake and was like, “Are you still coming to the party tonight?” and Blake was like, “I have to work. I thought it was tomorrow?!” so HE NEVER REQUESTED THE NIGHT OFF WORK. THANKS CHOOCH.

Janna’s like, “Can I have my phone back yet, or…?”

I forced Blake to partake in the hot chocolate bar. He was impressed.

This is my signature pose.

Anyway, we ended the night with me trying to make Janna watch this hot chocolate bar DIY YouTube video that I like to heckle while Chooch was trying to talk to her about the Holocaust at the same time and she seemed very torn and also like she was maybe about to snap. We almost broke her, you guys. My house is so manic.

Overall, it was a good night. Keeping it small and casual helped me to not have a full-blown anxiety attack but I still had some real strange vibes following me the next day. I gotta work on kicking this social rut. I miss the old Erin who packed her house with people. Maybe I’ll have some sort of themed party later this winter and expand the guest list. Another gross vintage food party, maybe!?

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 252019
 

Yoooo, we really phoned it in with this but let me tell you, it’s a miracle this dumb photo even happened—it was so frustrating.

There was a better one of Henry, but Drew’s head was turned and Penelope was blurry, so sorry Hank. You should try smiling more (wow, you dudes actually say that shit to us girls for real and don’t feel like an asshole about it?!).

Anyway, I hope anyone who is reading this is having a nice, comfortable day and it hopefully surrounding themselves with loving people. I’m here with the cats (fine and also Henry and Chooch) so what more do I need? (I mean, I can think of a lot more but I’m trying to BE HUMBLE.)

Dec 242019
 

I agreed to host a small holiday get together at my house this year, per Wendy’s orders, haha. I kept saying I didn’t want to do anything this year but she gently prodded until I cried uncle. I kept the guest list small (Wendy’s family, Janna, my friend Margie from work, and Jiyong) and that really helped a lot because I felt less pressure. I still have a bit of PTSD from the last full-blown Xmas party I had in 2016 where every person who said they were going to come, actually did and then somehow everyone seemed to arrive at the same time and my house was packed which is not ideal if you’ve ever been to my house because it’s small AF (it’s a duplex).

But….true to Erin form, I started to get really into planning for this dumb thing. It started after I invited Jiyong because she said it was going to be her first American Christmas party, and I wanted it to be a good experience for her, and not just like, “Here’s a pop and a bowl of chips, babe.”

(Really though – when have any of my parties been that cheap?!)

Anyway, I was perusing YouTube for some Christmas party food ideas when I accidentally stumbled upon the HOT CHOCOLATE BAR scene. Look, I know this isn’t a new concept, but I’m not a lifestyle blogger or Mormon housewife so this has fallen just short of my radar until several weeks ago when some fairly tolerable Canadian DIY YouTuber slipped it into her XMAS PARTY DIY video.

I latched on to this idea HARD. Typically at my parties, I make a punch or a sangria, oftentimes both. It’s kind of my thing—Henry does the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking and I do the decorating and the punch. Literally the most important things. But then I usually end up throwing out the leftover punch the next day and that sucks because I always use quality ingredients! So this seemed like it would be a nice, cheap change of pace.

So I started watching hot chocolate bar DIYs on YouTube and it’s like a whole fucking cult, you guys. These broads are legit insane, covering cans of whipped cream with wrapping paper, buying cute Christmas canisters at HOBBY LOBBY (the grossest) only to hot glue it with twine and BUFFALO PLAID RIBBON. And then they print out labels like people are too stupid to know what white chocolate chips are!?

Chooch and I became obsessed with watching these but I think I already “talked” about that on here.  The worst part about it is that these bitches put in so much effort on having a “theme” to their stupid set-up, BUT THEN MOST OF THEM JUST USED SWISS MISS K-CUPS FOR THE ACTUAL HOT CHOCOLATE PART?!

Bitch plz, why you gonna go so many extra miles repurposing a wooden sled sign to say “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (big vomit) and then offer your guests some .50 cent hot chocolate?

So for me, I went light on the “theme” and heavy on the hot cocoa quality because IT’S A HOT CHOCOLATE BAR, PEOPLE. I bought a bunch of Christmas mugs at the dollar store and the thrift store, and then Christmas’d-up my Taemin coffee cup for myself.

I had some candy options, like candy cane Kisses, hot chocolate Kisses, white chocolate chips, and peppermint candies. None of which required me to print out labels purchased from these dumb bitches’ Etsy shops and then cut out with a special scrapbooking paper punch.

