Mar 172024

I woke up this morning totally in a fit having just had my annual Psycho Mike nightmare. These honestly come out of the blue, 갑자기, unprovoked and apropos of nothing other than what appears to be decades-long untreated and unresolved issues. It’s crazy because the last several times we saw each other – the last being right after my 21st bday I believe and if I remember correctly, I was even telling him about how I thought I “kinda” liked Henry – we were on good terms. Not exactly friends but we had made enough amends that if we were to ever run into each other, it would have been fine. But then these nightmares started, and I don’t know if it’s because he has never acknowledged the fact that he straight up abused me, I mean – I’m not armchair shrink but I have to believe that’s what is going on here. Anyway, this last one was a real doozy, I was trying to lock him out but all of doors were screen doors and I kept screaming for Janna to call the police but she wasn’t and I just really thought “this is it, he’s going to kill me this time.”

Also, in my dream we had a KID TOGETHER and oh lord, I can’t even imagine how catastrophic that would have been IRL.

Just realllly started my day off on a sour note. I even looked him up and was startled to see that he lives in a town not far from me so now I feel like I can never go there again.

All of this is to say that my day did get better, though! I had a brunch with Sandy, Nate, Amber and Lauren today at Sally Ann’s and they pulled out some bachelorette accoutrements much to my surprise (I thought Sandy was joking when we scheduled this back in January and she said, “ooh bachelorette brunch!” and Nate piped in that he’d bring the “pecker banner” which THANKFULLY did not happen, although they considered inviting Mitch as a stripper.)!

Sandy had Blame Henry and Team Henry sashes made!

And a ton of Henry Head Confetti!

I texted Henry and his review of this madness was:

And Sandy gifted me with these ducks which is a KOREAN WEDDING TRADITION SO NOW I FEEL A LITTLE MORE LEGIT!

As much as I feel weird and silly to want to make a big deal about these 20+ years in the making nuptials (so I have been trying to be lowkey about it), it’s nice to be reminded that my friends are here for it and want to celebrate it with us. Now, let’s just see if it actually happens, considering the amount of times I’ve called it off in the last week alone haha.

This weekend was beautiful.

Mar 012024

PART 1: Just a Quiet Day in the Office

I went into the office to work on Wednesday because I had dinner plans that evening in Market Square with some work pals, current and past. It was storming and raining and windy – a perfect Just Stay Home weather cocktail – but Wendy was going in too, so I put on my big girl pants and sucked it up. It was nice going through my jewelry though, and choosing what to wear since I haven’t been accessorizing much since 2020. The little things. I even popped on my engagement ring that I rarely wear because I still haven’t gotten it resized, since I was going to dinner with THE LADIES that night.

As usual, it was empty there. Just Wendy, Lucas, Terry, and me. With the occasional interloper from other floors, like Beth, who walked by and merrily said, “Hey Erin!” to me. I don’t know why this stopped me dead, but for some reason I didn’t think she actually knew my name?! So, I giddily Jabbered Amber, who was like, “But you’re the girl she gave her mother’s wig to!” OK, this is true. You probably don’t forget someone’s name after that.

This was apropos of nothing. Back to the story.

The day was slow and quiet. Finally, around 6:oo, Wendy popped over and said, “Hey, come with me to the parking garage so I can get my car keys before it’s too late, and then we’ll start walking over.” I was kind of excited about this because I haven’t been in the parking garage in probably 10 years, and again – the little things! As we took the elevator down to the lobby, Wendy was struggling with her multitude of bags and accidentally hit the emergency call button, sounding off an alarm and the crackle of the disembodied, tinny voice of a security guard asking, Hello, hello, is there an emergency? Wendy was all flustered, yelling back, “NO I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED I DIDN’T PRESS THE BUTTON”

“One of your six bags pressed it, Wendy,” I said, and she was like NO, MY BAG WOULD NEVER.  Anyway, it gave the security people a good laugh when we got down to the lobby. I had my hands up saying IT WASN’T ME! and Wendy’s bag is also still not owning up to it, but then it turned out that one of the security people was being trained so it was a “good learning moment.”

Next, we had to take a different elevator down to the garage. Wendy finally realized she needed help with her bag situation and asked me to hold one for her, so now I looked like a mini-Wendy with my own giant crossbody body; one of her monster bags on my right shoulder; and, in my left hand, a bag of Girl Scout cookies that I bought from Wendy’s daughter. I was sweating from the exertion. After Wendy got her key on one level of the garage, we walked down a stairwell to where her car was parked and she finally dumped at least 75% of the bags in her car and then we were finally free to walk to Pizzaiolo Primo in Market Square.

It’s a short walk, but holy shit had the temperature dropped since that morning, Larry! I at least had the foresight to bring a jacket but I was still shivering. We arrived 20 minutes before our reservation, so we sat at the bar. I was already very uncomfortable because it was a tight space and I had my huge bag with my work laptop and everything else in it, plus this bag of cookies!! and there was just nowhere to set everything. So, with my bag on my lap, I was trying to rummage through the pockets of it for my wallet when I immediately noticed that…


You want to talk about when a cold sweat might immediately spring forth? Apparently, this is one of those times.


“So I just LOST MY ENGAGEMENT RING,” I croaked, hysterics boosting my voice higher with every word.

“What??” Wendy cried, and then swooped into my purse, pulling everything out and placing it on the bar while I am now standing up, fully in the way of all the servers coming in and out of the kitchen, acutely aware of how close all of the tables of diners are to me in my time of panic, patting myself down, rummaging through the empty pockets of my jacket, looking on the floor. Now I can feel my eye twitching and for some STUPID reason, I am SO CONCERNED about “how this looks,” “making a scene,” “having the contents of my purse on the bar for all to see.” WOW, WHERE DO I GET THAT FROM, GRANDMA. I’m on the edge at this point, the room is closing in on me, I feel like I’m going to be sick, I need to bolt.

“I’m going back to the office to look,” I whispered hoarsely in someone else’s voice.

“I’ll come with you,” Wendy said, starting to gather her stuff but I stopped her.

“I don’t want to ruin dinner for you!” I said, and thankfully at that moment, Jill arrived so I didn’t feel guilty leaving Wendy alone. So, I used this as my opportunity to escape and run back to the office, having a near-miss with a questionable man raving about something in the middle of Market Square. I don’t remember the jog back except for being pissed that the back doors to the building were already locked and I had to walk around to the front. I DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.


First I searched the floor of the elevator Wendy and I had used, then I went to our floor where I dumped everything out of my bag in the office space I was using that day. I was SO ANGRY AND FRANTIC, ripping everything out and slamming it on the table and then shaking my empty bag out but the only small, loose item that dropped out with a “tink” was an errant salmakki-flavored FISHERMAN’S FRIEND cough drop from Finland.

“FFFFFUUUUUCK!!!!!” I screamed, squeezing my hands into muscle-quaking fists. It was nearly 6:30 at this point so I assumed I was alone on the floor and just let it alllll out.

Catching my breath after whatever number freak-out that was, I had lost count, I left my office and retraced my steps around the floor. I hadn’t gone anywhere during work hours except to the bathroom and kitchen, but there was no trace of a ring. I got so fucking angry in the kitchen though, thinking of how every goddamn  time I used the sink that day, I was so careful to take ALL of my rings off and set them far aside on the counter. The sink at work is one of those “inSINKerator” deals and at one point during the day, I was washing my coffee cup and imagined having to stick my hand down there to search for a lost ring and then having to live the rest of my life with a hook-hand. This was a real life thought I had that day!! My mind was trying to subconsciously tell me, “Take that ring off now and lock it up somewhere because you’re slated to lose it later.”


When I circled back to my office,  the cleaning guy was in there.

“Oh!” he said, startled. “Someone is here! I was wondering where all that stuff came from!” he laughed.

“I LOST MY RING,” I said to him frantically.

“Oh man, and I just emptied your garbage!” he said. “Here, let me sift through….” and he started to dig through his garbage receptacle but I was like, “Look, I didn’t throw that much away today, I know it’s not there. I know I lost it outside,” and then the hopeless overtook me again and the tears sprung up and he’s all, “Oh, no, look, I’m gonna help you! I lost my class ring here once and I know how shitty—excuse my language—that feels!”

So we searched the small, mostly empty office because no one works there full time in person anymore so there wasn’t much to overturn. But still, his presence was very calming to me, and it was a connection I didn’t know I needed at that time.

“Hey, I’m Erin by the way.”

“Monty! Lamont!” he said and then fist-bumped me.


“Hey, Erin,” he said, startled to see that I was still here.

“I LOST MY RING!!!” I cried, back to needing a fainting sofa.

“Oh,” Terry stuttered uncomfortably. “Do you want a box of Girl Scout cookies?” He held up a bag of no less than 10 boxes that he had bought from Wendy.


But instead, I just quietly said, “No thank you.”

“You got any pecan in there?” Lamont asked.

“Um….let me see,” Terry said, and then proceeded to take all of the boxes out and display them on a counter.

Lamont chose a box of Thin Mints.


After Lamont promised to keep looking and turn it in if he found it, we said goodbye and I made my way to the parking garage, where I called Henry and screamed, “I LOST MY RING COME PICK ME UP.” Because there was no fucking way I was going to dinner at this point. You on a diet and want something to help you curb your appetite? LOSE YOUR ENGAGEMENT RING!

I walked all around the garage. In the stairwell that seemed like forever and a day ago when I was commented on how freshly painted it appeared. All around Wendy’s car. By the door to the office where Wendy picked up her keys.

Nothing but dirt and gravel and things I don’t want to think about.

Now Wendy is calling me. “I’m on my way back to the office to help you!” she said, sounds of traffic and the same man in Market Square screaming in the background.

I tried to get her to go back to the dinner. This wasn’t her problem and I didn’t want dinner to be ruined for her. I told her it was fine, Henry was on his way and I was just going to go home. “It’s gone,” I said in defeat. “I know I lost it outside somewhere and there is no chance in hell it’s going to turn up now.” That cold air probably helped it slide right off and I never even felt it.

“I’m almost there,” Wendy said. “I’m by McCormicks—” and I looked up from where I was standing on the sidewalk and saw her walking toward me, so this was happening. I walked over to meet her, and as we continued to walk back toward our office, she tripped and fell hard! It was just like a stumble-to-the-knees but a face-down sprawl and now I’m REALLY feeling like the biggest asshole ever, and I’m crying, “OMG ARE YOU OK THIS IS ALL MY FAULT!”

Two women passing by also stopped to help but Wendy was like “I’M FINE” and got up on her own and then some black gentleman across the street was yelling, “ARE YOU OK??” and I called back, “She’s fine!” because he wouldn’t stop yelling, and then he goes, “OK BECAUSE I HAVE A PHD IN—-” but then I couldn’t hear what he said over the traffic, which is probably good because I have a feeling it was something crude, but also I really do want to know, a PhD in what?!!?

I was so worried that she was injured and all she cared about was helping me find a ring that doesn’t even have that much monetary value so at this point I’m just like, “Fuck this ring, it’s causing more harm than good at this point” but she was already marching toward the building’s entrance where we ran into Megan who had just arrived to town from the trolley.

She took one look at me and had a *yikes* look on her face before I even had a chance to wail, “I LOST MY ENGAGEMENT RING!!!!”

