Tag Archives: ohio

photography: shari and donnie’s wedding

Here are some of my favorite pics from the Weeks-Young wedding I got to shoot. (The last pic is of Kevin and Melissa, who recently announced their engagement.)

If you need pictures taken and you’re in the Southwest Ohio area, feel free to shoot me an email at sadrobotsdot@gmail.com.

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memoir: fridays in summer.

I wrote this in August, 2012. 


“Fridays in Summer”

On Fridays, I walk over to this bar for lunch and order whatever the special is. The bartender, Barb, always wears head-to-toe denim and pink lipstick a few shades too bright. For half an hour while I eat, I split my attention between the weather channel and staring into the soulless black eyes of this stuffed dog that sits behind the bar with dozens of bottles of dusty liquor. Today, a midget in a red bandana and a goatee sat a few seats down from me and ordered a beer. We watched the weather channel together in silence until I paid my tab and left. In the square, a man was wailing on the trumpet in a way I’ve never heard from a busker in this town. He smiled at me and I waved. I listened, mesmerized, until my lunch hour died, and then I held the elevator open for an old white man in a dark gray suit.

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2012, a summary (part 2).

Read part 1 here.


July was devoted to my social life. I hit the 15 lbs lost mark, lifted even heavier. Became an official full time employee at my job. Did the usual things: D&D, trivia, crafting, martial arts. It’s almost hard to believe how happy I was then. Oh, and I almost got into a bar fight one night with a belligerent bitch who was shouting fightin’ words at me. That was pretty cool.

I made a really big decision in July, too: I began the hunt for a house.

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • “Tapi-Tapi” is a really cute name for a technique in Kali of defending yourself against someone who is trying to stab you in the throat with a knife.
  • The highlight of my day award goes to the new girl at the coffee shop: “Um this is going to sound really weird, but has anyone ever told you you look just like Scarlett Johansson?”
  • So apparently I’m buying a house. That sounds like a very adult thing to do so I’m naturally disinclined to proceed, but the process has already started so I guess I might as well go through with it even though I’m terrified.

Favorite picture(s):

We were really drunk.

“If you sit anywhere in the Oregon District long enough, someone will start playing Tom Waits.”


Ah, Birthmonth. I celebrated my Big 2-3 with no fewer than five events. I literally spent this entire month celebrating myself and forcing everyone I knew to celebrate with me. I know, it’s awful and self-absorbed and horribly egotistical, but I had a lot of fun and I think everyone else did too.

My sister, mother, and I went to a yoga retreat in Peebles, Ohio. I was wary because, as a lifter, I kind of hate yoga. But I also don’t say no to road trips into the remote wilderness. As predicted, the adventurous side of me won out over my yoga-hating side. Good thing too because it was a really relaxing weekend in a beautiful resort with amazing food. The biggest lesson I learned there was when our yoga instructor said, “The people who don’t have patience for yoga are the people who need it most.”

I started and ended my search for a house in about five minutes. I’m a very decisive person and it was a no-brainer. In fact, my only hesitation was that the house I chose was too nice and I felt guilty that some punk-ass kid would buy it up instead of a nice little family. I mean, 1,400 square feet? Recent renovations? Three bedrooms? A jerk like me deserves a bungalow in a bad part of town, not the by-comparison castle that I ended up with. Luckily, my realtors knocked some sense into me and my mother aptly pointed out that I had already decorated the entire thing in my head, which, she said, was how she knew I’d already committed to buying it despite my illogical hesitations.

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • Fitness friends: What’s up with the Greek yogurt fad? I’m trying it for the first time right now and it’s disgusting. It tastes like old sour cream and feet. I eat a lot of gross health food for the sake of protein but even I have my limits.
  • I’m going to some place called Peebles, Ohio this weekend for a yoga retreat (it’s really just an excuse to eat a lot and wear yoga pants all weekend [which I guess is what I would be doing anyway]) with my sister and mother. We’ve been told that there’s no cell reception where we’re going, so if I normally text you or message you on Facebook, don’t be alarmed when I don’t reply this weekend and assume that I’m dead and/or I hate you. I mean, I might hate you, but it’s unlikely that I’ll be dead.
  • Cool thing of today: Walking down Ludlow toward work texting. Guy stops in front of me so that I almost run into him. I look up. He looks me straight in the eye, smiles and says, “Hey, baby. You have a blessed weekend.” Creepy? Maybe. Awesome? Yes.
  • Today, best day ever? I had a wonderful morning. I didn’t sleep. I played in Photoshop for four hours. I drank too much coffee. I finished a book at Panera while eating macaroni and cheese. I got all dressed up. And now I get to go hang out with some amazing people and do what I do best: throwing a massive party for no apparent reason and boozing it up.
  • From what I remember, I had a really great time last night. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday with me. I hope everyone had fun and I appreciate how polite you all were for not mentioning the shameless narcissism inherent in throwing one’s own birthday party. I look forward to throwing many more parties for even less important events when I move into my house (think Another Month Zombie Free!, There Was a Sale on Chips Ahoy Cookies and I Bought a Ton of Them Will You Help Me Eat Them?, and Sometimes When I’m in the Elevator I Jump So I Can Stay in the Air a Split Second Longer parties). Again, thank you. I adore you all and I feel lucky to know such great people.
  • For once I have no plans tonight so I’m just going to sleep until I wake up and it will be wonderful.

