Archives for category: New Mexico

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

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

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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

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Today is Mrs. Wieser’s birthday.  As such I have decided to “facebook project” her.  She is one of two English teachers that insisted I write write write!  Publish a book!  Write your stories!   Well, I’ve tried and my stories are …. meh… so I’m writing all of YOUR stories.  😀

Mrs. Wieser was our English Advanced Placement teacher at Hobbs High School.  We were the pilot program of the class that would be allowed to take an AP test at the end that could count as college credit and opt you out of intro courses when you went on to a university.  She called us her “AP Babies” and we all just adored her.  Little ducklings following her dutifully down the Mississippi in Huckleberry Finn.  Having the best AND worst of times reading Tale of Two Cities.  That class- there were about 8 of us – was one of the finest learning experiences of my young career as a student.  I was seated next to the cream of the crop at our school.  Our future Valedictorian, the driven type A’s…  I was a driven type B if there can be such a thing, and Mrs. Wieser understood and embraced that.  She knew I didn’t have Harvard in my sights, but she knew I had talent, and she enjoyed reading my work.  OHHH I JUST Love love love that she would mark little red pen comments on EVERY page.  She read every page, every sentence.  There was never just a check mark without explanation.  She dove into your brain and sat in the back seat to see where you would drive her.  She used to say “All studies are gymnastics for the mind.”   She was teaching us how to learn.  She taught us how to read something and dig into why an author would FEEL that way.  Why an author would write that sentence in a time he or she was living.

She had a way of speaking to us, each word had meaning and place.  She was SO. Elegant.  So very southern and precise, but there was such a mischief in there.  One of my favorite things about social media, is the sudden expansion of your social knowledge of someone from the role they played in your life.  Mrs. Wieser was our teacher.  I, at the age of 16, didn’t think of her as a wife, a mother, someone with a past and a future – and to see her now, on Facebook, with her kids posting these gems of photos from her days as a young woman, kissing her husband, mugging for the camera, making funny faces…what joy.  What joy Mrs. Wieser brings to her family, and that translated so well into her work.  Her former students cannot help but reflect and return to her and let her know it was she who gave them that spark to write, or read, or care.   She who made us just that much better in the world.

❤ Thank you, Mrs. Wieser, my AP Momma, my elegant inspiration, my friend.

#TheFacebookProject

(this photo is captioned as her last day of student teaching at Heizer, a few fashion choices before I met her in the fall of 1992)

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Bill McCamley
I’ll start by saying, Hey Bill, I’m doing a brief bio of “why we are friends” on Facebook and you’re up! As we only FB friend-ed very recently, you may want to know why this is happening to you. Even people who know what I’m up to want to know why this is happening to them – all good!  😉 One of my friends even said You’re going to do one on the State Rep?! And I said hell yeah I am.
So – what do I say about the State Representative from Dona Ana County? Twice elected. Democrat. Las Crucen. Aggie. Harvard Grad.

Well to begin with I know Bill because I worked with his mother Linda at Frontier Airlines (I should friend her! Just realized!) When I first met him, I told him that I knew his mom, and he informed me that everyone shakes his hand, and says “Oh I know Linda!” Well, after years of well-earned success, I’m pretty sure Bill is known on his own merits by everyone these days. Regardless, now being a mom of a son myself, I get how proud of him she always is. I went to him once, during County Commish days, to talk to him about hotel meeting space – just a sales call. He took me in to his office, asked what we had, wrote down contact numbers, gave me his info, and wanted to know how specific people were doing, how business was. For anyone who has ever done sales, you know that isn’t how it goes. That is how it goes with Bill. He gives a shit. It is why he wins elections, it is why he is perfect for New Mexico, and it is why the future is unbridled for him.
Bill, you are dashing, bright, warm and absolutely inspiring. I have always wanted to make a foray into politics, and if I do the first person I would ask for tips would be you. I am honored to watch your success, and now you have a Democratic supporter in the Kennedy land of Cape Cod.

Now get out there and kiss some hands and shake some babies!

❤ Thanks for being my friend! #TheFacebookProject

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