“We’ll meet you back at the restaurant,” Wendy calmly said to Megan and I was like, “YOU WILL, I WON’T. I AM GOING HOME TO DIE. HENRY IS ALREADY ON HIS WAY.” But Wendy was like, “OK I am going to continue to ignore that” and led me back up to the 10th floor where she STUCK HER HAND DOWN THE KITCHEN SINK DRAIN WHILE I STOOD THERE BEGGING HER NOT TO. Don’t worry, she’s a trained professional (a/k/a adult) so she knew what was she doing which is how this remained a tale of only one person losing something.

After searching the garage again, we went back up the street where Wendy continued to hound me to come back to the restaurant. “Let’s just go back and have a nice dinner, it’ll take your mind off it.” I was still resisting when….


Henry pulled up to the curb and looked alarmed and tentative because I’m not sure he fully knew what was going on still. I opened the passenger door and hurled my bag at him because seeing him reminded me that he was the one who got me a ring in the wrong size in the first place (I had to wear it on my pointer finger and even then it was still too loose!!) nevermind the fact that it was me who kept putting off getting it resized so now I am pissed off and projecting it on Henry.

“WELL ARE YOU GOING TO PARK AND HELP ME LOOK??” I screamed and then he and Wendy had a silent exchange where they communicated many sentiments with just their eyes, and then Wendy closed the passenger door and he drove away, presumably to park, I don’t know, I hated him and never wanted to see him again at that point.

Now Wendy and I are standing alone on the sidewalk and I start CRYING which I hate doing in public but also, it’s downtown Pgh post-pandemic, some white bitch crying on the sidewalk is not worthy of a second glance.

“It’s an omen!” I wailed, channeling my best desperate dating show contestant. “I’m never going to get married!”



Wendy, desperate for all of us to have dinner together,  now lures me back to the restaurant under the pretense of “retracing our steps again and looking around the sidewalk” which turned into “OK let’s just go back inside the restaurant and you can leave your contact info with the bartender in case you lost it in  there and it turns up.” Jesus, she was still in GIRL SCOUT MODE after helping Summer sell cookies, I guess.

We get to Market Square and that same guy is still there, yelling his grievances into the sky.


Now I’m inside at the bar, the bartenders are talking to me about the ring but it all sounds like underwater word bubbles, I just want to leave. So after I write down my number, I go to push the open and Wendy is like, “Just come upstairs to the table and say hi to everyone.”

I’m like, Jesus Christ Wendy, no one cares if I miss a dinner, I see or talk to these people regularly! They will be fine! I will not be missed!

I finally give in because she is being relentless. I walk upstairs to “say hi, omg” and everyone at the table is just sitting there, frozen, looking at me with terse smiles because they know I AM IN A MOOD and I feel so stupid and self-conscious, still doing the body shudder / post-cry sniffle and I just feel disheveled, you know? Not really wanting to be in a crowded restaurant, but whatever, here I am, hello now can I go.

But then as I’m looking around the table, it slowly (and I do mean slowly) dawns on me that….this was a bridal shower dinner.

They took our ordinary for-no-reason dinner and centered it around me, managing to keep me completely in the dark.

And of course, I would go and lose my engagement ring 20 minutes before a dinner in honor of my upcoming maybe-nuptials.



I still want to go home though because now on top of everything else, I’m embarrassed and mortified and just feel terrible that I ruined for everyone what should have been a nice night. Gooooo, Erin! At least it wasn’t as bad as when I had a huge blow-out fight with my mom at her house and then drove back here only to find that some of my friends had planned a surprise party for my 21st birthday and I flipped out and couldn’t calm down and they ended up taking me to Mercy Hospital in an attempt to 302 me.

That was an…event alright.

Anyway, Wendy managed to steer me to the guest of honor seat and was like, “Just sit down and we will pack all this stuff up for you and then you can leave,” and Regina flagged down a server for a bag and Marlene was patting my shoulder while I was gulping down ice water. But you know what? In that short amount of time, Marlene had made me start giggling a little and then my shoulders started to lower from my earlobes one centimeter at a time, and the next thing I knew, I was saying in a small voice, “OK, I’ll stay.”


“She’s staying!” Regina called out in case Jill and Megan didn’t hear from the other end of the table, and then Debby was like, “Yay! Do you want to put on your veil—”

“NO,” I interrupted firmly. LOL.

So instead, Debby snapped her fingers and before I knew it, a glass of wine was being slid in front of me. And after the first glass, you know what? “I’m ready to wear the tiara now,” I said and everyone was like “Yay!”

“And the vei—” Debby started.


I did agree to the “bride-to-be” sash though.

“Oh shit! I forgot about Henry!” I laughed, and then texted him: I’m staying now.

I know, Wendy told me. Thanks.


I wonder what it looked like to the other diners, the table decorated beautifully, gifts, flower petals, and then here comes the guest of honor looking like she just found out her favorite Kpop group is disbanding before being forced to look at Trump’s nudes. Depressed and traumatized.

When we were all getting ready to leave, the bartender walked past and said, “Happy…..birthday? Con…..gratulations? Not sure what you’re celebrating but I hope it’s great!” She looked so concerned about how to approach me though, because I’m sure I looked beaten down and exhausted, but I was also wearing a tiara and had bags of presents like maybe I just reached the End Game of some dark and intense work initiation that had me running around the city on a quest to find a lost object the size of a nickel and the color of the sidewalk while pitting me against random co-workers trying to thwart my progress by pushing Girl Scout cookies on me and ending with the final round of seeing how many temper tantrums I could throw without getting fired by the Final Boss.

I love these ladies. <3 Honestly had no expectation of anything bridal-related happening since this doesn’t even feel real to begin with. Also, I’m so sad that there’s a water glass blocking my HAECHAN photocard in my badge holder (amazing I didn’t lose that as well that night.)

I forget who it was that asked if Henry was mad about the ring and I was like, “Henry? Mad? LOL.” I believe Henry’s low-key response was, “It’s just an object. You still have your finger. We’ll get you a new ring.” He’s already contacted the jewelry on Etsy and she said she does have a similarly-shaped raw diamond on hand so she’s going to make a new one and said there’s no obligation for him to purchase. I’m trying to look on the bright side here, and maybe instead of a bad omen, it’s a good thing. Because that ring had so many bad, traumatic feelings attached to it caused from the BOTCHED PROPOSAL at the Cure concert. So maybe a new ring will be good. And maybe this new one will be even prettier than the first! WHO CAN BE SURE.

Look at this card that Megan made me! The inside said “congratulations” written in Hangul and Marlene was shocked and awed that I could read it. I’m glad my preschool-level Korean impresses someone! I love that Megan gave Henry aka Herbert a backwards cap and his soju flavor is blueberry since he hates blueberries but has spent the last 20+ years suffering through blueberry-flavored desserts that I ask him to share with me. 

Also, Megan got me this “love” LED sign!!

And Wendy’s “something blue”!

Debby got me a series of fabulous framed prints, and Marlene got me this quirky yellow and black paint-splattered tea pot that looks perfect in the kitchen. And Jill and Regina contributed to the Korea fund.  AND during all of this, Henry texted me from home that he secured our appointments with the US Embassy for March 26th in Seoul, so that is one giant hurdle down toward actually “getting married” in Korea. We have been waiting on pins and needles for the Embassy to open up appointments for the week we’ll be there, so this was perfect timing. This and my wonderful friends saved the night. Thanks to Wendy’s persistence too, because I was seriously so close to pulling a runner when she wasn’t looking but she was so freaking vigilant until she finally got me upstairs in that restaurant.

So far, I’m 2 for 2 with miserable, unhappy ugly-crying in public at my marriage-related events. Yep, that tracks.

Looking back, it’s now really funny when I thought that the dumbest thing that was going to happen that day was when I accidentally ingested molten wax because I used a DISPOSABLE WAX CUP in the coffee maker at work. It was already melting as I frantically tried to transport the coffee to a regular coffee cup and then I had this weird wax residue all over my hands.


The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about Lamont and how good he was at helping me calm down, and how much he genuinely seemed to care about finding my ring. So, I called the cleaning service company and told the lady who answered about my tragedy (lol) and how kind he was to me and that I just needed someone to know that, because it’s not always common these days. She was so happy that I called and thanked me for letting her know, and that she would pass it on to his supervisor. She was like, “I love this, we need more positivity in the world!” and I said, “Yes, and less Karens!” It was a nice phone call, but then I was reminded of years ago when a cleaning guy from the same company accidentally broke some dumb thing on my desk that I didn’t even care about and had to fill out an INCIDENT REPORT and I kept telling our facilities lady (THE SAME ONE WHO REMEMBERED MY NAME ON WEDNESDAY, THIS POST HAS COME FULL CIRCLE!) that I truly didn’t care and didn’t want him to get in trouble but I don’t know if he did or not!?! I should have called then, too. Ugh.

Feb 062024

I’m kind of off to a good start for 2024, socially, having had plans nearly every week so far with friends. Two Saturdays ago, I met Wendy and Jeannie for breakfast at the Freedom Diner in Verona – I was trying to find a spot that would be centrally located for all three of us and it ended up being mildly more out of the way for me but I didn’t mind! I blasted a Seventeen playlist and enjoyed driving on a nearly car-free RT 28.

This breakfast was serendipitously planned (by ME, might I add) because it happened to be the day after we found out sad news and it was really therapeutic and cathartic to be able to meet up so soon after and take solace in each other’s company while getting the stink eye from our seasoned waitress in hot pink knee socks who was really doing her best to wordlessly hint that we were overstaying our welcome.

I had to photograph my meatless eggs benedict to send to Nate as a taunt because the weekend prior, he was screwed out of eggs benedict at back-to-back brunches, but then I never sent this to him because it seemed dumb.

I honestly can’t even remember what else happened that weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary, probably?!

Friday after work, Henry and I went to Shawn and Jess’s for dinner and games! Chooch was originally going to come along too but then his friends showed up at the house and kidnapped him. He had big regertz though because Shawn is his idol and mentor* and he was actually torn over who to choose, but his friends idling in our driveway definitely swayed his decision.

*(No literally – he needed a mentor for some school project he was doing and Shawn was his first choice. Apparently, I learned later, Chooch was GREAT at waiting until the last minute and messaging Shawn at like, midnight, to be like, “Hey so that one thing is due soon…oh, like tomorrow.” LOL wow. Great job.)

Anyway! Henry made a batch of GF brownies to take over, and Jess made vegan lentil soup that was sooooo good and filling! I also realized that I have more in common with their teenage daughter Anais than most same-aged friends, so that was fun. (We went to the same cooking school, evidently, of “just turn the stove up all the way to get it cooked the quickest” and we also cheer on the Team Microwave squad.)

I barely use BeReal anymore because I’m usually just sitting at home in sweatpants when I get the alert!

Before we knew it, it was 3:30AM!!! Fran, I can’t remember the last time I stayed at someone’s house that late!!! I mean, back in the day, people were always at my house super fucking late because I ran with a gang of vampires back then, but dang. I wasn’t even tired! Well, my jaw was, because I never stopped talking all night. I was divulging all these past traumas like it was NO BIG THANG and I could kind of feel Henry’s eyes on me, wondering if I took a street pill before we got there because my lips were so loose, they were dangling.

