Monday, July 31, 2006
  This weekend

horse, originally uploaded by estacey.

For work, I got to do a little Homestead farm tour! It was fun! I got to try all kinds of new fruits I had never heard of, take home a big ol' bag of avocados, and try locally-produced lychee wine. (And mango, and passionfruit, and carambola... All yummy.)

Today I'm feeling miserable.. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, I pet two cats, four farm dogs, a donkey, a horse....

I really like Florida for this reason. An hour from South Beach, you're in a place that's so green and fruity that a little girl with us asked, while watching the trees go by outside the bus window, "Are we in Costa Rica?" :)

  Seen outside Paradise Farms, Homestead, Florida

haha, originally uploaded by estacey.

Friday, July 28, 2006
  i subscribe to this guy's photostream..

sharmi kaki and me, originally uploaded by krish(nan).

because i think his wife is pretty. is that weird?

but honestly, look at her. pretty in a wow-she-looks-sweet way. !

  "people will steal anything!"

  She really does love this box.

Kitten in the box, originally uploaded by estacey.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
  what a happy day!

[this pic is one of a grouper being cleaned by a pederson's shrimp. i love it!]


he would've been gone two weeks on saturday, so, needless to say, i was getting very worried. i searched tirelessly for the first week or so.. then the depression of searching but not finding (you know, like fluffy) set in. i didn't want have another animal to sit and wonder about... where is he? is he ok?

it was confounding because there's no way he could've escaped from the yard; it's fenced in! bjorn could get out, because he's little and could fit through gaps, but there's no way wailey could. yet, after searching on both my and balu's parts, we couldn't find him.

then today, i got home from work and was doing my usual 6:30 routine: watching seinfeld. the one where george finds out that he is marisa tomei's time. ellie was in bed with me. he kept hopping over to the window, which isn't unusual. but this time, he looked down, to the ground UNDER the window, rather than up towards the birds. hmm! i thought and checked it out. sure enough, there was wailey, looking like he was trying to get himself stuck in a roll of chickenwire. i yelled out, "WAILEY!" and ran outside to scoop his dirty little self up.

so, he got a bath and a nice meal (with a banana on top!) and a stern lecture about never, ever doing that to mama again! YAY! i think he did just fine in the yard.. it's been raining every single damn day and he had a leaf stuck to his face, so i guess he found food. :)

i just checked on him again and he's ambling around the perimeter of the enclosure. i'm thinking i'll buy some wood and expand it out this weekend; i don't think happy tortoises busy themselves with trying to find a way out, so maybe he's not happy. i'll have to dig him a nice little covered burrow to hide in.

also, i got my wallet back. :) fabulous!

the guy who found my wallet works at an enterprise car place, so i went there to pick it up. he was gone when i got there, so i waited around a few minutes.. when he did get there, he said my wallet was at his place. ruh-roh. (seeing as how today i wore a dress/skirt for the first time in months, i was hyper aware of male attention; i had forgotten how much men like to see bare legs!) then i realized, wait, did i detect a hint of gay in that voice? sure enough, he mentioned his boyfriend. safe! anyway, so he pointed me to the car we'd ride in to run over to his apartment, "the focus," he said. "don't worry, it's not mine." i had to laugh -- "oh, he'll feel bad later when he seems me drive off in an old civic," from which a nice new black focus would be a huge step up.

anyway, that reminded me of this guy i went to school with a coupla years back, adam. he was this, i dunno, italian guy? nice fella. unexpected member of the honors program. we usually used to walk out to our cars together after class. he pointed out his car one night, a white ford focus. it was one of his job's perks; he was a salesperson for pepsi, so he got to use the car he drove for the job for free. the one downside? it had the pepsi logo on the side.

"big fan of pepsi, eh?" i kidded with him one night. "yeah, yeah, real funny," he answered. "my friends call it the cockblock on wheels." i still laugh when i think of that.
Just had to say is a pretty awesome service.
I pay something like $4 a month for membership to their "premium" service. That means you can listen to their high-quality radio stations with no ads AND you can skip songs as much as you want.
I usually seek out stations to listen to, but now I'm listening through Yahoo! Messenger.. I haven't had the time to figure out how to get to the station guide, so I just chose "My Station." It bases what it plays on what I had rated in the past on the other stations.
Proof the service rocks: It just played Denis Leary's "I'm an Asshole"! And earlier, a bit by Chris Rock. Now? Big & Rich's "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)". Very, very worth the $4. :)  Plus, its video service lets you watch all the Beyonce videos you want. 
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
  Who knew?
So yeah, on Monday night, I jumped rope.

Today I am so sore that I can hardly move, and in weird places I'm not used to.. muscles in my back.. my calves.. the backs of my arms. ???

I was really confused at first - what did we do on Saturday that caused this? Nothing out of the ordinary.. hmm... Was it that tough run Sunday night? No, couldn't have been. Which leaves the jumping rope.

