Monday, February 22, 2010


  1. Coal War / Joshua James
  2. Ten Million Slaves / Otis Taylor
  3. Beyond Here Lies Nothin' / Bob Dylan
  4. Born Again / Cory Chisel And The Wandering Sons
  5. Crossroads / John Mayer

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Exchange On Personal Style

Elvis Mitchell as photographed by Scott Schuman

Scott Schuman as interviewed by Elvis Mitchell:

Dedicated to THE sartorialist in my life, one Abigail Nason Patterson.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All The More Reason To Celebrate

Armed and dangerous on Fourth of July

Chris and Heather found their wedding song...

and Brittany Flynn stole my heart
hula hooping to Lady Gaga's Just Dance at tonight's "Stars of Tomorrow" Talent Show at the local high school.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Let's be clear:

That's Shane holding in his hands a UNICORN TEACUP.

He found it on Lander-Talk, our town's craigslist alternative. I wish I could capture the depth and breadth of Lander-Talk's brillance, but where to even begin? The hand sanitizer man scare of 2009?

Oh, and Shane didn't find just one teacup. He found EIGHT! That's EIGHT TIMES the magical powers!

Here are some Lander-Talk oldies but goodies from the archives of Karly Copeland:

Subject: [LANDER] Barbie house-5 unit condo- $25

I made this Barbie House for my daughter by buying two WalMart bookcases and assembling them with one in front of the other (using only one back).
6' tall
2' deep
30" wide

It has five floors in it, plus the top. Walls are decorated with attractive wallpaper. Floors and exterior are dark oak vinyl.

The reason Santa needs to give your kid this Barbie House is so all that doll stuff can fit in one area in your house on a footprint of only 24"x30". If you can't relate to why this is important, you don't need this super-Barbie-condo.

Condo comes with free Barbie Limo and Minivan, both low mileage and garage kept but may be missing doors or other parts.

Subject: [LANDER] Electric sewer snake needed

Ah yes, MERRY CHRISTMAS townsfolk!

Let us share our exciting Christmas Eve with all of you via the item we are seeking.

We have a plumbing extravaganza happening and are looking for an electric snake to borrow, rent, but preferably not buy.

We have enough social graces to refrain from calling our favorite Roto Rooting fellow on Christmas Day, but if we could get our hands on an electric sewer snake (for a six inch sewer pipe) we could show ourselves and the relatives what Christmas in Wyoming is really all about.

Subject: [LANDER] Found: turtle

Are you missing a high-speed escape artist?

We found a large (5") box turtle on our yard near the intersection of South
7th and 9th streets. Has interesting Batman-like markings on its shell.
Responds to the name "Usain Bolt."

Subject: [LANDER] Bear traps for sale

One Denili size 14 about 2ft long with teeth $400 or best offer. guns
Winchester 25-20 in good shape long otegon barrel $2000. Elk Antlers Big 6x6
rack on skull plate 50 inches wide scores 385 BC $1400 . 6x6 elk rack $200 .
Also 350 BC elk full skull mount $500

Subject: [Lander] Looking for a husband

Hello Lander,

I'm hoping you can help me out with something. I know it's a little unusual, but I thought I'd use Lander Talk to help find myself a husband. I'm tired of living on my own without someone to come home to. Here are some of the guidelines I'm looking for:

- Tall (I'm 6'1/4")
- Not bad looking
- Ability to dance, speak multiple languages, and cook a plus but not critical

What you can expect:

- A tall lady (see above)
- Not bad looking
- Good sense of humor
- I work out of town for part of the year, and I'm not super needy

I'm willing to pay $700. Interested folks can respond to this e-mail. Thanks, Lander!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Wouldn't Vietnam be lovely this time of year? I downloaded the visa application. Just in case, you know...

Ha Long Bay

Or maybe New York City? Morocco? Norway? Pakistan? Croatia? Spain? Ireland? South Georgia Island? Mali?


