Monday, February 8, 2016

What? You DON'T have Bald Eagles in your backyard?

New roadkill so you know what that means. I actually got some decent shots of this guy in flight. Too bad the lighting was yucky and the background means the wings blend into the photo.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Oh, she replied...

I promised to update if I got a response from the musher who was supposed to remain nameless. Mind you, I do not blog to get into a war of words with people - the only reason I'm "not letting go" is because of the hurtful and unnecessary comments Ms Denure made about someone who passed away during a long and hard fought battle with cancer. I don't freaking care that he was a jerk in her eyes, you just don't do that on another person's post honoring their friend knowing full well his friends and FAMILY would be able to read it.

So this is HOPEFULLY the last time I post about this, but, well... I'm not holding my breath that this is the end of it.

As for this only being a three person battle against her - she knows darn well there's more than three of us that have these feelings. Heidi is just the most vocal of the mushers - but I can tell you that I have listened to MANY mushers of all ranks say exactly what they think about her.

Secondly, I am not targeting anyone. I am not the one who decided to be ugly about Bob's passing.

Thirdly, and probably way more importantly - the idea that she doesn't go around talking poorly about others is laughable. She went after Jeff King last year, she's gone after others as recently as just a few months ago to the tune of trying to get their sponsors to pull their support! And SHE wants to continue to play the victim? No. Again - I have gotten contacted by SO MANY who are DONE with her actions since my blog post. It's been eye opening - and it's the reason why I will continue to speak up when I feel it is warranted.

Oh... and one more thing: Who the heck is BRIAN?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Zoya Denure: Keepin' It Classy

A few days ago I wrote a blog post about losing my friend, Bob Parsons. As the mushing community and fandom found out about his passing a lot of tribute posts went up. Bob was well loved, and the proof is in all of the tributes and posts and comments. HUNDREDS of people chimed in about the loss. Mushers, too, took the news hard and posted their gratitude for his love of the sport and his photography.

And then Zoya decided she needed to put her two cents in and play the victim. Because, we know EVERYthing is ALWAYS about her.

You may recall a few posts of mine from last year where I called her out for scratching - news flash, I'm not the only one who observed the obvious. Bob called her out around the time of "her husband's" (did he write it?) article saying those that scratch from the big races lack the heart and drive to be truly great mushers (he was basically hating on Jeff King). To put it mildly, Zoya does not take criticism (much less fact) well. She and Bob were anything but friends (when he started out actually supporting her). Whatever. I'm not friends with everyone in the sport either. Everyone has their favorites.

But she sank to an all time low last night with her comment. Look, we're all supposed to be adults. We know how to react to someone's passing. He's not Hitler or Bin Laden - he was someone's husband, friend, mentor. He was a good guy that you didn't get along with. Pull up your big girl panties and get over it. Suck it up, princess. That you attack a dead man is just a reflection on how ugly and pathetic you truly are.

Zoya messaged me a few days ago saying I was NOT ALLOWED to talk about her on my blog. I was going to "play nice" and not say anything about her (I mean it gets tedious reporting yet another scratch anyway). But after last night? Nope. She doesn't deserve ANY respect (not that I had much to give her anyway).

I think Heidi Sutter said it best last night. So I will just leave it here:
"The world lost an incredible man Friday. I lost a dear friend whom I consider family, as he was part of my family in many aspects. Alaska Bob was one of the biggest hearted men I have had the pleasure to call friend. He loved the Kid like she was his own. He was always there with a funny message, a quick smile and a long lasting bear hug just at the right times. Bob was a HUGE supporter of mushing and of many, many mushers. He was a GINORMOUS supporter of KMA Kennel.
Someone who considers themselves a role model in mushing, and an ambassador to the sport has finally showed their true colors as many of us are mourning the loss of this amazing human.

Zoya, you are indeed a despicable human who has sunk to the lowest of lows. Now that AB is on the other side, you best be watching your back, cuz honey, Karma is going to eat you up. I just hope that we are all there to see it all go down. You reap what you sow.

Namaste, bitch."
 Bob is no doubt getting a kick at seeing us all react to it. People are seeing her as he's seen her for years.
Will keep you posted if she decides to try to justify this new level of stupidity.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Movie Review: The Finest Hours

Who doesn't love a good historically based film, especially when it's Disney so you're pretty sure that the outcome will be uplifting and inspiring. The Finest Hours does not disappoint - and I don't feel I have to worry about spoiling anything because, hey, history! But seriously, this is probably one of the most exciting and fascinating Rescue At Sea stories I've ever read up on - so I was excited for the film.