I'm really amazed at how, well, bad I am at it right now. I haven't done it since I was, oh, 10? I spent half of the 45 minutes smacking myself in the face with the rope, tripping over it.... I skipped in place, then I went around the block while jumping. When you're used to jogging instead, jumping rope down the street feels incredibly sloooow.

So despite how much time I spent recovering from my mishaps, it apparently was still a very good workout. Time to hobble off to beach boot camp now... Although it's 96 with humidity right now. I don't know if it's such a good idea to work out in that. I guess we'll see.
  Listen Online: Driveway Moments: Fresh Air with Michael Pollan

"Fresh Air from WHYY, April 11, 2006 · Journalist Michael Pollan's new book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, follows industrial food, organic food, and food that consumers procure or hunt for themselves, from the source to the dinner plate. It also examines the importance of corn in all of our food products."

I loved this.
Monday, July 24, 2006
  Someone is lucky!
Saturday, I went to my workout, went to Starbucks, went grocery shopping, and then came home. I left everything in the car but the groceries, which I left on the front steps with my sandy shoes to take care of the slight problem by drinking a half gallon of water during a 90-minute workout. Then I came back out and put the groceries away.

Saturday night, I went to get my wallet and couldn't find it. I checked everywhere. Sunday, I thoroughly searched my car. I looked in my dresser drawers, in my bathroom, in my bed.. I even checked between the burritos in the freezer. But no wallet, still.

I called the grocery store to see if they had found it. Nope.

Today I contemplated my situation. Shall I give up and go about replacing everything in that wallet? Or should I, as I'm doing with Wailey, cross my fingers and hope it shows up?

Then, Miracle #1: I listened to my voicemail. Message #1 was from Bank of America. Appears Miracle #2: A nice fella had found my wallet and called BoA as I had one of their bank cards in my wallet.

He found my wallet on the street while walking his dog. It was soaked but intact.

He's in Tampa until Thursday, but I can pick it up from him then. Woo-woo! I am one lucky girl! After all, I had a Build-a-Bear club card with $70 worth of purchases on it. Another $30 and I get a $10 credit! The ID, the cards, the checks.. They were all replaceable, but my Build-a-Bear card? :)

Any ideas on what to get this fella as a thank-you? The only things I know are that he's 1) a guy, 2) named Frank, and 3) works at Enterprise. A $20 gift certificate from Best Buy, possibly? Ideas???
  Score one for organized religion
The Bishop of London has declared that contributing to climate change by flying on holiday, driving a “gas-guzzling” car or failing to use energy-saving measures in the home is sinful. Richard Chartres will emphasize that it is a moral obligation for Christians to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, and will encourage vicars to preach more green sermons. Chartres, who chairs the bishops’ panel on the environment, said: “There is now an overriding imperative to walk more lightly upon the earth and we need to make our lifestyle decisions in that light. Making selfish choices such as flying on holiday or buying a large car are a symptom of sin. Sin is not just a restricted list of moral mistakes. It is living a life turned in on itself where people ignore the consequences of their actions.”
Saturday, July 22, 2006
  I love this girl's pics.

Rinse Off, originally uploaded by roidrage.

They're all polaroids. I think that has to get expensive, but it sure makes for some cool-lookin' pics.

Speaking of pics, I gotta send my camera in soon. I'm dying without it!

  Another discovery
There's a lady at work that I absolutely love. She's the one that was wearing tie-dye in my interview.. She's very sweet & funny, loves photography.. All in all, someone I hope I'm like when I'm older. And, she's a really good source for finding out about new, cool things... She's the one that suggested yerba mate and that restaurant I ate at in Key Largo, Alabama Jack's. And I noticed that she often has a container of Fage, greek yogurt, in the fridge. So when I spotted it the other day, I decided to try it.

Per serving, it only has 8g of sugar, as opposed to American-style yogurt's 35 or so. It's low in fat (if you buy the right kind), low in calories, and is very versatile.

It's a lot more sour than normal yogurt.. and has a creamier consistency, like that of sour cream. And while I'm sure you could eat it plain, I don't think many people do. The traditional way to eat it, I think, is just with honey. I've been using a couple of spoonfuls of regular yogurt in it, then mixing in blueberries and sometimes a bit of cereal in too. It's really good! It allows you to eat really diet-friendly yogurt without having to resort to that nasty, artificially-flavored stuff. (Trust me, if you switch from Light & Fit to a naturally sweetened brand for a couple of weeks, once you go back you'll be disgusted.)

I also have put it on my traditional lazy-night meal of a frozen rice, bean, & cheese burrito (Whole Kitchen brand, $1.29) and it has the sour cream effect. Yum! If you want to try a really yummy, healthy meal, get a healthy burrito.. I'm thinking of starting to make my own and freeze 'em myself.. slice a banana on the side, put some avocado on it, then douse in Greek yogurt and drizzle some sweet salsa (I've only tried pineapple salsa so far) on top.... OMG, it's SO good.

