Happy Dirty Thirty, Ashlee Jean!!

26 04 2013

Dear friends of the interwebs, today I am detouring from my normal tales of misadventures to tell you about someone other than me. That’s right, today I’m turning the spotlight away from myself to tell you about my bestie.

You actually already know a bit about her, if you’ve been in the audience a while. Her name is Ashlee Jean, and she is my best friend. And tomorrow, we celebrate her 30th year of gracing this planet with her presence.

best friends, Cascade sunset Bend, OR

Partner in crime, bosom buddy, sister-from-another-mister, bestie, bff, travel companion, adventure partner, soul sista, roommate, and gal pal. She carries many titles.

I’ve know this incredible woman for years. We began as coworkers, becoming friends in between the cash registers and angry customers of Best Buy. What a lifetime ago that seems, but it was actually only about 8 eons years ago. In that short span, I have got to know her, come to love her, and now I don’t know what I would do without her.

As college kids in central Texas, we often hit up 6th St in Austin and floated the lazy rivers on weekends, bonding over bar-b-que and smokey dancehalls. Right after college, we became roomies and inevitably close friends. There have been gaps over the years where we moved apart, relying on phone conversations and facebook to keep in touch, but keep in touch we have. Whew!

I was going to tell you a few reasons why this lovely lady is so amazing, but that could take days, and this needs to get published today. So I’ll just rattle off a few…

She has a heart the size of Jupiter, for one thing, overflowing with generosity, compassion and kindness. Her inner beauty shines all over the place, touching so many people around her. I don’t know a single person that dislikes her or has a single unkind thing to say about her. (And if anyone happens to do either, I’ll punch you in the face. OBVIOUSLY you are a misguided individual.) And that’s all I have to say about that.

besties on 6th, Downtown Austin TX

I just love her!

She has done so much for me over the course of our friendship, and we’ve seen each other through many trials, tribulations, milestones and mishaps. From college finals, to graduations, to breaking up with losers boyfriends and even breaking up with the Lone Star State, Ashlee was there. We’ve gone through a lot of the same stuff and shared a lot of experiences, and the pictures on facebook prove it. No matter how thick and thin, superficial or deep as the Mariana Trench, she listens, she encourages, she inspires.  She is amazing for having the right thing to say, the right response, the tough love. It’s amazing to me that I’m so lucky as to have her in my life. (And she hasn’t even ordered a restraining order against me. Yet.)

friends downtown, Austin TX

See, we were young once…

I love looking back at the memories we’ve made. I remember the day she told me about this new dude she met, a cool cat she wanted to spend more time with and get to know. They’ve been married almost a year now. I was a bridesmaid.

summer wedding, Bend OR

Celebrating another life milestone together. Have you ever seen such a beautiful bride?!

She also happened to be there the night I met J, and it was Ashlee who told me to quit my whining and go meet him for a second/first date a few days later. Boy am I glad that worked out! About the time Ashlee moved in with her now-husband, I moved up to Twisp with J. Ashlee and Morgan were the first (and almost the only) visitors to our remote neck of the woods, and I was delighted to show off my new set of mountains.

besties in the Pasayten Wilderness, WA

North Cascades, meet Ashlee. Ashlee, meet the North Cascades.

Ashlee was also my tour guide for most things PNW. I would never have even made it to Oregon if it wasn’t for her! She moved to Bend first, had a 2-bedroom apartment, I needed a place to move to, so I asked her if there was room for me, too. Despite the teeniest little 2-bedroom apartment you’ve ever seen, she said “of course!” and I moved right in. Once here, we explored our vast new playground together, just a couple Texas girls trying to drink craft beer (“You really don’t serve Coors Lite?”), hike in the mountains (“Do we ever get to go downhill?”) and not freeze to death (“Is it alright to wear 4 pairs of socks at once?”). We camped together, hiked together, skiied together, and flopped down in the white frozen fluff for the required snow angels together (it’s a TX thing, apparently). Amazingly, through all our mishaps and misadventures, we have (so far) survived. Somehow.

besties, Green Lakes Trail, Three Sisters Wilderness OR

Showing me the ropes on my first overnight back-pack trip.

hiking Deschutes National Forest, Bend OR

It was only October. Locals were in t-shirts.

Now that she’s survived her 20’s, I’m sure only amazing things await in her 30’s. I can only hope to be there, sharing in the shananigans. Everyone needs a pal like this gal. She’s like family to me, almost like an older sister. She’s traveled the world, completed her Master’s degree, finished several triathlons and races, and works harder at both her career and living life than anyone I know – definitely a role model for anyone. If you haven’t met Ashlee yet, I highly recommend it. She’ll probably have you convinced to try something new in the first 10 minutes or so. Especially if you buy her coffee.

best friends, painted hills OR

“When things don’t always go right, it’s nice to have someone like you on my left.”

Happy Birthday, darlin’!!

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5 responses

27 04 2013
Ellen

Kalista,

Thank you for the most beautiful tribute to my daughter. You two are living life to the fullest!

Love,
Ellen

27 04 2013
ksnapped

Oh, no Ellen, thank YOU for your most wonderful daughter! 😀

30 04 2013
Morgan

DITTO!!!! I might be biased, but, this is my favorite post you have ever written:)

1 05 2013
ksnapped

Haha, what? Biased? Not you!! And thank you, your wife is a favorite of mine. 🙂

20 05 2013
jee scapes

K,
That picture of you and bestie on the bench with Bernard is awesome. The painted hills definately warrant a sit&enjoy.

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