Category Archives: leslie

Dec. 2013

if November was long and exhausting December was just as crazy.

that tree that we brought home from charlotte got put up (not really in a timely manner but it got put up and decorated (finally).  each year at Christmas we have a real tree.  i grew up in a home with a fake tree (we always traveled at Christmas so it didn’t make sense to have a real one) and andy grew up in a family that had a real tree.  we compromised and now we have a real tree (the compromise is that andy will water the devil out of the tree because i am so scared it will catch on fire – too much rescue 911 as a child).  back to my point…each year when andy brings the real tree in the house Otis gets so excited his entire butt wags.  this year he seemed overly excited so we sat him down and explained that the tree wasn’t his and he wrinkled his forehead and dropped his ears and looked at me like i ruined his life.


dec 5th would have been leslie’s 30 birthday.  i can’t believe it.  i miss her so much.  on top of being a little sad anyways it was a day from hell at work.  there were cancelled clinics, emergency case to go to surgery, bumped surgeries because of the emergencies, rude people and nothing went right.  tension was high among all and at the end of the day we all just looked at each other and shook our heads.  it was a train wreck of the day and i was glad to get home and be off that train for a night.  i will say with as bad of a day as it was my coworkers are rock stars and make even the worst day manageable.

the next day i was freaking out because i couldn’t find my camera cord.  i looked everywhere and called all of the places i had been to make sure it didn’t magically jump out of my camera bag.  this panic went on for a few weeks.  (no worries i found it after a few weeks – in my bag that i never unpacked from thanksgiving – that will teach me to not unpack).

dec 7th dr. scott (nat) took the girls to Asheville for our Christmas gift.  we did some shopping and went to grove park inn for dinner.  it was so much fun to hang out with all of the ladies outside of work.  we shopped until we almost dropped and thankfully we ran out of time because we ran out of room in the van.  on the way home we ran into some thick fog and thought we were going to die…but we didn’t.  we laughed and laughed.  i love these ladies!

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i bought a lawn ornament (ok yes i did but i love it and i have no shame).  it is a tobacco stick with two old records melted and painted to look like a flower.  i will post pictures this spring when andy lets me put it in the yard.  he wasn’t all that excited about it.

we put out Christmas decorations.  each year a little more gets added to our yard and i LOVE it.  this year we added a little snowman and some deer to the doghouse and the word noel.  it looked so great.  the wind was really bad so we had some issues with our big snowman and the deer but it all worked out.  one night when i was doing laundry i heard the wind blowing really hard and looked out the window and saw that a deer fell over and the snowman had his head blown back and arms out so it looked like he was praying for the deer.  it was really funny (or maybe you had to be there).

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i will share other Christmas decoration photos of the inside of the house soon (in another post).

Otis had a seizure on thee 21st.  he seems to be doing ok with it and had no lingering effects.  just slows him down for a little bit.  i had this long to do list and in the middle of being productive he had the seizure.

other big news in dec is that we updated our phones.  we both now have iPhones.  i no longer have a flip phone.  it has been a little weird.  i still don’t really use it other than to call, text, and take some pictures.  i don’t really use the internet or anything that will use up data.  just don’t feel right about that for some reason.

we went to a surprise graduation party for david (nat’s husband).

we had Christmas here.  Otis got boots and hated them.  once we get his nails trimmed we will post a video of him wearing them.  he played with Bryson.  they ran in the house and chased each other.  they howled and screamed together.  it was really funny.  my grandmother got a headlight and it was so funny to watch her and my great-aunt open gifts.  Otis also had a blast playing and wouldn’t share with dad even when he got in the floor to play with him.  we were also very thankful that Andrew got back to the states.  he was deployed overseas and it was great to see him and to know that he is “home.”

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we went to charlotte for Christmas.  we had fun with the family.  andy, erik, and Katie got hornets gear and had fun reminiscing with that!  we got the girls a bug this year (ellen is too young to use it but it should last until she is older so that they will get a lot of years out of it.  cj isn’t so good at driving (at least she wasn’t when she got it) hopefully she will get better before she turns 16!

