Archives for category: New Mexico

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.

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

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


What is more throw back on this ‪#‎tbt‬ than Homecoming? And what is more fun than the parades, the bands, the giant mums if you’re from the Southwest, the football game and –
the Queen?!
Everybody run. The Homecoming Queen’s Gotta Gun…
Songs have been written about that wonderful phenomenon known as Homecoming Queen. Our’s was Melissa Dooley.

I originally met Melissa when we both started at Highland Jr. High. We had several classes together over the years, and ran in different circles, and even went to NMSU together. She was always undeniably wonderful to me. Specifically she was SO encouraging… She told me I should run for Student Council (and I did, and I won). She told me to try out for cheerleader (and I didn’t …and thank god I spared myself that embarrassment)… In some weird “Tai to her Cher in Clueless” move, she BELIEVED in me -and you guys, I was an awkward mess for a large chunk of 7th-10th. I think Melissa believed in everyone. It’s no wonder she went on to become a teacher – and now the MOST amazing mom to two little cuties. She has this unwavering belief that you can be more than what you are. And she. is. HILARIOUS. Which I did not know fully until she and I traded baby and birth stories behind the scenes. Her tell-it-like-it-is approach helped me through the worst of the worst post C-section. Her sense of humor has to have played a part in her own AMAZING and very difficult pregnancies that she handled with unbelievable grace and spirit. And it for SURE played a part as she may or may not have attended NKOTB concerts as an adult….. (she totally did). She is all about family, fun, giving back, caring about those around her, and keeping it really really real. What more could you want in a Queen?  So from Hobbs Royalty to her beautiful home/husband/kids and beagle, I am so proud to call Melissa my friend.

❤  Thank you for being my friend, daydream believer, and a Homecoming Queen.  ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

She may kill me but here is yearbook proof – with super cutie Brandon Harper… 


and then proof that she literally has not aged a day – the Melissa 2.0 upgrade with super cutie Troy Aikman.  😀


Robin Behl​ is too big to fit into this font. She is too big to be explained. She is too big to be “summed up” in my little project. She’s a tea kettle, so much is packed into that tiny frame, heated up and bursting forth into life. I’ll just try to harness a little bit of the whistle.
We met in Hobbs. I have her prom picture she handed to me in 1994 at my graduation, – she a Sophomore who was going to miss me. We had no idea we would become lifelong friends. And then we were friends at New Mexico State. Then I went to her wedding where she was whisked away on a Mesilla Valley Fire Department engine with what became her true marriage when the first dissolved – a family of men she fought fires with, a family of men she grieved with upon losing one of her own, her family of heroes. And she became an EMT. And she saved lives and told me to stop smoking. And then she jumped in a little car named Frankie and drove all over North America. Then she stayed in a little ice hut in Greenland. She became a Physician’s Assistant. And she saved more lives, and she worked in cardiology, and she was just brought on to Columbia Med Cardiology Department in New York City.   Little Robin Behl with the magnanimous giant heart, healing hearts.
She is a nature lover. She is an adventurer. An explorer. Strength beyond her body, world-view beyond her sight.
She is the most expressive mover. She is a dancer. She is an artist. She is a human poem.
I cannot say enough about my friend Robin, because she is too much for this. And there is so much more that will need to be written and added as her fluid movement never stops.
If you are lucky enough to also have her as a friend in your life, you know.  Tiny little Robin is as big as the towering skyscrapers she dances between.  behl

❤ Thank you for being my friend.  #TheFacebookProject

I met Will Beakley my Freshmen year at NMSU, in the dark den of a computer lab that we snuck into late at night.

The year was 1994. The game – Descent. It was there, in the thick of Jansport backpacks and scientific calculators, with fledgling adult males discussing Linux machines and Netscape, that I encountered my first taste of what would become the modern day computer geek – you know, that guy you went to school with who makes a helluva lot more money than you now? The room was FULL OF EM. I chose my screenname “Mantis” … because she eats the head off the male after…..anyhoo – and I flew my little spaceship in a 3D universe trying to blow a reactor – and I had fun. Will sat next to me, and actually coached me a little on how to not die. Those guys were so nice to me, and it was there that I learned a few things about how to communicate with an early 90s dude. The music is really the best thing (okay, for ME) about the burgeoning 90s video game explosion – and Will FULLY embraced the soundtrack to his gamer god existence and his real life. Speaking of real life, he went on to graduate, become a programmer, rip all his hair out researching code (you like that? 😉 ) and move to Phoenix where he met and married the most beautiful (and still best wedding dressed evahhh) Addie E Lafferty-Beakley, and have the most beautiful and precocious little Zoe, and become what can only be described as Grilling Gourmet Metal Dad of the Year.
Will is such a kind and wonderful soul. He and I really hit it off back in that dungeon of nerds (hehehe) and we were fast friends from then on out (funny enough he was ALWAYS the surprise friend of my next boyfriend haha…what like I had a type or something?) He was my dark malty beer swilling bud, he was ALWAYS my bouncer at every party I threw (there were many…I think I owe you some money), he was my big protector in a mosh pit or my big protector on campus – he was just always caring about all of us. There are pictures of Will at pajama jammy jams…that I do not have and sadly will not be able to put here. but I have faith in the rest of you that they will be found. I hope that some day we can get our kids together and I can sip Sangria with Addie because I know we would click as fast as anyone!

