Jan 252023

Dear Pammy, here we are on the last Wednesday of the saddest month. Once we tear off the January page from the calendar and burn it (and maybe a righteous bigot just for funsies) in a back alley bonfire, I start to feel a little better. One day at a time. But you know, before that happens, I have to do what all sane people do and purposely compound my crippling sads by watching the finale of a series that has been a part of my life for like 12 years.* Yeah, I finally bit the bullet and powered through the remaining episodes of the last season of The Walking Dead and holy shit, ouchie, wah. That was a rough ride. My throat actually hurts a little bit today and I’m certain it’s from the painful crying I did last night during the last two episodes.

*(Wait, is this for real? Chooch was literally 4 years old when that show debuted and we watched it together every Sunday night?! I mean, he was already obsessed with Night of the Living Dead way before that – “waaay before that” at the old-ass age of 2, lol – so I guess this felt normal at the time but I’m having a weird moment in present day, looking back on this. I wonder if he ever had nightmares?! But now I’m really spiraling out because I literally can’t remember a single time Chooch ever woke crying and saying he had a nightmare?! I just asked Henry if he can think of a time and he said no without even thinking because he is such a great contributor to conversations.)

You know, I dumped this show off and on over the years and kept finding myself lost or bored because I had the attention span of a, a, well, a walker probably. Or the average American. And I know it’s like SO COO COO COO to hate on The Walking Dead and the people who watch it because no one wants to just let anyone live their damn lives these days, but I don’t really care. I will wear a DARYL DIXON shirt straight out of my house tomorrow, watch me.

(Maybe not tomorrow because I have to get one first.)

Also adding to my stress is Valentine season. I think that I’m not cut out to be an Etsy seller, lol. My heart has not been in it at all this season. I was asked to make a couple of custom cards and I was actually like, “UGH, FINE” about it, which is so dumb because once I sat down and opened Photoshop, I was into it. But my creativity is tapped out these days/months/years.

I think I need more socialization. I allegedly have plans on Saturday with a new friend which is always scary and exciting and I really hope it pans out, plus I have at least two dinner dates in February. But you know, that’s big Erin energy, being all BOO HOO I’M SO LONELY and then doing the bare minimum to cultivate friendships.

The only thing giving me joy lately, aside from cats and squirrels, is working on the attic refresh! It’s really coming along so slowly since Henry only has time/energy to put into it on weekends and god forbid I should, what, paint by myself!? Ha. Can you imagine. Ha.

(Henry would never let this happen anyway.)

I should have waited to do an attic update on Sunday because we ended up getting some more stuff done!

LIKE THIS! I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF!! We had to go to the dreaded HOBBY LOBBY to get the fun fur Saturday night and as we were walking toward the check-out, some guy in the back of the store yelled very loudly and deeply, just one loud-ass staccato scream punching through the Jesus-y atmosphere. Everyone near us abruptly stopped and quieted down for approx. 2 seconds.

“Let’s go This is why I avoid shopping at Century III!” one suburban Yinzer mom said to her shopping mates, prompting me to follow suit.

“You can go out to the car, I’ll stay and buy this,” Henry said, handing me the car key.

“NO, JUST FORGET IT,  LET’S LEAVE,” I hissed, my entire body feeling like fucking ice was coursing through my veins and I waited to start hearing gunfire. Seriously. FUCK YOU, AMERICA. FUCK YOU, GUNS. Every time we walk out of the house: will we get shot today?

So what did I do? Big courageous baby Erin took the keys and ran, leaving Henry inside.

Turned out to be a bunch of kids fucking around and Henry paid for the fun fur and joined me in the parking lot without incident. But still, I couldn’t get my heart rate down for a while after that. I hate this.

Henry spent most of Saturday and Sunday working on the checkerboard wall and cussing me out in very inventive ways. I think he and Chooch thought it was going to look like shit but I had a very clear vision in my head…

When will they learn to trust me!? I think it turned out amazingly! It’s a fucking mood and I canNOT wait to finish this little nook! I decided to only do the checks on the right side. The left side is going to stay solid yellow, filled with art. The checkerboard is going to stay is – why gild the lily, as Teresa Strasser said once on an episode of While You Were Out and it has remained lodged in my head ever since. It was the first time I had ever heard that saying and according to Chooch, I say it “all the time” which I think is a tad hyperbolic but whatev. Hopefully it comes up the next time I’m playing trivia on the radio.

Oh in addition to my little monster wall, which was an OFF THE CUFF design idea, I coated the top of this short wall with iridescent glitter shards that I spotted on a rack behind an old ass Michaels employee when Henry was interrogated him on the fun fur options last Saturday. I had no idea at the time what I was going to do with it but I snatched up a small pack of it and formulated a game plan on the way home.

I can only imagine the twitches that my interior design choices give some poeple when they look at this but listen, Linda: I rent this piece of shit house and if I’m going to be slowly dying here, I’d prefer it to not be surrounded by white walls.

(OMG please do not let this be the place where I die LOL ugh.)

I want to put some small/fun cuckoo clocks on this little wall.

This is all I have going for me right now,  and I’m having fun with so leave me alone.

Just kidding, don’t leave me alone I’m so bored and lonely lol omg.

