Dec 022020
 

I figured this past weekend would be a good time to Christmas-fy Trudy which was actually making  me feel exhausted and underwhelmed just by thinking about it. But then I scored a church pew through Craigslist, which my little bitchboy Hank went to pick up Saturday morning and suddenly I was fully energized by the prospect of doing a full refresh on this corner of the house!

We’ve had a big, overstuffed chaise lounge in that corner since…well, almost since as long as I’ve lived here. I remember this vividly because my mom bought it for me when I was working at the dumb meat place, before I met Henry, so this must have been around 2000, and I needed someone to be at my house when the guys delivered it so I asked THAT BITCH KERI who keeps coming up in my memories for some reason and hopefully not because she’s about to penetrate my life in some way, ugh. Anyway, Keri literally lived down the street in the same fucking neighborhood as me and didn’t work during the day so I was like “can you come and stay at my house on this afternoon etc” and she was like “NO SORRY I AM TIRED.” Or “SORRY I WILL BE WATCHING MOVIES” because that was her excuse for everything unless she had a headache which was her ultimate NO CAN DO card.

(EDIT: Janna just alerted me to the fact that she came to my house and waited for the chair to be delivered since dumb Keri wouldn’t! I can’t believe I forgot about that! Actually, I can because I am officially an old broad with a walnut brain.)

All of that is to say the same damn chair has been in that corner of the room for 20 years and no one even sits on it really unless I have people over and it just takes up so much damn room. So we moved it onto the back porch where it fits perfectly and will be my new reading chair since now it doesn’t butt up against a shared wall which was one of the reasons I quit sitting in it – the series of loud ass neighbors we’ve had.

I’m gonna get a small coffee table for that corner too at some point DON’T RUSH ME OK.

My co-workers started an email thread about this picture and Henry was like, “thx erin.” Lol. Amber said it looks like quarantine has softened him but Glenn was like MORE LIKE HE’S BROKEN FROM YEARS OF BEING BEAT DOWN.

Henry agreed with Glenn.

Every little change is such a big deal for these girls.

Truth be told, it doesn’t take that long to decorate Trudy anymore. We just leave the lights on her all the time now and have adopted a “less is more” attitude with it. And especially now that she has a co-tree in Taemin, we don’t want her to overshine him too much, you know?

Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday but I love the way the house makes me feel when it’s (extra) lighted. The power of a couple strands of twinkle lights really goes a long way, and I don’t know about you, but having this kind of romantic mood lighting up in here helps me combat the sads. Come at me, seasonal depression!

Even Trudy understands the science behind wearing a mask.

YEAH HE HAS.

I definitely put out less decorations this year since we won’t be having any parties, but it still makes me feel peaceful.

Drew’s always gotta be in pictures. She knows.

It’s hard to believe that this is Trudy’s fifth (sixth??) Christmas with us already. We don’t have many “traditional” traditions but Trudy just feels so regular and normal. And if we’re being honest, she’s pretty low maintenance. We don’t have to chop her down, nor we have to lug her out of the attic and put her together. She’s just…always around. LIKE PART OF THE FAMILY. Love that babe.

(Fun fact: we actually tried to find her a boyfriend a few mths ago when JC Penney had a WE’RE CLOSING, PLEASE BUY IT ALL sale but we got there too late and there were no mannequins left. Is there a Tinder for mannequins?)

Nov 302020
 

Even though it’s just the three of us here in our cozy covid pod, I didn’t want to just say ‘fuck it’ and like, order pizza or something, which is definitely something we have done on other holidays since we don’t really have anything else to do, family to visit, etc. So I suggested that we make a little spread of international delights, akin to what I had planned for 4th of July before we decided to tear up the kitchen instead.

(“Yeah but can’t we still do it anyway?” I asked Henry and he was like WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO COOK?? Oh…yeah. Lol.)

Here is the menu I painstakingly constructed only to have Henry prove at 11pm on Thanksgiving Eve that he only barely read it by answering, “Um…..” 4 out of 5 times to my questions of, “Did you get the ingredients for this?” He’s such a holidayfucker, I swear to god. Spoiler: IT TURNED OUT FINE! He was able to get the rest of what he needed at the Mexican grocery store down the street the next day.

  • fufu and peanut soup (West African)
  • Mamaliga (Romania)
  • baked apple sauce (Dutch)
  • Smolensk porridge (Russia)
  • Street corn salad (Mexico)
  • Sweet potato rolls (Portugal)
  • Mashed potatoes (good ol’ Merica, made by Chooch)
  • Vegan ham
  • Bibingka (Philippines)
  • Cherry pie (another American contribution by vanilla Chooch)

Pre-dinner, Chooch off-handedly mentioned that he wanted to try peppermint Schnappes after seeing Lily guzzle it on Dash + Lily so I was like OH WHAT THE HELL IT’S A HOLIDAY and let him have a sip.

Chooch’s cherry pie was the first thing that was done that day and proceeded to tempt us with its cloying aroma

I made bibingka all by myself! I lied! It was a box mix and Chooch had to help me because the directions were totally confusing. I was crying. But hot damn, this coconut milk cake was delicious. I learned about it from the book The Farm, which I did not like but at least it taught me about some delicious Filipino foods.

My apple sauce required the addition of speculaaskruiden which is a speculoos-y spice, I guess. Of course it was impossible to find but then I found a recipe with how to make it and it seemed easy until I sent it to Henry and he was like CARDAMOM PODS ARE $10, GRRRRR but he bought them and spent Wednesday night roasting, shelling, and grinding them lolololol. The next day, I was like, “WHEN DO I GET TO DO SOMETHING” and he was all, “Here, make your damn apple shit” and swept his arm toward a pile of apples and I was like, “OK, so do I just shove them in the oven?”

“No. You have to peel and cut them first.”

OH HAHAHA HELL NO. I was looking for something a bit less laborious, buddy. So he sent me away and then let me come back hours later after they had been baked and were ready for some mashing. I am good at mashing.

I did hurt my wrist though.

FAKE HAM. This was just from the store. Probably Whole Foods.

MY RUSSIAN PORRIDGE SHIT! It was really weird – fresh cranberry sauce (I MADE IT…wait, did I? No, I was supposed to I think but then Henry ended up doing it because I lost interest) poured over rice. This was our….amuse bouche? Maybe. Chooch HATED IT. I thought it was quite interesting and also good (a lot of people might think interesting means bad but NOT IN THIS CASE) and Henry was immediately coming up with ways to make it better, OK Boris.

Nope, not a fan.

Then we had our fufu course and you guys, I cannot stress enough HOW.GOOD.FUFU.IS. This is another food I learned about from a book and Henry first made it last spring at my request. The fufu is that yellow hunk floating in the soup, and it’s made from plantain and yucca (actually, there are variations of this depending on what region you’re looking at). Literally just those two things and water. It turns into a sticky dough that you then use an edible utensil for soup-spooning.

It is so insanely good with peanut soup. Holy shit, I think I want this to be our new Thanksgiving dinner tradition.

Romanian mamaliga is essentially polenta (Henry was like, “That’s exactly what it is, so…”) topped with a dollop of sour cream, and as a fan of polenta in general, I was not mad at all about this addition to our holiday menu.

This was another thing that Chooch DID NOT LIKE.

Our first time using the buffet!!

