Jan 022022
 

2021 is donezo but I haven’t even sat down to figure out what my favorite reads of the damn year are. I will probably get to that later this week (I’m sure you are just FRAUGHT with anticipation). However! I can for sure tell you my favorite songs and if you know me even a little, you for sure won’t be surprised by any of these.

1. SHINee – Area

I love Onew’s parts in this song so much and it also reminds me of when we bought our new car, which I named Jinki after him IN CASE YOU DIDNT KNOW. I also you have to know that if SHINee has a new release, it’s guaranteed that at least one of the songs will be my favorite of the year come on now.

2. Taemin – Advice

I mean….Jesus. Also I love this because the piano reminds me of Chiodos so it’s like a collision of my old life and new life.

3. Taemin – Just Me & You


The choreo in this though, my lord. As of this posting, I believe there’s 332 days left before his military discharge.

4. NCT Dream – Life Is Still Going On

Sharing a live version because these boys are no joke. Haechan is my ult NCT bias but this is the song that solidified Renjun (blond hair/blue vest) as my NCT Dream bias. (And you’re reading this and saying HUH? Lol.)

5. WayV – Actuon Figure


I mean, it’s so drippy.

6. NCT 127 – Favorite

If you live in this house, you probably hear that opening whistle in your sleep, that’s how much I’ve listened to this song since IG came out last fall.

7. Sunmi – You Can’t Sit With Us


I literally have never not loved a Sunmi song. This was a high point of 2021 for me.

8. CL – Lover Like Me

THE QUEEN. I loved watching CL shine throughout 2021 and this song was definitely my favorite. She even performed it on the Kelly Clarkson show and looked SO AT PEACE with herself that it made me cry. She deserves all the recognition.

9. Kai – Mmmh

I remember watching this video the day it came out – a Monday morning – and being like WOW IS THIS TOO MUCH FOR A MONDAY MORNING? as I proceeded to watch it again lol.

10. Wonho – Ain’t About You

We are huge Wonho supporters in this house. He is so great and you should support him too by watching this video.

11. Youngjae – Vibin’

I’m still broken up over Got7 but this solo release from my bias Youngjae was like swishing a toothache with hot bourbon-spiked tea: it hurt but felt so good all the same. Sigh. His voice, his face, his smile. Gimme.

12. DPR Ian – Scaredy Cat

Ok I lied, one non-Kpop song for good measure because this video is amazing. (DPR is korean but not technically Kpop.)

Jan 012022
 

Well, made it through another year. Funny how you look at it that way the older you get, lol. Like every year, 2021 had its ups and downs but hopefully everyone had some salvageable and memorable moments! For me, I still felt mostly isolated from “normalcy” since we still weren’t able to return to the office, but on the family front, things were pretty awesome! We didn’t do any BIG TRAVELS because it still didn’t feel safe or right and none of us wanted to deal with airports/planes, but we managed to get in quite a few road trips and we made a lot of fun and happy memories even with a surly teen!

I think I will always associate 2021 with amusement parks. We went to 19! Three of them we visited twice so it was really like 23 trips to amusement parks this year. And the haunted house season was a banger too. It really reignited that old flame in my heart and I felt like a teenager again.

Also, I moved to a new position in my department at work and have really been enjoying it; I feel like I made the choice and feel like I’m being utilized to my full potential now. Plus, I cultivated some meaningful relationships with the neighborhood squirrels, bought a new car, and paid off my other car for the first time ever (usually we just trade in) so I would say 2021 was a year of good personal growth for me.

Somehow I feel like I’m hungover right now but I literally only had two small glasses of Christmas spiced wine last year for our SUPER WILD NYE PARTY. lol jk out night was like this:

  • Big car crash in front of my house around 1pm so presumably not DUI-related but also a big reminder of why it’s best to stay in on NYE, pandemic or not! Also, the strip of road right in front of my house is like a veritable vortex for wrecks. I dunno what’s up with that because it’s not treacherous – it’s a straight road. But alas, the amount of wreckage we’ve witnessed is bonkers. Sadly, Henry was at work when this one occurred so he was unable to play civilian hero. Our neighbor George the Hero Understudy finally got his time to shine.
  • I logged off work at 5:30, ate a bowl of cereal for dinner because Henry was napping ugh
  • Finished my 157th book of the year
  • Lit a candle and then wondered what would happen if I touched the lighter to Henry’s bare calf – branding happens, evidently lol. He was like I CANT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT like real bitch you’ve known me intimately since the year 2001, 2000 of we’re getting technical, and this is something that shocks you?
  • Chooch came home from work, also eats cereal for dinner. We know how to nutrition.
  • Forced Henry to take a walk around the neighborhood while loudly talking about how I don’t like talking about my sex life, while passing people on the sidewalk; feels like I’m on drugs but am not. This is natural.
  • Came home and forced Henry to do a NYE photoshoot of which Chooch wanted no parts.
  • Henry made ube brownies; were delectable.
  • Drank two glasses of wine then made Henry do 5 Kpop dance cardio routines and a 25 minute Paul Eugene walking workout.
  • Chooch came back in the house from an evening of Pokemon Go’ing and screamed IS THAT WHERE SHE BRANDED U when he saw Henry’s leg. Then I pressed on it real hard and asked Henry if it hurt and he cried YES IT HURTS YOU FUCKING BURNED MY SKIN.
  • Watched an SMTOWN live video streaming event on YouTube that started at 11pm.
  • Made it until 12:15am before desperately crawling up to bed.

And yeah, that was NYE 2021 and frankly I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. Team Stay At Home ftw!

Well, here are some pictures.

Hair change.

Wardrobe change!

And here’s a deluge of ME&HENRY pics because that’s just what you need lol.

I look like a maniac in every shot but THAT IS WHO I AM AND I AM TOO OLD TO CHANGE NOW.

Well, I have a headache and am about to slurp down a smoothie bowl and prepare to restart my Jillian Michaels Body Revolution which I am slightly addicted to and like to do about twice a year (it’s a 12-week program) and I’m going to try to get Henry on board with it this time around. NEW YEAR NEW YOU, HENRY.

Dec 312021
 

Since we did the whole “Zenith pre-made vegan meal” thingie for Thanksgiving this year, I wanted Henry to actually do some cooking for Christmas and of course nothing NORMAL because why would we. So I did that fun game that I do where I think of a random vegetable and then a random country, and google them together to find fun international cuisine. You can imagine how much Henry loves this. But it was also a reason to have my beloved fufu and peanut soup again, which I became obsessed with early in 2020 when I read a book that mentioned it and I fell down a Ghana food rabbit hole.

Henry was fine with this, having made this pairing twice now and coming out the other side with a memorable, edible meal both times.

I also wanted mashed ube in lieu of your standard Pilgrim fare of mashed potatoes.

Of course, Henry had a hell of a time finding the two main ingredients he needed for the fufu and the ube: cassava, and well, ube. On Christmas Eve, he ended up snatching up some Japanese purple yams and was going to just use those for the mash instead which was NOT IN THE AGREEMENT, but you do you, Chef BoyRDick.

Also, I had recently watched season 2 of Emily in Paris and one of the episodes featured a storyline where Emily had to work on a marketing campaign for leeks and I was like, “Ooh I could go for some leeks” which is how “Sri Lankan leek stir fry with faux lamb” inserted itself onto the menu.

Those Portuguese sweet potato rolls from Thanksgiving 2020 were bangers so that was added to fill the obligatory “Christmas dinner roll”, er, role. We ordered some boxes of Trinidadian sweets from local vegan pop-up ShadoBeni. Korean street food tteokbokki and a Field Roast vegan ham were necessities. And a Russian apple cake called Sharlotka was the featured dessert.

As a last minute buffet-padder, we bought some lotus mooncakes, red bean mooncakes, and mochi cakes from Pink Box on Christmas. Seriously Diane, don’t knock the Chinese desserts. They are GOOD.

Also as a last minute thing, we decided to expand this from a 3-person dinner to a 6-person dinner, feeling that this was a safe number, and invited my brothers Ryan and Corey, and my mom. I was actually surprised that my mom and Ryan accepted the invitation! We have never had a “family” dinner at my house before, so I was feeling kind of nervous about it!

