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May 2007 Archives

Survival at Byers Lake

May 29, 2007

I won't tell you about the giant blister on my heel.

And I won't tell you about freezing my butt off at night or the number of layers I cocooned myself in to obtain sleeping status, nor the leak in the tent that the buckets of rain discovered.

Neither will I talk about the cruel tricks of mother nature and the number of Midol I shoved down my throat to keep from wondering if leaving one's uterus in the woods constituted littering.

No. I will speak of none of those things.

Instead, I will speak of a two-mile hike that culminated in a great view of Denali National Park.

Of a long suspension bridge that really freaked my dog out so much that she was nearly crawling across it.

Suspension Bridge

Lacey freaked out with the newness of everything, just like she always does. But once she made a best friend in Anna, life was good again. Anna would not cease with taking my dog for walks. Or, rather, having Lacey take her for walks because Anna was only twice Lacey's size and pretty much just followed Lacey around on her leash.

Lacey and Anna

I also convinced everyone to eat some freshly picked fiddlehead ferns just by admitting that I had eaten them and they were "kinda like brussel sprouts." And I wasn't kicked out of the camp because everyone actually liked them. Even Jesse, the kid who won't eat anything, ate two large helpings of them.

Denali National Park

So, yes, I survived to tell the internet of my tales. And if mother nature had played along, I might have actually enjoyed myself.

But don't tell Steve I said that.

Have I Mentioned I'm Unfond of Camping?

May 25, 2007

I think I somehow agreed to a camping trip this weekend.

I don't remember how that happened, but the pile of camping gear in my living room makes me think that I nodded my head at one crucial wrong moment.

My friend Rachael gave me the best advice I could have ever gotten: only say 5 out of the 10 things I want to complain about.

It's just one night.
It's just one night.
It's just one night.

Sausage with Legs

May 22, 2007

When my brother Rodney was in town visiting a few weeks ago, he commented on how tubby my dog has gotten. I balked and blamed it on all of the hair. Because the dirty hippie dog seriously needed a haircut.

But then I shaved all of the hair off of her (all the while she had a slow gaseous leak caused mainly by the tranquilizers I forced down her) and Lo! Behold! My dog is still tubby!

She probably only put on one or two pounds this winter, but that is a huge deal on a 10-pound dog.

I found some maps to city dog parks and this weekend Steve and I took her out twice.

She was so excited merely by the mention of the P-word (New Rule: no one actually says "park" until we have driven to said "park") that she was whining so much I was sure she would pass out. The excitement! Of a park! With grass! And Birds!

There were birds, yes, and I suppose when I instruct her to "chase the ducks" I shouldn't expect her to read my mind.

How is she to know I didn't mean "chase the ducks until they are in Canada no matter how loudly anyone is calling your name to get your lardy butt back here right now"?

Lacey's tongue

To Hell With Comfort Zones

May 21, 2007

Hello, my name is Valette and I don't like stepping outside of my comfort zone.

People who know me think this extremely uncharacteristic. Just ask my mother who will still recount the story of my first semester away at college in the huge city of Fairbanks and refusing to go to the eye doctor -- who was not my eye doctor -- to fix my broken glasses.

I like knowing how a situation will play out. I like knowing what to expect. Which, I think, isn't that different from every other human on the plant.

But sometimes I use it to sabotage myself. To stay in a job I hate, in an apartment that is moments away from imploding, to not make new friends.

I don't make new friends easily. In a very new situation -- new job, new people, new surroundings -- I tend to get very quiet and withdrawn.

Introvert Valette may only be around for an hour or a day, but she's there. And later I hate her for not being as confident as I want her to be.

On Sunday I attended a Flickr meetup. I had intended to go to one a few months ago, but I talked myself out of it. Got myself all worked up over nothing, over a non-mandatory meeting of people whose work I admire.

But I am very happy to have pushed myself to go to this meetup in spite of whatever insecurities were holding me back. This fear of the unknown is completely illogical. I can't solve it with logic, and that bothers me. But I can soldier on anyway.

(Good grief, when did this turn into a motivational message?)


I met some great people, people with whom I have talked online and been jealous of their work. From whom I can learn more about photography. And about stepping out of my comfort zone.

Catch the rest of the set here.

Completely Unrelated

May 16, 2007

When one can get king crab for under $9 a pound, one gorges oneself. Or at least one tries. And with the left overs? Crab dip of yum.

I recently bought some rings from METALSgirl, and they completely rock. Laura was great to deal with my special sizing request, and the rings make me happy. Can't ask for anything more.

Sound of Silence

May 15, 2007

Upon arrival to my office, it became glaringly apparent that I had left my iPod at home.

I remembered the strawberries and the Grape Nuts and the lunch salad fixin's and my camera, but the Giver of All Music, Light, and Happiness is still sitting on my desk at home. On top of my Moleskine, no less, my notebook for all important dream recordings, blog brainstormings, and grocery listings.

