Take note, girls

Words of wisdom from my Uncle Chuck at a bar recently:

“Rule number one as a young lady: Never rub something against your lips at a bar… Go to the bathroom or somethin’.”

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“My life is in shambles”

Not really, it’s just in boxes. But the above is what I keep saying, jokingly, as an excuse for just about everything.

Didn’t you just wear that shirt the day before yesterday? Yes. But I have no idea where any others are. My life is in shambles.

Why were you late today? Because I had no idea where my shoes were and had to look for them for 20 minutes. My life is in shambles.

So.. yeah, I moved.

The lease was up and The Roommate is getting married and it was time to move on.

I haven’t had to move in almost four years. The whole process sucks, big-time. There’s the packing and the lifting and the address changing and the cleaning that spot in your room you haven’t seen since you moved in because your entertainment center was in front of it and who can move that by themselves?

It’s not like it snuck up on me, we’ve known for a while that our lease was up in January and after Wedding Season was over, I had weekends available to go look at new places. Namely, a condo.

I found one in November that I loved. It was perfect – perfect size, perfect location, perfect price….so we start the process of making me its owner. And then the bank got involved.

Long story short, the loan process can be a bitch and it’s complicated and unless I came up with $18,000, I wasn’t gonna get this place.

Seeing as how you didn’t read a post or receive a phone call that I won the lottery, the condo didn’t happen.

So, just a few days ago, I moved, as planned. Only the destination was a little different.

I write this from my “new” bedroom at my “old” house. I’m back with the parents – from now on known as Roommates – until I save up a bit of money and pay down a few things and find another place I like as much as that other one I found.

I got a job out of town a month after I moved home from college post-graduation. And spent two years there before I got back to Louisville. It was at this time, I SHOULD have sucked it up and lived with the parents and saved some money.

But I didn’t, because

I found an apartment, that I could barely afford but it was mine and I paid all my bills on my own and that’s what you do as an adult, right? Yeah. Until you can’t afford it because you pay your bills on your own and you make plans to move in with your BFF so you guys both can afford to live AND have somewhat of a social life.

So, again, long story short, I’m doing now what I should have done in 2008. Accepting the help of living rent free and getting some other things in order before I find something that can be all mine. I’m damn lucky to have parents that are allowing me to do this and I hope they know that I don’t take a second of it for granted.

Wanna see my new digs? Those of you familiar with the ‘rents place will recognize the space I’ve taken over as the home theater – also known as the room where you watched movies and made out in high school. Or that room with the cool secret door. Or the cave. All of the above.

room1

room2

I wake up every day looking directly at either John Wayne or The Three Stooges.

photo2

And there’s a clock down here that goes off at 47 past the hour.

Livin’ the dream.

But yeah, that’s what I’ve been upto. And between that, the holidays, my girls being home for a long break, and some other major changes that simultaneously make me nervous and very excited, my writing here has been severely neglected.

I have so much to tell you, so much to show you.

Stay tuned.

BAHSTEN, part III

So where were we, in terms of telling the story of our trip to Boston, mainly in pictures?

Colonists?

Yeah. This guy.

OK, so basically everyone in Boston dresses like that.* Also we went to a tea party.* And met Tom Brady.*

*None of those things are true, however, I did have sweet tea at one of the restaurants where we ate. And we did see Tom Brady.

Tom Tom and the guy from The Patriot (R.I.P. Heath Ledger) were part of a scavenger hunt my sister set up for us. Because she’s a nerd. And we’re totally nerds who would do it.

There were all kinds of fun things on the list to check off — that was actually my favorite part, ’cause y’all know I love me some lists.

We had to find some one in Boston Red Sox gear. Easy.

Fun fact: He didn’t speak English and I’m 90 percent sure had no idea what I said when I explained I needed a picture with him. We also were breaking the first rule of public transportation in the North – don’t talk to anyone.

We had to find six different Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s the one we thought would be easiest. And then we accidentally went to the same one twice.

We had to take a picture of a homeless person sleeping on a bench. No sleepers, but we did find this guy. Here he is looking directly at the camera. We were not as sneaky as we thought.

