Monday, January 31, 2005
My cat is so darn cute. I love her, love her, love her. No, really. But how can you resist?

It's really quite surprising how much a little kitty can pull your heartstrings. She's getting so much better about being held and seems quite content with the nightly ritual of me picking her up and walking her up the stairs to bed - not one peep! And that makes me so happy.. her sitting in my arms, inspecting the walls and looking around as I walk up the stairs. When I first found her, you couldn't hold her a fraction of a second without her crying pathetically. That lasted until a month or so ago.

Now, unfortunately, she's picked up Lucy's bad habit of DRINKING OUT OF THE TOILET. Every time I see either of them doing it, I shoo them away.. or flush the toilet.. or pick them up and walk them to their water bowls. They have yet to catch on that it is less-than-desirable behavior, which makes me think maybe they won't learn. So I feel okay with going to get my camera now rather than trying to save them from the icky toilet germs.

bad bad bad!

Another bad habit: she eats every ten minutes!
Showing fact: In the seven minutes or so it took me to grind and make my coffee yesterday morning, the Kitten ran in from outside at full speed TWICE to eat. Twice. In less than 10 minutes. Jeez, Kitten.

Thursday, January 27, 2005
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Things I'd Probably Say If the Bush Administration Were Just a Weekly TV Show and I Were a Regular Viewer.

"Now, see, you can't just go and do something like that. That would be illegal."

"Boy, someone's gonna get fired for that."

"Wasn't that the one who made all the mistakes? Why is she getting promoted?"

"Come on, in real life you'd never get away with something like that."

"They really expect us to believe that?"

"Am I the only one confused here?"

"Does this make any sense to you?"

"Why is this still on?"
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
  Huge coincidence!

Link courtesy of Kottke.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  Yahoo! News - AFP Top Photos
Yahoo! News - AFP Top Photos

Aww, a gorilla smokin' a little cigar..

  my second-to-last day at work!
Two amusing interactions with my current (but not for long) co-workers today:

1) Missy, a 24-year-old sweetie, just emailed me, "Still can’t believe you are leaving, I’ll be the youngest one here! Boo hoo!" Why is it people always think I'm younger than I am? Does my maturity level exude through my pores?

2) Austin, our 16-year-old file clerk, said, "That's too bad you're going. I'll miss, ya know, trying to talk to you about books and stuff and having you kinda blow me off." Awww! We were joking around at the time, so I just laughed and said, "Goes to show you how damn crabby I am from being here!" And that's true - I'm usually chin-deep in a scowl for most of the day here and don't feel like talking to anyone. You make copies and stuff envelopes for an afternoon and tell me how chipper you are!

Anyway, it's all over tomorrow! And my first day at my new job has been moved up to ---> Thursday! Woo!

Monday, January 24, 2005
  move dive pics, courtesy of matt (

i couldn't uncross my arms, even for a pic (COLD)

I'm sorry, but I again have to make a comment about how cute Ed is. Do you blame me?

link to his matt's springs pics.
link to the matt's edited divelog entry.

Thanks, Matt! The pics look great!
Sunday, January 23, 2005
  lookee what i got for my bday!

look forward to some underwater pictures, courtesy of my eddie. :)
  i have a baby! avocado tree!
i bought an avocado a month or two back for tacos.
i thought maybe i could try planting its pit. lucky for me, the pit had already begun to sprout inside the fruit and i had a head start..

this is day 1, soaking in a starbucks mug

this is a few days later, after i put it into soil

this is today - impressive, huh? i swear, this thing grows every time i blink.

next, we're going to try for a pineapple!
Friday, January 21, 2005
here's a map of the landmarks of my life here in south florida.

