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November 2011 Archives

Mitzi Is Learning the Laziness

November 28, 2011

A couple of evenings last night and this weekend we have been at our computers or on the couch when we realize the house is quiet and the dogs are missing in action. Which gets us all worried because at least when they're trying to kill each other (AKA "playing") we can hear exactly where they are.

So if they are quiet, either one of them has succeeded in killing the other, or they found something more interesting than each other to destroy.

See: curtains; toilet paper roll; bathroom trash; cables and wires behind our computers.

But instead of finding mayhem when we went looking for the dogs, we discovered that they had put themselves to bed.

Mitzi in bed

Mitzi turns five months next week and has plateaued at 36 pounds. I know she weighs 36 pounds because yesterday I weighed her on the bathroom scale and she farted the entire time I held her. Continuous farting. I reassured her that a bathroom scale is a source of anxiety for a lot of people.

Fraug Frowg Fwog Frawg

November 23, 2011


Alaskan Gothicker

November 21, 2011

A mashup by my friend Phil:

Bonk No More

November 19, 2011

Mitzi has spent the last week and a half bonking her cone into furniture and legs and walls and Olive, so much so that we renamed her Bonk.

When the temperatures dropped earlier this week, her plastic cone shattered while she was in the back yard, which necessitated a quick trip to the pet store right at closing time to buy a replacement.

In a fit of brilliance I also decided to remove her regular collar when putting her new cone on. This cut down dramatically on the noise she made when shaking in her kennel in the middle of the night and waking me up every two hours OMG.

On Thursday, after close inspection of Mitzi's sutures (under the guise of a belly rub), I determined that she had healed nicely, did not require the recommended 10-day follow up vet appointment, and the cone could come off.

As soon as I removed her cone I received the biggest and longest puppy hugs that I have ever seen her give, she put her head on one shoulder, a paw on another shoulder, leaned against my chest and sighed the biggest sigh.

Everyone is much happier now.

Reason #256 I love my husband

November 17, 2011

He's just as willing to wear no clothes in zero degrees as I am.

133.365 Alaskan Gothic

After Five O'Clock

November 15, 2011
  • Home, changed out of my work clothes and into leggings and a long henley dress and long socks bunched up over my shins
  • Explained to my stepson the difference between legwarmers and long socks and why my long socks are not leg warmers get a clue
  • Smelled tater tots fresh out of the oven
  • Stuffed my face with tater tots
  • Yelled at Olive barking at a computer-generated horse on the television
  • Turned on my Do Some Serious Work music
  • Did some Very Serious Studio Work
  • Photographed and uploaded our 365
  • Kicked butts
  • Took names
Next on the list: in bed before midnight.

Tibetan Mastiff

November 14, 2011

I've decided that the next dog we get is going to be a Tibetan Mastiff.

This is not an impulse decision.
I've put a whole 10 minutes of thinking and Google Image searching into this.

There's even a breeder in Alaska, although I doubt their puppies are being sold for $1.5 million.

At least I hope. They look like the biggest, softest, most cuddly animal ever.

Don't try to talk me out of it.

Click, Click, Click, Click Camera

November 13, 2011

Right so while I was in Vancouver earlier this month going to the public market and eating ramen with long-time internet friends, the REAL reason I was there was for my brother Damon's wedding.

I had the opportunity to have a pre-ceremony (and pre-sparkly dress) photo session with them. During the session I learned a few things:

  • Although the Owner's Suite is larger than my house, it doesn't feel like it because the layout isn't optimized. But that's okay because I would still spend my entire life in it.
  • Shooting with a flash in a room full of windows is difficult because the flash reflection is ev-er-y-where.
  • When shooting couple portraits I often will say how great they look and that they are going to make me cry. I do not cry. So I should probably stop saying that.
  • I miss spending time with my brother.

My pictures! Let me show you them!

McLay Kreiter Wedding Session-8

McLay Kreiter Wedding Session-2

McLay-Kreiter Wedding

McLay Kreiter Wedding Session-4

McLay Kreiter Wedding Session-10

More on Facebook.

Habitat For Humanity Restore

November 11, 2011

Steve and I stopped in the Restore this afternoon. We had just found out of its existence, and I lie the idea of a home-DIY thrift store. Aisles of lighting fixtures needing cleaning and a cost of paint, gobs of wall and flooring tiles, rows of caulk, and all kinds and colors of mixed paint.

And hidden behind the caulk I found this little guy. My best guess is it's a powder primer; you mix it with water and apply to your walls before paint or wallpaper.

I fell in love with the vintage packaging.

SYNKO Prime-Rite Wall Size

Granville Island Public Market

November 10, 2011

I had planned to walk to the Granville Island Public Market on my last day in Vancouver to get some brunch and do some people watching, but when I got off the Skytrain right across the water, my map told me it was a 3km walk over a gigantic bridge to the far side and then back, which when converted to American is Screw It miles.

So instead I wandered around the waterline and enjoyed the sunny morning until I ran across a water taxi. Heading to Granville Island. Brilliant.