I made it back to my workout this morning.. Lord, what a gorgeous day, but it was tough! Very hot, very.. well, early.
Friday, July 21, 2006
  Amazing CARES

I think I blogged about these folks before.

They're off helping dogs in Peru.. It's truly amazing the awesome changes they've made in these dogs' lives. They intervene, then find new homes for the dogs, saving the sweet and beautiful (who knew?) dogs and adding happiness to the adoptive families' lives as well. They have a whole bunch more before & after pics (and stories) at Flickr. Check 'em out, then donate a few bucks to 'em. Go on now.


  Stupid cats.

DSC_9676, originally uploaded by junku.

See this cat? If you go to its Flickr page, then go to the set named "Cat #4 Kin", you'll see that the first picture is of this cat on the street. This nice Junku fella took a cat in off the street and gave her a home.

Then you see pics of her sitting in laps.

Can you tell me why neither of my cats seem to trust me enough to, say, sit on my lap.. or lay on my chest/tummy, the way Suki did? I don't get it. They both love to be petted and scratched, but seem to draw the line at too much physical contact.

Someday I'll have a well-adjusted cat. Someday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
  Who doesn't love Matthew Mc....

I wish I could spell this guy's last name. He so purdy.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
  2050: The Last Gorilla

"The gorilla is threatened with extinction by the mid-21st century if poaching and destruction of its habitat continue at the current rate, the United Nations has warned."

Reading these types of things make me nauseous and teary-eyed. Can you imagine? That day, if we're lucky enough to be here, when the news comes out that there are no more gorillas, just as the other day it was confirmed West African black rhinoceros is extinct.. I can't imagine.

  Anyone remember Elliot?

You know, the little black cat I adopted last April?

By way of an update, he's an absolute dear. There's the whole lizard-killing thing (which, knock on wood, hasn't happened for a few days; I usually am GUARANTEED a lizard head when I wake up in the morning), but he's sweet, pees where he's supposed to, and only rarely tries to gnaw on my hand. Also, he actually USES the window perch I bought the cats. I figured for sure when I bought it that it would be a waste of $20; after all, like kids, cats seem to be able to sense that you've spent money on something and quickly begin to play with the package it came in rather than that expensive toy.

Most mornings, Elliot's on my windowsill when I wake up, waiting until I look awake enough to snuggle on him a little. To make sure I notice him, he makes pathetic little, nearly inaudible cries for attention. After I scatch his head for a minute, I head to the bathroom to begin my morning routine, and he’s on my heels, still crying.

Kitten, on the other hand, trots off to her food dish the second I walk out of my bedroom. I’m a hand that feeds her, that’s all.

Anyway, as lovey as Elliot is, he’s still the goony cat I adopted, only now he’s a goony cat that will come out from under the bed. If you approach him, he runs away. In fact, he took to getting to go outside pretty well, but then I didn’t see him for, like, a week, save for glimpses of his shadow in the bushes. For a week, I had to feed him outside and never got closer than I would to a feral! He got over that, but he doesn’t yet seem quite convinced I’ve not just been fattening him up this whole time.

Today I got an email from Balu that he was able to pass Elliot in the hallway without the cat running away. I find it hilarious that, after a year and three months of doting and dishing out cans of that nasty, smelly food, Elliot’s trusting us enough to stay put while we *walk by* is worth a mention. :)

Monday, July 17, 2006
  I LOVED this article.
A Dog Man Gets a Cat:
What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
Sunday, July 16, 2006
  kitten's so funny

kitten in a box, originally uploaded by estacey.

she apparently tipped a box over in balu's room and has spent most of her weekend there since. and look at how happy it makes her- she's doing happy paws in this here picture.

she usually sleeps in my room, or outside my door in the hallway, where she can lead me to her food dish in the morning as soon as i step out of my room. this morning, she was nowhere to be found.

of course, she was in her box. :)

  Manatee Squash
(Seen on
  25 Signs You've Grown Up
I forwarded this to my friends in email when I got it.. I had to add it here after an occurrence the other day in the car.


1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question. (Did y'all know I had a twin bed when I moved into this house, and was on a hardcore mission to get a new one until I found a Queen on Craigslist?)
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed. (I used to regularly go to sleep at 5-7 a.m. Now my alarm goes off each day at 7:15.)
5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel. (OK, only during hurricanes, but this does apply.)
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up."
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@.. kids next door won't turn down the stereo. (Balu has honestly called the cops on our neighbors because of their band practice.)
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers. (Cats. And Newman's Own, thank you.)
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt. (This happened while Shannon was in town when I fell asleep out on the couch. Aggh.)
16. You take naps. (Well, I always did.)
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good shit."
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time. (True, but I do eat breakfast food all the rest of the time, too.)
22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again." (I usually don't make it out late enough to even drink too much. Saaad.)
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking "Oh shit what the hell happened?"