Most importantly, I had options in case anyone wanted to take their mug o’ choco up a notch. I made Janna put all the options in hers and she was like, “Oh wow. Mm. Interesting.”

Chooch made fun of me because he thought I purposely went out and bought that “Let It Snow” bowl but I snapped, “It came with a set that someone gave me at work, Chooch!” Jesus, step off, hater.

Oh yeah, and two sizes of marshmallows and those Piroutte stick things, which Chooch’s friend Hoajie was excited about because it worked as a straw.

But the real star of the show, the hot chocolate, was made from scratch in a crockpot by Henry and it was, I feel confident saying this, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. It was so rich that really adding anything to it was gilding the lily (did I ever tell you that I learned that phrase from an episode of the home renovation show “While You Were Out” back when I was 23? I think of Teresa Strasser saying it EVERY  TIME I TYPE THAT OUT) but it was still incredibly fun plopping in scoops of white chocolate chips and marshmallows! I added some kind of caramel booze to my mug and the end result was LES MAGNIFIQUE, TRULY.

I found out at work on Monday that Margie has never put marshmallows in hot chocolate before (?!?!?) but she saw people doing it that night SO SHE DID IT TOO.

“OMG it was so good! They get all melty and squishy!” she enthused and I was about to ask her if she lives in a bomb shelter but then Wendy came over and interrupted.

I made such a big deal about this damn thing and Jiyong was like, “OK I will get some!” after I asked her for the third time (I was really trying to tone it down since it was her first time at my house, with my friends, and I tend to get really high strung at my house parties).

Blake came over when he came home from work that night and I practically slammed the last remaining Christmas mug in his hands and shouted, “HAVE SOME HOT CHOCOLATE FROM THE HOT CHOCOLATE BAR!” I mean, you don’t ever have to tell Blake twice. He was like, “Ooh! Hot chocolate! OK!” and then made his an adult version.

It was also great because Wendy and Shawn brought their four-year-old daughter, so I think this (in addition to the presents I gave her lol) really helped ease the pain of enduring a roomful of grownups who are constantly asking you questions about your life and how you feel.

In conclusion (sorry, I’m always watching Chooch write his dumb papers for school), I would say that the hot chocolate bar was a big success, anything leftover was non-perishable, and it was fun enough that I would definitely consider adding this to the rotation. There are so many different things you could do as far as mix-ins go, recipes to use, theming I guess even though that’s a bit too Pioneer Woman for me. I’m more of a mix-and-match bitch, to be honest.

****

Much later that night, after everyone left, Janna was still here so I was like, “JANNA YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS ONE DUMB LADY’S HOT CHOCOLATE BAR VIDEO” but then Chooch was also there trying to talk to her about the Holocaust, so to get her attention back to me, I started screaming, “JANNA LOOK THIS ASSHOLE IS USING A WINE GLASS TO TURN A CANISTER INTO A PEDASTAL BUT FIRST SHE’S GOING TO MAKE IT INTO A SNOWGLOBE WTF WHY” while Chooch was like, “JANNA BLAH BLAH BLAH HISTORY STUFF HITLER OH SHIT” and Janna honestly looked like she was in some type of ring of Hell which had been uninhabited for trillions of years until now.

Dec 172019
 

It’s my favorite time at the office you guys! The time when work SORT OF slows down a little (j/k this never happens anymore), co-workers ply us with cookies and nut rolls, Sue brings out all the Christmas wreaths and army of tinsel trees, and my little team has their annual Christmas lunch!

Every year, I try to make our boss Amber a…cute (?) card from all of us. I let Cheryl deal with collecting money for the gift card and got to work on this year’s masterpiece.

I think it might be my best work yet. When I handed it to Glenn to sign this morning, he barely even glanced at it, signed his name, and handed it back. He is truly dead inside when it comes to anything I do. IT’S ALMOST NOT FUN TO TERRORIZE HIM ANYMORE. I THINK THIS WAS HIS PLAN.

Fuck.

Whatever. Amber loved it and I think she is smug because she is always the only one in the office to get an Erin R Kelly original greeting card. I mean, it’s kind of my thing.

I also got her a candle from all of us. Not just any candle.

Related image

Courtesy of alwaysfits.com.