Anyway, I’ll spare you the gory details but at one point that afternoon, I smelled that sickening stench of hot rubber and ran into the kitchen to find Henry having an absolute war with the fufu mixture. Apparently, he followed a different recipe this time which led him astray. Basically, fufu is a dough made of cassava and plantain, or one or the other. Fufu has different versions based on various African regions (I think Puerto Rico also has their own fufu style) but Henry likes to use both cassava and plantain. Anyway, whatever this recipe had him doing resulted in him straight up burning out the blender and then trying to use a SIEVE to separate the non-ground chunks from what he was able to salvage from the fufu mixture. This set him back a good hour and resulted in him not having enough to use anyway, and then it got all clogged up in the sink and he was FUMING. Like, Henry doesn’t often get mad-mad, but he was MAD on this afternoon, lol. He ended up making rice to go with the peanut soup instead.

Then, the sweet potato rolls gave him hell and ended up not baking thoroughly but we still ate them and they tasted good; however, he only made enough for everyone to have ONE like we’re fucking peasants.

THEN!! Everyone arrived and we were eating when I realized that HENRY DIDN’T MAKE THE FUCKING PURPLE MASHED POTATOES after all that searching for ube and then triumphantly returning with a comparable substitute, only to make them at all! And also, I had asked him to make SPAETZLE even though he’s not my PAPPAP and no one could ever make spaetzle as good as John W. Stonick, but I at least would have liked for Henry to try!

“After the fufu incident,  the last thing I wanted to do was fuck with more dough,” he said to me and everyone at the table gave me a “Yeah, Erin” smirk.

Also, I was so stressed that I barely took any pictures of the food, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

I love decorating the buffet for holiday meals! This was prior to setting all of the food. “All” of the food, like we had “so much.” LOL.

This was when we were still waiting for Ryan to arrive. It occurred to me then that he had never been to my house before, and I have lived here since 1999! It’s not that Ryan and I don’t like each other. My family in general is just not very “OMG FAMILY HANGOUT TIME!” with the exception of Corey and me – we have always gotten along like BFFs who enjoy touring seriously stupid places and acting like world class assholes. And then not only has Ryan never been here, but he also thought I lived on a completely different street, so that was fun, lol.

Also, being his inaugural visit was somewhat of a shock to the senses for Ryan, who just kept laughing and saying, “There’s just so much to take in.”

Everyone seemed to like the peanut soup the best which made me doubly sad that the fufu didn’t turn out because you have not known the true extent of peanut soup’s deliciousness until you scoop it into your gaping maw on an edible airplane of FUFU.

I wonder how hard I will have to beg Henry to do a fufu redo on New Year’s Day….

I realized after the fact that I had barely any pictures and had to resort to photographing half-scavenged plates and platters, lol.  Anyway, this apple cake was really light and delectable. Big fan.

My favorite part of dinner wasn’t the tteokbokki or the sweet potato rolls, but the part where Ryan regaled us about the time he and several friends were nearly murdered by the cartel in Mexico and you might think I’m exaggerating but this is a true story and is actually hilarious since they made it out alive but to hear him tell the story sounds like he’s giving a synopsis for a new movie in the Hangover franchise. And you know it’s a funny story when my surly fifteen-year-old who thinks all adults are the worst and totally stupid actually laughs out loud numerous times without even bothering to play it off.

Aside from the food follies, if there is one thing I wish I could go back and time and do over, it would be the moment my mom asked to take a picture of us siblings because in hindsight, I would have said, “ACTUALLY! Here, use my phone.” Or better yet! “Here, let Chooch take the picture with my phone.” Or the best option even: “Here, let’s go stand somewhere nicer and have Chooch take multiple pictures with my phone.”

But, it is what it is and this picture, blurry as it may be, is still better than no picture!

Corey stuck around for booze & game hour.

Penelope waiting for everyone to leave. The cats HATE COMPANY. Lockdown was some of the best months of their lives, really.

Yeah, the official verdict is that this was a nice ass Christmas. Lowkey but still semi-social, and just tiring and fulfilling enough to have us ready for bed by 10:30pm that night!

Dec 302021
 

I never knew who Rae Dunn was until several years ago when a then-friend (now MAGA-person, incidentally) started posting incessantly on Facebook about various coffee cups and other bland ceramic pieces that she wanted – nay, needed. She was constantly asking her friends to “be on the lookout” for shit with cringe-y seasonal slogans on them, sending her “hubs” out to homeware stores to scour the shelves, and getting into ACTUAL fights with soccer moms in places like Marshall’s over the last BUT FIRST COFFEE cup. (This last one is exaggerated only in that I can’t remember what the exact piece was she literally got injured over so I made that part up, but the fact that some lady slammed her shopping cart into her is ALLEGEDLY true.)

What am I missing? The style isn’t that cool? I literally use that same font on some of my serial killer greeting cards, for god’s sake lol.

Suffice to say, we have been a very anti-Dunn household through all of this mania. So when Chooch texted me from the work the other night,  telling me that some McDonald’s regular came through the drive-thru and gifted him with a Rae Dunn Christmas tumbler/mocha set, I was howling.

I mean, first of all, what a nice gesture. Not gonna lie. Apparently, this guy is a teacher and was going to give it to one of his students, but gave it to Chooch instead. Because clearly Welcome To McDonald’s Chooch is nicer than At Home Chooch. I’m sure he has a cult following at his McD’s already. Ugh.

Second of all, it’s hilarious to me that Chooch of all people now owns a Rae Dunn piece. Because, well, Chooch.

Of course, he has taken this and run with it. The next morning, he came downstairs and in a very smarmy and instigating tone, declared, “I’m going to have some HOT CHOCOLATE in my Rae Dunn cup now.”

Little jerk, lol. (Also, that’s water from the sink on his pants, but I should have let you think it was piss because that’s what he deserves.)

“This is actually a really nice tumbler,” Henry murmured, turning it around in his gloved hands.

One innocent hot chocolate set today, sending Henry out to various homeware stores in search of rare seasonal collections tomorrow. This is the gateway to the Basic Broad Club. He’ll be joining a Rae Dunn discord group any day now.

Dec 292021
 

I’m not trying to drag out the Xmas content I swear. I’m just really feeling shorter blog posts these days. Or, my mental capacity is feeling it, should I say? Lol. The winter depression is knocking on my door and I am running out of energy using my mind power as a barricade.

First of all, I want to talk about how difficult Chooch is to shop for now. All he wanted was a bike, so Henry took him to get one after Christmas (last night actually; I opted to stay home and do Kpop cardio because I knew it was going to be a stressful shopping trip and judging by Henry’s harried state upon return, I was correct). But I was like, “WE HAVE TO HAVE PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE!!” So we just bought him an array of hoodies from various stores including one from Zumiez that I honestly have no idea how I couldn’t tell straight away was a girls hoodie because when he pulled it out of the box and held it up, it was pretty obviously cut much shorter than any regular hoodie, lol. It must have been a theme on that year’s shopping excursion though because Henry was all “IMMA TREAT MYSELF” and bought himself a denim jacket that was on sale at the Vans store, only to find out that it’s a woman’s jacket and doesn’t fit him. (I told him to try it on when we were there but he was adamant that he could “tell” that it was going to fit, oh ok.)

Hilarious how it felt like we had nothing under the tree but my credit card statement and checking account tell a very different story. Fucking Christmas. I swear to god if the world is safe (relatively speaking) next year, we are going away for Christmas and not buying any gifts. Just souvenirs and amusement park admissions.

I still had fun making up stupid gift tags for all of the presents (one gift was from Heavy Metal Geocacher, lol) but it just didn’t feel as Christmas-y as usual. I guess that’s what happens when the kids get older, le sigh. Chooch actually was in a fine mood though and didn’t get all pouty like I would have when I was his age because leave it to me to always find some kind of a flaw in every gift (lol I am DEFINITELY not like that anymore, though, right Henry?).

Meanwhile, Henry paid attention and got me some really great things this year, including this necklace personalized with my favorite Korean word that you may already know if you read this thing regularly because I love to word-drop it whenever possible!

