Archive for the ‘Interviews’ category

Watch “Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2014 – Felicia Lujan” on YouTube

December 28, 2018

Missing this conference…

Dr. P and Rogan Hash it Out

November 28, 2017

Love this discussion and I agree 100%. It’s between Joe Rogan dropping F bombz with tough love and Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical science and a B.S. in biochemistry- chemistry. This lady has done extensive research on aging, cancer, and nutrition in addition to the importance of mindfulness, stress reduction, and sleep. The latter being critical to me right now. 

Dr. Patrick’s studies improved her personal battles and her findings have shown that vitamin D “is critical to serotonin production,” and serotonin makes you happy. Less than 30% of Americans get adequate levels of vitamin D.” She says that when people feel “negative or low-energy,” that “it could be as simple as vitamin D.” You can read about that in 5 Foods for a Better Brain.

Neil Degrasse Tyson❤and the Science of Fitness with Terry Crews

October 31, 2017

I seriously loved this interiew by my favorite astrophysicist who has also trained alongside Terry Crews. I love Neil. Anyone who doesn’t think fitness is critical in improving both the personal and professional life should think again.

My Lil Hillerman Interview

September 19, 2015

This interview is from the 2014 conference. It just went up on the Wordharvest channel on YouTube this week, so I wanted to share it. I’m honored to have my interview footage alongside those of several famous and infamous authors. Unfortunately, the sun was in my eyes, so I’m squinting through the whole thing!

Coincidentally, the video footage was edited by a guy from my gym. He recognized me and told my boss he knew me. He knows me from a very different world LoL. He was proly like… “is this the same gal? Hummm?” I never knew he did stuff like this. I guess you never know what iron lovers do on their spare time eh?

I’m looking forward to the 2015 conference. The author of Longmire will be there to talk about the move to NetFlix, which is awesome!!! I loved meeting him even though I don’t love any cowboys. Maybe I’ll ask him if he killed off Chase since I’ve only watched the first episode. I thought it was kinda symbolic in my real world.

Jason R. Baron: why companies should pay attention to growing data volumes and to analytics

September 17, 2015

Jason Baron is awesome!!! Big data, analytics, predictive coding, business ethics and digital humanism… I love Baron’s fannnntabulous mind!!! This is a smart people watch. ~~~Felicia

eDisclosure Information Project

IGIJason R. Baron is Of Counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath and Co-Chair of the Information Governance Initiative.

He was a keynote speaker at the LawTech Europe Congress in Prague last year, where he gave us many good reasons why companies should be paying attention to the ever-increasing volumes of data which they create and keep, not just to reduce cost and risk but to uncover valuable data.

This is one of two short videos which he recorded for me on that occasion. The other will follow shortly.


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An Interest in the Undead: An Interview with Author Ray John de Aragón

September 9, 2014

An Interview with Ray John de Aragon_Logo
Ray John de Aragón has been called “one of New Mexico’s prolific Hispanic authors” and a “master of both the English and Spanish languages making him one of the top bi-lingual authors producing today.” The Hispanic American author who was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico has a rare mix of artistic gifts. Not only is he a writer, but he is an “internationally recognized santero” and artist. This man with an intricately carved professional career also shares creative energy with his community as the District Arts Coordinator for the Los Lunas Schools. Aragón is an educated man who majored in American Studies and actively participates in scholarly and artistic events.

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I often thought about the idea that written words possess a great power. Words can make people think. They can make them laugh, and even make them cry. Written words have changed the course of history and have directed civilizations.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

Ray John de Aragon and Doña Sebastiana

~Ray John de Aragón and Doña Sebastiana~

Aragón’s award-winning/bestselling book Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy (2006) has been regularly reviewed for several years. The onset of reviews is said to have spurred the Hispanic writer into the national and even international spotlight. He has been featured on streaming media and has made several guest appearances on radio and television over the years. This includes being featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision. The same bestselling book is also used by students in courses at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Notre Dame, Stanford University and the University of New Mexico.

I am always very honored when Ray John de Aragón asks me to write about him. It is great to be respected by such an accomplished writer who is known internationally by scholars, authors and artists alike. I had the pleasure of meeting Aragón in 2011. I met him not as an archivist, but as a writer. We met a little over three years ago at the National Hispanic Cultural Center during the 9th Annual National Latino Writers Conference. For that conference, Aragón was a presenter in addition to being a distinguished guest of honor. Visit these links to read more about when I met Aragón at that conference or to read about what I have already written about Aragón.

