Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Wii-Mas!

Wii celebrate a Wii Christmas!

Wii-ing is exhausting!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

A bar built in 1722 is supposed to be a little seedy. A little run down. A little scary. And down on the quiet end of Bourbon Street--away from the hip-hop, the rowdy tourists, the gunshots that echo soundless through the crowd of boisterous revelers--you can find just that.

A group of men, boys really with baby faces flush with booze and sandy hair, sing along with bad American 80s music in German accents at the entrance of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, arm in arm and laughing. But don't let them fool you, just inside, in the dark shadows of the 275-year-old bar, tucked into wooden benches between walls of crumbling brick, couples sit, friends sit, among the clatter of beer bottles and the haze of cigar smoke. They speak quietly, intimately, smiling at private jokes and smirking at the harmless antics of the European tourists.
Inside, your companion can only be seen by swaying candlelight, the flicker bouncing from glass to face to the tired brick in a wall standing only by the grace of borrowed time. The sounds from the juke box fade away into the back of the tavern, disappearing under the sweet, sultry sounds of a crooner and her piano, hidden in the dark recesses, candles dimly lighting the music she knows by heart.
The quiet audience gathers around the piano, one of John Lennon's if the legend holds true, leaning lightly against it, sharing secrets and bottles of wine. The night is cold, for New Orleans, and as people hustle in through the open shutters--used in lieu of doors in the old shop--they breathe frozen breaths and rub hands together while waiting for gin and tonics. They stand close together and pull shawls and jackets around shoulders and waists, touching just slightly, a hand or an arm or the shift of a hip, as to convey a gentle intimacy. Despite being on Bourbon Street, they all seem to know each other and know the place and know the music.
You can feel the ghosts of history, the spirit of Jean Lafitte, in the walls, in the candles, in the bottles of aged alcohol, dusty with decades of disuse. You can hear pirate chatter and smell the fires of 200-year-old iron furnaces and taste the sweetness of smuggled rum.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas!

I've been sick with some funky air-supply-diminishing thing, so for now, I will just supply you with my most recent round of jelly-fish shots from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. I may be moderately obsessed...

And for posterity, one of Jonmikel attempting to become one with the fishes...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

View from the Top

Right on the edge of all the action!
And yes, somebody was totally shot and killed half a block from our French Quarter condo.
Nobody can ever accuse New Orleans of being boring.

Traveling to New Orleans and want to stay here? Want this view on YOUR vacation? Check out the rental here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maison Bourbon, New Orleans

The low trumpet hums on as it has for years, over the low din of the crowd and the thwomp of the hip-hop beats outside.

The air is stale with cigarette smoke and spilled gin, and the clink of glasses and shuffle of chairs fill any short silence. Low voices and laughter and applause provide the chorus.
He breaths between songs, takes a drink, smiles as he has for 13 years. He was talented and he was handsome, but perhaps he was a little too late, a little too past the prime of the waning light of jazz. He dutifully signs CDs between sets and sneaks out into the cramped courtyard for cigarette or two. Heavy draws, heavy drinks, a night heavy with humidity and one of the coldest on record.
"My pianist is 89 years old, plays every damn day and loves his vices," he confides in me. He gestures in a motion full of daydreams and resignation, a cigaretted hand with fingers curled and relaxed. "He's gonna die on that thing." He makes it sound like an admirable way to go. I sip my wine and smile.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Footprints

Yesterday, Brewer the Brewmaster Dog and I had the esteemed pleasure of putting the very first footprints in the new snow at Popo Agie Falls.
It doesn't happen often, as the trail is extremely popular, but I guess midday on a Wednesday in the off-season is the time to enjoy the Gateway to the Winds. We had the trail and the falls all to ourselves, nothing but the din of the river and the hum of the wind through lodgepole pine and naked aspen to fill our ears.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

How did we become a generation of semi-nomadic professionals?

We have real jobs, real dreams, real aspirations, real lives. 20 years ago, this meant we also owned homes and settled down and became regulars at bars and had regular garden parties and raised our kids together forever.

But somehow we've managed to "settle" into a lifestyle of happy malcontents, satisfied with interminable restlessness, an insatiable appetite for what now and what's next. Nomads used to carry all their possessions on their backs and would never buy into the modern ideal of having a "real" job. But this is the 21st Century, and instead, we've become career-oriented vagabonds.

