accidental offline-ness + other first world problems

the road to medicine bow, wyoming // nov. 26 // canon 6d 

last month, in a weird twist of 'it can only happen to me' --the power was shut off in my apartment so work could be done to a nearby electrical pole, and when it came back on, i couldn't connect my laptop to my wifi. phone? yes. my roommate's xbox? laptop to coffee shop wifi? yes. but not my laptop to my wifi. 

this happened during an insane fall, so, for a while, it didn't really matter, because i was coming home from work at 9 p.m., eating a sandwich, and falling into bed. but it turned out to be, as the days went by, kind of a nice thing. i learned there are some things the internet is essential for [paying bills??? doing research on WHY your computer isn't working???], and there are some things that are simply better done on laptops vs. phones [sending emails, watching netflix, ~tumblr~]. but mostly, i realized how non-essential a computer can be. i spent days without opening it, choosing instead to read [i read five books in october, including anna freaking karenina], hike, spend time with friends, writing, or simply sitting down and watching something on netflix without doing seventeen other things. 

eventually, this golden period came to an end and after seven weeks, five stumped tech support gals + guys, and a password change, i'm back. and it does feel nice to be fully connected again, and to fall back into a routine [because i love routines] of duolingo before breakfast and emails after dinner. but i will miss the silence, the dis-connectedness of everything--just a little. 

Autumn drives

From the snowy plains of Laramie, up over the snowy range [which was, you guessed it, snowy] in the fog and past beautiful foliage and craggy rocks on our way to encampment, wyoming. more pictures + words soon.

Fort Collins | Heritage Courtyard


I had never heard of Fort Collins before moving to Wyoming--my Colorado geography wasn't that great, I guess--but I'm glad I have now! It's a great little city--home to CSU, New Belgium and O'Dell's brewery, annnnnnd there's a dunkin donuts! I spend enough time in this little city, so I think it's a safe goal to try and explore // share something different every time I go down, starting with....

The Heritage Courtyard! Located in Library Park, it's a collection of historic cabins and a one-room schoolhouse from the early days of the city. They are well preserved and a lot of fun to walk in and around--and the historical actors are full of interesting information [a little too much information? perhaps]. My sister and I had fun climbing up and down the stairs to the second floor + remembering the olden days of our childhood, when we used to play pioneer. 

The courtyard is only a couple blocks from downtown Fort Collins, so it's a perfect quick side trip from shopping + snacks on College Street. 

laramie in the summer

there's snow blanketing the pass between laramie and cheyenne, so here are some photos from a dreamy summer evening in july, when the sun didn't set until late and everything was warm + wonderful.


sinclair, wy // august 21 // canon 6d

I got off the interstate early on a monday morning on my way to an assignment for work--so early, that I had some time to kill. I had seen bits and pieces of Sinclair from the highway, so I thought it'd be cool to take a quick peek around. 

Sinclair, population 433, is dominated by the massive refinery in town. Even though it's super tiny, the town center is on the wyoming historic register of places--it has beautiful, stucco and red roof buildings with a massive fountain on top. 

Getting to wander around a town at 730 in the morning is a special feeling I won't forget soon, and one I'd recommend--especially when it's a town that small [although, I was a little nervous that someone would call the police!]. The empty streets made it feel like a ghost town, while the early morning light gave everything a warm glow. 

I wasn't in Sinclair long--enough to take these photos, really--but it was a welcome stop. It's always interesting to explore towns of less than 1000, especially when they happen to be so beautiful and interesting. 

life in laramie vii.

The rodeo announcer has a voice, rich like honey, and when he asks everyone to bow their heads for prayer, his words sliding over us--when we take our hats off, and the performer sings the National Anthem, slightly off key--well, you look around, and the pride shining in everyone's eyes gives me goose bumps, turns even my thoughts around. There are things to be proud of, in America--free press and landscapes so beautiful it makes you cry, National Parks and the right to worship whomever you'd like. And it's hard, sometimes, in the wake of everything that's always happening, all the bad things piling up in front of us, to remember that. But it's still there, I think. I'm no longer ashamed, the way I was, when I was living in Germany, to say that I'm American. It's still complicated, but there are good and bad things, and I can see that now, sitting in the red dirt outside a rodeo arena on a beautiful summer's evening. 

My friends get asked to dance with guys--I do not. It stings, but I'm learning that guys should never ruin your night, not ever. If they do? Get back on your bike, go back downtown, give it a second chance.  I dance in the epicenter of my friends and their dance partners, and as they swing dance, I spin and shake, a one woman show, until my feet are aching, and Lorde's words echo in my head, but she's a forest fire // 

Is there really anything better than riding your bike home on empty streets, with a full sky of stars above you?

the clothing challenge // fall inspiration

earlier this month, in an attempts to a. save money, b. save the planet, and c. get a little more creative about ~fashion~, i decided to issue myself a little challenge: go a full year without buying new clothes. it shouldn't be too hard; laramie has approximately 7 million secondhand clothing stores, including a secondhand sports store (!!!). there are a few exceptions--namely intimates, running shoes, emergency cold weather gear (an actual thing, when you work a job like mine)--but, for the majority of this year, i'll be prowling thrift stores and only buying what i can find.

that being said, i've been digging through pinterest to find some inspiration about what to look for + buy this fall--i'm planning a 'back to school' trip (not in school, but old habits die hard?) and will be looking for some sweet shoes, shirts, sweaters, in particular.

i took one photo in jackson [because i kind of hated it]

here is the photo-sums up the madness, perfectly. 

