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February 2010 Archives

New Experience: Rest Stops

February 27, 2010

Because of personnel changes in December, I had to cancel my time off around the holidays to be in the office. As of the beginning of February we have been fully staffed once again and I took the opportunity to make up for some of that lost time by visiting my mother in Homer.

I have driven a lot in the state of Alaska, many thousands of miles from this city to that. Over 200 miles from Homer to Anchorage, and over 350 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Over and over and over again. I know where the cleaner porta-potties are and I know where the next passing zone will be.

I don't much like to stop on these trips unless someone's bladder is bursting because 1. I just passed a bunch of pokey cars and don't want to pass them again, and 2. Stopping makes the trip that much longer, especially when taking into account item #1, above.

But this trip I made a conscious decision to make the drive with an eye for photography, and as a result Olive and I stopped a number of times on the drive south. Olive doesn't like traveling long distances in the car, and I think the multiple stops helped her nerves.

It was a great drive and a great visit.

Beluga Point - Olive

Turnagain Arm

Happy Valley - Olive

New Experience: Order Something New

February 22, 2010

Last week I had the worst head cold I've had in a very long time. It knocked me on my butt and held me down in bed and on the couch for 4 days while my brain leaked out of my eyes and my nostrils were sanded raw.

Olive didn't mind too much, what with all of the quality snuggling and nap time we were able to share. Until the end of the third day when she had had ENOUGH with this CRAP and we needed to PLAY right now BARK.

Then Friday at 11am, all of my symptoms just went away. Like magic. 10.30 I felt crappy and was making plans to leave work early; 11.00 I could think clearly and I had energy and felt happy to be alive. I finished out the day and carried my productivity home.

We had dinner with some friends this weekend at A Taste of Thai. I love Thai food, but usually follow a few standards that mainly keep me ordering the same food over and over: Pad Thai, cashew chicken, panang curry, masaman curry. A Thai rut of yumminess.

But this weekend I ordered something else, something I've never had before, something new. Sidewalk Noodle. I have no idea what this dish exactly is, because Sidewalk Noodles appears to be a category of Thai noodles that includes Pad Thai. It was not terribly memorable, but still good.

New Experience: Ricotta Cheese

February 16, 2010

Why have I not made ricotta before? It is super easy and super yummy and cheaper and yummier than what you can buy from the store.

1/2 gallon whole milk
1c plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2c heavy cream
2tsp white vinegar
1tsp salt

Wander around the store for a while looking for plain whole-milk yogurt in a container smaller than your head. Be unsuccessful and mentally run though a list of possible recipes to use up a crapload because this recipe only calls for 1 cup and you hate eating yogurt.

Dump all of the ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Boil it very, very gently until the milk is curdled, 1 or 2 minutes.

homemade ricotta cheesecloth

Line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.

Ricotta Cheese

Pour the curdled milk into the strainer and drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth and gently squeeze out the remaining liquid.

Declare to Steve that you are awesome and demand he taste it immediately. Dismiss his unimpressed reaction as not understanding the depths of your awesomeness.

Stuffed shells

Use it along with some Italian sausage and spinach to stuff some jumbo shells for dinner.

New Experience: Lunch Break

February 7, 2010

I spent my first lunch break in two months sitting at the Kaladi Brothers downtown cafe eating soup, sipping coffee, and attempting to do some homework while being distracted by a early-20s female loudly going on and on and on about all of the world's problems and why no one sees the obvious solutions.

I texted Steve the best parts of her ranting, how seeing a swastika makes her feel angsty and how Alaska is basically a socialist state just like Montreal and how she has very specific preferences on which news magazines to read but she can't afford them so she just reads the headlines while in the grocery checkout line. And it just went on and on, hardly leaving any space for her early-40s male companion to ask quiet questions.

After about a half hour she said that she needed to get going to someplace or another and they left in opposite directions.

I looked up from my books and my soup and my furious texting to catch the eye of a guy wearing earphones and sitting behind a laptop. We exchanged a half smile and shook our heads, grateful that she had gone.

Thirty Before 30

February 1, 2010

I called my mother last week to catch up on some things and she told me how she couldn't believe I was about to turn 30. I insisted that I was, in fact, only going to be 29.

I would have teased her more about the memory slip, but considering that she has to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries for 5 other children and 3 grand children, not to mention gobs of extended family, I cut her some slack while pulling out some cold hard MATH to prove just how wrong she was.

Although 29 is just a number, I already anticipate this year is going to rock mightily. Let me back up that assertion with three words: Electric Blue Pumps. I KNOW, right?

The last two years I've set out some goals for the year. Similar to resolutions, but attainable goals that I won't forget about after four weeks. I've also been seeing this 30 Before 30 fad around a lot lately which, despite its fad-ness, appeals to the list-maker within me. Plus, it'll be free blogging material! Win-win!

It is hella hard to come up with a 30-item year to-do list. Like, seriously hard. Especially if you don't want to steal things from other lists or fill it with cliche stuff like "run a 5k" and "get married and have baybeez" and "lose 30 pounds OMG". But I managed and then realized I have three basic categories: photography related, things that scare me, and nice things for myself.

  1. Start a business
  2. Sell a photo online
  3. Finish photographing 100 strangers
  4. Take 2 photography workshops
  5. Photograph 10 models
  6. Curate/edit an Anchorage photo book
  7. Show my work at a First Friday opening
  8. Take a dance lesson
  9. Go to the movie theater all alone
  10. Ask for help
  11. Find a new gynocologist
  12. Update my makeup routine
  13. Reconnect with a lost friend
  14. Wander aimlessly
  15. Have sex in public
  16. Get a professional massage
  17. Spend a day/afternoon on a ski slope
  18. Host a dinner party
  19. Read 15 books
  20. Climb Flattop 5 times
  21. Redesign/repurpose
  22. Nap on a sandy beach
  23. Complete an emergency fund
  24. Have coffee/lunch dates with 15 friends
  25. Get a facial
  26. Spend less time online
  27. Cook an elaborate new meal
  28. Have a new experience every week
  29. Throw a big 30th birthday party
  30. Not complete the whole list

I'm looking forward to a few of these and am horrified that I left others on the list. Skiing? Seeing a movie all alone? I pretty much have a death wish, apparently.

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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