I guess I just really needed to talk about some of that stuff?!!? Lol ugh.

Saturday was a bust because we felt like we were hungover even though we only had 1-2 glasses of wine and that was way back in the beginning of the evening when we were eating dinner! I dragged Henry out of bed around 1PM (UGH!) and made him go to Homewood Cemetery with me, where I proceeded to cry because my new shoes hurt, and then I threw a fit as we were leaving because he was being weird about me wanting to buy something so I started screaming about how I make more money than him and that he treats me like Britney Spears like I’m in a goddamn conservatorship so he was like FINE YOU WANT TO SPLIT OUR MONEY UP FINE YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN! And I was like GOOD! And then after a pause I was like, “I WANT LUNCH” and he was all, “OH WELL YOU’RE OUT OF THE CONSERVATORSHIP SO GET YOUR OWN FUCKING LUNCH.’

The audacity!! I hate it when he tries to fight back! Anyway, I won and he got me WANGZ from ShadoBeni, yay!

Then that night, Janna texted me about a mini docuseries called KRISHNAS about all the fucked up shit that happened at THE PALACE OF GOLD in the 80s! I remember reading something about it, probably on Roadside America when I first “discovered” Palace of Gold as a tourist attraction back in 2010 or whatever, but I had no idea the extent of it.

Allegedly, it’s not a breeding ground for murder, molestation, grooming, racketeering and whatever these days so if you wanna go and get some bitchin’ food at Govinda’s Cafe after strolling through the rose garden and being leered at by the Dancing Acolytes, you let your girl know. I haven’t been there since 2019!

Sunday was OK. We went for another walk in the cemetery because it was actually kind of nice out – this time we went to Jefferson Memorial where we both have family buried and I talked about Barb and funerals and dying and then started panicking because we have NOTHING in order even though I have been on a “we need to make arrangements” kick for years. I obsess over these things.

Oh, and as I’m writing this, guess who had to cancel their debit card again because it was hacked again? This time PNC was calling me because someone was trying to use it at a volleyball, and unless Chooch suddenly is a romantic and trying to win back the affection of his not-gf with whom he’s already on the outs one month in by gifting her with some suck-up ice for her wrist, I’m going to guess someone got his card info. You know what? I don’t care. This is a Chooch Problem. (Which will be promptly reassigned to Henry lol.)

Jan 232024

This past weekend was weird. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just felt like I was, out-of-body. Just uncomfy and disoriented a little? Probably a lot of it was the gray, cold skies; winter in general. Broken record a-go-go but I really hate winter.

Random squishy pumpkin toy on the floor up there but an otherwise clean-ish house because guess why, guess you guys?!


I mean, I thought it was CURIOUS that he was suddenly re-designing his room with less than a year to go before he moves out for college (even if he goes to a Pittsburgh college, he wants to live on campus which is fine by me, cool bye), and then on Friday I heard him VACCUUMING up there? Like, how did he even know where the vaccuum was or how to use it is beyond me.

I was actually sooo giddy and also a nervous wreck waiting for her to arrive. I know that Chooch was big regretting inviting her over and I swear I wasn’t as bad as I could have been. Was I waiting by the door? Fully. Did I make them sit down for a grueling Q&A sesh? No, but I wanted to. Basically, we introduced ourselves to each other and then Chooch IMMEDIATELY made it super uncomfortable so I was like, “OMG fine you can go” and then that’s all I’ll say about that because I guess I should be mindful of his privacy even though this is the first time he actually was interested enough in someone to bring them over?!


Henry cleaned the Fiji Mermaid’s “tank” for me, literally the first time since I’ve had this thing which was….back when I did the creepy carnival Halloween desk at work right?! I think that must have been 2012?!

The next day, I was supposed to have brunch with Lauren, Sandy, Amber and Nate at The Nook. I would like to go on record here to say that I was not the one who chose this place, but I was the first one to arrive so I was the one who had to go in and put my name in (they’re one of those fucking annoying trendy places that don’t take reservations). The guy said it would be about 45 minutes and I was like “hnng” but I went ahead and put my name down anyway because I didn’t know?!

There’s nowhere to wait inside so the five us huddled out front on the sidewalk -a block  I mean it wasn’t super cold that day but it also wasn’t super great either. So then we were all getting bitchy and complainy and I kept feeing like I was now responsible for this choice of locale and let me just tell you that if it were ever up to me, I would never choose somewhere in Lawrenceville and would probably also make sure that there was an actual parking lot. I just can’t handle street parking!! Which is why Henry dropped me off.

Then, everyone voted for me to go in and yell at them and I was like, “I CAN’T DO THAT, I’M NOT EVEN THE ONE WHO WANTED TO EAT HERE?!” but I did go in after the waiting app thing told me that we had surpassed the alleged 45 minute wait we were given, and now the guy was backpeddling and saying that it was just an estimate and probably 10 more minutes or so it would be ready!?

I didn’t buy it, so I came out and said, “I think we should leave” and everyone was like “yes, lead the way” but I struggled to do so because I was wearing Vans with peds (super responsible winter gear) so now that I had to walk after standing still in the cold for 45+ minutes, I was having a hard time getting my feet to cooperate.

Anyway, a block away, Sandy saw the Tryp hotel which has a restaurant and she was like, “Let’s just go there” and we followed her like little ducklings because at this point, I think “being inside” mattered more to us than “brunch.” The restaurant, of course, was closed BUT!! There was a coffee counter and a lady was behind it so Sandy yelled from the doorway, “Are you open and can you feed us?” She said a double yes, so we had brunch (lunch at this point) in the empty basement of some random hotel. Literally, aside from the barista and her baby and baby daddy, we were the only people there the whole time and it ended up being perfect.

“Look, it’s Lauren from the Old Country!” Nate exclaimed, and then to me, he commanded in a quieter voice, “Take a picture!” So I took a picture of Lauren from the Old Country.

I know it’s corny, but it really isn’t about the food or the restaurant. If you are with your friends, that’s everything and the only thing! Was my Impossible Burger memorable? Not really. But was the convo fantastico? Hell yes. And also, shout out to the barista who had the biggest, most genuine smile on her face the entire time. That was just the cherry on top.

The rest of the weekend was literally me trying to force Henry to learn at least one Seventeen member and making our list of things to do in Korea because oh yeah, we booked our flight :)

Jan 132024

Our department had a belated holiday get together last night at Dave & Busters. Would you believe it was the first time I’ve ever gone there?? Just never had the desire, I guess. (BECAUSE I’M NO FUN, OK? I’M A FUCKING DUD. GAMES? EW!)  But I RSVPd because even though it’s always a drag for me to leave the house right after work, it always ends up being worth it once I get there.

And I’m glad I went because our newest department member, Lara, came and it was really wonderful getting to meet her IRL rather than just awkwardly introducing myself on a video call, and you know how I hate those video calls!!

I think there were around 15 of us. Sue gave us 2 drink tickets each to start and there was some food as well. Henry begged (I MEAN, BEGGED) Margie at Chingumas to let him come because he is desperate to be a part of our department. It was actually embarrassing. He drove me there last night and then sat at one of the bars, crying into his wings, until Sue was like, “OMG tell Henry to come join us” WHICH IS JUST WHAT HE WANTED, UGH. So then I had to go and find the little golden boy and tell him that he was allowed to crash our party. He giddily sat down next to Sue, what a suck up.

There were extra drink tickets and I was like, “OOH I SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER DRINK” to which Henry quickly intervened because after two glasses of what I’m sure was super high quality pinot grigio because Dave & Busters, I was half-hammered. Maybe fully hammered. I’m actually embarrassed thinking about it because I know I was being annoying (I can’t hold my liquor) and also every single picture from last night makes me look like a fucking glassy-eyed wino.

Forced Todd into my selfie-web, and he was stoked – can you tell?

Margie and me! Shout out to Margie for helping Sue arrange everything!

WHAT WAS RACHEL CALCULATING?? Also, she is currently going through the college application drama with her TWINS so I can’t even imagine her stress levels knowing how stressed I am doing this with just one kid. We spent a good portion of the night commiserating over that and I gotta say, it was good to have someone to vent with.

Nate and Eric (who also joined us as an honorary department member for the night!) looking super intense.

Nate and #UghLou

5 hours late with this BeReal but I’m glad I remembered to do it while I was actually out of the house and with a table full of good people!

Megan has a selfie ring light for her phone that some of us were coveting, so today she sent the link for it in our group text and an hour later, Henry goes, “‘Your package is arriving on Monday’ – what package?” LOL.

We were totally in everyone’s way. People were there to play games and I’m like, “No it’s selfie time, guys.”

Ugh, you know I’m drunk when I do the huge open-mouth pose in every picture. Is it better or worse that I at least know I’m annoying?

I’m pretty sure Todd was like, “OK I’m leaving” after this because he signed up for food, drinks, and games, not posing for selfies like he’s out with so bunch of sorority girls.

I do love this one so much though!

My favorite part of the night was near the end when the last ones standing (me, Nate, Amber, Lori, Maggie, Lou and Henry) were LOAFING over by the prize room thing, being jealous and also appalled that not one but TWO people had earned enough points to snag the Ramen pillow AND the giant pickle plush.

“Where do people even PUT things like this in their house?” Amber mused.

“You’re asking the wrong person!” I said, and Lori and Maggie started cackling.

“Yeah, you’d redesign an entire room for something in there!” Maggie exclaimed.

Totally could see myself demanding Henry build an altar for a giant plush Dave & Busters pickle. It would match my new clown buffet!!!

Anyway, what a great night with great people. I’m really glad that some of us make an effort to get together and keep the work relationships alive now that we’re all remote. It’s so important, especially since now we have so many people who were hired virtually during the pandemic. For instance, our newer Support person, Wendi is someone that started during that time but she has come into the office for various casual lunches and other after-work social events and she has quickly become one of my favorite people there.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I have been so sentimental about work stuff lately. Sigh.

Dec 232023

Last Saturday was Megan’s annual Christmas party and this year’s theme was a cocktail competition! I had every intention of participating but with all the stress and chaos of planning my own party the week before and then just life generally having me in a chokehold, I ended up delegating a cookie order to Henry so instead of half-assing a cocktail (it’s all or nothing with me, you guys; if I’m going to participate in a contest, it’s for gold, not for fun), we (haha “we”) full-assed a batch of jalapeno zucchini cookies with a lime glaze. Henry won a cookie contest off this recipe several years ago and it’s been our go-to cookie recipe ever since.

And by “go-to” I mean that he made them approx. one other time. I think it was when Chooch was making cookie care packages for Coronamas 2020.

Anyway, not everyone threw a drink into the cocktail ring, so I was relieved about that. I was perfectly happy to be a judge, though!

Lauren, Nate, and Amber were also there! And Megan’s friends, Sami and Lindsay, whom I have gotten to know a bit from some of Megan’s past parties and social media. I was glad to see them and branch out a little!

Megan and me! I’m pretty sure this was only the first hour of the party and you can see it in my eyes, you guys. Lightweight.

Everyone was really excited that I remembered the existence of .5 selfies.

:D Not me being a fucking pest.

They made me take a real one, and then also made me Facetime our work pal Vicki in Chicago and she actually answered! I would never answer a Facetime from me. Honestly.