After living in Wyoming for a year, it's safe to say i've been seriously ~hyped up~ about Jackson // Jackson Hole [Jackson=town, Jackson Hole=the entire valley, in case you are as confused as we were]. Everyone kept telling me how awesome it was--the stores, the skiing, the atmosphere--and i was very excited to visit. 

At the risk of being a debbie downer, Jackson sucks. Seriously, friends, there are SO MANY places in Wyoming that are much better than the zoo that is Jackson. Traffic is ridiculous--most of the town is four way stop signs, and there are people everywhere. Everywhere. 

All of the stores are crazy expensive--boutiques selling 300$ shirts, 5$ bagels, art galleries upon art galleries. And, frankly, the "western" thing? Not really there. 

There are a few redeeming parts about the town--Snake River brewery has great beer + crazy good pork ramen, Pinky G's has cheap pizza, and we spent almost an hour looking through a seriously kooky secondhand store near our motel. But honestly? Most of the time, it felt like a headache. 

I look at the one photo of Jackson. Was it the "charming downtown"? My meal at Snake River? Or the legendary antler arches that frame the four entrances to the town square, primo spot for the 'gram? Nope. It's a tourist taking photos of the sheriff's deputies on horseback, while another asks for directions--chaos, pure chaos. And it's the best possible representation of this over-hyped town that is, in my opinion, the worst possible representation of Wyoming. 

an ode to 812 university.

In June, two of the toilet stopped working--
so we had to put our hands in the back and do it ourselves.
My landlord has never answered my calls, and he never cashed my January rent
[which could be a very good or bad thing]
And there's a dog who lives downstairs and howls every morning.

It is a beautiful house, though, the type that surprises people--the crown molding and the fireplace, a nice kitchen. this is a college house? they whisper, and I nod, and laugh, and tell them, yeah, i know. 

[I don't tell them about the toilets, or the wall of outlets that don't work]

I don't care that I've never gotten a good night's sleep here, because of my allergies, I've never cared about the parking or the time a random man walked into my room at 3 a.m. [okay, cared about that one, but]

I don't care because, this has been home.

14 months here--the longest I've been anywhere, consecutively, since I went off to college at 18. Three roommates--one an old friend, one a friend of a friend, one a stranger--who welcomed me to Laramie with open arms. They invited me out, stood in our kitchen chatting, invited me for Thanksgiving. There was a surprise kegger or two, complaining about our neighbors, meeting each other's families.

Now we've gone our separate ways, though. And I am excited for my new place--a new roommate, new friends and a bedroom soaked in light. But I will never sit on the back deck and watch the sunset on the alley again, and I will never see Claire in the kitchen again, and it's another little bit of me I'm leaving behind somewhere.

early morning in the tetons

Rule #1 of capturing a Teton sunrise: assume you're not a genius.

The night before, scouting a good location at the ever popular Schwabacher Landing, I had "stumbled across" a quiet little inlet, a marshy spot, that was nearly empty in the fading light. I puffed up my chest, and when my mom returned, bragged to her about it. "I think it's the perfect spot," I told her.

The next morning, we arrived at the landing before the sun, and I wandered down the trail to the tiny little inlet--only to find it a little...crowded. Turns out, it's not exactly a *secret*--but it was still good photos.

When we left Schwabacher Landing, the sun was shining, but as we headed back to the lodge we were staying [on Jackson Lake], fog rolled in--thick, thick fog. We pulled over to the side of the road, and started snapping away. And honestly? Those photos are my favorite, proving that you don't have to take the road most traveled [even if you THINK it's the road less traveled] to get the most beautiful photos.

The Abandoned Downtown of Shoshoni, WY

I've said it time and time again--A family vacation [with my family, anyways] isn't complete until we've stopped on the side of the road to explore something abandoned. [example: 1, 2.] I should get it embroidered on a pillow or something.

When I drove through Shoshoni on my way to Thermopolis, I fell in love with its tired facade and ramshackle buildings immediately.  The strange thing, however, was that because it sits at the crossroads of two highways, it's fairly well traveled and the roads are busy.  There's a gas station on the corner whose parking lot is constantly bursting at the seams, as vehicles with license plates from all over the country attempt to navigate in between large camper vans.

Originally, I had my heart set on stopping at the abandoned motel [second picture], but as we drove through after going to Lander we were all tired + hot, ready to get back to the hotel. "Let's just go a little further, though," one of my parents suggested, so we passed the turn we were supposed to take--and found the 'downtown, ' jutting off the main highway.

On either side, there were half a dozen buildings or so--boarded up, falling down stores on a wide street that was once well tread, ending at the train tracks. Grass was growing through the cracks in the sidewalk; the white paint was peeling. The only operating business still left was the "Silver Sage Saloon" [which, later, I found out is a great place to stop for a beer!]

Every building had murals of Native Americans, ranging in their skill from beautiful to cartoonish [and fairly offensive] painted across their closed facades. It was so quiet--in the 10 or 15 minutes that we wandered around, we didn't see a soul.

It's places like these that make my mind wander. Shoshoni is still home to 500 odd people--at its height, it only had 800--but the downtown is abandoned, derelict, decimated. What was it like, when the storefronts were open? When families walked down the sidewalks, when the bar was filled with patrons--the train rumbling by, the houses neatly painted? Was it ever like that?

Even now, a month out, these questions still rattle around my brain. Maybe I'll have to go back.

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