My own #26: You find yourself muttering "punk" in traffic at some guy in his early 20's because you had been worried he was going to cut you off, even though he didn't. Punk. I'm using the word punk seriously. Oh, lord...
  Must overcome addiction!
It all started a while back, when Ed & I were going to do something for the day with the Whelans on their sailboat. It was my job to stop by the local Dunkin Donuts for coffee & sandwiches for the interested parties. Ed requested a coffee, light & sweet. I figured I'd give it a try as well.

OK, so that was a mistake. If you want to know what I'm talking about, go to your local DD and order a light & sweet coffee. If a surly teenager with her name on her gold hoop earrings or an overweight white woman with a moustache is the one that helps you, rather than a kindly Indian woman, take a taste before you leave. It should taste warm, sweet & wonderful. If it doesn't, add some sugar! Seriously, even my friends who do not like coffee liked this.

A couple of years and, oh, I dunno, 700 coffees later, I am having a hard time feeding this addiction.

It's not the caffeine that I'm addicted to, nor the caffeine that bothers me about the whole thing. It's the fact that light & sweet means extra cream & extra sugar. It makes for a helluva good cup of coffee, but also makes for, what, a 250-calorie cup of coffee? I haven't done the math, but don't really want to.

I've done much better, and have gone from having my sugar bomb coffees nearly every day to twice a week or so. (More this week, considering I have pretty much let myself go since Shannon's visit, despite the fact that she behaved pretty well while she was here. Argh.) But still, this mental addiction to something warm & yummy to start out my day is here, and it's annoying.

Case in point: the other day, I had the last cup from the work coffee maker. It was bitter and horrible. I dumped it out, and went for a yerba mate chai tea. That would have been fine, only I had used the last of the real sugar in my horrible coffee and had to use Splenda in the tea. Yuck. I dumped that out too, and went to Dunkin Donuts for my daily fix on my lunch hour. See? It's sad.

Well, I'm enjoying my last Dunkin Donuts for a while tonight. I figure that coffee + cream + sugar has no regular place in a healthy diet, and I am back on my Quest for the Size Six as of tomorrow. I seem to be right back to the way I was eating long ago, which means I think I have to go into deprivation mode for a bit. That seems to train your body into wanting good, healthy food. Long ago, I used to love pizza and all other things cheesy & bad for you. Then I made myself eat well for a while. Then, instead of craving enchiladas and garlic rolls when I was having a fuck-it-all meal, I instead wanted Thai. Sadly, I'm now back to wanting the bad-for-me food. I usually resist, but wanting it is hard. Blech. It's annoying to keep trying and trying and not seem to get anywhere, but, then again, giving up doesn't seem to be the way to go either.

Back to drinks, lucky for me, as aforementioned, Pixie makes a really yummy yerba mate tea flavored with chai spices. A little bit of soymilk and a little bit of sugar and you have yourself a lovely little drink.

Sadly, I got the ones that I had as a sample from work. Now I have to find where they actually sell it. Don't bother trying another brand; I did, and it was horrible.

Friday, July 14, 2006
  I am so re-doing my bedroom.
As I used to work for them, and like to stay in touch with my Wisconsin roots, I still receive The Company Store catalog. As I am no longer recipient of a 45% discount, I tend to not shop with them anymore, unless one of my sisters has a new baby that is in need of a $93 personalized comforter.

So anyway, the last issue I got had this absolutely beautiful bedroom set in it and I am now figuring out how to afford all these lovely accessories. Sheets, pillowcases, quilt, rug, wallborder.. And roughly 500 little stuffed kitties to hang on my wall.

Seriously, can you imagine? If I did it, I'd have to go to bars and pick guys up just to see the looks on their face when I opened the door to my lair... :D
Thursday, July 13, 2006
  babysittin' ain't what it used to be
i saw a listing on craigslist for a babysitter needed.

now, i haven't done babysitting in, uh, 10 years or something.. but i did used to like it a lot, seeing as how i like kids quite a bit. that liking kids plus the sympathy i have for the childcare needy (as i know what a tough time my sis has trying to find someone) led me to answer the ad. i met with the mom for a bit to talk and she said she'd call me sometime.

she got in touch today, saying she wasn't feeling so well so wanted someone to come watch him while she rested. so that's what i did. his name is joshua and he's two, and every bit the stereotype of a two-year-old; no wonder she needed someone to take over for a bit.

we had fun.. after we exhausted the possibilities of what to do inside - he threw the crayons around the room, tossed his stack of books on the floor, bonked his head on the coffee table, and i unsuccessfully tried to figure out how to work the dvd player - i put some shoes on him, undid the deadbolt, and went outside. (as a sidenote, the other lock was engaged, so i locked myself out - oops! but luckily the mom came to check on us so rescued me from having to stay outside for two hours with a cranky kid.)