Apparently, Vicki yelled at Nate for not Facetiming her from Chingumas, so this was heavy on his mind and he didn’t want to get reprimanded two weeks in a row.

Here’s Megan announcing the winners! Mary’s espresso martini came in first. It was so good. Everything was so good. Henry was in charge of fetching me samples and he claims that he got me one of everything but who can be sure. (Megan had, like, double shot glasses on hand for the sampling.)

HENRY MADE A FRIEND. Later in the night, I was outside having A DEEP CONVO with my new friend Joanna (you will meet her here soon, hold on, I’m out of order) and Henry’s new friend was also out there smoking. I was shivering because I didn’t have a coat on so he was like, “OMG here” and gave me his flannel. Then a few minutes later, some woman came out to get a beer and she goes, “I just wanted to see who was wearing my husband’s shirt.”


I told Henry this later and he was like, “Good job, idiot.”




LOL OK here is my new friend Joanna, who came in a tornado, acting like we already knew each other and I was just buzzed enough that I was like, “OK I WILL PLAY ALONG” while everyone else was like, “Oh no.”

You guys, it turns out that Joanna and I actually grew up on the same street in South Park!!! I didn’t realize that until the next day when I texted my childhood bff and said, “Hey I met this girl who graduated a few years after you at SPHS, do you know her” and she was like, “Um yeah, she lived on our street! Her parents still live there!” So I texted Joanna and told her this and she was like OMG WHAT and it’s like fate, you guys, even though we will probably try to hang out at some point and realize that the magic of being manic together at Megan’s cocktail contest thing does not transfer to real life scenarios, like having coffee or eating ravioli, I don’t fucking know.

This was shortly after Joanna and I met. She was sad because no one was eating her storebought cupcakes and I said, “Oh here, I’ll have one” and as I picked up the container, I said, “Oh look! One is gone! Someone ate one!”

“Yeah,” Joanna slurred. “MY UBER DRIVER!”

And then you guys, you guys, my god, she started laughing so hard that her voice got caught and then she was crying from the strain of it all and I was just there for the ride, laughing along with her, but she kept thanking me for making her laugh the hardest she had all year, I mean, she even texted me when she got home that night to tell me again, and also the next day. I…didn’t do anything though?! LOL!

Lauren got this picture AND video of the scene:

Us with Mary, whose cocktail placed first and is an incredible singer! She has a Christmas album on Spotify and sang for Joanna and me on Megan’s backporch! She has recently gotten back into acting and I want to go to one of her shows.

The Law Firm Connection.

Anyway, that was a REALLY great night and I didn’t realize how much I needed to let out steam. I had fun at my party too but….I was fucking stressed and distracted. I didn’t even really drink that much at my own party! Which is probably for the best. But yeah, I really needed this night of social butterflying, and it was fun to me the Old-Real Me again for a few hours, not giving a shit if I’m making an ass out of myself (and I assure you that I was, lol).

Dec 172023


Way back in September, we were on our way to Chicago for Riot Fest when I randomly started talking about whether or not we’d have a Christmas party that year. I am always on the fence with this. I love having parties, I really do, but I always get really stressed out and sometimes end up not even enjoying it. Plus, I just don’t really care about Xmas that much. I started thinking about how people have Friendsgiving but I also kind of think that’s corny and giving A Beautiful Mess, so I definitely wanted to make up my own holiday.

It got me thinking, what’s the Korean word for “friend”?


And I would still want to have the party in December.

So…Chingumas. Boom. Done.

I googled this, in English and Korean, and nothing comes up so I think I might have literally invented it!? I excitedly texted Chooch from the car and he of course didn’t respond so I had to follow up hours later:


Then the next day, we met my friend Vicki who works in the law firm’s Chicago office for breakfast and before we even sat all the way down, I blurted out, “VICKI I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT NO ONE FROM OUR GROUP KNOWS YET” to which she responded with a pallid-faced, “OMG what?”

“I think I invented a new holiday!” I cried. She slapped a hand against her chest and sighed, “Oh, Erin!” I guess she thought I was going to tell her I was quitting or something.

We hit up H-Mart before leaving Chicago the next day so that we could stock up on all the Korean alcohol, boiii, since Pgh sucks in that regard (you can get soju at some liquor stores but I have not seen a great selection of flavors nor have I seen makgeolli which is my fave Korean sul).

And then I proceeded to embark on a willy-nilly, haphazard invitation spree. Jessica, the only thing I miss about Facebook, THE ONLY THING, is the ability to create a FB event, add everyone I want, and then easily keep track of the RSVP list, post updates, delegate food-bringing, etc. Now, I am inviting people on Instagram. Via text. Over Jabber at work. On It-Will-Always-Be-Twitter. And then I promptly cannot remember who I invited and who I didn’t invite. So the week before the party is inevitably spent terrorizing people, asking, “PLEASE REMIND ME, ARE YOU COMING TO CHINGUMAS?” and then they reply with, “PLEASE REMIND ME, WHEN IS IT?” and it’s a hot mess. And then I always forget to invite people because I’m in my early onset dementia era, I think. Or I need to start keeping an actual planner like people did in the 70s or whatever.

Anyway, Chingumas was last Saturday the 9th and guess what?? My great friends Bill & Jessi came all the way from Michigan on Friday to spend the First Weekend of Chingumas with us! I had every intent of decorating early, doing food prep early, etc etc so that on Saturday, we could relax a little and spend time with them.

Did that happen? FUCK NO. We were panic-everything’ing the whole fucking day. It was a dumpster fire. Henry was so behind on food-making, I wasn’t still decorating when people were beginning to arrive, my heart rate was rabbit-on-the-run levels of Next Stop: Heart Attack Land.

I mean, look Linda, listen: it was fine! It really was fine. Even though people were arriving while I was roaming around aimlessly, muttering over and over, “Wait, what was I doing? Why did I come in here?” and then Chooch had to help me cut out my idol food labels because I don’t have eight hands and Henry was still preparing food so the kitchen was a shit house and UGH. He had to give me a quiet pep talk as I was contemplating drowning myself in the kitchen sink.

Megan’s Famous Cheeseball: Korea Edition! It had gochujang in it, which was the secondary theme of the party – so much food had gochujang in it and I was happy because this is one of my favorite things ever! (It’s Korean red pepper paste, in case you were wondering, and it is fucking spicy and perfect.)

But you know what, he was right. It was fine. I was OK. It was OK. The food got done (although he forgot that he was supposed to make mini grilled kimcheese so that’s great, thanks). People were eating and drinking and laughing and my work friends were mingling with my non-work friends and my friend Cara that I have known since Kindergarten but rarely see showed up with a Seoul Box for me and she seemed to be OK being thrown to the wolves aka my other friends, and Bill and Jessi’s presence kept me calm, and Chooch had four of his friends over and they were like “This is good food” and everyone was calling the kimbap “sushi” even though I had a cut-out of Sana from Twice announcing that it was kimbap but you know what, this was just the first Chingumas. Baby steps.

One of my favorite parts was when Glenn and Amanda arrived and some of my non-work friends were like, “Yes, we know Glenn” and Glenn was like, “No…I don’t think we’ve met” and then they realize, “Oh shit we know him from Erin’s blog” or whatever, and thank god that he is OK with that HAHA. I mean, is he though? Eh. Probably.

Thank god you can’t see the sink in this shot because it was FULL. The perils of not having a dishwasher.

I feel like I spent the first 30 minutes walking around with an industrial roll of tape, and then at one point asking, “Why am I holding this?” You can see it laying on that white stool back there. I set it down and then forgot about it for hours until I found it later laying on the hand chair and then finally putting it away.

I guess I’m including all of this because I am marginally concerned about my brain health and want to have this on record. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe I should start taking naps?

Maybe I should also include the guest list before I start forgetting names and faces as well:

  • Bill & Jessi
  • Amanda & Glenn
  • Janna
  • Cara
  • Megan
  • Sami
  • Lori
  • Sandy
  • Nate & April
  • Wendi & Ben
  • Margie
  • Shawn & Jess
  • Chris & Monica
  • Corey
  • Lauren

Chooch’s Crew:

  • Ben
  • Daniel x 2 (aka The Daniels)
  • Zakk

We made tiramisu and I know you’re asking right, “Why would you make a traditional Italian dessert for a party celebrating Korean culture?” and I will tell you why: one of the first things we realized on our first trip to Korea was that HOLY SHIT, they love tiramisu in that country! You could go into any cafe and expect to see some type of tiramisu in the dessert case. Tiramisu almonds.

Ya gotta just take my word for it, OK? Tiramisu is ubiquitous over there and we love that.

In the beginning of the party, I was panicking that I wasn’t going to get enough pictures which has been a problem in the past, so I literally just ran around in photo attack mode which my GUESTS FUCKING LOVED, I WILL TELL YOU THAT MUCH especially when I posted some of these on Instagram to their great “I wasn’t ready!” chagrin. Corey and Chris look like I dragged them in my house off the street and tossed them back there, which to be fair is kind of the strategy I had for accumulating party guests back in my early 20s. I mean, I have kind of changed my ways and I, you know, play by the book these days, sort of.

You can tell I was frantically taking these and people were like, “AREN’T THESE BLURRY??”

“No!” I yelled over my shoulder, moving on to my next target. Flash forward to the next morning, oh man, a lot of these photos are blurry!

I was going to only play kpop but I feel like people wouldn’t have been able to handle ALL KPOP ALL THE TIME so I used last year’s Xmas Party playlist which seemed to be ok for everyone.

LOL MARGIE and her shot glass of soju lol.


Henry also made a large platter of tteokbokki and the other sub-theme of the night was, “This is spicy but I like it!”

Still on my photo-attack tip.

Here’s Henry finally getting a chance to explain the nitty-gritty electrical deets behind his Seoul Subway sign. You can’t see her, but Margie was listening intently so that she can make something similar for our next department meeting. So when Sue says, “Margie, can you pull up the numbers?” Margie can share her screen to show her gigantic light-up sign of our new business intake monthly stats.

I don’t know what was going on here but when I reminded people of the hashtags that I wanted them to use on Instagram, Nate seemed very annoyed so I left the Back Porch Club alone after that.

Megan and Janna used to live on the same street but then Megan moved because she didn’t want to live on the same street as someone who can’t pick Haechan out of a crowd of 9!!!!

My favorite part of the night was finally getting people to try makgeolli and I’d say it was a hit! Hope they didn’t like it too much since it is so fucking hard to find around here.

OK, I have been writing this for way too long.

Wendi and Ben! We almost had two Wendi/ys here but Wendy-with-a-Y was sick :(

Lori and Sandy and the Rush Audit Light!

Cara! We almost had two Cara/Karas but Kara-with-a-K was sick :(


Nate and April!

Jessi and Bill!!

Margie and Lauren!

Herbert and Megan!

Chooch and Wonka talking about Computer Science thangs. Chooch became the man of the hour after his friends left and he was available to be verbally accosted by all of the adults wanting to drill him on his college plans. I tried to ask him a question later that night after everyone left and he said, “I’m all out of talks. Come back another day.”


Megan and me! Also, my gochujang cookie looks like it has Mary or Jesus on it!?

Jess and Wonka!


Freaking precious.

I think this one needs framed???

Glenn and Amanda!