Jan 242023

Over the weekend, YouTube took it upon itself to peg me as that bitch who’d be down to watch other people’s high school home videos from the 90s.

I mean, you’re not wrong, YouTube. Here for that nostalshit.

I don’t know what I was trying to do there. I can’t make up KEWL words anymore. I’m too old.

Anyway, as I was watching things, I realized some things: I think I’m faceblind when it comes to white males. At least white make teens, I guess. Most of the boys in these videos looked identical to me! And the boundaries! There were none! Teachers touching students! Boys groping girls! Kids these days COULD NEVER.

But the thing that really blew my mind was how much older teenagers looked back then?? That guy in the picture up there was 17 or 18???

No. I won’t believe it. My eyes hath deceived me once again.

The other main thing I noticed was OBVIOUSLY a lack of cellphones and laptops so kids were actually conversing with their classmates and everyone seemed so laid back. Bitch where’s the anxiety? What fidget spinner?

Were the 90s truly the last (moderately) wholesome decade/generation?! I really think so and I am sure this is some scientific study that had been published about this already, but yeah, cook on, Erin. You said it first.

Ok I have to go. Henry just sneezed, unannounced, and completely ruined my night.

Jan 232023

While catching up with an old friend Thursday night, he told me that his mom died last August. It was like everything ground to a halt for a second. His mother – Carol – was my OG Work Mom. She was there for me when I had an abortion. She was one of the early supporters of my SCANDALOUS relationship with Henry. She has a baby shower for me when my mom and I weren’t on speaking terms.

The four years I spent sharing an office with her in Weissylvania bonded me to her for life. We both endured our own set of traumas there and for me, I was so young still that it sadly defined who I was for YEARS. What am I talking about – I’m still not over that shit. It came up a few weeks ago when Henry and I were in the car and here I thought, dummy that I am, that I could speak candidly about the experience because I AM SO HEALED NOW, NEW WOMAN, but then I found myself so choked up that I physically could not continue speaking and then had a panic headache for the rest of the day.

If Carol hadn’t been there during that time, if I had been alone…I don’t want to think about how much worse it could have been. Anytime we found ourselves in a catch-up sesh, our time there was always the main topic but it was always ok to talk about it with her – Catharsis, The Way It Oughta Be.

We spoke on the phone during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and lamented that we couldn’t meet up for lunch. I talked to her on the phone again during the summer of 2021, hoping we could finally schedule that lunch now that we were both vaccinated, but she told me she wasn’t doing well, cancer. And then there were a million times after that when I thought, “I should call Carol, I should send Carol a card, I should see if Carol is up for a house call.”

But I never did it. And now she is gone. I for real loved her like a mom. I never got to tell her that.

I hope she knew it.

So that’s what I have chewing on the last few days. Lots of regret, panic, grief, nostalgia. What a healthy cocktail, straight to the dome.

Take care of yourself. Etc etc. :/

Jan 182023

Absolutely no one asked, yet here I am with a collection of every carouselfie we took in 2022. This is my favorite family tradition (well, let’s maybe not go that far) and the carouselfie wall brings me much joy. Honestly, sometimes after I log off from a particularly bitch-fest of a workday, I will slump down on the couch to decompress and then look over at the carouselfies and smile, but also IMMEDIATELY feel depressed because WHEN WILL BE THE NEXT CAROUSELFIE OPPORTUNITY? WHO KNOWS?!

Sea World Orlando!
Busch Gardens Tampa!

Six Flags New England!


Michigan’s Adventure!


Six Flags Great America!


I’m hoping we collect many more carouselfies throughout 2023! I’m really pushing for a visit to the Nickelodeon park in NJ because their carousel is RUGRATS themed and I was a huge RUGRATS fan back in the day! RIP to my Rugrats talking clock – I should see if I can snag one on eBay actually….

Jan 142023

Interrupting my Walking Dead bingefest* to bring you the long-awaited, much-anticipated comeback by THE Youngbae, our beloved shining TAEYANG from BIGBANG.

You have no idea how loud I shrieked when his comeback was confirmed. His last solo album was in 2017!! I saw him perform that year in Chicago and it was absolutely iconic, incredible. A true fucking honor to hear his golden vocals belting out in the same room I was standing in.

Anyway, please enjoy and support our Youngbae. Such a fucking legend!!

*(I have dumped and taken back The Walking Dead numerous times over the years. I apparently just can’t quit it all the way though because now that season 11 is on Netflix, I decided to pick up where I left off — which was about halfway through this season. Now I’m completely invested again which sucks for me since this is the final season I think???)

Dec 292022

Hey-o, happy Thursday. Today I want to be sharing the homemade presents I prepared for my sibs and mom. I’m still on this kick where I want to repurpose the wallpaper that was salvaged from my Pappap’s house, and when my mom made me swear I wouldn’t spend money on Christmas gifts for her, I had an idea to use the wallpaper as the mat / background on a framed picture of the Gillcrest house.  I decided to make one for both of my brothers too since they both recently moved into their own homes and could probably use some personal effects like framed pictures.

I mean, OK, fine, I had to spend money on the frames, but they were 50% off at….Hobby Lobby, ugh. I’m such a sell-out. Much hypocrisy.