We needed to find a building with gold on the roof. And I swear to God what Sami is pointing at is just that. REALLY far away.

Also part of the scavenger hunt? Interacting with nature, which Sami is obviously a pro at, as seen here.

And here.

And here.

It took all day and then some, and we were reaching on a few of ’em, but we accomplished them all. We went above and beyond on the penguin one, but you’ll have to wait for the post about the aquarium for that. Suffice it to say, we are overachievers.

Among the other pictures I have yet to show you? Some of Beacon Hill, where the folks with the money live and we just walked around for about 20 minutes.

Chuckie’s school! (A.K.A. Where They Keep The Smart People)

The Dome at M.I.T.

A random present Mom sent with us.

And finally, maybe my favorites of the whole trip, pictures of Boston, at night, from the top of the Prudential building. You can see the whole city from up there and it’s gorgeous.

I even managed to get a far away shot of Fenway.

And a close up of this creepy-ass doll they have as part of an exhibit up there. As if they need something else for people to come to the top of the building for.

Yeah, that’s a face projected in there. And it talks to you. And is ridiculous. I hate it.

You know what I don’t hate? Seals and sea lions. And penguins. And aquariums.

Stay tuned for one of my dreams coming true. No big deal.

BAHSTEN, part II

If you do nothing else, at all, in Boston, make sure you make a stop at Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli. When we went there, the first night in town, we were in line in front of a couple who had come straight there from the airport. They had their rolling suitcases with them and everything. IT’S THAT GOOD.

Rachel documented the occasion.

Between Mike’s and Toscanini’s (the ice cream place just a couple of blocks away from where my sister and brother-in-law live), I think Boston’s got the market on dessert foods on lock.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

The second day we were there, Sunday, will hereby be known as The Day We Walked Five And A Half Miles.

We started out at the bank they robbed in The Town.*

*This is a true one, actually. Filmed right there. So there. Sadly, neither Jeremy Renner or Jon Hamm were seen that day. Dammit.

But the main attraction for the day was Harvard. FRIGGIN’ HAHVAHD. Where the smahties ah. (That getting annoying yet?)

We walked all over the campus and I’m pretty sure I took pictures of every building there. It’s so pretty! And flat! (I went to school on The Hill at WKU. Strongest leg muscles of my life, those years..)






We saw the John Harvard statue, which isn’t of John Harvard, he wasn’t the founder anyway, and oh yeah, the year on there’s wrong.

Someone had thrown green paint on it for some reason. Someone who likes their historical facts to be true, probably.

Sami and I posed here because it looked like the hallway where Rory Gilmore’s dorm was. (I know, wrong school.)

Across the river, we visited Harvard Business School, where my grandpa went! So cool and so surreal to be there after hearing him talk about it so much. And see the dorm where he lived, which was still there!

Grandpa’s dorm.

Not the Liberty Bell.*

*This is also correct. How ’bout that.

We took a break for lunch where Sami tried to rid herself of the gold coins she’d gotten from the machine earlier as she put money on her card for the T. No such luck.

Then it was back to walking, by buildings.

And geese.

And street performers.

And this family photo session that was going on, wherein the dad just kept throwing leaves at this baby.

Oh, and this happened.

Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without some sort of dessert, too, so, this also happened.

Next up? MIT, nighttime photography, dreams coming true, and why we got a picture with this guy.

BAHSTEN, part I

That’s how you say it, with the accent. Or maybe it’s more like BWOAHSTEN. I dunno. I can only do certain words. Like hahbah (harbor), or ahhch (arch) or pissah (pisser).

Which reminds me, I only heard like, ONE person with a legit Boston accent when we were there. I’ma need a redo.

So in case you don’t know me outside of what you read here, I recently took a trip with Baby Einstein to see our other (now MARRIED) sister and brother-in-law in their temporary home in Boston. Why are they there? Because he’s a genius and goes to school at MIT and is getting two degrees from there in two years.

