"A man took his dog for a walk near his Coral Springs home and ended up prying a 7-foot alligator off of the pooch's head Monday.
Michael Rubin took Jasmine, a 6-month-old golden retriever, and his other dog, a border collie named Frisbee, on a run at a construction site near his home in Heron Bay. Rubin thought the area was far from the gators that prowl the nearby Everglades..."
ways that it has become obvious to me that balu is a good influence on me, on day 5 of his absence
1. the kitchen is a mess. i've finally gotten really good about cooking for myself, but now, yeah, the cleaning-up-afterwards part is very much a chore.
2. my dive gear is in the car a full hour after i got home.
3. the fruit bowl is nearly empty.
4. i sang britney spears' "toxic" all day today. (this because i was free to listen to the radio as loud as i wanted
while getting ready today, so stuck in britney's greatest hits.) by the way, this
cracks me up.
5. i'm eating dinner not at the table, but here at the computer *btw, i highly recommend against smart dogs brand fake hot dogs. yuck. morningstar farms is much better.
6. i plan on watching law & order
malingering strikes again
interesting word fact of the day
The flower name ‘gladiola’ comes from the Latin for sword, gladius. Therefore, this name of pretty flower and the word gladiator come from the same place!
i was talking to dawny tonight about how much i'd like to go diving in california sometime, describing what the kelp forests look like.
flickr to the rescue yet again: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=kelp+diving&s=int
saturday, after recovering from my morning workout, AND OH MY GOD WAS IT HUMID OUT, i spent the day cleaning the house (in my undies), eating watermelon in the backyard (in my undies), and watering plants (you guessed it). why i don't just turn on the a/c, i dunno either.
then, just in case i wasn't going to be sore enough already
, i did a nice 30-minute run/lungefest and came home to do more jumping jacks and pushups in the backyard. alli came over and we went to azteca for dinner (mmmm, breaking my vegetarian diet to eat yummy little garlic-covered shrimp) and margaritas.
alli sang 'i touch myself' by the divinyls
then i sang a dixie chicks' favorite, goodbye earl.
AND STUFF YOU IN THE TRUNNNNNNK, EAARRRRRRRL! Hey!
then we went to this little bar down the street that balu used to insist was a strip club until, during a jog, i peeked my head inside. no strippers, just lots and lots of mexicans. so alli and i went there for a post-nightcap nightcap. i left her to go use the restroom once we got in for free despite the $10 cover.. she didn't want to come along, which i thought was really brave of her. when i came back out, she had, like, four little men surrounding her. we made our way to a table. the men followed. more men, more men. i remember what mexico was like, so i wasn't too surprised. "just be happy you're not getting your ass grabbed," i told alli, who seemed really disturbed by the whole thing. "i did, when you were in the bathroom." "oh." d'oh. i was up for a bit of dancing, thanks to the 1.5 margaritas and my absolute zero tolerance for alcohol anymore, whether it was with her or a roofer named juan, but she wanted to go home, so we did. it was really a pretty stressful darn 10 minutes in a bar.
this is alli and some guy that wanted me to make sure i got a good pic of the two of them. see how she's wearing a wedding ring? weird, huh? yep, she's mrs. oliveri now.
sunday we had a nice dive down in lbts. LOTS OF LITTLE CREATURES. also, some big ones. did i see a dolphin? a shark? i dunno. i did see tarpon. i did see lots of crabs. tiny fish. egg-carrying jawfish. it was great.
sunday night ed came over. he's leaving for san francisco to do the triathlon on thursday
so i wanted to see him before to wish him luck. i'm really just so, so proud - of how much he's accomplished and how hard he's worked to get there. i made him spaghetti squash with pesto and fake chicken, which i gathered he wasn't too big a fan of. but that's ok, for he had kitten to torture.
he probably misses that.
today was work.
i got free stuff today by showing up, which rocked.
this is all organic stuff, if you can imagine.. and look at those boxes! they're full of 12 & 24 snack bars. how perfect & awesome!
tonight, i tagged along with ed for one of his ocean swims. he looks great.