I dunno, I think it was fun! It seemed like everyone else did too so I guess we will try it again next year with maybe more advanced Korean culture components. Photo cards, maybe?? An NCT member line-up match game?? Hangul crash course?? Korean drinking games?!

Nov 252023

I am having a pretty good day and I hope you are too. (Look at me being positive and nice!) The past week was pretty good too aside from some weird work anxieties – nothing major but I think I am just very on edge lately since OMG CHANGES IN MY LIFE. I just really don’t adjust to change all that well. The best way I can describe the last month-and-a-half is by comparing it to the time middle school was on vacation with my grandparents. I think we were gone for nearly 3 weeks, just long enough for me to really experience homesickness. I was happy to come home to my dogs (mm probably not the rest of my family though LOL savage) and the familiarity of my bedroom. EXCEPT THAT MY MOTHER CHOSE TO REARRANGE MY ROOM WHILE I WAS GONE.

Kevin, excuse me but do you know how disorienting that is??

I think that’s similar to how I have been feeling lately. To be honest, I don’t think I really got back into the groove since we came back from vacation. That was a long time ago at this point. I just feel so uncomfortable every day? Nothing feels right? And then the new neighbor situation has really fucked me up and I can’t explain why. Yes, it’s been sort of stressful, but I think it’s more of the fact that my routine was bulldozed for weeks and I just can’t get back into it. I’m trying to start up my exercise routine again because that was totally ruined and my diet was fucked, all of this PLUS the stress causing me to gain weight and you know the underlying theme of my life is WEIGHT OBSESSION / FOOD PHOBIA etc. so god bless my neighbors for sending over plates of delicious food and homemade bread, but I know associate them as a whole unit with WEIGHT GAIN and I am to the point where I am almost hiding from them and that’s so fucked up. I am fucked up. Do I need therapy, you think? Here are these people just trying to be nice neighbors by feeding us and I’m over here developing an aversity to them because I’m fucking neurotic. I hate myself.

Anyway, all of that aside, some nice things happened over the past week to get me out of the house and talking to people aside from online chatting with my work friends (not knocking that AT ALL but sometimes I need some IRL conversing).

I had brunch plans last Saturday with my friend Lindsey and I was reallllly looking forward to it. It’s only our second time hanging out but, at least on my end, it feels like she is an old friend (I mean, she *is* Internet-wise!) and the nerves are not there at all, which I really appreciate. Henry drove me though because Chooch had his gaming class at Pitt right before that and it was convenient for us to drop him off together so that we could then go to Home Depot and pick up paint for our current project. There is this one person I used to follow in IG who would drop little bread crumbs about her latest project and then say I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT IT IS and half the time she never would. I will not be like and just tell you that we (LOL *WE*) are redoing the twin to the current beverage buffet we have and we are doing it in a garish clown theme. No big secret to reveal later, unless you want me to assign it a gender and have a dramatic announcement when it’s done.

OK so the whole point in me telling you this is because we had the best cashier ever, this super personable older black woman who first initiated conversation by saying that she liked my hamburger purse and then she started asking me questions about it like is it wagyu I don’t fucking know and I was like, “Oh, I just bought it because I thought it was funny since I’m a vegetarian” and she was like, “Oh ok. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What are you cooking?”

I laughed, like a really hard staccato HA! and said, “Nothing!” She looked at me like I was FUCKING CRAZY. “Trust me, no one wants me cooking!”

Henry was off to the side making grunts of agreeance. Then he said he does all the cooking and she was like, “WHY YOU DON’T YOU TEACH HER??”

“Oh trust me, we’ve been together over 20 years. There is no teaching her.” And I added, “It’s true. He has tried and I get so distracted and start looking up at the ceiling.”

She was dying. Then I told her about the time I tried to make Chooch pierogies and didn’t realize that I had melted the spatula on it until I saw him about to shove a forkful of pierogi and spatula tendril into his mouth.

We had actually already finished checking out and were still standing there talking about this and it was one of the rare times lately where the small talk felt so real and natural?? It reminded me of how I used to be before the world and texting and the Internet ruined my knack for verbal communication. I forgot that I used to be really good at it and would have good chats with people everywhere I went! I kind of feel inspired to do that again??

Then it was time for brunch with Lindsey at Scratch!! First of all, it was so awesome to see her again and eat what were quite possibly the best donuts I’ve had in Pittsburgh? My friend Wendi was raving about them to me, and I can confirm that they were worth the hype!

The avocado toast was also totally filling and also beautiful – look at it up there! I can be kind of bratty about avocado toast because trends also annoy me but sometimes a good avocado toast can be so satisfying.

Then one of the waiters interrupted us to tell Lindsey that she has the best laugh and I totally second that! But then it was kind of awkward because I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask to join us….? He just sort of lingered there and then eventually offered to take our order because our original server was busy with a large party, but honestly, I kind of felt like he was he interested in Lindsey and then lost his nerve and tried to play it off by taking our order?! LINDSEY IF YOU’RE READING THIS, DID YOU GET THAT VIBE FROM HIM?

We overstayed our 90 minute welcome window and were asked (politely!) to leave, lol. I mean, the host did offer to move us to the bar area, to be fair! I can’t believe how fast that 90 minutes flew by though! It was so fun to catch up, complain about Pgh’s food scene (eff you, Oak Hill Post!!), and tell her the Coaster Crew trip deep cuts.

I totally forgot to ask someone to take our picture!

My Coaster Crew friend Pam is in town this weekend for an event at Kennywood (it’s being held by a different coaster club) but she made time to see me after she got into town yesterday! We met at Yinz Coffee (owned by the former owner of Crazy Mocha which was the ONLY cafe in Pgh that had a good chai latte and I’m happy to report that Yinz Coffee uses the same recipe thank god) and had a wonderful catch-up sesh! Kind of surreal seeing her here in Pgh and not out in the wild of some Scandinavian amusement park. #tears

Henry came in toward the end and Pam was like, “IT’S HENRY!” Ugh, Henry! Henry! Henry! Henry barely even talked to anyone on that trip and I guarantee he’s still the one people would remember the most!

That was really fun, and it made me want to have a reunion with everyone from that trip so I posted on Instagram that we should have a Phantom’s Revenge marathon party next year and then everyone can stay at my house and Jean (!!!) commented and said, “Let’s do it!” and Henry was like, “DO THEY KNOW HOW SMALL OUR HOUSE IS?!?!” But if we wait until Chooch goes to college, we’ll technically have two spare rooms to fill with beds and sleeping bags?!

Or we could be grown-ups and buy a house.

I was really thinking a lot last night about our Coaster Crew friends and it made me wonder if any of them were at the Coastin’ By the Ocean event we did in 2022 – it was technically an event held by Morey’s Piers but you had to be a card-carrying member of a coaster group to be able to register, so we were able to do it as Coaster Crew members. Of course, we had never done a Coaster Crew event before that so we had no idea if anyone from that group was there.

I looked up the group picture and literally SCREAMED:

FREAKING DAWN AND ROBERT, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO WE ALSO RAN INTO IN FINLAND?? (Spoiler – I haven’t written about that yet, oh well!) And they were RIGHT IN FRONT OF US? I am shook. Honestly, the world is so small sometimes. It’s humbling.

Today, Chooch and I met Janna, her sister Julie and bro-in-law Marcus and their son August at Eat n Park so that they could talk to Chooch about his college plans, tell him about their experience at CMU, answer questions for him, etc. It was really informative and interesting even for me, the big stoop at the table. It also occurred to me on the drive there* that I don’t think I have seen Julie since high school??

*(You’ll be shocked to know that I actually drove Chooch and myself there and here’s why I did: I knew I would be able to park there; if I am going somewhere with street parking, Henry better drop what he’s doing because I will have an anxiety attack before I even grab my purse, requiring him to drive me and drop me off like I’m fucking Miss Daisy or a 4-year-old going to preschool.)

Anyway, I really really really appreciate that Julie and Marcus took time out from their holiday visit to meet with Chooch and I don’t know how he’s feeling about it because he never tells me this shit, but I know that I for one felt a bit better and less stressed about it by the time we left.

The college process in general I think (OK I  know) is another reason why this fall has felt so alien to me. Most nights, I lie in bed with such anxiety, that I can feel my blood rushing even in my gums. Like a sizzle/tingle along my teeth. I know, I know, “this too shall pass,” but I am having such a hard time calming down. I need one of those sweaters that dog’s wear to keep them calm during thunderstorms. Maybe the human version of that is a hug? I don’t know.

Oct 062023

You’ll never believe this, but in between furiously recapping my vacation that is now from over 2 months ago, I have actually been living a modest social life as well.

FIRST, Kara invited me to Moulin Rouge with her last Thursday night. Now, I’m not a musical bitch by any stretch of the imagination which is silly when you think about it because I, like most people with pets who double as their best friends/co-workers/children/spiritual guides/therapists, turn every last basic statement into a jingle all the livelong day. Can I sing along to songs on the radio? Give me a FUCK NO, Mindy. Do I sing Happy Birthday to anyone other than my son? Not without LipSynch Mode activated. But will I take a sentence and blow so much operatic gusto up its proverbial asshole that a Tony Award starts simping in my Instagram comments? YOU BETCHER BOTTOM DOLLAR, MOTHERFUCKA.

This is my way of saying that I don’t go out of the way to attend real life musicals, but once you get me there, I am usually moderately to sufficiently entertained.

First, Kara and I met at The Warren for a small pre-show dinner and MULES OF THE DAY (blackberry). It was nice. The vibe was a bit too Late Friday Night for me (maybe I’m just officially an Elder, but the music was SO LOUD for 6pm on a Thursday when all I wanted to do was talk to my friend), but the aesthetic was so my style. The blue walls kept my inner-Karen (CAN YOU TURN THIS RACKET DOWN??) at bay.

Kara wanted to take my picture in front of this but I got stage fright and said NO.

Then I had to ask her if I would die if I drank wine after a Moscow mule. She said NO.

So I got a sippy cup of pinot grigio and did not expire. Meanwhile, Kara was very close to ditching me for the super chatty old man in line behind her for refreshments and honestly, it would have been an upgrade. I’m not too proud to admit that openly to the Internet.

Immediately I was like, “OK. Sold. Here for it.” when we first saw the stage (after Kara was schooled on the subject of “This is your left. THAT is your right” by one of the no-nonsense ushers. She was here to help you find your seat, not provide any extra coddling.).

Kara and I don’t have very many selfies together, I feel like!! She was boxed in by this point so she had no choice.

Anyway, wow – Moulin Rouge was magical! I know OF the movie, I know the Lady Marmalade remake, but that was the extent. I didn’t know the actual plot, really. I didn’t know the characters, just that Nicole Kidman was in the movie. So this was almost like going into it blind. I think the reason why I never bothered to watch the movie was because, 1) well, it’s a musical; 2) not a big fan of Nicole Kidman honestly; 3) I really didn’t like that Lady Marmalade remake primarily because I never liked Christina Aguilera and that song was EVERYWHERE back then.

But now, after watching this…I might give the movie a try!

Then Henry went into Uber mode and drove Kara home even though she’s always finding random and weird things that she knows we need to have around the house and Henry always mumbles, “Thanks, Kara” like when she sent me an auction link for a bumper car when she knew I was looking for one to use as a couch.