it was actually quite a bit of fun. we did a neighborhood tour of plants and dogs barking in the window, and i pointed out lots of lizards to him. by the end, he was really excited about the little dinosaurs. "IZARDS!" (it made me think: tea & cake or DEATH!) when we went back inside, the little boy refused to take his shoes off in the hopes we'd get to go back out. you try changing a kid's pjs as he's wearing shoes. not an easy task.

but anyway, my point in all this is.. like, wow. two hours was quite a bit of fun, but he just did not stop; how could you keep that up all day? as far as i figure, if i have any munchkins, they'll be half me so will be very good little sleepers and will probably nap a lot, so that's a good thing.. but, damn. i brought a book to read tonight and had to laugh on my way home - what an optimist i was, thinking i'd have time to crack it open!

oh, by the way, in florida these days, babysitters are regularly paid in the $10/hour range. i got paid $25 for what turned out to be two hours. (we had agreed upon $8/hr, so i'm not sure why she gave me so much, but i ain't complainin'.) crazy, eh?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The other night, after snuggling on the dog guests, I brought a salad into the guest room, where the tortoises were taking refuge from those dogs in the yard that I was worried may mistake them for chew toys.

I sat on the floor and watched Bjorn eat, and nudged Wailey towards the plate and held watermelon up to his face.

Kitten came in to investigate the smells of the guest room, since the door is usually closed. She stayed to watch the tortoise scene.

I smiled at them and then hopped up and went into Balu's room and announced, "Ya know something?" "What's that?" "I am completely amazed that people live without pets BY CHOICE."

Honestly - it just boggles me. And ME having pets requires that I walk around with the sniffles and a semi-itchy throat at most times.

To each his own, I know, but.. I can't imagine!

  The next Madonna?
Long ago, when Britney and Christina were dominating the music scene, I rooted for Team Britney. Christina had a good voice, I gave her that, but she had all of, what, two songs that I liked?

I was talking to Byron about once and wondered aloud if Britney would be the next Madonna. After people laughed Britney off, I had to say - Madonna started off much the same way, didn't she? Madge didn't have a very strong voice, sounding much like Britney's own bubblegum. They were both very sexually provocative, pushing the envelope at their respective times in their videos and performances. (For some reason, 15 years later, Madonna is still posing prone on crosses in her performances. I wonder why she still thinks that's shocking.)

The Kiss Seen 'Round The World made perfect sense to me.

I thought maybe Britney had a future in store for her like Madonna. Maybe she'd think of new ways to play her sexiness to the world, take some voice lessons, continue to make interesting music for years to come. (Not that I'm a Madonna fan.)


I officially take all that back.

On a slightly related note, Christina is still doing awesome. I like her. She manages to dress like a stripper without really coming off as a slut. She goes out and gets tipsy with her husband a lot. And she has an incredible voice still. Heard her latest song? It has a very interesting sound. annoying plays "Ain't No Other Man" automatically when you visit the site, so you can check it out just by clicking that link.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The folks of Beloit, Wisconsin, came out on a lovely afternoon to recreate Georges Seurat's famous painting.

It makes me smile. :)

  Sweetie dogs

Me fallin in love with the black dog, originally uploaded by estacey.

So yesterday, when I got home, Balu had gone to class and the backyard was empty. The dogs had escaped AGAIN.

I got to have a little treasure hunt in the neighborhood for the dogs. It turns out some nice lady from a few blocks away saw them running loose, leashed them, and then went to find whose they were. I finally got in touch with her and went to her house to re-collect them; the red dog was too interested in the feral kittens she had outside her house to keep them there. Oh, she's one of those crazy cat ladies. ;)

I also found out that these dogs belong to someone, lord knows where. They're often seen running loose in our area.

Long story short, Balu fixed the couple of spots that could have been considered "weak" ones in the fence and the dogs were good all evening. I let them in for treats (cat food) and snuggling on the couch. I asked Balu if he'd take them out walking the next day by where I found them and maybe they'd sniff their way towards their house. That way, they could get home without us just having to let them loose near our busy roads.

We went grocery shopping and returned to find the dogs in the house, despite no obvious way of getting in. "You're magic dogs!" is all I could think. It turns out they came in through the CAT DOOR. It's just big enough for my little cats, so I'm quite impressed at that..

Balu was intent on not letting them sleep inside, so I put them out last night. Then it started to rain, so I grabbed a blanket, let them inside, and napped on the couch with them until the rain stopped. Then I ushered them back to the yard and went to sleep.

This morning - they were gone, again. Argh. Well, let's hope they found their way home and, if they don't, know where to come back for some dog food & Friskies. :) And let's hope their owners were scared a little by their evening's absence and try to make sure the puppies aren't by busy roads.