Take a plane to London
From King's Cross take the direct train to York.
Rent a car and drive across the vale to Ripon,
Then into the dales toward the valley of Nidd,
A narrow road with high stone walls on each side,
And soon you'll be on the moors. There's a pub,
The Drovers, where it's warm inside, a tiny room,
You can stand at the counter & drink a pint of Old Peculiar.
For a moment everything will be all right. You're back
At a beginning. Soon you'll walk in Yorkshire country,
Into dells, farms, into blackberry and cloud country,
You'll walk for hours. You'll walk the freshness
Back into your life. This is true. You can do this.
Even now, sitting at your desk, worrying, troubled,
You can gaze across Middlesmoor to Ramsgill,
The copses, the abbeys of slanting light, the fells,
You can look down on that figure walking towards Scar House,
Cheeks flushed, curlews rising in front of him, walking,
Making his way, working his life, step by step, into grace.

by Joseph Stroud

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. I miss her. Who else could rock a hardhat like that?

My brother recently sent me photos he scavenged from her house. And this is what struck me: My grandmother spent an awful lot of time on beaches and at dinner parties with her third husband (my grandfather was her second).

That jibes with my experience of the lady (minus the husband part-- Poppop died when I was really young).

One of my earliest memories is of her teaching me how to fold linen napkins to put inside wine glasses-- party origami. She was the consummate hostess.

Other memories
revolve around time spent poolside, where she dominated at bridge. Nanna made a religion of the lounge chair while we played in the water. Then she would say she was off to "float" for a couple of hours (code for nap time) and insist that we do the same.

She had an eye for art and design. She collected M.C. Escher and Leonard Baskin, among others. Dress, makeup, and hair always just so.
I inherited her freakish organizational skills (passed through my father)-- I can color-code anything.

She could be straight-up caustic and a royal pain in the ass...

but look at how tender she is in this photo. That's genuine. She saved every card I ever wrote her. It broke my heart when I found that out.

And she could cook. Ironic in a woman who scorned the overweight and ate half a grapefruit for breakfast for as long as I can remember. Her cheesecake was mythic.

1 box Sweibach
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lb melted butter

Blend dry ingredients, a few crackers at a time. Add sugar and cinnamon and mix in melted butter. Pat in a buttered springform (9"). Put in oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool while preparing filling.

2 lbs creamed cottage cheese
1 large cream cheese
8 eggs, one at a time
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbls melted butter
1 pint sour cream
1 tbls flour
1 tsp vanilla
juice of a large lemon

Blend all together, making sure there are no lumps. Pour into bowl while further blending and then into cooled springform. Bake 45 minutes to an hour until top has risen and browned slightly all over. Turn off oven and crack door. Gradually cool and refrigerate overnight before serving.

I miss her cooking something fierce, but what touched me most about her life were the small ways in which she stepped out of her world in order to connect with mine. We were so different in so many ways.

Sometime in the 1990s she decided to take a Stanford Alumni trip on a cruise ship in Alaska and called me for advice on packing. "Would Ralph Lauren be a good choice?" she asked earnestly.

In her late-seventies, when she had boyfriends in two different states-- one of them an Austrian geography professor named Guido whom she dated in part because he made a mean margarita, she called me to ask if I knew about free STD testing at Planned Parenthood.

And then there was the time she and her sister, Mimi, came to visit me in Prescott, Arizona where I was going to college. Nanna genuinely thought I was majoring in Leisure Living (while possible at Prescott, I was not). They drove up from Phoenix in my grandmother's 1976 silver Mercedes sedan with navy blue leather interior, both wearing fur coats and heels. I never saw Nanna in a pair of pants in my life. Our driveway was a mud pit due to melting snow, so Ry and Ben had to piggyback the two women into the house. They had the trunk of the car loaded down with grocery bags of trail mix from Trader Joe's. What else would a Jewish grandmother bring to feed a house full of outdoorsy types? We had enough nuts and berries to last through Armageddon.

These are the stories I share with my students on long paddling days. And so it goes...

Dust to dust. Feliz Ash Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Asstastic, My Bitches!!

I hope that's legible, backstiches. It's from the wacktacular world of Dinosaur Comics and reminded me how fabulous Obama's State of the Union address became when my roommate started adding, "Bitches" to the end of the president's sentences.

If you enjoy swearing as much as T-Rex, my roommate, and I apparently do, let me present Jon Lajoie-- one crude Canadian. Oh, you've already met? My bad.

And these guys? Have you met them?

They are not everyday, normal guys. Bay Area strong.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Under A Blanket Of Blue

Photo by Tina Crespo

Metalwork by Shawn Lovell

Imagine going
to bed under this canopy as a kid.