Since I have known this author, he has published four books. This is the third that I will write about. Between the late 1970s and 2014, Aragón has written a total of 10 books. In retroflex this includes: New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore (2014); Lincoln: Images of America (2013); Enchanted Legends and Lore of New Mexico: Witches, Ghosts & Spirits (2012); Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico (2012); The Legend of La Llorona (2006); Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy (2006); The Penitentes of New Mexico (2006); Hermanos De LA Luz: Brothers of the Light (1998); Hermanos De La Luz: Living Tradition Of the Penitente Faith (1997); and City of Candy and Streets of Ice Cream (1979).

“The story I will always remember, of course, is the one of La Llorona. I grew up with it. I was told where she had lived, and where she had died. She is an alma que anda penando, a soul in search of peace. I can honestly say that I heard her one night. Her piercing cry was like the cry of a demented woman. One would have to hear it to believe it.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

Aragón is married to Rosa Maria Calles. He and his wife are fixtures of Valencia County and are very well known in Los Lunas. Calles is originally from Tome, New Mexico and they have four children. Aragón found his creative and intelligent match in Rosa Maria Calles, who is “a renowned artist, playwright, director, and producer.” The couple is actively involved with the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts and in 2007, Aragón was recognized by the Valencia County News-Bulletin for winning “statewide attention for art programs” as the District Arts Coordinator of Los Lunas Schools. In late 2008, the Los Lunas museum featured Aragón’s work in the exhibit “Saints and Sacred Places.” His work was again featured in 2010 for the “Nuestras Raices: Our Roots” exhibit.

Ray John de Aragon and wife Rosa Maria Calles

~Ray John de Aragón and wife Rosa Maria Calles~

It is likely that Aragón’s “professional learning and growth” again sprouted in 2012 after a short hiatus from publishing books. After becoming a Santa Fe Leadership Center fellow and being acknowledged for The Art and Experience of Leadership, the author came back full force and has published 4 books since then. His latest book is New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore, which was just released with an awesome book jacket. Like me, it seems that Aragón tends to prefer the darker side of history. Our state is filled with black stories and complex mysteries. Like most New Mexicans, Aragón is intrigued by the tales of ghosts, witches and hauntings passed on to us by our grandparents. In this book, Ray John de Aragón “recounts stories from the state’s rich and spine-chilling cultural folklore.”

New Mexico Book of the Undead by Ray John de Aragon

“Folklore is a part of who we are. It is an integral part of our being. This was true thousands of years ago and it is true today. Even in this technological age, most everyone is still intrigued by stories of witches, phantasms, vampires, and the unexplained.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

The author says that his newest book is filled with “New Mexico Hispanic folklore” which is “full of terrifying creatures that traverse the dark shadows of the night.” Aragón says “these otherworldly beings appear when one least expects it. They are there, waiting in the darkness to strike in places we should not be at, or at times of the night that we should not be out.” His book “captures these forbidding spirits and tells their stories” that were passed down from generation to generation. One story which will be recounted is that of “Bloody Mary.” It will be her first appearance in a book published about New Mexico folklore. He says that some of the stories “are as old as the Spanish colonization of New Mexico,” and span our 400 year history here.

If you want to meet an author who believes in ghosts and says “seeing is believing,” you can pick up his newest book just in time for Halloween!! Aragon currently has three book signings scheduled for October. The first is on October 11, 2014 at 2:00pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Salón Ortega. The second will be on October 18, 2014 at 2:00pm at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts. The third will be on October 30, 2014 at 7:00pm at Bookworks in Albuquerque. You can also order New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore online by visiting the History Press web site.

Interviewing an Author with an Interest in the Undead

August 19, 2014

~A distorted hint of Ray John de Aragón's newest book jacket~

I am always very honored when Ray John de Aragón asks me to write about him. It is awesome that he acknowledges my writing skills and gives me respect. He is an accomplished man who is very well respected by scholars, authors and artists alike. I met him years ago at the Latino Writers Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico (see Alchemist: Connecting Signs and Symbols) You can see some of his other books I wrote about here. I am currently in the interview process with him to cover his newest creation!