I wanted to buy one of everything, but since I knew I would be going through customs that afternoon and the US is pretty strict about fruits and vegetables and Canadian fish, I didn't look with my wallet. Too much.

Granville Island PublicMarket

Granville Market-1

Granville Market-2

Granville Market-4

Granville Market-6

Granville Market-8

Granville Market-5

Granville Market-9

Granville Market-7

Ear Worm: Something in the Water

November 9, 2011

Give me nights of solitude,
red wine just a glass or two,
reclined in a hammock on a balmy evening
I'll pretend that it's no thing
that's skipping my heart when I think
are you thinking bout' me babe?
I'm crazy over you

—Brooke Fraser

Cone of Shame

November 8, 2011

Mitzi had an appointment this morning to be spayed, and unlike Olive and unlike Lacey who both went into heat mere days before their appointments, Mitzi had given no consideration to this nasty heat business. Which we all find quite considerate.

Mitzi spay-3

Unfortunately she is currently miserable. She moaned the entire drive home from the vet and then continued to moan a bit once home and as snuggled into my lap as well as she could fit.

Mitzi spay-4

Her anesthesia continues to wear off while the pain medication continues to kick in, and she's feeling much better now. She keeps trying to play with Olive, which entails a mixture of stepping on Olive and Mitzi hitting her with the cone.

Olive is displeased that we have provided Mitzi with a weapon. Choosing sides, as it were.

Mitzi spay-2

Mitzi has to wear the cone for about two weeks while her sutures heal. She's bonking into everything, it's only a matter of time until she gets stuck behind some furniture. And she's supposed to refrain from any running or jumping for those two weeks.

Cone of Shame

I'll let you know how that goes.

So Glad To Be Home

November 7, 2011

I had the day off work which was fortunate planning on my part because 1. the combination of daylight savings time ending and my crossing through a time zone has made me very confused as to what time it REALLY is, no really, because it's an hour ahead but then an hour back and now I'm in Alaska and... for reals, and 2. it snowed approximately 4 million inches of snow while I was gone this weekend and is still snowing.

I slept in until the Mitzi alarm went off at 9.30 - that alarm unfortunately has no snooze feature - and then lazed around until Steve made me an egg and cheese bagel sandwich for breakfast.

I made it to pilates at 11am. It's been so long since I did any pilates that my muscles were shaking and around the 40-minute mark they gave up completely. But I felt good afterward.

Olive has been pulling the I've Been Abused While You Were Away I Love You So Much card. Which I don't believe for one second because Steve sends me a Daily Olive photo that is one of three things: Olive sleeping on the couch, Olive sleeping on the chair, or Olive sleeping on the bed.

I haven't even gotten out of my pajamas (aka yoga pants), but that's just fine by me since I haven't gone anywhere except pilates, and yoga pants are perfectly acceptable to wear to pilates.

Although if I were still in Vancouver I could throw on a pair of Uggs over my yoga pants and be ready for a night out on the town. I'm judging those sweet Canadians from the comfort of my own yoga pants.

Before I Leave Canada

November 6, 2011


I'm drafting this in the airport on my way out of Vancouver and back to Alaska (via Seattle). I spent a lovely day at the Granville Island Market and then did a spot of shopping. I eyed $250 boots (thats only like $248 US!) but pulled myself away before trying them on and falling in love.

Then I had lunch at a crêperie all alone and felt quite lonely and ready to go home. Traveling alone is very quiet although surrounded by a lot of background noise.

There were a lot of people in the restaurant all talking and laughing and making a lot of noise, just not directly with me. The streets and shops were full of people chatting and shouting and laughing and bustling, just not directly with me.

It's a strange feeling to be surrounded by so many people but being all alone. It made me remember a video: How To Be Alone.

And that's hard for me, being alone. Every year I get more practice; I would have never considered going to Vancouver alone for my brother's wedding had I not already been going to Juneau alone for work. Maybe in 5 years time I will find myself at a movie theatre all alone.

Baby steps.

I'm looking forward to being home with my family and my dogs and my mattress, where I won't be alone.

Walk Around the City

November 5, 2011

This morning I met my brother and his new husband in their super awesome Owner's Suite for brunch. Then I gave them big hugs as they left for the airport and headed over to a coffee shop where I met up with a long-time internet friend JIM.

Jim was actually Steve's online friend first, and I got to know him around the same time I got to know Steve. I've only met Jim once before, when Steve and I went to San Francisco way back in 2007. We dragged Jim to the amusement park with us even though he didn't like rides.

Just like four years ago, Jim was very pleasant (he is Canadian, after all) and funny. We chatted over bad coffee and pleasant tea while I was distracted by a poorly designed poster behind him.

I just don't understand how an advertisement poster went to print without anyone mentioning that the Vespa windshield looked extremely phallic.

I also don't understand how I failed to take a photo of the poster.

After coffee we walked around downtown a bit. The tour was so thorough that Jim made sure to point out fascinating landmarks such as the Olympic torch, a giant Lego orca whale, and his dentist.

Fascinating place, Vancouver. There are dentists.

Then we headed over to English Bay and walked along the water for awhile. That was lovely, I could have walked along the bay for hours.