really, just stop-and-stare (and smile) great. (yes, i'll be that middle-aged lady groping the male stripper at la bare
in a few years. blame it on repression.) we're a full year post breakup now, so i think it's okay for me to talk like that about him. i can now sexually harass him in a friendly
way, right? if that's not possible, then matt hoe has some 'splainin' to do.
anyway, it was really nice - the water was calm and gorgeous. we saw a stingray and a barracuda, which was cool. it felt awesome. but, my god, am i ever out of swimming shape. i had my dive fins on and still couldn't even sort of keep up
with ed, who was going bare footed. i was a mile behind the whole time. i had to keep switching to swimming on my back so i could gasp in air like a goddamn fish on the deck of a boat. but we swam a mile and something..
then we walked up to las olas to check up on the monday night beach boot camp class.
have a seat!
i got to see the spinning guy.
he was spinning for an hour that we
witnessed. he has a little walkman and just spins and spins. he's sort of a beach fixture, from what i gather.
then the sun finished its setting routine and i came home.
it's great that florida is the way it is - a monday night, so lovely and perfect.
that's the recap of my last couple of days! now it's time to go do a run to feed my little motel strays! :)
Organic Consumers Assn. Says, 'No Factory Farmed Organics'; Consumers Across the U.S. Tell the USDA to Not Allow Imposter Organics
May 25, 2006
Across the United States, thousands of consumers are responding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) public comment period on revisions to the National Organic Program (NOP). A number of the USDA revisions relate to the "access to pasture" requirement for organic dairies. The Organic Consumers Association and other public interest groups are very concerned that the USDA NOP regulations contain loopholes and imprecise language that could continue to allow milk produced at giant intensive confinement dairy feedlots to be labeled as "USDA Organic."
So-called organic dairy "industry leaders," including two of the largest organic dairy companies in the nation, Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods and a supplier to Wal-Mart); and Aurora Organic (a supplier of private brand name organic milk to Costco, Safeway, Giant, Wild Oats and others), are purchasing the majority of their milk from feedlot dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture, and have routinely been imported from conventional farms, where the animals have been weaned on blood plasma, fed genetically engineered feed, slaughterhouse waste, and poultry manure, and injected or treated with antibiotics, according to research carried out by the organic watchdog group, the Cornucopia Institute. Together, these corporations control up to 65 percent of the organic dairy market.
"Many stores, especially big box stores, such as Wal-Mart, are scrambling to sell more products with the organic label as consumer demand for these products increases. Instead of the stocking more high-quality organic products, these industrial farms and retail giants are selling the public low-quality products. We are calling on the USDA to stop allowing these companies to label these sham products as organic," says Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association.
Tens of thousands of consumers have responded to alerts from the Organic Consumers Association and have signed on to a petition demanding that the USDA close loopholes in organic dairy standards. See full text at http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/oca/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=3567
OCA is encouraging the public to vote with their consumer dollars in the marketplace, and put pressure on Congress and the USDA to safeguard organic standards. The USDA is seeking public comment until June 12, 2006 and already consumer pressure on the USDA has generated attention from major news organizations such as The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and National Public Radio. According to a study by the Consumers Union, 60 percent of consumers say they would NOT pay a premium price for organic milk if they knew the cows were confined and not given the opportunity to graze on pasture.
"Of course industrial agribusiness wants their products labeled as organic, but they must abide by organic standards. These intensive confinement dairy feedlots are a clear example of putting profit above ethics. The USDA has a yearly budget of $90 billion coming from our public taxes, and yet the USDA still refuses to allocate anything more than crumbs ($10 million annually) to organics, meanwhile allowing inhumane and non- sustainable industrial farming practices to creep into organic production. Organic consumers will not be satisfied until strict organic standards are implemented, and until Congress allocates sufficient funds to help family-scale American farmers make the transition to organic and meet our growing demand for organic food and other products," says Cummins.
but no long weekend for me! one of the anti-perks of the new job.. we keep retail hours. but our building is closed. so, um. well, whatever.
i got the lizard out! he was on my dashboard this morning when i went to leave for work. i had to wrestle with him a bit (luckily he didn't drop his tail off in sacrifice!) and then got to set him out in the yard. :)
the weather is ugly here. i don't mind so much, but elliot is pacing the house whining. he'll come back in here twice before i'm through with this post to make sure i know he's still miserable. he cries so quietly you can hardly hear him.. which makes it even more pathetic.