(We did not get it, sadly/obviously. SOME DAY. YOU WAIT.)

The next night, Janna and I went to the first haunt of the season! It was Valley of Terror haunted hayride and it’s crazy because I have been seeing ads for this one probably since high school and occasionally even put it on my list, but never made it  to this one until this year!

First off, we had a very uncomfortable experience at the ticket booth, which wasn’t open yet even though it was 7pm, nor was there a sign on the window with any information. So we walked around to the other side where some lady YELLED IN A HOSTILE MANNER, “Can I help you!?!?” like we were fucking Jehovahs Witnesses tossing around pamphlets willy nilly. I was like, “We’re here for the hayride” like le duh, do you not know who we are? And she was like THE TICKET WINDOW IS BACK THERE IT WILL BE OPEN SOON!! And we did the walk of shame back to the window, where she opened the screen 3 minutes later and said, cheerfully, “HELLO AGAIN!” and was suddenly so fucking nice to us like she hadn’t just hollered at us (we were in a rural area where you get hollered at, which is different from regular yelling which is generally what takes place in the city).

So we bought our overpriced tickets and then walked around to the area where we were previously hollered at, only for some lady at the snack bar to holler at us this time?!?

“Can I help you??” she cried, and I was like, “What? Oh! No, no. We’re just looking.” Because we were considering our options even though it was CASH ONLY and I didn’t have any left because Henry only gave me the exact amount because he didn’t want me to have any spendin’ money left over, god forbid, I might run away with it.

And then she yelled at again, more accusatorily this time!? Now I was truly taken aback, feeling fully affronted. Again, I said, “No, we’re just waiting—”

“THE TICKET BOOTH IS OVER THERE!” she interrupted, pointing back to the way we came.

I waved my ticket in the air and yelled back, “We already have our tickets.”

Please keep in mind that we weren’t even standing close to the snack bar while this scene was going down all disjointed and awkward like a shitty middle school play rehearsal. So we were both legit shouting to each other across several picnic tables.

“Oh! I didn’t realize they were already selling tickets, I’m sorry!” she laughed, and that’s when I realized that she was LITERALLY asking us “CAN I HELP YOU” as a passive way of saying, “You aren’t meant to be here. Trespassers!” Here I thought she was just aggressively trying to get us to buy hot chocolate and a pretzel. I didn’t fucking know what was going on.

So that’s how the night started –  a right hillbilly hollerin’, and two of ’em to boot!

It was the HARVEST MOON night which I never would have known if not for Wendi telling us in group chat at work. Group chat is where I learn a lot of important life stuff.  She was like DON’T MISS THE HARVEST MOON TONIGHT which is how I knew to look for it.

I gotta save the deets for the HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL but the hayride was just “meh,” while the actual haunted walk-thru was YEAH BOY. Janna will tell you. I screamed lots. There were two chainsaw guys that attacked me bigly.

However, as I’m sitting here writing this now, the thing that stands out the most is sitting at a picnic table near the bonfire and talking about the time Janna and I both worked at St Clair Hospital doing FILING and the only thing I vividly remember is wearing WHITE PANTS one day and of course my period started, so I spent my whole shift trotting to the bathroom to check for leaks.

But while I was recalling this to Janna, I realized immediately afterward that I was talking VERY LOUDLY and as I tossed a casual glance over my shoulder, I made hard eye contact with the couple sitting behind us, listening intently to my rejected IT HAPPENED TO ME story for Jane Magazine.

Actually, the scariest part of the night was tied between when the ticket taker for the haunted house just could NOT figure out how to punch the hole in the ticket and then bragged about how the haunt has been running for over 30 years and I was like, “OK, but is this the first year they implemented a hole puncher then?” and when we got lost on the way home almost immediately after and had to turn around on a really scary backwoods-yet-residential road while a very old and skinny man in an undershirt, boxers, and knee socks shambled across the street to his house and did the super quick jump-scare head turn at the last minute to look DIRECTLY INTO OUR SOULS.

“He looks like if John Waters hadn’t become John Waters,” I cried, white-knuckling the steering wheel and grandma-driving the fuck out of there.

“Somehow, I understand what you mean,” Janna said.

Then on Sunday, I met Amber, Lauren, Sandy and Nate at the Abbey for brunch!! Lauren and Sandy are ex-Law Firmers, so I was very happy to get the chance to see them while eating good foods in one of my favorite places that I sincerely do not eat at often enough.

It’s us! Fun fact: Sandy, Nate and I (+ Mitch) were all hired the same year, but now Nate and I are the only ’10-liners left. :(

It was my idea to have the waiter take our picture but I told Amber, “You do it. You ask him” because not only am I great idea person, I’m a highly adept delegator.

Well guys, that was pretty much the whole ass recap of last week’s “I Saw Friends” happenings. I have more haunted houses on tap, and a dinner with some current and past work friends next week so maybe another recap will be forthcoming!? It can’t all be amusement park posts, right?!

Jul 282023

Ugh, my inner Karen is at it again, you guys. Henry and I were walking to the post office on Saturday and when we rounded the corner to get onto the Brookline Blvd sidewalk, we were met by SURPRISE CONSTRUCTION.

I don’t know why we were SURPRISED though considering that Brookline has been a construction workers’ playground for like 2 solid years at this point, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re purposely damaging shit just to use for training purposes?? Is Brookline a training center?!!?

OK, so here we were, coming ’round the mountain aka CVS, stepping out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk, when we see that it’s being actively paved. We are not dum-dum idiot heads. We clearly saw that there were approx. 5 men in neon yellow pouring cement or whatever it was that they were doing. So we stopped walking (OBVIOUSLY) and were assessing which way to go when all of the men yelled HO HO HO HO!!!! (and not in a jolly Santa way like it was Xmas in July) with their arms  jutting out to stop us from…what? We weren’t walking toward to them!

So then some BITCH traffic flagger yelled, “YOU CAN’T GO THAT WAY!”


You guys, I lost my mind and started shouting about these dicks passive aggressively into the air, things like THEY THINK THEY’RE SO FUCKING COOL, OH OK COOL GUYS, KEEP DISRUPTING OUR LIVES! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I’M SO SICK OF THIS SHIT!

And just then! One of their douchebag trucks farted past us.

OH, LINDY PAVING IS IT?? I screamed that out loud and the guy driving the truck looked at me nervously.

“I’m fucking calling them,” I said and Henry was like, “Um, Ok….probably no one will answer since it’s Saturday.” Like that’s going to deter me? “Oh wow, thanks for that Henry. Maybe I’ll just wait until—OH HOLD ON IT’S RINGING.”

Come on, like I was going to wait until Monday?

AND THEN SOMEONE ANSWERED!! Some stupid man because it’s always stupid men who are trying to upend my damn life. So I go, in a fake friendly BUT AGGRESSIVE SHOUT, “HI LINDY PAVING!!!! CAN YOU TELL YOUR WORKERS ON BROOKLINE BLVD TO STOP BEING ASSHOLES TO PEDESTRIANS THANK YOU” and then I hung up on his ass.

We were walking home when this happened so there were probably people walking nearby who heard this but you know what? I was having a rage blackout so I really didn’t notice.

“Wow,” Henry said. “Feel better?”

You know what? I really fucking did.

Stupid assholes.

I hate being YELLED AT by MEN. Also, their fucking neon yellow triggers me every time! AND APPARENTLY, IT’S A THING:

So, that happened and then Henry had to go to a different post office because at that point I refused to take a detour to go to the one on the Blvd, so way to go LINDY PAVING, now everyone has to suffer because of you.

Then I met Debby, Mar, and Megan at the Speckled Egg for brunch (I mean, it was 1:30 so can’t we just call it lunch and move on?). It’s the Union Trust building downtown and you know what? I don’t believe I have ever been in there!

The location and the company were the highlights.

The stafff was kind of….spacey and the other patrons were all basically influencers it seemed like.

I got whatever this is, which was delicious – stewed tomatoes with Moroccan spices, poached eggs, and mushrooms that were like those crispy onion things people put on top of casseroles in the 90s. Really delicious but I was immediately hungry afterward.

Megan told me I would love the bathroom so I went in even though I didn’t have to go, and she was right!

Anyway, I felt a lot calmer at this point of the day, and I got to tell Mar and Debby about the engagement (I actually saw Debby a few weeks ago when she came to my house to drop off a purse she made for me and it took everything in my power not to tell her then!) so that was fun! Megan of course already knew so she had to sit through the story again – sorry I exist!

I love that we meet up semi-regularly. I was so sad when they both retired, so it’s really nice that we get to see them actually more now than we had since the pandemic started, really!

OK, it’s really hot in my house and I need to stick my head in the freezer. Bye.

Jun 262023

Ever since our department had an after-work party at Shorty’s in early May, I have been wanting to DRINK BEER. You might remember that I have a long and troubled relationship with beer, as in, there is no relationship. I have tried several times over the years to acquire a taste for it but it never sticks. Wine? Fine. Cider? Even better.

Anyway, my sister Amy and I are always doing the “we gotta hang out!” song and dance but then life gets in the way and nothing is ever finalized. But this time, motivated by BEER, I was determined to schedule something and I know that she and her husband Dick are into breweries, so we picked one in Heidelberg called…I forget already. Oh wait! insurrection something. Originally we were going to just meet for breakfast but I’m a dumbass and forgot that I had a hair appt that morning. Anyway, they live in Ohio, about an hour away, but said they wanted to come out way. However, it was the TAYLOR “VANILLA” SWIFT weekend here so we decided to steer clear of all that hoopla and find somewhere outside of the city, and less far for them.

It turned out to be pretty decent! I mean, our waiter couldn’t have had less personality than if he were actually Taylor Swift, but it was a cozy little place with actually veg options on the menu. I got a bbq cauliflower sandwich and it was wonderful!!

I also drank TWO baby 5 ounce beer things and was sufficiently drunk, which was endlessly hilarious to Henry. But that was good for me! Two different beers, one was one of those dark bastards that Henry said I 100% wouldn’t like but guess what motherfucker, your girl drank that bitch UP.

I mean, it took about an hour’s worth of sips, but I crossed that finish line, Brenda.

Anyway, every time I hang out with Amy and Dick, I ask myself, “Queen Dorkchuck, why don’t you do this more often?” And of course, I have no answer because I’m busy dorking chucks or whatever. I am determined to do this more often though and Amy already has the next venue in mind, so let’s gooooo.

Also, this was the first time we got to tell THE PROPOSAL STORY to anyone in person so that was fun even though our bland paper bag of a server kept trying to interrupt and we were like OK BLAINE CALM DOWN WE WILL SEND YOU A SIGNAL WHEN WE’RE READY. GOD.

I can’t remember what his name was IRL but it really was something like Blaine or Brody, who gives a shit, he was not very memorable (unlike the guy who took our group picture – he was soooo happy to oblige!).

May 212023

My friend Rachel’s daughter is currently playing Mimi in a local production of Rent. She texted me the info to me the other day in case I was looking for something to do this weekend, and you know what? I was actually. And also, it was timely because there was a Rent question in Trivial Pursuit when we were playing on the night of Chooch’s belated birthday cake celebration and he was so pissed that I got it right without having ever seen it. I don’t really like musicals, ok??