We have weekly meetings and I’m such a huge baby about them. I don’t know why—I guess because I feel like a trapped animal. I actually like everyone in my group so it’s nothing to do with them. So maybe I should have just given myself the candle…

After I presented Amber with her card and candle, she said, “Thanks, Erin!…..and everyone else.” When I walked past Glenn and Todd, I bragged that she only thanked everyone else as an afterthought, and Todd said, “See, I heard her thank ‘Todd’ and no one else.” Whatever! He wasn’t even going to come in today for our lunch because he was working late shift from home BUT I BULLIED HIM INTO COMING INTO THE OFFICE AND HE DID IT. I have a certain kind of pull around that office, you guys.

We had lunch today at City Works. Lauren and Cheryl were unable to make it, and two of other team members are based out of Chicago, so we missed them! BUT we got to bring Joy and Margie with us and that was a fine trade-off!

You guys, I got this cauliflower steak and I was so excited about it! Being a vegetarian, I have to plan ahead whenever I’m invited to any sort of work lunch, because it’s usually slim pickins for us meatfree lifetstyle people. When I saw that they had this in addition to the menu-standard veggie burger, I was stoked. (Although their veggie burger was actually an Impossible Burger and that was tempting!)

It was so nice to have an option aside from a veggie burger and salad! This bitchin’ slab of cauliflower was perfectly seared (that’s a thing right) and topped with some kind of greens, like arugula maybe. There was nice red sauce thing that was kind of like tomato sauce I guess, and also there were some slivers of almonds tucked away.

I WAS SO HAPPY! I was so fixated on cleaning my plate that I barely listened to the grown-ups talking about student loan solutions.

Then I made the waiter take a picture of us and he was like, “Can you plz hold the phone* until I clear out the dirty dishes so that you can actually have a nice picture?” and I was like, “WOW. SMART. Yes, let’s wait for that.”

*(Literally–I kept trying to hand him my phone and he was like chill girl you’ll get your damn picture after I do my job.)

(He was a good waiter.)

Before we left, Amber mentioned something about Santa and Joy was like, “Haha, OK” and we were like, “NO, WE ARE GOING TO GET OUR PICTURE TAKEN WITH SANTA AFTER THIS” and she was like, “Have fun with that” and I said, “JOY, YOU HAVE TO DO IT TOO” and I gave her my patented pout and she was like, “Oh for God’s sake how can I say no to that.” I KNOW RIGHT?!

But seriously, everyone thinks they’re getting a free lunch until they realize that the price they’re paying is succumbing to my whims.

This year, there was no line! Santa made a big deal of asking everyone their names, which they calmly answered in an adult manner. When he got to me, he said, “And that means you must be….” and I screamed, “I’M ERIN!” with my hands clasped and everyone groaned.

They took two photos and I’m posting both here because of Todd haha. Also, in the second one, they had Amber stand on a stool and afterward Santa said, “And that was the year you asked to be a foot taller!” and we were like, “OH SANTA YOU…SLEIGH!”

Ugh, I love that these people indulge me! And I love making these dumb office memories. We all spend so much time together, we might as well make it fun every now and then!

P.S. Margie totally wears that hand brace thing for attention.

Dec 082019
 

We finally had some time to trim our sexy Christmas tree, aka Trudy the Dish, last night! I think this is her fifth Christmas with us, blessed be!

I can’t believe my childhood dreams have come true and kept on staying that way! You have no idea how happy this dumb Xmas tree makes me.

And Janna too, which is why she hasn’t missed The Trimming of Trudy yet!

Henry’s only job is to strip Trudy of her clothes (her everyday outfit is a sweater from the 80s that also doubles as a display for my enamel pin collection–Trudy has a lot of purpose in this house, probably more than even I have, if we’re being candid here) and then the super easy task of cocooning her in Xmas lights which I never fail to cry is NEVER ENOUGH by the time he’s done and then he responds by storming out of the room in a huff and then Janna chides me with an, “Ooooooooh.”

Henry provided the snacks because decorating a mannequin for Christmas takes a lot out of a person.

I went a different route this year by eschewing the boxy Christmas sweater we usually stuff onto Trudy’s torso, because it really hides her svelte figure. I had a vision of her swirled and striped in extra garland for 2019, so that’s what we did, and you guys….I love it. This is the look (never “lewk,” I hate that dumb word) that Trudy was poured and molded for at the mannequin factory.

Trudy, you are fucking WELCOME.

At one point, I looked at Janna and said, “Oh my god…..she’s Trudy….GARLAND.”

And then Janna was like, “Ha-ha” but I was laughing myself straight to the nearest improv club and then made Janna high-five me, and Chooch was just like, “I don’t understand why that’s funny. I googled Trudy Garland and nothing is happening.”