The littlest sister and I visited the middlest sister and Swarles for five days. As an added bonus, we got to spend tons of time with Ines, Baby Einstein’s BFF and our now adopted Spanish sister. It was such a good trip.

And you guys, I took so many pictures. Spoiler alert: A lot of them are of buildings. ON ACCOUNT OF THE HISTORY. Not to mention we did a historical tour just a few hours after we got into town.

We had an AWESOME guide.

And were so ready to learn.

I got some seriously screensaver-worthy pics from this tour…just sayin’. Feel free to steal one or all of them for your desktop.

We saw where the original gangstas are buried. Like Pauly Revere and Sammy Adams.

We even saw the world’s first Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.* George Washington ate there.*

*This fact is not true. But it was a Ruth’s Chris in that building.

We saw the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was read.

Surrounded by newer, much much much taller buildings. Crazy.

Then we said goodbye to our tour guide.**

**Only photo of all five of us at once from the whole trip. Like I said, I’ma need a redo.

And we commenced doing touristy-type stuff, a.k.a. walking all over the place in Boston.

Did you know macaroni was first eaten in Boston?*

*It wasn’t. Don’t come to this blog for its historical accuracy, guys.

You know you love it though.

Told you.

Fun – and true – historical fact: This guy. He’s done stuff like this since I met him almost 12 years ago. Except then it was more dangerous, like, jumping out of trees. But this, right here? This is the Chuckie I’ve known for years, the kid who will slide down an entire stair railing and look like a happy lil’ dude while he’s doing it.

Keep in mind, friends, that this is only pictures from the first day. And not even the entire first day.

I’ll be back with more later, including how two of my dreams came true and I fell in love with a dessert. Whaaaa?????

For now, though, just feast your eyes on this amazing piece of photography. And then save it for your desktop wallpaper. You have my permission.

We can make a game out of anything

Seriously, we can.

So I have this group of friends/family. They make up a significant portion of my “net.”

We don’t have a name, really, like CKR, but we do refer to the group, usually, by referencing our hashtag we use to hype ourselves up for events where we’ll all be together. It’s #gamenightbitchezzz (With three Zs. Don’t forget), though it has been changed once to #weddingbitchezzz and another time to #bachelorettepartybitchezzz.

Anyways. We get together somewhat regularly to play games, which almost never seems to happen anymore, though we did have our very own Field Day event this summer.

We have our usual games – some of which involve drinking – and then we often play one of our old standbys, like Charades.

We have made games that don’t require drinking into drinking games and I’m going to explain one of them to you now. Maybe you can share with your group of friends and play it sometime. And if you play it as a drinking game, everyone wins.

OK. It doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll welcome possible names in the comments.

Rules of That One Game You Play With Your Phone (And Alcohol):

  1.  To play this game, every player first needs a cellphone.
  2. Pick a Texter to be in charge.
  3. The players that is the Texter must make sure they have the phone numbers of all the others involved in the game.
  4. Every player also needs alcohol or some sort of beverage.
  5. When the Texter says go, start drinking. The Texter will be sending a group text to everyone who’s playing. You drink until you get the text.
  6. That’s it.

Yep. We made a game out of that shit.

It started one night while some of us were waiting to go see a movie. The Avengers, I think. We’d had a group text going before we got there and I guess that’s how it started? We wanted to see who had the best phone, so we started sending a group text and holding our phones together in the middle of a circle to see whose lit up first.

Yep. COOLEST KIDS EVER.

And we all had the same phone (except Liz, who voiced her concerns when it was her turn to be Texter).

And it was different EVERY TIME! So naturally, when we were all together at Derby, we saw an opportunity. Plus, that time we had alcohol.

And the drinking game was born.

It doesn’t have to involve drinking – you could just play to see who has the better phone.

It really is fun either way. And soooo much easier than acting out the word “marsupial” for Charades which I did once, successfully, LIKE A BOSS.

Not even gonna try

There is no possible way I can describe to you all that was my little sister’s wedding a little more than a week ago.

August 24, 2012 will go down as one of the best days of my entire life. I don’t think I have ever been happier than I was that day. And I wasn’t even the bride.