But I will explain it anyway because I’m nice, ugh. It’s pronounced “kapchugi” and it means “suddenly, out of the blue.” We watch a lot of Kdramas and it’s a word that is said a lot and I just love the sound of it, and the fact that it means “Suddenly,” which is such a great, dramatic word in English too.

I had to put my own chain on this though because Henry went for the shortest option available which was “newborn baby choker” length. I don’t have a fat neck at all but that chain was not it, bro.

Henry also got me the new Jennifer Aniston-backed hair product line, Lolavie. Jennifer Aniston is my ULT BIAS. I know it’s super basic, but I have been utterly smitten with her since the debut of Friends in the 90s. I know, me and a million other basic broads, right? But she is just the epitome of a beauty to me, because she genuinely appears to be the sweetest, kindest, most un-celebrity-est person in America. She just seems so down to earth and to this day, I fucking Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. And I also harbor a huge grudge against this couple I used to be friends with waaaay back in the day who belittled me for liking her and said she has a, and this is so hard for me to even type because it’s NOT TRUE and they can both get fucked, “horse face.” Honestly, fuck those people. They had a baby and named her after one of the lamest characters on Days of Our Lives – Chloe Brady!

ANYWAY. When Jennifer Aniston started posting about this new hair stuff several months ago, I wanted it ASAP. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, because of course Jennifer Aniston, aka The Best Jen (Jennifer Lawrence is my #2 Jen) would do the right thing.

This is how my hair looked after letting it air-dry!!!

It’s amazing and sorry Henry, but I will now be using this $$$ brand $$$ exclusively, no more drug store hair prods for this bitch’s head. (Actually, it’s not really as exorbitantly priced as you would expect from a product shilled by an internationally beloved actress.)

Lastly, Henry also got me something that I really NEED: an NCT light stick! There have been murmurings around the K-nets that NCT127 might be doing a North American tour in 2022 and if this is true, I want to be prepared!

And then we went to Pink Box for Asian sweet buns and family fun time at the Homewood Cemetery, which I already posted pictures from here.

This was probably one of the least argumentative Christmases we’ve had so I am very happy about that. But I will note however that SON OF THE YEAR has a job and did not get Henry and me anything! What a jerk.

At some point I will also recap Christmas dinner, which consisted of numerous international fare and my immediate family being at my house altogether for the first time in the history of me living here (which is a long time, since I have lived here since 1999 lol ugh).

(Oh yeah, and I got Henry the Stheart beanie that he’s wearing in the pictures featured in the link above! He is so hard to buy anything for so my main gift was trying to be nice to him all weekend. I semi-succeeded. He didn’t ask for a gift receipt at least.)

Dec 272021
 

Henry and I both miraculously had Christmas Eve off…but then Chooch had to work. Because of course he did. We mostly just ran around picking up last minute things and then relaxed the rest of the evening. I love Christmas Eve because the house is usually pumping out cozy vibes.

Not a last minute Xmas thing, but earlier that morning I started screaming about wanting a new toilet seat which is such an adult “want.” This in addition to receiving my first ever car title in the mail a few weeks ago has me feeling like I’ve matriculated into legit adulthood with no fan fare or at the very least A CAKE, and I feel GYPPED.

I also bought plants while there so yeah, lots of grown up things happening around here. I feel like a stranger in my skin these days.

Of course, Henry guessed at what kind of toilet seat to get and it was wrong so he had to go out again to get the right one but I had enough of boring home stores for one day so I stayed home and did Kpop cardio, thanks.

Later that night, I started “primping” the house for Christmas evening because my mom and brothers would be coming over for dinner and I wanted to look at least relatively Christmasey, not like you can really tell the Christmas lights apart from  the “year-round” lights in my house, lol.

I love decorating the buffet!

Chooch was wrapping some stuffed animal he won at an amusement park for one of Those Kids next door but Henry was like, “I am not giving one of my grandchildren a reused gift” like suddenly Henry is the author of etiquette handbooks.

“Did Santa come yet?” Except that the cats call Santa “Him Ho” in our house.

Holidays make Penelope tired.

It didn’t really feel like a legit Christmas Eve because the weather was in the 50s and Chooch was so tired from working that he didn’t even feel like playing any games NOR did he even beg to open just one present like he normally does. I guess he is also becoming an adult, just like me. Sigh.

Henry and I unwound that night with an episode of Hometown Cha Cha Cha (no, we still haven’t finished this series! We’re not good binge-watchers!) and then crashed around midnight. It was a long day but we were so happy to not have to work!

Anyway, I will leave you with this brief walk-thru of the living room and dining room as seen on Xmas Eve.

Dec 262021
 

My brothers and I don’t get together very often as a trio (which is something I think we’d all like to change going forward) so when they both accepted my invitation to have Xmas dinner here, Corey saw this as a great opportunity to recreate one of our old childhood photos.

Actually what really happened was that he texted me: OMG ERIN

Which automatically put me on High Alert, like omg who died. But then it was just about doing a picture, so—whew.

This is the one he inexplicably chose:

So first of all, I could have argued that we use another picture because of how unflattering this is for me but the REALITY is that I look like this in basically every photo back then because ages 9-13 (ok I’m being kind to myself here, but the honest truth would be more like 7-16) we’re not a good look on me as a whole. So, whatever. Let’s do this lol.

Unfortunately, Corey couldn’t find a red hat but Henry casually said, “We have that Ernie Ball one from Warped Tour,” while continuing to eat his well-earned Christmas dinner.

“Where is it?” I asked, and when he said it was in the attic, I demanded, “Well? Go get it!” And he did too. God love him. (Seriously though that man knows where every single thing is the attic and the basement and I don’t fuck with either of those rooms, so)

Hilariously, Corey (in the middle) has surpassed both Ryan and me in height over the years. I am by far the shortest now.

Corey and Ryan really killed this recreation, and Chooch was an excellent photographer and artistic director. I could have done better for my part but refused to cut bangs with my eyes closed (seriously wtf is going on with my hair; also it was never that dark but either was Ryan’s so we determined it must be a combination of bad lighting and film from the 90s). But it was still fun and cracked us up because it was really so stupid!

Chooch, who is usually incredibly rude and brutally honest to me, looked at the first picture the other day and said, “That looks NOTHING like you.” OMG thank you, son!

The one I’m really pushing to recreate is this one which requires us to go to Cedar Point which is selfishly why I want to do it:

Dec 252021
 

Hello! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and happy Saturday to everyone else! Henry is currently in the kitchen whipping up a holiday dinner so I thought I’d pop in and say hello and post some pictures of us doing the traditional cemetery thang. We actually…didn’t fight??!! Even though Chooch hated his flannel??? And it was raining??? And I only hated every other photo of me??? Tis the season, truly.

I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

Anyway, here we are. I love my little family. We get along mostly.

Eating our sweet buns from Pink Box! It’s an Asian bakery right down the street from the cemetery and blessedly open on Christmas. They have really delightful treats there. I had an almond taro bun, Henry had red bean (always) and Chooch’s was pineapple cream. We also got some extra delights for after dinner!

We had to retake one of these because even after FIFTEEN YEARS chooch still managed to have crumbs on his face.

Making Chooch uncomfortable from both sides

Henry was like “why do I have to do the jumping ones with you.” BECAUSE I SAID.

On the way home I randomly mused that the Pittsburgh skyline looked different to me.

“Maybe it’s because of the strange music playing,” Chooch piped up from the backseat.

It was Pink Floyd on the radio lol.

Dec 242021
 

Omg for this edition of Friday Fives, Henry is visiting to tell us about his fave reads of the year! Which* means he will tell me a botched title and then I will try to coax some descriptive words from him while he’s cooking shit for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner and then I’ll do all the typing too.

But sure let’s call it a guest post.

*(wtf I tried to spell this as ‘whitch’ THREE TIMES even though spellcheck was frantically trying to tell me I’m a big stoop.)

Oh, just a heads up that Henry’s opinions are based off the audiobooks alone. He doesn’t have time to read physical books but he powers through the audio versions while working and I’m so happy that he has been doing this because it’s been so much fun having a built-in book club at home.