OH SHOOOOOT, these sweet potato rolls were bangin’. They were so dense and rich! I toasted one the next morning for breakfast and it was like a fucking gourmet English muffin. Henry added the recipe to his KEEPER pile.

Would I have liked to have invited my mom and Henry’s mom over for dinner? Absolutely. But it’s not worth risking their health (or worse: lives) just because we wanted it to feel “more like a holiday.” Maybe next year things will be safer and we can go all out, but for this year I was…thankful (ugh) to just share a nice dinner with these two goofs.

This is Chooch’s “I CAN HEAR YOU CHEWING” face.

Oh shit, and don’t forget the Korea representation!! Soju in the house! Wish we had makgeolli too but we would have had to travel to obtain that milky nectar of the motherland.

We had some vegan Sugar Spell pints too and that purple sweet potato casserole is a contender for my favorite flavor of theirs.

A little bit of e’er’thang.

My poor stomach felt like Stretch Armstrong after that smorgasbord.

To cap off the night, Chooch and I did the dishes and then indulged in our annual T-giving tradition of mocking birthday party videos on YouTube. I think we all got along all day, too?? COULD THIS BE TRUE?!!

Nov 262020
 

It’s 9:00PM already on Thanksgiving (2020 is on goddamn warped speed) and I am so tired and content. This was quite possibly the nicest T-giving my little fam-trio has had, because the pandemic brought with it LOW EXPECTATIONS. I will pop back on here sometime this weekend to give a proper recap but I wanted to use this day to say thanks to those of you guys who read this, whether we know each other in real life, became friends via the Internet, or maybe you’re a friendly stranger who occasionally reads but doesn’t comment: I’m thankful for you guys! I enjoy writing about the daily minutiae of my life and that anyone cares to read it really means so much to me. I don’t say thanks enough!

I also wanted to take some dumb family pictures to immortalize this Thanksgiving, which was blessedly sans arguing (mostly) and we all pitched in (mostly) and everything turned out wonderfully (100%)!

Henry and Chooch changed clothes IMMEDIATELY after this, so in the next post you’ll see them chowing down on Thanksgiving fare in their super-casual attire.

If Henry looks exhausted/harried, it’s because he was in the middle of cooking and I made him throw on a flannel and sit for an entire 5 minutes while we pretended to be at Olan Mills.

Anyway, I hope my fellow Americans found a way to maintain some traditions while not breaking any pandemic laws. Trust me, I’m not thrilled about how things are playing out either because our new-ish tradition has been to spend a quiet Thanksgiving at home and then go to an amusement for the weekend, and you better believe I was super bummed when summer came and went and an end to covid was still not in sight. I pretty much made peace with the fact months ago that we’d just be staying put for Thanksgiving weekend, and it’s ok. Life goes on (it might not though if you don’t follow covid safety measures!!).

And now I’m going to go and roll myself out of these jeans and into sweatpants, and maybe scroll through Instagram to check out all the pies my friends made. That’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving! ALL OF THE PIE. Speaking of, Chooch made a delightful one and I will talk about that in my Thanksgiving recap.

Byeeeeeeeeeee.

Nov 022020
 

Welp, to use the most annoying phrase of all time this side of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”:

IT IS WHAT IT IS.

Luckily, we’ve had, what, 7 months to get used to dashed plans and all the dusty nooks and crannies of our homes, so it wasn’t like Halloween was THE MOST DEPRESSING day of the year. And ironically, it managed to be one of the only Halloweens in recent years where I didn’t flip out over last minute costume malfunctions or the general concept of things not going my way.

God forbid.

I mean it was annoying when, for the second year in a row, Henry’s son took the kids trick or treating in some uppity suburban utopia which is whatever, but they live RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO US and couldn’t be troubled to bring the kids over for a second so we could at least see what they were dressed as. No, we instead had to find out the next day via Instagram. How fucking precious.

Oh well, they’re not even my actual grandkids so what do I care. It’s just outrageous how self-centered and oblivious that generation is. The one after the millennials. What are we calling that shit? Generation Z. Thanks, Google. Actually, looking at the dates, those two are actually the combined forces of Millennials AND Generation Z! No wonder why they have literally no life etiquette or courtesy. Or, as we call it in Korean, noonchi. 

It’s the 눈치 없다 generation.

I think Chooch was actually more upset about this than me, and Henry just shrugged it off entirely because Blake is just like him so he doesn’t really have the room to complain.

But whatever, on to better things.

Like Chooch’s costume!

We knew he most likely wasn’t going trick-or-treating this year (you know, being a big bad ninth grader and all), but it didn’t feel right not making a costume. I mean, nearly right up until the end I had begun to accept that my career as Halloween pageant mom really, truly was over.

“But Erin, you say that every year, etc etc.”

No, for real this time!

But then the damn VP debate happened and the fly nested in Pence’s helmet hair for a hilariously long amount of time, and the Internet went nuts over it, and I started screaming CHOOCH, WE HAVE A COSTUME!

We bought him a gaming computer a few weeks ago so he is pretty much at our mercy, at least for the next couple of months. So he was like, “Yes, ma’am that surely seems like a great costume idea and I will happily wear it.”

It also ended being one of the cheapest costumes we’ve made, as well! Those glasses were $5, the ski mask was from Henry’s work, the wings are made from wire hangers and wax paper, Pence’s face is made from cardboard we already had, and a few sheets of foam paper that came to like, $5. Oh, and the pipe cleaners were about $3, if even that. And Henry probably used a Michaels coupon because he is a seasoned craft store shopper.

Man, we just couldn’t help ourselves.

And yes, I made sure to give Pence pink eyes since his eyeballs were basically bleeding during that debate. What a gross man.

Most of the day, aside from costuming, was spent working on projects around the house and before we knew it, it was time for trick-or-treating to start. It wasn’t canceled or anything in our area, but we wanted to make sure it was safe on the off-chance anyone actually came to our house  (we live on a busy street so most of the kids tend to stay on the inner streets). I set up a bowl of candy on one of our wheelchairs and nestled a bottle of hand sanitizer next to it. We hid our Echo under a porch chair and had haunted house music playing all night which upset our cats bigly.

Last year, we only got one kid. This year, during a fucking pandemic, we got 4 groups! Plus the pizza delivery guy who I called back to the porch and forced to take some candy, lol.

Then we ate pizza and just chilled without having any arguments! It was actually a really nice, cozy Halloween in spite of the state of the world. Here’s hoping Trump gets voted the fuck out and we can get legit adults in the White House who will focus on working with the rest of the world to find a way to kill covid. Props to everyone who celebrated Halloween responsibly!

Oct 302020
 

Today is my last day of my annual Halloween Vacation and honestly, it doesn’t even matter because it’s not like I’m returning home from anywhere cool or having to actually go back to the office on Monday. It’s just been more of the same, but without sitting in front of the computer for 8 hours a day. I was going to post a Friday Five, but I don’t know that I can scrounge up an entire FIVE THINGS to drone on about, that is how motherfucking this week has been. Let me summarize it for you quickly.

I have:

  • read a bunch of books;
  • gone on A LOT of walks;
  • sort of helped Henry with a gallery wall;
  • carefully placed objects on some shelves that Henry made from neon acrylic;
  • shoved a spoon in some spooky scoops whenever the fuck I wanted;
  • said, “wow it’s raining again” about 4589 times.

