Monday, April 20, 2020


It's fitting to follow up my previous blog post titled "Colby" with one titled "Sasha." After losing Colby at the beginning of 2019, I had an emotional breakdown of sorts. It was hard to get motivated and my mind just felt blank for a very long time. It was a really tough loss.

On a lighter note, we brought home our third English Bulldog, Sasha, on November 23, 2019!

Here's the previous stories of Otis and Pippa (these are blog post gems, btw).
Not Sam
Moment of Weakness #2

Brian had been saying for some time that he wanted a third bulldog, so we found a breeder we trusted and the timing felt right. It was a brindle girl puppy. I originally was not a huge fan of the brindle, but I liked that all three of our bulldogs would have very different markings. My dad says that all we need now is the cow print.

So we headed down to Myrtle Beach to bring home our newest baby and this is where the story gets good. (Good in hindsight - let's be clear.)

Brian had offered to drive down to Myrtle, which was a nice surprise because I almost always do the driving in our family (I feel the need to talk more about that, but I'll save it). All went well and we  were driving back home with the pup; bound and determined to think of a name before we got home.

I threw out a few I liked, but it was Brian's turn to pick because he chose Otis and I chose Pippa. Brian would get the final say this go-round. I suggested some of my bulldog faves (Mona, Reba, Gretchen, Babe....), and reminded him that my all-time favorite girl name was Sasha.

(Sadly for me, I'll never get to use the name Sasha for a daughter because our last name is Strawberry. Sasha Strawberry 😳 Do not type that into your search engine. I don't think you'll see pics of our bulldog.)

It was a pleasant drive on a perfect day, as we drove with our new puppy along the country roads. I remember driving through Tabor City, which is Home of the Yam Festival according to their sign. Who knew?

I threw out some more name suggestions and Brian was particularly fond of the name Quinn, because of the O, P, Q trajectory we were on. So I was practicing Quinn as her name in my head about the time Brian began looking at his dashboard and saying "I need oil."

"Oil?...Like as in gas?" I asked.

(Apparently that was a dumb question based on his non-response).

Do you know how quickly a pleasant drive on a perfect day can turn miserable? Well, let me just tell you.

(p.s. - If you're dating someone that refers to one of his cars as his "daily driver", don't walk. Or better yet, if he has more than one vehicle, just end it.)

Brian said there was an oil leak, he needed oil in the next 5-10 minutes, and I needed to locate somewhere to buy oil very quickly.

To remind you of where we were at, here's the aerial view:


After a very tense 10 minutes that almost led to divorce, Brian's GPS indicated there was an AutoZone a few miles away in Chadbourn, NC, Home of the Strawberry Festival.
(Where do I register for this?)

I was skeptical there'd actually be an AutoZone there, and spent a few minutes arguing my case. If you've never driven through Chadbourn, NC on your way to the beach, here's a picture of it from 1907:

And here's a picture of it from yesterday:

I didn't remember no AutoZone! But lo and behold, as we got to the outskirt of town, there it was. We made it there in the nick of time. We were thisclose to being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with our nameless puppy.

And speaking of names....

As we pulled into the driveway that evening, a decision had to be made.

"OK," I said. "She needs a name. Your choice."

"I choose Remy," he said.

"Ok, fine. Sasha," he corrected.

And that's the story of how Brian picked our third dog's name.

Monday, January 7, 2019


One of the visions of our church this year is to enhance diversity to better reflect the surrounding community in Durham.  If you're reading this and you're not white, please click the following link to learn more:*

When mentioning this noble goal to increase diversity, our pastor referenced a verse about heaven:

Revelation 7:9 "I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue....wearing robes and holding palm branches and singing..."

I nudged my sister, leaned over, and whispered into her ear, "Be honest. Does that not sound terrible?"

She laughed only because she KNOWS I AM RIGHT.

To be clear, I'm referring to the robe-clad, palm branch singing. It would be helpful for me to know the percentage of time I'll have to devote to being in this choir after I die.

Sometimes I'm not sure how to fit the biblical descriptions of heaven into what I know to be true:

Heaven is Bliss. (Bliss - the Microsoft XP desktop wallpaper circa 1996)

From the moment I first laid eyes on Bliss, as a 9-year-old girl, I knew then and there I was looking at heaven. I've always imagined myself laying in that cool grass perfectly content and happy. (Apparently, I don't actually need to die in order for this to happen. I just need to go to Sonoma County, CA where this photo was taken).

In other related death news, my dog, Colby, died on January 2, 2019. It's been one of the hardest weeks, a very sad start to the year, and I feel completely empty inside.

I got Colby on December 6, 2007 at the Burlington Animal Adoption Center. I was young and broke. I had to call my sister, who was a teacher at a nearby middle school, and ask her to leave work so that she could come sign for me since she was over the age of 21. I also asked her to stop at the ATM machine on the way there, because I needed $100 cash to get the puppy.

