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S: Melissa's Journey - A Life LIved Intensely

BC: Yet to come - more intensity, more adventures, a fabulous future!

FC: Melissa's Journey A LIFE LIVED INTENSELY

1: In celebration of 40 years living life intensely, this book is dedicated to the journey of your life - capturing memories of the places you have seen and the people who love you. These journeys have molded you into the person you are today - sister, daughter, beloved auntie, best friend, wife and most empathetic listener ever. | So as the road rises to meet you, may your journey always be interesting. August 4, 2011

2: The day of your arrival got pretty busy after a trip to the doctor's when he told me I had one hour to be at the hospital or he wouldn't guarantee where you would make an appearance. Get Dad from work (only one car) get the sitter for Sis, call Grandma and Grandpa to come get Sis, meet friends in the hospital parking lot to chat. Hmmm, maybe I should go inside. Nurse says, two minutes apart, two hard pushes and your journey had begun. Even then you were eager to see what came next. Glad I was able to share in some of your adventures. Love you, Mom

3: The journey begins... | Even then we could count on each other | Melissa Jo Mohr 8/4/71 | Who knew she would turn out Pagan! | Our little family

4: The early years | Not happy about Santa!

5: Whoa! Grandma Robinson..

6: School - one of your many journey's

8: A leader from the beginning

9: Maybe a horse trainer? | A model? | Or, maybe I will just choke my sister!

10: Instead of driving on down to their yard to turn around she decided to back out of the driveway. The driveway had been widened recently. Unfortunately the edges hadn't had time to firm up. While backing up she got too close to the edge and the car slid off and almost turned over. I was checking some things around the house. I was too far away to hear her screaming for help. I just happened to come around the corner of the house and look in her direction and all I could see was the top of the car. | This is a short story about Melissa learning to backup a car. It would have been about 1987 or so. She hadn't had her license very long. She had gone to the neighbors to feed and water the horses she was watching while they were on vacation.

11: From where I was I should have been able to see the side of the car. It was so far over that she couldn't even push the door open. All she could do was yell. So dear old Dad went running down the hill to help. Keep in mind that I was wearing boots with slick leather soles so it was more like ice skating or skiing down the hill. | I almost fell about two or three times trying to get to her. That would have just added to the comedy that was unfolding to see me on my backside. I finally got to the car and helped her get the door open. She was pretty shaken up but undamaged. I think she has learned to go backwards without running off the road. Happy birthday, Wisser, Love, Dad

12: Ah, High School | You survived! | Really, are you serious!?

13: The curiosity to live life to the fullest continues and the adventures get bigger! | Go big or go home!

14: Germany... | The first big adventure

15: ...and Paris | Beauty goes to the opera | Ladies who lunch!

16: And everywhere you went, so did Monday

17: Monday - more than just a day of the week. Long before Germany or Paris was a school trip to San Francisco that Melissa had to be forced to take. Much to her amazement, traveling was interesting and fun! During that trip, short on cash but in love with a stuffed bear, Melissa collaborated with her friends to come up with the cash to buy the bear. A bit short of the price, the store owner tossed in the rest and the bear became Melissa's traveling companion. Stuck for a name and discussing the dilemma with her grandmother, Grandma said "Call him Monday 'cause Mondays are a bear. The rest is history.

18: Along comes David

19: True Love | Signing the Registry

20: It was back in October of 1993 that Melissa and I first were introduced to each other by her sister Elizabeth. It was a brief meeting as I was at work and Melissa had just come into MCI to see Elizabeth. | Now we move ahead three months to January of 1994 and Melissa and I are out on our first date. Three months after this in April of 1994 we are moving into our first place together because Melissa, being who she is, decided it was what she wanted to do. Now to say I was unprepared for this would be an understatement, but I agreed as it felt right.