today at whole foods, i bought some organic valley
soymilk! it so warms my heart to see "la farge, wis." on the label of a product i bought in south florida. i almost bought some cheese too, but decided that eating something fatty just to support the farmers back home was kinda silly. they already got $.50 extra for the soymilk (but i'm guessing it's wholesome & yummy enough to make up for it). fyi - organic valley also does meat. if you're going to eat meat, go organic or, at the very least, natural.
just because you can't give meat up in your diet doesn't excuse you from eating mindfully and responsibly, ya dig?
thanks to my job, i've had the opportunity this past week to talk to some local farmers and business folks. it's surprising me how much it warms me; after browsing their websites and talking to them, i'm really quite.. touched. and want them to do well. i love that folks out there still get to do what they have a passion for, even in our crazy world of big brands and big business.
balu is gone to europe until june. anyone wanna party, give me a call. of course, by "party" i mean watch TV in the living room
beach bootcamp workout in the a.m... i wish i had one of those things every damn day. i really enjoy them. if i could just get my ass in gear, i could be more regular about running & gyming it.. i try. but sometimes, i just need a nap.
in other news, i can't find this one picture that i want to, but here's a consolation:
the other one shows the baby (zahara) sleeping on brad's shoulder. it's true; there's really nothing cuter than a man with an itty-bitty baby, esp. if that man is big and yummy. find it in this week's OK! magazine if you want. :) grocery lines gotta pay off somehow, right?
greeeeeaaat. i have a lizard living in my car now.
when i went to my car at lunchtime, i had a little anole sitting on my dashboard. lucky for him, the weather is very mild right now and i was parked in a covered garage.
since i didn't want to release him in a cement parking garage, i figured i'd wait until we got in the open air to try to wrangle him out of the car.
once i got to some open greenery, i stopped my car and pulled the emergency brake, which the anole responded to by jumping down the air vent things on the dashboard. he stuck his head out - it was really cute! too bad i wasn't quick enough with the camera. then went back down. i now have no way of getting him out.woooonderful
. this means i'll have to keep my windows deeply cracked until i know he's out. in the meantime, i have a car lizard. not everyone
can say that. :)
bulleted, for your pleasure
- rapunzel. i just noticed yesterday, with some surprise, that my hair is about three inches from the top of my jeans. now i'm wondering - at what length, exactly, does hair reach the too-long stage? i know there is one, and i'm pretty certain mine isn't there yet, but i'm wondering where it starts. opinions? i don't want to become one of those horse-hair women without realizing it..
- no comment. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn9206
- omg. the laws of the old testament - in legos! http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_law/index.html. very creative.
- omg, take 2. newly-hatched tortoise: http://news.yahoo.com/photo/060523/ids_photos_wl/r181564935.jpg. thanks, katie!
- greener grass. ahh, being single. it sure is nice. i can say yes to any plans, with anyone i want, say no to any plans, make plans, not make plans.. my time is as occupied or as unoccupied as i want it to be. i meet a new cute guy? i can start formulating a crush and a little fantasy that maybe he is crushing back.. well, until i find out about his girlfriend. but, wow, are there things i miss. the kissing, the sharing of my bed with something other than the small stack of books and magazines that get tossed aside as i fall asleep at night.. and other things that i've rarely ever had, like mutual warmth. it seems like those things are often unbalanced, at least to some degree. anyway, i guess it's something to think about, and a nice thing to wish for myself someday. unfortunately, i don't feel like any of that is something i'll seek out, or something i even want to surrender to; it just doesn't seem worth it anymore. i know it sounds cynical, but it just seems like an invitation for ruin, and seeing as how i feel pretty happy now (despite a few things that i miss dearly, but thankfully the japanese were thinking of me), it's a ain't-broke-don't-fix type of situation. but, agh, this has become something i have to remind myself of a lot, and sometimes reminding myself to think rationally (read: negatively) is a downer.
on top of that, i've made a very stubborn resolution: my next kiss (hopefully it will be unlike the last one and be delivered by someone who is not engaged to my good friend), if it's supposed to mean anything, will neither be initiated by myself nor accepted under any degree of inebriation in either party. i'm tired of having to do the dirty work -- honestly, aren't the guys supposed to do that? i am totally over it. and as for liquid courage.. that's the wimpy way out. really, if you didn't have the balls, in the parlance of our times, to do it before those three vodka & cranberries, you shouldn't be doing it after. well, maybe you should, but it doesn't say much for your feelings or your honesty about them. sadly, if history is anything to plan my future by, i'll probably have to take a moment to remove my dentures before my next kiss. but, hey, at least i'll have my walker right there in case it's one of those kisses that makes me swoon..