After leaving the animal shelter, I drove to my sister's apartment with the 5-week-old pup zipped into the front of my grey North Face jacket. She peed on me, but I didn't care. Colby could do no wrong - ever - and that stayed true for all 11 years. As I was driving, the Colbie Callait song "Bubbly" came on the radio, and that's how she got her name.

The last lyrics of the song are "wherever, wherever, wherever you go..."

Which leads me to my final thought, one of my favorite quotes ever:

If there are no dogs in heaven, then I want to go wherever they went.

*White people can also click link.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Papa's Pizza

One of my favorite memories came towards the end of last year. December 19th to be exact.

I was driving home, sitting in traffic, and I asked Cam what he wanted for dinner.

"Pizza!" he told me.

Now mind you, we had ordered pizza the previous two nights, but you know toddlers. They always be on some kick.

And you know me.
I be lazy. (see previous post)

So I was on the phone with Papa's Pizza, hoping I wasn't talking to the same dispatcher for the third night in a row ("Maybe there's multiple people with the last name Strawberry" thought no one ever).

Midway through my order, a shrill scream erupted from my backseat.


In all my life, I've never known anybody that wanted to order the pizza.

In fact, my friend Eric Sherwood once spent 30 minutes trying to place a pizza order online, simply to avoid making the call.

But not on this night. No, not on this night.
My three-year-old wanted to order the pizza.

So I finished my order, hung up the phone, and - in case I hadn't heard him the first time - Cam yelled "I WANNA ORDER THE PIZZA!!!!" about sixty more times.

I tried rationalization. I tried logic.
Those both went over well.

Gripping the steering wheel, I was about to explode....but then....

I texted Brian, who was still at work and unaware of the ensuing chaos.

"I'm gonna call you and you be Papa's Pizza."

Brian responded, "k"

(No questions asked, apparently, which is a little strange in hindsight.)

So I pressed the call button, put it on speaker, and handed my phone to Cam in the backseat.

And then the cutest moment ever unfolded:

"Papa's Pizza" said the "dispatcher."
"Hey." said Cam.
"Do you want to order a pizza?"
"Yes, please." said Cam.
"What do you want on it?"
"Cheese." said Cam.
"Do you want it to be small or large?"
"Small, please" said Cam.
"Ok." And then the "dispatcher" hung up.

Cam was so tickled with himself. He had ordered a pizza!

I was so tickled with myself. I had outsmarted a three-year-old!

So that was one of my best memories from 2018.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019. We Made It.

That title has no purpose other than to make you think I had a productive 2018.

In 2018, I honestly didn't do much.

I posted one pic of impressively decorated sugar cookies and everyone was freaking out like "how did you find the time?!?" while Brian was beside me shaking his head.

Two weeks ago, my friend Megan told me my new year's resolution should be to start blogging again. I told her I'm still recovering from having a baby, which isn't exactly untrue.

I don't know if anyone else can relate, but I always have a list of things I'm going to do when I get home from work, and every single day I surprise myself by doing none of it. I'm too exhausted. Exhaustion is my permanent state now.

Brian, on the other hand, never seems surprised by my lack of accomplishments.

In 2012, when Brian conceded to getting a dog, I remember telling him I just wanted a dog I could take on runs at Lake Lynn (I wasn't actually going on runs at Lake Lynn at this point, but it was something I was planning to start if I had the right dog).

His response?

"Kelly, it's important that we get a breed that matches your energy level."

Wtf. Brian seriously picked the lowest energy dog breed humanly possible.

Up until today (Dec. 31), I truly didn't think I would blog again. I thought my hobby in 2019 would be re-learning to play the piano.

Having not mentioned this plan to Brian at all, I casually asked him a few days ago "You know what I'm thinking about using my Christmas money on?" And he was like "A piano."


I was so impressed by his mind-reading abilities that I forgave his next comment about how I should not get a piano because he knows I'm never going to play it.

Once you've been together for 10 years, is there still a need for talking?
(Brian says no.)

I can't imagine what it's like for couples that have been together 20, 30 or 40 years. Every thought you have just passes through the air into the other person's mind. Isn't that crazy? And why does almost every married couple I know look like brother and sister? These are the things that keep me up at night.

Alright, I'm gonna go lay on the couch and think about how I can spend my millions. I bought lottery tickets yesterday because I had cash on me, needed gas, and the jackpot was over $400 mil.

Those are my requirements.

I never go out of my way to play the lottery, but when the stars align and I have cash, am at a gas station, and the jackpot is over $400 mil, I buy a ticket. It just seems like fate.

Also, why is it that whenever the jackpot starts back over at $50 million, no one cares about 50 million dollars? If I drive by the billboard on Highway 70 and the Powerball says "50 million," I'm in my car like...


Ok, tomorrow I'm going to write about one of my favorite moments of 2018. Hopefully.