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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)

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

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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It’s Back to the Future day!
Today is the day (10-21-15) that Marty and Doc Brown fly (they don’t need….roads…..) to from 1985!
BOY – were they ever wrong about hover boards and self lacing shoes eh? *swipes words into my wireless handheld universe of everything cellphone.
My own time travel story also begins in 1985, when our family moved away from Brockton, Massachusetts and off to the desert of New Mexico. Jump in your DeLorean and cut to 2015 – and I met up with my “Mikes,” last seen when we were spry little 3rd graders, for the second summer in a row- our 39th August birthday this year.
I met the Mikes at the legendary institution that was Whitman Elementary. Twisting polished wood stairways, the imposing exterior and concrete playground where many a Red Rover came Over, the sea blue paint of the basement cafeteria, one GIANT Principle named Mr. Brennan, parachute day, THAT LIBRARY, and kids that somehow never, ever forgot each other.

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I didn’t expect what I encountered meeting up with these guys after 30 years…but it was incredible – comfortable, like we’d just always been friends. I even met some guys that came to Whitman after I left, and it was equally as easy. It’s a Whitman thing…that school was magic. We even went to a bar to grab some drinks and our ‘tender was Ms. Keri Buckley who I was a girl scout with back in the day. I of course, have the advantage of skipping all those hard years after kid-dom with this crew, but Sully and I even remarked how we remembered really being friends back in the day – these kids were cool to me…and they still are. Just now we’re all much bigger kids 🙂

3rd grade 1st mikes2

So every year they do a “Cape Weekend” and this year they ran a road race together and next year…our collective’s fortieth birthday…I’m thinking I may have to join in that run. People come and go in life – we all know that. Social media, and Facebook in particular make it easy for our generation to find people from grade school days that we thought we may never talk to again. In my case, physically meeting up with these gents made the move back to MA feel a lot less lonely. This ‘project is to really thank the Mike’s for welcoming me home – Mike Goodwin, Mike Hennessey, and Mike Sullivan – it meant the world to me. I’ll see you in August.
There are plenty more kids in that 3rd grade pic that are on here as well, and I’ll tag them too as we’re all part of a Whitman family. Michelle Packard and her beautiful family. James Smith my FIRST ever (like kinder) crush and now a Tugboat Captain! Chau Duong who cracks me up and is the MOST real about her two little boys (I feel you). Linda Sepulveda I remember sneaker skates and snoopy sno cones.  Kristen Klein gets her own post later – she was my bestie.  Michael Patrick Tierney king of the creepy punny jokes. Phil DiRusso we missed each other by THAT much. Tim Snow who has a total joy about him that is catchy. Goody’s bro!!! Alexandra MacWade and Amelia Leason who also had their OWN post 😉
I’m sure I’m missing people…tag – or hey friend me if you want and I missed you on here 😉

❤ Thanks to you all for being my first friends. My Density Popped me to you. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

This is the 6th anniversary of the very last day I spent with my friend Lisa Dungan.

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Lisa and I met because I worked with her husband at the time. We went to a work party, and I remember literally backing into a wall as she approached with this swooping confident stride and a devilish smile and a shot in each hand. Yes, I was “the Laura”, yes I would take a shot with her… and we were instantly friends. For anyone who ever knew Lisa, she was a force. A thunderstorm rolling in, beautiful, intimidating, not one ounce of inhibition. Nothing scared her. She caught rattlesnakes in her yard, she loved walking in the desert at night (clothing optional), she enchanted people into staying by her – when she was around she was in complete control and things were going to get interesting. I spent the better part of ten years with her, as her best friend, as her fellow amazon chick when we went out on the town, and as her roommate and ‘little sister’ for a time being. I watched her life unfold through lake trips and dog walks, we tried to enter “The Amazing Race” together – she DID enter a video for her favorite show “Survivor” – she pranked everyone each and every April Fools – she perped a high speed car chase (I drove) that I will never forget. She was an instigator. She was difficult, raging power. She was unstoppable.