- phew. i'll be attending my first workweek beach bootcamp workout tonight. it's not until 7 and it's pretty close to the office, so it gives me a good excuse to read for a couple of hours. :)
- the doors. i hate them. i really do.
After all the invites went out for yesterday's dive, I got responses of one hungover, one being-lazy, one not-feeling-well, and one married-to someone-who-doesn't-feel-well. Oh, and a few no-responses. So it was just me, Balu, and Roy for the dive.
We went to John U. Lloyd State Park and discovered that the access parking lot is at present closed, so had to pay double the parking to go to Dania Beach. Then it was gear-up, drink a liter of water in 15 seconds (fucking migraines), and head out to the beach. We saw the aerojack on the beach, which is set due west of where the aerojacks are underwater, and started walking. I huffed as far as I could, then gave into my wimpy comrades' request (kidding!) to take it in the water. Walk, walk, walk. Then we started to swim northeast. Swim, swim, swim. The aerojack was still painfully far away. We just kept going and going and it didn't seem to get any bigger. I started to feel like Sisyphus, eternally doomed to kick to the aerojack I'd never reach...
Then, whatdya know, I stuck my head underwater and there was a starfish. Just to the north of the starfish was..... THE AEROJACKS!
Woo! Trouble was, Roy was still pretty far away. Balu and I bobbed around waiting for him.. When he reached us, we looked down and - nada. Look up, the aerojack on the shore is further north again. AGGGH! We had drifted south, away from the aerojacks. Without even noticing. Forehead smack!
It was around this time that Paul showed up in his boat. That was a surprise! I wasn't expecting to look up offshore and see a familiar face. Apparently he got my voicemail and decided to join us.
I kept swimming north, towards the aerojack, and noted, a bit pissily, that my buddies were still pretty far south of me.. How this happened, I don't know, but I felt pretty determined to find those damn jacks again. And I did, despite the fact that the sun was now on the horizon at exactly the spot we needed to see the beach aerojack. Talk about frustration. Anyway, at that point, I noted that the boys were nowhere near me so yelled "Found 'em! Find me by my flag, I'm goin' down!" And I descended.
I dunno who Mike is, but this is him at the Aerojacks.
A few minutes later, I saw Paul coming down with his spear. The profile of a man with a spear is a horribly menacing view underwater. Anyway, Balu and Roy soon joined us. A little bit into the dive, Paul came over and pointed to the writing on his slate: Fucked up, forgot lite. Bye!
Of course, by this point, it had been, oh, 45 minutes or so since we left the beach. The sun was quickly growing weaker and clock quickly nearing the 8:03 meter run-out time. So, we checked out the jacks.. I saw a big porcupinefish, a blue angelfish, lots of weird flattened-out crabs, the TINIEST LITTLE BLENNY EVERRRRRR (seriously, it took me about 30 seconds to even figure out that it was a fish) , some gorgeous starfish, amusing little (and big) hermit crabs, and a dying little grunt that I tucked under a ledge in hopes he could die in peace and not become live sushi. I saw that happening once in a Wal*Mart fish tank and it was horrible. I also saw one of the prettiest pink-purple conch shell and it was empty, but I decided to leave it for some house-hunting hermit crab looking to move on up.
We only got to spend about 40 minutes actually diving, and then I started dolphin-swimming west (sooo sore). Then we cut it southwest and made it to shore, just as the sun was setting and the sky was oozing shades of pink and blue. Awesome.
Anyway, less than a perfect dive experience, but certainly a lesson-teacher. I'm going to be all drill-sergeant next time about staying close together on the swim out, a bit more generous with feeding the meter, and bring a dive light, even if I didn't expect in a million years that it would turn into a night dive when we started out the whole endeavor at 4:30.