Favorite picture(s):

For lunch, I ate a turkey sandwich at one of my favorite dives while listening to this guy play acoustic Rolling Stones covers and reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea. Couple this with copious Instagramming and telling the world about it from my iPhone via not one but four social networking sites probably makes me a hipster. Sigh. I always knew this realization would happen.


Meditation tipi at the yoga retreat.

Birthday dinner with seester and bff.

Birthday dinner #8,375,936,749,505,736. With sombrero!


For a lot of people, finding a house is the hard part. For me, the aftermath of that decision was the worst. September was spent frantically finalizing all the little details of my house purchase and moving in. I’d go into more detail, but I’ll probably write a full post about it to help other young single people through the process.

I also started watching Doctor Who. And then I got irrationally fixated with David Tennant because when I get stressed, I distract myself with meaningless obsessions (like all four years of college).

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • I feel like doing something productive right now, so I think I’ll just go back to sleep until it goes away.
  • Spent my last $2 on a cream soda. Worth it.
  • Highlight of my day award goes to the little girl riding her bike around my garage who said, “I like your earrings.” You got style, kid.
  • Moving update #1: One of my movers just called my ironing board a “Puerto Rican surf board.” There goes 2% of your tip, pal.
  • Moving update #2: The same mover just complained about getting dirt on his shoes. Here’s an idea: don’t wear your goddamn Air Jordans to work.
  • Moving update #3: The only thing in my fridge (Fridgy) is alcohol. Also, Moving Day means I get to start drinking at noon.
  • Moving update #4: It is done. Time to eat and drink all the things.

Favorite picture(s):

My house!

“It’s finally done. I’m 23 years old. I have a degree and a career. And now I’ve bought a house in my favorite city. I took a joyride through Dayton to celebrate (I actually just got lost) and I realized that through this entire endeavor, not a single person doubted me. No one told me I was too young or too irresponsible or that I wasn’t ready. It’s an amazing feeling to have that kind of support. So I’d like to thank all of you for the kind words and support you’ve given me over the past couple months. I really wouldn’t have had the courage to do this without you.”

“All moved in! … :(“


October was an exciting month. I moved into my house and spent a grotesque amount of money decorating it (it’s still not done though), but I guess that was the fun part.

An old friend from high school posted on Facebook one day asking if anyone wanted to go to a Fiona Apple concert with her in Louisville, KY. I liked her post, so she wrote on my wall asking if I wanted to go. I totally did. So that’s exactly what happened, and it was a fantastic weekend. We had a beautiful suite in a bed and breakfast, Fiona was fantastic, and I got my first tattoo! Along with Bronycon, it was one of the best weekends of the year.

I also threw my first house party, which was Halloween-themed. It was a crazy time and really set the standard for my future house parties. The costumes were awesome and people danced and drank and the next morning I had an awful hangover but it was totally worth it.

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • It’s an odd feeling, coming home to a dozen Mexican men in my back yard. But at least my roof won’t collapse now. I realize that out of context, this is probably confusing.
  • I just had to walk around the block because a dude was pissing in the stairwell I use to get to my car. During that walk I saw a woman in a bright orange pantsuit. She looked like an escaped inmate. I am 600% done with today.
  • I don’t understand the point of putting up Halloween decorations in East Dayton. All the houses already look haunted.
  • Hell is being exhausted but every time you fall asleep, you suffocate, wake yourself back up, and the entire time you have “Amish Paradise” stuck in your head.
  • Yesterday I made my doctor go “wooow” because I have infected tonsils the size of ping pong balls. Today I had to work in a skyscraper during Superstorm Sandy (the building sways and it’s terrifying). Someone called me fat. Got ditched for lunch. Puked at work. Aaand after getting fed up with everything and leaving work early, despite having a decent evening, still managed to fall down my stairs and hurt my back. I am 800% done.