Okay, really I was excited because Eric Bana and Michael Raymond-James both had supporting character roles in the film... but shhhhh! that's not what this is about.

The film is based on the book written by Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias, and follows the heroic story of the Coast Guard rescue of 32 men from the Pendleton which split in two during a blizzard off the coast of Massachussetts in 1952.

In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel. - Walt Disney Production Company
Chris Pine is our unlikely hero in the story - and if you're expecting his typical pretty boy role you will be shocked. He is by far the standout of this film, he isn't recognizable. He is an unsure, shy, awkward guy from the first scene until he pulls back into the pier after an insane night out in the storm. On the ship side, you also have a solid performance from the de facto leader of the survivors in Casey Affleck. I don't normally care for him in film (can't put my finger on why) but I found myself cheering for him to succeed in getting the group of men working together to keep the stern afloat (literally all that was left of the boat was its butt). Both men had the challenge of some of their coworkers not having much faith in their abilities - not understanding their need to follow rules.

One such character on the Pendleton is D.A. Brown played by Raymond-James. If you know his work, you know this is a character he's played before. Maybe not by that name in that situation, but a hot head with a lot of swagger. He quickly becomes the antagonist and you kinda hope he falls off the boat. Again, a solid performance (but I admit I'm biased), and a very needed voice in the movie.

We get a little bit of a love story with Pine's character, and while some have said that it was what is wrong with the film I disagree. It gave us more backstory for the way Pine's character (Bernie Webber) responds to thing. Webber is as straight laced as they come. He's not confident in himself even though he knows he's good - he just doesn't show that or have the courage to show it. He's a rule follower and if there aren't rules he fumbles around trying to figure out what he can and cannot do.

This comes to a head as the men head out on the rescue mission because they lose contact with the mainland and suddenly he is in control and has decisions to make. Not only is his life in the balance but so are the three other men with him - plus all the potential lives on the Pendleton. Once he realizes that rules and regs are just guidelines, that a lot comes to instinct and sheer determination, he comes into his own.

I really enjoyed the film, and my parents definitely did. My mother was on the edge of her seat with her hands covering her eyes (all the while screaming) during the ocean scenes (so for 90% of the film). My dad said he gave the movie two big thumbs up - and wanted me to tweet the cast that I follow (including MRJ lol) that he cried. It was that good.

Is it Oscar worthy? Probably not - though the graphics of the split ship were impressive (blows Titanic out of the water IMO, but we've come a long way in technology). It's a solid film - it's PG 13 for the intense ocean sequences, there's only one or two curse words that I remember and unless kissing is too graphic for you no sex. So older kids should be okay watching this film.

Definitely make plans to see it - if not in theaters then on DVD. It's worth the couple of hours.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I lost a friend today.

I lost a friend today. We met four years ago at the Tustumena 200. He and his wife had volunteered to help with the race, and I was the official photographer. Little did we know that it was going to be -30 for most of the weekend (plus windchill. It was flippin cold) and so we were all going to get really close in a Yurt in the middle of nowhere. Bob was, at the time, a hobbyist photographer who was still getting used to the digital age. He could work computers, but he wasn't sure about the DSLRs.

Bob would go on to become a pretty popular photographer over the next few years. When he got into something he went all in. He photographed many sled dog races, sometimes while volunteering in other areas of the race, and shared his views of Alaska for all to see on Facebook.

But I knew him as a friend, not just as a photographer or a name on facebook. Bob was a take no crap kind of guy. He was a straight shooter who didn't mince words. You knew exactly where you stood with him and what he thought on any multitude of subjects. He lived life in a way most only dream of being able to. He didn't play games, he didn't keep toxic people near. If you were a friend, you knew it - and you earned it.

I'm having a hard time putting into worlds just what this big guy means to me. He and Jolene (aka "The Boss") have always been so awesome to me, and I treasure the times spent together - which were not nearly enough. Schedules being what they were, there were a lot of missed opportunities. I think I still owed him Dairy Queen.

Last month he treated me and Taylor Steele (up and coming Mushing Superstar currently helping train Mitch Seavey's yearlings) to St. Elias Pizza. We gabbed about sled dogs, past happenings and up coming events. Taylor is fresh out of high school with all of these dreams and as he listened he gave advice and more importantly encouragement and support. If Bob was in your corner, you always knew it. He'd challenge you and keep you going.