my old job is about a mile away from the condo.
ed's is southwest of there.
and my new job is even further south than that.
now locate my apartment, where live my turtle and birds.
see why i have a problem? a very northerly-lying problem?
to give you an idea, i'm allowing for at least a half-hour to get to my new job ("work") from ed's.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
  captive audience

ed had fed them shrimp a half-hour before.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
  winter diving in florida, part 2
or: i've never been so happy to have to pee


we got up at 6:30 (whoops) and got on the road soon after. at approximately 7:30, i got a voicemail from matt which stated, "today sucks." i hoped he meant they had overslept. as we got closer and closer to orange city, home of blue spring state park, i realized that he had indeed meant the weather.

it was in the 50s and drizzling. i rediscovered my desire to get in the water, however, at the first sight of a manatee off the boardwalk. she looked like a big ol' baked potato.


we suited up (two wetsuits each this time!) and walked out to the water, fully geared up. the plan was to walk in the water to the entrance of a cavern and dive into it.

when we reached the cavern's entrance, i stopped to adjust my mask before descending. i felt a nudge and my thigh and realized it was - a manatee! after enjoying my good luck for a bit, i reluctantly followed and and another diver over to a hole. i realized that they intended to swim into it. swim vertically. into a hole. after some maneuvering the flow, i got down to where i could grab onto a ledge and could pull myself down. amazingly, i felt pretty comfortable.

it was actually really cool. we got down to about 50 feet, me equalizing my ears twice for every breath, then paused to let some other divers through. i looked back down and the hole was now completely dark save for the faint glow of a diver's light further down. it was then ed gave the signal we were going up, much to my new-diver-ass's relief.

this was a picture i got on our way up. bad camera, but it was awesome in person.

when we came back up, we were met by matt and andrea's group on their way to descend.

hey there!

this is ed in the water. isn't it so gorgeous? it was like swimming in a postcard. a really cold postcard.

as the divers discussed their plan, some manatees began to approach. this is the baby nibbling on something.

bad manatee!

the other divers left, and ed, jc, and i were left alone with them.

a big girl, which we will call spud for the sake of brevity, was very keen on her human visitors. her baby amused herself in the middle of the river while she played doggy and went back and forth between us, seeking rubs and sniffing our fins. they were all interested in fins.

spud and ed's fins.

spud and my fins. and spud's arm rolls.

this is ed and spud.

again. note how she's hugging him. they like grabbing onto stuff with their flippers.

and again.

friendly gal, isn't she? like a big sweet dog at ed's feet.

this picture would be nicer with my hand edited out, but this is the only picture of me + manatee that turned out. i hate non-digital cameras.

well, this is a picture of me and a manatee, too, but not that you can tell. it's like trying to see a baby in an ultrasound. stupid camera.

it was completely amazing. spud would get right up next to me and hug on my leg, then roll over onto her back. i took this to mean, "scratch my belly!" and so i did. at one point, i realized i had just touched her belly button. all i could think was, "I JUST TOUCHED A MANATEE'S BELLY BUTTON!!!!" how cute is that?

this is me. i'm probably thinking about the belly-button thing.

i'm so happy we went on this trip. despite the hypothermia-inducing weather, it was awesome - a weekend full of new experiences. and, amazingly, my experience diving with manatees was all i could've ever dreamed of and more. i was face-to-face with that huge, gentle creature.. got to rub her belly and examine the hairs on her skin.. i got to touch her tail and hold her hand... how else would've i ever known that a manatee's "neck" is impossible to scratch? - all you can do is jiggle it. jiggle, jiggle.

my teeth chattering eventually made me agree to get out, but it was definitely hard.. both because it was FREEZING and because I WAS WITH MANATEES. ahh! great weekend!!! :) :) :) i smiled the whole three hours home! :)

THANK YOU, MATT & ANDREA!!!! Visit Matt's site! He'll have much better pictures than me.
  winter diving in florida, part 1
or: i've never been so happy to have to pee

this weekend after ed & i finished work, we drove FIVE hours to williston, florida, so that we could dive devil's den on saturday morning.

we arrived at about 11 p.m. and found our cabin. after we put our things down, i opened the door to see what There's Nothing Outside looked like. instead, i found a cat. a big, orange one. he walked in like he owned the place. i christened him garfield and gave him some of ed's beef jerky.