I’m proud to be your friend and love that we can share toddler hell stories now!
This is your photo, Will, from Halloween at Chameleons… the Ulcer show.
I think it probably says more than my ramblings. I loves ya! 🙂
❤ Thank you for being my friend#TheFacebookProject

— with Will Beakley.

Austin Miller
I met Austin at Frontier Airlines. He is too big of a force to write about in prose. I am going to describe Austin in slam poetry.


bitten off calf scar everyyybody loves Austin.
All stitched up, Lilo and Stitched up, but if you’re Nemo then He’s BATMAN,

He likes big cats and he cannot lie.
Rolling on the floor like Madonna. Lady Madonna. Madonna Mega Mix Brittney Spears dance.

Selfie. LETMETAKEASELFIE. Oops you did it again.
Put your pants on put your shirt on get to the gym.

Come out come out, you finally came out. My heart was so happy when you finally came out. Pup. Bear.
Austin, my Austin.
I love you.

❤ Thanks for being my friend. I MEES YOU! ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬


When I turned 21 the Las Cruces bar scene was a hopping dive-y nightlife-filled college town.  I say that in a past-tense as anyone who knew it then knows that NOW the landscape is very different.  Back in my day we walked to The Club.  Uphill both ways.   Hurricane Alley was literally just an alley.   There was the Great American, Cowboys, Club West, Aggie Sports Connection, Las Caras at the Hilton (where I cocktailed),  and on and on.  It was at The Club where I met Mr. Scott Guthrie.  He was a big, intimidating, long twisting goateed bartender who when he spoke forced you to lean in to hear him which made him even more intimidating.  I think he may have scared me a little.  I used to follow a local band called “The Liar’s,” and he was their guitarist.   As things go in the LC, we came to know each other in the same bartender circles, and then just the same circles, and then we wound up living on the same circle.  I was Scott’s neighbor in 2008 for a year and a half (and lived across the street from the lead singer of his then band as well)…and I still miss our ‘hood.

Here is what I know about the illusive and mythological creature that is “the Scotty.”       His goatee is legendary, defining.   He is deeply kind.  He is devoted to his wife and sons and friends.   Scott is METAL.  Thrasher.  He is an independent spirit born of the patriotic live and let live political zone of thought.  He is matter-of-fact, meticulous in his movements and mathematical in his results, a perfect combination for an amazing musician and amazing bartender (again – just my *absolutely correct* theory – bartenders are the best people on earth).  He coined “Club Kitty” to my little black cat that would cruise down our street to hang out with him during happy hour and rehearsal.  He played “Shipping up to Boston” for me on the juke at Hurricane my last few weeks in Las Cruces before I moved.  He gives a lot of shits about good people, and vice versa.  I enjoy his friendship now on Facebook as a common sense respite from the daily crazy.  Is he a Yankee’s fan?  Yes.  But not everyone can be perfect at everything.  He likes the SeaHawks more, I think…

He has been in every band that has ever played in Las Cruces.   Hey is that Paul McCartney?  Oh Look Scotty’s on guitar!   Metallica?  Bieber?  There is Scott Guthrie!    Seriously…every band.  Look it up.

There were many nights closing down my bar at midnight that I would choose Scotty’s bar over any other, for the great conversation, the great drink, the great dude that he is.   I miss you!

❤ Thank you for being my Rock Stahhhh friend!   ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬


Check out Scott in his band Cordova if you are in the area btw!


I moved from the tough streets of Brockton, MA to the lunar surface of the moon in the summer of 1985.  By surface of the moon, I mean our family moved to Hobbs, New Mexico.  Hobbs is a little oil town on the West Texas/NM border, and they are so torn as to state loyalty that they simply call themselves Hobbs, ‘Merica.    Really.

My 10 years had taught me a lot about bike riding, holidays, Barbies, and roller skates, but very little in the way of how to deal with crippling outsider loneliness. Mrs. Walthall, my fourth grade teacher, with deep red lipstick that bled into the wrinkles just a touch, and a love for the Carpenters (she played their records every Friday for us) still had us bow our heads in prayer at the beginning of class.   I came from a giant brick school built in the 1800s (before New Mexico was even a state), to a single story sprawling/built for tornadoes/recess on a lawn full of goatheads instead of concrete elementary school with people who spoke in full Texan.   I couldn’t understand anyone, literally, and when boys sent me little check yes or no love notes, well-meaning Walthall stood in front of the entire class and said “BOYS, do not ask Laura to be your girlfriend, you are embarrassing her!” and my god if that woman’s words didn’t stick with me through high school.

My social life was over.  It was a sham.  There was nothing that would save me.  So I sat during recess every day (it felt like months…I will guess possibly a week) on an adobe planter and cried my little eyes out.  And then it happened.  One day, like a bad Brady Bunch, a soccer ball came whizzing directly at me.  I caught it – threw it back – and my soon to be new friend Denise Ramirez said “HEY!  Why don’t you come play with us.”