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andy also decided to do no shave november and i didn’t notice until the middle of dec that he still didn’t shave – so he looked pretty shaggy.

a little cousin was born in december:  logan ross made his appearance and him and his mama are healthy and his daddy is proud.

church was crazy.  we had a ton of events that seemed to be unending.  we had the progressive dinners for the youth as well as a ton of special services.

as much as i enjoyed seeing family and friends this wasn’t the best December.  it just went by too quickly and i felt like i wasn’t able to enjoy it like years past.  we didn’t get any Christmas cards out this year and i hate that.  i felt like we rushed and scrambled to “do” Christmas and all we accomplished was barely surviving it.

to celebrate enduring the end of a crazy year, 2013, we went to the cabin for new years eve to relax.  we did nothing but relax.  we went shopping one day for a little bit but the other time we spent playing a new great game – crack the code on the dvd player.  it was bought at an auction and has a parental lock on the dvd player and we couldn’t watch any of our new movies.  we still have a great time.  Otis woke me up one morning and i got to see the sunrise.

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happy end of 2013 and beginning of 2014

memorable dates

there have been a few dates that have come and gone while i was on “sabbatical” that i should mention….well i don’t know if i should but i want to.

july 18, 2013: marks the 12th year that leslie hasn’t been with us.  andy was at camp so i had to work and hang out alone.  some years i spend the day reflecting and smiling and laughing at the memories and other years i can’t get past the tears to really smile at the fun times we shared.  this year was a strange mix of the two.  i would have crocodile tears running down my face and burst into laughter fluttering between the two extremes all day.  it was weird but surprisingly comforting.  i wore my ladybug earrings that i got for my birthday in her honor and her blue necklace that she bought when she went to the beach with me and my family.  (i have to wear it around my wrist as a bracelet because the clasp pulls hair like no bodies business…which explains 1. why it was on the clearance table when leslie picked it out and 2. why it had her brown hair stuck in it when claudette gave it to me.  i also bought a sprite and drank it.  at lunch in high school i would usually share her lunch (usually eat a fry) and share her drink which was always sprite – so it only seemed right to enjoy one!

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july 21, 2013: marks the 12th year andy and i have been together and the 6th year we have been married.  with each year i think about our story and how imperfectly perfect it is for us.  i think about all the ups and downs of before we were together and after.  i think about all of the could have beens and should have beens.  i think about how lucky i am to have him in my life and how blessed i am that he is my best friend and husband.  this is when i tell you that we had an incredibly romantic date with a horse-drawn carriage ride to a 5 star restaurant with a sting quartet playing while we laughed over the best meals ever…but i would be lying…what we did was close to that – we spent the night at vbs at church.

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july 28 – august 3, 2013: high school trip to montreat.  it was surprisingly cool and a good week.  there were good things about the program and bad…but it is still wonderful montreat.  one of the nights the choir was singing and on the front row of the auditorium we heard a noise (it wasn’t terrible but it was different).  there was a little old man playing a recorder.  we laughed at him.  it was out of place and seemed a little weird.  then it got weirder.  after that song he went on stage.  there were two youth playing drums and they looked confused like this man wasn’t suppose to be on the stage.  he walked up to the microphone with his 3 recorders (all different sizes) and started to play with the choir.  when they finished the choir director came to the front and I figured he would ask him to leave the stage but he didn’t…he let him play another song.  the man was so excited and it made me tear up.  he was so passionate about being up in front of 500 youth and wanted to share his talent with all of us and he did.  he was allowed to play and you could see the joy that it brought to him.  it was a touching moment to me and one of the high lights of my week.

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august 21, 2013: marks the 7th year anniversary of when he proposed to me and my wildest dreams became a reality.

I am sure there are other dates that fall into this post…but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.  this is the problem with not blogging on a regular basis!

rambling thoughts: clouds storms and long drives

a smell, sight, touch, or sound can take me down memory lane in a heart beat.  or hearing a phrase that makes me think of things from the past can take me back.  sometimes it is a time of year that sends me tumbling off the trail with former memories.  these certain things put me on a path of wild and random (sometimes incoherent) thinking and i play the what was and what is and what if and what’s to come game.  sometimes my brain feels like a little hamster running on the wheel you think and think but really it gets you no where except stuck in a loop scared to get off and wondering how long have i been at this….

this time of year i think a lot about leslie (i think about her all the time as it is but as we get closer to the heart of summer i find my self thinking more and more about her).  i remember the trips we took and the things we bought.  i remember the last encounters that we had and the conversations that we had and the profound effect that she had on my life and how much impact her family has made still in my life.  something about this time of year makes me miss her more.

i think more and more about old friends and about relationships i have had and the adventures that we have been on.  some thoughts and memories make me incredibly sad and others made me laugh out loud.  i think about all the summers spent playing with will and vicky outside until after dark and our “bat club.”  i think about all the summer camps that i spent with katie and the youth group and making sure that katie and i shared a room and coordinated our outfits and packing list and that when we weren’t at camp we still had to be together.  i think about summer crushes (one that turned into love and marriage).  i think about all of the things i thought i would have done and wished i did and actually did.  i think of the person that i hoped to be and the one that i actually am.    i think….