So then we had to explain about Judy Garland and a few more turns were made and that is how we ended up watching parts of The Wizard of the Oz synched with Dark Side of the Moon on Chooch’s phone.

But you know, once in the 90s was enough

I bought Trudy a new hat at Target. It lights up!

Poor Henry thought his decorating duties were over but then I was like, “HENRY THE ELF, HANG THE LIGHTS ON THE CURE WALL” so he spent a good hour fucking around with boxes of brand new lights that turned out to be lemons and look out Target, because Henry is going to ASK FOR HIS MONEY BACK.

I drank some wine and I don’t drink much anymore so I was a REAL HOOT, YOU COULD SAY.

This is what everything looked like to me last night. Also, I let Henry get some sitting in because now he’s back to hanging more lights today and also I sprung on him the idea of painting our front door because it’s white and plain, and I think he’s starting to look forward to the day when he gets to move into an old folks home and have shit done for HIMSELF for once, haha. And probably no one will come to him for help making gigantic art pieces of the Seoul subway map that lights up with corresponding colored LED lights.

Yeah, it’s on his current To Do list, haha.

Drew’s like why can’t we have a regular tree so I can climb inside it like normal asshole cats.

It’s hard decorating for a holiday when your house is always exploding with color and lights, but we do what we can.

Chooch made Janna play some cat collecting game, which should be a real life game for them.

Janna was mad at first because Chooch wasn’t reading the directions in his own voice which was cracking me up because, wine, but Janna was like COME ON CHOOCH, GIVE ME THE DIRECTIONS and then I posted this video on social media and it got Kara all riled up because she is the QUEEN OF NOT FUCKING AROUND WITH GAME DIRECTIONS! If you want your game nights to run like a well-oiled machine, you gotta invite Kara. She’ll get the shit done and cut loose any dead weight.

And there was always dead weight at my game nights of yesteryear, believe me.

We kept Janna here until like 1:30am, making her watch videos of Korea and trying to convince her that joining us on our next trip there (hopefully 2021!!!) could be the best decision she ever makes. I think she’s sold! I love Korea SO MUCH and I can’t think of anything greater than sharing the experience with a friend!

That door is getting fucking painted. Henry said “it certainly won’t be today” but it’s going to be this week, I promise you that.

Nov 012019
 

Per tradition, I used my floating holiday for Halloween (I always request it off at the beginning of the year, as though I’m actually racing anyone for that day) and I was prepared to just stew in my general creepiness, watch some horror flicks, maybe design some new cards. But then all kinds of annoying things happened right away, setting the tone, and then my day just stayed shitty and annoying to the point where I declared in front of witnesses (actual people, and not just the cats for once) that I was done celebrating Halloween. Let’s recap in bullets because I’m still too annoyed to even bother paragraphing.