ed had to try to brush his teeth around this. garfield really, really liked the running water.

this picture was taken within 10 minutes of this cat walking in our door. ed was in bed with a book pretty soon after we got in and this cat was snuggling right up with him. pretty comfortable little guy, huh? this cat did the happys-paws thing violently, pushing his little arms out forcefully, claws unsheathed. at one point in the night, i heard a thump. "what was that?" "the cat," ed answered. the next day, he explained that garfield had happy-pawed himself against ed's back and pushed himself right off the bed. hee!

the next morning, i made garfield some oatmeal and we took a quick tour of the grounds. cats were everywhere!

this is a cat on an ice-cream machine.

hi ed!

we met matt and andrea for the first time, who planned this whole trip, then went to gather our gear and get in the water. while registering, i found out that garfield was actually "thor".

hi thor!

this is devil's den, from above. just a hole in the ground!

these are the stairs that you hike up to get out.

we did a dive in the cavern, with a number of other divers and the biggest catfish i've ever seen. i spent the first few minutes on a platform, trying to make sure i wouldn't 1) sink or 2) float up once i left the platform. silt and rocks were neither something i wanted to make contact with. finally, i grabbed onto ed's hand and we took a little tour of the place with our flashlights. as expected, we saw lots of rock and lots of fishes.

diving is still very new for me - and i'm not exactly comfortable yet - and this was definitely a new environment for me. lucky for me, i was with ed and he held my hand through the whole thing - literally. i can't remember the last time i had to hold someone's hand because i was scared. it worked, though. :)

devil's den

to calm my violently chattering teeth, ed and i ran back to the cabin to take advantage of the hot water - cold, wet wetsuits and wet hair are not exactly comfortable when it's 50-60 degrees outside. ay de mi!

we came back out in dry clothes and enjoyed the afternoon with matt, andrea, their friends JC and sofia, and andrea's parents, aldo and maria elena, who brought food for the grill. i was happy to have met everyone, and not just because they brought oreos.

this is the picnic area outside the entrance to devil's den. yes, people are wearing coats.

matt and jc tried to start a fire.

when they gave up, some little girls took over.

they were equally unsuccessful.

this is me a bit after our dive. yes, i'm wearing gloves. and four layers up top.

we went back to the cabin for a nap, then went out on the town (wal-mart), and made an early night of it with the alarm set for 5:30. i agreed to this ungodly hour because i was promised manatees. disappointingly, thor never appeared. he probably found some non-vegetarian campers who had something better to offer than oatmeal and bread.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
  huge geek
One of the things they had me do at interview #2 was go through their website and note any spelling and grammar mistakes.. Strong language skills was one thing they were looking for in an assistant. Today I went to look at the website - I told the boss I would get familiar with all the information there - and all of my changes have been made! I'm so proud!

Geek :)
Friday, January 14, 2005
  my last day of making fax cover sheets for a living is 1/26

Okay, angry Asian man!
I did. Yesterday. And it feels gooood.
I really lucked out in the new-job department. I'll be working 9-6 (perfect hours for the not-morning me and avoiding rage-inducing South Florida traffic) at an organization too diversified to go into here. Basically, I'll be an administrative assistant doing administrative-assistant type things in a spacious but mostly uninhabited office* (it'll be me, the partners, and a ping-pong table). I'll be able to use my computer and writing skills and, more importantly, my brain. On a daily basis. And for all of this, I get more pay!
Also, there's a Yorkie named Shosha that gets to come to work with her daddy. I hope they let me take her out on walks at lunch. :)
I am so happy that I got it. They got 140 resumes and they picked me.. and that makes me all the more grateful. I finally got to accept a job because I wanted it, not because I needed a job.
Odd bit of info: I just found out that a friend from my last job, Nichole, is interviewing at my current job. For my current job. Weird, huh? I gave her an honest evaluation of the place and she still wants to interview there, so good luck to her.
*Don't worry; I googled the partners. Impressive results.
Monday, January 10, 2005
  Dad, revisited
I'm at the condo, searching through My Documents to find writing samples to bring to tomorrow's (second) interview(!). I came across the paper I wrote about my dad.. I revised the whole thing last year and redistributed it, so about everyone I know has seen it, but I'm posting it here to make sure it's never lost. I agonized over every word when I wrote this, crying the whole time, and I cry every time I read it again: it's my dad and captures exactly how I feel about him. I really, really wish he were still here.


