I won the roommate lottery my freshman year in college. I moved into the Alumni Honor dorm, and acquired an entire floor of the coolest girls (and downstairs guys) I could’ve ever hoped for. My roommate Anna and my suite-mate Debbie have had their “projects” already…and that leaves my suite-mate Tiffany Latner. And no offense to all the other ladies I’ve ever lived with – ever – but Tiffany was pretty much the most interesting person I’ve ever lived with. (I think they’ll agree)

Things I learned from Tiff: 1. You can walk anywhere on earth and for any amount of time. You just have to take the first step. 2. Always taste test flavored body gels on your roommate’s arm first. 3. When in doubt, put your sexiest lingerie on over your t-shirt to work on complex math equations in the study hall. 4. Orange heels are ALWAYS apropos. 5. Classic Rock and a jean jacket make for perfect Saturday afternoons. 7. Slaughter lab exists – keep your blood splattered boots outside – pig hair is removed in a giant dryer – WINDOW COWS – different religions slaughter animals differently – but in the end it’s ALLLL BBQ. 8. You can work in the lab for food safety for just so long, you can work at a plastic bag factory for just so long, you can always go back to learn something new and change your life. 9. When you really want to swing dance, put your feet in a box on the floor and make a really tall friend. 10. Gentle people need animals, the outdoors, paint, and understanding.

Tiffany is a ‘tough on the outside smooshy on the inside’ soul. She is incredibly smart, she is wickedly funny, beautiful wispy blonde, she wants people around her to feel comfortable and she will be uncomfortable to make that happen. She speaks her mind. She loves music and noise but grows in quiet meditation. She is this quirky sunshine that makes you question why…she laughs at the darkest things and in doing so lightens the room. I’ve learned so much from her about holding in, letting go, the complexity of being. Nowadays we message each other here and there and try and figure out what is going on in the world and in our worlds. As we’ve both learned through experience, it is as wonderfully unpredictable as it ever was.

❤ Thank you for being my quirkiest painting box dance toes friend.‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

Alone, and with her sisters the twins (melia and manda)

 

There is an event in New Mexico that only New Mexicans understand. And of those New Mexicans only those who attended NMSU or UNM understand. And of those students really only those who attended NMSU or those who dated/loved/friended/married/were related to an NMSU Aggie understand.
That event……….
Is Aggie/Lobo. It is a yearly rivalry football game with two completely awful football teams and two groups of the MOST beer filled fans in the United States.
My first ever meeting of Jamie Tenorio was at “Aggie/Loob” in Albuquerque. I was in the middle of a keg stand (okay I wasn’t…I was too old by this time hahaha…but I DID have a red solo cup beer in hand) and was hauled off by Chet and Janna and told I HAD to go meet Jamie, as she was at her work tent in Lobo country and they had fancy drinks.
I. NEVER. TURN. DOWN. A. FANCY. DRINK.

So I did meet this broad named Jamie that day, and she did give me a fancy drink in the hot setting sun and she was the most instantly friendly, warm, effervescent person I think I’d ever met. I lived in Las Cruces and she in Albuquerque, and as such we really never got a chance to hang out again. Then one magical day my friend Scott Hilty mentioned he was seeing someone named Jamie. And I was THE MOST excited because not only had I known he had a little crush on her wayyyy back when, but here she was, my favorite fancy drink friend, dating one of my best friends. It’s always nice when people you care about fall in love with someone that doesn’t make anyone nervous or concerned. Jamie is that wonderful person. She is beautiful, she is fun, she enjoys travelling, she is HELLA smart and probably overworked and underpaid (jussssayin MOVE HERE 😉 ). She is the person you want around to lift your spirits, the person that is the rock when others crumble, and the person you want your best dude friend to live with and be happy with and grow old with and all those good things. I wish I had spent more time with her, and of course moving entirely across the nation didn’t make it easier, but I can tell how happy she makes the people I did spend tons of time with, and how much better they are because they have her in their lives. Jamie is a giving and driven woman with really good taste in cocktails and beer.  VERY SOON we will get a chance to hang out again, and I know it will be fantastic!