No one saw this coming, while he was a man on "borrowed time" by doctor's standards - no one I know ever doubted he'd kick cancer's butt. Getting the message this afternoon (while I was at work, and we all know how much I LOVE getting emotional in front of people, no doubt that'd amuse Bob) I just sat there staring at my phone in shock. I wanted it to be a cruel joke. One I could get upset with him about.

But it's not. And I don't know how I feel. I'm in shock. My heart breaks for Jolene, but I selfishly also feel sorry for myself. I lost a friend today. Cancer took him away. Cancer Sucks.

See Bob Parsons' photos by going to his gallery here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2nd day of a new year.

So this is my first blog post from my phone. Consider this a test if you will. Just think! I could get the hang of this and then I could become super annoying. Haha.
Anywho here are (I hope) a few pics to document the day. A new year, a new Disney countdown, so I need to get my cooking on again. With the new job that gets me home by 5pm I can do more cooking. Plus I am not exhausted by the time I get a day off so I actually want to cook and bake. The first two dinners of 2016 I have made myself (from scratch!). I've missed cooking.
Also I (hopefully) added a few pics of Stitch because... well... why not?? 
Not the best picture of me, but I love my snuggle pug,
so I was brave and shared it anyway!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year from Alaska!

Let's hope 2016 is a more beautiful, peaceful, and blessed year! Much love to all of my followers, friends, and family. Here's to making more memories in this next round trip journey around the sun.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Favorite photos from 2015

There were so many beautiful moments this year, it's hard for me to pare it down as much as I have for the photos. I was going to go month by month, but that seems like too much work at this juncture, so it's in no real order, just however blogger decided to download them. There are more under the cut, as always, and if you would like to order a print please contact me via the comments section and I can work with you.

Here's hoping 2016 sees even more beauty!

I am in this photo, but I set it up so it counts. This was taken the last night
Dean and Mary Nichols were here for a revival. I hadn't seen Dean since
2010, and he hadn't preached at First Baptist Kenai since 2006! It
was good having them "home" for a little while. I miss them!
This group is just a small representation of the youth group my dad led
while Dean was our pastor.

As I said in yesterday's post, my dad helped Kassy
coach TBall... as you can see, it wen't well.

Sushi was very happy to wear his 49ers Jersey
and pose with an "official" NFL Network Football.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Highlights of 2015

It's the final few days of 2015, where did the time go?! I swear I was just doing up my list of heartbreaking moments for my fangirl heart in 2014! I am not going with that theme this year, as I want to go with a more positive less crazy person theme. The social media group Bullies Keep Out tweeted this week for people to share their highlights of the year, I responded with one, but now I want to look back on the year at some of the BIG highlights as well as the small that meant something to me (mainly because when I responded I honestly was not able to think of anything which is ridiculous! 2015 was a big year).

January marked my 30th year on earth. I didn't do too much, but Kassy and Delaney bought me birthday donuts and sang (because Delaney demanded it) and Kassy took me to lunch. I spent the evening of my birthday "with Stephen Amell" as it was the return of Arrow from their holiday hiatus. January also marked some stupidly cold temps with no snow, but amazing sunrises and sunsets. You can find many of my pictures on my blog from last "winter". January ended with the amazing premiere of the History Channel's 6 hour mini series event "Sons of Liberty" that starred several of my favorite actors, and more that I would come to love after the show aired. Oh. My. Word. By far my favorite mini series EVER.
made by annieodaairs on tumblr.

February brought stupid weather that threatened to cancel the major dog sled races (like, oh, you know, the Quest and Iditarod), other races were cancelled (no Tustumena 200!). But we got a roadkill moose (not as redneck as it sounds, I promise) and when dad threw the bones in the backyard for the ravens and magpies to pick at we were visited by some much larger birds. Two eagles spent a week munching and crunching on carrion... and I managed to take many photos (way too many photos) and only ticked them off once or twice. The rest of the time I was busy focused on the upcoming Iditarod and whether or not it would start in Willow or if they'd have to move the race further north - if they could have it at all.