His new book is titled New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore. I’m sure you know why the historian/author/santero/visionary/and District Art Specialist for the Los Lunas school system asked me right? If not…you don’t know me very well. He sent me a digital image of the book jacket and it’s awesome! Can’t wait to cover this. I’m giving you just a hint of the jacket. If you want to learn more and see the full jacket, be sure to come back for a visit to read my story about his take on the darker side of history.

Upcoming Female Muscle Feature

April 28, 2014

Today I scored an interview with a woman I have known for years who has an outstanding history in bodybuilding! Check out some of her accomplishments spanning over a decade below. I’m scheduling my interview with this female muscle powerhouse soon so stay tuned!


Revealing the Spirit of Stone: An Interview with Steve Ray Maes

January 13, 2014

~Digital composite by Felicia~

Steve Ray Maes is a native Santa Fean. He was born in the oldest capital city in the late 60s. Maes is a well-rounded, multi-media artist, but he has focused his creative energy on sculpting stone. His sculptures accentuate his love of nature, his love of wings, and his appreciation of culture. He hand selects each stone knowing that he will be moved to create an intricate piece once the stone speaks to him.

~Digital composite by Felicia~

Maes draws inspiration from his Aztec ancestors on his paternal line, while nurturing some of the artistic qualities he learned from his maternal grandfather. He started working with clay when he was just 5 years old, molding small animal figures. He also painted and sketched as a child. By the age of 13, Maes started sculpting stone. He spent countless hours watching the art students of the Santa Fe Indian School sculpt and became captivated by stone work.

Following his heart, Maes became a sculptor apprentice. He has worked for several famous artists such as Presley LaFountain, Bruce LaFountain, Doug Hyde, Van Penquin, and George Rivera, Governor of Pojoaque Pueblo. Along the way, Maes learned skill and technique from these master sculptors. From this time, he knew he was meant to be an artist, but his devotion to the arts was confirmed on a 2010 trip to Italy and Paris. Maes came away from that trip feeling connected, inspired and invigorated by the Baroque style of sculptures of Bernini, and works of the Renaissance period greats like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

~Digital composite by Felicia~

To date, the most sophisticated piece Maes has sculpted is titled ”Purple Butterfly.” The marble butterfly was created with stone inlay designs on the wings, which required extreme precision and attention to detail. Maes is proud of the level of skill necessary to sculpt such an elaborate piece. With the right music, a sturdy table and good lighting, he becomes lost in the creative process. A combination of skill, setting, and inspiration gave wings to this butterfly with perfectly carved facial features bringing her to life.

~Digital composite by Felicia~

The work of Steve Ray Maes has been featured in galleries in Sedona and Florida. His works are often custom works for private individuals. In his spare time, Maes enjoys teaching others how to sculpt and has delivered instruction to Gene Hackman. His work is unique and he takes pride in being a local artist. From childhood into adulthood, this native New Mexican has delivered energy to clay and stone with his mind and hands.

Sharing Wisdom and Creativity in a Sacred Space: A Closer Look at Santa Fe Artist Ken Estrada

August 14, 2013

The studio of an artist can be a sacred sanctuary. When it comes to the works of art created by artist Ken Estrada, that which is sacred permeates his artistic space. Estrada is a Santa Fe native who descends from the Casas Grande Apache Nation by oral tradition. He shares the wisdom of his people using art as a divine medium. His works are deep and highly symbolic. The paintings created by Estrada capture the intimate knowledge of his ancestors using signature earth pigments. The walls of his sacred sanctuary are strewn with earthy tones and imagery which helps minds understand stories of the past.

Art and artistic expression has been a great part of Estrada’s life. As a young boy he was exposed to creative thinking while he sat near the side of his grandfather, a master carpenter who specialized in Spanish Colonial designs. He believes that “everyone has a new idea or approach” to art which “essentially documents the world” they live in. For this reason, Estrada sees his art as a method of storytelling. All of his creative endeavors share “the wisdom of the elders so that it can live on” regardless of the vehicle of expression.