Guys, seriously, I don’t think I have done anything else. I haven’t even watched a full horror movie, just had some classics on in the background while I stared wistfully at the wall and begged the cats for attention. I really DO NOT do the whole “staycation” well at all.

Here are some pictures of the shelves tho:

This shelf is on the “popsicle wall” and displays some things collected from my travels. And no, that’s not a weener, lol. It’s the top from some traditional medicinal liquor we bought in Korea. The camel and Coke bottle are both from Morocco; the vegemite and honey are from Australia, that weird broken vase thing is from Pompeii. The pictures are Chooch with two BIGBANG dads (Seungri’s and G-Dragon’s!). The little hanok is also from Korea.

And then this one is in the kitchen:

   

I like how it looks like it’s glowing. Anyway, Henry made these shelves from sheets of acrylic but it seemed like it was a pain so probably next time we will just buy ones already made and pay the exorbitant shipping from the UK, lol. (Although Henry has already been reading up on how to polish acrylic and apparently he needs a blowtorch and he seems pretty excited to try that out, so who knows.)

Oh I know! I also worked on Chooch’s Halloween costume but that didn’t take long at all. He’s not going trick-or-treating but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a certain costume and he half-heartedly agreed to go along with it so THERE, I WIN ANOTHER HALLOWEEN BATTLE, BOO YEAH.

Oh I knowx2! On Monday, I took a picture of myself to submit to the office because, since this year is my 10th anniversary, I have the opportunity to update my employee picture, which is hilarious because I tried to be proactive about this last fall, knowing that they circulate a giant poster of all the people having anniversaries (in 5-year increments) and I DID NOT want my current picture to be used because I look hideous and unrecognizable.  So Margie arranged for several of us in the department to have our picture retaken by some broad and it was incredibly awkward because I had to stand in her small office while she took my picture with her phone and I didn’t like a single one of the pictures but just said, “Sure, that one is fine” and that it didn’t matter anyway because she never had it put on our Firm’s directory even after I emailed her twice to remind her, and then the pandemic happened and I was like, “is it petty to still be upset about this or nah?” Finally last week I was like, “OK, enough time has passed and everyone is back to complaining about dumb shit again and losing perspective so I am going to email her again,” but then I forgot and a few days later, SHE EMAILED THE GROUP OF US WHO HAVE ANNIVERSARIES, giving us the option to submit our own picture to her!!!

Of course, I couldn’t pass up  the opportunity to be passive-aggressive and petty, so I emailed her and said, “Hi you took an updated picture of me last year but it was never put on Compass, can I just send you a new one?” LOL at my cry-babyness forever.

Henry was off (much to his chagrin since I did nothing but yell at him all day) on Monday so he had to help fashion a backdrop since we have no white walls left in the house thanks to Covid-redecorating. It was a mess and I yelled a lot, but I finally got a picture and then was annoyed because there’s a strand of hair in my eye but it’s the best one I took otherwise and I figured it will be so small anyway that no one will see, except for you – now it’s all you will be able to see!

Ugh she better fucking replace this old one!! I will never forget the day it was taken. I was a temp for the first 5 or so months I worked there so I only had a temp badge with a yellow circle in lieu of a photo which was fine by me. Then I was hired by the firm and one random day I came in to an email that was like, “Hello please come up and have your picture taken” and I was like, “TODAY?!!?” because, not that I was ever super put-together, but I remember being exceptionally harried and a general mess that day. Also, the lady who took my picture was the same one who took it last year and I remember she was asleep at her desk and I had to gently wake her up. Now she has her own office to take get some private napping in.

Wow, I guess I had more to ramble on about that I imagined.

Now I’m just waiting for Chooch to finish geometry so we can go for a walk to a cafe in Mt. Lebanon and get some of that hot bev bev.

I literally don’t know why I said that. I have never once called hot beverage that in my life. Sometimes I think I lose consciousness while I’m writing on here and the virtual spirit of Mona-Lisa Saperstein takes over.

I will leave you with two MVs that I am sincerely feeling deep into my bones today:

Obsessed with the eye imagery in this!

Janna’s ult bias is back with another banger!

Oct 282020
 

Sometime early Monday evening, my work friend Lauren texted me and asked if I would be willing to submit one of Chooch’s carved pumpkins because our department was having a pumpkin carving contest, but only like 5 people submitted one.

I mean, I’m not shocked. Four years ago, Carrie and I were in charge of organizing a Halloween party for the department and barely anyone participated, and this was waaaaay before the pandemic! I think there were 5 of us who dressed up. It was just super depressing. We just don’t work with very festive people, I guess. This is why I didn’t even bother to put  my name in the hat for the new party committee that was assembled at the beginning of the year, because I get so angry when the efforts are unappreciated!

Anyway, I didn’t pay much attention to the emails that went out about this last week because I knew I wouldn’t “be there,” since I’m off the whole week before Halloween and didn’t think I would be eligible because I’m sorry – I love my co-workers but I am not logging on to a WebEx on a day off!

Sadly, all of the pumpkins Chooch carved are half-rotted because of the hot weather we had been having last week, so I was like, “Ew, I’m sorry but I can’t submit a picture of any of those in good conscience” but we were actually already out when she texted me so I asked Chooch, “If we stop and get a new pumpkin on the way home, will you carve it?”

Chooch made some mumbling sounds that, when strung together and played in reverse while standing in a graveyard at midnight, loosely translated into, “Go fuck yourself.”

“There’s a cash prize, I think,” I added with a shrug and he was suddenly like, “Sure mother, this sounds like a swell idea; Father, please purchase the pumpkin at your earliest convenience.”

Now, I was only doing this to be a team player, and I have a hard time saying no to people. So I told Chooch it didn’t have to be anything magnificent which quickly turned into, “OOOH WILL YOU DO A G-DRAGON ONE!?” and he was like, “Wha—no!!!” So then I thought out oud, “You know what would be quick and simple? You could just do a 2020 and then set it on fire. Bam. Done.”

He liked the idea because it was easy, so that is why there was the stench of burning pumpkin cocooning our house Monday night and I’m here to tell you that it was a far cry from Yankee Candle. Yikes.

I got the picture submitted to Lauren that night and it was eligible for voting the next day. I didn’t think too much about it and then Chooch was like, “What’s going on with that pumpkin competition? Did I win, or…?” and I was like, “Oh shit, I didn’t think we were actually in it to win it” which is how you know 2020 has taken a toll on this tried and true Leo, because when have I ever entered a contest without the expectation of winning?!

“Did anyone vote for me?” he asked, and I was like, “I dunno, and I’m not logging on to find out. I’m on vacation!” But then on Instagram, my friend Colleen commented on the pumpkin and said that she voted for it so for a second I felt mildly inspired, enough to text Todd and say, “TODD.”

And then nothing else for a full minute because people love that about me.

“Vote for Chooch’s pumpkin.”

So he did, because hello, people do as I say around those parts.

Then I went back to not caring, aka “enjoying my time off” until later on in the evening when I saw that my friend Megan had texted to say that she and Chooch tied for first place! I actually found out about an hour after Chooch and I had a full-blown screaming match IN PUBLIC on our walk to Dunkin’ Donuts for beverage after dinner, when he tried to take credit for it and I was like, “Yeah, I mean, you carved it but it was my idea” and he was like, “No it was my idea, you just said to make one that said 2020 and I said yeah and we can set it on fire.”