  • For the first time EVER, I didn’t have any last-minute costumer alterations to perform on Chooch, which was a miracle. He created his costume all on his own, with a tiny bit of help from Henry (only when it came to measurements).  But then that night I was laying in bed and in true Erin fashion, I had a last minute idea that would add a bit of SNAZZ AND PIZZAZZ to the costume. “Don’t we have a spare doorknob somewhere?” I asked a slumbering Henry. “I know I’ve seen a spare doorknob…” and then I found it because our house might be a dumpster of chaos, but there’s a system to the madness. “Before you go to work, can you attach this doorknob to the left side of his costume?” and Henry mumbled and snorted, so I was like, “Cool, goodnight.” And he actually heard my commands because the next morning, we found the costume with the doorknob added to it, but IT WAS ON  THE RIGHT SIDE NOT THE LEFT and have you not learned a thing about me? I am a Halloween pageant mom. This sent me OVER THE EDGE to the point where I considered complementing Chooch’s costume by going as Jack Nicholson’s character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest. THIS WILL MAKE SENSE LATER. Anyway I blew up Henry’s phone with texts calling him a moron and worthless and Chooch was like, “This is fine though, no one will notice” and then he left for school before I had a chance to burn down the house with my psychic rage.
  • Then, at 8am I called my dentist’s office to see if I could swing by and grab the copy of the Xray that my old dentist was supposed to send to them BUT OH GUESS WHAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT. They were like, “Hmm it doesn’t seem like they sent it, can you call them and double check?” and like, NO but I guess I WILL because I HAVE TO. I called the old dentist and got their answering machine, so I waited an hour and called again and still got the answering machine so I assumed that they were closed and left them a borderline irate message about how it’s been two weeks and my new dentist doesn’t have the records they were supposed to send and I NEED IT FOR AN UPCOMING APPOINTMENT ON MONDAY GRRRR. Anyway, they called later that day while I was exercising and I don’t stop exercising for phone calls, sorry. So their rude ass receptionist left a smarmy message saying that they emailed the xray to my new dentist on OCT 15 and that I would have to call and check with them again so I called the new dentist and the receptionist even checked her spam folder but it wasn’t there! She was so nice and apologetic and I was like “Look, it’s not your fault those other people are making this is chore” so she verified their email address and told me to tell them to email it again which meant I had to have another shitty conversation with Lady Snark and she was like, “HOLD ON” and literally put me on hold before I had a chance to give her the email  address and when she came back, she said, “YES WE SENT THESE ON OCTOBER 15 TO THAT SAME ADDRESS BUT I GUESS I WILL DO IT AGAIN” and my god, I hate that place so much. By this time it was 4pm and I just didn’t care anymore. I had no ounce of fucks left in me to call my new dentist back to see if they got it. I just couldn’t. (UPDATE: Old dentist called me AT WORK this morning and said that when they resent the xray it was bounced back to them and it’s the correct email address so maybe they’re just idiots who are trying to send a too-big file!?!?!? Of course, the new dentist is closed today.)
  • The mail came. I was excited because a pin order I placed over the weekend was delivered! I bought a Regan/Exorcist pin and these cool Redrum shoelace charms which took me forever to put on my shoes and then I realized that I HAD ORDERED THE BLACK NICKEL VERSION AND THEY SENT ME THE NICKEL NICKEL VERSION!!!!!

  • Also in the mail was a 15-page court document because my grandma’s estate is being sued and of course my name, along with my brothers’ name, are all over that shit, so I had heart palpitations and the Pukes after that.
  • Then, Janna texted me and said she was in the area and wanted to stop by and get the cookie dough etc that she purchased from Chooch’s dumb school fundraiser. Henry asked Haley if she would keep it in her freezer because we didn’t have room in ours, so Chooch went over to get it. When he came back, he said, “Oh and heads up, Blake didn’t know this was Janna’s and ate a piece of the cheesecake but don’t worry because he put some cookies in there to make up for it” and this would have been another Seinfeld-esque episode in our lives where, hahahaha, something dumb happened to Janna, EXCEPT THAT THE CHEESECAKE WAS FOR JANNA’S FRIEND SO I FUCKING LOST MY SHIT because how goddamn embarrassing! JANNA’S NAME WAS WRITTEN ON ALL OF THE BOXES SO I AM LOST AS TO WHY BLAKE THOUGHT IT WAS OK TO HELP HIMSELF. Then Janna arrived in the middle of WWIII, just dropped right on into our Den of Domestic Hostility from a helicopter rope, right as I was declaring that I was DONE CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN.

Honestly! The last several Halloweens have been so dumb! I QUIT! I stan Arbor Day now!

The one constant positive of the day is that the Halloween franchise was playing on TV all day throughout all of my stressful dentist phone tags, bad mail, and verbal evisceration of Blake. I did also make some new cards for non compos, so it wasn’t a total wasted day.

****

Meanwhile, the weather was shitty and rainy all day, which was apropos since Chooch was once again going to be swathed in cardboard, but I tried not to fixate on that too much. I was just really happy that at least I didn’t have to do any last minute bullshit with his costume. I just threw some gray eyeshadow on his face to give him the appearance of facial hair, armed him with an emergency poncho, and then let him go off with his pals.

Apparently, one of their teachers told them they’re too old to trick-or-treat and that made me mad. I feel like if a school-aged (including high school) kid wants to put on a costume and have some fun that doesn’t involve drugs and vandalism, then I will gladly give them candy if they come to my house. MAYBE EVEN TWO PIECES. Kids don’t get to be kids for as long as we did, so let them have this night for god’s sake.

Chooch has a really strong grasp on “crazed.”

Honestly, this was the only great thing of the whole day, seeing Chooch bask in the fact that he made his own costume. And you guys, the rain held off!

But back at the Murder House, I had decided that I was still in too bad of a mood to deal with kids, even though I did run to CVS earlier to buy my midnight hour collection of picked over candy. We live on a main drag in our neighborhood so even in good weather, we only get about 20 kids. It’s depressing, really.

