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June 2005 Archives

Dream imagery

June 30, 2005

I'm a visual person. I learn faster if I have something to look at, be it lecture notes written on a blackboard, some pretty illustrations, or taking notes in colored pens and doodles. And while I do have mad skillz, they are not in drawing or any visual art.

Sometimes I've found it extremely difficult to accurately portray a scene in one of my dreams with words. Sometimes it's not really important to show that the mother ship is a little further to my left and just above the flaming tree. Other times it feels absolutely necessary.

And it's at those times that I like looking at dream imagery, like those at Slow Wave. While I wish I could recreate my dreams visually like that, too often my dreams are filled with more visual imagery than can be placed in a sketchbook.

I tried a simple sketch on a scrap piece of paper when describing a truly odd airstrip to B earlier this month. It was a simple line sketch, and I decided to recreate it to post alongside my dream.

Hopefully it will help me remember the dream when I re-read it in a few years time. Which is why I record my dreams: for me. Not for you.

Armpit Perfume

June 29, 2005

I was out of armpit perfume this morning. Going without was not an option as Alaskans sweat like pigs when temperatures reach 60°F. So I grabbed B's, something by Old Spice that he has used forever, so it must work pretty well is what I was thinking. And it's got to be better than nothing.

First: Are mens' armpits really 6 inches wide? Do men want women to believe their armpits are 10 inches wide? Why does the deodorant stick need to be so freaking big?

Also: His stuff is a soft solid, you know, the stuff you have to click up to use? "Two clicks!" the packaging exclaims. Well. What in the world do men do with all this gunk in their pits? It's really gross. Really, really gross.

I wiped it all off and tried again. I only needed half a click, apparently, but that is pretty difficult to achieve. I clicked it once and then semi-successfuly used half of the stick thing to apply it.

Finally: Every time I move my arms I get a whiff of my husband. I love this smell on him, it's better than some of his aftershave. And while I don't particularly like to smell like a boy, it is nice to be reminded of him every two minutes.


June 27, 2005

I went on a very long bicycle ride last night, just me and my closest 4000 MP3s.

I've been trying out a few different bike paths these past few weeks to see where they go and how far I can push my not-as-horridly-overweight-as-last-summer body.

Two weeks ago I went for 45 minutes. Much like the very long walk I did last summer with the dog, I kept telling myself, "just a little further," until I was extremely far away and still had to get back home. Not terribly smart, but I see nothing wrong with playing mental games to trick my body into exercising. Hey, at least I'm exercising.

Last night I did something similar but knew in advance I would go further than my body really wanted. But then that happens every time I get on my bike: my body really doesn't want to go further than from the front door to the car.

At one point I was going up this incredibly non-steep hill and I shifted down. And then down some more. Down, down, until I couldn't shift down any further. Being the third such incline I had had to face, I was determined to NOT WALK my bike up the teeny hill.

I got to the top, triumphant, and immediately felt like I was going to puke. Nice, Valette. But THEN! I didn't puke! Go me!

After the ride I recounted the amount of tuneage I went through and came up with an awful number: 72 minutes.

One. Hour. And. Twelve. Minutes.

Then, both for kicks and to see how slowly I can push my body mass around, B and I drove the route I had just ridden. It was approximate seeing as how we couldn't drive directly on the bike path (I have my paint job to think about), but we came up with 9.2 miles.

Which is 7.75 miles per hour.
I know this because we worked it out on a napkin while waiting for our greasy Chicago-style pizzas to be done. Worked out in LONG HAND DIVISION, no less, so everyone including the busboy could follow along how sloth-like I can be.

I mean, I've heard about racing cyclist going, like, 30 mph, but those people are freaks who have unlawful relations with their bikes. And I don't like my bicycle that much.

A steady 7.75 mph doesn't sound so bad. Right?


June 25, 2005

Do people really use the word posse in a non-ironic way?
How about the word yo?
Homie? Hipster?