Our mother met us at the end of my father’s driveway when we arrived at his house. The cancer that invaded his body had bedrid him for months, so my sisters and I visited regularly to make him coffee, watch him nervously as he slept, and burn perfumed candles to camouflage the smell of that awful bag. So one of my sisters and I had come to sleep over. I noticed my other sister’s car parked nearby and wondered to myself why Mom was there. As we met her, the streetlight revealed that her cheeks were streaked with tears. “He’s gone,” she said quietly, her words turning a regular ol’ evening into The Night My Father Died.

“What am I supposed to do now?” I asked myself.

The rest of the night was surreal. Within view of my father’s body, my family talked about his death over coffee while my niece crawled up and down the stairs and poked at the fish in their aquarium. I sat near where this little girl was playing to let her protect me; even if it was centered on bananas and Blue’s Clues, we were having the only normal conversation in the house.

My sister wept openly, crying out apologies and assurances (I can only assume) to my dad’s lifeless body. I felt this was a much more appropriate reaction than my own numb one. When she left the room, I realized I was alone with the thin old man that had so quickly taken my hearty father’s place. I stole a touch of his hand and tried to understand my mother’s words: he’s gone.

Unfortunately, after the shock of the death and the daze of the comedically miserable funeral (picture a girl trudging up a hill in the snow to a small church in the country, sobbing and pointing to the spot where her car had skidded off the road), I was reminded of those words and how much they meant more often than I would’ve liked.

My parents divorced when I was young, and I lived with my mother and two older sisters, first in a nearly windowless apartment with pink shag carpet and a bathroom I was convinced was haunted ever since we had to open its door with a “skeleton” key. Dad lived a few miles out of town and, on the weekends, I would stay with him. At first, I didn't like my weekends at Dad’s house; there wasn’t much for me to do there if I didn’t bring a friend along and the house itself was run-down, cold, and (gasp) didn’t have cable. As I got older, though, I looked forward to the bad late-night TV and good late-night talks about our lives, Paul Harvey, and the wild kittens living in the garage. Then he’d bury me in heavy blankets on the couch (oh, what I wouldn’t give to relive one of those tuck-ins) and let me sleep as late as I wanted. Stays at his house became happy retreats where it didn’t matter that I wasn’t pretty or cool and when everything I said was important.

My dad was always there for me, as tired as the saying may be. When I was getting excited about Spanish in high school, Dad got excited with me. When I decided to stop eating meat, Dad made me egg sandwiches. When everyone else wanted to break the CD I bought at a concert and played nonstop since, Dad just asked me to play track 17 again.

Besides being a good father, Dad was a good person. One of the characteristics I admire most in people in a kindness to animals (it being completely unnecessary and unselfish) and my dad demonstrated it often. He once told me about a dog he had come across while working outside, and with a smile in his eyes said that she’d eat half of his lunch in a gulp and look up at him, demanding more. Corky was the sweetest little dog, he said, but her owners didn’t seem to care for her much, so he took her in and paid $35 he couldn’t afford to have her spayed. Now, in her grey-muzzle years, she lives with my adoring mom and step-dad; it still makes me smile to think of how lucky she was to beg from Daddy. And while all my uncles’ cars were draped in limp deer carcasses every November, I never knew my father as a hunter. One day, he told me why: while hunting squirrels as a younger man, he chased one into a hole, shoved his gun in after it, knowing he had won, and prepared to shoot. But then it started to whimper and Dad couldn’t bring himself to kill the scared little animal. From then on, the only hunting my daddy did was for mushrooms.