21: Fast forward now to October of 1994, just one year after we met. Melissa is picking me up from work at about 11pm at one of the malls in Arizona where I was a manager at one of the stores. As we are driving home Melissa is telling me about her day at work and what kind of calls she had to take when out of the blue, in mid-sentence she blurts out, "So do you want to get married?" I laughed in her face. "I'm serious", she said. I still kept laughing. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. Now I do not want you to get the wrong idea, I knew she was serious, I just was caught off guard and to be honest not sure of my answer. I had been married before, it did not end well, as had no previous relationship I had had. So my defense was to laugh. When we got home, I gave her the old cliche, "I need to think about it" and I really did. I stayed awake that whole night thinking about it, thinking about how everything with her seems so right so how come I am afraid of saying yes? I was afraid that if I did say yes then things would inevitably go wrong. But, I said yes, because I knew it was the right choice.

22: Fast forward one more year to October of 1995, there we are standing in front of our friends and families getting ready to tie the knot. To be honest I was more nervous than she was and it was obvious if you were there. As my Aunt Paula performed the ceremony I remember just looking into Melissa's face and seeing how happy she was. Then, when it came time to exchange rings, Melissa grabbed my right hand, not left, and started to recite her vows. The whole time I was looking at her and under my breathe, threw gritted teeth I kept saying "Wrong hand, wrong hand.". Melissa was so happy and excited she didn't register anything I was saying. She just stared at me and smiled. Then she looked down at my hands, glanced briefly at everyone there and said "Whoops!". That was all it took to make my nervousness go away and make me calm down. That was also when I realized that regardless of what may come, or what happened in the past, I knew then and know now, that on that day in October, I am truly the luckiest man alive!

23: "The Pose" | Eater of worlds is also eater of Melissa's face

24: Feet and Ink - Interesting Hobbies

26: Horses!

27: And, we must not forget the photography. Camera in her purse at all times | Always looking at things in her own way

28: The Novelist

29: The Dancer | Dance Power's Activate!

30: The adventures become even more exotic - Fiji and Guam | On the sea, under the sea or next to it but always the sea. | End of day in paradise

31: Cool creatures! | Look at this!

32: Iceland - Not tropical but certainly exotic, intense and unusual.

33: M & E In Iceland with Monday | Melissa and I had just arrived back to the hotel after a grueling trip to see the Northern Lights. It was 2am on our last day in Iceland. We needed to take a picture with Monday before it was too late. So, we went up to our room and got Monday. Melissa wrapped him in a scarf, put on a hat and gloves so he was ready to go out in the snow. Just the sight of that was so funny we were laughing hysterically! We grabbed boots for him and went downstairs laughing like maniacal idiots through the lobby and outside. It was Monday's retirement photo and one of the funniest moments ever!

34: After Iceland, beloved Monday's age and size led to his retirement. So the travel torch was passed to wee Tuesday.

35: So small he needs an arrow | And already he is a well traveled Leo

36: Beautiful, smart, funny and crazy!

37: Happy Birthday to the most intensely alive person we know - Thank you for keeping our lives interesting!

38: From the friends & family who love you and are fortunate to have you!

39: And...more family

40: A blast from the past!

41: One bright sunny day, I was visiting Melissa at her house in Yosemite Lakes Park on Longhollow. We were about 13 years old at the time. Well, everyday after school her mom, Diane, always left a list of chores to do..and I do mean a list, a long one at that. After assessing this list together and possibly muttering some sort of despair, we decided to go out and play, and then we’d do our chores real fast right before Diane got home because we were so smart to think of that. The day went on and so did our fun until we heard the familiar sound of a car in the driveway. We looked out the front window and behold it was Diane pulling in the driveway. As we both gasped for air, looked at each other with eyes as wide as silver dollars and any color in our flesh turned a ghostly white, I felt my heart sink with fear as we had both realized we had not done one thing on the list of chores. | There are so many stories that I could tell you about Melissa and I. How does one sum up a life time of memories in a single paragraph? Sitting down to write this was one of the hardest things I had to do as I had no idea where to even begin. Growing up with Melissa never had a dull moment. We were inseparable when we got together, and could entertain ourselves for hours and hours with our antics. One particular day stands out like it happened yesterday and is a true example of sticking by each other's side even if it meant “Death by Diane”.