I have recently realized that while I started using the word dude (emphasis on the u, more like doood, with an accompanying lift of the chin) in a completely ironic way, mostly to make fun of my friend Matt, it has come to be completely non-ironic and sincere.

I need to stop that.


June 24, 2005

It's this commercial about something dog-related. Medication. Food, maybe. It doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that the commercial is nothing but footage of puppies.

Puppies running, puppies playing, jumping, sitting. Puppies being cute. Puppies being Puppies.

And every time I see it I have to squeal, "Puppies!"
Because, who doesn't love love LOVE puppies?
Not me. For sure.

I rescue puppies and become exceedingly attached to them, breaking my heart when I actually succeed in finding their home.

Every time I squeal, "Puppies!" Lacey comes to me because, obviously, she is my puppy. Not only that, she is the only puppy in my life, the cutest sweetest puppy on the entire planet. Why else would I exclaim, "Puppies!" if not for her eternal cuteness?

And every time she runs to me or picks her head and gigantic ears way way up to swing her gaze around to me, I have to inform her that the puppies on the television are small and cute and young, while she is old, fat, and ugly.

Compete with that, dog.

Lowering my Stress

June 23, 2005

Five things that I do because I enjoy doing them, a meme from Sweet Surprise:

  • Planting flowers and puttering in a garden. There's something about getting soil shoved into my cuticles and watching my plants grow.
  • Painting my toenails. It's probably the girliest thing I do regularly, but I always feel better with a fresh coat on my toes.
  • Taking my dog and my camera on a walk.
  • Watching a movie with my husband and dog, everyone's legs and arms intertwined.
  • Sewing. Now that I finally found my machine power cord (yay!), there will be no stopping me.


June 22, 2005

The saddest thing.
Beaker's people came for him tonight.
His name is Buddy, apparently.

They live in the neighborhood. The daughter took him and their other two dogs out, he didn't come back in. They drove around the past few days looking for him, finally went to the animal shelter today and saw the post we called in.

They called, described him and his deformed foot, and then picked him up all while I was running one errand. I didn't get to say goodbye.

It hurt more than I expected.
We all miss him terribly.

Solstice Food

June 22, 2005

Alaska isn't called the land of the midnight sun for no reason. Near the solstice Fairbanks gets around 21 hours of sunlight, and in those three hours of night the sun doesn't go far enough below the horizon to bring any darkness.

Every year there is a street fair on solstice that closes promptly at midnight: the sun may be able to work a 20 hour workday on three hours of sleep, but the rest of civilization tends to get a bit cranky.

Last year I wandered the booths with a friend, and the year before I was super sick and the band played a spot. This year I went with my cameras. And while I had a fun time photographing people without their consent, I was rather lonely. I should have brought my iPod.

A small gallery from last night: Solstice Food.


June 21, 2005

This week we have learned that:


N is Not listening to your IT
A is Avoiding making backups
C is Being too cheap to buy a backup battery system
L is Lightning
S is A whole lot of stress and head slapping and fried servers
and T is a tech who wants to scream in everyone's faces, "I TOLD YOU SO!"

The Beakster

June 20, 2005

The signs went up Saturday afternoon.
I reported him to the animal shelter.
I sent an email to Tradio, the radio flea market, that will be read this afternoon.

Beyond that, there is nothing else I can possibly do to find his people. Like one coworker said this morning, most people wouldn't even do this much.

He definitely knows the words 'cookie' and 'outside'... but beyond that, I don't think he knows any commands.

He and Lacey have worked out an understanding that she won't sniff his cookie and he won't growl at her. She has already taught him how to push his head behind the curtain to bark at passerbys, and which pillows are the softest.

My mother always told me to not name the animals around our place growing up. The dogs, fine. But do not name the chickens or the rabbits: it's pretty traumatic for a child to become attached to Fluffy and then find out the family is eating Fluffy for dinner.

We didn't want to get too attached to him in hopes of finding his people. But, as my mother said, the moment I picked him up off of the street I was too attached.