UM – NEGATIVE. Why would I suggest to just carve 2020!? The whole point from the very genesis of the idea was to set it on fire! And if you know me at all, you know that I CANNOT STAND WHEN SOMEONE TAKES CREDIT FOR MY IDEAS EVEN IF THAT SOMEONE IS MY OWN SON, I WILL NOT HAVE IT. So we were actually yelling at each other next to a gas station on a busy street and you know what, I didn’t even care who was watching HONESTLY!! I even turned around and stalked off at one point but then I remembered that I wanted fucking coffee so I came back.

“You’re a typical Leo,” Chooch muttered when we were on our way back with our coffee. “You make everything about you!”

“And you’re a typical Taurus!” I slapped back. “FUCKING STUBBORN! ALSO, YES I MADE THAT ABOUT MYSELF BECAUSE IT WAS MY IDEA AND YOU WERE TAKING CREDIT AND I’M NOT GOING TO STAND THERE AND LET THAT HAPPEN!”

Can you guys see now why I never chose a creative route as a profession? I literally CANNOT work with others when it comes to ideas and creations and whatever.

It was so bad that I even called Henry and asked him to solve it for us since he was in the car when the whole thing was born, and he literally said HE DIDN’T KNOW because he is FUCKING SCARED OF US BOTH.

WOW THIS BLOG POST WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS ANGRY YET HERE WE ARE.

Anyway, then I found out that the pumpkin tied for first place and Chooch and I bonded over the fact that OUR JOINT EFFORTS paid off.

I mean it’s just like how I design the serial killer cards and Henry makes them, you know? I come up with ideas and then these fools execute them. The only difference is that Henry doesn’t mouth off like Chooch does.

Oct 112020
 

In today’s edition of Completely Uninspired Pre-Election Depression Blog Posts, I give you pictures from a Halloween party I had when I was in 8th grade in 1992, because I recently found these pictures and figured that looking at these and marinading in the memories might be the closest I get to embracing the Halloween spirit this year, biggest le sigh of all le sighs. 

My mom was super into Halloween and she’d always be like WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A HALLOWEEN PARTY and I think it was mostly because she just wanted to decorate and ghost-host it rather than have her own Halloween party and have to deal with my dad’s friends.

#speculation

According to my photo album, this was in 1992 and it was my third Halloween party. Now, my memories have been pretty muddled lately what with every day being the same but if I were pressed to provide more information, I would feel compelled to say that this was also the same party where my dad led us on a haunted walk in the woods* and unbeknownst to everyone but me, my uncle Mark was dressed as Freddy Kreuger and hiding in a tree, and when he jumped out in front of us, Amy L. got so startled that she fell backward on her ass and everyone was like HAHAHA, reveling in the Halloweenity of it all, having a spooky ol’ good time, etc etc, but then AMY L went to school and tried to get people to be mad at me about it, because EIGHTH GRADE. 

(See also: Amy L was the Ultimate Purveyor of Teen Drama and if social media had been around back then, she would have cyber-bullied half of us to psychological breakdowns or worse.)

*(My childhood home is surrounded on three sides by  many acres of forest, something that TRUMP might consider a FOREST NATION, and for a long ass while we contemplated having a legit haunted trail open to the public but then, you know, insurance etc etc)

I don’t know what I’m doing in this picture, but I remember my mom being so disappointed when I was like, “I don’t really care, this one I guess” when it came to choosing a costume, because she always liked to make my costumes, and it was so annoying because I never got to be what I wanted to be and even still, I grew up to be the same exact type of mom, forcing my own GENIUS costume ideas over the head of my own kid. 

(Trick or treating likely isn’t going to happen this year but I am still arguing with him over what he should be.)

The girl in the back with the curly hair was REALLY into The Beatles and had a Christmas caroling party one year at her house. It was super wholesome. She’s one of the only people in these pictures that I never found on Facebook back when I used it so I have no idea if she is still a nice person or a MAGA dumbo.

Also, I was mad at Christy for literally just wearing that hat and saying she was Private Detective, so I guess I already had a little bit of Halloween Pageant Mom already brewing inside me. I remember being all, “YOU COULD HAVE TRIED HARDER, CHRISTY” because she was ult BFF back then so I felt supremely comfortable yelling at her about trivial things, whereas I was just acquaintances with some of the people who just rolled up in sweatshirts and orange socks so I didn’t shame them or anything.)

AHHHH PERM AND BRACES, MY BEST LEWK.

I don’t think this was the same party where I made everyone watch Paper House. That may have been the year before. 

My mom had her friend Karen be a fortune teller. I’m sure we all thought it was dumb at the time but now I’m like AW THAT WAS REALLY NICE OF KAREN TO DO THAT. Before the pandemic, I thought it would have been fun to let Chooch have a Halloween party this year since he started a new school, but obviously that can’t happen now and it sucks because he already has a Friend Group (I knew he’d make friends easier since everything is online right now!) so now I can’t force JANNA to dress up as a fortune teller, oh well, maybe next year. 

Oct 072020
 

I’m a few days late with this because blog apathy (lol j/k – life apathy) but my little furchilds has themselves a birthday on Sunday! They’re five now, those little old ass ladies!

Please enjoy some pictures of them eating their treats and playing with their new toys (some were more interested in the treats, others were more interested in the toys, lol).

But then I moved the treats out of the way and Penelope was like, “fine, I’ll play with this dumb thing.”

And then later, they actually hung out together on their cat tower, which happens rarely.

Guys, I’m in the middle of a bad work week. My brain hurts and I’m angry, and tonight’s debate will likely exacerbate the ire lava, but at least I’m off on Friday (although I’ll be spending the morning getting a deep cleaning at the periodontist, which I have been trying to get done since LAST SEPTEMBER but I couldn’t get a consultation until November, and then my insurance was all NOPE because it hadn’t been a full two years since my last (not great) one. By the time insurance finally approved it in January, the earliest appt I could get was April, but then…well, we all know the history of 2020.

I’m pretty nervous about this, from a pain AND covid-POV, but this guy is a specialist and I’m sure he wouldn’t be like, “OK great we’re back in business” if it wasn’t safe, right? RIGHT??

Sorry for that aside. Back to the cats. Happy birthday, you little fluffy psychos! Thanks for making the WFH experience a billion times less lonely except that now I’m going to be going to return to the office talking like a fucking cartoon, but that’s OK.

I wish my job was to just play with Drew and Penelope everyday. It’s the only thing I’m really great at, to be honest.

Goodbye.

Sep 122020
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WITH MY BARE HANDS.

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

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

Later!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not me.

But then, I can barely make toast.

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

Aug 012020
 

Ughhhhhhhh. Full disclosure, I have been off-and-on throwing bitch-ass tantrums about this since my actual birthday on July 30th. Like, I could say something Pollyanna-esque such as: Henry and I both had the day off work so I got to spend time with him and Chooch and in the end that’s all that matters…

And ok deep down that’s true and I KNOW it’s true and five years from now I’ll look back on this birthday and think “Well, Covid canceled my plans and I was stuck at home but that’s ok because I was in good health—” OH STFU FUTURE ERIN you know damn well you’re gonna be recounting in your head then list of people who forgot your birthday and the things Henry COULDA done but DIDNT do because while he is great in many ways, sweet surprises and planned-out activities are not his strong point and yeah he spent the day working on projects around the house at my direction but it would have been nice if he was like “Get in the car! We’re having a picnic in the wilderness!” or something like that I don’t know!