On another note, it sure is nice to be able to not start dreading your Monday return to work on Saturday. I don't mind work now. I'd rather be doing something outside, of course, but as far as Working for the Man goes, I got it alright. :)
Also, when I got home today, Kitten rubbed against my legs. That is an absolute first for her. I'm tellin' y'all, I'll get her to be a good cat one of these days. Years. Whatever. (It'll be two years since I found her on 6/14!)
Dammit, people, watch your fish intake.
Deep-sea fish stocks 'plundered'; Fish stocks in international waters are being plundered to the point of extinction, a leading conservationist group has said.
May 19, 2006
Illegal fishing and bottom-trawling in deep waters are to blame, according to a report from WWF.
It says the current system of regional fishing regulation is failing to tackle the problem, with not enough being done to enforce quotas or replenish stocks. It says species under severe threat include tuna and the orange roughy.
The orange roughy is targeted by bottom-trawlers, which drag heavy rollers over the ocean floor, destroying coral and other ecosystems. "Given the perilous overall state of marine fisheries resources and the continuing threats posed to the marine environment from over-fishing and damaging fishing activity, the need for action is immediate," Simon Cripps, director of WWF's global marine programme, said.
Illegal fishing "by highly mobile fleets under the control of multinational companies" was identified as one of the worst threats to marine life. But the report also attacked governments for over fishing.
"Vast over-capacity in authorised fleets, over-fishing of stocks... the virtual absence of robust rebuilding strategies... and a lack of precaution where information is lacking or uncertain are all characteristic of the management regimes currently in place," it said.
The report was released ahead of a New York meeting on the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, the legal framework for the management of fish stocks on the high seas, next week.
BBC science reporter Matt McGrath says that on the high seas - away from the protection of national quotas - fish stocks are at their most vulnerable. The regulation of fishing in these international waters is the responsibility of regional fishing management organisations - made up of countries with a vested interest in the area. According to WWF, most are failing to manage fish stocks in a sustainable way.
Decision-making is poor, it says, and the regional organisations are powerless to control the activities of countries who ignore regulations. This backs up the conclusions of an analysis last year from the conservation group BirdLife International, which concluded that a majority of the regional fisheries organisations are failing to take their responsibilities seriously.
The authors are calling on the United Nations to review fishing on the high seas and strengthen the resolve of regional authorities to deal with states that flout agreements.
"It's got to stop, we've got to do it quickly," Mr Cripps said. "There is hope, if we can get management put in place."
it's a gorgeous day in the neighborhood..
ahh, florida. relentlessly pretty
, (nearly) ALL THE TIME. it's sunny, gorgeous, and 85.. wait, is that it? the temperatures are definitely picking up. this is where having a male roommate poses its difficulties. the other day, he came home and i was standing in the kitchen, wearing just a t-shirt and undies. normally, i'd make a haul for my bedroom and put on something more presentable. however, in south florida, approaching late may and the air conditioning still not on, something had
to give. "yeah," i said when he walked in, gesturing vanna-white style at my white thighs. "if i'm going to keep living here this summer, you're going to have to get used to me not wearing pants." as he is a man who values his life, he didn't complain. :) hey, he gets to go topless, so it's only fair.
today i went out for breakfast with the health colonel
as he wanted to discuss a project he has on the table that he may want my help with; after discovering my blog because of you kind folks visiting his site from here, it turns out that he likes my writing. how nice! :) and i never argue a chance to hang with with folks that are uplifting, enthusiastic, and look good in tight shirts, so of course
now i must go because balu, roy, whoever else shows up, and i are going to try to find the aerojacks
(see july 6). oh, how i love living in florida.. :) :) :)
i just thought this pic was kinda funny
When you start opening your eyes to it, you find that there are a lot of strays around.
For example, I saw a Craigslist post about a stray mamacat with her two kittens living by a warehouse. Turns out, she’s right up my street (Peters & 441 for you locals).. Along with two or three (that I saw) adult cats. How I missed them before, I don’t know.