❤ Thank you for being my friend. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

When we first moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, we were in a little duplex on Sunset Circle. Our neighbor was Allen Williamson’s grandmother, I endlessly kicked a soccer ball against our brick front wall, and I discovered the joy of catching horny toads and getting sprayed with eye blood. Hobbs wasn’t really the worst, although many of us that have left like to proclaim it as such. One sunshiny day I watched as two kids swooshed past my window down the street… BIKES!

I quickly got mine from behind my rock tumbler (YES, I HAD A ROCK TUMBLER – BACK OFF ME) and pedaled to see who they were. It was Prissy Priscilla Lawson-Whitaker and her brother Bill. We quickly became friends, rode our bikes to the Town and Country every afternoon for bubble gum shaped like burgers, atomic fireballs and popsicles. I remember she had a little boom box and she would play George Michael – but like, the kind of dirty songs so we thought we were being bad (and also somehow still thought he was straight. Eighties gaydar was SUPER bad, you guys). My favorite favorite memory of Prissy was being invited for a sleep over at her house. Her mom had long pink nails and longer Virginia Slims. She rented us (on VHS) Dirty Dancing and Top Gun. Little bro Bill kept making gross noises during all the kissing scenes and when we tried to do cool dance moves, her mom show-stopped that party, got on the living room table and showed us how to shake from your toes to your head and go go dance. She was amazing. We had so much fun…it was the summer before sixth grade – the summer before all girls start feeling weirdly self conscious and before we moved and she moved and we wouldn’t see each other again until high school when everyone is battling their own teenage angst. Things like those iconic movies though, bike rides, Prissy had the coolest fashion and knew how to curl hair…how long feather earrings looked better than the kid stuff I was wearing… Prissy changed my life. She made me aware of fun, modern things, she helped me be cool and girly when I did not know how.


All of that is why when we reconnected on here and I saw her gorgeous daughters I realized she did that for them too. She’s a spitfire and I am pretty sure no one should cross her 😉 and I am so lucky to have had her in my youth.

❤ Thank you for being my friend! ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬
(the family I knew, and beautiful Priscilla and her daughters now)

You know who would be my best friend and we would have mani – pedi dates and meet for Friday happy hour after the firm closes and send each other office notes if we worked together just to crack each other up, and agree on what movie to see and where to eat, and call each other about the SNL episode this week, and probably take girl weekend vacays to the Caymans and drink many an umbrella drink and laugh and laugh and laugh some more?
Diane Seltzer Torre. That’s who.
But we have not met – she is a “facebook friend” and sister of my sister’s real friend Marci… and ODDLY enough worked as an EMT with my Daniel Barnaby Cornielius Dan Norton (who is from my hometown and I ALSO have not met)…. we’re a gaggle of star crossed nutsos is what we are. Diane is an attorney who is teaching THE LAW, has two incredibly smart and gifted children moving effortlessly into adulthood, a hottie fireman for a hubs, a prior hubs that is a supportive co-parent, she has two furbaby cats that possibly drive cars, she has a recent empty nesting cooking/baking obsession, and for the helluvit creates realistic wine spill glasses to punk her friends on important papers or white couches.
I know we haven’t met – I feel that someday we really should. Especially with Dan because then we could say “So a Catholic, a Jew, and an Atheist walk into a bar…” You embody a spirit that I find comforting and inspirational and absolutely fun. As much as you always tell me I make you laugh, you slay me! I’m so glad we have all these people in common. hahaha.