But I know in the Other Deep Down that anything he would have suggested would never have been enough because it always goes back to the fact that I miss my Pappap on this day more than ever and how do you compete with the greatness that was John Stonick? I mean, really.

My childhood best friend texted me on my birthday and said “wish we were swimming in your pappap’s pool today” because she knows. Christy knows.

So instead of eating the omelette Henry made me for breakfast, I made myself toast using the heels of the bread because that was all that was left of the loaf and what a perfect symbol for the day, and then I salted it with my tears and ate it with my lip protruded.

We went back and forth like this all day. It had its good parts though.

We got take out from Green Pepper for dinner. I really wanted mul naengmyeon, which is a Korean cold buckwheat noodle dish and Green Pepper is the only korean restaurant around that had it on their menu.

(Last year on my birthday, I was having vegan naengmyeon in Insadong, I’m not crying, you’re crying, oh wait your tears are from rolling your eyes so hard that you hurt yourself.)

Of course, because it was my birthday and nothing goes right on my birthday, it ended up being more of a “bibim” naengmyeon which means it’s mixed up in a sauce (gochujang) and that was OK but the noodles were definitely not buckwheat and it just wasn’t what I wanted even though it was still good. Also, they charge extra for kimchi (???) and are super skimpy with it too. My noodles cost like $13 which is hilarious because in Korea it would have been like $5 or $6 maybe even less but whatever America sucks.

I would also like to point out that jamming your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, a la Chooch up there, is extremely BAD FORM in Japan! I believe it has something to do with symbolizing death? I’m not sure if any other Asian cultures have anything similar to this so it’s probably best to just never stick your chopsticks in bowls of rice, as a rule of thumb. Look at my blog being educational! Now if only I could start proof-reading like the old days.

Ignore the mystery stain on the non-table cloth, but here I am trying to be natural, lol.

I cropped this photo when I posted it on Instagram because the way the shirt is laying, it looks like my boobs are super-droopy?! I swear to god that’s just the shirt!

I do love that shirt, btw. I wore it especially for my “birthday dinner” since I pretty much have had no reason to wear anything other than band t-shirts and yoga pants over the last 4 months.

I chose a matcha cake from Sumi’s, and it was honestly the best part of the day. Even Henry, who doesn’t like green tea, thought it was just lovely.

It even had a tiny bit of pat (sweet red bean) in it! Chooch immediately picked it out of his slice when I mentioned it, so I should have just kept my mouth shut.

So yeah, it wasn’t the greatest birthday but I can definitely confirm that I have much worse (like my 21st birthday where my friends tried to have me 302d because I was suicidal/losing my motherfucking mind – that was a good one). I would have much rather been in the midst of the amusement park extravaganza that I planned for myself but at least I made it to 41, blah blah blah, hashtag blessed, etc.

At the time of this blogging, I have spent the last three days pouting and having mood swings and being nostalgic and ungrateful, so when I hit “publish,” that means I have to officially walk away from this year’s birthday and move on with my damn life, lol. Jesus, I hate myself.

Jul 092020
 

My original plan for 4th of July was to feast on food from other countries because once again I’m supremely annoyed and disgusted with America so…why celebrate it? I had a whole list of recipes for Henry to prepare but then we went and started a kitchen upheaval project and he was like, “Erin, how would you like me to do this without a functioning kitchen?” Oh, yeah. So, our unAmerican Feast has been postponed, but I’m sure I’ll still be hating my racist, pandemic-enabling country for quite some time so this celebration will be relevant no matter which day it gets moved to, I’m sure.

For years and years and years, we have hated our kitchen. The tile flooring was all cracked and coming up, it was ruined in one corner from when the ceiling was leaking a few years ago, and basically the whole room was just a dumpster fire because we let it get so out of control plus it’s small to begin with and we don’t own the house but we knew if we asked the landlord to make updates, he would raise our rent so we have been living with it. It sucks because our back porch is so nice but then you have to walk through the kitchen to get to it so we would never really open that up during parties because I was so embarrassed of the kitchen.

But then Covid happened and let me tell you something – the upside to quarantine is, well, having all the time in the world to fix shit. I was like, “Look, now is the perfect time to do something, ANYTHING, about this kitchen.” It made sense to buy new storage/counter thingies from IKEA because that’s something that we can always take with us if/when we move, and painting can always transform a room, but I was fixated on that floor. Finally, Henry found a reasonably-priced floor that he can install himself, and calculated that it would cost us less than $150 once it was all said and done.

SOLD.

So, as I said, that is how we ended up spending the long holiday weekend – with the kitchen floor ripped up and the rest of the kitchen spread out among the rest of the first floor. Basically, do not come knocking on our door right now because it is a fucking shit show up in here.

Friday and Saturday sounded like major construction was happening over here, with Henry using Big Shot Tools to rip out the old floor and then all the hammering required to lay down the plywood. I’m sure Blake & Haley were FUCKING THRILLED.

I asked Henry if doing all these measurements is annoying and he said that he enjoys it?! What a hammer-nerd! Also, note the chewed-up pencil. That’s either the work of our Son the Goat, or Henry desperate for sustenance because I wouldn’t let him take any breaks haha.

Anyway, since literally all that happened during the three-day weekend was kitchen stuff, all of the days blended together so I just realized, as I’m sitting here zoning out to Hwasa’s “Maria,” that I don’t think I’ll be able to do a very accurate weekend recap, so I guess we’ll just look at pictures and go from there?

Sometime on Saturday, I went with Henry to Home Depot to get the new flooring (gag, I know, but Lowe’s didn’t have the floor we wanted). I stayed in the car and listened to yacht rock (separate post on that forthcoming – I had a REAL TIME) because, no thanks. Anyway, I thought that since we got the floor that meant he was going to come home and immediately lay it down, but turns out that was false since it is now Thursday and our current floor situation is plywood, which is still an upgrade from what was there before, let me tell you.

After Home Depot, we went to pick up our pints at Sugar Spell, and saw this anti-masker dipshit on the way, although he is also holding an upside down flag, so I’m not sure what side exactly he’s on, unless he doesn’t know that it’s upside down? I mean, he doesn’t seem very bright. I actually made Henry drive past him twice so I could get a picture. Henry was thrilled to obliged, as usual.

Here are the pints we got! I didn’t know that Texas Sheet Cake was a thing, but oh mama, I know now. It was my favorite for a second, but as always, it’s so hard to choose a favorite out of their flavors! Each one of these has its own merits and how can I choose?! I will say though that the Strawberry Pretzel Salad was the first to be polished off.

Banana Graham!

Our big 4th of July dinner was…pizza. It was OK! I was irritated that Henry stopped working in order to eat, but whatever.