Dad was the nicest guy I’ve known, and in every of my life’s ups and downs, I feel him being gone. I wish I had more of him than a little silver ring he gave my mom when they were in love, a pair of overalls in the closet, and the bit of him I hope to see in myself. When I go home, I wish I were going to his house instead of past it to his little plot in the cemetery. I wish I could share with him Hank Williams, III’s music, vanilla soymilk, and the dream I had last night about polar bears. Most of all, I wish I were writing this about how great my dad is, and not feeling the sting of using the past tense.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
  the drama never ends!
tonight what did the cat drag in?

a brown basilisk, i swear. a.k.a. jesus lizard. do a corbis search - the pics are better over there.

he's pretty chill, although not too happy about his current predicament. that is, in a tupperware container on a shelf outside. the little thin scale over his ear is perforated (don't make me declaw you, little brats!), so i gotta wait til i get the OK to send him on his way.

ed, i hope you know how much i appreciate you allowing me to turn your house into the little-and-traditionally-undesirable-critters ER. :)

UPDATE: as they suggested, i took the little guy to the wildlife care center. they gave him meds to prevent any infection that the ("toxic") cat saliva may cause... then they have to adopt him out. even called later to beg that i re-release him.. but he's not native to florida, so it's illegal. sigh.

hope you find a good home, basil. (bethy gave him that name.) sorry! :(

  it's been a slow weekend over here...
but that's okay - more time to play with the kitties.*

first, we got this great toy for the cats at petsupermarket the other day. it's called the micromouse. it's remote-controlled! best $17 (ed) ever spent!

the cats were mostly just scared of it, until i ran it into their little feet over and over. "dance for me! muahaha" then the KILLKILLKILL instinct took over.

lucy had taken refuge in a water-bottle container. she's smart.
btw, doesn't kitten look like she's wearing kneesocks? that cracks me up.

later, i broke out the one of their favorites, the feather-on-a-stick:

look at kitty's evil look! all of the pics captured pics worthy of her neighborhood nickname: spawn of satan (she doesn't like dogs too much). lucy is retreating in the picture, just after trying unsuccessfully to killkillkill. they are so weird.

this is what suki was doing through all of this. not on the catbed. surprise, surprise.

*you have to remember two things when you think to yourself how sad it is that half (or more) of my posts are about these three dear cats. 1) i have no children. :D and 2) really, these are my first real pets. i never had a dog, never had a cat. you spend your childhood trying to cuddle with salamanders and hamsters and we'll see how you react to your first real pet.

kitty on her tippy-toes.

Saturday, January 08, 2005
  how can you not love these animals?
look at this! and they're all tiny! and slow! and, when they're on the ground, pathetically feeble!
maybe not the traits you'd ask for in a mate.. but, my god, if they're not some cool animals. and check it out - he's smiling!

Thursday, January 06, 2005
  New Year's Eve 2005

Dan & Tracey

Ernie & Cindy

Lee & Rani

Ed & My Beyonce Thighs

All is going along pretty normally until the clock struck 12:00.. Unless you count the fact that I actually danced earlier. Anyway, Ernie nudges me and points to Lee, who is kneeling in front of Rani. I am witnessing someone getting engaged! Awww!

Sign o’ the times – Lee and Rani immediately got on their cell phones to share the good news. And to yell at their friends about why they’re not answering their damn phones!

Rani answers questions about what it feels like to be the future Mrs. Bolen.

The ring! 'Bout cracked my damn lens!

A sweet picture of Ernie & Cindy.

Dan & Tracey obviously enjoying one another’s company.

And Ed’s going to hate that I posted this caught-off-guard picture, but it has to be documented for future generations that yes, Ed Meier did, at one time, smoke. :)

Congratulations to Lee & Rani! Happy 2005!
I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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