42: In our flight response we ran as fast as we could down the hall and into Melissa’s room, dove on the small couch she had and pretended to be fast asleep in the most awkward positions, trying not to breathe heavy from our sprinting. As we lay there in fear of the outcome from not doing our chores, we began to hear footsteps down the hall. I could hear Melissa let out a small giggle, then I wanted to start, but I held it in as I knew we would so get caught. And then the worst happened. | Diane stood at the door and looked at us. I could not tell you how long she was standing there, but it felt like an hour. An hour of torture as we laid in the same position, twisted up and trying not to laugh or for that matter even breathe. We laid there all evening as not to endure the punishment for not doing chores. Finally, as we heard Roy and Diane go to bed around 10:00pm, we quietly snuck out to investigate our fate. We saw two plates on the dinner table left out for us and a note that said the pork chops were in the fridge. We started laughing at how stupid we were and felt bad that dinner was left for us. But that goes to show no matter what situation we get ourselves in, we have always been there for each other and we will get through it together. I love her so much, she’s my sister and best friend. Happy 40th Birthday! Carrie

43: Melissa was little, not in school yet. We were at your house for dinner on Saturday night and I was standing in your living room and Melissa was beside me, when I looked down at her to tell her to wash her hands for dinner. I noticed her pocket on her jeans was puffed out and moving! I asked her what she had in her pocket. She put her hand in her pocket and proceeded to pull out a handful of snails! Ewwwww!!! I wanted to throw up! They were foaming, bubbling, oushing.....disgusting things! | There are many stories about Melissa I could share with everyone... she was such a fun loving kid, a good kid, and now has turned into a wonderful , beautiful, fun loving woman. I love her as if she were my own daughter. I just cannot believe it has been 40 years since she came into my life. Happy Birthday Melissa Love, Cheryl

44: Sisters Together then, now and forever!

45: You ended up being my best friend and I cannot imagine my life without you. Happy birthday sister. I love you soooo much

46: Love, Shyanne | There are many stories I could tell but I decided to share this one: Shy: "Auntie! I'm not afraid of your cats any more." Melissa:"Oh really?" Shy: "Yes" - Melissa: "Prove it!" Shy: "Um...OK" | So I bent down to pet the cat...with my arm fully stretched out as far as it would go to be as far away from the cat as possible. Once I finally touched and petted him (only about two strokes) Melissa burst out laughing. I didn't understand at the time but now it finally makes sense and now it's "Family Goo" on me. Happy Birthday Auntie. I love you so much! I look up to you, you are so awesome. I love to hang out with you because we are so alike and we understand each other. Love You, Shy

47: Auckie, You got hot thighs! | "Auckie, you got hot thighs!" Everyone laughed like crazy and it was "family Goo" on Margo forever. I love you "Auckie", Mars | It was Halloween and "Snow White" (aka Margo) crawled up on Auntie's lap to tell of her trick or treating expedition. Part way through her story "Snow White" leaned back away from Auntie and said in a very matter of fact tone:

48: Of course at a family "Goo" session, the question was raised to her: how could an island have one perfectly straight edge to it? Since then of course, Melissa no longer accepts things exactly as they are presented and is now much more questioning of things that seem unreasonable. Happy birthday, Love Auntie Laura | Somewhere along the line, Melissa learned a tough geography lesson about Alaska: Up into adulthood, Melissa had always thought that Alaska was an island. The way the school presented it was the continental US and then inset pictures of the Hawaiian Islands and of Alaska. Alaska was always presented in this way and so it never dawned on her that it was attached to anything else.