Favorite picture(s):

Here’s a conversation I had this morning…
Me: [Walks by two bricklayers.]
Bricklayer 1: Hey! Hey, you got any tips?
Me: What?
Bricklayer 1: You know, tips. Wisdom. Advice.
Me: …Just try to make it through the day.
Bricklayer 1: [Doesn’t know how to react.]
Me: [Walks away.]
Debbie Downer strikes again!
I guess the bricklayers made it through their day. I mean, unless they trapped themselves in there.

“I get that they’re trying to do something for breast cancer awareness, but it just looks like someone got murdered in the Courthouse Square fountain.”

Coffee with roommate!

Geronimo, bitches. (Yes I know that’s 10’s screwdriver.)

First tattoo, fully healed. It says, “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time/But that the dread of something after death?” from Hamlet.


November was a continuation of getting settled into my house and constant socializing. Life got even more awesome when that friend I went to Kentucky with decided to move in with me! I decorated my living room to, “look like a Wes Anderson film” according to one of my friends (best compliment ever!) and I did that by painting, reupholstering my old chairs, and buying some vintage ones that I painted. I still have to find a buffet and some decor, but for now it’s minimal and serves its purpose.

I threw my housewarming party, which was a blast from what I can remember. My house was thoroughly warmed and I can only hope everyone who attended it had as good a time as I did.

Favorite picture(s):

“In honor of my dad’s would-be 61st birthday, I’ve devoted today to miscellaneous home improvement projects. I may also buy myself a pair of shoes, because buying himself a pair of shoes on someone else’s birthday is totally something he would (and did) do.”

Before and after.

Completed dining room.


Ah, December was the grand finale of the year. I went on a trip with my best friend that we called our Tour of the South. We spent the better part of a week in New Orleans, then a Southern plantation, and lastly a night in Birmingham. It was a fantastic week filled with some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, elaborate history lessons, and getting Lucille, my Xenomorph tattoo.

I get a lot of attention for my tattoo, so I’ll probably devote an entire post to it later, but to sum up the experience: I found an incredibly talented tattoo artist, he drew up the design and slapped it on my leg. Four hours and a lot of pain later, Lucille was born.

I also threw a fun little holiday party in December (you’re probably noticing a pattern now) for all of my out-of-town friends who were in town for a bit.

I finally had to say goodbye to my amazing year, and I had a feeling that 2013 would be pretty terrible (so far, mostly correct). The ominous feeling I had was confirmed when my sister got hit by a car shortly before Christmas, but being the badass that she is, still threw us a delightful Christmas morning nevertheless.

Now we’ve come full-circle. New Years I spent in the care of my best friend because I’d fallen sick with a tremendous flu. Two years in a row, I’ve welcomed the new year with delirious illness, although I guess I should be grateful that this year it wasn’t my fault.

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • Today begins a week of excessive Facebook posting. We have over 25 hours worth of audiobooks read by David Tennant, so this trip is already the best ever.
  • Apparently Mississippi is just a vast land of nothingness. Google Maps shows no restaurants or gas stations, there are no street lights, and when I tried to tag myself somewhere, Facebook came up with “No nearby locations.” Despite all that, though, it’s still better than New Jersey.
  • East Dayton seems so much less threatening after being asked by a stripper on Bourbon Street to try out Amateur Hour. Speaking of, happy birthday, sister!
  • I never think of it when I’m here, but whenever I come back from being out of town, I realize the entirety of Downtown Dayton smells like Black & Milds.

Favorite picture(s):

Jackson Square Garden

“I am eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Right now. That is what is happening.”

At John Besh’s Restaurant August (from top left to bottom right): The Winter Pimm; velouté of acorn squash and apple with gulf shrimp; gulf sheepshead poele with pumpkin custard, pearl barley, and brown butter; devil’s food cake with cherry, chocolate mousse, and pistachio ice cream. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was the best dining experience I’ve ever had.

Hello, Lucille. This was done by Neal Aultman of Electric Ladyland Tattoo.

Next year’s Christmas card.

A summary.