And so, on this day in 2009 as I sat on her bed with her – she so thin from the chemo, she so dark skinned from the liver cancer, she with no makeup on and yet so beautiful – her vulnerability shocked me. We hugged, I cried, she couldn’t cry anymore. I said I didn’t want her to go, and told her I loved her. I believed I could come back over the next day and say it again and again and again, as I had every day since she threw a ridiculous party and drank red wine and played “Only the Good Die Young” to announce she was given 2 years to live. She lived 10 months. Ten months where we fought desperately to get her into the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson – but they didn’t take people who did not have insurance and she lost her job a month before diagnosis (so do not ask me again why I fought for healthcare). Ten months where we wrote to the Ellen show, we sent her to Hawaii to swim with dolphins, we filled days with bucket list things that a 41 year old doesn’t usually have to write down. Ten months of nights when she was scared and I would leave my house at midnight to stay with her. Ten months from diagnosis to the morning I lifted her purple pedicured, lithe body onto a stretcher to be taken for donation to cancer research- this strange honor I found in being her only pallbearer.

There has been no event in my life that shook me like that day.

It sharply changed the direction of my winding, ridiculous road. Which is exactly what she would’ve wanted it to do for me. The strange thing about the death of my best friend is the amount of joy I have in the memories. She was such an inspiration in how she lived her 41 years on this earth that I have little sorrow when I think of her. Just the missing. I hate missing Lisa. She would love my little boy. She would love my move to Boston. She would love all the fabulous weddings and birthdays and babies and … life that happened after she left. So I hate the missing. But I am honored that she taught me what is really important, and to hold on to the beauty of life.

❤  Thank you for being my lesson. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

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It’s Friday. You’re feeling a little Rock n Roll. I’m feeling a little Facebook Project-y. Let’s put the two together shall we?
I met Joanne Braman-Palmer​ when I was a little girl sitting on my Grandma Lawrenson’s front porch on 2nd Ave in Rensselaer. She was my Aunt Patty’s best friend. I remember her then as I if I had just met a rockstar myself. I was not wrong. She had starburst eyelashes and blonde hair – I’m pretty sure she was wearing the coolest slouch boots I’d ever seen in my life – and she handed me Moon Zappa’s “Valley Girl” single on vinyl. “YOU GUYS will get a KICK out of this!” Fresh off the presses in 1982. We did get a kick out of it, and for years I was proud of having that record, from the coolest girl in the world… this Jo from 2nd Ave.
Well, my impression was not misplaced. Jo came out to visit my Mom this Spring (once the glaciers cleared from the worst winter EVER) with her husband Jim Palmer​ (quite possibly the best joke writer on here, and also my son’s insta-favorite). She was just as radiant and rock n roll as I remembered. She has tattoos in memory of people she loves, one of them very beautifully for my Aunt Patty, who she was with til the end phone calls, the very end, of her battle with cancer. I’ve been that bestie too….it is at once an honor and a giant suck. What a deeply important person you are to our family, Joanne. Your stories fill in the puzzle of 2nd Ave for me. So many families on that street with so many intertwined stories. My grandmother has always been this vision of intense strength and unwavering conscience – you’ve given me stories that affirm that.

Now JoAnne makes magical yard art, wall art, fairy trinkets and witch spell goblets and all things enchanted. She is the spiritual stronghold for her friends and family. She is clairvoyant. She is still very much Rock n Roll, and to my delight, she shared with me pictures from the time when I met her and felt that stardust on her sleeve. I want to share them all…I’ll share my four favorites.

❤ Thank you for being my friend #TheFacebookProject

Jo with John Cougar Mellencamp.  johncougar joanne

Jo with Steven Tyler.  You know, huggin, doin each other’ s hair like they dooo….steven tyler joanne steventyler

Tommy Lee…with like ONE tattoo, and Nikki Six….hanging with Joanne…like they doooo….tommylee

Addie E Lafferty-Beakley
I have not met Addie. Have you ever had one of your friends marry someone and you just KNOW if you two were in the same town you would be super awesome friends? That is how I feel about Addie. She married one of my close college buds, Will Beakley. I haven’t had the chance to sit and get to know her, but one of these days (and we both say this) – we will get our littlekiddles together because we need to set up this arranged marriage already. 😉 She has a precious little daughter, Zoe, my son’s age, and seriously I think we’d all have a blast.
Here is ONE thing I do know about Addie. Her wedding dress kicks all of your wedding dress dreams out the window. Seriously, have you gotten married? Do you want to some day? Well forget it. Your wedding pictures should just be burned now. You will never be as gorgeous as this woman on this day in her life…. ever. Sorry, world. This is the pinnacle. 🙂

addie

❤ Thanks for being my friend (and lets really meet!)#TheFacebookProject