49: I can't actually remember the first time I met Melissa, it seems like we have been friends forever! We had been taking classes at the same dance studio which is its own family/community. Although we had that in common we bonded over so many other things. | Music, fire spinning, art, tattoos, Tarkan, and being around gamers while not actually being one. We talk nearly every day through Google chat and help keep each other sane through work and life dramas. She is an excellent friend to have when you are barely able to be a friend to yourself, she'll tell you how it is and listen to whatever you have to say. I've loved how comfortable I am at her home and feel a bit like an auxillary part of the family. I look forward to many, many more celebrations of just how awesome Melissa is. Love, Nancy

50: Friends | Nina | Jue | Shelly | For life!

51: Near and far | Zia | Zia | Tash | Sarah | Rhonda

52: Melissa fucking working her mother fucking ass off on Shitkicker. Hosting a ton of fucking extra rehearsals at her house, making countless shitloads of cd's for students. And then she throws her back out. Seriously broke my heart. And that's when I realized that for Melissa, it was all about the work and the dance. Not the performance. As terrible as it was. That's when I really fucking fell in love. Happy fucking birthday....Amy

53: I tried to boost myself up, only to find that the front of the stage wasn't solid! She laughed at me 9and because she was happy) while one of the band guys helped me up. We got to sing along with all the bands and dance around. We drove home and were both exhausted the next day, but it was totally worth it. Love, Bo | I will always remember the fun that Melissa and I had at the Cruxshadows concert in San Francisco. I never would have gone to see them live if it wasn't for Melissa; she makes concerts happen! We stood right in front at Rogue's feet and he noticed that Melissa knew all the words to the songs. We elbowed other people who got in our space and danced around. Then, at the end of the show, we got up on stage with them. Melissa was smart and took the stairs.

54: Well one time I tried to start Melissa's house on fire =) I was smoking and put my cigarette out in her planter that preceded to smolder and burn the rest of the night. The most awesome part was the nonchalant way Melissa told me about this. She just walked up all casual at the studio and proceed to tell me I tried to burn her up, but no worries everything was okay!!! | What the hell are you talking about Melissa?!

55: I was like WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT =) She then explained the smoldering planter box (wooden smoldering planter box) and I then connected the dots to my cigarette and the almost demise of her house, yikes!! We laughed for a quite a while and it has stayed a running joke between us about burning down her house, hehehehehe! I love the way Melissa is calm, funny and strong all in the same breath without even trying! She is one of my favorite people to go to lunch and shoot the shit with and I always appreciate her openness and fun light spirit! MELISSA ROCKS!!! Love, Shelly

56: Photos we love and couldn't leave out | Lady Liberty and a liberated lady | Good times on the Delta

57: More photos we love! | Oh, and piercings | Halloween at work | Photographer to the band

58: Nov 15th, 2001 is the day The XBOX came out. I took a trip to visit The Niska's for a few days to do what I do best; Drink and play video games. I made it my goal to beat HALO before I headed back to Phoenix. David let me play while he read me the hint book when I needed it (my natural video game prowess dictated that I didn't need it...that often...maybe 4....teen....times or so). Melissa would watch and feed me AppleKorn, a German apple schapps that is the most yummily thing I've ever drank. There is a part in HALO where you run into these critters called "THE FLOOD". David warned me "You're about to run into something....get ready." He forgets that I'm ALWAYS ready. I walk into a room and I'm immediately assaulted by... BUGS!?!? They were face hugger size and jumped around a lot but to someone with cat like reflexes, a dead eye, and who's armed to the teeth it was nothing.