Fun fact: Henry’s favorite genre of book is THRILLER. (“Probably,” he added as an afterthought.)

1. Bunny – Mona Awad

“It bas a unique premise.”

2. Bear Town – Frederik Backman

“The story and characters were well-written.”

See also: Henry has a voice crush on the narrator.

3. Nothing To See Here – Kevin Wilson

“It was a very interesting story….and it had the same narrator as Bear Town.”

4. House In the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune

“My favorite character was the antichrist kid.”

5. The Diviners Series – Libba Bray

“I just liked the story and the characters through all the books, I dunno.”

****

Well guys that was literally the most I could pull from his brain. He didn’t even want to do that much and I was screaming JUST GIVE ME ONE FUCKING SENTENCE FOR EACH BOOK THEN OMFG.

So there you have it. If you ever wanted to read like Henry, now you can. Merry Christmas.

Dec 232021
 

Annyeong. I have been so scattered lately. Like, I’m running on nervous energy and Kombucha, mostly. Every time I sit down to one thing, I’m on to something else within minutes. I can’t tell if this is adult ADD or a manic bipolar upswing or just, well, Erin being Erin.

So today we’re free-forming it because I’ll be honest, the last several blog posts have been torturous for me to write because I cannot stay focused. I know what you’re thinking: But Erin, this piece is always a mess. And you’re right, it really is. So, never mind.

We’ll start with a picture of THIS BLOG’S AUTHOR in her Dance Gavin Dance Cocaine Cringefest sweatshirt. Jingle, jingle, who’s ready to mingle? No one. Thanks, OMICRON.

I’ll just walk around the city telling chickens that I’m pretty and I’d love for them to meet my wife.

FOOD, PART 1

First, let’s talk about food. I had some good foods lately, starting with my night out with Carrie and Megan at The Forge.

We started off with this CHEESE PLATTER and a round of BARTENDER’S CHOICE drinks. I told the waiter, who was killing me all night with his familiar face, that I liked floral notes, and he said, “Wow it just so happens that we make our own lavender syrup in house” and I was like, “Yes, that will do.” So I got a purple drink with vodka and lavender, which was a true delight and it was all I could do not to slurp that bitch down like a basic juice box.

Also, I do not drink much anymore so this went straight to my head and I ended up spending most of the dinner just silently nodding along with everything Carrie and Megan were saying because I was afraid I’d start scream-speaking because vodka.

Anyway, it was so nice to see these broads!! In case you don’t know, we are part of the same team at work and used to sit in a row with each other back in Normal Times, so it was fucking awesome to see them in real life after nearly two years (though I did see Megan last October when we did that shitty volunteering thing through work ugh).

I hate this picture of me SO MUCH because of my GLASSES but when I got someone else to take another one, that one ended up being WORSE because I was BLINKING and somehow the “live” option was turned off in my settings! I never turn that shit off!!

But the other gals look great so I am posting this.

Also, I’m wearing glasses almost exclusively until I can get an eye appointment because my contacts are just wrong. So very, very wrong.

Also x2, Henry drove Megan and I to the Forge that night for two reasons:

  • we had taken the good car into the shop to get fixed (it’s back now, btw! you can’t even tell that “Henry” wrecked it! Also, the owner of the auto body place liked our car so much so that she went out and bought an identical one lol. Hyundai Kona FTW!) and I hate the old car because it shakes so if it breaks down, at least Henry is there lol;
  • I literally cannot drive at night with glasses. I mean, I can barely do anything with glasses, so.

I yelled at Henry after we dropped Megan off because he was being rude and he was like, “I wasn’t being rude. You guys were talking so I just let you talk.” YES THAT’S BEING RUDE.

Anyway, I realized in the middle of the night that I didn’t actually know the waiter, he just looked like Ted from Schitt’s Creek.

Oh! I also had the vegan shawarma which was DIVINE.

FOOD, PART 2

Onion Maiden had limited quantities of their Seitanic Ritual platter: fried seitan cutlet that tasted like how I remember veal to taste, or was it pork, I can’t remember meats; corn; mashed ube & vegan gravy.

It was, in a word: DIVINE. Like, had me speaking in “backwards record,” it was so good. So good, that I’m trying to get Henry to make mashed ube for Christmas. We’ll see how that pans out. Lol.

Yeah, and then this effing vegan cheesecake that I stupidly agreed to “share” with Henry, ugh. That was a bad decision.

FOOD, PART 3

A Christmas pint pick-up from Sugar Spell!

Every single flavor is bangin’ as usual. The Yule Log one is probably my favorite, if you’re going to make me pick one, because there is just something so indulgent about Sugar Spell’s chocolate base. You would never believe it was vegan!!

Anyway, after we taste-tested every flavor, I realized that we didn’t get the PB&J one. I looked up the order to make sure I had it on there, and I did but I guess they accidentally gave me gingerbread instead. Which was fine! We weren’t shorted and I was just as happy with the gingerbread, but Mr. Warehouse Manager was like, “You need to tell them.” And I was like, “Yeah but it’s not an issue – they didn’t overcharge us or anything and it’s not like we can ‘return’ the gingerbread since we already ate some?” and he was like “BUT YOU NEED TO TELL THEM FOR INVENTORY PURPOSES!” God, leave it to Henry to even make ice cream boring.

(Yes! I told them! God!)

CHOOCH THINGS

Wow, parenthood has been RULL exciting over in these parts lately.

Let’s start with the fact that Chooch came home one night last week and casually said, “Oh yeah, my Spanish teacher was talking about this study abroad program and I want to do it. Thanks bye.”

But then also Chooch: I lost my student ID again. Have you seen my wallet? I can’t find my credit card. I missed the T. I forgot my face mask. I broke my Rubik’s Cube, can I return it? Can I have money, I spent all mine on Pokémon cards. Where is my work visor?

So…you tell me, am I stupid for entertaining this idea? The organization has been around since the 40s and they have a great Covid policy (all applicants & host families must provide proof of vaccination, for instance), it’s also fully-refundable if the trips need to be cancelled or postponded based on pandemic travel concerns. He can get a merit scholarship for it, and they’re also very generous with financial aid. So, I told him to go ahead and try for it. The trip he’s trying for is to Yucatan and it’s for 4 weeks next July. He can also get 4 college credits out of the deal and it’s something that will look nice and pretty on college applications, and he needs as much application padding as possible.

My favorite part of all of this was finding out how little Chooch knows about me, as evidenced when he texted me from school while filling out the application. “What is your occupation again? Stock broker?”

UM, NO??? I have no idea what would have EVER given him that idea? I have worked in the conflicts department of the same international law firm for nearly 12 years, but OK cook on with your stock broker fantasies, boy. He’s gonna wish I was brokering stocks when it comes time to pay for this shit and we can’t afford it lol.

I joined some Zoom meeting for this program the other night to get more information, and this is what happened in the chat:

Fuckin’ Army.

Meanwhile, there are several essays that need to be written in order to apply for financial aid. I was proofreading one of them and THANK GOD I did because this was an actual line from one of them: “I used to not care about people at all, but working at McDonald’s has taught me to be kinder to strangers.”

UM HELLO SOCIOPATH. And also, McDonald’s taught him that? Not his parents? OH OK.

I definitely rewrote that for him because ain’t no one trying to send an apathetic loner boy (which he isn’t!!) on an international trip with other students. For Christ’s sake. Cant wait until he starts his volunteer work!

Then Corey and I had this text exchange right after, lol:

#HollyJollyHenry

Here is a photo I took of Henry last weekend when we were Christmas shopping, ugh. He was so mad because this was set up right by the food court and although you can’t really tell,  there were a lot of people milling about so Henry was like TAKE THE PICTURE, OMG JUST TAKE IT. A few days later, the actual mall liked it on Instagram, lololololololol.

ME WITH GLASSES

Um, here I am with glasses. I probably haven’t worn these since Korea 2019, when I had The Eye Injury. I do not know what this face is but I know that I make it a lot.