(I ended up using a similar picture, but from a different angle for this one and I don’t have it saved on my phone, but you get the idea.)

I love this shot so much because it’s how I will always remember the house. Flowering dogwood trees, sprawling lawn, blue skies. I think that I’m finally, mostly, at peace with the situation but what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and make sure the GROWN-UPS in the family did things differently in my Pappap’s absence. So much of what happened was preventable and it makes me sick that this house is now essentially gutted and in some stranger’s hands. I don’t think anyone is even living there! It’s almost like whoever bought it ran out of money partway into the renovations.

Not-so-secretly, I hope that Sharon is haunting THE FUCK out of that property.

Anyway. AHEM. Here is what the final products looked like:

I gave this one to Ryan: the wallpaper is from the living and dining rooms.

This one was for my mom: wallpaper from my grandparent’s bedroom. As she was watching Corey opening his, she rolled her eyes and said, “You and that wallpaper” and then saw that she also got a picture, so….lol.

Corey got the one using Sharon’s bedroom wallpaper because I thought it would mean the most to him, and also because he inherited some of her bedroom furniture when he bought a house!

My other gift came in the form of indulging Corey in his obsession with recreating our old sibling photos.

I suggested the following, with the idea that Henry could be Santa, but Corey said, “I am NOT sitting on Henry’s lap.” Lol!

I’m pretty sure this was taken at Meder’s, which is a greenhouse/nursery place that used to have reindeer in the back during the holidays that you could feed but then I think they got in trouble for having them or something so that’s no longer a thing, but they still have a Santa photo set-up as far as I know. Even when Chooch was a kid, I preferred coming to Meder’s for his annual Ho Ho portrait rather than the mall.

One time we brought Blake with us too when he was a teenagers and Santa told him to pull up his pants – this was when Blake was a scene kid and wore too-small skinny jeans. Blake was so pissed lol.

Anyway, we settled for this one which was mid but we chose it because Corey actually had the painting of the blue chair in his dining room.

I wasn’t too thrilled about this because I’m Ug City as usual but at least I’m super great at recreating my natural resting fug face with ease.

I think that Corey and I would have continued to ask for more retakes until we got it more accurate (my head is tilted the wrong way.!!!!) but Ryan was like LET US PLEASE PUT THIS TASK TO BED.

So, that was part of my Christmas recap. I’ll be back later to tell you about dinner & games OH BOY!

Dec 132022

Choi Minho’s debut mini-album recently was released, completing the SHINee sólo puzzle. I love that the members have a tradition of “plagiarizing” each other’s solo albums. SHINee just makes me heart feel so good.

Anyway, please enjoy Chase! It is SO SULTRY, a whole mood. I’m obsessed. (Obviously.)

Dec 102022

Henry the Not-Drywaller has worked very hard to patch the hole left over by the burst pipe last month. We couldn’t wait for the slumlord any longer, with this Xmas party coming up, and as I mentioned previously, Henry has kept receipts and photographic documentation in order to get reimbursed for this.

How it started:

How it’s going:

He finished it today! It needs painted white but I don’t give a shit about that right now, to be honest. I’m just happy that now I can finish painting and the green wall and get Marcy’s portrait hung up. Apologies XMAS party guests, you will no longer be able to converse with people downstairs from the hole in the bathroom closet floor.

Don’t worry though, there’s still a hole in the other room, from a completely different leak, which is being covered by a piece of … not cardboard but something sturdy and white. I don’t know what it is but it’s been there since early 2020 because quarantine happened so the landlord couldn’t send anyone and then we got complacent.

Welcome to our Shack!

Dec 032022

Oh my god, when I found out that NCT Dream was releasing a movie centered around their recent In a Dream concert, and that TWO theaters in Pittsburgh were actually going to be showing it, I bought two tickets immediately the day they went on sale. NCT Dream is the “younger brothers” to the main NCT unit, NCT127. I know, it’s confusing. SM Entertainment really does the most and their convoluted NCT conglomerate takes some time to really parse through. Basically, you can’t really be a moderate or part-time fan of NCT – you gotta be all in because there are so many moving pieces.

Anyway! I fluctuate between who I like more: NCT127 or NCT Dream. At this point, I have seen NCT127 three times (twice at KCON, and once at a full-fledged concert on their recent US tour) and I have seen NCT Drean NONE TIMES.

But I really think that they are my faves. They just make my heart so happy and I want all of the best things for them.

Watching this movie was going to have to be the next best thing to actually seeing them live.

Today was the day of the movie and I WAS FUCKING READY!!!

My Haechan pendant (designed by me, made by Henry) and a NCT lightstick necklace by the talented The Idol Collective.

My Cherry Bomb purse (this is actually NCT127) with my Renjun and Jaemin pins showing.

NCT Dream Dear Diary pin; Haechan Boom-era pin.

You guys, it didn’t occur to me until we got to the theater that I FUCKING FORGET TO WEAR MY NCT DREAM T-SHIRT. I HATE MYSELF.

“It’s going to be dark in there,” Henry reasoned. YEAH BUT…

P.S. We were only about 7 minutes away from home when Henry looked over at me and frowned because I WAS ALREADY STARTING TO CRY. Why do I have to feel so much?

