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September 2010 Archives

Book Reports

September 18, 2010

I've been slacking posting about the books I've read in the last month or so. I am aiming to finish 15 books before the end of January, and have already finished 9. I do not foresee this goal being a problem.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - I know a woman online who sometimes goes by the handle of jonathanstrange. Her username is the only reason I decided to read this book. I think I grabbed it at the bookstore and was almost about to pay for it when Steve came up and announced that he already owned it and there was no need for me to buy another copy.

Turns out there was no need for me to read it, either.

This book is like 6 million pages of dreary descriptions of leaves and magic and England and boringness. Some of the chapters on the war were interesting, but much too long.

And the footnotes! Good God, the footnotes almost killed me. I usually have to read all footnotes and whatnot, but half of this book is comprised of footnotes that have nothing to do with anything. The author should have just saved all of those short little stories, fleshed them out and published them separately.

I actually started it in May and just had to put it down for a while. I honestly thought I wouldn't pick it back up again, but then I ran out of books. So I finished it. And I don't feel any better for doing so.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Picked this up because 1/ it was cheap, and 2/ I had heard about it because a number of my friends had read it. It was a quick read.

I really didn't care that much about the political issues the main character cared about. I skimmed most of the first bit on the history of financial institutions in Sweden, and found that once the locked box island mystery had been solved I again didn't care about the main character getting his reputation back.

The tattooed girl was interesting, but mostly two-dimensional. The mystery on the island was very interesting to unravel, and I'm glad that the twist I expected never happened in lieu of a much better twist.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - I scored this book at a book swap. Only after I was snuggled into bed and had read the first few pages did I realize it was nonfiction.

The author has a tendency to get distracted: for a book on human cadavers, the author spends too much time on animal cadavers. The book started off strong but then kind of petered out, as though the author had already used her best material in the first two chapters.

Some of the information was interesting and new to me, requiring a few passages to be read aloud to Steve who was always, "Yeah I remember hearing something about that." But I wish the author had stuck more closely to the topic.

Flattop Hike

September 15, 2010

The weather was seriously awesome all weekend, and Olive and I decided to take advantage of it by climbing up Flattop. Along with half of Anchorage.

Atop Flattop Mountain

The Glen Alps parking lot isn't very big, especially during one of the few sunny and warm days we've had in months. There are No Parking signs all along the road leading to the parking lot, every single one of the signs had a car parked in front of it. I managed to circle the lot twice before someone left and I took their (legal) spot.

Flattop Hike-9


This is the second Flattop hike Olive and I have made this summer, the first was done with some friends and in the rain. I didn't bring my camera and managed to drop my iPhone in the grass by the car - it was still there when we made it back down and undamaged by the sprinkling rain.

Flattop Hike-8

Flattop Berry Picking

This trip I remembered to bring my camera and remembered to not drop my iPhone in the grass. The sheer number of people up there would guarantee it wouldn't stay in one place while I was out hiking.

Flattop Hike-6

Flattop Hike-4

It took us an hour to make it to the top and 45 minutes to make it back down. I have no idea if this is "good" time, though I have heard of people running up and back down in under an hour. I am not those people.


Flattop Hike-2

Olive did wonderfully on the mountain, only inhibited by her leash the few times that she needed to rock climb faster than I was able. When we got back to the car she sad quietly in the back seat, and once home she jumped onto the bed and promptly fell asleep.

Flattop Hike-7

Taking a Break

I had wanted to climb Flattop five times this year as part of my Thirty before 30. The weather hasn't cooperated this summer, but maybe if it keeps up being nice on the weekends I'll get up that mountain three more times before the snow falls.


Saturday Morning

September 12, 2010

The last few months have been incredibly stressful at work. I've been working long hours on a stressful project and not really getting anywhere.

I haven't been managing my stress very well, which is best illustrated by every single Saturday wherein I end up shouting at Steve, shouting at the dog, and finally bursting into tears.

In other words, I haven't been that much fun to be around.

But photography helps ground me. As does some time alone.

I've been getting up early on the weekends to do some working out, Saturday mornings at pilates and Sunday mornings at the gym. The light was beautiful Saturday at 8am and I had the good sense to grab my camera.

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

Meet my Alter Ego, Trixie

September 5, 2010

Alter ego: Trixie

My good friend Annie (of Annie's Arts and Follies and Bella Boutique) created this bra for Wild Bras on Parade, a silent auction fundraiser for breast cancer patients.

As soon as I saw the bra I immediately asked her if I could take some shots with it.

The hot pants (which I LOVE) I made from a terrible blouse found at Value Village that Steve bought for a costume piece. I made the pattern myself by copying a pair of boyshort underwear and altering slightly (higher waist, for example).

Hotpants pattern

Sewing sequin fabric is terribly difficult because the fabric gets gummed up on the sewing needle, causing you to curse in frustration before you think about asking Google about it. A little bit of wax paper on top of the seam and everything went smoothly.

I'm also really happy with the hat, which I made out of old birthday hats, covered with the same sequined fabric, added some feathers and finished with a black ribbon. I need another opportunity to wear it and the hotpants.

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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