We, the au courant breed of pioneers, we aren't trapped by what we are; instead we take what we are - our real jobs and real salaries and real benefits and real relationships and real furniture and, above all, our impressive resumes of a life well-lived though we are still rough 20-somethings - with us, rolled and folded into carry-on suitcases that fit into the overhead compartments of our lives. We jostle and haul and rearrange and live one airplane-single-serving at a time. We're just as comfortable setting up house and practicing our interior decorating skills as we are living from the trunk of a car and out of suitcases, but we always have our laptops on and our internet running in case we get an important email from work. You could say that we search for "meaning," but we've also never bought into cheesy cliches. We're just.... searching.

Maybe we don't even know why.

The reason for the introspection is a simple one: our good friends Corey and Elizabeth are moving to Michigan, a career move, as have been all their moves. They illustrate our generation: we move constantly to keep the best job, instead of falling victim to institutional loyalty and "climbing the ladder," because climbing doesn't really fit into our particular skill set. We saw them off with a parade of 12 people and 12 dogs through the wilderness, a perfect Lander farewell. They will be greatly missed. Good luck guys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Snow of the Season!

The snow falls with thick, wet thuds on the roof of the shoddy plastic shed. I can hear it, thwop thwop, through the window, falling heavily from the metal roof, and I can smell the spongy air, saturated with winter.

I sleep fitfully for the noise and dream of frozen rivers and mulled cider and catching snowflakes on the tip of my tongue.

In the morning, the sun doesn't rise exactly. Instead, the dampened glow of a frosted morning blossoms slowly through cracks in the window shades, and I know, just know, that there is fresh snow outside.

One Travel Bloggers

Hello everyone!

Today is an auspicious day, as I am writing for the first time over at One Travel! Check out my prose and my post over there!

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's That Time of Year...

The summer has oozed out into fall, creating a tenuous truce between the intense prairie sun and the restless thrust of Rocky Mountain winters. The crisp dew that glitters in the yard as the sun rises will soon give way to a June-like warmth. You wear your warm puffy vest in the morning to ward off the frost and Wind River chill, only to strip down to a light t-shirt on your ride home. The 30-40 degree upswing confounds the body temperature as it struggles to keep up.

This is also the time of year when the haze of all the wood stoves in town begins to settle into the valley. I can stand in the backyard, bundled in fleece and delicately sipping hot coffee, and take in the yellow of fall cottonwood and the smoky mist that hovers above Lander’s bungalows and old mining cabins. We have several friends who heat primarily or completely with wood, which can be a hassle but always smells to me like Christmas morning. We’ve been using our own stove nearly every morning, stuffing it full of pine and aspen so that it warms the tile underfoot.

But I keep looking to the mountains, to the snow on the peaks visible from our windows, new snow that is already starting to dwindle in the unseasonal warmth of November. Despite the short, chilly summer, I am ready for those long winters for which the wide-open Wyoming spaces are so known.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Fall has come to the North Fork of the Popo Agie River.

Yes, I'm just as confused as everyone else, especially considering this is what it looked like out here this time last year:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Team Zissou!

It's Halloween Eve... do you know where YOUR local Team Zissou member is?

Could he be lurking around your local library?

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Blogger at OneTravel!

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to announce that on Tuesday, November 9 I will be a guest blogger over at OneTravel Bloggers. Check them out here! Also, visit George's super-awesome travel site, Cheap-O Air, for cheap tickets and that other great deals on all kinds of travel all over the world! Could it be time to start planning for that exciting winter getaway?

So check out these sites on Tuesday to see my guest article!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Portrait Gallery

The Portrait
Simple, illuminating, a hidden idea out in the open, exposed
A still in time that can make the subject seem timeless
A single moment, a single emotion, a single glance, a single smile
A facial expression, a stance, translated into pixels and shades and art
Translated into something tangible
A still life from a dance
A single frame of an insatiable life

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kicks in Wyoming

Friends help friends, especially when there is free mulled cider involved!

The 4 cords of woods that brought all of us together to stack and carve pumpkins!

The best way to celebrate the first genuine not-80-degree day this season

This is what people do for kicks in Wyoming.

Pumpkin Carving in Lander

Apparently, I am the only person in Lander, WY who eats raw pumpkin...

And then there's Lander Brewing Company (find them here!) brewmaster Ted who carves, freestyle, a perfectly appropriate pumpkin: a beer mug!

So for the first time in 8-ish years, I buckle down and carve a pumpkin!