“I should have brought Kleenex because I know I’m going to cry. I can’t help it! I care very deeply about NCT Dream. They’re on the same level as the cats and squirrels,” I said wailed.

Henry mumbled, “Wow. So that puts me even lower.”


The girl in front of me took a picture of this so then I had to, too Henry sighed.

I sent this to Chooch, who was at work and “sadly” had to miss the viewing festivities. “Great, now I have to sit next to him while he eats popcorn in a silent theater.” Chooch and I are very much anti-Henry’s Mouth Noises.


You guys. I thought there was no way for me to love these guys any more than I already did, but then I spent two hours with them in a theater and my heart was swelling to the point of explosion. This concert was a huge deal for them because it was at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which is like the PREMIERE venue for artists to perform at in Seoul, it’s what they all aim for. It’s also only their SECOND concert (like, full concert of their own and not just like festivals, etc.) and the first one with Mark, who had “graduated” out of NCT Dream before they had their first concert because originally, NCT Dream wasn’t a fixed unit. It was intended to be a fluid unit with revolving members under the age of 20. So once Mark had his 20th birthday, he “graduated” out of NCT Dream. The fans did not like this one bit and demanded that SM reconsider, bring Mark back, and keep NCT Dream as a fixed unit with the original 7 members. Eventually, SM caved, put Mark back in and promised that the current lineup would be the forever-lineup.

Yeah, I was a mess at most times throughout this movie. My nose was running bigly and my stomach hurt from trying to silent-cry when I wanted so badly to big-sob. And I know you’re wondering: Henry only fell asleep once at the very end, for “like a second,” he said. To be fair, he legit likes them but will honestly fall asleep at any given opportunity. He would probably also fall asleep during a Ted Nugent biopic.

I’m glad that this was available in Pittsburgh and that I was able to go. Yes, it emotionally wrecked me but it was amazing to see so many of their songs as they performed them at their concert in Seoul. I am so proud of them and the huge crowd they drew!

Since the World Cup stuff is happening currently, I’ll end this with a video of them performing Trigger the Fever, which was the official song of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017 (whatever that means) and Mark actually has a songwriting credit for this!

And here they are performing it at the soccer thing in 2017 (minus Jaemin because I think he was injured):

They were so young!!!

Afterward, Henry and I went to Angkor for some Thai food and I tried so hard to rehash the entire 2 hours but he barely had anything to say and just nodded a lot, but you know, that’s just Henry.





Nov 282022

Leaving Tennessee today! It’s 6:46am and we’re packing up the room which involves us throwing stuff at Henry and saying, “Here put this in here.”

We woke up extra early to get to Crockett’s Breakfast Camp right when they open at 7 because for some reason I have latched on to this place after watching YouTube videos about it but it gets super crowded. We got here at 6:56 and there was already a small group of people waiting.

Chooch and Henry are not impressed yet.

7:45am: Back at the hotel so Henry can “go to the bathroom” before we check out. What you missed:

  • Henry being sulky that I made him order Aretha Frankenstein’s Griddle Cakes which are just thick boi pancakes made in a griddle because I wanted to try them but didn’t want my own order since it was too much for muh belly and also didn’t come with a side of PONE like the egg breakfasts do. I was obsessed with this mythical PONE and it turned out to just be a thimble-sized dollop of a mushy corn bread (almost like ChiChi’s, #rip) with cranberries. It was good but I wish I would have known that’s all it was.
  • The pancakes were GÜT!!!!
  • Our waitress had an accent and Henry was like IT SOUNDS CAJUN and chooch and I were like, “who were you talking to??” Because it was totally some sort of Eastern Euro I’m betting. Then we saw her name on the bill – JULIYA. So Cajun.
  • Had to check out the bathroom as per the uje. The broad in there with me left without washing her hands, ugh.

Last view from our balcony. We stayed at some lame SureStay / Best Western but it ended up being ok even though I threw a huge fit about it on Saturday just based on the parking lot, backside of the building lol oh, me.

9:34am Hoo boy we just had a great excursion to Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. I wanted to recreate a picture from 2011 and we tried to do this on Saturday but the mountains were SO CROWDED that we couldnt get even get a parking spot. So we came back this morning and it was basically snowing, soooo cold, but somehow we only argued once and very briefly??

I’ll post the recreation in a separate blog post because I used the DSLR for it.

11:00am: We’re only just leaving Pigeon Forge now. It took so long to drive out of the mountains and Henry refused to stop anywhere even though I purposely wore a nice sweater to have my picture taken in. But ok. Mm.

Stopped at a gas station in Pigeon Forge that was next to a Bojangles and as we were leaving I saw a sign for sweet potato pies so I made Henry go into Bojangles and get one but he had to wait ten minutes for new ones to be made and I actually hate saying this but it was lowkey worth it. McD’s-esque and the filling was so smooth and warm.

12:36pm: Starting to not be as sulky. Found a place to eat at in some rando’ Virginian town, stay tuned. Hopefully they’re actually open. Just sitting here in the meantime marveling over Renjun’s precious baby voice.

1:16pm: Made it to White Birch!

I haven’t had a golden latte in forever.