Grey Eagle By Ken Estrada 60 x 48_Web

~Grey Eagle By Ken Estrada (60 x 48)~

In addition to acquiring respect for art from his grandfather, Estrada also developed a profound appreciation for ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. These spectacular images have remained engrained in his mind’s eye. In his youth, Estrada spent several years intrigued by the mystical markings left by the Anasazi at Bandelier National Monument. Estrada grew up near the monument and lived with his uncle who was a park ranger there. He has said that this was “the seed” which inspired his “works and respect for past civilizations expressions of art.” This is a primary reason that the artist opts to work with natural pigments.

The most logical choice was earth,” Estrada said. “In my process I discovered that not only can I get texture from the earth, but more importantly pigments. So most of the pigment, tone and texture, starts from collecting various rocks and minerals from the canyons and mountains of New Mexico. These rocks and minerals are crushed and sifted to a fine powder then mixed with acrylic base and applied generously to stretched canvas by hand and brush.” The act of physically collecting the natural elements featured in paint on his pieces is a spiritual process.

Estrada is a man of many talents. His wife Michelle has called him a “renaissance man” and “true artist” who is “gifted in music, song, writing, art, master craftsmanship, poetry, and thought.” She believes he has “remained faithful to all of his blessed talents” by “baring his soul to the City Different where he was born and raised.” His artistic expression extends beyond imagery and penetrates several senses in addition to the eyes and mind. He not only captures images in paint, he also captures spiritual sounds though music, as well as through the oral history of his ancestors.

Concerned with the historical record, Estrada has been passionately archiving ancient stories and songs from Native American storytellers over the last year. This is a special project he founded called Indigenous Spoken Song Archival Project. The project “has been consuming his thoughts for over a decade.” Recently Estrada developed a web site for this project, which is presently self funded. He has been recording and producing this project in his private recording studio, but is eager to get on the road and travel to native reservations where the ‘Elders Voice’ can be heard. “I truly believe that if we do our part, Creator will take care of the rest,” he said.

West Medicine By Ken Estrada 30x24_Web

~West Medicine By Ken Estrada (30×24)~

The studio of this local artist is indeed a sacred sanctuary. The unique works created by Ken Estrada are unmatched and convey imagery which appears to jump from the canvas into the soul of the observer. Estrada shares the ancient wisdom of the Casas Grande Apache Nation by using art as a divine medium. The works of this artist offer a sound look into the stories of the past, and inspire a future of creativity and respect for Mother Earth. He is excited to extend the reach of his sacred creations at this year’s Santa Fe Indian Market. His sacred space will be open to the public so that people from around the world can catch a unique glimpse into the mind of a native Santa Fe artist. This year Estrada will feature his works near the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

Estrada Studio_8x10_JPG_8.2013_Web

~Estrada Studio Opening Reception Poster~
Designed by Felicia Lujan

The Santa Fe Indian Market is a local event with an international draw, and has been hosted by the non-profit organization SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts) for close to 100 years. Estrada’s opening reception is Friday August 16, 2013 from 6pm-8pm. Estrada Studio is located on the 1st floor of the Plaza Mercado Building, 112 West San Francisco Street, Suite 105, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. Entrance on Water Street across from Coyote Cafe and below Blue Corn Cafe.

Spirit, Heart and Mind: An Interview with Miguél A. Tórrez

April 15, 2013

Aristotle once said “if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” I believe that the great Greek philosopher intentionally excluded “its end” when he said this. History has no end, therefore, there are constant developments. This quote could not ring more truthful for a lover of family history. There is something about knowing where we came from that makes us feel complete. When it comes to the art of research, there is a genealogist who grew up in Ranchitos that is making major contributions to our history. This man has a passion for traditional and scientific research, which makes him a well-rounded historian.

I have known Miguél Tórrez for many years. The first time I met him he was feverishly working on his genealogy with his small boys by his side. He has been interested in history since he was just a boy, but in his early 20s he was seemingly smitten by the history of those who came before him. This was just a few years after Miguél graduated from Española Valley High School. Growing up in Ranchitos, New Mexico, Miguél was near the historic Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo). At that time he couldn’t imagine that several years later his maternal line would be genetically connected to this type of ancestry. He says “current data tells us that approximately 80-85% of all New Mexicans with colonial roots have Native American roots on their maternal lineage (mtDNA).”