B already named the dog.
We talked with our landlords, and if we cannot find his people we will be keeping him.

Everyone, meet Beaker. Like the Muppet.

Found Dog

June 18, 2005

As expected, I got little sleep. He happened to fall asleep in Lacey's spot, and she couldn't figure out why she couldn't have her spot, waking to sniff all around him.

Every five minutes.
All night.

I walked around for an hour this morning with the dog, knocking on doors. The people who were home didn't recognize him, but not many people were home. I'm just now making signs to put up around the neighborhood.

Stray Chihuahua

June 18, 2005

I've had a super-full day followed by a full evening and now what looks like will probably be a super-full night.

I got home from work and miscellaneous errands at 7, cooked dinner, and then headed out in search of an antique white shawl to wear with a dress oh my goodness a real one piece dress to a friend's wedding tomorrow night.

The DRESS part is most fantastic. I didn't even wear a real dress at my wedding; my gown was in two pieces. I haven't wore a dress-dress since... gosh. Junior high?

The wedding is going to be on the river boat, and since our pet thunder storm has a way of returning home every evening this week, I expect the same tomorrow night while on the boat. A little extra warmth would do nicely.

And everyone understands that by "antique white shawl" I mean a shawl that is has a color of antique white? Because many volunteers at my office thought I was asking to borrow an antique shawl that was white.

I bought a black one at the thrift store. Black shoes, white purse, maybe I won't look so dumb.

Right. So I got home at 11, drug B to the bedroom where he could continue the sleeping he started on the couch with a book, and took the dog out one last time.

And this adorable little male chihuahua was wandering around in the middle of the road (sounds like how Chilly's story starts). Lacey freaks out because she has to protect her territory (anywhere she is) and has to assert her alpha-ness (over everybody and everything).

She scared the other dog, his ears back flat, and he started backing away. I tied her leash to a nearby tree and sat down in the parking lot to get him to come closer to me. I had to throw rocks at Lacey to keep her from barking so darn loud that late at night.

I managed to pick him up and carried him to Lacey, where they had an excited and hurried sniff-greeting, then we all went inside where I had to bribe Lacey with treats so as to not attack him.

It worked well, since that dog has a one track mind when it comes to food. She worked herself into such a frenzy that she had to pee three more times.

No collar, has been fed plenty of food, coat is shiny and soft, nose cold and damp. Healthy little boy, if not for one deformed back foot. It looks as though it may have been mashed when he was just a pup.

It's really much too late for me to go door-to-door looking for his people, so he is staying with us tonight. The sleeping situation should be pretty tricky, and I don't know how much sleeping I will actually accomplish.

He's laying in my lap as I type this, and shivering. Just like Chilly used to.


June 17, 2005

I have been so busy at work that I just now got time to take off my sandals. I think I may have completely shocked a few volunteers when they saw I had a layer of foam between my bare feet and the ground.

Speaking of shaking foundations, the Subway chain is discontinuing the stamp promotion.

I read about this a few weeks ago, but was (like most people going through grief) in denial: surely not my Subway. Their Subway, maybe, but not the Subway I love and tithe to.

I need to proCLAIM the TRUTH, brothers and sisters. If you THINK it could not happen to you, you are SADly mistaken. Put ASIDE your wicked ways and TURN FROM the enticements of the Sub Club. Fall to your knees and cry out to the passion of The Quiznos.


June 16, 2005

There is a group of 30 teens and college-age people from Ohio here for a week to volunteer for my organization, and there has only been a smidgen of preparation:

  • We want them to tend to the landscaping, but we don't have a weed eater or flowers for them to plant.
  • We want them to swap a couple of offices around, but there is no plan as to how the new offices will be laid out or even in what order they will be moved.
  • We want them to wash the building exterior, but we have no power washer and we have no ladder.
  • We want them to set up for a garage sale, but we have no tables.
  • We want them to clear brush, but we have no tools to do so.
  • We want them to paint a sign, but we have no wood or paint.