the other day andy was at a meeting so i decided i would go feed pancake alone since it would be too late when andy got home.  it had been raining (i think we got 3 inches in about an hour – water was rising and roads were flooded).  i loaded the dog up and off we went to feed pancake.  for once i wasn’t punching a clock.  so i drove.  i only know 3 or so ways to get to the farm and as i was driving i kept getting derailed.  i would go as far as i could and have to turn around because of flooding in the roads.  i went all the ways i could to get to pancake but i couldn’t get to him – so i just drove.  it made me think of a time (when i could fill my tank up with gas, take seven dollars into the gas station and walk away with change) when i would just drive around to clear my head.  i used to drive to process thoughts and clear my head a lot.  i blame my dad for that.  (sorry dad).  driving to the farm already made me think of dad and driving around made me think of the times that he would come ask if i wanted to go to dairy queen for a blizzard.  i would think: ice cream?  sure!  we would go and instead of going the direct route we would drive down towards albemarle – typically turning around at the same gas station.  some times we would go just to go…i don’t know the real reason we were driving just that ice cream was involved.  other times we would go because i did something wrong (that was never stated but i knew) – we would get past the point where i could jump out of the car and walk home and dad would talk.  or if he wanted to have my attention to mull something over he would say what he wanted to say and we would ride in quiet processing everything.  once we got to the gas station we would turn around and go get blizzards and everything was forgiven and forgotten and processed.  i thought ice cream healed all…but the older i get the more i think that it was the drive that healed.

when i realized i couldn’t get to pancake because all my options were gone i headed home.  as i was driving home i saw lightning and black skies and i was headed right for it.  i was driving into the storm.  i couldn’t help but think that life was completely like that having to “drive into the storm to go home”.  i couldn’t help but think of the times that i have known about a storm and could see it from the distance and driven straight into it.  confrontations with friends that i knew had the potential to turn out horribly but they had to happen.  conflict with different people at different jobs.  fights with andy or my parents or brother.  situations that the skies were so black and hopeless but i had no choice because i had to get through them to get home and to a resolution.  when we have no choice and we see the lightning and hear the thunder and know that things are going to get messy we have to drive on and we do…we go through the storms and end up at home – sometimes a little battered and bruised and sometimes our homes aren’t as stable or sturdy as they were…but our foundation is strong and we make it.

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when i got home.  i had battled rising waters and thunder and a spectacular display of lightning and a spastic dog.  i dealt with my failure that pancake wasn’t getting treats from me before bed.  i struggled with wrapping up my disjointed racing thoughts about driving and storms, hopes and dreams and failures, memories and life in general.  physically i was exhausted from a long day and mentally from processing so many thoughts and memories in such a short time.  i pulled the shivering dog out of the car and unlocked the door.  before i stepped over the threshold i looked at the sky.  the blackness was breaking up and the clouds were moving on except for one…

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i laughed and thought how fitting that i drove straight into dark weather and made it home through the storm and waiting for me was a cloud with a silver lining…

(some of us are just going through figurative storms but remember those who are dealing with literal storms in moore, ok)

it never goes completely away

i’m not old (well if you ask the youth at church i am) but i’m really not old.  anyways i have learned in my short life that there are things that happen that you never really forget or that refuse to go away completely.  memories of those things sometimes fade but rarely do they just disappear regardless of how much pleading and wishing you do they remain a part of us.

my post yesterday was about leslie and her birthday.  i will be honest and say that when i found out she died i didn’t know how i was going to make it through the rest of  high school and to continue with that honesty i didn’t know if i wanted to finish high school without her.  but i pressed on.  my memories of her are fading.  i remember that we would meet before classes and during lunch, but those memories are lumped all together into one big blur.  but there are memories that are so vivid i can close my eyes and believe that they happened a few minutes before.  like the week she died.  i remember all of that week and her funeral.  i remember when we went to the beach together.  i remember prom promise.  i remember my birthdays with her.  those memories will never fade (i wish some of the sadder ones would fade a touch so it wasn’t a dagger in my heart each time) but they remain.  i am glad those memories will never leave me.  i am glad that i can remember her with our friends from high school and that i can still see her smile and see her rolling her eyes at me.  and those memories are what i cling to when i miss her the most.  sometimes they hurt but it is us – me and her and our story.