The final week I collected photographs from Miguél for his feature piece he was preparing for Holy Week. His spiritual devotion bears the deep roots of tradition. As a genealogist, learning about traditions and even practicing tradition will foster a clear understanding of what shaped our people. Miguél believes that “knowing oneself through culture and language fosters a sense of pride” and this belief is evident when you hear him lecture. I asked him why he felt that our traditions were important and he said “no matter what culture a person belongs to everyone’s culture is important because it gives people an identity.”


~~Santo Niño in Espinosa, Colorado by DeSautel~~

By now I’m sure that Miguél has a family tree which extends further than I can imagine. He has done so much work and he is always willing to help others in need, which is admirable. Many people who don’t understand the breadth of family history are unaware of the vast collection of surnames they can be connected to. Miguél says that “just two generations back we can see our extended relations.” Between his grandparents and great grandparents he can claim the Torres, Romero, Madrid, Roybal, Rodriguez, Martinez, Medina and Trujillo surnames. He is proud to have discovered that some of his relatives were involved in very important historical events such as the Apache Campaigns and the Rio Arriba rebellion of 1837.

Miguél has tracked military service on his paternal (Torres) line back to Cristoabl de Torres who was born in 1641. He seems to appreciate the fact that a grandfather named Juan “loved to tell stories about his grandparents and all of his relatives.” This grandfather was born in 1915 and had extended family from Chimayó to Cordova, New Mexico. “As a child I was given a visual of life in the 1920s with his stories of travels he and his father would take on horseback and wagon to communities such as Mora where they would travel to sell their produce,” he said. Though his grandfather practiced oral history, Miguél has now harnessed the power of documentary evidence and genetic studies.

3 generations of Torres

~~Three Generations of Torres Y-DNA~~

Miguél is currently in charge of about 100 paternal lineage (Y-DNA) kits. He collaborates regularly Angel Cervantes, the New Mexico DNA Project Coordinator/Group Administrator. This DNA project includes “the colonial expeditions of New Mexico by the Spanish in 1598 and 1693, by the Mexicans in 1821, and by the Americans in 1848.” This weekend Miguél will make a presentation titled “The Espinosa DNA Quest.” On Saturday (April 20, 2013) he will deliver a lecture at the Albuquerque Main Library (501 Copper SW~ Albuquerque, New Mexico) on the discovery of the Y-DNA genetic code of the Nicolás de Espinosa lineage (which includes 18th century branches of that clan). The presentation will run from 10:30~12:00 and is sure to be captivating.

When I asked Miguél what he wanted people to remember about him 200 years from now he said “I hope that the work I am doing will produce results that are worthy of scholarly articles and will serve as a worthy reference thus having historical relevance. As a young man I hope that I will have many successful years in doing so and that many generations will remember my name as having been a valid contributor to the preservation of New Mexican history and culture.” I guess as lovers of history we couldn’t ask for more than that right? Here is to one amazing man making a positive contribution to our communities and to the future through history.

A Lady, A Hero and Hooks

March 5, 2013

A Lady, A Hero and Hooks Logo by Felicia Lujan

Today I took the day off from the gym because I had a few errands to run. When I was leaving work two people caught my eye in the lobby. There sat a gentleman and a young lady caught up in their own creative world. I was immediately intrigued by the duo and wondered what they were up to? I decide to approach them on my way out so that I could ask. My first question was “are you making jewelry?” As it turned out, they were “tying flies” to snag Pike in Pilar, New Mexico. I told them “my brother is a fisherman and he would love you!” Hum? They had set up shop in the lobby of my building and they were working away.

While I ran one of a few scheduled errands I couldn’t help but think about these two people. Who were they? Why were they tying flies? Were they grandpa and grandchild? What was their story? I know I love history more than running errands, and by this point I can probably add more than coffee because I made a mad dash back to work. In a split second I had decided that I wanted to know more. I approached the busy workers with a smile while asking many questions. It is always so refreshing to meet new people who want to share their stories. In a short amount of time I had learned all about these people. I also set up a phone interview with the gentleman for this evening.

