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This is the 6th anniversary of the very last day I spent with my friend Lisa Dungan.

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Lisa and I met because I worked with her husband at the time. We went to a work party, and I remember literally backing into a wall as she approached with this swooping confident stride and a devilish smile and a shot in each hand. Yes, I was “the Laura”, yes I would take a shot with her… and we were instantly friends. For anyone who ever knew Lisa, she was a force. A thunderstorm rolling in, beautiful, intimidating, not one ounce of inhibition. Nothing scared her. She caught rattlesnakes in her yard, she loved walking in the desert at night (clothing optional), she enchanted people into staying by her – when she was around she was in complete control and things were going to get interesting. I spent the better part of ten years with her, as her best friend, as her fellow amazon chick when we went out on the town, and as her roommate and ‘little sister’ for a time being. I watched her life unfold through lake trips and dog walks, we tried to enter “The Amazing Race” together – she DID enter a video for her favorite show “Survivor” – she pranked everyone each and every April Fools – she perped a high speed car chase (I drove) that I will never forget. She was an instigator. She was difficult, raging power. She was unstoppable.

And so, on this day in 2009 as I sat on her bed with her – she so thin from the chemo, she so dark skinned from the liver cancer, she with no makeup on and yet so beautiful – her vulnerability shocked me. We hugged, I cried, she couldn’t cry anymore. I said I didn’t want her to go, and told her I loved her. I believed I could come back over the next day and say it again and again and again, as I had every day since she threw a ridiculous party and drank red wine and played “Only the Good Die Young” to announce she was given 2 years to live. She lived 10 months. Ten months where we fought desperately to get her into the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson – but they didn’t take people who did not have insurance and she lost her job a month before diagnosis (so do not ask me again why I fought for healthcare). Ten months where we wrote to the Ellen show, we sent her to Hawaii to swim with dolphins, we filled days with bucket list things that a 41 year old doesn’t usually have to write down. Ten months of nights when she was scared and I would leave my house at midnight to stay with her. Ten months from diagnosis to the morning I lifted her purple pedicured, lithe body onto a stretcher to be taken for donation to cancer research- this strange honor I found in being her only pallbearer.

There has been no event in my life that shook me like that day.

It sharply changed the direction of my winding, ridiculous road. Which is exactly what she would’ve wanted it to do for me. The strange thing about the death of my best friend is the amount of joy I have in the memories. She was such an inspiration in how she lived her 41 years on this earth that I have little sorrow when I think of her. Just the missing. I hate missing Lisa. She would love my little boy. She would love my move to Boston. She would love all the fabulous weddings and birthdays and babies and … life that happened after she left. So I hate the missing. But I am honored that she taught me what is really important, and to hold on to the beauty of life.

❤  Thank you for being my lesson. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

lisa

It’s Friday. You’re feeling a little Rock n Roll. I’m feeling a little Facebook Project-y. Let’s put the two together shall we?
I met Joanne Braman-Palmer​ when I was a little girl sitting on my Grandma Lawrenson’s front porch on 2nd Ave in Rensselaer. She was my Aunt Patty’s best friend. I remember her then as I if I had just met a rockstar myself. I was not wrong. She had starburst eyelashes and blonde hair – I’m pretty sure she was wearing the coolest slouch boots I’d ever seen in my life – and she handed me Moon Zappa’s “Valley Girl” single on vinyl. “YOU GUYS will get a KICK out of this!” Fresh off the presses in 1982. We did get a kick out of it, and for years I was proud of having that record, from the coolest girl in the world… this Jo from 2nd Ave.
Well, my impression was not misplaced. Jo came out to visit my Mom this Spring (once the glaciers cleared from the worst winter EVER) with her husband Jim Palmer​ (quite possibly the best joke writer on here, and also my son’s insta-favorite). She was just as radiant and rock n roll as I remembered. She has tattoos in memory of people she loves, one of them very beautifully for my Aunt Patty, who she was with til the end phone calls, the very end, of her battle with cancer. I’ve been that bestie too….it is at once an honor and a giant suck. What a deeply important person you are to our family, Joanne. Your stories fill in the puzzle of 2nd Ave for me. So many families on that street with so many intertwined stories. My grandmother has always been this vision of intense strength and unwavering conscience – you’ve given me stories that affirm that.

Now JoAnne makes magical yard art, wall art, fairy trinkets and witch spell goblets and all things enchanted. She is the spiritual stronghold for her friends and family. She is clairvoyant. She is still very much Rock n Roll, and to my delight, she shared with me pictures from the time when I met her and felt that stardust on her sleeve. I want to share them all…I’ll share my four favorites.