Guys. I got the vegan curry and it was…meh, sadly. It had huge chunks of crunchy onions and carrots that were barely cooked, stewed tomatoes (ugh), over rice and quinoa. I had to keep trying to eat around stuff and it didn’t even taste curry-ish, but more like a stew.

Chooch didn’t eat any of his wrap which I tasted and immediately wished I had ordered because it was delicious but Chooch is v. picky. So I guess that’s what I’m having for dinner.

Henry got a chicken salad sandwich or something who cares.

3:45pm: Henry made me drive for a little while and that was annoying. I’m actually still driving right now while I’m blogging JUST KIDDING I’m not an asshole.

5:44pm: this drive is so boring. I finished a book (Palm Beach Finland). It was ok. We have been listening to NCT this whole time. Chooch is laying in the back being a baby.

7:37pm: We just stopped at a rest area in Pennsylvania and I swear to fucking GOD this is not familiar even though we are on this route very often?? I feel like if it’s not new-new, it is at the very least a renovated rest stop but Henry is arguing that it’s not. I mean it was like sparkling, even the bathroom, and the vending area had an intense number of options and a SITTING AREA.

When we were leaving, I pointed out the numbers along the side of the door and asked if it was in case you wanted to measure your height and Henry said it’s there for when there is a robbery/crime so you know the approx. height of the perp?? I never knew this. I literally thought it was there in case someone felt like checking their height for curiosity purposes.

8:14pm: we should be home in about 24 minutes so I’ll put this live blog out of its misery. Byeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Nov 202022

Hey-o it’s not Throwback Thursday or whatever but we are going to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for a post-Thanksgiving getaway next weekend which has been lubing up my brain with fond memories of the last time we were there in 2018 and actually got along practically the entire time like a real life, functioning family unit so I started scouring the blog for old posts and decided to re-share this one in particular because holy shit, we had so much fun that day! It was like Henry realized that it was OK to kick back and like, I dunno, smile while letting us do whatever the hell we wanted. I hope it’s like that again this weekend and also HOLY SHIT how was 2018 that long ago??

Anyway, I’m super stoked for Dollywood (natch), specifically Lightning Rod so fingers crossed that it’s running (you never know!) and also for the chance to go to PAL’S SUDDEN SERVICE again! After discovering it during last year’s Thanksgiving trip to Georgia, I have been dying to go back.

I also want to eat at CROCKETT’S BREAKFAST CAMP in Gatlinburg, which somehow, we have missed out on the prior two times we were in teh area.

Oh my god and Dollywood’s cinnamon bread.

Goddamn, I love this tourist trap part of Tennessee so fucking much.


When we first decided* we were going to Tennessee for Thanksgiving weekend, I figured we’d get in sometime Saturday evening, have dinner or something, and then go to DOLLYWOOD on Sunday, because that was legitimately the sole impetus of this trip.

*(See also: when I decided and told Henry and Chooch we were going to Tennessee for Thanksgiving weekend.)

But then Henry was like, “Let’s just leave sometime Friday evening, drive halfway, and then have most of Saturday to do the Tennessee things.”  Who is this Captain Funtime Spirit using Henry as a host body!? I was stoked on this idea and we even got along the whole night in the car and only fought once on Saturday while still in West Virginia, when I was angry and had my typical knee-jerk temper explosion all over not being able to find my conditioner when I woke up Saturday morning. And then Henry told me to “end it” which is basically just the same as telling me to CALM DOWN which he doesn’t do anymore, but I can see we’re going to have a battle over semantics here soon.

We arrived in Pigeon Forge sometime around 1:00pm, I think. It would have been later than that if Henry had given in to my desire to tour the BUSH’S BAKED BEANS FACTORY. I was heart-broken when we drove past the visitor center and I saw tourists out there posing with all the baked beans signs, living their best gassy lives.

Once we hit that main drag in Pigeon Forge, the one that’s like the Las Vegas strip of tourist traps, Chooch’s eyes lit up like an orphan about to dive into a hot bowl of porridge.

Here are the highlights from Saturday, aka Every Single Thing We Did because it was such a great FAMILY FUNTIME day, as Chooch would call it. We love us some funtime.


Apparently, Pigeon Forge loves pancakes. There are pancake house everywhere! But you know what pancake houses are notorious for? Closing at 2-fucking-PM. So, no pancake houses for us. Then we were going to eat at some Cuban place I found on shitty Yelp but I got irrationally mad when we pulled up and found that it was in a strip mall-ish area. I didn’t want to eat in a strip mall! By then, we were halfway to Gatlinburg and I didn’t want to go too far away because we still needed to go back to our hotel so Chooch could change clothes for his Cool Boy Smoky Mountain Photoshoot since they let us check in but then the maid had literally JUST started cleaning our room so we just dumped our bags, hung out in the fitness room for a bit so I could walk like a freak on the treadmill after being in the car all morning, and then left for lunch.

So when we saw the Wild Bear Tavern, I screamed, “FUCK IT, JUST STOP HERE, I DON’T CARE.” Hilariously, it ended up being a German restaurant. First of all, German food and vegetarians rarely mesh well. Second of all, the last time we ate a German restaurant was in 2011 (OMG the same year we were last in Tennessee too!) and Henry and I both got major food poisoning. We were with two other people that night who didn’t get sick at all and the only common denominator was the apple strudel that Henry and I had for dessert so I guess we were poisoned by the Evil Queen? Henry has been terrified of German food ever since so he opted for a burger and Chooch and I both ordered grilled cheese from the kids menu and the waitress was just like, “Why did you come here, tho?”

