Leslie is the wonderful, kind stamping friend who adopted Bobra. If you don't know that story, stop reading now and read this post before you go on so you know the kind of person I'm talking about.
Leslie is the friend who was almost always the first person to comment on every one of my blog posts.
She's the friend who was at the center of our little Twitter community that started more than 8 years ago. She was the most faithful tweeter of the group, and always hopped on to tell us good morning before she headed out for work. We had the greatest conversations in this group - funny, thought-provoking, and full of art and wonder (and a little complaining about work and award shows too).
We were early Twitter adopters, and so we lived through some things that modern Twitter users don't have any experience with. The crazy spammy robot accounts that we were reporting hundreds of times a day - and even that was a bonding experience and grew our community when people popped in to say "me too!"
There used to be all these outages too and also a tweet limit, at which point you'd go into timeout for a while. We called it Twitter jail. Leslie and I worked together as beta testers for Tweetdeck - which was our favorite Twitter dashboard by far - it made this sweet little birdie tweet when there was a new tweet from a friend, and it provoked a Pavlovian response in all of us - it was a joyful thing to know that one of our circle had something to say. It is such an interesting group of people.
We became very acquainted with each other's routines. So acquainted, in fact, that one time when Leslie got really sick when she lived in Maryland that we all actually found a way to notify people near her so they could check on her.
We grieved with her over the loss of her sweet cat Koshka. We loved her pictures from the farmer's market where she sold her cards - gorgeous veggies, all the dogs that came by - just such a great slice of her life that she shared. People who dismiss social media as trivial haven't had the joy of those real connections we all made that made our friends seem not quite so far away.
We set up tweet-ups, where our little circle of friends started to meet each other. We joked that the only way any of us would believe that any of the others were "real" was if someone we'd met in real life had met that person. So my friend Mary Dawn, Angelique and Leslie had all met. My friend Bunny had met Leslie, as had our friend Patti Backer. I had met my friend Patsy in Florida, but none of the others had, so only the people I'd really met could count her as real, and so on.
Leslie and I talked about how once the two of us finally met - after a 7 year friendship - then the entire circle would have a first level connection to all of the others. It was just meant to be.
And I'm so incredibly grateful that it finally happened last year. Leslie had moved from Maryland (with Bobra in tow) to Dayton to care for her father after she retired, and became part of an incredible group of crafty friends in Cincinnati who get together a few times a year just to stamp, and laugh, cry, eat things that are bad for us, and do all those things that we stampers all do. She was kind enough to include me last year. When I saw her at the airport - it honestly was like we had known each other in person the entire time. We already knew so much about each other, and we fell in together like people who saw each other every day. We went to her house for a visit with Bobra, during which I cried, of course. PS - it's hard to take a selfie with a cat.
That is the most special little kitty in the world, and our friendship had even more meaning because of our connection to that crazy cat.
She absolutely hated having her photo taken, but at this special event, every now and then we could convince her we needed a private selfie just for our memories. I'd never have published this before, but I think she'd let me now.
There was no one who loved a random act of kindness more than Leslie. Even in the days before her death, we were plotting a few together. And she never wanted to be thanked for any of the millions of generous, kind things she did for people. She just wanted people to be comfortable and happy.
Everything she did, she did with an incredibly charming mix of humor, snark and kindness.
She was a challenge addict, and was an incredible host of many of our Splitcoast challenges, and a participant in many more.
When I saw her again in April for a crafty get together, she described (with joy) some of the things she had done for people who played in her sketch challenges. She was SUCH an encouraging person to new stampers, or cardmakers who lacked confidence in their skills. If you needed a boost, Leslie was your girl. Also, if you needed a really smart-assed and hilarious card, she was also your girl.
In the days before she died, we talked about normal, everyday things.
The things you talk about if you don't know that just around the corner, suddenly, there's a place where you won't be able to tell her the other things.
Like that you were so glad you were friends. That your life was infinitely better because she was in it. How you were so grateful to her for all the nice things she'd done for you, and especially for all the great people she'd brought into your life. How the fact that she took Bobra was one of the things I treasured most in my life, and how it made me happy every time she posted a photo of him. How I loved the way she talked about her sons, and how the way she busted into a big smile every time she mentioned them made me want to cry. How amazed I was when she taught me how to store the blending foam under the Distress Ink minis. How I loved how sweet she was if I needed to borrow something from her. How worried I was about her the weekend she was sick and stopped tweeting. How I'd be happy to do anything she needed me to do, any time, any where if she'd just asked. How completely broken hearted I'd be if I woke up one day and she was gone.
You know. Those things.