Instead of me trying to rehash all that happened in the whirlwind that was Wedding Week – a bachelorette party, rehearsal day and wedding day all in 72 hours – I’ll let the few lots of photos I took do the talking.


Above photo by S. Montano, first-grader


Above photo by A. Montano, age 3

And that’s not even close to what it was like actually living it. But you get the idea.

And for further reading, check out Rachel’s blogs on getting home (long-time readers will recognize the video clip that may or may not have appeared here before…it’s a family thing), half of the most amazing bridal party there ever was, getting ready and finally, The Event.

I’d do the whole thing over again in a second. But maybe after a little more recovery – I still have a couple random bruises from the week that haven’t completely healed yet.

My girls

I’m the oldest of three girls. I without a doubt have Oldest Child Syndrome. I’m bossy, protective and afraid to be a rule-breaker, most of the time.

My sisters and I are three and nine years apart, and these past few years we’ve reached ages where it doesn’t feel so far away. Our friends are just that – “OUR” friends, because we all hang out with most of the same people most of the time.

I’m currently the only one full-time in Louisville and the others have left, but they’ll be back. Sami’s in Lexington, being all smart and whatnot at school, and Rachel’s in Boston, with her HUSBAND (AHHH!!) who is studying for two years at MIT. Because he’s a genius. No seriously. Frigging MIT.

The three of us stay in touch in as many ways as we possibly can – texting, calling, Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, Twitter, Instagram. It’s safe for me to say these two know me better than just about anyone else and I’m pretty sure I know them just as well. And we all three know that if given choices somewhere on something, we will all pick completely different things.

We have songs. The High School Musical 3 Soundtrack is one that never gets old, and with both of them I have a special song just for car dancing. And both, strangely, are by Enrique Iglesias.

When Sami gave her MOH speech at Rachel’s wedding, she talked a little about our bond. She talked about how we’re kind of weird in that we are sisters who enjoy spending time together, want to hang out with each other and aren’t just sisters, but best friends as well. That doesn’t always happen. I know siblings that don’t even speak to each other and haven’t for years.

I’ve thought about that a lot since the wedding, since both of them went to their respective second (temporary) homes, away from the town we grew up in. Because I miss them.

Growing up comes with its perks – like driving and being able to go to bars and weddings and babies – but it happens too fast. Wasn’t it just the other day we were all under the same roof, fighting over whose turn it was on the computer and what to watch on TV?

I take comfort in the fact that my relationship with my sisters will only continue to grow as we do, as we get older, get married, have babies, find jobs doing what we love.

One of my jobs at the pre-wedding festivities (in addition to keeping the bride calm, keeping the drama out, making sure Liz was on time, putting together a playlist and various other things) was to take some pictures during the time the professional photographer wasn’t there.

Oddly enough, probably my two favorites from the weekend taken on my camera, weren’t taken by me.

But they were taken of me, surprisingly, with my two girls, when we looked all pretty and when we did that thing where we have a group hug and sing that song from The Hangover.

I love these two more than anything in the world, and I’m damn lucky to have ’em.

For memories

A few weeks ago — in the midst of an ongoing group text between the group of bridesmaids and bride from my bff’s recent nuptials that makes me smile and giggle at least 4 times a day — one of my bfs, Sammi, mentioned she’d stumbled upon a gold mine.

What was that gold mine? Oh, you know, just our youth in song form. She’d found the NSYNC Pandora station, which, if you haven’t listened to, I highly recommend.

I knew we’d hear the obvious boy bands — tune in later this week to read the first installment of what I’ll call “Really? Boy Band Music deconstructed” because these lyrics are downright ridic.

What I didn’t expect was to hear some new stuff sprinkled in, plus some Glee, plus some MJ and every once in a while, some Grease soundtrack for good measure.

One song that’s played at least three times each day I have the station on is Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody.”

Here’s the video, to refresh – or introduce – some of you:

Backstreet Boys were my first concert, but not my first love.. I had those NKOTB trading cards and was a big fan of them as a little lady. But Nick Carter…yeah, I loved that boy.