Anyway, I saw them first the night before last. I stopped by again after work yesterday to check out the situation. I found one girl calico kitty (not the Mama) leaning into a garbage can where someone had thrown their lunch remains. I swear, that scene made me sick to my stomach. She’s just this tiny girl cat, so small that her ears are disproportionate to her body, looking for some scraps to fill her belly. Thankfully, I am a crazy cat lady and had a whole thing of cat food cans in the trunk of my car (meant for the harbor cats, which have all disappeared save for two or three), so the girl and her healthier-looking boyfriend both got a good meal.
Then I had to find the Mamacat and her two kittens, which it turns out are living in a vacant lot and taking shelter under a shed raised off the ground. I only saw one kitten this time. It’s still really small, maybe two or so months old. They’re all very scared of Big Scary Folks, like me, so if I want to get the Mamacat fixed, it’ll have to be with a trap. I have to figure out this weekend where I can get one.
In the meantime, I have a little pride of street cats to buy some dry food for. It absolutely breaks my heart that no one else is doing that, which I assume because the two girl cats I saw are so small, scrawny, and hungry. It’s tantamount to seeing a child on the street, starving, and not offering them the $0.25 worth of food that would give them a healthy meal for the day. And in Plantation, Florida, there’s just no reason for any living being, human or otherwise, to be going hungry.
Rainy Day Woman
Pleasure to eyes., originally uploaded by 小辣子3.
tiniest baby fishies ever
Matt posted pics from the night dive...
the weekend, etc.
ahh, my vacation is over. how sad!
saturday, balu, roy (his friend), & i went on a shore dive off of palm avenue in lauderdale-by-the-sea.. completely amazing. it really surprised me how much we managed to see - hamlets, yellow-tail snappers, goatfish.. all things i typically don't see on shore dives. it was awesome!
i saw one of these - it's a baby of the yellowtail damselfish.
read more about them here
then it was home for a nap! sunday, hm, what did i do? well, all that last-minute stuff i had to do before i went back to work. and our diving buddy bill came over for dinner before he had to pick his wife up at the airport, so we had an excuse to make a nice dinner - spaghetti squash with pesto. bill brought apple pie & ice cream. :)
today was the first day at the new job. the drive this morning wasn't as bad as i thought it'd be, so that's happy news. the new boss (or team leader, i guess i should call her) took me and the three nice ladies i'll mostly be working with out for lunch at sublime
. it's been there for years and i hadn't yet been there, so it was a nice treat. what a change - a restaurant where i can order ANYTHING I WANT. honestly, deciding was a bit hard.
work was as i expected it - the folks there are really nice and it seems like a good environment. we'll be expanding into an office space they're presently remodeling for us, so in the fall i'll be working in a 50ish-person office instead of the 10ish one i'm in now. i'm just getting settled in, but am excited about what i'll be doing there.
i had a job a couple of years ago that, honestly, when i walked in the door on the first day, i had a bad feeling. the whole place.. you could just tell that the people who worked there weren't happy. and it turned out to be valid - it was a horrible place to work. so i was relieved to get none of those vibes today.
other than that, all quiet on the southeastern front. the cats are settling down - the big oaf dog left yesterday. i really liked having a dog around, even if he made me feel guilty by sleeping in the hallway outside our bedroom doors at night.
ok, tired, must go lounge and watch seinfeld.
google results for 'viroqua'
included a story about how dahl pharmacy is closing "due to a buyout by Walgreens, which is building in the city." My hometown's pharmacy will be replaced by a freaking Walgreens
.Family pharmacy to close business after more than 100 years.
That's so sad. Dahl's is where we always got our prescriptions. My aunt Loretta worked there for, like, 20 years or something. She hooked me up with the promo display for Debbie Gibson's perfume, Electric Blue
. Dahl's is where we used to walk to for $.01 tootsie rolls and magazines.
It's just sad that anyplace with any character has to close to make way for the chains. You can't tell me that Walgreens is going to have a fish tank with ridiculously large goldfish to watch while you're waiting for your prescription. Sadness.