The list goes on and on.

I am finding myself being much busier than I ever should have been, and frustrated at certain individuals for the giant lack of planning. I have caught myself a few times before exclaiming, "Why don't we have...?" and "If I had been in charge..."

At home last night I was feeling a general sense of wasting my talents. I feel like I could be doing so much more than a silly office job at a silly non-profit. Lord knows I had bigger plans when accepting my physics student of the year award in high school. What happened?

Private Show

June 14, 2005

A woman (presumably from next door) just walked down the driveway between our two buildings, stopped perpendicular to my window, and is proceeding to practice some sort of martial art.

Why is she practicing this now, at 11am?
Why has she chosen this driveway?
I haven't seen her before; is she a new employee?

It's fascinating. I'm sitting here pretending to focus all of my attention on my computer monitor so she won't become self conscious and stop. But really, I can't keep my eyes off of her.

Am I horrible for taking her picture?

Never felt that one before

June 14, 2005

I think working out in the morning, just after I wake, works a whole different set of muscles than when I work out in the evening.

Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children

June 13, 2005

Drug-induced ultra violent hilarity. The latest from Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children.

My original post on the comics is still collecting the odd comment from fans and the creators. It's where I got the link to this little movie.

Car Graveyard

June 13, 2005

Last time I had gone to Homer, I treated you with a photo gallery of my mother's house. Fowers, angels, cedar siding.

Now, I present the other side of Homer. The older, dirtier, rustier, hickier side of Homer.

My father's car graveyard.

Addendum: Lacey went out with me to take those pictures and, at first, had an extremely fun time jumping through the high weeds, chasing bugs, and eating dandelions.

And then the grass and pushki got too tall and she couldn't see the way she had gone, a way out, or me. She starting whining and crying and jump jump jumping to get away from the scary weeds.

When she finally caught up with me, she kept trying to jump up my legs and have me hold her, but I would have none of that; there were pictures to take.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

June 13, 2005

Do the rich and spoiled keep receipts of purchased items?

Do they ever get home and realize their red Blahnik pumps do not match the red Gucci skirt they were planning to wear them with, and then want to return them?

Do stores for the super rich even accept item returns?

And if they do, would the store remember the name, face, and favorite cheese of the purchaser and forgo the need for a receipt?

Would anyone in their right mind return a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps?

Why do I think these things while shampooing my hair?

Back Again

June 11, 2005

I rode my bike.
The sun is shining.
A few wispy clouds in the sky.
And I'm back at work.
On a Saturday.

I only popped in to see how all the printing was going, if the copier had run out of toner, my computer had exploded, or what. And while I may be at work (on a Saturday, did I mention?) at least I don't have people dumping more OMGASAP crap on me last minute and I have a chance to do some personal stuff.

Reminder to self: make sure the personal stuff you have at the office is not the only copy. Take some backups home with you.

Storm Round II

June 10, 2005

It was sunny and hot just an hour ago. Two hours ago I considered going for a nice, long bike ride (the real fruit smoothie B placed in my hand was a great deterrent). And now?

Rain. Wind. Thunder. Lightning. I saw a bolt come pretty low about 300 yards from my front porch while I was out taking my hanging flower pots down. And the power keeps flickering.

I know I should probably hop off the computer, but it's not like the lightning could possibly hit a(n underground) cable line and zap my computer.



June 9, 2005

Work: crap.
People: crap.
Home: crap because I can't keep work or people out of it.

Why did I come back from vacation, again?

Want to be

June 8, 2005

I don't want to be the kind of person who
puts her kidney fat on display;
is able to visibly count her ribs;
requires makeup;
hates her body.

I don't want to be the kind of person who
never looks at a lost dog poster;
rolls her eyes at parents with young children;
groups people into stereotypes;
doesn't care.

I don't want to be the kind of person who
always carries a headache;
snaps at her husband;
makes herself sick from stress;
allows others to push her around.