❤ Thank you for being my friend. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

 

Ahhh Spring. The first sign of Spring is a robin. A Marci Robin!
Marci is a connection through my sister Colleen, and they met in the fashion/PR/beauty-editing juggernaut that is NYC. I adore her for the usual big sister reasons. She’s a great friend to my little sis, she’s a smart, quick tongued whip of a woman with vocal stances on everything from cleavage to lipstick shade, best friends to Congressional hearings. You don’t get to chill on a swing set with my sister or sing in britpop choir without that kind of badassery. But I also have found a joy and friendship in her for myself as we share that background of little girls spending hours immersed in magazines – that shared understanding that makeup, fashion, the design and work of it all is actually art. Marci went on to New York with that same passion that my sister had for bringing the art to life and they met. They hit in a prime time of beauty marketing in an industry that is fickle and mean and ugly if you don’t paint it up just so – keep its brows on fleek – But like the perfect nude lip Marci seems to navigate trends and jump on the wave perfectly. She landed a job with Jane Pratt.
***I’m going to let that sit for any of my nineties sisters who spent some time in the pages of Sassy and may or may not have made their own sugar face scrubs and floral cork sandals****
I mean – JANE PRATT. And she Adorably fangirls out on her boss daily, and writes beauty (and beautiful) content for xojane. Social media was MADE for Marci. She is unabashedly honest, fair, funny, provocative. She took us all down a heartbreaking path of elder dog parenting, and lifted us up with stories on why not everyone has kids, and why all women’s voices are viable and worthy. She self deprecates in a way that brings a reader not just safely up to the watering hole, but jumping in with a bikini because swimsuit season is here and we should all just be happy with our lady bods.
Marci is girl power packed into a photogenic punchy firecracker of a human. She is an advocate for fairness and good people. The slumber party pillow fight you always wanted with your besties, on the page. If you need a soap box she’ll come scrambling with a lavender honey organic hand-crafted number to push under your feet. Heck she even gave loudmouth ME a platform for voice a time or two.
❤ Thank you for being my friend. #TheFacebookProject

I am not speaking out of turn when I say that Hobbs, New Mexico in the nineties was filled with some of the most inspiring, loving, mind-blowing teachers that a public school system could have. I’m also not speaking out of turn when I say that if you had Mr. Sam Nichols, he was one of your favorites. Sam taught high school science. I had him for Human Anatomy and Physiology my Junior Year. He looked just like Dr. Green on ER (which also means he looks like Goose!), and was equally as endearing, as tempered, and engaging. I have to speak to the things that gripped my 16 year old brain and never left, of course – like our fruit fly DNA experiment showing how creatures evolve and how scientists can “see” DNA through gel electrophoresis, the live birth video which ensured I did not get pregnant until I was 34 (seriously, thank you Sam hahaha), the MTV experiment where we learned that the human brain retains images even when they are flashed at rapid speed- how rods and cones record and send all that stuff in there – how it can change what you think is real, the idea that deja vu may be triggered by similarity pushing your moment over an already created neuro-pathway, that in all the science and all the systems, there is something deeper. That humans start out as good little lumps of cells, and we have a million ways to be shaped and shape our own lives. Sam taught science as common sense, not as something reserved for an elite group – observe and question, test, fail, test again, hypothesize, prove, question, test….the cycle of learning that keeps us curious and discovering, keeping us the explorers that our ancestry ingrained in us. We all come from people who made it through lots and lots of stuff.

Sam went on to be a biology professor at the local college before retiring. He adopted a guard cat named Migs. He kept the title of explorer and has traveled extensively around the world seeing what makes us all tick. He has amazing stories of places and love and loss, of music (his concert T-shirt collection kicks ALL of your concert T-shirt collection’s ass), how the universe moves us all and why.

I have the very surreal and lucky honor of being Sam’s friend now. Not just former student. Not just “click like” on a photo…we are friends who share experiences and thoughts with one another. Seeing a former teacher as a person with a complete sphere of life around them is one of those cool things about “adulting.” He is a private person (and so you only get a photo of Green for reference hahaha), he is someone who deeply cares about individuals, and treats people with genuine respect and kindness.
Get back to Zermatt, Sam, keep traveling, and know that every one of your former students is a better adapted person to their world because of you.