Ah well, I guess this is what I get for daring to google (news) my hometown.Huh.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viroqua,_Wisconsin
hey. this poor thing has been so neglected, but i haven't even had time to read my email lately, so that should be no surprise.
i went diving yesterday in key largo. it was faaabulous. i went with paul and his two friends, joel and travis. we had a really nice time, and i feel very fortunate that i got to go at all. they were running late so at 7 a.m., paul called to tell me to go back to sleep and they'd call when they were on their way. i put my phone ON ME and went back to sleep, knowing if the noise didn't wake me up, then the vibrate would. yeah, no. i got a call at 9:10 telling me to get my butt over to the tri-rail station, where i was meeting them.. when i hung up, i saw i had TEN missed calls. it took me about 15 minutes to quick pack the car and get there. when i arrived, i asked how long they had waited. "30-40 minutes." eek. so i'm a lucky girl.
the first dive we went to the crayfort(?) reef, the second was at the elbow. the second dive was just really amazing. no big creatures, but plenty of little ones, and i had a ton of time to just sit and look at everything, under every rock, in every hole. i saw a couple of cute little eels, bunches of groupers, some hamlets, a ton of damselfish (inc. those baby yellowtails, and they are spectacular!).. good times. :)
i got home unfortunately late last night so the night dive for tonight had to be manny'd out of.. today and tomorrow are orientation, so the vacation is OVER.
orientation was fun. and the cute bulk foods guy was making eyes at me.. hehe..
the actual job starts on monday. ahh. :) i still feel so, so lucky to have gotten this job.
the dog is still here, so the cats are still horrified. his name is bosco and he's a big, adorable puppy. (well, full-grown dog.) but the cats aren't so much fans.. i've taken to ushering them in and out of my bedroom over my shoulder.. the dog doesn't get to go in the backyard unattended (seeing as how he seemed to want to use wailey as a chew toy), so the cats are pretty safe back there. he just wants to sniff them, but he is an awfully big, loud creature, so i understand their fright.
i'll be back in touch soon, hopefully. i haven't so much as spoken on the phone with anyone as of late.. ay.
hey folks. i've been busy. diving, etc. no time to write. and in less than 12 hrs, i leave for the keys!
balu is dogsitting. needless to say, the cats are horrified. i had to fetch elliot from a tree earlier today and the dog seems to want to use the tortoises as a chew toy. also, kitten gave the poor dog a really good scratch.
orientation for the new gig starts thursday. i went in today to fill out the paperwork, get the little guide to working there.. what a great company. :)
ok, melting, must sign off
these are the squat anemone shrimp that i saw the other day.
so yesterday was the air & sea show with my friends, in celebration of alex's birthday. again. he started planning this beach bbq thing after
we had decided to do a surprise party/dive, so that means he got two parties!
it was fun.. lovely laura made food just for me, so i got to eat some yummy thai food with tofu.. i brought tres leches.. there were plenty of drinks.. very nice. sadly, the water got so rough that we couldn't go diving as planned. the rough water did make swimming fun, though.
then we took the party back to alex's place (a block from the beach), where we succeeded in scaring his friend chris away. really. "where'd chris go? did we scare him away?" i asked. "you almost scared me away," alex answered. we made sure alex got more vodka.
at one point, alex freaked out at me for licking the salt from my fingers, then reaching back into the bag for more potato chips. i was 1. confused and 2. insulted. a few minutes later, alex needed me to hold his drink for a moment. so i licked it. and now this is why i love my friends: i held the glass out to laura and to alli and each of them knew exactly what i wanted: lick, lick.
the party went on late for us old folks, and alex had a fish id class to teach today, so once he started to look worn down, i herded us all out to the bar down the street. luis went to sleep in the car instead, though. i'm proud of myself - i never go out anymore. i certainly never stay out late anymore. i did both last night! kinda! (if you can count talking at an outside table at a beach bar while sipping alli's diet coke as "going out".)
yep, good times. now today it's gorgeous again - this is no surprise since it is relentlessly
gorgeous in florida. every day. *knock on wood* but the air & sea show is still
going on, so the only place i can dive is at the pier (too much boat traffic out where we usually do our shore dives).. ahh, i'll figure it out. maybe i'll hang out and do laundry today and nap some more. :)
sponge crabs & other underwater cuteness
so that crab matt hoe got a pic of the other night? i found it in my brand spankin' new reef creature identification guide
. it turns out it's a sponge crab. there is a whole family(?) of crabs that camouflage themselves by cutting a little cap of sponge and wearing it on their backs. i just about died laughing when i saw the pictures.