But what I do like is supporting local theater and my friends’ kids, plus I recently found out that Janna is some kind of Queen Rent Head so I figured it would be something for us to do together that was a change for her coming to my house and being hostilely quizzed on the 23* members of NCT.

*(Actually, it’s 22 now. Lucas officially announced his departure from WayV & NCT. DO NOT GET ME STARTED.)

The ComTra Theater is in Cranberry, which is like 35 minutes away, but all I know is that the whole time I kept thinking, “When did Cranberry get so far away? Has it always been this far away??” It really felt like it took for-fucking-ever to get there. And then as soon as we walked in, I was like, “OH SHIT” because it was much smaller than I thought, and very hot. I almost immediately started to sweat through my shirt so I can only imagine what it must have been like for the performers.


PRE-SHOW SELFIE. I liked Janna’s shirt a lot!

Anyway, she immediately asked me to switch seats with her so she could be on the end and I was like “UGH FINE” but then she ended up having the stage partially obscured by a pillar so who’s laughing now?! A dad and his young daughter filled the last two seats in our row, and the people in front of us were normal. No one sat behind us. I was content with our section.

The show started around 2pm and I thought it was really cute! (Is that weird? I mean, the subject matter isn’t “cute” and I’m sure the teens performing in it would not appreciate being called “cute”- BUT THEY FUCKING WERE!)  I mean, I had almost NO idea what was going on for most of it because I couldn’t hear a lot of the lyrics (the house band was WAY TOO LOUD) and also I was getting v. antsy. Intermission didn’t happen until 3:30 (!!!) and I said, “Isn’t this supposed to be over at 4? Will they be able to get the rest done in 30 minutes?” and Janna goes, “Oh, there’s still an entire other half. There is no way this is over at 4pm.”

Do you know me? I hate sitting. Even when I am being entertained! So, while I was enjoying the show very much because those kids were insanely talented, I also was ready for it be over. It’s who I am, OK? I am also like this during pretty much every movie I go to see in a theater, slyly checking the time on my FitBit.

One of the guys looked so much like Judd Nelson specifically in his Breakfast Club role that it was all I could see throughout the whole entire show. It was crazy. I saw him up close afterward and while the resemblance was less uncanny, it was still there. I hope to god that is his next role.

My other thought was that the one main kid looked like the spitting image of Janna’s high school boyfriend Matt which amplified his annoyance to me. I’m not sure if his character was meant to be annoying but I definitely kind of zoned out whenever it was one of his songs, sorry kid.

BUT THEN DURING INTERMISSION, JANNA GOES, “That kid that plays <striped sweater guy / I could not keep track of the characters’ names> is sooooo cute!” and I died. Honestly.

I didn’t tell her until afterward when we were walking to my car that he reminded me of MATT so it was not shocking to me that she basically imprinted on him as soon as the lights went down. She was like, “O M F G” and then tried to say she only thought he was cute because he had floppy hair.


Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon! I was happy to support Rachel and her daughter, who is a freaking powerhouse. Girl can perform her ass off! The only downside was that the theater’s website lists all of kinds of ADULT BEVS but all they had was WATER and SOFT DRINKS so I guess the HARD WETS are for evening shows only?! I was going to treat myself to a White Claw (the website had approx. 12 varieties of tastes listed) but it was probably for the best considering I was driving and the journey home was fraught with missed exits and merging mayhem. Anytime I have to drive on BIG ROADS, I’m screaming like Pee Wee driving over a hillside, thanks to Henry conditioning me to being a perma-passenger and hardly-ever-driver.

When I wasn’t emitting battle cries every time I had to merge, I asked Janna lots of questions about Rent and she seemed happy to answer them because this was like her time to shine, you know? For example, I texted her just a bit ago and asked what the fuck was the significance to the drywall bucket that kept popping up in some scenes and she explained that one of the characters was using it as a drum in the beginning and then they were using it to panhandle later. Those were the examples she gave me, but I SAW IT POP UP MORE THAN TWO OCCASIONS so I was wondering if there was an INSIDE JOKE or something that someone who pays her rent wouldn’t understand. It just felt like someone was always carrying it like maybe it was the stage pet or the communal security blanket, I dunno.

Also, I still don’t understand why that Joanne person was on the phone so much. Who was she talking to? Out of all the actors, she was the one I could hear the least and I feel like I missed a lot. Maybe I should watch the movie. (I will probably never watch the movie.)

And that concludes my once-every-four-years attempt to be cultural! It was an enjoyable afternoon which left me swearing that I will do these things more often but…we know how that goes!

May 132023

Here we will look at pictures of the going away party I threw for one of my longest and favorite work pals. I was shocked to hear that Lauren was leaving the firm, but!! I know that she is on to bigger and better things. As I’m sitting here thinking of all the memories I made with Lauren over the years, I realize that I was remiss in not including a pot of mulch as a centerpiece. :/

Earlier that day, Drew started to become V.AWARE that people were going to come over. Here, you can see her eye-balling the banner I had strung up. Anytime I string shit up from the ceiling – she KNOWS.

Taemin was ready!

Speaking of Kpop idols, Lauren was one of the only people in the department who supported my k-lifestyle from its inception. She never made fun of me; she always welcomed the gossip; and she not only watched the music videos I would send the group, but she always had comments afterward. That is a true friend!

Marlene had said she was coming that night so I pulled out her FAVORITE artifact from my collection, the Fiji mermaid. SHE LOVES HER SO MUCH. (She really doesn’t.)

(Also, LOL ever heard of WINDEX, Erin? For God’s sake, clean that damn fishbowl.)

Fruit spread!

When I first became social media friends with Megan after she joined our department, one of the first things I learned about her was that, wow, homie loves to make themed cheese balls. And now this is the second Megan-created cheese ball that I got to serve at my house! I told her this that night and she was like, “Aw” but also I think she was waiting for me to tack on some awkward statement to kill the heartwarming friendship moment.

Anyway, isn’t this cute?!!? (The M&Ms were just for decoration but now I kind of wish I had tried a bite of both…)

You guys, I can’t believe I got Marlene to come to my house, it was amazing!

Lauren, Nate, Marlene!

YOU GUYS I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT GLENN TO COME TO MY HOUSE. Let me back up here: I had originally sent an email to my old group/Lauren’s current group at the time of her departure, and invited them over. Only two people couldn’t come, but Glenn had not answered. I messaged him in CAPSLOCK on Jabber and he said “shouldn’t be a problem, let me check with the boss.” Well, that was basically where the conversation rolled over and died. Luckily, I am also friends with Glenn’s wife (a nightmare situation for him, truly) so I texted her and said, “Did Glenn tell you about the going away party I invited you guys to?” and her answer, as expected, was, “LOL no!”

So then I had to give her the deets, go on Jabber and yell at Glenn in CAPSLOCK again, at which point he forwarded my party email to her.

Ugh, men!!

Sandy!!! You guys, our department still is smartin’ (I have literally never used that word before and the other day, I called someone a chump because I couldn’t think of anything else to say and Henry was like, ‘DID YOU GO BACK TO THE 50??” OMG what if?!) from her departure nearly a year ago now. Sandy, Nate and I were all hired in 2010, along with another guy, Mitch. Now, Nate and I are the only people left from the ’10 line. :(

(In Kpop, idols are sometimes referred to by the year they were born, so you could say like, “Oh, Haechan, Jeno, Jaemin and Renjun are ’00 liners.)

Anyway, look how precious Lauren looks in that picture!!

The PARTNERS. These guys stuck together a lot because they didn’t want to hear our boring work stories.

At one point, someone asked, “Don’t you have cats?” which made me laugh because even though I thought I picked up all the cat toys, you can see a bunch under the wheelchair that I forgot, plus some cat houses are just always out in the open. But no one ever gets to see my cats because they are soooooo anti-people. Drew fled before anyone even arrived, and it turned out that Penelope was actually in one of her  cat beds under the church pew almost the entire night, and slowly crept out around 11, stretched, looked around, and then went back under the church pew.

NON-FIRM guys sticking together, now in a different room. I’m glad Henry found chat-mates in Tony and Eric, I was worried he was going to feel like the hired help all night, lol.

Amber said the greatest thing about my house that night, that even though there is so much going on and so much to see, there is a flow to it, it makes sense, and it’s curated. THANK YOU! I know this joint isn’t for everyone, but I feel so comfortable here ever since we finally started redecorating everything all those years ago. She had never actually been here before, but had seen it in pictures and in video meetings. She said that it wasn’t the same as actually being in here though and I appreciated that!

Behind Marlene, you can see the clown doll that she immediately turned around so it wouldn’t be looking at her, lol. Amanda was also not thrilled being the clown house but they both persevered!

Marlene’s drinking the MEXICAN SANGRIA I made, which I actually had to refill TWICE. Yo, usually when I make punch for my parties, there is much left over and it’s such a waste. But these fiesta folk came to DRINK. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the beverage buffet!

There’s a study* that says that pinatas are the best ways to dull the pain of saying goodbye to one of the best people you’ve ever worked with!

*(That study may have been conducted by me for the OHE University that night.)

Did I already mention that Lauren taught me so much at work? Because she really did. I’ll always be grateful for the years we were on the same team, and will NEVER FORGET when Amber was on maternity leave and Lauren and I had to train the girl who was hired at that same time and it was so fucking stressful and burdensome and for the first time in my life, I had to ask to leave work because I had period cramps so hard that I couldn’t sit up and Lauren was like, “IT’S BECAUSE OF THE STRESS” and she was 100% right. Anyway, we really leaned on each other a lot during that time and I have felt bonded to her ever since.


A bunch of group photos were inevitable.

You guys, I was pretty drunk. Ever since I had THREE GOOD BEERS at Shorty’s, I have been on this kick where I think that I am suddenly a beer drinker. Henry kept trying to buy cider and shandy for the festivities, but I kept shouting, “NO, BEER.” So he got some cider and a variety pack of some kind of beer, but then he and Megan kept trying to get me to drink cider all night and I was getting so indignant. Megan put her hands up at one point and said, “Oh sorry, I forgot – you’re only drinking BEER.”

There was this one kind that everyone kept saying I wouldn’t like so I was like “I’LL SHOW THEM.” I nursed it for a good long while but I did finish it!

“Did you like it?” Megan asked.

“No,” I said, free of hesitation.



Amanda and Glenn! Did you guys know that Glenn SORT OF helped to facilitate my Trudy acquisition?

I can’t believe this was Nate’s first time meeting Trudy! Sandy was like, “Pfft, we’ve met before.”

I love that people can just hang out in the kitchen like way back when I first moved in and it served as a natural spill-over for party people. I never want to go back to the years of being ashamed of my home, you guys. Never.

NATE CLEANING UP THE CAKE HE DROPPED. By the way, Henry served literal ice cube-sized pieces of cake to everyone and I kept saying, “Why are you cutting it like this, you fucking cake miser?!” It was the only lowpoint of the night for me, Henry embarrassing me with his stingy cake-serving.

“EVERYONE GOT A PIECE, DIDN’T THEY? AND MOST PEOPLE EVEN TOOK SOME HOME, DIDN’T THEY? IT’S FINE!” Henry shouted on our walk home from Pita Land today, when I brough up Cake Gate once again.

I GOT TO HAVE A BE REAL DO OVER and Amber was like, “Oh…that’s all this is?” lol.