❤ Thank you for being my friend. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

 

Seth Embry is BEAUTIFUL. Look at him. Hot-tttie!!! Seth wears scarves like Brad Pitt but he looks better in them. He wears the right shoes and the current belt. He’s polished. He’s saucy as hell. He’s minxy.

He’s moody and broody and dark humored; funny in such a way that if you didn’t get it you’re not paying attention. Seth makes sure you pay attention. I first met Seth on one of my many trips to New York to visit my sister. He is in school to be an architect – an artist – and I think also to be a German. He and Sara were living with my sister and Scott and Joe and (I do not remember how many people were living there but it was a lot) and I remember my boyfriend and I had gone to bed around 2 a.m. ish, and at 3 a.m. ish he came and leapt into a bobbing squat in front of my face saying “Oh my God Laura I’m so glad you’re here…how was your flight…is this the new guy???…you look fantastic!” I love Seth. He keeps you on your toes. I do not know a DAMN thing about buildings and city planning, but because of him I look at skyscrapers and city-lines and want artistry. He has an amazing inner brain chemistry of swirling metal twist beams and serial killer binge watches, schadenfreude and earnest. He has a southern upbringing and a Manhattan attitude which I find makes for some of the most wonderful people. Every time I’ve had the chance to be around him it is a flurry of activity. He’s the guy that grabs you from your wallflower stance and says GET IN THERE WOMAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOURSELF. He is at once Ouisa and Clairee – if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to him…and then shut up, …Jesus.

Seff. Sethy. Embryshire. A Seth by any other name would smell just as sweet. Happy Birthday m’dear.

❤ Thank you for being my friend. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

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I’ve known Lori Estrada since she was knee high to a duck.

I have ALWAYS wanted to use that phrase. I’m done. My life is complete.
Anyway, Lori f/k/a Eggleton was my little sister’s best friend when Skip Bo and Nintendo NES were part of our vocabulary. My sister would call her on our corded house phone to ride her bike over and watch New Kids On The Block videos and learn the dance moves. Because of this, Lori is one of only about four people on earth that have ever seen me do the full Hangin Tough dance, and it will not be mentioned again. This post will self destruct in five…four…

In my mind, the girls my sister hung out with back then are still twelve. Lori is a 12 year old with a full time job as a radio DJ and has two beautiful (and RAD AS HELL) children. She is the coolest mom, her kids are minimetalheads, she is creative and artistic. She is holding down the fort in Hobbs America, making sure rock and roll and metal never die, and doing a phenomenal job at it. Girl makes a Slayer T-shirt look gooooood. Long blonde curls, deep eyes, and a couples-matching Jaws tattoo that is out of this world.

In all seriousness, Lori has been down some highways to hell, she has experienced deep loss, learned lessons about people and life that some of us have seen, and some of us will never see. Lori is a kick ass baaad mutha shut yo mouth and a survivor. The best kind of survivor – with humor, a love for life that spills out of her to her friends and family, a joy inside that never could be squashed. Maybe it was all that goofy dancing we did when you were 12.

Lori you were my favorite little sister friend, you were an unforgettably unique exquisite gem then, and you’ve only polished up to be more so now. I absolutely adore you.
❤ Thanks for being my friend ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