THINGS I HAVE BEEN WATCHING

I have been watching the new season of Emily in Paris because sometimes a bitch just needs simple to watch while jogging in place on an imaginary treadmill, and Bonus Family which is a Swedish dramedy, plus about 7 other shows that I started and lost interest in pretty quickly. (See above re: adult ADD.) I randomly put on the first episode of The Originals the other day and I did not remember a single thing about it, so now I’m questioning if I even watched that show back when it was on because I thought I did?!?!

MY SUPERVISOR SMOTHERS ME

Making sure I’m getting all my stock things brokered. Also, that plate on the floor is a tea cup saucer, which I use to serve the cats their treats and then the plates stay on the floor for Henry and Chooch to accidentally kick like flat, breakable soccer balls.

IN OTHER NEWS…

  • Henry finally hung this beautiful poster from the time Corey and I saw the Cure in Philly in 2008. Actually, I think I found this online and made Christina buy it for me LOL. The Cure corner is really coming along and it makes my heart swell every time I go upstairs!
  • I’ve been rotating through “Alexa play [random country] pop music” every day in order to block out the sounds of the TERRORDOME next door. I swear to god those kids are devil dogs. It’s just incessant screaming and crying all day, every day. One day it sounded like they were actually burrowing inside the walls and I felt legit frightened.
  • Emily was working on a marketing campaign for leeks on Emily In Paris and it made me want leeks so I texted Henry and told him I want leeks incorporated into our Xmas dinner menu and he was like, “I can do that” and for some reason that came off sounding super cocky, like OK CHEF BOYARDICK, calm down. Now I don’t even know if I want leeks anymore.
  • We drove past some Irish club thing over the weekend called Daughters of Erin or something stupid like that and I said, “Imagine if I had daughters” and Henry very quickly said, “No.” Wow.
  • One of my coworkers, Marlene, retired earlier this year but we have been emailing here and there. I got an email from her today telling me that I better take umbrellas for my Christmas pilgrimage to the Dead Zone, and it just made me simultaneously crack up and cry because I miss the office so much and since covid, two of my coworkers have retired and two more will be retiring at the end of the month. It just sucks that we can’t even give them a proper send-off, but have to make due with waving goodbye via an awkward video call where you can’t get a word in edgewise. But back to Marlene, she is always fascinated with the way I choose to spend my holidays, especially Christmas, so her email really made me laugh.  But yes, I miss the Before Times when we’d be in the office right now, giddy and slacking off, mowing down a line of Christmas cookies and having drinks in the old travel office. Working from home is awesome, but these are things I really miss.

I think I’m tapped out. Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with a SPECIAL GUEST POST but only time will tell.

Dec 222021
 

You guys know I’m like super tightly-wound, right? OK then this next part of the GENESIS night will sound super on brand: So, when I bought the tickets back in May, I opted for the mobile option because I paid $$$ for this shit and am constantly at war with the USPS to begin with. The last thing they need is to lose my GENESIS TICKETS, you know? Anyway, I added the tickets to my Apple wallet a few months ago and noticed that there was no barcode on them like in the past. But then a squirrel probably came to the window and distracted me, so I didn’t think about it again until a few days prior to the show.

“DOES THIS LOOK RIGHT?” I screamed to Henry, who just shrugged and said he was sure it was fine. It didn’t “look fine” to me so I frantically googled “TICKETMASTER MOBILE TICKETS WEIRD HELP” and only found information on how they USED TO LOOK.

You know, with a BARCODE.

To be safe, I made sure I was logged into the Ticketmaster app because the barcode appeared on my tickets there. Then I kept getting all these  intense emails from the venue about the entry process, and learned this was actually a paperless ticket event so I guess I didn’t even have the option to get regular tickets? And then there was the BAG POLICY which had me stressed out too so I tried to make Henry measure my wallet, but he was like, “Um, this is fine. They’re not going to confiscate your tiny wallet” and I was like, “BUT THEY POSTED DIMENSIONS! DOES MY WALLET FALL WITHIN THOSE DIMENSIONS!” and because Henry is a Man who voluntarily took Industrial Arts in high school, he was able to just look at it and say yes.

I hate him.

Even at dinner that night, I was low-key on edge about the ticket thing. When Corey was in the bathroom, I checked my TicketMaster app AND IT WOULDN’T OPEN BECAUSE IT SAID I HAD NO INTERNET CONNECTION. So I was frantically Kakao’ing with Henry who suggested that I restart my phone so I did AND THEN IT LOGGED ME OUT OF THE APP TOTALLY. I literally could not get in to access the tickets so now it was Apple wallet or GTFO.

My only consolation was remembering that it was going to me and about 8465 elderly people in the same boat, and Henry reassured me that there would probably be plenty of people there to help. Who even am I?? One pandemic and suddenly I’m a concert n00b.

I finally admitted my concerns to Corey when we started our walk from Bae Bae’s to PPG Paints Arena but if was also worried about this, he did a great job hiding it. The walk itself was nice and brisk – I knew I was going to cold in that denim jacket but getting a picture of MATCHING SIBLING JEAN JACKETS would be worth it so I only complained a little.

Eventually, we began encountering other GENESIS fans along the way. You could just tell. I mean, one middle aged guy was playing Invisible Touch on his phone and gave us a head nod. Another middle aged guy yelled to us, “I NEED A JOINT HAHAHAHA” as we were waiting to the cross the street and it was so obvious he was only saying it to us in hopes one of us would be like, “OMG HERE YOU GO FELLOW GENESIS FAN” lol.

Anyway!! We finally got to the arena and forget what I said about being so cold because now I was SWEATING in anticipation of someone banging the gong when I attempted to scan my DEFECTIVE tickets. I was on my tiptoes, craning my neck to see if anyone ahead of us had the same-looking tickets and while most people had the barcoded ones from the Ticketmaster app, I did see someone with one that looked like ours. Then we got closer, I saw that the scanner had two options: a spot to hold your phone under to scan the barcode, and a spot up above where you just tapped your phone if you had one of the SCARY NON-TICKET LOOKING TICKETS like we had.

It took all of .0002 seconds to get in and Corey was like, “Honestly, I wasn’t worried at all.” OK COOL THANKS, BRO, GLAD I COULD TAKE ON THE WHOLE BURDEN FOR THE BOTH OF US, LOL.  I was still buzzing after that but then we got in line for merch and my anxiety finally transformed into actual excitement. It’s not easy being me sometimes, you guys. It really isn’t.

Corey and I both snagged a t-shirt (duh) and I also bought an art poster which is my favorite thing to buy at shows and I get so excited when they’re available! I didn’t even care how much it cost. This is pretty likely the last chance we will get to see Genesis (Phil said as much himself) so I was sparing no expense!

This was taken right in front of our seats so you can see that we had plenty of people-free room! If it was a hockey game, we would have been right behind the glass and over a bit to the right of the goal. It was really comfortable! Corey, being a Tall Person, was grateful that he had adequate leg room.

I was so pleased with this picture because the lady who took it for us was really determined to get the right shot. “I got some of the stage in the background,” she said knowingly, and we were both so happy with it!

“Remember when we went to see The Cure and that person took that really awkward picture of us turning around in our seats?” I asked Corey when we sat back down. Of course he remembered, how could he forget? IT WAS SUCH A TERRIBLE PICTURE AND SO AWKWARD TO POSE FOR:

I sent this to Corey after I got home later that night and his response was: Glow Up of the Decade, lol.

We had about 30 minutes to people watch* before the show started and Corey continued to gush over his ample leg room. I looked around and said, “Yep, this is exactly how I pictured it when I bought the tickets, right down to the garbage can positioned right in front of us.”

“Really??” Corey exclaimed.

“No!” I laughed. But that fucking garbage can would prove to be a NUISANCE as the night went on.

*(In case you were wondering, the median demographic for Genesis was definitely 55-70. I knew even I’d be one of the younger people there but I was actually kind of surprised at how few “younger” people I even saw!)

The lights went out a little after 8:00PM and Corey and I were practically foaming at the mouths. I was flabbergasted at how many people were still casually milling about, THROWING AWAY THEIR BEERS IN THE TRASH DIRECTLY IN MY LINE OF VISION, and just taking their good ol’ time getting back to their seats. And you know this was annoying to me because I used the word FLABBERGASTED. I don’t just drop that word down lightly, mmkay Brenda.