Inushuk at English Bay, Vancouver

But the sun was setting and my tummy started growling and Jim mentioned this great ramen placed he had been to with some friends and so we found ourselves standing in line with a number of Japanese people waiting for noodles.

Which Jim decided was the perfect time to admit that the one time he had been to this restaurant with his friends he didn't actually have any ramen. But there was always a line so it must be good.

Ramen with @HydrogenGuy was fantastic. Why don't we have ramen in Alaska?

And indeed it was good. So good that I have no idea why we don't have a ramen house in Alaska. Lots of sushi places, no ramen. This is a shame and someone should get on that.

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos today. And I still have something like 50 Canadian dollars I need to spend before I leave because there's no place in Alaska for me to exchange it.

So the plan for tomorrow is to get breakfast and take photos in the morning, then when the shops open (11?) do some economy-supporting shopping before heading back to the condo to check out and make my way back to the airport for home.

Beautiful Day For a Wedding

November 4, 2011

Vancouver was beautiful today. Slept in, had lunch and coffee at a cafe and worked on studio stuff while a wiener dog named Frankie told me his sob story how he's abused and never gets any treats and no one loved him. Frankie's owner just rolled her eyes.

I walked around downtown a bit and noticed all of the women wearing leggings and boots. Alsomwinter jackets and scarves and hats and gloves; it's 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and I'm the Alaskan in a tshirt. No one wears jeans here, it's very strange, but the more I saw the look the more I wanted a pair of leggings and a long sweater and boots for wearing outside of the house.

Then I headed over to the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel's Owner's Suite for pre-wedding photos with my brother and his fiancé.

The suite is huge and beautiful and I would like to live there. The master bathroom is 500sf, approximately the same size as the condo I'm renting while I'm in Vancouver.

There's also this giant gorgeous chandelier that I want to steal for my house. It hung in the corner and was probably a foot square but then the length of to stories. There must be a way for me to make that cheaply for my entryway (which is still missing a light since Steve's tumble off the ladder while painting).

After the photos I quickly changed into something sparkly and we had the wedding ceremony which was 100% Damon and John. I cried. It was beautiful and funny.

I'm so glad I was able to be here for them.

Ready and sparkly for a wedding.

And wear something sparkly.

Hello Canada

November 3, 2011

Today started super early With Steve dropping me off at the airport for my flight to Vancouver.

I was traveling with one large roller piece of luggage (big enough to fit my light stand), two small carry-ons with all of my expensive electronics, and my flash umbrella that wouldn't fit into my luggage.

The trip was uneventful, and once I got to Vancouver the sky train was a super easy and awesome way to get downtown. Except that I was carrying all of this baggage AND an unwieldy umbrella that kept banging into everyone.

And everyone kept apologizing to me.
For me running into them.

That is so Canadian.

Before I could check into the condo where I'm staying, I needed to get some cash for a cleaning deposit. And ATMs are hard to find in downtown Vancouver. The first one I found rejected my card, and then I wandered around for a while texting Steve about how lost I was until I decided to go into the gigantic Vancouver Public Library.

And there was an ATM that accepted my Alaskan card. Whew.

Tonight I had cocktails with my brother, his fiancé and everyone else involved with tomorrow's wedding. We met at a restaurant in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel and I loved every aesthetic about the hotel. Even the bathroom was gorgeous.

Fairmont Pacific Rim restroom

I have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow before the wedding. I have no plan, no list, nothing.

And that's okay.

International Traveler

November 2, 2011

When I was 16 I visited Paris with my high school French class and I climbed the Eiffel Tower.

When I was 17 I visited Mexico with my youth group on a mission trip and we built a house.


Tomorrow, at 30, I will be visiting Canada all alone and will witness my brother be married.

My Love of Graph Paper

November 1, 2011

The old blog layout had been up since March 2008, when Steve and I were still in a crappy little apartment and Lacey was still alive.

I had some very specific goals in mind:

  • the main column needed to accommodate wider photos
  • move my Twitter feed into the sidebar and include more than one most recent tweet
  • enlarge the size of my recently posted photos in the sidebar
  • remove a lot of crufty stuff that was way out of date

I'd like to say the redesign didn't take me very long to execute, but then I had been pondering repurposing the blog off and on since early 2010.

I even did up a few layouts at the time in Photoshop which were really pretty terrible. And I knew they were terrible, so they sat on my desktop labeled "new rhapsodic 4.psd" and "new rhapsodic 5.psd" and I hated them.

Then sometime in September I came across some home decor items by Jonathan Adler and fell in love with his geometric patterns.

I completely 100% love geometric patterns. When I was younger I would sit with colored pencils and graph paper and plot out fantastic left-brained patterns. And I admit I still do - all of my Moleskine notebooks have square graph paper in it.

So I spent a week or so doodling Jonathan Adler patterns in my squared notebook and then threw it into Photoshop and I loved it. It took me a few days (over the span of a week or so) to code it with some selective help from Steve.

And that's pretty much the story of that. So here's a picture of Mitzi helping out in the kitchen.

Mitzi is helping me clean the kitchen.

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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