2012 was the best year of my life. I made a ton of friends. I traveled all over the country. I got my first full-time job. I trimmed down a bit. I bought a house. I got two tattoos. I read good books and watched good movies. I spent time with the people I love and appreciated every minute of it. I learned that I don’t have to have a 9 to 5 job and frozen dinners every night, that being single doesn’t mean I’m alone, and that I am not defined by my career, my relationships, or my passions. I learned that this world is world is worth exploring, people are worth knowing, and life is worth living. If the rest of my life is anything like 2012, I’ll consider myself the luckiest person in the world.

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2012, a summary (part 1).

I know this is overdue, but I think it’s important to fully chronicle what was, in my short life thus far, the best year I’ve ever had, which immediately succeeded the worst. To give you a good idea of where I was coming from when I entered 2012, I’ll have to describe 2011 for you.


My father died after a four year battle with cancer. To date, it was the single most defining moment in my life and probably always will be. I changed after that. For better or worse, it’s hard to tell. But I’m not the same person I was. Maybe I’ll write a post about that someday, but this isn’t the right place for that.

I graduated college, which, sure, is a big achievement, but it didn’t feel like it. It didn’t feel well-earned. I was just sad to be put in a monstrous amount of debt with nowhere to go. That’s what college is nowadays… a lie, a place that tells you you’re going to be something someday when you actually won’t. Your GPA will never be an indicator of your future pay grade, and that’s just the way the world works. Again, I could continue with my disdain of postsecondary education, but this probably also isn’t the right place for that.

My boyfriend, with whom I lived and adored and wanted to marry someday did a very bad thing to me and we had to break up. Explosively, more or less.

And then there are the little things. My obsessions were the worst they’d ever been. I was the fattest I’d ever been. My apartment flooded. I didn’t have a working car. I was in massive credit card debt. I didn’t have a drinking problem, per se, but I probably drank too much.

Oh, and I had really, really awful hair.

Now, on to the happy times…



I left 2011 with a bang. I was in a terrible place in every way, even literally. I rang in 2012 in my sister’s bathroom, having drank far too much, and spewing my emotional demons for the world to hear. I had hypothermia. I thought, in my drunken stupor, that I was going to die. I think I may have wanted to. I wasn’t going to, of course. I was in the loving hands of my sister, my best friend, and my ex-boyfriend, all of whom were incredibly concerned for me, and rightfully so.

I made it through that night and welcomed the first day of 2012 feeling like I could leave the burden of 2011 behind me. I apologized for my behavior as much as I could, vowed to never get that drunk again (and I haven’t since), and moved forward with an inexplicable and renewed faith that everything was going to be okay.

Favorite photo:

self portrait 2 copy

Favorite Facebook post:

Lauren: You know the coldest I’ve ever been was this one time when we were babysitting and we left at like 2am and had to wait in the station wagon while it warmed up. I was so cold I was nauseous.
Me: You know the coldest I’ve ever been was that one time I had hypothermia in your bathroom. Three weeks ago.
Rob: You know the coldest I’ve ever been was that one time I was stuck on Hoth.


Nothing very interesting happened in February. The weather was nice. I got a raise at my job and they promised me full-time employment (but it didn’t go into effect until July). It was kind of a rough month spent mostly recovering over the emotional trauma that was 2011.

This picture describes that month pretty accurately (and it was also the first of my now traditional sad Ralph Wiggum Valentine’s Day post):


Favorite Facebook post:

This winter is a filthy tease.

Favorite photo:

pris3 copy


March was when everything started really looking up for me. Spring came early. I was successful at work and impressing everyone, throwing major events and handling more work than one person ever should.

My sister, best friend, and I started going to trivia every week. It was a small thing, but I realized the second or third time we went, it was the first thing I’d looked forward to, been excited about doing, since I could remember. It was refreshing to feel that way after what seemed like years of perpetual dread and anxiety.

I chopped my hair off and pierced my ears. I always hate how in movies, women cut their hair off as a symbol of empowerment, but when I finally did it myself, I realized how empowering it actually was. It’s hard to describe. I’ve never been one to put much importance on my image (obviously), but it was an accomplishment nonetheless for me, after years of telling myself I would look awful and fat and disgusting with short hair. I didn’t, it turns out. In fact, I look pretty damn good.

Then something bad happened. I won’t go into detail, but even though it didn’t happen specifically to me, I was witness to it and it upset me. The next day I woke up, hungover as hell (but still not as bad as New Years), and just sat for a really long time. Then I put on my shoes and went out for a run because I was sick of my destructive behavior, my terrible eating habits, and my abysmal self-image. There was no 12-week plan, no diet, no consulting a trainer. I just decided that I was going to start moving more and make my health a priority.