I did get a side of spaetzel though which was drowning in a pool of melted, watery cheese so it was kind of like German mac n’ cheese I guess and not even close to being as glorious as the spaetzel my Pappap used to make for Christmas. He was the spaetzel king.

Chooch got like 3 new stains on his hoodie just from lunch because he eats like a three-year-old, so going back to the hotel afterward was imperative! Luckily, our room was done for real that time.


Next up was the aforementioned Cool Boy Smoky Mountain Photoshoot! The highlight of this for us, don’t hate, was when we were driving back down the mountains to go  to Gatlinburg and Henry started choking on trail mix to the point where one lone tour dripped down his cheek and Chooch and I were going WILD over this. Then we were just like, “OMG please stop choking!” and it reminded me of how Glenn always chokes on peanuts at work. Good job being like Glenn, Henry. Anyway, Tuesday night, I was like, “Hey Chooch remember when Dad was choking on trail mix?” and  then we were crying because we were laughing so hard at the three-day-old memory and Henry called us a bunch of fuckers.


I wanted to do this the last time we were in Tennessee but it was before Chooch was wild about going to haunted houses and no one else thought it was a Super Great Idea like I did, so I did not go. But this time I was determined, and Chooch was pretty hyped up about it too. It took us a while to get through the Gatlinburg tourist traffic, but once we found somewhere to park, it was just a short walk from there. Henry was like, “I am not going in this thing, have fun” but had to come in anyway to pay for us, haha.

It was relatively “cheap” by haunted house standards ($13 for me, $8 for Chooch; something like that) and the ticket booth guy gave us the run-down in a melodramatic tone without making eye contact with us once. It was weird. But also, thank you for not looking at me, ticket guy.

Anyway, he sent us into a waiting room which was very dim and themed like an old-fashioned sitting room with a fireplace. There was a family of 5 waiting for us to join them, and then the ticket guy came over the intercom and told us it was time to find our way out of the room.

We were allowed to touch everything and push things, so that was really cool, and eventually we figured out that the fireplace had to be pushed in order for an entrance to be found. Every single person in that family (a mom, a SUPER TALL dad, a young son and daughter, and a SUPER TALL teenaged daughter) were absolutely paralyzed with fear and holding on to each other, so finally I offered to go first and they were basically treating me like a fucking hero, like I was some chick Van Helsing or something. It was HILAR. These people totally made the haunted house that much better for us, Chooch and I both agreed, which is no small feat because we barely agree on the color of the sky these days.

They were absolutely latched on to us and at first, I thought to myself, “Wow, this haunted house isn’t even that—-”  but then SHIT STARTED TO GO DOWN. Basically, without writing a goddamn screenplay, we were being stalked and terrorized by the same two or three guys and they were effective as fuck. One of them kept making a raptor-like sound in our faces, and at one point, we had walked up a staircase and were crossing a balcony-like hallway that overlooked the downstairs when one of them JUMPED FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HOUSE INTO THE HALLWAY WE WERE IN and I’ll tell you what, that family started a veritable stampede and I thought we were going to get turned into one a Pigeon Forge pancake for real. My throat hurt from screaming and laughing and scream-laughing! Oh shit, Chooch and I were cracking up so bad, this family was the limit.

At one point, the SUPER TALL daughter had my arm in a death grip, but she was pulling it behind my back at an uncomfortable angle, and then one of those guys came back to terrorize us some more and I was bracing myself for the crunch of cartilage as she snapped my arm back, but luckily I was able to break free. Her mom was holding on to my back and eventually realized what she was doing and said, “I AM SO SORRY. WE ARE REALLY DOING THE MOST RIGHT NOW” and I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to tell her it was fine. But real talk – if Chooch and I had gone through on our own, I might have had to utilize an emergency exit because it really like some real life terror situation at times. And the theming inside the house was great too, from what I was able to see in the flurry of hysteria going on around me. So damn good, would recommend. Exceeded expectations!


We weren’t hungry yet so we decided to just walk around Gatlinburg and count how many times we got to say NOPE every time Chooch would excitedly point out some arcade or shooting gallery. Ripley’s pretty much owns eastern Tennessee, I’ve learned, so every other tourist attraction we passed had their name on it. We did some of that stuff last time, but ever since that duck boat tragedy last summer, I have been determined to boycott those motherfuckers so all I had to say was, “No, Ripley’s killed people” and then Chooch said, “Oh, I didn’t know” and NEVER ASKED AGAIN.

It was wonderful.

We walked by Christ in the Smokeys and I got a picture of Christ all dressed up in twinkle lights for Christmas to send to our friend Bill, who I dragged there along with us last time, but he admitted it was a real diamond in the rough. Of course it was!

Just in case I ever started to forget that we were in the south, we’d walk past a souvenir shop that had several pro-Trump novelty shirt hanging in the window. Yup. Cool fucking story.