March is always one of my favorite months of the year, it's the Iditarod! The biggest race of the year for mushers, their dogs, and their fans. This year I was not blogging for the Seaveys, which meant I could have fun and follow the race and report on my blog because I wasn't busy moderating their pages. Also meant I could cheer for them and not just worry I sounded biased. I could also be critical of other teams if need be and it not be tied to them. I got to watch (via internet and tv, of course) Dallas Seavey win his 3rd title. But what was really the highlight was becoming part of that small group of bloggers and social media folk that cover the race. I was asked by Sofamushing based out of Europe to be a guest blogger, and the crazy duo of Dog Works Radio asked me to be a guest on their radio program to give my take on not only the race but on the way social media has connected the fans to the race in a way that no other medium has done previously. It was an honor and a lot of fun. Made the race that much more exciting for me as there was a new element to it for me!

March also saw a huge change in our family - my grandfather moved out of his house of 40 years. He has dementia and he needed more help, so we packed him up and he now lives with my uncle (he may be moving in with us soon, however). It was an emotional time, and the family was together which made it easier and harder all at the same time.

April once again brought a happy change to the family, mom and dad adopted their pug Sushi. He was about three years old and we were told he didn't like kids. Well, he doesn't like anyone or anything new - and it took him a long time before he liked me. He still has his moments of grumpy dog, but for the most part he is a hilarious addition to the Reitter household. And this dog LOVES wearing clothes. He's becoming a bit of a clothes horse. It's insane. But he's adorable, so it's okay.

May I was hired at Donna's Gift Shop in Soldotna. It was one of those jobs that falls into your lap. I made it through Christmas with them before deciding to take the job I have now. It definitely helped me get out from under a bit of a hole I'd gotten myself in, but it took a lot of time away from other pursuits like photography and it was putting wear and tear on my Exploder. Delaney invited me to her dance recital and I took pictures of that. It was the beginning of the busy season for the Peninsula. Full of fishing and summer fun.

June saw forest fires, one starting right where 2014's ended... another destroying the prime real estate of the Mushing Community of Willow. Communities rallied, the mushing community especially, and while many homes were devastated in Willow, they have rebuilt and carried on in true Alaskan fashion. Kassy talked my dad into helping her coach T-ball, so I spent a few nights taking pictures of the games for her... when I could get the time off. I also tried fitting in other summer activities. I DID get to go to the Iditarod BBQ with dad, and even while the fires raged further North of Wasilla, it was still a fantastic time. Even if dad embarrassed me (and I managed to embarrass myself).

June also brought with it the very best part of the summer for me. While shooting photos of the dogs and cats up for adoption at the Animal Shelter, I managed to get the first glimpse of a little black PUG DOG that they were getting ready to find a forever home. I fell in love. The little imp was skittish and hyper and I just felt like I needed him. A quick chat with mom and dad later and I was contacting the shelter saying "put him on hold, as soon as dad can get off work they're going to bring Sushi over and meet him". I was at work. Next thing I knew I was getting a message saying he was mine! I can't imagine life without him now... the only regret I have is naming him Stitch... names have power and he definitely personifies his name. He is a super naughty pup!

July was work, and fishing, and Conway Seavey's concert in the park... that I was only going to spend an hour at and then nope I stayed the whole time... which meant I left close to midnight... but I got some of the most amazing shots I've ever taken of Redoubt and the Kenai River. The prints are quite popular. I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. We also said goodbye to my aunt's black pug Bubba Jack the No Eyed ARRRRRctic Pug Pirate. The one we rescued when I still lived with her in Anchorage. We used to joke that he would outlive us all... and, well, he outlived all the dogs in our family.

August saw me getting a new car as the Exploder died on me early on in the summer (grrr). I ended up getting a Kia Sorrento and I absolutely love her. I've named her Miss Daisy (as that's what Donald Duck calls his boat). I was super busy with work and didn't get a lot of anything else done. It flew by, and I was looking forward to the idea of slowing down and getting into a routine, but that didn't happen. Oh well, I had a job, right?

September was work and football... I don't have much high or low lights for that month. Haha.

October through December was just one whirlwind of holidays and work and work and work... and then in November I was offered the job as Administrative Assistant for Liberty Tax in Kenai. This will help when Grandpa moves up early next year, as well as cuts down on gas. Every little bit helps.

I'm sure I'm missing some key points, but those are the big ones that stand out for now. Overall I think 2015 was a pretty nifty year... 30 wasn't so bad... now it's only year 31!

Sunrise photos on the Kenai River

On my way to work this morning I made a stop (good thing work is now just minutes from home) to take photos of the incredible sunrise we got to witness. I'd type more, but I'm tired and lazy and can't think of something to say... I'll let the photos do the talking (1000 words, ya know?).

As always, there are more under the cut.