59: "Bugs? Give me something to be afraid of." 5 hours later I'm on the far end of a cat walk, crouched behind the railing, checking my ammo, and not feeling very secure in the situation. THE FLOOD had turned into these unstoppable zombie like things that don't like to die. The cat walk I had to get across was covered in them. As I'm going thru my weapons, assessing my ammo situation, and killing the Apple Korn I hear a voice: | "BUGS? GIVE ME SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF!!!" There was Melissa sitting on the couch next to me rubbing hubris in my face. Of all the fond memories and good times I've had with Melissa THAT is the one that I'll always remember. I love ya Melissa, have a GREAT 40th! Love, Tucson Ken

60: "Monday VS Tuesday" by Sarah Stinson for Melissa's 40th Birthday Melissa had this little stuffed bear named Monday. He's been to a lot of really exotic places- a real World Traveler Type, all swanky 'Come Fly With Me.' Sinatra-style. A real Ladies' Bear. He's got way more personality than you'd think would be able to fit into such a small amount of stuffing. But it's not the size of the bear that matters in Monday's case, it's the heart. The hutzpah, if you will. It takes a lot of courage to face those TSA guys over and over again when to them you're nothing more than another hidey-hole for whatnots. So you've got to hand it to the Bear- he's tough. So what was the payoff for all this troublesome travel? The photos. He was a most Photogenic Bear. And to capture the essence of any vacation, one must take the perfect photo. So Monday was the three-dimensional centerpiece of all of Melissa's adventures. He's been on all kinds of adventures. Except one. When Melissa went to Guam, she forgot to pack Monday. I know, I know. HOW COULD SHE? You may ask. But before you go waggling any fingers, think about the circumstances. Here she is, trying to plan a vacation, and sometimes the most obvious items seem to be the ones you forget. So There it was. She was up Guam creek without a Bear.

61: What to do? She still took pictures, of course, but somehow they seemed lacking. No brown fuzzy Bear to liven up that tropical foliage or to break up that endless ocean view. Just when she was on the verge of despair, suddenly she had a thought. Modern Technology would save the day! And Brian Clifton! | Possessing an uncanny if somewhat twisted skillset, Brian went to work altering the time/space continuum via Photoshop. His work was good. Where there had been no Bear, suddenly there was Bear. He was pleased with his work. Too pleased. Why stop there, he thought? Why, there was a whole WORLD to be explored here. Monday cheered him on silently. Monday was drunk off of his newly found powers. He was unstoppable. The whole world was his oyster, and never again would he actually have to physically travel anywhere. Photo after photo emerged from the Mad Scientist Laboratory that was Brian's workshop. Monday, Underwater. Monday, 8 feet tall. Monday surrounded by nearly-naked Samba dancers. Monday IN SPACE! Soon the monster of his creation grew too powerful to be controlled. Something had to be done.

62: Melissa knew she needed backup. So that's when she called in Tuesday. Tuesday was a Lion of diminutive size, but of great courage. He was also a very crafty Lion. He knew that Monday must be overcome by stealth rather than force, because with Brian Clifton as his Mad Scientist, Monday could just Photoshop Tuesday out of existence. So Tuesday formed a plan. He started leaving vacation brochures strewn about Melissa's apartment. Tempting, tropical locales. Exotic Excursions. Desirable Destinations. You know, the REAL fantasy-becomes-reality type travel mags with big, glossy pictures. Soon Monday started getting sentimental about his good old days. When he used to ACTUALLY travel. The blurry TSA moments were overshadowed by how much fun the adventure had been... Phase one completed, Tuesday started in on Phase two. Soon retirement get-aways, time-share brochures, resort infomercial packets and cruise ship ads joined the ranks of the travel magazines. Monday was overcome by all of this subliminal messaging. He decided it was time to retire. After all, what's left to do after achieving ultimate power but sit back, have a Pina Colada and watch the buffet line? Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The imminent threat had been diffused. Monday enjoyed his retirement and Tuesday happily took over the actual travel duties, accompanying Melissa on many, many adventures until they were both so old that their stuffing had fallen out and they lived happily ever after. THE END - Sarah