there are other things in life that don’t completely go away.  me and andy play the”what if” game a lot (ok well i force andy to play with me).  we talk about what if he stayed at western, what if i went away to college, what if we told each other earlier that we liked each other, what if we moved as soon as we got married, what if…there are things we talk about in our what ifs that haven’t completely gone away…missed chances in our relationship as friends and as significant others but we know that those things are there and they won’t completely go away.  there is nothing we can do to un-do the past but that is ok.  those things that happened or didn’t happen have shaped our relationship to what it is today and the love that we share.

memories are fading of lies i have told people, friends i have lost (to death and to changing lives), things that i once thought were important, places i wanted to be and go.  and while these things fade i know that all it will take is the sound of a song or the smell or a flower that will bring those memories back to me and send me into a fit of “what if”  and i will silently think to my self what could have been and then the thought will flutter to the back of my mind where it will stay until the next time for they never really completely go away.

a birthday with no cake

i grew up in a culture where it was ok to have multiple best friends.  i had a best friend at church, i had a best childhood (neighbor) friend, and i had a best friend at school.  leslie was my best friend at school.  we had a wonderful friendship.  we disagreed sometimes but we never fought.  it was understood with the two of us that we could have different opinions and be fine with that.

we had some great memories at the beach, at prom, college tours and prom promise.  at prom promise leslie was a recruiter (getting people to come outside at lunch) i was an actress and wore a beautiful red dress and some theatre students did my make up (really cool bruises and blood everywhere).  we had 3 lunches to act during.  in the first i was an injured person in the car and got loaded onto a stretcher and put in an ambulance, in the second i was the drunk driver that caused the wreck and was cuffed and put in the back of a cop car, and in the last lunch i was dead.  they put me half under the car (which made me really nervous) and had to jack the car off me.  they pulled me into the grass and put a sheet over me and i had to lay there and listen to the noises around me.  when the bell rang for the kids to go back to class i pulled the sheet off my head and heard weeping.  i looked to my left and leslie was kneeling next to me in the grass crying.  when i sat up she reached over and her tears stained my shoulder.  she said don’t ever leave me. and she promised me she would never leave me.

today the 5th of december 2011 would have been leslie’s 28th birthday.

leslie died in a car wreck in 2001 in july.  it was a miserable summer as it was for various reasons and then she was gone.  just like that – gone she didn’t keep her promise she left me.

i walked into dairy queen (her place of employment) and was talking to her (saying goodbye since i was heading out of town for a week).  i leaned over the counter and we talked and laughed and flirted with a few guys that walked into the store and i looked at her and looked at my watch and said i had to go (or else i would be late for curfew and that is a completely different post).  as i was leaving she called me around the side or the counter and gave me a hug.  even to this day i haven’t had a hug from anyone like she used to hug.  she hugged me and asked me a few questions and we talked a little more.  she told me to tell andy i still liked him (since he would be with me at camp) and i laughed her off and started to walk away from her.  she grabbed my wrist (which was unusual because she wasn’t a violent type with me – except for the occasional kick in the butt) and turned me around.  she made me promise before she would let go of me.  her hand gripped tighter and tighter my hand tingling and her imprint burning into my flesh.  i said fine and that wasn’t good enough she made me look into her eyes and promise.  she said promise me.  i said ok leslie i promise i will tell him.  her eyes started straight into my soul and realized that i would carry out my promise and she released my arm.  i said why does it matter?  her answer was simple.  she shrugged and said so that andy can take care of you when i can’t anymore.  i rolled my eyes hugged her really tight and said i love you.  i walked to the glass door and turned to wave to her.  she was watching me walk out the door and she said i love you, i waved said love you too call you saturday and rolled my eyes as i got in my car and drove home.

i kept my promise and told andy i liked him on wednesday night.  i got the news the next morning that she had been in a car wreck and she didn’t make it.  she was 17 when she left us and it has been 10 years.  today she would have been 28.  each year on her birthday i think about who she would be today and what our relationship would be today.  i think about going out and having a glass of wine or a royal flush or a shot with her – we never drank together.  i think about sitting on a patio near a heater on her birthday and smoking a black and mild or a marlboro light with her – but we did smoke together.  i think about all the things that i won’t ever get to do or share with her because she isn’t here.  i think about my wedding and the pictures that she isn’t in.  i think about all the times i am sad and want my best friend back.  sometimes my thinking makes me laugh and sometimes thinking about her makes me extremely sad.  it makes my soul weep.  i long to hear her voice and i long to have a leslie hug.  i long to celebrate her birthday WITH her and not just in memory of her.   tonight i had a glass of champagne (ok 2) and in silence i raised my glass to her beautiful memory and remember the best friend that she was.

happy birthday LAT!