~Dr. Dinwiddie and Jamie Groves Working~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~Dr. Dinwiddie and Jamie Groves Working~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

Since the first of the month I had been contemplating which woman I wanted to research and write about in honor of National Women’s History Month (2013). The more I thought about that particular young lady, the more I realized I should focus on a woman who is currently making history. I was so amazed that a 24 year old woman was so mature, caring, creative, and patriotic. This special woman and her hero/mentor/grandfather figure had a worthy story to tell. This month is indeed Women’s History Month and the Library of Congress is featuring an exhibit titled The Women of Four Wars. Ms. Jamie Groves and Dr. Stu Dinwiddie are honoring our wounded warriors in a very special and unique way which is right in line with that exhibit.

Jamie Groves and Dr. Dinwiddie are not related. These individuals just work together to help disabled veterans, still Jamie thinks that Stu is “the granddaughter that he never had.” For the last six months, they have been tying flies and giving them to Albuquerque veterans as part of Project Healing Waters. The mission of that organization is dedicated “to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.” It is such an awesome project that I was so honored to learn about. Dr. Dinwiddie is also a disabled veteran who now uses his time to help others along with his youthful partner. He has become Jamie’s mentor by teaching her to fly fish. Dr. Dinwiddie said that he was taught how to fly fish at 14 years old and that he learned from the son of Aldo Leopold!

~Jamie Groves Tying a Pike Fly~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~Jamie Groves Tying a Pike Fly~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~A Jamie Groves Handcrafted Pike Fly~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~A Jamie Groves Handcrafted Pike Fly~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

Jamie truly is a rare woman. At 24 years old she is contributing to the well being of those who made a difference in New Mexico history by protecting our freedom. She is passionate about what she does and insisted I didn’t take her picture until she “was working” and showing me the Evergreen Hand. The Evergreen Hand is a special tool invented and developed by Jesse Scott to assist disabled veteran fishermen. I was astonished to learn that Jamie will be teaching wounded warriors who have lost a hand or arm how to tie a fly with one hand. After watching them for a while, I don’t think I could tie one with two! This wonderful woman told me proudly that she sits on one hand to practice. This is how she knows that she can teach others. Dr. Dinwiddie told me that Jamie was touched on a recent visit with wounded women. Her participation in this project makes a world of a difference in a male dominated sport/hobby.

I am always so intrigued by the hidden history of our community. These two people are involved in a project so worthy of a mention. I was honored to take the time to learn so much. I learned about a lady and a hero making a difference in the lives of our wounded warriors one hook at a time.

Custom Crafted Rods by Stu Dinwiddie

Phone: 505.470.3673


Contemporary Traditionalist: An Interview with Andrés Armijo

February 16, 2013

The Contemporary Traditionalist by Felicia Lujan
In a modern world filled with instant gratification, busyness, and over stimulation, it is easy for us to become lost in all of the bells and whistles. On February 8, I had the chance to sit down with one man who is on a mission to forget the bells and preserve tradition in creative ways. A deep love of his origins drives Andrés Armijo to travel the world and New Mexico in search of stories. Andrés has been an intrinsic part of the University of New Mexico for over 20 years. In 2010, an interview with Andrés was uploaded to YouTube by UNM Live. The man with an affinity for education discusses the “dynamic tension between past and future” as evidence of that passion can be seen strewn about the walls of his office.

When the Albuquerque native with roots in Valencia County speaks of his childhood it becomes clear that he was destined to be fascinated by history. He tells a story of being captured by a photographer in 1974 while he was looking into an incubator at a local science fair. There was a distant light of a fresh memory while he remembered that day. Andrés describes himself as an ever curious child. The photograph he told me about was published in the Valencia County News Bulletin, and that childhood curiosity may have engaged Andrés in ways which forever changed him. That spark for didactic is evident as he feels that his greatest contribution to UNM has been the “satisfaction of knowing” that he was “able to encourage and support students in education, creativity, arts, language and culture.”

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote, and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote,
and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

On the day of our interview, Andrés was in Santa Fe to recruit students from Capital High School for a special program with UNM. The Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM) is intended to “integrate filmmaking and digital media, build a native New Mexican Hollywood, train the citizens of New Mexico, and foster research.” From the outside, Andrés seems like a perfect fit for the contemporary program with a mission to enlighten natives of his state. It is a modern program with a particular place for a man who refers to himself as a “traditionalist.” In his time at UNM, Andrés has had several official titles. Among those titles are Senior Academic Advisor, Senior Program Manager, Lecturer, Director, Academic Advisement Specialist, and Program Coordinator.