Anyway, I truly do not have the words to write a proper review of this show because my emotions are still overwhelming me. First of all, Phil Collins is ill and the fact that he even found the strength and drive within himself to carry out these shows is beyond imagination to me. I mean, what a boss. However, it was extremely sad to see him looking frail, and remaining seated through the duration of the concert. He seemed to be struggling at times with his vocals as well, but just being under the same roof as him was an incredible honor.

I definitely let the tears roll on occasion, but it didn’t fully hit me until the next morning, when I just broke down and sobbed while making breakfast to my usual soundtrack of Tonight Tonight Tonight (seriously, I’m always “Alexa, play Tonight Tonight Tonight” and it’s miraculously one of the few times she will deliver without incident).

 

I didn’t really hate anyone at this show except for the people who kept walking off and onto the floor during the whole entire show. Like, you can’t wait until later to get another fucking beer? Because the last time I checked, fucking G E N E S I S is up there performing for YOU and you’re just gonna walk out to get another IC Light. Wow. Just, wow. My favorite part was when these dumb fucks would come back and proceed to stand in the open space between our section and the last row of seats on the floor and the ushers were too fucking old and ambivalent to tell them to go back to their seats, so then we’d be staring at the backs of drunk Yinzers for a minute before they regained their bearings and staggered to their seat.

But then there was a middle-aged man and his father in the last row of the floor section and they were so fucking adorable with their father-son air-drumming that it canceled out how angry all the in-and-out beer and bathroom break people had made me. (Honestly though, I know how much those floor seats cost and you better believe I’d be holding my pee until Genesis said “No for real this is it, look, we’re taking a bow” and the lights came on.

For me, the highlights were definitely Tonight Tonight Tonight (I have VIVID childhood memories soundtracked by that song) and Mama.

LOL my attempt at getting a picture of Phil’s son on drums. What a prodigy!

This one time, I was standing in line for a haunted house and decided to assign very specific laughs to my friends for us to perform as we ran through the haunt. My laugh was Tom Hulce’s shrill chortle from “Amadeus” (I WAS SO GOOD AT IT), I taught Janna how to emulate the toe-curling throat scrape of the Sleazy Furnace Guy who had recently made like three appearances at my house around that time and it was just A Whole Thing really, and because Christina is so creepy in general I appointed to them the coveted Phil Collins mirthless laugh/groan from “Mama.” So basically, the best one.

This song just hits every time.

SETLIST

  1. Behind the Lines / Duke’s End
  2. Turn It On Again
  3. Mama (!!!)
  4. Land of Confusion (Phil’s intro to this song referenced the current state of the world making this song relevant and there was a video of toilet paper falling from the sky and people marching with face masks on; also I was obsessed with / terrified of this music video when I was a kid, lol)
  5. Home By the Sea (I was imagining Phil was shouting SIT DOWN to all of the PEOPLE LEAVING THE FLOOR OMFG SIT DOWN)
  6. Second Home By the Sea
  7. Fading Lights
  8. The Cinema Show
  9. Afterglow
  10. That’s All
  11. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  12. Follow You Follow Me
  13. Duchess
  14. No Son of Mine
  15. Firth of Fifth
  16. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  17. Domino
  18. Throwing It All Away (Watching people throw their endless cans of beer away all night gave new meaning to this one)
  19. Tonight Tonight Tonight (!!!)
  20. Invisible Touch (PEOPLE WERE LEAVING DURING THIS SONG!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?)

ENCORE

  1. I Can’t Dance
  2. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
  3. The Carpet Crawlers

It was a wonderful show, you guys, and felt very symbolic that Corey and I got to see them together because it felt kind of therapeutic, five years after the 116 Gillcrest Trauma. Music really does heal, and Phil Collins / Genesis really helped scab over many of our emotional wounds, that is for fucking sure.

****

Henry and Chooch were sleeping by the time Corey dropped me off but I woke them and made them watch several video clips from the night (I took very few pictures and videos) and the very next day, Henry framed and hung my Genesis print because sometimes, he just knows the things that are important.

Action shot of The Hanging. (I actually took this to send to Chooch who was incessantly blowing up Henry’s phone about something stupid and I was like STOP BOTHERING HIM, HE IS DOING HIS CHORES. Kids, amirite.)

OMG *tearing up*

I love this wall! Every framed picture is a print from various concerts. I love collecting these! I have a ton of other ones too but I kept all of these ones together because they are the same size. So now every day, I get to walk past this and smile at the memory of seeing Genesis.

I saw Genesis! <3

Dec 202021
 

If I had better blogging habits, I could have written this after I got home from the show and called the blog post TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT, but alas, I am an ambivalent fake-writer and here we are, an entire week later.

Quick back story: I have loved Phil Collins and Genesis since I was in the single digits of age, although I’m certain I probably could differentiate between Genesis and the works of a solo Phil until I was a teen in the 90s. My grandparents always had the radio on in their kitchen and being the early 80s, you were bound to hear “Sussudio,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Invisible Touch,” etc etc. I particularly loved “Easy Lover,” the Philip Bailey and Phil Collins collab. I saw Phil Collins in the mid-90s when I was a teenager (with my friend-at-the-time Keri, who ALWAYS HAD A HEADACHE), and much later in life, I had the pleasure of attending a Mike and the Mechanics show, but I never had the opportunity to see Genesis.

I didn’t even know my brother Corey was a fan until we were mired down with the task of cleaning out my Pappap’s house in 2016 and I got the kitchen stereo to work again. Naturally, I tuned it right to a lite FM station and we were giddy, scrubbing floors and chucking piles of magazines and newspapers into plastic bins to a soundtrack of the BEST soft rock from the 80s. Of course, we heard tons of Phil and Genesis during our laborious days and nights in that house. Giddily making Instavids backed by Phil, Prince, and Mr. Mister was one of the few bright spots during a very, very dark year for us. I even made out with a bunch of Phil and Genesis albums from my aunts’ record collections, and Corey had a custom Phil Collins birthday cake made for me that year:

An Impromptu Birthday Dinner

Then last spring, Corey texted me a HUGE ALERT that Genesis was coming to town. and for the first time since 2019, I found myself having a nervous stomach and The Sweats while waiting in Ticketmaster’s bullshit virtual queue. I got us two tickets in the first row of one of the sections near the floor, which I tried to plan strategically not knowing how the state of Covid would be come December (turns out, worse than last spring) and these seats would put us in a position where we wouldn’t be fully surrounded by people. Then came the months and months of waiting, wondering if the concert would get canceled, praying that Phil, who is already in poor health, would be OK. Believe me, if he had decided to cancel the tour, I would have been bummed, sure, but also I would have been relieved because is this even safe for him!?!? Protect Phil Collins!!

Finally, Genesis Day arrived and I did a pee-jig by the front window, waiting for Corey to pick me up. When he rolled up into the driveway, I barely even said goodbye to Henry before flying out the door like a spaz. As soon as I flung the passenger door open and popped my head inside, I noted that Corey was wearing his jean jacket.

“OMG SHOULD I WEAR MY JEAN JACKET TOO??” I screeched, and he yelled, “YES!” in the tone of LE DUH.

So I crashed back into the house and wheezed to Henry, “COREY IS WEARING HIS JEAN JACKET SO I HAVE TO WEAR MINE TOO.”

“You’re an idiot,” Henry mumbled, as I maniacally traded my fluffy blue coat for denim.

I knew I would probably be cold since the plan was to eat Bae Bae’s and walk to PPG Paints Arena from there, but it would be worth it for the MEM’RIES, I just knew it.

Corey has never been to Bae Bae’s before, and it’s been a hot minute since I was last there, to be honest, so I was happy to be back. And even happier at their mask policy and the fact that the dining area was nearly empty. Thank you. I’m back to being SUPER SKEEVED OUT by eating in restaurants, and if we’re being honest, I guess I never really stopped being skeeved out, vaxxed or not.