We ate at the Pigeon Forge location twice last time we were there and all I could remember was that I had something with tempeh, so I wanted to go back because tempeh is one of my favorite vegetarian foods and also, we were in the South and my veg options were slim.

Admittedly, it wasn’t as great as I remembered, but it was still a nice dinner. Henry got the Holy Shiitake mushroom pizza so I could have a slice, Chooch got something with two different kinds of tomatoes and then remembered he doesn’t like tomatoes so he had to pick them off but supposedly liked whatever remained, and I got that tempeh sandwich thing which was great but not like, “OH SHIT I HAVE TO WRITE SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS IN MY BLOG ABOUT THIS” great.

I had a beer and I normally don’t drink very often anymore so I was pretty much plastered. Henry asked me what I ordered and I honestly have no idea, it was whatever the waiter recommended when I told him I only really like wheat beers. It was OK! I drank the whole glass! But it wasn’t very big, so….

We found the fountain where Bill almost actually drowned Chooch when he was pretending to drown him, lol.

(I know I’m referencing our last trip here so much but you have to understand that it was an epic time, and Chooch and Bill even have a commemorative book for it.)

Right after this, we walked past a bunch of small kids who were singing some song, that went like, “I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N” and passers-by were straight charmed by this Flanders-esque display of religion, but not us. We were gagging and trying to push our horns back into our scalps. There’s only one thing worse than kids and it’s RELIGIOUS kids.

We watched this guy poop out taffy logs from a machine. I also bought Ole Smoky moonshine taffy at some other candy store for work and Henry was pissed because my work always gets all the candy.


After walking off our dinner, we went back to Pigeon Forge so that Chooch and I go on the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride!

Or, Oat Ride, I guess.

Now look, you don’t need to read the reviews to know that this is going to be a hokey trip through a glorified warehouse, but I NEEDED TO DO THIS. Henry kept saying it was going to be a rip-off, but he still handed over the credit card to the bored teenager working the ticket booth, and then he promptly went back and sat in the car while Chooch and I boarded a boat, or oat, with another family of suckers tourists.

That one dummy looks like a psycho Nick Jonas.

Sooooo…..it was actually pretty horrific in that I felt like we could have potentially been murdered in there. It was so dark (except for the jackass dad’s phone flashlight that he had turned on for THE ENTIRE RIDE because he was recording THE ENTIRE RIDE. Bro, that shit’s already on YouTube, don’t re-do it.) Chooch and I were especially terrified of the larger-than-life, extremely and inexplicably buff pterodactyl that was perched in anger above us.

We had so many questions.

I mean, I’m no dinosaur expert, but many things in there did not add up.

Overall, IT WAS FUCKING GREAT! Chooch started applauding sarcastically at the end, so then the mom of the family in front of us turned around and also started clapping but I think she actually meant it.

But yeah, if you’re into supremely tacky tourist shit from the 1970s, then this will be the jam to your peanut buttered travel itinerary.

I might still be drunk from that beer.


We went back to the hotel after the Jurassic thing so we could drop the car off and just walk to play mini golf — HENRY’S IDEA! He must have been having so much fun hemorrhaging money on family time.

But it was hard to cross the big bad Pigeon Forge tourist highway so we couldn’t go to the mini golf place that Chooch originally chose and had to pick one of the dozens of places on the side we were already on.

So we chose Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure, where Chooch finally realized after all this time that he sucks at mini golf.

I was so giddy by this point of the night, and spent most of the time doubled over in laughter while Chooch was practically roid-raging over his inability to get the ball in the hole in less than 9 strokes while Henry was looking up flights for one from Knoxville to Pittsburgh.

I sincerely don’t know how we didn’t get kicked out.

But most importantly, I won! Taemin’s wife always wins!

Somehow we missed an entire hole, Chooch lost his ball right at the end which resulted in him having a major psychiatric break and so he stormed off back to the hotel ahead of us, I nearly laughed myself to death because I’m a great mom, and Henry kept mumbling about wanting ice cream but then he never got ice cream.

We made it back to the hotel and almost immediately crashed. It’s amazing that we managed to mostly get along so well!

(Although, there was one time earlier that day when Chooch was trying to make a video for Instagram and got mad later when he realized you could hear Henry and me arguing in the background. I asked him what we were saying and he said we were arguing about where something was and then he imitated me saying, “That’s literally what I just said” and I said that he made me sound like a sassy teenage girl. “Yeah. That’s because that’s what you sound like,” he said in a way that implied it was NOT a compliment. Rude.)

Nov 192022

Henry and I were working on house projects all morning and then took a break in the afternoon to try out a new-ish bakery in my old turf, Jefferson Hills. It’s called Sabatello’s and it’s billed as Pgh’s first goth bakery so it had been on my radar since I used to be a fake goth from 1998-2001.

Actually, we were on our way to Michael’s for spray paint when I started whining about needing a treat, fucking mutt that I am, so that’s how this happened.

First of all, they have a purple door which I immediately embraced, and the interior is black and white stripes with purple accents and Halloween decorations sprinkled throughout.

The owner came out immediately to greet us and tel us about their offerings and she was the fucking cutest goth and SO FRIENDLY – I love friendly bakery people which you would think would be a prerequisite but I have walked out of Potomac Bakery numerous times with a SOUR TASTE IN MY MOUTH.