So I employed Trudy’s help in passing out candy:

Anyway, I called it – 4 trick-or-treaters. And they were all one family, so literally just the one opportunity for Trudy to shine. And she succeeded in making the little girl in the group cry. I was hiding behind the door, because that was the whole point – slowly open the door from the inside and let them take their own candy from Trudy’s basket. So I had to fling the door all the way open and yell, “WAS IT TOO SCARY?! I’M SO SORRY!” while Henry was in the background mouthing off his catchphrase: “Good one, Erin.”

The parents swore that it was OK and the dad was fucking loving it. He actually was telling me ways to make it even scarier. “You should put a hand in the basket so it grabs people” and then he was trying to see everything else in my house (I mean, to his credit, there is a lot to take in) but I was like, “OK bye now.”

And then Henry and I sat in the dark, with horror movie scores blasting from a Bluetooth speaker, for two hours. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting. BUT NO ONE ELSE CAME. I kept peeking through the curtains, pacing up and down the sidewalk, flicking the porch light off and on to draw attention, but our block was mostly deserted all night. A few kids appeared here and there, but they would only go as far as the halfway house up the street, then turn around and go back.

Does my house have a reputation?! REALLY, KIDS WILL GO TO THE HALFWAY HOUSE BUT NOT 3021?!

Two older-teenaged girls, not in costume, walked by at one point and I tried to get Henry to call them over.

“Yeah, a 55-year-old man, yelling ‘Come here!’ to underaged girls. That’s a good way to get the cops here,” Henry said around a frown.

“Well…maybe the cops want candy,” I started to suggest, but then I quickly laughed that idea off because HAHAHAHA I HATE COPS AND WOULD NEVER GIVE THEM CANDY.

By the end of the night, I had finally calmed down a bit. I did some relaxing pilates and then watched The Blackcoat’s Daughter which was a bad idea to watch right before bed, but…Halloween.

*******

Earlier today, on the phone with Henry: “We should let Chooch have a Halloween party next year,” I suggested.

“I thought you weren’t celebrating Halloween anymore?” Henry said snidely. Ugh, I hate when he actually listens to me.

Sep 052019
 

After a sweaty day dripping perspiration around the streets of Insadong, we came back, freshened up, did a wardrobe change, and then set off for Digital Media City where we (just Chooch and me, Henry is lame) would be attending a live taping of a Kpop show! First, we had to have our traditional crack-up in the elevator though – we always played the “get on the elevator and leave Henry” game so that he would have to wait for another elevator and be all grumbly by the time he joined us outside.

It never got old!

(Well, it may have for Henry.)

Waiting outside for Henry — I hate when Chooch makes this face!!

Digital Media City is only one stop away from where we were staying in Hongdae, but we still left around 3:45 to ensure that we arrived at the SBS Prism building by 4:30, which was the designated check-in time.

A few months ago, we watched a video about this area of Seoul, and it’s literally built on top of a gigantic garbage dump that had, at one point, grown so large that it was 34x the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the fuck….In 1996, Seoul launched stabilization projects to fix this and prevent further environmental contamination, and now this area is home to many broadcasting headquarters, housing, and beautiful parks!

The Prism building had a bunch of people waiting outside, but it was all of the locals who line up in hopes of getting to attend the shows.

So, each network has their own weekly Kpop shows, where the artists who are currently promoting new songs come out, perform their comeback or debut song, and then usually at the end, there is a voting system (they go by digital streams, album sales, online popularity voting…I’m 100% sure it’s rigged, but it’s still fun right?!), a winner is announced, no one is surprised, confetti pops off, the trophy is passed around by the winning group members and all of the other artists on stage bow respectfully to each other. Then the winning group does an impromptu, informal performance of their winning song which usually involves them fucking around with each other, doing weird dances, interacting with the crowd—it’s just fun to watch!

Every show will let in a certain number of fans, but most of them are first come, first serve, so people will literally start lining up at like 2am. I would have loved to attend Inkigayo because in my opinion, that’s the best one, but I’m on vacation, man. I’m not spending my limited free time in Korea sitting on the ground with a bunch of kids. No offense, kids or Korean ground!

Some shows have a lottery system, but you have to register on their website which is all in Korean and a lot of times you have to have a Korean phone number too, and again — it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get in!

So when I saw that there is a special ticket just for foreigners to attend SBS MTV’s The Show, I was like, “Paid. Done.” This was literally right after we booked our flight in March! It was the very first thing we had our itinerary, lol.