This leaves me not many options.

Option the First: listen to the radio. But I don't have a radio at my desk, so I would be reduced to stealing a radio from someone else's office. Or convince my supervisor to let me work from my car.

Option the Second: borrow some CDs from Jeff. But he only has, like, three CDs and he plays them all day long. Every day. Week in and week out. Sometimes I daydream about shoving those three CDs down his throat to see how far they will go before they break or he bleeds out.

Option the Third: streaming internet radio. But IT frowns on this because of bandwidth concerns. And by "frowns on" I mean "freaks out about and bans".

Option the Fourth: silence. Only the typing and phone calls of my coworkers. And my computer fan. And Jeff's cough. Linda's throat clearing.

This is going to be a long day.

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

May 14, 2007

There was a weekend! A weekend where I did stuff! And a blog for the reporting of said stuff!

There was a good ole-fashioned family get-together, including chastising my brother for trying to give my dog beer, broken legs, painting toenails, and drawing on feets.

Then there was a bicycle auction at the YMCA (did you know Alaska has a YMCA? me neither!), where I spent too much money on a new-to-me bicycle. Which is all kinds of awesome, because my old bike wasn't always too keen on the idea of changing gears. Steve got two bikes as well, and as soon as we get some heavy-duty bolt cutters to remove the chain holding the rear wheel immobile, there will be NO STOPPING US.

Except at stoplights, and when pedestrians have the right of way. And in case a car tries to hit me. Or aliens invade. Then I'll stop rather abruptly. But barring that, NO STOPPING US.

It's bike to work day on Wednesday, and I think I might chicken out of that. Do you have any idea how far it is from my home to my office? Well, neither do I. But I'm guessing it's far. Really, really far.

Gmaps pedometer tells me that it's 4.5 miles. Which, honestly, doesn't sound like a lot. I did much longer trips last summer, but then that was after weeks of shorter routes. And weeks of limiting my ice cream intake. And weeks of sunshiny warmth.

Which: what gives, Anchorage? With the cloudy and the windy and the chilly and the smells-like-rain? Everyone in Fairbanks knows that rain isn't supposed to come until mid-August. How do you expect me to plant tomatoes and herbs and flowers and go bike riding when you are in a constant state of Threatening Rain? Just knock it out already.

My weekend may not have been as interesting as poop on a stick, but I think I'm okay with that.

Lepidoptera for Tay

May 11, 2007

Lepidoptera for Tay

Four Things Currently Making Me Happy

May 10, 2007

You kids! Get off my lawn!

May 6, 2007

"You kids!  Get off my lawn!"

Of Things. And Also, Stuff.

May 4, 2007

There was a carbon monoxide scare at work yesterday. A Guy™ came to look at it, and his little gadgets detected "elevated amounts of CO." But not enough CO to justify sending anyone home. No matter how bad my headache was.

And no matter how many votes we took, they wouldn't close the office. And we took many votes.

I took my bicycle out for the first time this season, it's first time in the Big Los Anchorage, and I was pretty sure I was going to lay down and die within the first five minutes.

If I were playing poker, and my hand was a Lay Down And Die hand, I would be all in. ALL IN. I would so win. And then I would lay down. And die.

But instead of going all in and then laying down to die a horrible painful and complaining-loudly death, I pushed myself to keep going. I can do it, I can do it.

I got home all proud that I did not, in fact die, only to have my clock told me I was only gone 25 minutes. And I was muddy. From the mud, on the trails. And a woman with many grey hairs and also wrinkles, yet without one drop of mud on her person, passed me on the trail.

Pride: deflated.

Maybe all of those winter nights curled up with a movie and a bowl of chocolate-covered, sprinkle-laden ice cream has had an adverse effect on my ability to move my large mass about?

Speaking of my large, sluggish mass: I'm giving up soda. I know I did this once already when my affection for Coke became something dark and sinister, but this time I just need to knock it off with the sodas.

Even though there are five Mountain Dews under my desk right this second, and it will only take 20 minutes in the freezer to get them perfect. And even though my body really really thinks it neeeeeds a Mountain Dew every day at 2pm. But today marks Sodaless Day #5, and I can totally do this.

Completely unrelated, I'm going to try and do this 24 hours of Flickr photo project tomorrow. Something to help kick me into carrying my camera around more.

Heidi - you should do this too, even if you can't upload them until you get home. And don't forget to bring me some of Tay's happy-happy meds, but keep it on thedownlow, 'kay?

Five Things I Am Currently Not Doing

May 2, 2007

1// I am not hiccupping.

2// I am not worrying about my niece's surgery.

3// I am not eating any of the Zenilla ice cream from the office freezer.

4// I am not drinking a Mountain Dew.

5// I am [very greatfully] not hiccupping.

What are you not doing?

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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