I want to be the kind of person who
has a snack for the neighbor kids;
laughs more often than grumbles;
enjoys sunshine and snowflakes on her face equally;
is loved by others.

Hack me slice me dice me

June 7, 2005

When and how did 'tips and tricks' become 'hacks?'

Life hacks, kitchen hacks, mind hacks, knitting hacks, kitten hacks, mitten hacks.

Seriously, stop it.


June 7, 2005

I just finished slogging through all of the pictures I took while in Homer and Anchor Point.

Before I decide what to do with most of them, I'm gonna throw another panorama at you that you can compare to the one I took in 2003.

The Homer Spit and Kachemak Bay towards the left (not in the frame, and you actually cannot even see The Spit from this beach), Cook Inlet toward the right.

This one is much better for a few reasons: it was taken from Bishop's Beach rather than from the Spit, the originals were a much higher resolution, I used PhotoStitch software to make them mesh, and it's bigger.

Which is really the only one that counts.


June 4, 2005

Looks like Steve sent the thunder northward. It sounds like a giant semi truck driving over a bridge under which I am standing.

Or someone dropping the semi on said bridge.

Mm-mm Good

June 3, 2005

Chicken Breasts Arrabbiata
From a diabetes recipe book my grandmother gave to my mother.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c pepperoncini, seeded, rinsed, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t dried basil, crushed
½ t freshly ground black pepper
¼ t salt
3 c plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
¼ c chicken broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T tomato paste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the bell pepper, onion, pepperoncini, garlic, basil, black pepper, and salt; cook until tender.

Add tomatoes, broth, vinegar, and tomato paste; cook, stirring, until the tomatoes release their juices.

Add the chicken, reduce heat, simmer covered for 15 minutes. Serve with fresh french bread.

Evil Master Plan

June 3, 2005

I finished planting my garden and hanging baskets one hour before it dumped some rain.

Rain is good and great and all, but I only wished that the rain gutter above our porch actually ran the entire length of the roof. It comes about a foot short on each end, causing it all to funnel directly into my hanging pots.

After a summer of raining off and on, not only will the plants be pulverized, but all of the dirt will have splattered out of the pots. Grr.

I have never used a lawnmower or a weed whacker. And if my evil master plan works out, I will never have to. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Guess who's back in town

June 2, 2005

BING! We are back at home.

B's ankle lost most of its swelling and he was able to drive the motorcycle home. Which is a good thing, because he really didn't want to leave it parked at my parents', and I really didn't want to drag it behind my Neon for 600 miles.

The dog had a blast, what with all the grass and horse toenail clippings to eat, and birds and dogs and bugs and cats to chase.

Since we have been home, Lacey has been catching up on all the sleep she lost while experiencing the great outdoors without fences or leashes. I don't expect her to join the waking world for at least three more days.

Meanwhile, B and I will be recuperating from our foray into The Land Of Relatives. We don't have to be back at work until Monday.

I will use that time to catch up on some of my blogs (until I say SUCK IT and mark all of them as read), plant my garden, paint my toenails, and see what kind of trouble I can get into. I am still on vacation.

Vacation Summation In Lists

June 2, 2005

Things I brought on my vacation and did not need:

  • Makeup -- I don't wear it when at home, why did I think I would wear it on vacation?
  • Notebook -- I had many interesting dreams, but do you think I recorded any of them?
  • Dressier clothes -- We didn't make it to church, but even if we had, this was Homer: my jeans and hoodie would have done nicely as long as they were clean.
  • Extra jewelry -- See above re: Homer.
  • Camera battery charger -- There's a reason I have three batteries.
  • Extra film -- There wasn't enough sunshine to use my Lomo Actionsampler.
  • Yellow halter -- Ditto on the sunshine, and my mother would have had a heart attack seeing me in it.
  • Bicycle and helmet -- The weather and my sinus cavity teamed up against me, and I ended up only riding once the entire time.

Things I could have used but didn't pack:

  • Enough dog food.
  • Sinus pressure and congestion medicine.

Additional Content

Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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