That night it was a firecracker battle in my neighborhood, and pretty much all neighborhoods from the sounds of it. There were some really classy ones being shot off somewhere behind the church across the street from us, so Chooch ran around looking for the source, and a good viewing spot. It actually ended up being one of the best fireworks experiences of my life, because of the excitement of it not being city-approved and us running all around in the dark looking for the best ones. I’m admittedly not too big of a fireworks person – I get bored pretty easily and I mean, they’re all pretty much the same, aren’t they? And I always hated trying to find somewhere to go that wasn’t going to be overwhelmingly crowded (I went downtown twice ever and will never fucking do it again, no thanks, I hate people way too much).

I always liked when my mom bought all the illegal ones back in the day and we’d go hard with them in her backyard because we lived on a private, dead-end street surrounded by woods so who cares?

We had to walk past this creepy church door on the way back and in the picture Chooch took, IT LOOKS LIKE THERE IS A GHOST ON THE STEPS INSIDE. But I’m too lazy to ask him for his picture to post here.

Sunday was another hot one. I think we were in the 90s pretty much all weekend, and into the week.

Porch hangouts were limited while the sun was up.

While Henry was toiling away in the kitchen, Chooch and I thought we would be nice and walk to Muddy Cup to get him (and us, obv., no altruism here) some refreshing cold brew.

Our favorite barista was working! It was nice to see a familiar face during this endless streak of months where we’ve really not been seeing anyone but the neighbors.

Meanwhile, Henry was at home, painting.

By the end of Sunday, we were left with a plywood floor, two painted walls, one partially-assembled counter-thingie, and the inability to eat a meal that requires any sort of cooking/preparation.

Henry explained to Chooch that he was going to have to put in some additional outlets, and Chooch cried, “You can do that??”

“I can do anything,” Henry muttered, and then under his breath, he added, “except plumbing.”

Wow, we got a real Bob Vila here! Get this guy his own show.

But seriously, it really is amazing how Henry knows how to do all this stuff! He ripped up the floor and then replaced it with plywood underlayment or something, but it looks like a pro did it! We have the new flooring ready to go but we have to finish painting first and also Henry wanted to build the new IKEA pieces while the plywood is on the floor so that he doesn’t damage the new floor. We are about 60% done, I guess? But it took literally ALL WEEKEND with Henry hardly taking any breaks plus with it being in the 90s, I had to keep checking on him to make sure he hadn’t passed out. See? I care.

So, overall, it wasn’t your traditional “Independence Day” weekend, but it sure felt good to get shit done (or in my case, watch shit get done). I will continue to post updates as we go, but it is a frustratingly slow process because of like, day jobs and whatever. So while he’s toiling away at the Big Stuff, I’m biding my time by looking for accoutrements that fit the theme of the 80s Dream Kitchen. So far, I’ve purchased an Arcade game-themed rug, fabric to make a curtain for the porch door which is so amazing I can’t even describe it so you’ll just have to wait to see it, and I designed a neon light that I have HIGH HOPES for as long as I don’t have to, I dunno, take out a loan for it.

I hate COVID, but I’m glad to have this time to really focus my attention on things around the house because unless the landlord decides to give us the boot for some reason, we’ve got at least another 4 years here while Chooch is in high school because if I move, I’m buying a house and it’s not going to be in the city! So, we might as well put the effort into making small and reasonable (ie. cheap, lol) improvements.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great weekend and if you have a pool, I hate you I’m totally jealous!

Jun 222020
 

Any other year, I would have pretended like Henry really wanted to ride roller coasters on Father’s Day and then planned some insane weekend road trip that exhausts everyone involved except for me, but you know, things are cray in 2020 so we had to celebrate our amusement park chaperone with caution.

I suggested that we drive an hour away to Greensburg and grab some takeout from Jioio’s Pizza, which, if you’ve had this pizza, you probably know is totally legendary in Western Pennsylvania.

Henry was fine with that, so that is how we spent Father’s Day! It almost felt like we on a roadtrip, you guys! Being in the car for an hour! Stopping at Sheetz! (Except that only Henry went in, and yes, he wore a mask.)

Jioio’s is still takeout only which is fine because we’re still not ready to eat inside restaurants anyway, so we drove to a local park after Henry procured the piping hot pie…

…Henry got a steak hoagie for himself, though, because “it’s Father’s Day and I’ll do what I want” OK, wow, treat yo’self, Papa H!

YOU GUYS. DEM FUCKING BLACK OLIVES. I am a fucking slut for black olives on pizza, you have no idea unless you know me in real life, then you know. There is this one pizza place downtown which is kind of like Subway in that you choose the base of your pizza and then go down the line of toppings, telling the pizza-artist what you want on it because they shove it in the oven, and I am also like, “pass, pass, pass” all the way down the selection of toppings until we get to the black olives and then I’m like, “More. More. More. DON’T BE CHEAP, KEEP ‘EM COMING. JUST COVER THE WHOLE THING WITH OLIVES. NO, I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYTHING UNDERNEATH IT, I WANT THE ENTIRE PIZZA BLACK.” No one will go there with me anymore.

Anyway, I never heard of Jioio’s before until one of my former co-workers who I miss every day mentioned it because Greensburg is her hometown, so I was like, “Let me try this pizza then” and to my surprise, as a self-proclaimed hard-to-please pizza princess, I understood immediately why this pizza is so hyped. I have never had crust that tastes like Jioio’s before: it’s slightly sweet, with a flaky pastry-like texture, almost like a legit pie crust. And it doesn’t make me feel like shit after I scarf down three pieces in succession.

(OK, that’s not true, but literally anything that’s not a whole food will make me bloated and uncomfortable because I’m such a chronically clean-eater, but this pizza didn’t make me feel like I was attacked internally by Jack the Ripper like most pizza does.)

It’s been way too long since we had Jioio’s! Maybe like 7 years? And fun fact, I can pronounce most any Korean word you put in front of me, but fuck if I can say “Jioio’s.” It comes out like “joyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoeeeeo” every time and Henry gets so annoyed, yet he always knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I made them do this adorable pose after which Chooch mumbled, “It seems like we’re doing all the things you want to do today” and then he got up and bowed down, calling me Queen Erin, lol.

(See also: Chooch’s Corona Combover; yikes.)

But it was such a nice little pizza picnic in a foreign, sparsely populated park! Sometimes I feel like we’re a solid family, and that was one of those days (until later that afternoon when Henry kept ignoring me and my feelings got hurted.)

I brought the good camera but it was 90 degrees and I didn’t feel like fucking with it so I used my phone to take some Father/Son photos, for which they were oh-so-happy to pose.

I made them walk around the park for a bit so I could digest (I’m big on post-meal digestive walks) and thank god otherwise Henry wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pose in front of this SERVICEMOBILE!

“I WASN’T IN THE ARMY, I WAS IN THE AIR FORCE” is what he was saying when I took this picture, and Chooch was like, “Same thing” which made steam come out of Henry’s ears.

Also, I asked him to jump for his photo and he absolutely refused.

After playing on this really strange playground that had some kind of strange spinny cup which almost made me puke and inspired Chooch to spend the rest of the day Googling commercial playground equipment, I made them sit on these logs and Henry was mumbling about ticks and snakes. Like, just sit on the fucking logs so we can go home, OK?

This is pretty typical – Henry is always trying to point things out which usually results in one of us mocking him or saying, “YEAH I KNOW THAT” or “NO ONE CARES” so I’m not sure why he still tries. Also, this looks totally posed but it wasn’t. I think he was actually trying to point out where the golf ball he had previously thrown at Chooch had landed.