Can I just say that before delving into the descriptions of her baked goods, she took a moment to gush, “Your hair color is STUNNING.”

Girl. THANK YOU. I go to Bad Apple and Carly is an artist, I swear.

Ok anyway!! We bought an array of goods but I need to tell you about the cheesecakes, posing here in front of the Cure wall in honor of their goth roots.

Egg nog & white chocolate cranberry, good lord. The white chocolate cranberry one is my favorite. They were both so light and melt-in-your-mouth-y.

I’m going to make a habit of visiting regularly so that I can ingratiate myself into a friendship while eating my way through all of the cheesecake flavors.

Then we came home to Chooch taking a shower and all the water pouring out of the dining room ceiling so that was cool considering the waterfall was directly above one of the walls we’re repainting. Anyway, the slumlord is allegedly sending “Cliff” over, whoever the fuck that is, because the leaking pipe we have been reporting to him over and over for like 2 decades has finally rusted itself into oblivion so now we can’t use the shower/tub until “Cliff” fixes it.

It’s fine. Everything is fine. But if you don’t hear from me for a while, assume that I drowned in the creek I was attempting to bathe in.

Nov 122022

I have been super energized lately on the home project tip! We decided to have a small, casual Christmas party this December so I made a list of all the things I want to get done before then and Henry, in the robotic season of his life, has methodically gone along with this. I practically sprung out of bed this morning because I knew I was going to get to use THE HEAT GUN on one of the projects today – Henry has the audacity to say that he was going to end up taking over but guess who finished the whole thing?? Me. Truly.

That particular project is redoing an old, small coffee table to use over in the church pew section of the living room. We never had a need for one before because no one has really been here since we bought the church pew two years ago.

Anyway, I’m really excited about this table!

Also this weekend I will be repainting the cat-head wall. It’s time. I was never in love with that wall, really, and I am working on new memorial art for my Original Four Cats that I am going to use as replacements for the pictures that are currently hanging there. I require oval frames for this project though so we went to Fleatique today to see if anything stood out to me.

Didn’t find any frames but OH BABY I found something better and it came home the fiddly-fuck home with me. (Henry didn’t even try to resist. Just handed over the cash, lol.)

It’s already on display with my other Jesus art in the bathroom. I love this so much!! I hope it’s haunted!

And I hope that everyone who comes to my XMAS party (probably like, 3 ppl let’s be honest) will have to use the bathroom at some point so they admire this piece of fine art.

Nov 082022

I voted today in my accidentally, horrifically Republican looking Six Flags sweatshirt. When we were walking past all the canvassers who were loitering in front of our polling place, I loudly said, “UGH I HATE THAT THIS SHIRT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A REPUBLICAN” to which Henry mumbled, “ok” in his Calm DownTM tone.

Then I opened the door to the church gymnasium and it slapped back on me while I was walking through and it startled me into a jump, at which point I overcorrected myself while I was in the air and SPRAINED MY BACK. The whole thing happened so fast that I can’t even really understand how it happened at all except that it was somehow Henry’s fault. And I had an AUDIENCE and it was so embarrassing – I hope they weren’t there trolling for OZ, that would have been even worse.

As usual, I didn’t understand what the trick question was at the end of the ballot and I was openly panicking, like not even trying to be discreet about my confusion, so Henry calmly nodded his head as he walked past me after submitting his ballot.


I still have no idea if I answered that correctly.

Then I had to walk by all those people again and I was so UGH about it until I realized that the people coming out of the polling place have a DIRECT VIEW of the pink neon on our carouselfie wall! Henry was like, “oh boy.”

Anyway. I hope all my US pals voted today. Super nervous about it. :/

My fucking back hurts so bad. But, at least I broke it for DEMOCRACY.

Nov 072022

Hey Sam, hey Lucy. Here are some songs I have been super stoked on lately.

I’m sorry, YG as an agency may have fallen out of grace years ago at this point, but to me everything they put out is perfection. Treasure is an excellent example. Also, my fave Kpop cardio YouTuber has a fantastic, super energetic routine for this that I was so into earlier today, I may have sprained my back.

PVRIS is one of the very few non-Korean groups I still have interest in. Lynn Gvnn is just insanely brilliant, a true artist in every sense. I love that their sound has evolved and matured since their early Warped Tour days, but you can still tell that it’s PVRIS. That signature sound is still embedded deep into the background, and Lynn’s voice is so distinct.  This new release has sent me head-first into a massive PVRIS deep-dive and the nostalgia has been so soothing!

Do you even need any more evidence to support my claim that Ten is my ult bias of the NCT Universe? (Tied with Haechan, don’t forget!) Earlier this year, Ten was a judge on a Chinese dance competition show and he performed this on there – I remember thinking, “SM, if you don’t allow Ten to officially record this song and film an MV for it, you are out of your goddamn minds.” Thankfully, SM heard me, I guess!

Ugh this gives me major summer in the 90s vibes. Like I can imagine lounging in my grandparent’s pool and this coming on the radio right after Shaggy’s Bombastic. This song is my head quite often lately.

And then let’s throw it back even further into the past with the disco vibes in this one!

Ciao for now!