Yeah, you can tell I’m trashed.

Eric, Megan, Lauren, Tony, and Nate ended up staying until pretty late – I feel like it was after midnight which is actually way later than I anticipated this lasted but trust me – I was happy about that. I AM PEOPLE-STARVED. I was getting pretty obnoxious and giddy by then so it was probably a good thing that it ended before I suggested ding-dong-ditching HNC or something.

To summarize: I hate that Lauren left, but Nate and I really wanted to do some type of gesture to show her that she matters, we care, and she will be fucking missed forever.

May 042023

Sometime back in March, Margie sent out an email about an upcoming social event in May at a RETRO ENTERTAINMENT ESTABLISHMENT called Shorty’s and I was like, “Yes, this is something I will attend.” So right away, I RSVP’d because everything about me is knee jerk. I then set about to strong-arm several of my work-bros to also RSVP. Some were hesitant but I said, “NO, JUST DO IT. IT WILL BE FUN. I WILL BE THERE.”

And then the day came (Tuesday) and it was cold and rainy and I had a headache and I RULLY wanted to bail. I truly did. Erin of Yesteryear most definitely would have. MOSDEF. But I had talked other people into going and what a bitch move that would be, not to mention I know that final headcounts matter when it comes to planning these things and I couldn’t do that to Sue and Margie. It would be different if I had a legit reason, but considering my alternative would be, you know, loafing at home…Look, I’m really trying to retrain myself into being the social butterfly I was in the….early ’00s.


I can’t even blame covid for my awkwardness!

Henry drove me so I could drink irresponsibly. I walked in like a scared baby deer, knock-kneed and hiding behind a curtain of hair. There were other people there and my eyes are bad, so I was heavy-squinting, trying to see if I could recognize anyone considering I never see work people IRL anymore and we have new people hired during and post-covid that I haven’t seen before!  There could have been a whole table of our department already there and I wouldn’t haven’t know. Then a hostess smelled my social anxierty and asked, “Are you here for the party?”

I said yes, and OF FUCKING COURSE I was the first one to arrive. She took me back to the totally empty area reserved for us and on the way, said, “I love your sweater!” As I was saying thanks, she cut me off to add, “AND YOUR PURSE OMG!” It was my “make your own luck” duster from La La and my hamburger purse that I bought at some yoga studio in….Scranton, PA last year.

“I’m secretly still 16,” I stage-whispered because sometimes I’m me again, and she laughed and said she loved it and OH how I wish Chooch had been there to witness it. He hates when I get to flaunt my INDIVIDUALITY.

Then a waitress and some guy came flocking over to me. ‘ARE YOU MARGIE OR SUE?” the waitress asked and when I said no, her faced fell and she said, “Oh.”


J/K she was fantastic actually although I think I was starting to get on her nerves as the night progressed because I am a stupid drinker. I forget what her name was now but when she told me, I cheerfully said, “Oh OK, I’m Erin!” and she looked at me like, “Bitch we ain’t friends now.”


Then Margie finally arrived after I festered on a stool by myself for a solid 3 minutes.

Margie gave me my TWO drink tickets and then asked me to hold the stack and I felt equal parts important and anxious. It felt like too much to be accountable for, especially once people started arriving and I had to dole out the rations.

My table originally consisted of Wendi [I need to say that I am so depressed that she started at the firm AFTER we all moved to fulltime WFH because we have so much in common, especially musically (um, she has seen Dance Gavin Dance and knows Emarosa, etc etc)], Megan, Joy, Amber and Lucas – a solid line-up. But as the progressed, people started mingling more but Megan, Wendi and I were like, “No, people can come to us.” AND THEY DID. So, we ended up with Nate, Margie, Jill, Sharon, Regina, Rachel and Aaron at various points and you know what? I am so glad I didn’t punk out. I really miss seeing these guys every day.

Even #UghLou.

I was so excited to play shuffleboard, which I haven’t done since I was underage and sneaking in (LOL there wasn’t much sneaking involved, actually) to Tim’s Corner Bar in West Elizabeth where I quickly became a shuffleboard shark. And there was supposed to be an interactive photo booth, whatever that means, which Nate and I were fixated on when Margie sent out the email a while back.



In fact, I forgot all about it until the next day, and Margie admitted that she did think of it when we were there but she couldn’t find it! IF I HAD THOUGHT OF IT, I WOULD HAVE ASKED MY WAITRESS FRIEND. She LOVED it when I would beckon her to me, only to say, “Wait….what did I want?” to Wendi, who was basically ordering all of my beers for me.

<3 these guys!

One of my favorite parts was when I was one beer in (and already slurring) and screamed, “OMG I HAVE TO DO MY BE REAL. YOU GUYS CAN BE IN MY BE REAL!” and Amber and Wendi were like “the fuck is be real” and I had to explain it that it’s basically an app FOR THE KIDS but I started using it (much to Chooch’s chagrin) because one of my favorite YouTubers uses it and to be honest, it’s so dumb for someone like me to have because I’m home 90% of the time when I get the notification that it’s Be Real time.

I explained to them that while I take a selfie, it will also take an outward facing picture so  that they can be in too and I made a big production of getting them to pose…

…but my drunk ass wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and this is how it came out lol. They were like, “Wow. Cool. Thanks for letting us….be in your Be Real. I guess.”

My other favorite part was when Sue was looking at my photo card holder attached to my purse and softly exclaimed, “Oh Erin, when did this happen??” and I was very confused, like was she asking me when did my NCT bias change to Renjun? “He’s gotten so old!” she said, so then I was like, “Oh wow, does Sue follow NCT Dream and she’s now realizing that they’re not the same little kids from the Chewing Gum era anymore?

NO. SHE THOUGHT IT WAS A PICTURE OF CHOOCH! Oh my god, it was so funny! Granted, it *was* pretty dark in there and most people would assume that if most grown ass ladies had a photo hanging off her purse, it must be her child.



My other other other favorite part was when I was psyching myself up to leave the house and I said, “I will stay for 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Make an appearance. Be mysterious, say something awkward, then leave.” The “event area” was only booked from 6-8 so it wasn’t like people would be staying that long anyway.

But then it was 7 and I was like, “Well, I might as well at least stay and finish this second beer that Wendi chose for me,” and then it was 7:30 and Sue was leaving and gave some of us a third drink ticket, which I greedily accepted.

And then it was 8:30 and the waitress was giving us strong side eye.

And then it was nearly 10 and I was leaving with the last of us still standing after all the food was taken away and there were no more free drinks. I think it was me, Nate, Amber, Sharon, and Rachel at that point. Megan had left RIGHT before us because she was being stubborn and called an Uber instead of letting Henri the Chauffeur take her home.

I’m really glad that I went, I’m super appreciative of Margie and Sue for planning this to help boost morale and give us all a reason to crawl out of our holes and interact outside of Jabber. Also, this was the first time I have Joy IRL and not via WebEx video since before the pandemic!

I will admit that we had a events committee who tried very hard to get people to engage socially during the pandemic, but it was all virtual, obviously, and let’s be real: I’m not trying to log back on after work hours to play trivia on WebEx. I don’t care if there are prizes. Once I log off, I’m done until morning! No offense to the people who were on that team, I give them a lot of credit for trying to come up with new and creative ways to get people to talk to each other. But even though it might sometimes be a drag for me to leave the house initially, I definitely prefer IN REAL LIFE social engagements like this one!

Apr 042023

I recently had this urge to dye Easter eggs after realizing that possibly the last time I dyed eggs was when Kara came over with her kids probably back in…2017?? Hold on, let me check the blog archives.

OMG yes, it was 2017, pre-Calvin, I hadn’t even been to Korea yet, and Chooch got impaled by a toothpick! Um, I can’t believe how little Chooch, Harland, and Theo were back then, even neighbor Markey was here?! I must have imbibed lots of soju that night because I have no recollection of him being here.

So, I texted Kara to see if she had any interest. I hadn’t seen her since the PIE PARTY which I’m LOLing at right now because that is also a line from the linked 2017 Easter Egg blog post. Anyway, Kara was on board and I was so happy because I barely got to talk to her at the aforementioned pie party and it was definitely pre-covid before that! I need to do better. I am trying! FRIENDS ARE LIKE SEA MONKEYS AND WILL DIE WITHOUT ATTENTION BUT WILL ALSO DIE IF YOU PUT TOO MUCH POWDERED FOOD IN THEIR WEIRD SPACE-Y AQUARIUM. Remember that, Erin.

Remember that.

I was so excited to have company so I made Henry prepare for us a snack spread of Asian market produce and Korean banchan (he made the lotus root and it was so delicious, I love braised lotus root so much! My friend Jiyong even commented on this photo on Instagram and said it looked great!).

Kara brought wine and Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. peanut butter popcorn! I haven’t had their popcorn since back when I was still working in the office. Actually, I feel like the downtown location may have even closed prior to the pandemic?! To this day, they still have the best cheddar popcorn I’ve ever had in my life – I actually never really liked cheesy popcorn until I had theirs!

Anyway, it was so great to sit back and catch up with Kara while effing around with egg dye! Henry didn’t dye any, but he obediently prepared everything for us and then loomed over us like some fucking Paas warden.

OMG and Mr. Bum Knee sat with us the whole time and EVEN REGALED US WITH SCHOOL STORIES, a lot of them I had never heard before like the time he got in school suspension when he was in 3rd or 4th grade for being overheard calling a kindergarten teacher a predator because she had her students put pins on a street map to show where they live and this was apparently displayed in the hallway?! No one ever told me about this but um, I don’t blame Chooch for thinking that was kind of weird?!

He also started blabbing about colleges he’s interested in which hello, I can barely get any serious info out of him so clearly Kara needs to come over more often so I can know more about my son’s life!

While all of this was going on, I was being SUPER SECRETIVE about my eggs and kept screaming at everyone not to look. Chooch was getting super irritated about this and then when I finally realized my masterpiece ovo-trio, he rolled his eyes and sneered, “First of all, everyone knew what you were doing and second of all, it’s not that great.”


I ran upstairs to get my lightstick to use as a prop and this really sent Chooch.

“SHOULD I ALSO GET SOME OF MY NCT ALBUMS TOO? OK, I WILL HOLD ON!” I yelled without waiting for an answer.

I think Kara was in the middle of offering her condolences to Henry, lol.

I only dyed one other egg after this, lol. Egg dyeing is only fun for me for a few minutes.

That olive-ish one with the blue and pink squiggles is one of Kara’s and I was obsessed with it.

And then this was my happy accident! I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing because I was too busy talking my voice away – literally, by the end of the evening, my voice was half-zapped. I clearly had a lot to say!

One of the highlights I think was when Chooch called me out as a gaslighter and when I said that’s not true, he told Kara, “She even tried to gaslight me about the definition of gaslighting!” He had me in literal tears at one point from laughing so hard – he was on fire! It was definitely Throw Mama Under the Bus night at the Pioneer Avenue Whacky Shack. He’s going to have a lot of childhood stories to tell people when he grows up, I think. Either that or he’s going to be like, “Eh, my childhood wasn’t very memorable,” because I can see him doing that, too, lol.

What a great night, though! I missed Kara tons and drinking wine and dyeing eggs was pretty much the best way to catch up!