I had just been picked.  To play.   ALL the reindeer games.  And so began my initiation into full badassery.  I became a soccer player.

It began slowly enough – getting to stand in the goalie box with Matt Matthews or Chad Evans, who coached me like no other… no one that came to play was “just a girl”…we were fierce competitors…we were a team… we were the Walthall Wolverines, that field was Sparta, you were going down.  For real.

I would go home every night and kick my soccer ball against the front of our brick house…thwack, thud…thwack, thud… over and over until I found just the right spot on my foot.  I remember one winter, it snowed – the field was fresh, the ball sluggish in the air.  One of the really good guys from the other team (Ms. Isabelle’s class – formidable, hungry) was tearing towards me, the ball in tight, controlled, swift movements.  He thought he’d fake me out.  I dove – butt to the ground, sliding right through his legs, soccer ball in my possession and up into a full run down, pass – score.  I felt like a god that day.   Soccer – sports, athleticism, competition – made me feel alive.  It gave me a closeness to my teammates, my now friends.  All those years ago, those little kids on the playground followed the rule by which we really all should live.  It didn’t matter if I was new, a girl, a Yankee (gasp), it was “can you play?”  …. and if not…”let us see where you fit, let us show you.”    Those kids are beloved pastors today, rodeo-ers, trainers, sales and marketing staff, rock stars, government employees, government protesters.  Those kids changed my self image in a very positive way and I owe them thanks for that.  The Walthall Wolverines had an end of the year bash at Mrs. Walthall’s home.  We watched Neverending Story and ate orange creamsicle pops and hot dogs.  I held Matt Matthew’s hand (my first ever boy hand hold you guys!  BIG deal.  😉  )  Walthall didn’t even tell him to stop.  😀

Those days on the elementary moonscape soccer field are why today I feel that sports for women gives you a very specific equality and edge in a world essentially run by men.  Ladies – get in there, play, dive in the mud and hold your own.  You’ll find you have so much more inside and you’ll seek and find that in others.

And sometimes you just need to kick a few balls around to get your mojo back.

Go USA this weekend in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015!

❤  Thank you ALL for being my very first New Mexican friends, and picking me for your team.  #TheFacebookProject

pics to come.  I promise.

I’ve been doing the Facebook project this month with a bit more remembrance of my 10 year mark from the rape. Well here is one friend that I met directly because of that incident. No, not my Attorney (NM’s beloved Governor btw..hahaha) – no not the detective or my therapist (they’ll be coming up this month too). No this one may surprise you.
I had to be deposed by my rapist’s counsel at the DA‘s office. And there he was…
Matt Madrid was INCREDIBLY kind to me – I want to stress that. The entire situation we had to go through together was so ugly, and so painful, and so he did his job. He did his job very well. He defended a client, and that is what attorneys do. The night that I “won” and the rapist was put away for 50+ years with no parole, my family and friends went out to celebrate. We went to El Patio, and at the bar, sat Matt…also in need of a beer. We ALL needed a lot of beers after that case. Our eyes met and he quickly looked away, so I walked up to him and said “WELL…we know who each other is, just wanted you to know I do not hold this against you.” He bought me a shot and said it was perfectly acceptable for me to hate him. I didn’t, and I’m sure he thought I was nuts, and we went about our merry way.
A year later I started tending bar at My Bros Place…and met Katrina Barney, who was a very close friend with Matt, and happened to be an occasional patron. Well……. story story story story we became what I would consider actual friends. I even got to drink really good wine at his house once, get into an argument with him, and leave his house at a rapid 20 mile an hour screech off in my car. (If any of you know Matt, you’ll know why I was driving so damn slow)
Matt is difficult. It isn’t just the attorney in him that is difficult. It is the Army Ranger in him. He is closed off, and private. He has a wicked sense of humor (wicked in both the evil and the Boston way). He enjoys partaking of the more hedonist enjoyments that a financially endowed lifestyle can allow for (HOW WAS THAT FOR PUTTING IT NICELY – THE LAW!). But the thing is, he has a dead on sense of who is good and who is full of shit, and when you are a good one, he lets you know he has your back. He knows how to have a VERY good time, but he knows how to take care of his assets, how to protect his family, son, those he cares about. He’s a pretty good guy (as long as Rumpleminz is kept to a minimum). Outside of attorney – man of the people – Matt is a golfer, he probably gets ALLLL the free perks in Vegas, he is a gun collector, he is a fine wine collector. He knows how to jump out of an airplane under fire. He has done things that Brian Williams said he’s done. He is conservative, he taught me what Memorial Day really means. He doesn’t always believe in “fair” but he fights for it when it counts. You cannot get things past him. As a former bartender for the man of the people, there is nothing more enjoyable than being on that side of the long polished oak and observing the faces Matt makes at very attractive very drunk ladies trying to discuss…anything with him.
Matt text me one day out of the blue to tell me that the length of time for appeals had been expended. He did that just to let me feel better…he did that because he cared.
Thanks for the tips, Matt. Thanks for the shot nine years ago.

❤ Thanks for being a man of the people and my friend. #TheFacebookProject