They're a couple of really nice dogs. The black dog ("Black Dog") is as sweet and mild-mannered as you could hope for. Seriously, I'd dog-nap him if he didn't have such a good buddy in the red dog (who GROOMS him, I'll have you know). The brown/red dog ("Red Dog") is off-limits thanks to her intense interest in my cats. She's a sweetie too, though, as long as you're not a feline. Proof: I let them eat some of my veggie beef jerky (haha - they loved it!) last night and each of them took it from my hand as gentle as can be imagined. Considering my cats will tear my hand off if I'm too slow putting their treats on the floor, I was touched.

Monday, July 10, 2006
  word nerd
after learning spanish, i often lament the fact that not everyone else speaks spanish too because different things are easier to say in different languages. case in point: a la vez in spanish is english's "at the same time". of course, people who speak french and spanish and english (et cetera) probably wish everyone spoke french and spanish and english (et cetera) because, despite their whole how-you-say-80 thing, i'm guessing french has its own share of Most Concise Way To Say Somethings. sometimes i'll anglicize a spanish word, stubbornly insisting that, well, if it's not a word, it should be.

i once learned the spanish word interlocutor which means "the person you're speaking with." as you see, english doesn't have a very good translation. co-conversationalist? co-talker? i remember wishing very much that interlocutor was an english word but, as far as i had knew, it wasn't. i'm pretty sure i've used it in a few emails here and there anyhow.

then last night, george eliot used the word in her adam bede.

"ha!" i said out loud.

i was very self-satisfied.

such. a. nerd.
  Why I was late to work today

Why I was late to work today, originally uploaded by estacey.

This morning, I had to run to our office by my house before I went to the office where I work. I went to take my right turn on Peters Road and, doing my look-both-ways thing, noticed there were some dogs in the road off to the left. Two dogs, running confusedly. Cars were slowing down, swerving, but all eventually zooming by them. "Oh, wonderful," I thought.

I turned left and parked in the middle (turn) lane and put on my hazards. The dogs weren't too sure about me, so kept running back and forth. I clapped and patted my legs and yelled for them to come over. There was a pit-mix-looking brown dog and a nice little black one. As soon as the brown doggy came over, the black one followed. The brown dog jumped onto the hood of my car, the black one stayed at my feet, and I stood there wondering wtf to do.

"Alright, wanna go for a ride?" They both jumped in the car without hesitation. We went back to my house where I was hoping Balu would be willing to help me.

Of course, the brown dog immediately ran for Kitten, who arched her back, hissed, then darted for the tabletop.

Balu came out to see what all the commotion was about and, in between yells at the dog, I asked as sweetly as I could,' Do you want company for the day?"

Bless him, he's making flyers to post in the neighborhood and dog-sitting for the day. The dogs are a couple of little Houdinis, so I'm placing my bets that they've just escaped from someone's backyard.

In the meantime, I was late for work and worried about Elliot, who was in the backyard without me knowing, and who ran up a tree to get away from the one dog. From beyond the fence, I saw Elliot fall OUT of the tree and haven't seen him since. I know they usually land on their feet, but I'd feel much better to know that he was alright.

Life is full of excitement when you're friends with Stacey, right, Balu? :) First the ducks, now the dogs...

Sunday, July 09, 2006
  brigitte niel.sen weds for 5th time
as i often do after reading a news story (sorry, i mean "news" story), i did a google image search on its subject.

(Or NSFW, for future reference)

so, she is, like, a big, huge argument against breast implants.


after: (sorry, you will have to take the two @ symbols out of her name; i'm sick of people finding my blog by searching for this lady.

i really, really do not get it. she's about as perfect as you can get in the 1st pic, and instead she opted for big, angry-looking boobs?

then again, can i expect anything less from a woman who's been romantically linked to flava flav?Årets+værste+par_198029.jpg
so i had to go to orlando for work on friday. flying out at 6:55 a.m., touching back down at 6 p.m.

aggh, the flight was a nightmare. not the flight, really, but getting to it.

i'm all of 10 minutes from the airport, which always causes me to be a bit cocky, timewise. the suggestion was to be there around 6:15. i was there at 6:15 - but at the parking garage, not the terminal. well, i'm used to parking in short-term parking where you pull in and bam! you find a spot. not so in long-term in the hibiscus garage. bottom floor, 2nd floor, outside garage two floors, back to inside garage, third floor, fourth floor.. not ONE open spot. i started to panic - what if i had to go back out, drive around the entire airport, and then come back into short-term? on the 5th floor, i found an open spot. at this point, i didn't even know what terminal i was outside of.. no matter, i wasn't sure which one southwest flew out of.. of course, i intended to find out on the signs as i came into the airport, but couldn't find southwest on any of them as i craned my neck in the semi-dark.

i had it in my head, for some reason, that it was terminal 3.

i came outside at terminal 2.

i huffed it over to terminal 3 in my very uncomfortable loafers. after i hopped up the stairs and ran over to some security/wheelchair-pushin' women, who tried to wave me away, i asked, "is this where southwest flies out of?" "no, girl, that's outta ONE. you're at THREE." back down the stairs and ran from terminal 3 to terminal 1. in those horrible, horrible shoes.