I might frame this one because it’s the perfect portrayal of their relationship.

Overall, it was a nice Father’s Day afternoon, way nicer than Mother’s Day, probably because I planned it as opposed to those two planning fuck-all for Mother’s Day. I mean, I’m not bitter. It’s not like we go through this every year like groundhog day!

*cries*

Never mind, I just reminded myself that I got to devour Jioio’s Pizza so fast that it burnt my mouth and I gave no fucks, and isn’t that what life is all about? No? That’s not in the Bible, or something?

Jun 062020
 

  1. Even though he is a Faygo slinger, he only drinks unsweetened ice tea. (And lately, he has gotten into cold brew but then he dumps half of a thing of creamer in it, so….)
    1. OMG he just took a big swig of tea and said, “Sheetz got their sweet tea back!” I guess it was gone during quarantine but now that our county went back down to green, it’s back. Good to know?
  2. He went through a country phase before he knew me, gross.
  3. He loves kitchen-y stuff so much that he once made me host a Pampered Chef party and it was one of the worst evenings of my life.
  4. He always looks angry in pictures but he is actually a pretty laid-back guy.
  5. Shit, I was going to say what his favorite color is but I can’t remember now. Chooch and I always joke that it’s “poop” or “puke” colors and one day he snapped and screamed at us what his actual favorite color is but all I remember is that it’s one of the ROY G. BIVs. I’ll ask him later, I guess. (He just said, “I don’t have one. I don’t know. Black. Or red or blue. Uh, probably red.” See, I thought it was orange, glad I waited.)
  6. He used to be a paper boy when he was a kid. 
  7. He bought a pair of cowboy boots when he was in THE SERVICE and only wore them once because they hurt his feet.
  8. He was in THE SERVICE.
  9. He loves to white knight.
  10. He hasn’t read a book since the early 2000s when I got him into Harlan Coben; now all he reads is Reddit, Korean subtitles, and the weekly circulars. And I guess recipes count.
  11. He will listen to audio books though, but he says it’s just because it’s a way to spend time with me, AWWWWW.
  12. He’s part Syrian (not Siberian, like Chooch thought, or Serbian like I just almost typed.)
  13. His ult Kpop biases are Cha Eun Woo of Astro and Bae Suzy, formerly of Miss A (she’s an actor now).

ASTRO's Cha Eun Woo Posts Handwritten Letter Of Apology About ...Suzy Bae (Bae Su Ji) (Dengan gambar) | Aktris, Gadis cantik

14. He can fall asleep anywhere, such as Warped Tour or leaning against the wall of Mr. Small’s during a post-hardcore show.
15. He LOVES soft pretzels. OMG 10 minutes after I typed this, he came through the door looking like this:


16. Even though he refuses to eat tofu, he is really great at cooking with it.
17. He used to be an electrician’s apprentice so he knows how to do light-things, which is handy.
18. All of his clothes are black, gray, ugly. Usually they have beverage logos on them too.
19. He insists on trying to fix everything himself even though the last time I check, he’s not a plumber or car mechanic and doesn’t hang drywall for a living, but OK, fix on, Mr. Fix-It.
20. As an avid meat-eater, he actually really enjoys vegan food. He just doesn’t like the stereotypical vegan clientele.
21. He’s never been in jail.
22. He LOVES “The Princess Bride” and “The Princess Diaries.” I am not joking about the second one.
23. He hates when we make up new names for the cats and refuses to call them by their new names.
24. His entire family calls him Joey (his middle name is Joseph).
25. He hates Trump.
26. He refuses to exercise with me because, and I quote, I WALK AROUND A WAREHOUSE ALL DAY LONG, THAT IS ENOUGH EXERCISE.
27. He is great at giving directions, but when it comes to using maps himself, he will undoubtedly fuck it up at least once.
28. He can name any plane model that flies above us.
29. He was a big Days of Our Lives fanboy back in the day and he hard-stanned John Black.
30. He is our private chauffeur and by that I mean when we find an amusement park halfway across the country, he will drive us there (but not without complaint, which is annoying).
31. When Uber and Lyft were still semi-new, he had a brief stint as a Lyft driver but the picture the Lyft manager guy took of him for his profile was so menacing-looking, that women were canceling left and right.
32. He’ll go along with just about anything I want to do even though he acts super put-out about it.
33. His favorite thing to do is sleep.
34. His favorite subject in school was “I don’t know.”
35. He used to play volleyball lol.
36. His favorite cartoon as a kid was Looney Tunes.
37. As he’s outside planting shrubbery and other plants, which is how I learned he also is an expert at landscaping.
38. His favorite thing to do at an amusement park is sit on a bench while we ride a roller coaster.
39. His favorite TV shows are NCIS and Blacklist.
40. He went through a phase where he had long hair and wore bandannas and people assumed it was because he was balding BUT NO, HE JUST LOVED DRESSING UP HIS HEAD.
41. He is a huge procrastinator which makes me have to be a nag.
42. He loves to hide sit on the chair on the back porch and watch HBO.
43. He loves when shit happens outside of our house and he gets to call 911 like a hero.
44. He talks to the cats, but uses his regular voice and refuses to acknowledge that they’re people.
45. He used to smoke trees?!!?
46. His favorite K-drama is a tie between Are You Human Too? and When the Camelia Blooms.

47. He got kicked out of a strip club in Texas when he was in the SERVICE for throwing fifty cents at a stripper.
48. If cole slaw is on the menu, consider it in his mouth.
49. His favorite Korean food is donkkaseu.
50. He used to drive a school bus for three weeks when he was 24 or 25 and quit because he allegedly got another job but it was more likely because the kids were bullying him.
51. I asked him the name of his first girlfriend and he literally couldn’t answer me, he looked like he was thinking himself to death, so I think the answer is that his ex-wife was also his first girlfriend.
52. When I used LiveJournal, the name I used for him was Hoover because he sucks the fun out of everything and before that it was Emily Pringle, because one time he thought I called him Emily and he looks like the guy on the Pringles can.
53. He used to be obsessed with a DIY show called She’s Crafty.
54. He goes to “the store” every single fucking day because it’s his refuge, his sanctuary, his “safe place.” And also because he ALWAYS FORGETS TO GET AT LEAST ONE THING THAT WE PUT ON THE SHOPPING LIST! But honestly, I always picture him in a total zone, pushing the cart down the aisle to the popular soft rock tunes wafting down from the rafters, with a faraway look in his eyes thinking of the life he could have had.
55. When he was in 10th or 11th grade, he got in trouble for punching a hole in the ceiling. I hoped that it was because he was the losing part of a love triangle or was ‘roid-raging after one of those volleyball games, but no. It was just because part of the ceiling was already falling down and he reached up and punched more of it down and got caught by the janitor. Wow. Cool story, Hank-bro. (OH WAIT SHIT, HE JUST TOLD ME, “Oh, and I did get paddled for that too, just so you know. And I had to pay for it.” His grandma was more mad that he got paddled than they fact that he DESTROYED SCHOOL PROPERTY AND HAD TO PAY FOR IT.  Wow, how have I never known this story!?!? He said he doesn’t think his mom knows about it!)

On that note, Happy birthday to our favorite frowner! Thanks for being the best non-husband/housewife/caregiver/project-doer/obsession-enabler. I’ll try to be less demanding today! Go drink some unsweetened ice tea under a tree and dream about your SERVICE days! Just come home in time to make dinner.