Andrés has indeed gone through many titles while at UNM. Of all those official titles, the one Andrés may have the most pride in may be the more personal title of Family Historian. He recalls being bitten by the genealogy bug as he questioned his mother about a 1919 photograph. The photo was of his grandmother and grandfather. Andrés asked his mother why his “grandmother wasn’t smiling” and “was standing” while his “grandfather was seated.” He was only a boy at that time, but has turned into a man who lectures others on the care of their family memories. On March 16, 2013 at 10:30am, Andrés will present Historical Family Images and Artifacts in the Albuquerque Main Library Community Room. The presentation promises “a creative approach to visualizing and narrating” family history and genealogy.

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance
with Maria Benitez Club (1996-2002)

In 2010, Andrés published Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors. A UNM professor called the book “a perfect model for anyone interested in knowing about themselves and their world through research into genealogy and photographic collections.” It was intended to be “a personal journey into the author’s past, but it is also a fascinating account of family life in New Mexico, neighborhoods in Albuquerque, the rites and rituals of Hispanos, how a family through the ages pictured itself, and how all this information and reflection enlightens the author.” Energized by the exploration of his roots, Andrés has a new book which is set for release by LPD Press/Río Grande Books later this year. The book is titled Por Constancia/So that it may be validated: Family History in the Río Abajo. The book will have research on the Candelaria, Bernal, Gallegos, Barreras, and Nuanes families amongst others.

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

When asked what he wants people to remember about him 200 years from now, Andrés seemed surprised. As an archivist it is second nature for me to contemplate the hidden history each of us unknowingly leaves behind. How will we be remembered? Several centuries from now our relatives will be looking for us. Before we are gone maybe we should leave more than a census record or a property deed? Take the time today and write down intimate thoughts about yourself. What is you favorite food? What color do you like? What are your favorite memories? Maybe if we save these notes, future generations can learn that much more about the people they came from? In any case, Andrés wants to capture the fact that he is “passionate and considerate.” He also wants to be be remembered as a man who was “intrigued and curious about his past and the world around him.” He said “I hope that will be reflected in my work.”

For more on Andrés Armijo you can visit:

Inner Strength: Fit for Life

January 26, 2013

Inner Strength

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

It isn’t everyday that I get a chance to interview someone while I am in the gym. With a short amount of time and so much to do it is difficult if not impossible to even speak! I almost always opt to deliver a quick wave “hi” to those I know while my headphones blast into my ears. One day last week I took the time to have an interview with Barbara Massey. She mentioned that she had recently won an award, so I thought she should be acknowledged for that. While we huffed and puffed on the treadmill, I tapped into the hidden history of this inspiring woman.

For over a decade I have know Barbara. Honestly, since I do very little talking at the gym I have never had a good chance to get to know her on a more personal level. I have been using my web site to feature people who I feel have an interesting story to tell. This is a great way to bring personal stories to a collective audience in a unique way. While I was a journalist, this was always the kind of writing I enjoyed most. This gives me a chance to learn, while honoring the accomplishments of those who deserve to be recognized. And so begins the story of Barbara Massey who recently received a part-time staff Excellence Award from the Santa Fe Community College.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

Barbara is a personal trainer here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I see her almost everyday as she attempts to whip men and woman into shape. I think that her awesome personality has made her a good fit for many of her clients. She is easy going, but teaches her clients about strict form and proper nutrition. It is no surprise that this former California surfer girl also ran track, pushed through marathons, studied dance, and fought real fires. The epitome of inner strength and fitness, Barb competed in her first body building competition when she was in her mid 40s. She was almost a decade older than I am at that time and so it is short of amazing that she was in such beautiful shape.

The first personal memories I have of Barbara are tied to Body Pump. Several years ago a group of Santa Feans decided to take classes to become certified Body Pump trainers. I guess we had a wild hair! The weight-based program has a focus on group fitness. The program is sponsored by Les Mills International, but was created by Phillip Mills in 1991. The classes are 60 minutes long and work eight muscle groups while listening to predetermined music tracks. The classes were instructed using free weights and barbells, so Barbara was a natural fit. I don’t believe that Body Pump had anything on her American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certificate, and her American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certificate.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Mandrills Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Excellence Awards are given to people who are excellent for a reason. Barbara Massey is genuine a model of inner strength and fitness. For a woman in her 60s she is a cut above the rest. Not only does she strive to enhance the lives of her clients, but she also makes every effort to improve herself. All of these things make Barbara a special woman who is worthy of our recognition.

