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

lisa

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… 

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

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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