It cost about $150 for the two of us, and I noticed that the prices went up as the date got closer, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in this to book it early! There are limited seats and the shows do sell out, so don’t wait until it’s only a week or two out, because you want to have a better idea of the artists that will be there that night!

For us, there weren’t any groups that we’re major stans of (except Pentagon), but the experience itself was still gold! Here was the lineup that was released earlier that morning:

Fun fact: I won a hi-touch for KNK at the first KCON I went to and I realize while typing this that it might as well be an trig equation for most of you reading this so I’ll break it down in non Kpop-speak: In 2017, I went to a Kpop festival in Newark and won a opportunity for what is called a “hi-touch” which basically means a Kpop group stands behind a table on a stage and fans are herded past in a single-file line and you get to quickly high five / hand touch each member. I know, right? You can read about my experience here!

It was starting to drizzle so we went inside the building. I was so nervous and I have NO IDEA why! Our spot inside the studio was secure, but my stomach was doing The Flops. Check out the older gentleman behind Chooch – he was totally there alone, and I thought it was awesome because kpop isn’t just for young girls and desperate old broads like me. There was even this totally metal dad there with his teenage daughter, and I mean METAL. He looked like someone in one of the Swedish metal bands my friend Alyson likes, though I think he may he may have been German?

I’m telling you, when you’re in Korea, whether you’re a Kpop junkie or not, I really feel like this is part of the experience.

At 4:30, four different tourism company representatives stood up with signs, and everyone had to line up behind the one they purchased their tickets from. Of course, the lady from Trazy, where we got ours, was barely holding up her sign so it cause confusion because what else is new?!

But it ended up being fine, because everyone received a number after checking in with her so we were able to go back and sit down until it was time to line up again.

Basically, it was a lot of waiting and standing in (dis)orderly lines.

We kind of befriended the young girl in front of us because she was just as nervous and confused as us. At one point, Chooch announced that it smelled like a shoe store in there, and she started giggling. “That’s so random!” she laughed.

Then she started talking to the girl next to her (again, the line was NOT straight), and that’s how I found out that she is only 16, from Spain, lives in Equador, but is currently studying in Korea, and the girl next to her is 23, from Australia and a student at one of the universities in Seoul.

It truly was a vast collection of foreigners up in there and it made me happy to see that we were all coming together for one shared love. While we were standing there, several of the groups walked by upstairs and everyone screamed. I had no idea who were clamoring over because I have the eyes of a 80-year-old who spends most of her life in a cave, but it was sure exciting!

I found out later that it was Limitless and CIX!

Finally, we were taken outside the lobby and into a side door, up several staircases, and down a hallway that just screamed, “YOU ARE BACKSTAGE.”

Oh yeah, Henry left after we taken into the studio. He had big plans to go to a grocery store but instead he just went back to the room because he’s a lamer.

Anyway, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures or video once the actual recording started, so I took this picture before it started, when it was still “legal,” and then I put my phone in my purse for the rest of the evening so I wouldn’t give the security any reason to believe I was being That American and have me ejected.

Seriously — I got kicked out of a Chinese restaurant once years and years ago because I was falsely accused of eating crab legs off the buffet without paying and I was like, “OK bitch, I’m a vegetarian?” but that didn’t matter and me and the dumb broad I was with were actually escorted out and it was so humiliating. And ever since,  I take great strides to make sure that I don’t get kicked out places.

#NeverForget #CharacterBuilding

In that picture above, you can see the small rectangular holding cell — that’s where the people who were picked from the crowd get to stand. Us foreigners got really nice, comfy stadium seating in the back, and the view was actually perfect.

Hang-y light things!

The show started promptly at 6pm and it was nuts to watch all the cameras swiveling and the different fan site representatives sitting a few rows in front of us, editing photos in Photoshop seconds after the pictures were taken. This shit is serious business.

The hosts of The Show are Yeeunfrom CLC and Jeno from NCT Dream, which I forgot about originally and when I saw all the girls with their NCT lightsticks, I was briefly hopeful that NCT Dream was going to be there since they currently were having a comeback.

Image result for yeeun and jeno the show 2019

They were standing SO CLOSE to our side of the seating too! Whenever they were MCing, they were facing us with their backs to the stage and it was fucking exciting, even though we had no idea what they were saying because in case you weren’t sure, subtitles don’t appear in real life.