May 262020
 

Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve had worse Memorial Days (like the notorious one in 2005 when my ex-bff came to visit and I locked myself in my room and she and Henry literally took off my bedroom door because they thought I was trying to OD on meds?! I WASN’T, for the record).

I mean, it would have been nice to be able to wild out in an Ozark watering hole (KIDDING, EW, NOT EVEN WHEN THERE IS NO COVID) but it turns out that we were still able to have a fine day without traveling.

I guess.

And I know that I complain about and ridicule that dumb local parade that slithers past my house every Memorial Day, but it was actually kind of sad that it was canceled this year. I guess theoretically the parade could have still happened, but who can trust hundreds of Yinzers to stand six feet apart from each other on the sidewalks?

Henry and I went to Jefferson Memorial for a walk earlier in the day and it was so freaking hot that we were both huffing and puffing on every hill and then there was this huge blast which made me scream WAS THAT A GUNSHOT as two more blasts fired out.

Henry paused, head tilted, SERVICE manual activated. “Yes. Seven guns. Three shots. Equals 21.” Then he noticed that I had contorted into a floating question mark next to him so he clarified, “it’s a military thing.”

OH OK.

When I told Chooch about this later, he died a little.

Apparently, there was a whole memorial thingie-thang happening in this cemetery, so that was great. I don’t think any of those super old farts were even wearing masks, so that was even greater. We made sure to take a different path because yeah, no thanks.

(Henry did have a little bit of a SERVICE boner though, I think he would really like for you to know that.)

Meanwhile, the book we chose was something that I thought was going to be fluffy YA but hoooooooo-boy, nope nope nope. I mean, yes, it was YA, but it was pretty heavy. Asian Readathon has been going SO WELL that I already can’t wait to do it again next year even though I basically followed none of the prompts and played by my own rules, which was essentially HOW MANY BOOKS BY ASIAN AUTHORS CAN I READ IN ONE MONTH, IT’S A RACE!

Back to Memorial Day. I was chatting on Kakao with my pal Kyoung who lives in South Korea and he was like “oh, what is Memorial Day, my Erin”* and I had to google it because I couldn’t remember, lol, please revoke my America card, I don’t want it anymore. This resulted in me asking Henry what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day and he started to answer me but then I didn’t care so I started playing the audiobook.

*(He calls me his Erin and I think that’s so adorable, I bet Henry does too—wait, I’ll ask him. BRB. OK, I’m back. He was doing the dishes and muttered, “Whatever.”)

Anyway, I decided that since we couldn’t really do anything fun on Memorial Day (and who am I kidding, it’s not like we typically get invited to any cookouts, pandemic or no pandemic, lol #friendlessinPittsburgh), then I wanted Henry to make some of my favorite cookout foods from when I was growing up, those Kelly Family Summer staples (which, if you know my family, sounds like some dysfunctional game of abuse that we maybe might have played, involved chasing each other with staplers while foaming at the mouth).

So, I’m not sure if this is something that was INVENTED in Pittsburgh, but I do know that it’s been a hometown favorite since I can remember, and that is the princess of all picnics, the Strawberry Pretzel Salad. My mom made it for every single cookout when I was growing up, and I always just thought it was one of those things that everyone made for cookouts, but apparently people not from Pittsburgh are like, “????” so if you’re reading this and you’re not from Pittsburgh, please let me know if you have ever heard of this. I mean, there’s a Betty Crocker recipe for it for god’s sake! And when Henry asked me to text my mom for her recipe, she was like, “I’m not home. Just go on Pinterest.”

WOW OK.

Anyway, Henry did an OK job.

But while we were chowing, he admitted that he HAD NEVER HEARD OF THIS UNTIL WE STARTED DATING AND HE WENT TO HIS FIRST EVER COOKOUT AT MY MOM’S HOUSE AND I AM SO FUCKING SHOOK, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE BEEN FAKE-MARRIED FOR 18 (19?) YEARS AND I AM JUST LEARNING THIS. My friend Sandy said she feels sorry for childhood Henry. I agree. What a sad childhood.

He also made ambrosia, which was definitely not like my mom’s (she said she’ll look for her traditional recipe and give it to him for his birthday, lol) and Watergate salad, which actually isn’t something that we would generally have at any of my family gatherings, but I do like it in other non-Kelly Family Cookout contexts and haven’t had it in a very long time, so why not make the picnic side salads a full trifecta, you know what I’m saying?

Henry picked a good Watergate salad recipe because that shit was ON POINT. (I told him I never wanted to look at his ambrosia again, though). The Watergate salad also made me miss Eat n Park a little bit, which is actually open for take out during social distancing, but what I specifically miss is their salad bar even though EW I don’t really want to think about salad bars at a time like this, but they almost always have pistachio fluff in their “pudding/jello” section, and on very rare, special occasions, they up the ante and make it a full-blown Watergate.

Not the most attractive picture, but that’s what you get when it’s plated by Henry’s big bumbling blue-collar meat-fists. It’s important to note that this salad is probably the most “Yinzer” thing about me. Honestly. I fail pretty much every other Yinzer test out there.

So yeah, lots of sugar for dinner! But…also lots of fruit?

Later that night, Henry and I watched a Chinese adaption of this really great Japanese crime novel we “read” together over the weekend and Chooch was like, “I’M NOT WATCHING THIS” because he’s jealous that Henry and I have our weird/creepy audiobook couple’s club now. Haha.

May 112020
 

Here I am with an obligatory Mother’s Day recap. It was an OK day! Henry and Chooch got me a beautiful life-size cut-out of Taemin, which arrived several days earlier and you would think that would have been enough for me but I’m just never satisfied (WHEN DOVES CRY, ETC ETC) and I always get a little (lol) dramatic on this day, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday but that’s fine. I fled to the cemetery where I spent some quiet time in the sunshine and even read a book (“Braised Pork” by An Yu) while sitting on the wall of a mausoleum like a true goth from the 90s.

It’s a struggle.

While I was there, these doofs sent me this picture:

…and then I was like, “OK FINE I WON’T RUN AWAY TO KOREA…THIS TIME.” But I’m not lying, it was all I could think about while I walked aimless laps around good ol’ Uniondale Cemetery which never has any living people in it until there is a pandemic and now I’m never alone there anymore which is wildly annoying.

We ordered vegan foodstuffs from Mandy’s Pizza later that day and we all ate in blissful harmony. You can’t even tell it’s vegan!

Then I learned about the existence of Alison Roman thanks to Twitter and I wish I could go back to the days when I didn’t know who she is because, yuck.

Sorry, I just can’t get enough of this pretty boy. However, he’s scared us multiple times since joining our household. I keep catching him in my periphery while I’m working and he gives me a little start every time!

Chooch drew this on the back of the card he made me, lol. But now I’m sad because I promise you, if things had played out differently, my ass would have for sure have been stuffed into multiple rollercoaster seats over the weekend.

I mean, at the very least, we probably would have walked to Scoops for an ice cream cone.

Maybe someday.

In other mom news, MY mom dyed her hair pastel blue which is pretty bad-ass.

OK, back to watching videos of some guy walking through various Seoul subway stations. I have very specific YouTube-viewing habits.