at this point, my flight is taking off in, oh, 15 minutes. everyone was going to be at this meeting and my ticket was bought and paid for - i could not miss this flight. but i've been denied boarding even when i WAS there at the cutoff 15 minutes preflight.

i ran to the front of security. lucky for me, they let me in. checked the laptop, checked my stuff, and handed me a kleenex. i ran to the gate and there was no one there. agggggh! i hollered down the hallway.. the.. uh.. whatchamacallit? you know, the thing that leads to the plane. luckily, a friendly voice answered, "i'm here, hold on!" and i got on the plane! with 10 minutes to spare before takeoff! my little group of folks greeted me enthusiastically (my co-workers are so nice) and my sweaty self finally got to sit down. then i called balu and said, "you are so giving me a ride next time." :D

of course, then we sat there for an hour. then had to switch planes. and sit for a while longer. ah well.. :)

the problem is that i seem to have messed up my feet from running in those horrid, never-meant-to-be-run-in shoes. (lesson for next time: buy cute, meeting-worthy sneakers.) my right foot was so sore by the time i got home that i couldn't wear my crocs. at this point, i still have some really weirdly-located muscles in my leg that ache when i walk and my right foot feels like it's recovering from a 12-hour cramp. ay de mi!

needless to say, i've been a complete lump this weekend. i'm pretty sure this is my hormone-drenched weekend of the month that causes me to be so sleepy. i slept into the p.m. hours yesterday, did nothing but read, and today have not done much either. i did spend a good three hours in the bookstore, however, listening to the beatles and m.i.a. and sara evans on my mp3 player and basking in all the free reading.

i settled on a current copy of national geographic and a book by george eliot. she'd been referenced in a book i read years ago but cracked back open named mother nature. something about her intrigues me, so i figured i'd see what her stuff was all about..

i love the bookstore so much. today i realized what i'm missing right now - some time in the wild, whether it's underwater or in the everglades.. i just want to be outside, watching critters like i like to do. but since, on a sunday afternoon, it was really too late for that, i planted myself in the 'nature' section for an hour and got teary-eyed at the amazing stuff that's out there. i'm telling you, the leaf bugs never, ever fail to amaze me. ("here are the leaf bugs that look like live leaves, here are the ones that look like dead, decomposing leaves, and the ones that look like newly fallen leaves...")

and there's a new book about the national zoo's baby panda... just pictures and captions from their webcam, i think. adorable!

you just cannot get cuter than that, can you?

i saw these books today at b&n about baby signing. i guess babies can understand and use sign language long before they can speak. i'm going to call kamille to see if she'd be interested in trying to learn with macy and, if so, i'll hunt out a book for her. i think it's such a cool idea. they can begin at around 6 months!

baby signing:\

wow, they even have a group on flickr!

hey, guess who just deleted everything when i pasted that pic's url in?!?! argh.

so i guess that's the gods telling me to go read.. or call my sister.. :)
Thursday, July 06, 2006

P7030095, originally uploaded by shayze.

The other night, we were on our way to Sublime, a vegan restaurant Shannon had wanted to try out. We had to drop off Shannon's Rx for steroids (for sunburn) at the Walgreens on Federal & 26th (for you locals - between commercial & sunrise) to pick up after we ate. (For you non-locals, federal is one of our major roadways.)

As Balu pulled into 26th, we noticed a family of ducks on the other side of the street, taking up one of the two lanes of west-bound traffic. Luckily, people were swerving into the other lane to avoid them, but the mama and her eight baby ducks seemed intent on crossing over and there was NO WAY they were going to get across in one piece. Or nine.

I stepped out into the road to stop the traffic. One guy whizzed by me. The next car stopped. They honked at me, probably confused as to what I was doing. Then I ushered the ducks across the street and, as the previously stopped-in-the-name-of-ducks SUV driver drove by, she yelled, "Thank you!"

So now we're on the other side of the road and I'm wondering where the heck the ducks are planning on going from here. I ran down the street and saw that the water accessible there was NOT accessible to non-flying baby ducks; there was a ten-foot drop-off. Busy roads on all sides.


The mama and baby sucks had settled in by an empty swimming pool, so we kept our distance from them while Balu scouted the neighborhood in the Volvo for bodies of water - where did they come from? Where were they going? Balu found nothing, even with the help of a map.

After standing there for a few minutes, thinking carefully and sighing deeply, I finally said, "Okay, let's catch 'em." Dreadfully.

I had an idea of where they could go - my old office's corporate park had a nice little pond where I spent many relaxing lunch hours, breaking bread with the local ibises, softshells, and, yes, muscovy ducks.

I failed horribly at my first attempt to catch the mamaduck. She flew into an empty swimming pool, then used the stairs to hop back out, which was entirely too amusing. I knew she wouldn't go too far, on account of her babies, and sure enough, she stuck around, despite my advances.

