Monday, December 20, 2010

Things Change



Well, maybe not EXACTLY like that...

It does happen like THIS though: A Yin has done remarkable work capturing recent changes in Mongolian culture with a series of diptychs.

And then there's the photo essay by Alessandro Grassani called Paradise Lost, also about modern Mongolian life...

The contrasts are stark.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Party

10:00 AM... Brunch with Mimosas

4:30 PM... Pre-Pre-Party with Dark and Stormies

5:30 PM... Pre-Party with Calimochos

7:00 PM... Holiday Party with PBRs

Are you sensing a theme or is it just me??

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

48 Hours In Sin City

Last weekend Evan and I pulled out of Lander after work and headed south in the pickup, bound for Vegas. Around midnight we tried to get some shuteye in a Walmart parking lot, but I had chosen a spot right by the Big Rigs and their idling motors kept us up all night. We hit the interstate again in the predawn hours and made it to The Strip by noon.

When I told Jen that we were staying at Hooters ($37 a night!), she came back with, "You mean at Brian's [where her truck was stored]?" Love that. We weren't at Brian's, but we WERE within shooting distance of the Thomas & Mack Center-- home to the National Finals Rodeo.

After a dim sum dinner in the New York New York Casino, we caught a city bus to the rodeo. Oh, my dear God! The smells, the sights, the sounds, the skills, the hokey commentary...

It was incredible. We were in the nosebleed seats (very last row), but the event still seemed intimate AND we could stand up without bothering anyone. The night felt like it was on steroids-- all the events happening in a mere two hours. As Evan pointed out, it's pretty remarkable to watch a man earn forty grand in 3.6 seconds (especially when it takes us years!).

The next day another predawn start had us hiking into Red Rocks with all the cliffs aglow. Evan was kind enough to spend the day with me on Solar Slab, a 5.6 multipitch that was just my speed-- the perfect reintroduction to climbing for this gal.

We topped out at 11am a little low on blood sugar, so Evan dug into a Cliff Bar that had been moldering in his backpack for eons... only to contract food poisoning. Trudging along to a song in his head about puke, Evan made it back to Ruby Sue only to end up bullfrogging on the side of the highway. A passing driver shouted out the window, "Jesus loves you!"


Plans for a visit to the Neon Boneyard, dinner off The Strip and Cirque Du Soleil were put on ice as Evan's body went into a full-scale revolt. Pretty impressive stuff. The convulsions reminded me of the broncos and bulls from the night before, but the gallons of water and stomach bile that were getting loosed in the Hooter's bathroom put them in a category all their own.

And then Evan got better and we came home. The End.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This winter color palate was stolen from Lovely Clusters...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inspiration Often Looks Like This

(click on pic for music)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Togwotee Drifting

Evan and a crew of friends came up to Jackson Hole (where I am currently teaching) to ski for the weekend. On the drive over, they coined the term Togwotee Drifting for a vehicle sliding over snow or ice. I love the way the phrase feels on my tongue-- blissfully lazy with a hint of mayhem underneath.

Free associating from there, I arrive at originals and knockoffs and how sometimes covers are better than the songs they copy and sometimes they're equally brilliant, but different. Which leads me by way of Amy Rathke to Katy Perry. You be the judge...

The original:

The knockoff:

Snoop Dogg dazzles me into a puddle from which I am unable to make decisions.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

Feeling rather pitifully lacking today.
A bit like an alien trying to get home. Sacred juices running low. Needing to tap into the source.

Walked along a snowy river for a ways trying to figure out the tears.

Intellectually, I realize I'm blessed. On a cellular level, I sometimes need convincing.

This helps...

Thanks, Mei.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Festival of Lights

(click on pic for music)

It's that time of year again. Time to celebrate the miracle of light in the midst of darkness-- Day Two of the holiday whose name I cannot spell (although I know it involves many consonants and vowels).

I love watching candlelight from a menorah flickering against the windowpane or on the mantelpiece in the evening. I'm excited to get home and light mine, even if it ends up being too late to observe the occasion with the rest of the world.

Happy Chanukah. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Channuckah.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I hope you're sitting down.

What's the theory here? Kill the bull with the sheer hotness of the matador? Is that legal in Spain?

While we're on the topic of sexy things...

I could not be feeling more unsexy right now (this cold has me looking like a pimply Rudolf the Red-Nosed Raindeer, only plumper). One of these days, though, I'd like to splurge on a nice bra. It will have to be a day when spending close to $100 on very little fabric seems o.k.

Not today.

What I splurged on today (after much haranguing on the part of friends) was a neti pot. I am scared of the thing (a nasal enema doesn't sound pleasant), but desperate. My fingers and toes are crossed that my nasal passages are about to undergo a revolution in health.

And the verdict is...

I'm a believer.

The neti pot has joined the ranks of Harry Potter, lasik surgery, roller luggage, camelbacks, IUDs, trekking poles, and menstrual cups-- all things I once dismissed out of hand and now actively champion. Really?! Really.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Old-School Glamour

I was obsessed with the black and white movie section of our corner video store when I was a kid
(#31 in that Facebook fad of yesteryear).

Katherine Hepburn was my hero (heroine sounds decidedly less cool). She was snarky, independent, wore trousers, and had the weirdest accent I'd ever heard. In a word: RAD.

The best thing about movies from the 1930s and 40s was the effortless glamour and sharp conversation skills. Witty banter gets me every time-- one of those qualities I admire from afar.

WARNING: Turbulent transition.