Favorite Facebook post:

I love being 22.

Favorite photo:


The day I went pixie.


April was when I got full-swing into fitness. I worked out all the time, started lifting, going to Muay Thai and Kali classes, hiked, danced. Anything I could do that would involve me getting my ass off my couch and moving. I started eating right. I felt great about myself. Nothing bad happened. Life was just lifting, working, and socializing in moderation (something I have quite a bit of trouble with).

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • The difference between martial arts and Zumba is that if I get raped, I’m not going to dance my way out.
  • My sister told me that my mind is like the time-traveling phone booth in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I have never received a higher compliment in my entire life.
  • One of the most important things in my life is knowing what time every single restaurant stops serving breakfast.

Favorite photo:

Dayton Dragons game.


May was a fun month. I spent the first half of it training for the Zombie Apocalypse with my best friend. We went to an edible plants class (our instructor was appallingly handsome and we were so distracted we didn’t end up learning much) and an archery class and hiked miles and miles and miles.

The second half of it I spent in California with my eldest cousin and grandmother for my cousin’s graduation present. I’d never been to California before, and even though the entire state is overrun by hipsters, I spent the time away to relax and take a lot of pictures and work out.

Favorite Facebook post:

So I was browsing Kindle Edition Sports Biographies & Memoirs, and after about three pages in, having found several books I wanted to buy, I stopped at one on Arnold Palmer. Then I thought, “Hey, that one looks cool too– Oh dear god I’ve become my father.”

Favorite photo(s):


(It reads: “May the 4th be with you!” and another post-it says “geek”) “Found this in my cubicle today. Coworker 1 showing her acceptance of my geekery. Coworker 2 showing his lack thereof.”


San Diego Zoo. Probably my favorite place we went on my California trip. You know, besides Denny’s.


Proof I went into the ocean.


Proof I went to Disneyland. It was my first time there and it will hopefully be my last.


Some of my California trip overlapped into June. Against all odds, I made it home in one piece.

June was probably my favorite month. I finished my first 12 weeks of exercising at least 3 times a week like I promised myself I would and I was finally seeing results. I got a bleach blond underbang. I was lifting heavy. I was on top of the world in June.

I went to Bronycon in Secaucus, NJ for what turned into one of the best weekends of the year. I’d never been to a convention before and I’m really glad this one was my first. It was a con for bronies, the adult male fans of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. My D&D friends got me watching it, and although I’m not into it as much as they are, I do recognize it’s a good show, and more than anything, the culture surrounding it is endlessly fascinating. So when my friend sent me a text at 3am asking me if I wanted to go on a trip to New Jersey for a massive brony convention for $75, the adventurous and curious spirit in me couldn’t say no. There were so many amazing costumes and I had a blast video taping and taking pictures of my friends in what seemed to be their natural habitat. The great thing about the con was that you could walk up to literally anyone and you knew you could be friends with them. Everyone was happy and there were random bursts of song and dance. The con caught on fire at one point and all several thousand of us had to evacuate. It just turned into more song and dance, like a damn musical. I thought this kind of stuff only happened on TV. There was a dry rave. A dry rave. With pony music. It was a wild time for being a completely sober weekend.

A documentary was made about bronies (I’m in a bit of the footage if you look for me) at the con and the phenomenon surrounding them if you’re interested in knowing more about this crazy sensation. Or you could just Wikipedia it. Or better yet, watch the show. The first two seasons are streaming on Netflix.

Favorite Facebook post(s):

  • I always forget how much I love Dayton until I leave. Nothing beats the feeling of coming home.
  • I haven’t slept in days. I’m on hour 19 of a 24 hour fast. I’m sore all over from my workouts this week. And I’ve been listening to Call Me Maybe on repeat. I must have died on vacation because I’m pretty sure I’m in hell. I should have guessed I’d end up here.
  • New Jersey is the worst place I’ve ever been.

Favorite picture(s):

“I’m in a steel cage hundreds of feet above ground. I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again.”

“‘I’m still kinda drunk, but I’m gonna go to the gym anyway.’ Thought those would be my last words, but ended up just being dumb enough to increase my weight more than I probably should have. But I did it and got a picture of it because moving to the big plates looks impressive, yeah?”

To be continued.

July through December will have to be saved for later. It involves even more of my travels, my first tattoos, and the biggest accomplishment of my life.

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