Each artist performed one song, and they moved it along with razor-sharp precision. It was perfect for someone like Chooch who enjoys things like this….to a point. He does lose interest quickly, but this was fast-moving and fun and there was NO downtime, so he didn’t even have a chance to drift off.

We both really loved all of the performers, but my favorites were Dongkiz, VAV, CIX, Saturday, and Pentagon. However, since VAV, CIX and Pentagon were the three top groups that were competing for the trophy at the end, their performances were actually pre-recorded, so we only got to see about 1 minute of a live performance and then they would stop dancing, wave to the crowd and walk off the stage. KPOP SHOW SECRETS REVEALED! I knew that bigger groups, like BIGBANG and EXO for instance, typically pre-record their performances and I always wondered how that worked since they are always there at the end.

I don’t know. It’s still confusing to me.

Like, some of the groups performed two songs, but we only saw one because the second one was recorded earlier.

Here are the videos of my favorites from the night:

CIX: They were the winners of the night! They are a brand new group that recently debuted over the summer, featuring members of the defunct Wanna One (RIP) and some YG trainees. I think they’re going to go far! This song was stuck in my head for the rest of the time we were in Korea, and the dance IS SO GOOD.

Pentagon: I’m still bitter that E’Dawn isn’t with them anymore, but they never fail to make me smile. I was so happy to see them perform again after seeing them at KCON in 2018! If you don’t think this song is fun, then GTFO.

(J/K, you can stay the fuck here, I’m trying to be more inclusive LOLOL.)

Saturday: THIS SONG REMINDS ME OF THE STUFF THAT GOT ME INTO KPOP! The adorable, quirky, sugary girl group bops. The whole time I watched their performance, all I could think was, “This is peak Korea for me. It can’t get any more heavenly than this.”

(But then a few days later, it did.)

Dongkiz: I have never heard of these guys before this night and they’re not even really a rookie group anymore, but this performance won me over. They are so joyful! And the Ghostbusters sample! And the actual ghost mascot! And their cute dance moves! Chooch and I fell hard for them.

OK, honestly I could sit here all night posting videos and then it would eventually just be every single stage because they were all so entertaining! There wasn’t one group that made me go, “Eh, they’re not for me.” I enjoyed them all!

It was over around 7:30 and as we stood outside in the courtyard of the Prism building, texting Henry, two girls ran past us in a Big Hurry.

“Something’s going on!” Chooch yelled, peeling out of the lot in his Mystery Van.

We ran (crowd mentality) in the same direction, around to the other side of the building, and that’s where we saw some fansite paparazzi standing on actual ladders, taking pictures with their gigantic $878947293874 lens of the idols being interviewed inside the lobby.

I texted Henry and told him what was happening, and he eventually meandered over to us, because he had already returned to the Prism building – he must have missed us!

It was a good thing that we followed those girls, because even though we had to wait and be patient for about 45 minutes, some of the idols actually exited the building  right by where we were standing! (The path from the doors to the road were roped off and security was there, so we couldn’t stampede them, even though I’m sure if certain other groups were there that night, a dinky rope wasn’t going to stop anyone.)

It took us forever but I think we eventually decided that this was Dongkiz?! I don’t know enough about them to know for sure! It could be 1Team too.

But here is a collection of videos that Chooch snagged because let me tell you, that boy got caught up in the excitement and was acting like he STANNED every single one of these idols!

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Kpop idol sightings outside of The Show on 7/30. It was so much fun!

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The other group in the video is for sure VAV. And in the first Instagram video I posted earlier in this literal novella ends with CIX driving past and it is so cute (we actually figured out that they were leaving through a different door so we ran over to the other exit just in time to watch their car pulling away!).

You guys, this was exhilarating! I felt so legit! This was a bucket list item FOR SURE.

I wonder if Chooch will tell his kids about it someday…

…and I wonder how weird they will think it is…

Afterward, we went back to Hongdae. Chooch and Henry ate at Mom’s Touch but I was pouting because I wanted Isaac Toast but THEY WERE CLOSED. Like, since when does anything close at 9pm in Seoul.

Chooch was fucking exhausted, lol.

We watched some buskers on the way back to our room and then tortured Henry with Slaphappy Hour.

This was hands down the best birthday of my whole entire life—OK, tied with the one two years ago when I went to see G-Dragon in Toronto, was second row from the stage and got to be like FIVE FEET FROM HIM during his performance of “Untitled.” That too was a pretty fucking bar-raising birthday.

NOW WHAT WILL I DO FOR MY FIFTIETH?!