63: I thought for a moment and realized that I had completely forgotten my best friends birthday!!! This was horrific!! What a heel I was that I forgot it, after all I make such a big fuss about my birthday and how important it is to me that people remember me on my special day. So I apologized profusely and she was so cool about it saying "no worries", "it's no big deal, there's always next year". She was so great about it, she just gave me that knowing look... because I have this horrible memory and this kind of thing happens to me all the time. When I forget something, Melissa just usually tells the story over again or reminds me in a kind way that never makes me feel bad for forgetting. So here I was feeling sad about it all, saying how I couldn't believe that I had forgotten when hold the phone! back the truck up....I was at her birthday party!!! LOL!!! She had completely forgotten as well!! The party was at her parents house, during the day...I even did a shot of that reaaaally strong rum with her dad. I gave her a piece of jewelry I made with a shell. We laughed our asses off. I hope I never forget that moment but chances are I will...haha. Happy Birthday, Love Zia | I believe this was 2 years ago that this happened and the details are sort of fuzzy now. Melissa and I were visiting one afternoon and something was said about her birthday (at that time her birthday had already passed by at least a month or so).

64: Got any Booze!?

66: The people, hobbies and interests to which you've introduced me have helped make me a better person. I'm more curious about things than I’ve ever been before in my life because you've taught me that I may be surprised if I just look a little further into something. It could turn out I like it! And, so far, it has. | My dear friend, Melissa, From the first day I saw you working diligently on your emails to the time shortly thereafter, when I discovered we had very similar sick senses of humor, I knew there was something special about you. Then I discovered there were MANY, MANY special things about you. I've come to realize it would be impossible to list all the amazing skills, attributes and wonderful idiosyncrasies about you that I adore. Suffice to say, you have been an inspiring protégé who has taught me about judging, without being judgmental, acceptance, while holding on to your own principles and saying, “What the f” when there's nothing you can do about it; sort of a variation on the serenity prayer.

67: Regardless, at the very tip top of the list will be your friendship. I will always treasure finding a friend; a completely unanticipated friend, who has brought and continues to bring so much joy and laughter into my life. Looking at who I was when we met, no one could have ever predicted we’d become friends. Now, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t. I think I’ve even developed childhood memories of you!! I’m so thankful my Heavenly Guardian Angel handed me over to you. Here’s to many, many more wonderful birthdays for you. May your coming twilight years be as wonderful as mine have been because of your friendship. Love, Ellen & the Cactus Court Crew | Of all things for which I am grateful, my exposure to tattoos and Eddie Izzard will always be at the top of the list. They have captured a place in my heart that cannot be uprooted. The tattoos have provided a clear view of some wonderful memories and remind me of those occasions when least expected and desperately needed. Meeting Eddie has changed my life both in how I view it and how I laugh at it and the changes are so much for the better!

68: So many amazing memories! | Doesn't everyone drink like this!?

70: The Swampasaurus lives on in both the 'Bathroom Book' and the phrase spoken by Pseudo-Monkey. Forever mixed in with the former Hawaiian state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, as the phrase "Swampahumusauranukuusapuaa"... in a Scottish accent... from which I still have the shadow of a stroke due to uttering all those vowels. Happy Birthday, Joe | I was still playing World of Warcraft and I had spent the night at your place. I woke up early and hopped onto the computer to play WoW. Melissa got up and came in and sat down and we started chatting. Obviously not fully awake yet, she asked what I was up to and and I told her I was in the middle of travelling through the game and told her where I was... to which she looked at me, puzzled and half awake, and asked... "Did you just say 'swampasuarus'?" I laughed... 'WHAT?! I said 'Swamp of Sorrows'!"

71: "Family Goo" | "Family Goo" = The stupid things we do that the family will never let you live down! This is some of the "Goo" Melissa has collected over the years: | "Wong way Auckie! Wong Way!" | "Who's coming over?" | Falling through the motel floor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. | "I'm not hungry anymore!"

72: Monday navigates to Iceland | Seattle Starbucks | More photos we love | Always the sea

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