I remember the first time I saw the music video I shared above. I’m 99.9-percent sure it’s the first music video I ever saw, at least the first one in its entirety.

I was in my late middle school years and remember that I watched the video with my little sisters, and parents, on VH1 in our condo at Myrtle Beach. I think we saw that video a few times that week, and though I hadn’t seen it in years, before I heard it again the other day, I could have told you what happens chronologically for pretty much the whole video.

It’s a random memory, but it seems so fresh – a testament to how ridiculously fast time goes because it doesn’t seem all that long ago even though it was 14 years or more.

I think about things like that a lot – memories of simpler times, when work and bills and other responsibilities weren’t already hovering over me.

And when my friends and I get together – those friends that have been dubbed CKR – it’s hard for new people to get a word in edgewise, because we’re catching up but also reliving and remembering all that history we have.

I do all I can to hold onto those random memories – whether it be that silly little BSB video I watched at the beach or that first CKR when Rebecca drank TAB Energy for some reason and someone called us high-schoolers – because they’re comforting, they make me happy, they make me feel like everything’s OK and it’s going to be OK.

What’s my point?

What if it’s not always like that? Not everyone can hold onto their memories.

We’re a little more than a month out from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and I feel guilty for slacking so much this year in my fund-raising and awareness efforts after how awesome we did last year.

It’s an important cause for me. A percentage of my paycheck goes to the Alzheimer’s Association each month, but I don’t think that’s enough. I want to do more. Because for me, it’s personal.

Tomorrow, July 31, she turns 90.

NINETY. She doesn’t think she looks 90, and neither do I. And with her feisty attitude and sense of humor that’s still alive inside her, she doesn’t act it, either.

My grandma’s had Alzheimer’s disease for several years now. And it’s hard to know which memories she still has and which are lost forever. It’s hard to think about the fact that she doesn’t remember her 89th birthday, her last one with my grandpa, when my aunt and uncle came to visit, we got her a chocolate cake and after standing to show us one of her presents, she fell back in her chair, not from any problems with her health, but because she was laughing so hard. It was a good day.

And while tomorrow’s her actual birthday – the same day as Harry Potter, which she couldn’t care less about but I think is cool – we’re celebrating her with (almost) the entire family later this month when everyone’s here for the wedding.

It’s going to be great, and she’ll be happy because so many people she loves will be there and, well, there will be cake and the little lady has a sweet tooth.

And she might not remember it all happened the next day, but for that day itself, in the midst of all of it, she’ll have fun, and she’ll be happy. And I’m grateful that we can give her that.

Alzheimer’s is an unfair disease. All diseases are, but like I said, this one’s personal. This one takes your memories – a big part of you.

I want her to remember. I want her to be happy. I want time to stop, just for a little while at least.

She’s not the only person in the world with this disease, by far. So many others have loved ones they’ve lost to it, or loved ones that are struggling with it. So many others have seen this disease take memories, and it’s not picky about the ones it takes.

My team and I, we’re walking for her, but we’re walking for them, too. For the people we don’t know, who we’ll never know and who will never know us. But we want the same things for them as we want for my grandma – for there to be a cure for this disease, for there to be a way to prevent it, for there to be a way to make it not so bad and unfair and gut-wrenching like it sometimes can be.

We’re walking for memories.

Please consider donating: For memories.

And if money’s not your thing or you can’t help in that way, then come take a walk with us, Saturday Sept. 8. We’ll be down by the Waterfront. In purple shirts. We’ll be hard to miss.

Fourth-ish-ness

Being that it’s still July for a few more days, it’s not totally random that I’ll share with you a few of the pictures I took on that lil’ holiday, wherein I went to my aunt’s house and ate a lot, watched cornhole games for hours and chased my cousin’s 1-year-old daughter around – sometimes with a camera and then sometimes I just let her chase me.

Anyway, it was a nice little relaxing day, not to mention a much-needed day off in the middle of the work week.

Here’s my Fourth (some of it anyway) in pictures. And nope, I’m not in a single one. Also, Sami loves Amurrica.