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September 2007 Archives

OMG Zucchini Bread Yum

September 26, 2007

3 eggs, beaten
1c sugar
3.25c flour
2c zucchini, grated
2t vanilla
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
3t cinnamon
1t salt

Makes 2 loaves.

OMG Zucchini Bread Yum - 1

Grate a ton of zucchini in 0.2 seconds. Remember grating zucchini by hand and wonder what was wrong with you. Love your mother for the awesome Christmas gift of a food processor. Realize you grated too much zucchini for a single batch, and double everything.


The Exercise Habit

September 25, 2007

All of the Major Life Changes™ I thought would be really fun to jump into all at once this past year caused my body to freak out silently and start hoarding pounds. Because you never know what catastrophe will befall humanity and some extra poundage would be beneficial to survival.

But as beneficial as 10 or 20 extra pounds would be in a famine, they don't really benefit me at this point of Right Now.

I remember losing a bunch of weight once, just as much as I remember gaining that bunch of weight after Melissa died. I remember the evening I announced I would be getting up a half hour earlier to go jogging. And I remember the next morning when I actually did it.

I remember discovering my dog is impossible to jog with, I remember the shin splints, I remember getting a bicycle, and I remember losing 40 pounds.

It was fantastic. I felt better, I looked more like the me I wanted to be. I had to give up my nightly bowl of overflowing ice cream, but I decided it was a good trade for 4 dress sizes.

This last year when my stress levels were at their peaks and the scale was again creeping up, I knew it wouldn't change directions unless I made a conscious effort.

I had great luck last time with my bicycle and counting calories using FitDay. This time I wanted something very similar, but maybe a bit more involved with real internet people.

One of my online communities set up a team on SparkPeople and I joined. In the last few months I've made more of an effort to get out on my bicycle and stay within a specified calorie range. I've done some at-home strength training and have even rented a workout DVD (which I couldn't follow: it's a good thing I banned Steve and his video camera from the room or it would be all over YouTube).

I came across an article about simple steps to start the exercise habit, and SparkPeople has helped me start the exercise habit by becoming a huge points whore.

I get points for setting small, attainable goals and checking each accomplished one off, logging my progress every day, and reporting my progress in the community forums. Points for reading articles, points for drinking water, points for encouraging others.

It's silly and the points mean nothing, but I've found myself exercising five more minutes to get another point.

I'm back down to my lowest weight after Melissa died, very close to my high school weight, and I think I can get even lower if I wanted.

I like that I have a bunch of energy and I can cycle for over 10 miles in one evening without falling over and dying. I like that my clothes are fitting better and I'm feeling better in them.

I like this new Valette, and if that means the numbers on my scale are lower, then all the better.

Five Years

September 22, 2007

There have been a whole shit ton of changes in my life this past year. Big, huge, and scary changes. As I made each decision for one more piece of Different and Unknown, I wondered what Melissa would think of each one.

She wouldn't weigh the pros and the cons separately for long periods of time, like I did. That's just not who she was. She would have made the decisions quickly and harshly, like taking off a bandage, while I dragged my feet and pondered, working through every possible outcome.

I wonder if she would have even taken the time to listen to all of my concerns and worries, or if she would have told me to get over myself and make the damn decision already so we can go get some ice cream.

And I really needed that this past year: someone to tell me to get over myself and to just do what I needed to do.

I could have used a good hard punch to the arm. Breathless, suffocating laughter over a stupid inside joke that only got funnier over the years. Insistence that I suffer through an intolerably terrible movie. Extra chocolate sauce on my ice cream.

I could have used someone to talk me into something I'd never do, something fun and crazy and possibly illegal.

I miss having someone in my life who has my exact sense of humor. Who knows what I'm thinking by just a glance. Who tells me the truth in the same harsh, insensitive way that I do. Who knows when to look at me and giggle during a family dinner. Who remembers the time she bent my glasses and I threw a rock at her head. Who remembers the bedtime stories that could last for hours as long as Mom didn't catch us in one bed with the flashlight.

I miss my sister more than I ever thought I would, but I no longer carry the constant ache. It has been worn smooth by time, and I've learned to put it aside for long periods.

I imagine it will continue to get easier, but I still could have used her.

Not Spoiled At All

September 20, 2007

Enjoying the new poof

A dog can't really be expected to lie on the floor.

Reason #27 to Love Alaska

September 19, 2007

This year's Permanent Fund Dividend, just announced an hour ago: $1,654.

And oh, the things I could spend it on.

A speedlight for my camera?
Macro lens?
Toward schooling this spring?
Blow it all on pretty bras?
My sad little savings account?

Not Ready For This

September 17, 2007

I had to scrape ice from my windshield this morning.

French Onion Soup

September 15, 2007

2T unsalted butter
5 medium red onions (or 3lbs multicultural onions), sliced thin
6c low-sodium chicken broth
1¾c low-sodium beef broth
1/4c dry red wine
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1T balsamic vinegar
ground black pepper

French Onion Soup: step 1

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and ¾t salt and stir to coat the onions. The onions will almost fall out of your pot and appear to be way too many onions for any human consumption. Worry about not having enough broth or enough patience to eat a ton of soup for weeks. Do not fear: they will reduce down wonderfully.


Fun Amongst the Giants

September 9, 2007

Here is everything you need to know about the Alaska State Fair:

1// Bok!

2// World Records!

3// Teh cyoote!

4// Fancy things for unknown reasons!
Sky diver

5// Unknown things for silly reasons!
House of mirrors

See the rest of my shots here. Oh, and Steve took some photos too.

Window Shopping on the Internet

September 4, 2007

I can get sucked into browsing through Etsy like you couldn't believe. There's some amazingly bad crap on there, so the gems that I find are all that much sweeter.

I have one large, blank wall in the entryway (do you like how I said that? as if my apartment was large enough to warrant a foyer?) that desperately needs some art.

I'd love to hang a bunch of my photographs, all framed and fancy, maybe something similar to this. But that feels way too "oh look at me and all of my lovely artsy fartsy photography."

Maybe mix some photography with some artwork? Or just some awesome artwork? Here's where Etsy comes in.

Something like this. Or this. Or this, this, this, this, this, or really just about anything from modernarteveryday.

Also, I don't currently know anyone expecting a baby (except Laura), but if I did I would totally get them this set of five adorable robot prints for the nursery.

I Didn't Get You Anything, Sorry

September 3, 2007

I got approximately zero amounts of sleep last night because Lacey was up every 10 minutes, and I had to make sure she got all the way outside before she vomited.

Note to the internet: just because it's really adorable that your 12 pound dog likes to eat the tiny green tomatoes you toss her from your tomato plants doesn't mean she should eat them. They are a wee little bit toxic.

But! All of that time awake petting my moaning dog womdering if I should take her to the emergency vet clinic means I finally finished going through all of my vacation shots and uploaded them to Flickr.

Because I have priorities.

Herein lies my vacation wrap-up, something I'm sure only my mother will read all the way through. JIM and JR will only read far enough to see what I said about them, and Steve will only skim it to see which embarrassing photos of him I post.

Bally's Mirror


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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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