A little Ella and Louis...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day? OH HELL NO.

Or maybe yes. A small yes. A yes to flowers. Beautiful flowers.

These are from Studio Choo in San Francisco. The folks at Saipua are the other flower gurus I'm crushing on right now-- day dreaming about becoming their apprentice in Red Hook and what not. Or attending their flower school(who even knew such a thing existed?!).

Enter the confessional...

I have been obsessed with flowers for a long time. A loooooooooonnnnnng time. I can still remember the best bouquet I ever put together: in London in 2003 t
o say thanks to a friend who was letting me stay with her during a layover. Best bouquet EVER, but I have no proof.

This is the only photo I have of a bouquet I put together:

Made for my god-daughter, Sawyer Eliza Witbeck, on the occasion of her birth and emailed to her parents (we were separated by a vast swathe of continent at the time).

Then there were the years I spent frequenting Church Street Flowers. A fabulous gay couple owns the place, a spunky girl with a weakness for Irish rugby players was behind the counter, and I came in weekly for gardenias and sandersonia:

Listen. Valentine's Day is an occasion that calls for a celebration of flowers.

So for all your ice-bound, slush-bound friends like me who live in rural outposts across America (where all the best flowers come from places like Mr. D's), go out and spend greenbacks on some floral beauty for your loved ones. They'll love you for it and we'll live vicariously through you.

Win win.

P.S. Today is brought to you by the letter S for SLEDDING!

Jaime slayed it on the lunch tray, the irrigation ditch claimed no lives, the bike baskets proved their mettle, and Meagan rode our mainstay, Snowblower, to glory over the world's smallest kicker. Go team.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Fairy Tale With Power Tools And Plywood

Curtis is one of my heroes and the story of his house and how that all came to be is one of my favorites in recent memory. He found it abandoned and spent a few years convincing the owners (who live in Utah) to sell the place to him. They finally relented and a resurrection of sorts began. The house was a time capsule when Curtis bought it-- a treasure chest complete with steamer trunks, a glass Bayer aspirin bottle in the medicine cabinet, wooden wheelchair, a birdcage, prescription drugs from the '70s, ancient television set, etc. In short, it was marvelous and continues to be charmed.

Curtis' superb taste has guided his tireless renovation of the building. Big picture, he has established a floor plan that is now one of the finest in town and made the place a model of energy conservation (spray foam insulation, solar panels, thermal breaks, geothermal, and passive solar). And his eye for details makes me weep: porcelain shower head, small cupboard latches, leaded-paned windows, exposed exterior logs, subway tile, and push-button switches. Thank god for gay men.

Every once in awhile, Curtis lets me tag along and partake in some unskilled labor. Today? The caulking gun!!

And that was AFTER visiting the city dump in the morning with Chris (my first time ever). It was beautiful-- light glinting off the scrap metal pile (discarded water heaters, twisted bicycles and the like), all under a huge dome of sky.

Speaking of recycling, imagine finding THIS at the ReStore:


Friday, February 12, 2010

The Crucial Assist

Oh, the plank. God bless that sweet pain.

Elemental Training Center
is the boon of winter here in Lander, Wyoming. Many --myself included-- would be lost without the central heating for the body/mind/spirit that Steve, Jagoe and Co. provide.

So there's that. And then there's this...


Renee Jenkinson is a genius, people. Boom. What else is there to say??

Well, there's that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recent Addictions

Spent some time leaning over the counter with Shane checking out this photo off my new favorite blog, The Sartorialist. A barber shop in Rio.

If you can't read the Netflix envelope due to the photographer's shakes (still learning the ropes when it comes to digital photography), let me enlighten you. It reads, "Friday Night Lights". Yup-- our household's been holding our collective breath until this disk arrived. Phew. It's this week's crack cocaine.

And, last but not least...

Biking around town today I keep on coming back to this song-- couldn't get enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Quiet Day Spent In Bed With A Good Book

My guess is that I'd be a horrible book club member, refusing to wade through any book I didn't choose myself. That said, lately I've been reading a lot of hardbacks that scream, "Discuss me with others!" So in the book club of my mind, we are currently reading Committed and then moving on to Born To Run and Stones Into Schools. And then, of course, we'll donate all those hardbacks to the local library 'cause that's how we roll... in my imaginary book club.