I caught her on the second or so try, horrified that I'd hurt her delicate wings or neck. We were in a backyard, by this time, and I was straddled over the mamaduck on the grass. Balu and Shannon went to work catching the baby ducks, ushering them over to the fence, where they were forced to run by me and I was able to pluck them up one-handed, the other hand on the mamaduck. The babies went into a big box that I think Balu got at Walgreens. For a minute, one of the babies went through a hole in the fence and I was TERRIFIED we had f'd up. Balu and Shannon went to work to catch it in the near-dark and were successful, thank god.

It's funny what a complete bitch drill sergeant I become in situations like this. I was barking orders out, trying my best to get Shannon and Balu to be good border collies, herding the ducks away from the gaps in the fence and exits from the yard. I trust their judgment and all, but in situations like this, being a "backseat driver" to make SURE things are going as you think they should is better - I'd rather offend someone than not offer a problem I foresee. I know how people sometimes hurt things they're trying to help, like all the folks that take in baby birds they find rather than leaving them to the mama birds, who are most likely keeping a watchful eye in a tree nearby.

At one point, someone who lived in the apartment complex came out to investigate what we were doing. "That duck belongs to the guy in apartment 1," he said. I sat there, still straddling mamaduck, and pondered this. "She's a muscovy duck. There's no water here. They were in the road and are lucky they didn't get hurt." A muscovy duck, for chrissake! The guy was being argumentative and annoying, so I tuned him out. At one point, Balu was helping me and the guy started in. When Balu turned to face him, I shouted, "Don't worry about the FUCKING GUY! WORRY ABOUT THE DUCKS!" I was just so terrified something would go wrong and we would leave the ducks worse off than we found them. That is just not acceptable. And poor Shannon. "RUN, SHANNON! GO THE OTHER WAY! IT'S GETTING AWAY FROM YOU!" She flipped me off a few times, but luckily I was too busy to notice. :)

After a nice no-a/c, windows-rolled up ride across town with a box of baby ducks in the back and a struggling mamaduck on my lap, we were able to let them go in a nice, quiet corporate park. I hated to let them out at night, but hoped they'd hunker down somewhere safe and be able to explore their new digs the next day.

Of course, they went straight for the road, which receives hotel & Bennigans-turnaround traffic, so we had to re-usher them to the pond. By the time we left, I was confident we had done as much as we could've.

We went back to the Walgreens to retrieve my shoes, which I had kicked off before I snuck up on the mama, and still made dinner at Sublime! What a fun hour!
"Ann Coulter stripping via book cover"
  Yahoo! News Story - Tahoe bear swills beer with pizza snack - Yahoo! News


In this photo provided by Jerry Patterson, a bear cub sits in a vintage red Buick convertible in a Lake Tahoe neighborhood, in Stateline, Nev., in this Sunday, July 2, 2006 file photo. The bear drew a crowd of spectators as it munched on barbecue-chicken-and-jalapeno pizza in the back seat of the 1964 Buick Skylark. It also apparently washed it down with a swig of a Jack Daniel's mixer, an Absolut vodka and tonic, and a beer taken from a cooler, the vehicle's owner said.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
  guess what she got done!

P7040142, originally uploaded by shayze.


shannon, rotate your goddamn pictures!

  fireworks on the beach

P7040161, originally uploaded by shayze.

i took this pic last night with shannon's camera, in "fireworks" mode. hmm. anyway, first time on the beach for fireworks.. it was kinda nice. yay, photos :)

  I got my hair cut!

P7020090, originally uploaded by shayze.

And I don't pay attention to the signs! (I was feeding the birds bread.)


I'm with stupid

Just as news breaks that the Smart Car is officially U.S.-bound, car dealers in Detroit are offering Hummer buyers a Mileage Maximizer. That ain't the only thing they need to maximize. If. You. Know. What. We're. Saying.
Smart Car.
From Grist:
Monday, July 03, 2006

Trying to show my sunburn.., originally uploaded by estacey.

i may not be able to take pics for a while. the camera was working fine last night.. then today, i went to snap a pic of my burn and this is what i got. meep!


Shannon's nice lines!, originally uploaded by estacey.

we're both a little burnt... shannon more than me. at least now she knows i wasn't just being a p.i.t.a. saturday when i kept telling her to put on sunscreen. the northerners just can't accept that the florida sun is DIFFERENT.

beach day saturday, yesterday was snorkeling and dinner in key largo.. today i'm working and shannon is relaxing in the air conditioning..

  I got this remote-controlled mouse..

Kitten on a chair.., originally uploaded by estacey.

And, my god, has it been fun.

Balu & I have been taking turns torturing the cats with them. For added fun, I give the cats catnip before. Or rub the toy with catnip.

Kitten cracks me up. She alternates between wanting to kill it and being scared of it, as shown in this picture.

$5 at Target. Go buy one.

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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