Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New kittens: Simon and Henry

Our new kittens;  Simon (left) and Henry (right)

I know.  Pictures of kittens are just like shooting fish in the cuteness barrel.  But we just brought two home from the Larimer County Humane Society shelter in Ft. Collins, so I need to get this out of my system.  Simon and Henry are brothers, two months old.  Bei is extremely  excited, and Ellen and I are having fun with them too, even though we both realized that we may still have them when we're 70.  The only decent photographs I can get are when they're sleeping.  The rest of the time they move too fast to actually focus.  I already have a bunch of blurry pictures of orange things.  Welcome to the family Simon and Henry.

Henry, I think, beginning to work on our couch.

Discussing how to destroy our couch.

Dreaming about how to destroy our couch.

Henry.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Laramie Enduro

Riders beginning the 70+ mile Enduro.

A few photos from yesterday's 70+ mile Laramie Enduro (mountain bike race).  Congratulations to all the racers.  

Racers on the starting hill.

Dan McCoy at the start of the race.

Racers just after the start.

A rider near the start.

On the way to the Windy Windy.

On the way to the Windy Windy.

The bottom of the hill at the end of the Windy Windy.

The bottom of the hill at the end of the Windy Windy.

The Windy Windy hill (aka broken bone hill).

Heading off onto the fast section below Windy Windy. 

Heading off onto the fast section below Windy Windy.

Aid Station #2, mile 30.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lida Lindstrom, 1892: Laramie history

Inscription on sandstone west of Tie Siding, Wyoming.
(Click image to view larger version)

I was out in the Laramie Basin yesterday, enjoying the monsoonal sky and the wide open views, when I stopped at some sandstone outcrops near Tie Siding to look for old inscriptions that I'd seen there quite a few years ago.  I documented a few of them before I drove home, where I did some internet research to find out what I could.  Lida Lindstrom's family history is beautifully documented by a relation, Erik Lennart Elg, of Sweden, where Lida's parent's were from.  I've summarized some information from Erik's documentation below, but the story is told much better by him and with more detail on the Elg genealogy website.


On the summer solstice of 1892, a 21-year-old woman named Lida Lindstrom stood on the Laramie plains and carefully carved her name and the date into soft sandstone near her family's ranch. Lida, born in 1871 in Omaha and the oldest of 7 siblings, had moved to Wyoming with her parents after her father was transferred by his employer, the Union Pacific Railroad, from Blair, Nebraska to Sherman, Wyoming, where he lived in a small log shack with other railroad workers. John's wife, Emma, still in Nebraska, grew lonely and caught a train to Wyoming with Lida, their only child at that time. The shack was a mess and Emma angrily set to work cleaning it up. The co-workers moved out, and John, Emma, and Lida lived there for 6 months.

Sherman disappeared after the Ames Monument was built and the railroad was straightened, bypassing the town and eventually, the family homesteaded near Tie Siding (est. 1868). John stayed there until a few years before he died, when he moved to Ogden, Utah.

Lida grew up on the homestead, picking up coal that fell off of the train cars to help feed their stove in the winter (there were few trees), growing vegetables in their garden, and dealing with her father, who sounded at least a little harsh and alcoholic, sometimes beating his kids to teach them a lesson.

When Lida and her sister, Hulda, "came of age," they were taken to Laramie where John "let them off on a corner" to find work. They stayed with their mother's sister in town. Lida attended the University of Wyoming and earned a teaching certificate. She married, and her husband owned a butcher shop in Laramie. Once, she had to pay her father's medical bills after he had his jaw broken in a bar fight.

Information about Lida fades after her time in Laramie. She moved to Washington State later in life, where she presumably died.

One sometimes finds the names of people carved into rocks or even ancient petroglyphs, and wonders what those lives were like. Lida's sounds rich, and she left a little trace of it on the Laramie plains.

Other inscriptions, presumably by ranchers, in the same area.

Sandstone where generations of ranchers and settlers carved their names.

Sandstone and monsoonal storms.

Looking northwest over the sandstone outcrops.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Carnivals

The Himalaya, Coney Island.
(Click images for larger view)

It's summer carnival season.  Here in Laramie, the Jubilee Days carnival is set up downtown along the railroad tracks in seedy glory.  The Union Pacific train engineers lay on their horns as they pass, but the kids at the carnival hardly notice.  A country band plays in a parking lot, and a few people dance, but the music is mostly drowned out by all the generators that power the rides.  This year, inflatable swords were a coveted prize, and friendly sword fights broke out under the neon lights among all the tattoos.  

In other places carnivals are more permanent, and even seedier.  Coney Island is one of the most famous, along with the Bruce Springsteen celebrated New Jersey shore carnivals.  

A few images from Laramie and the East Coast:   

Putt-putt golf.  Keansburg, NJ.  2008.

Keansburg entrance at dawn.  NJ.  2008.

Primitive visitor.  Keansburg, NJ. 2008.

Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.  Coney Island.  2008.

Coney Island.  2008.

Coney Island.  2008.

It's an exciting world.  Bei with Immy Smith, Laramie Jubilee Days.  2008.

Bei, Jubilee Days, 2008.

Laramie Jubilee Days.  2010

Laramie Jubilee Days.  2010.

Bei, Laramie Jubilee Days.  2010.

Bei,  Laramie Jubilee Days.  2010.

Candy apples, Laramie Jubilee Days.  2012.

Jalapeno eating contest.  Laramie Jubilee Days.  2012.

The Zipper.  Laramie Jubilee Days.  2012.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

From the Archives: Kashgar

Naan, Kashgar.
(Click images to view large)

It's been too long since I was in China.  Summer reminds me of our trip to Xinjiang in Western China in 2006, near the end of the year that we spent teaching in Yunnan.  In the summer, the old Silk Road town of Kashgar (Kashi in Chinese) is hot, and life is lived mostly out on the street.  People even drag their beds out into their front yards to sleep at night.  The Chinese are working hard to swamp the Uighur culture with Han culture, and since we were there have even bulldozed part of old town Kashgar which was a center of Uighur history.  I was lucky enough to have visited before that happened.  

Kashgar kids.

Early morning Kashgar: talking with a neighbor over a wall.

Kashgar street scene.

Bei with lamb kabobs!

Uighur man, Kashgar animal market.

Not udders.

Wupaer market near Kashgar.

Melon stand.

Kashgar window.

Kashgar curtain.