1. What I think Lori looks like.lori1 2. What Lori actually looks like.lori2

3. What my backyard on Cape Cod actually looks like.jaws.jpg

Katrina Barney invited me one fall to meet her family in Pennsylvania. We were both bartenders and had the time off, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to have a Yuengling beer in it’s native land and see some Amish people drive their little horse buggies. I saw plenty of Yuengling and plenty of Amish on that trip, and best of all I met Meghan Fausset, Kat’s cousin.
Meghan is absolutely beautiful. She has a Grace Kelly profile, polished and proper. Think of a quiet Southern woman who has her act together, but when she needs to make a point, you better get out of the way. She’s a delight with children (she is my son’s first crush), she’s a delight to chat with, she’s just a delight. She is a teacher, a military wife, an intelligent focused woman with dreams and goals – and try as it might, someone who cannot be stopped by cancer. She is a survivor – I deeply dislike having to give the big C any credit in this story, but the credit is Meghan’s, as she has handled this battle like a warrior. She is rooted in family and God’s love, she is someone who lives life the way it should be lived – with kindness, with fun, with spirit and fight – and with damn good shoes gurrrll…:)
I was so lucky to meet her those 7 years ago. She then came out to visit us in NM for her 21st birthday and we TORE IT UP. Okay, we went to a wine and cheese party, but we still TORE IT UP. She macarena’d and Thriller danced and everything! Meg has visited me out here on Cape. She saved me from a man with a band aide on his face…long story, and yes we did call him Nelly. She’s a joy to be around- poised and gracious and someone I’m very happy to call a friend.
Here’s to 7 more years and 7 more after that ….okay seriously we’re pretty young so… and 7 and 7 and … you get the point. Love you Meghan!<3 Thank you for being my friend! ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬ ‪#‎TeamMeghan‬

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Sometimes I try and hold back on my memorystravaganzas when someone is going through something… and – trust me if you ever feel alone, you’d be surprised at how many people are going through lots of somethings, and let me know to wait. So I almost waited today. This month is one of giving thanks…and I decided I’m going to go ahead when she probably needs it…and give thanks to meeting and being honored with the friendship of one Reina Dotson.
She and I met my Sophomore year at NMSU. A close knit bunch of us had all spent our Frosh year defining ourselves, and in came a new roommate for me. Looking back – I mean, we were 19 and 20 years old! Wow. And we clicked right away. Reina and I wound up being roommates for the remainder of my college years, from Alumni dorm room, to Vista Del Monte, to our stint with Cameron (oh boy), to our final home together on Boston Street – site of the greatest Halloween party, and Graduation Party, that ever was. We very seriously have too many stories to put into print.
It still amazes me – you could not find two different spectrums of people. I am impulsive, she is planned. I am emotional, she is calm. I drink tequila, she talks dirty in Spanish. – (nope, leaving it…it’s true. 😉 ) While I was busy building my social empire, she was busy building her career, which led to a job with NASA training astronauts, and continuing degrees as an Engineer to her current work with Intel. She is wicked…wicked smart. Reina has the ability to look at a problem and dissect it into parts, rebuild, and create a new and better whole. We had a fairly memorable falling out at our graduation – I was removed from the bridesmaid list…it was bad, and we didn’t speak for a year or two. I still don’t remember who emailed or called, but we did, and we decided to meet up in Houston where she was living, and just rebuild a better whole. And we did.
From that point on, yearly plane trips and phone calls -through falling out of love, and falling back in, running down the streets of Manhattan, meeting at the top of a mountain in Colorado, the loss of loved ones, trauma, new homes, new cities, new babies, old memories and new stories, she was even a surprise fly in guest at my baby shower!…we kept our new friendship in tip top shape by accepting one another as what we were always meant to be – the friend that supports you no matter what. Reina has always supported me, crazy me, focused me, happy or sad me. I will always do the same for her. She met one heckuva wonderful man, and they have two beautiful children, and while she supports her family during a difficult period (that they too, will overcome), I can lend a shoulder as she has always done for me.

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Reina, Beth Parkhurst and I were roommates on the day we all threw our caps in the air and walked into our futures as college grads, and we’ve since formed “Team Walt” (from a very funny incident involving a man named Walt and an amazing NYC getaway you could put into a movie). As always and forever, none of us are alone in this beautiful fight we call life.
TO WALT!

❤  Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for being my friend.‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

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