During our dinner, Corey was raging because nearly every song that came on was a Top 40 “hit” that he absolutely hated, and I lamented the fact that a Korean restaurant was playing basic white people tunes, to begin with. Now granted, Bae Bae’s is very much Korean American fusion, but I do approve of it because I feel like it’s a good gateway to ease vanilla palates into the wild & crazy world of, I dunno, pickled and ferememted banchan. I mean, they don’t have the proper name for their “glass noodles” on the menu, and the first time I went there and called it by its God-given name of JAPCHAE, the guy behind the counter did a double-take, like, “You know?”

In most traditional Korean restaurants I’ve been to, they play actual Korean music! Granted, that’s predominantly Kpop though lol so I’m sure that’s not appealing to everyone.

ANYWAY! The whole reason I’m bringing this up is to tell you that I cosigned all of the verbal hate mail Corey was spitting to these dumb western artists, ALL BUT ONE:

CHARLIE PUTH. I was unaware that Corey hates him so much, but I have a complete guilt-free obsession with C.Puth. Sorry, little bro! We did agree though that Phil Collins is one of the few musicians that you can say you like to pretty anyone and no one is going to try and make you feel shit for it. Like, even in high school, when everyone is trying SO EFFING HARD to be the most, I never got dogged for my unwavering and blatant love for Phil. (I got DRAGGED when I went through a disco phase in middle school years before that shit made a comeback and became “cool” again, lol.) I think that most humans are in rare solidarity when it comes to the legendary status of Mr. Collins. I’m sure there’s the rare breed out there that “OMG can’t stand” In the Air Tonight, but I thankfully do not know them.

In fact, after Chooch was The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” for Halloween when he was in 3rd or 4th grade, he suggested “being ‘In the Air Tonight'” for the next Halloween and I was like, “HOW THE HELL—-OK. LET’S DO IT” but then he moved on to something else by then, sadly.

But I digress….

Meanwhile, going to a concert together definitely had Corey and I feeling nostalgic for the time we road-tripped to Philly in 2008 to see the Cure, so we reminisced about that a lot during the evening and then the next day, I realized that we also ate out of take-out containers at a restaurant during that trip, just like we did at Bae Bae’s!

(This was an all-cereal joint called Cereality and I honestly can’t believe it’s not still around, even though my choice of “every chocolate cereal and then top it with Whoppers” made me so sick on the drive home.)

OK I’m ending this here. I had a long evening of being annoyed by the MALES in my house and I would like very much to just spend the rest of the night reading a book. I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 2, sound good? Good.

Dec 192021
 

OK remember last week when I was being SO COOL and decided to talk about the last half of the books I read in November first? Well, you’re never going to believe this but it’s time to talk about  the first half now. Wow, who could ever even see that coming?

  1. Halloween Fiend – C.V. Hunt

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This is a novella about a small town held hostage by some creepy monster that comes around every night to claim the sacrifices that each resident leaves for it on their porch: cats, Guinea pigs, etc. So right away, I hated this book.

But then every year on Halloween, an actual townsperson is chosen through a lottery to be sacrificed to the monster. There was this one dumb bitch who gleefully presented a cat as a sacrifice every night and then watched from the window as it was devoured, and I really wanted to get dead. Stupid effing bitch.

It was a fast read but also kind of dumb. I don’t know, this is the first book I read in November coming off a shitty month of October reads and I was feeling pretty jaded.

2. Mary Jane – Jessica Anya Blau

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…but then came Mary Jane, a book I was not expecting to fall so hard for.

Mary Jane is a 15-year-old (I think) girl with extremely conservative parents who takes up a summer job nannying the 5-year-old (I think) daughter of a psychiatrist and his eccentric midlife-crising wife. Their family is VERY unconventional, affectionate, progressive, and also extremely scattered and unstructured. Mary Jane quickly finds herself not just nannying the little girl, but organizing the home and lives of the parents as well. She even starts cooking their dinners for them every evening when she discovers that most of the food in their fridge is spoiled and that they eat out for basically ever meal.

Things heat up when the dad’s super famous patient and his equally-famous wife come to live with them for the summer. Mary Jane starts learning A LOT about life, is convinced that she’s a sex addict, and really finds her own voice for the first time in her life, amidst all the dysfunction and chaos.

I saw a lot of reviews about how terrible it was that Mary Jane was put in this situation, how she had to be the adult while the actual adults where trashing the house, cheating on each other, smoking pot, how Mary Jane’s actual parents didn’t react the way that they should have upon finding out what their daughter was actually up to all summer, but I thought it was a very emotional and endearing coming of age story. I love found family tropes so much and this one had me so invested, that I wanted these people to be real and I was rooting so hard for Mary Jane and everyone under that roof. I sobbed when this book ended! It was such a beautiful story and I laughed out loud so many times too (the sex addict part is hilarious).

I’ll be reading more from Jessica Anya Blau, that’s for sure.

3. Dear Laura- Gemma Amor

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This is a novella about a girl – OMG LAURA, MAYBE? – whose boyfriend is kidnapped when they are both in high school and then the kidnapper starts sending Laura a letter every year on her birthday saying they he will tell her the location of her boyfriend’s body but she has to give him something first. It starts out as a pair of her unwashed underwear and gets progressively worse. Every other chapter goes back to present day, which finds a middle-aged Laura trekking through the wilderness.

There was a lot of hype around this book in the horror book circles but it didn’t hold up for me. It wasn’t terrible but I also was neither shocked nor awed. By the end, I’m pretty sure my reaction was to close the book and say, “ok” and then promptly wring its memory from my brain to make room for better things.

The cover is fantastic though.

4. The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor

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My first CJ Tudor novel and will definitely not be my last. I was shocked at how much I really liked this, from the conversational and often humorous writing to the fleshed-out characters and believable, easy dialogue. There is a great mother/daughter dynamic going on here that felt very realistic and while the plot was a bit over the top (when aren’t they though, in thrillers) I loved the small British town setting and the mystery. Also, I kept picturing the daughter as a young Winona Ryder, for sure.

A certain point late into this story had me like OMG! which doesn’t happen very often with thrillers (I’ve been getting stuck with so many duds lately!). It was just wildly entertaining from start to finish, and the creepiness was extremely well done. Also, this book cover gives me sick tattoo vibes, bruh.

5. Under the Whispering Door – T.J. Klune

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It pains me to say this and if my blog had an actual readership I am sure I would get some hate for this opinion, but I absolutely fucking HATED this book and could NOT wait to finish it. First, I started to read the physical copy and literally couldn’t get through the first chapter. It was so boring and dry but I refused to accept this, having loved Klune’s previous book, House In the Cerulean Sea. While this isn’t a sequel, I expected to still love it because of Klune’s descriptive writing and ability to craft unforgettable and lovable characters – even the curmudgeonly ones.

I thought maybe getting the audio would help get me into the story but I think it actually made me hate the main character even more?

I knew going into this that it was a book about death. The primary setting is a tea shop run by a man who assists the recently deceased into, I dunno, Heaven I guess. There’s a grim reaper whose character was one of the better parts of the book, and the ghost grandfather and dog of the year owner. Then we have the main character, an ego-centric lawyer who dies young of a heart attack and refuses to accept his fate.

It was so heavy-handed. Conversations between two characters that dragged out for entire chapters, ALL OF THE DEATH TALK, and the fact that we rarely left the cafe just made it feel very claustrophobic and stifling. It was so long and repetitive and also we get it, Klune: you love the word “cerulean.”

But honestly, get over yourself.

Really hated this book a lot.

6. Skinship – Yoon Choi

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Oof, I went from one book about death to another book full of short stories about death but this one was so much better. Each story was a glimpse into the Korean American experience. It ran the gamut of many emotions, but depressing was the big winner here. It was often frustrating to read about these intimate struggles with cultural differences, the act of “settling,” the sacrifice some of these characters made in order to come to America for a “better life.”

For me, picking up this book was a no-brainer because I am perpetually on the hunt for Korean literature and for more doorways into Korean culture and history. But I truly think that if you enjoy reading short stories about strained, complicated, and complex interfamilial relationships, then this collection might be something of interest to you.

And also, can we admire that exquisite cover together for a sec? Dang.