❤ Thank you for being my friend #TheFacebookProject

Jo with John Cougar Mellencamp.  johncougar joanne

Jo with Steven Tyler.  You know, huggin, doin each other’ s hair like they dooo….steven tyler joanne steventyler

Tommy Lee…with like ONE tattoo, and Nikki Six….hanging with Joanne…like they doooo….tommylee

Addie E Lafferty-Beakley
I have not met Addie. Have you ever had one of your friends marry someone and you just KNOW if you two were in the same town you would be super awesome friends? That is how I feel about Addie. She married one of my close college buds, Will Beakley. I haven’t had the chance to sit and get to know her, but one of these days (and we both say this) – we will get our littlekiddles together because we need to set up this arranged marriage already. 😉 She has a precious little daughter, Zoe, my son’s age, and seriously I think we’d all have a blast.
Here is ONE thing I do know about Addie. Her wedding dress kicks all of your wedding dress dreams out the window. Seriously, have you gotten married? Do you want to some day? Well forget it. Your wedding pictures should just be burned now. You will never be as gorgeous as this woman on this day in her life…. ever. Sorry, world. This is the pinnacle. 🙂

addie

❤ Thanks for being my friend (and lets really meet!)#TheFacebookProject

Beverly Weidner and I met in the hallowed halls of Hobbs High School. (ALLITERATION!)

I don’t have a photo of the Bev in HS, but I can tell you that when I see a pair of plaid Doc Martens her image instantly pops in my head.

Beverly is effervescent. I remember her as someone you just felt happy to talk to. She was always encouraging, always present, light and joyous – bright eyed. The girl we all wanted to be in high school.

NO ONE IS REALLY LIKE THAT.

But no, she is. She has a Disney princess voice. She was a lead character in HHS Glee, and went on to sing in grunge bands. I say grunge because I’ve only seen pics of she and her now hubs in lots of flannel. They could’ve been singing hymnals for all I know – but I do know she can belt out a tune.
Bev went on to leave a 9-5 and boldly go where no one from Hobbs has gone before – the world of foodie blogs. In true Bev form, she knocked it out tha pahk. (I can say it that way as I’m in Massachusetts now). SHE, however, is in Missourah. When I talk about how people from my Senior class are talented and successful, I point wildly in the direction of Mizz Weidner. This blog….THIS BLOG…. if you aren’t following it daily then I just don’t know what you are doing with your lives except eating PBJs all day and being sad. CHECK IT…. www.bevcooks.com.
Within the blog she lets you peek in on her amazing décor, amazing dishes, and amazing family – which is why I can say she has the cutest twinsies I’ve ever seen. (Don’t tell my Jim – he’s a twin) So really, just subscribe to that lil blog down there and she writes her story for me.

Bev you are an inspiration to me!

❤ Thanks for being my friend with flair.   🙂 #‎TheFacebookProject‬

Bev-getting her famous on:

bev

Mrs. Walthall’s 4th Grade Class – a Soccer Love Story.

This is the story of one of the most resilient people I’ve ever met. It’s also the story of my best friend in high school (along with Shannon and Candace of course).Jodi Silva and I knew each other from Junior High on. We were almost always in the same classes – on the same “track” with the smarties. AP, college prep. All that. And we were band besties, which actually means besties for life, it’s a contract…we all sign it when we get fitted for uniforms. Jodi was absolutely brilliant and funny and politically charged and argumentative and wore the BEST nineties stuff (I think she owned the first Ankh choker…seriously) and made my life infinitely better every single year that we had lunch together. We all go through some stuff when we are younger, but Jodi had an illness that made some of that stuff I think a little harder than others…she had asthma. She has asthma. Despite the pumps and hospital stays and inhalers and vapo-suction-predno-pilla-lung functioning things she had to endure, she ALWAYS got right back up and rode the shit out of the horse we call education. I mean, every time… Jodi had some tough stuff…and got up and did it all again with a joke and a smile and an A on her work. (she comes by it honestly…once her grandmother fought a stray chimp that found her garage and won. YOU CANNOT MAKE UP RICHARDS FAMILY STORIES YOU GUYS) She really amazed me then, and she really amazes me now. She called me and told me she met a wonderful guy…a deputy…they were in love and getting married. I had two options that year (eleven years ago now!)…HHS reunion or Jodi’s wedding. Jodi’s wedding ALL DAY YOU GUYS. We had a great time, and it was AWESOME to see her again. Then there was the phone call that she was prego! She is now the mom of two incredible and precocious boys that could not be luckier to have her as a mom!
Jodi and I made each other cry-laugh every day, and we made it, with most of our sanity, through our teen years. She knew ALL my boy-crush secrets. I knew ALL hers. And I know she won’t tell because she can’t remember shit and I’ll blab it on here anyway. 😉 hahaha.
Jodi I love you to pieces! I love that you are happy, you rock your work, you rock your momming, you ROCK. I promised you no embarrassing high school photos.

❤ Thank you for being my friend.#TheFacebookProject

jodi

http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/rape-out-of-body-experience-with-god