I wandered into the Jackson Hole bookstore recently and picked up this book on the owner's recommendation:

It's a confection set in Laos that positively reeks of all the qualities I found so enthralling in those VHS tapes I watched on our behemoth (we're not talking screen size) TV set. MGM could have put this mystery on the big screen no problem. It's too bad they never did series back then because the second book is just as worthy:

It's not that I think movie sequels represent a cultural step forward or anything. It's just that I can't get enough of Dr. Siri, the protagonist in these books. He sees dead people and they help him solve crimes (in a glamorous and witty sort of way).

So much to love. What more can I say?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nerd Boyfriend


Nerd Boyfriend is pretty dang brilliant.

A blog designed to help men dress like the stars.

And for the rest of us to oggle.

Tré dreamy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silly Pilgrim

I originally wanted to post a soundbite from Greg Brown's introduction to Canned Goods on his album The Live One
for Thanksgiving. The part where he talks about getting bosomed to death by his aunts over the holidays. No luck finding it though, so here's Marilyn Monroe turkey hunting instead.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Royal Wedding

Gosh, I am a sucker for royal weddings.

Charles and Diana got married on my birthday.

And now it's William and Kate's turn.

My heart's a flutter.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing...

(click on pic for music)

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
- Maurice Sendak

Have I mentioned before that Sundays are my favorite day of the week? Well, they are.

I got introduced to Catherine Campbell's blog this morning. She's Australian. These are her goats, Lucy and Maud:

Please tell me you did not just dislocate your eyes (I can think of at least three scenarios in which you could have) because, if you did, you wouldn't be able to see these portraits by Billy & Hells that she introduced me to:

AWEsome! Especially when paired with these wack yet wonderful stuffed animals:

Tah-dah! It's Sunday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Snow

Imagine an inch of snow balanced perfectly along each branch and atop each leaf. That's what it was like this morning. Melted off by afternoon.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallows Eve

Never again will I be caught on Halloween without candy for those who knock at the door...

(click on pic for music)

Disgraceful (especially when my excuse is I was busy painting the wrong color in the bathroom annex)!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today, curled up in bed, I read books one and two of the Hunger Games trilogy cover to cover.

I started when I needed lamplight in order to see the page and ended as I heard Tina wheeling her trash can to the curb, light slanting in low through the bedroom window.

At noon, I heard soft footfalls on the porch and made some vain attempts to make my hair presentable.

Delivered to me in bed by my friend and neighbor was the most exquisite creation-- a small, square plate adorned with three raspberries and a chocolate muffin of sorts (topped with whipped cream) that dazzled with its richness as it (quite literally) melted in my mouth.

All plans to exercise and work on the house went out the window today. It was the most decadent thing, giving myself permission to take solace in things that comfort me and to accept offerings of solace from others.

A reminder that it's important to let others nurture us, to nurture ourselves, and to embrace the sometimes mysterious nature of what we find nurturing.

Life is, after all, so fragile.

Learning how to care for what we have is as important as learning how to gracefully let go...

With helicopters in the air searching for a downed plane in the Winds that carried a father and his three sons, GG's death on Thursday night, and a friend's loss of his mother earlier this month, the grieving part of that graceful goodbye is on my mind.

W. H. Auden's words, captured and complimented by an unforgettable accent in Three Weddings and a Funeral (love that movie), remain for me the most eloquent summation of loss.

And yet good always comes from pain, ultimately-- just as birth comes from death and light from darkness. After all, aren't we part of the biggest recycling program around? The law of conservation of mass would have us believe so and I find solace in that. Nothing is ever truly gone; some elements remain while others transform.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My New Job

...means that I have an office to decorate.

These folks capture my aesthetic on the job.

Organized stimulus...

Vintage texture...

Educational color.

I am a materialist at heart so I am loath to take on a new venture without the proper supplies.

Hence the importance of Field Notes.

I'll never walk into the Winds again without a Wyoming County Fair edition in my backpack.

Then there's ambiance to consider. That takes sound. I'm a traditionalist in this department and opt for NPR. What can I say? Listening to Terry Gross makes me feel smarter.

Also on my list of office indispensables are the mysteriously named "sherpa" which I found deep in the NOLS Big House supply catalog, right next to the Windex.

I am obsessed to the point of financial insolvency. I'm going to have to throw a bake sale or five to pay for my cubicle's sherpa collection. But they are so satisfying to flip from side to side. You have no idea.

Or maybe you do. Maybe you're this way too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NOLS Japan

When we shut the door for the year on the cold-water flat that is NOLS Belarus (founded over cafeteria bread pudding on Thanksgiving Day by a duo of like-minded criminals), it's time once more to dust off the postcards of Mt. Fuji and get down to business at NOLS Japan (born in the dead of winter under the influence of sake by Fabel, Roth & Co).

Last night marked the start of our 2011 season. New to our ranks is Mandy-san, who has been welcomed aboard as Rations Manager.

The Wandering Poet and Aneka's Japanese Boy fueled a productive brainstorming session that concluded with the ratification of our spring plan: We will produce and invite our friends to star in a Valentine's Day Shotgun Wedding at the Elks Club in Lander, WY.

The math is easy.

Fake Wedding + Real Alcohol = Good Times

Our vision:

1. Guest arrive on February 12th in appropriate attire, wedding presents and alcohol in tow.

2. At the door, guests pull a role for the occasion out of a gender-specific hat...

Crazy Aunt
Jilted Ex-Girlfriend of the Groom
Hearing Impaired Grandpa
Self-Employed Plumber
Wedding Planner
Maid of Honor
Wedding Crasher
Ring Bearer
Best Man
Father of the Bride

The list goes on (clearly!).

3. Each guest is armed with appropriate props...

Wedding Gown
Bridesmaid Dress
Fake Flowers
Serving Platters

You get the idea (vaguely?).

4. Ceremony and reception to follow.

Bottom line is someone's gonna get a whole mess of wedding presents...