Dec 172021
 

I was so excited when I went to bed Sunday night because I knew that it was MY LAST SLEEP BEFORE THE GENESIS SHOW! I was also nervous because it was the first concert I’d be attending since 2019 and the thought of being around so many people, even in a mask/vaxxed/boostered, made me feel icky.

But then Monday morning happened. Something you should know about my mornings lately is that they are like walking on the hot coals of Hell because Chooch is SUCH A JERK these days and Morning Chooch and Morning MOMMY do not get along. Literally at all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how much interaction do you even have with him now that you don’t have to drive him to school anymore? Well, funny you should bring that up, IMAGINARY BLOG READER IN MY HEAD, because on that day, I did end up driving him to school.

AND HERE’S WHY:

His alarm never fucking wakes him up, so I have to set my alarm for 5:50am to make sure his ass gets out of bed. This in and of itself is fucking ridiculous and makes me so angry especially on days that I’m off, OF WHICH MONDAY WAS ONE! Then I have to set a BACK-UP alarm for 6:10 to make sure that he hasn’t fallen asleep on the couch before leaving. Because that’s a thing that happens.

Anyway! Back to this particular morning. I woke him up and went back to bed. I wasn’t sleeping, just laying there with my BFF Drew who likes to hop into my bed in the early AM hours and attack me. I could hear Chooch getting all of his stuff together in his room and I called out from my room, “Are you wearing the new hoodie I got you?”

Because this is the universal uniform of 15 year old boys. Hoodies. I never see them in anything else and it really annoys me because Chooch has a closetful of nice, long-sleeved shirts and flannels but he won’t wear them BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE HOODS. So I keep buying him new hoodies to try and deter him from wearing the SAME TWO over and over.

My query was met with a SNIP-SNAPPY, “WHAT HOODIE?” You know that tone, too, if you’ve ever been a teenager…? That degrading way they literally SPIT their retorts from their mouths with a flick of their forked tongues. Ugh, monsters, all of them.

So I had to calmly remind him that I had recently purchased him THREE hoodies from Pac Sun, two of which he had already worn the previous week. And the only one he hadn’t worn yet was the purple one.

“PURPLE???” he hissed, like this was some fake ass color I made up on the spot because I’m just your basic delulu mother.

So now I was pissed. I have no patience for this shit and his tone lights a flame inside my bloodstream.

Ignore him, I could hear Henry saying clear from the Faygo Factory. I attempted to take Papa H’s stupid advice and tried to go back to sleep but my whole body was buzzing with FURY VIBRATO. I couldn’t let it go. I needed to have the last word. He was already on his way to the T, but I texted him something about how I’m so happy that I spend all this money on his clothes when he doesn’t wear them and he was like “OMG.”

And then: “GREAT I DON’T HAVE MY MASK AND I MISSED THE T.”

Except, imagine it more like this:

Groiup;

Freayt

Great 

Now i 

dont hav m

mas\k

You have to be familiar with Chooch’s brand of “hurried teenager with fat fingers” texting to translate this so allow me to help:

Great now I don’t have my mask

Oh actually here’s a great example hot off the press:

Because he apparently did in fact change into the PURPLE hoodie and by doing so, he left his face mask in the pocket of his original hoodie from that morning. And now he couldn’t get on the T because you’re still required to wear masks and I just lost it. I don’t know why I got so mad because ACTUALLY THIS WAS MY FAULT but I will NEVER SAY THAT OUT LOUD so instead I went psycho in my replies to him and told him to just start walking back to the house and I would DRIVE HIM even though our car is in the shop because of um, HENRY’S ACCIDENT, and I had to drive our OTHER CAR which is FINE but not GREAT and also I haven’t driven it in so long that I forgot where things were and then I was doubly mad because I PASSED CHOOCH on my way to where he was walking from, thinking he would take my psychic cues and wait for me at the gas station at the end of our street, but instead he kept walking and I didn’t see him and he didn’t see him so when I went to call him I accidentally called Henry and immediately disconnected so I could call Chooch, but then Henry kept beeping in and I was screaming FUCK OFF!!!! while sitting in my idling car in the gas station parking lot at 6:30 wearing glasses and no make up and no bra.

PAUSING FOR A BREATH.

So now, here I am, back at our house sitting in the driveway with CHOOCH THE OFFENDER while swearing because Tourette’s was slowly and I mean slow-slow-slowly, like the actual slowest, walking down the sidewalk behind our car. And waiting for him to pass meant that A BIG DUMB TRUCK got in front of us and I was like I AM NOT DRIVING BEHIND THIS FUCKER so I veered to the left at the light and went a different way, after Chooch was like, “Just take me to 7-11, I’ll ride to school with Zakk” and I was like, “OH NO HUNNY I AM IN THE CAR NOW, AND WE ARE SEEING THIS THRU TO THE MOTHERFUCKING ENDDDDDDDD.”

And then, “HOW DO YOU GET THIS FUCKING RADIO OFF OF AM?!?!?!?!”

Chooch fixed the radio for me and then we drove in silence, except for the 87 times I slammed the steering wheel over every littlest traffic infraction from my fellow drivers, and screamed, “OH THIS IS JUST GREAT.”

And then as Chooch was getting out of the car, I yelled after him: AND THANKS FOR RUINING MY GENESIS DAY!!!!

Then stupid Henry was calling again so I directed all of my hatred onto him and of course he knew what was going on because Chooch the Betrayer texted him.

Back at home, my perfect cats who I love more than ANYONE ELSE IN MY HOUSE calmed me down and then we fed the squirrels together and you know, everything was fine after that really and I eventually texted Chooch an apology for “getting mad” but not for being the ROOT CAUSE OF THE MASK-FORGETTING that morning, lololol.

Dec 152021
 

I guess I’m just an ultra fan girl forever but I get so emotional for a variety of reasons when I think of BIGBANG that I often have to avoid listening to them. They are my ult bias group, the group that really shoved me hard down the rabbit hole of not just Kpop, but Korean variety shows, dramas, food, and South Korean culture in general. Maybe it sounds hyperbolic and we all know I can be super extra with the exaggerations, but I really feel like my life changed for the best at the end of 2016. I was really feeling my lowest, and I thank BIGBANG every day for breathing new life and excitement into me.

(Just the other day, I told Henry that I feel like Kpop has turned me into the best version of myself and I could tell he wanted to say stupid at first but then he sighed and said that he actually agrees, lol.)

Anyway, I’m just sitting here totally marinating in my feels, watching live BIGBANG performances on YouTube, wishing good vibes to Taeyang and his newborn baby, hoping G Dragon and TOP are happy, thankful that Daesung has found a new outlet through vlogging, and PRAYING that Seungri gets justice and stays safe. Because even though I don’t know these people in real life and will definitely never meet them, they are living legends that saved me and made me have fun again, inspired me to learn a new language and travel to a country that was barely even on my radar before but now feels more like home to me than Pittsburgh.

I think about meeting 승리의 아빠 하고 지디의 아빠 and I feel like I was blessed, I’m not even kidding lol. Those were amazing encounters for me and I think about them so often. I have to actually stop myself from talking about my BIGBANG feels constantly when I’m having conversations with people but it is REALLY hard. I just want to share my love for them all the time but I can tell that I sound like a fucking crazy lady (so then I talk about the squirrels instead, OMG I need help – I have so much stuff going on that I could talk about yet I’m just like HI GUYS SQUIRREL UPDATE or I THINK HENRY BOUGHT ME AN NCT LIGHT STICK FOR XMAS! Like who gives a shit, Erin?!).

Well, before I reach the point of no return, this is the performance I was watching tonight and remembering how it was my first experience with Korean end of the year awards shows and how I have yet to see another group blow it out of the water like BIGBANG did. Those live vocals. That stage presence. Their visuals. THIS TALENT. Sorry blog, for being all wistful and emo but my cats are getting tired of me crying into their fur and saying things like, “I liked G Dragon best with green hair.”

Stop crying, Erin. Stop that.

Oh also apparently people are learning about light sticks because of the *** concert and I just need to point out that, ahem, BIGBANG was the first Kpop group to have their own lightsticks, so who paved the way?

Literally came here just to post the video yet here we are, 2000 words later. Go to bed, Erin.