The Origins of Creativity: The Secret Life of Gloria

April 22, 2012

I have been exploring how the gift of creativity has been passed on to me. To date, I have completed pieces on my paternal grandmother, two uncles (one paternal and one maternal), and my father. It is now time to explore the creativity of my mother. My mother’s name is Gloria. She would probably be one of those people who would insist that they are not creative, but I can’t help but beg to differ. I do believe that we are all creative. Creativity is not limited to artwork, and it can be gifted to us in many forms. There are three specific things that I think show that I did get some of my mother’s gifts. In this piece, I intend to explore those things that I feel make her a creative person.

I remember the first time I ever had a chance to see my mom’s collection of rare coins. It was not long ago. As an archivist, I am intrigued by all types of collections. It is amazing to think that I don’t know everything about some people, particularly my own mom. I couldn’t believe it when she pulled out the collection to show it to me. I was very impressed with her enthusiasm for what she had hidden away. She had her little research notes, or what would be deemed as some history on the coinage. Some of the coins were in small, soft bags, and others in unique cases. She had even completed a board that forced her to collect specific coins! I loved the fact that she had history I was unaware of tucked away like that. Collecting takes creativity. One needs to be creative to contemplate what they will collect, how they will organize their collection, and to think of new and interesting things to add to the collection. I deal with a multitude of collections in the archives on a daily basis (these are mostly paper collections). I also have several private collections. It is likely that I got some of my love of collecting from my mother.

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My mom has worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for 22 years. She is a Quality Assurance Specialist/Auditor. In her position she has received many awards. She was recently acknowledged by one of her supervisors for excellent job performance. I would have digitized some of her awards and put them up, but she was being sort of shy about it! In her position she is required to have a great attention to detail, as well as strong research skills. She has implemented several plans over the years on several notable projects. Some of these plans have included the research into best practices for records management and quality control, in addition to sophisticated research into federal regulations mandated for her programs. She works in teams and alone, but what matters is that no matter how she is asked to work she always gets the job done, and she get it done on time. All of the things I noted about her position take creativity. Just looking at the one that really stands out, I would say that research skills may be the main one. You have to use your mind in creative ways to connect the dots when it comes to researching. One needs to be creative to contemplate where they will look for laws, what is the best way to implement the laws into a program, or to decide which projects are not in compliance with the laws. I also got these skills directly from my mother.

Lastly, but definitely not least, is my mother’s yard. Since I was a little girl, I remember my mom loving to sit outside. She has basically made her yard a nice retreat. At the end of a long day, she can simply enjoy the beauty around her. We have taken many family photos in her yard, which she wanted me to include, but the main focus of this piece is my mom. She has grown several vividly colored flowers over the years. Some of the flowers come back, and some do not. There is a tree in the middle of the yard that died many years ago. Now the stump is used to feature angel sculptures, and other religious figures. My mom has painted that stump many different colors as time has marched on. When I was small, we had strawberries growing under that tree. I remember big smiles abound while eating them. There is a gorgeous Spanish Broom, and other bushes. Some of the flowers include the Iris and Poppy. When it comes to her flowers, once they bloom, Gloria is like a proud momma snapping photos galore! It has been a few years since my mom installed a waterfall (of course with the help of Gilbert- thanks Gil). She was quick to point out that she has a lot of help in her yard. I think that when it comes to creativity in a yard and flower garden, creativity is quite evident. I was once a professional florist. From time to time, I still create flower arrangements, and have done a few weddings for friends. Looks like I also got the love of flowers from my mame!

The longer I continue to work on this research, the more I realize that creativity does have a specific origin. I did get so many gifts and such character from so many people who came before me. Yesterday my mom and I were at a baby shower. My paternal grandma’s sister Cora kept telling my mom that talking to me was just like talking to my mom. It is funny, but not only do I look like my mom, but I apparently received a little of her creative mind as well!

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