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Meet Kristi. She is one of my dearest friends, by far the most hilarious person you’ll ever meet, and has the mouth of a sailor. We’ve known each other since elementary school but really cemented our friendship in 7th grade health. We got partnered together to give a presentation on HPV or genital warts and the rest is pretty much history.

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To put it mildly, Kristi has always had a large personality. Even during those awkward, formative middle school years, she never seemed dorky. She was the constantly-laughing athlete who also was popular and smart enough to get elected to student government. While I’ve never known Kristi to be mean, she did have some bullying tendencies thinly veiled as practical jokes. I will never forget (nor will I let Kristi forget) the time she embarrassed me in front of the entire school. It was the end of year and everyone was outside for Field Day. I happened to be sitting next to Kristi while we watched some sort of skit by our peers. I felt her hand on top of mine and before I could process what was happening, she yelled out, “No Tove! I do NOT want to hold hands with you!” She threw our interlocked hands in the air, then launched into her signature laugh which could be heard for miles around. It was straight out of a sitcom. My face turned bright red and I wanted the ground to open me up and swallow me whole. However, I was simultaneously cracking up as Kristi has a contagious laugh. Ah, middle school.

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After our first year of college, Kristi transferred to Pacific Lutheran University and we decided to be roommates. Tingelstad Hall, room 925. If those walls could talk, I’m sure we both would be horribly embarrassed and not just because of the giant Eminem posters adorning our space. We ate a lot of pizza, danced until we were sweaty and tried, on a daily basis, to embarrass one another as much as possible (see photo of me duct taped to a chair below). We even got tattoos together – I drew the triple football tramp stamp adorning her lower back. It was one of the best times of my life.

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After college, I moved to Arizona and then North Carolina. Even though we didn’t see each other daily, nothing really changed between us. Kristi is one of those special friends who picks up right where you left off once you see each other again. Despite being a vegetarian, she made the trek to the pork capital of the US not once, but twice. That is true friendship.

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We were able to spend some time together while I was home in Gig Harbor and as usual, we laughed pretty much the entire time. As you can see from the photo, Lena was a bit cranky the first day we saw Kristi and proceeded to have a monster meltdown in the middle of town. True to form, Kristi just cracked up and snapped photos of the scene. These are probably my favorite pictures from our entire trip because they’re just so pitiful.

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We didn’t get to have a proper celebration while I was home – having a kid has somewhat depleted my social life – so I’m dedicating this post to Kristi in honor of her 30th birthday. You can wish this crazy cat a happy birthday, too, in the comment section as she’s one of my internet stalkers blog subscribers.

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Krust, happy birthday buddy! I am so thankful for your friendship and all the years of memories we have together. You are my hetero life partner and one of my most favorite people on this planet. Your laugh and sense of humor are such a gift to everyone you meet. And I’m pretty sure everyone who’s ever interacted with you has left feeling better for it. Thank you for always being your true, genuine self with me and allowing me to do the same. Here’s to 30 more years of embarrassing each other and our future kids. Love you long time!

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