"This crab will hide on the reef under its sponge if sponge is not readily available, it has also been seen with rubber thongs ("flip- flops") on its back in areas like Kaanapali beach where tourists can lose their shoes in the surf."
anyway, i've had a spot of fun on my little vacation so far. spent yesterday regaining equilibrium after waking up in the midst of an awful
dream, then greeting the day to a dead starling. it's amazing how having a really shitty first 30 seconds of your day will just make you feel like spending the day in bed. so anyway, instead i sat outside for a bit and watched the bees and the lizards and the butterflies. then i scooped kitten up out from under a chair and she actually let me hold her
. for like 10-15 minutes. honestly, i think it was a first. i laid her down on my lap just as she had been laying under the chair and supported her head with my hand and she just sat there and purred. wow. :)
then yesterday i went with balu to help one of his clients out. basically, he needed me to stay around there as to not leave the place unattended while unlocked. so, i watered all the plants, read, and took a dip in the pool. and fed a little iguana some hibiscus flowers. he had a tough time swallowing the stem: mental note next time to de-stem it before i toss it over.
today i went on a dive. by myself! the conditions were good and it was just a shore dive. i figure the only way i'm going to gain skills like navigation is if i either go with someone less
experienced than me or go alone. so i did the latter. got myself a little flag and kicked out. it was quite nice. i saw an eel right off the bat. a pretty anemone with itty bitty tiny shrimp around it (so itty bitty i couldn't really tell if they were fish or shrimp, only watching them for a bit led me to believe they were shrimp). saw a grouper
(i sure wish the fishermen would give those guys a break). a school of spadefish
. baby french angelfish
i came across two cleaning stations. to those of you who do not dive or watch nature specials, the cleaning station is just the neatest thing ever. basically, fish get plagued with tiny little parasites. since evolution left them without opposable thumbs.. or even arms.. they can't get the pesky creatures off themselves. so they enter what is called a cleaning station. it's just a little area inhabited by little shrimp or gobies (or any other fish, really) that will happily vacuum all those little bugs off the big guys.turtle at a cleaning station, being tended to by surgeonfish
the cool part is that a truce is called in the whole predator-prey relationship during a cleaning. a tiny fish will enter the MOUTH of a fish that would normally swallow it up in a heartbeat, knowing that it's safe. the big fish know to not take that easy meal because they know how important, and seemingly pleasureable, the cleanings are, and therefore how necessary it is to maintain this matter of trust.a diver gets in on the action - see the antennae coming out of his mouth? the shrimp do the exact same thing to animals that normally eat them. i think it's just amazing!
Now I'm just dying to get this book: Reef Fish Behavior
. Haha, they show a fish being cleaned on the cover. I love to take things slow underwater so I can catch glimpses of the daily life of the reef, instead of just doing a driveby of "pretty fish, another pretty fish, etc." Like when I saw the spadefish taking turns rubbing their bodies in the sand, presumably to exfoliate off the parasites. Or when we did a reverse night dive and were witnesses to damselfish mating rituals.
So anyway, yeah, the dive went well. I managed to navigate myself right back to where I started out, had some air to spare, and had a nice, relaxing time. Then I went two blocks north where I met the gang to surprise Alex for a birthday dive/party. I skipped the dive, along with about half of us, and instead went and bought sangria and pie for the party. I just got home. :)
Mystery creature properly ID'd
Turns out that orange thing that made my fingers a bit stingy after I touched it was an apricot sidegill seaslug.
The identification book doesn't say that they're in Florida. Rather, it gives its location as "Uncommon Caribbean" - but it looks just like it. And nothing else bears a resemblance.
What cemented this identification is the fact that it says, "May secrete sulfuric acid when disturbed."
The whole bright-orange thing should've screamed, "Do not touch!" to me. Sadly, it didn't. Like I said before, ah well -- another lesson learned. :)
Dive Report 5/2
Last night, Balu & I went over to Paul's place to go do a dive off his boat. I got to meet the dog, Apache, a big, gorgeous border collie. We met a bit late for a weeknight - 7:30 - and it was a bit of a ride on the boat, but all very worth it. Gorgeous night out, with a bit of a moon, crisp air.. Ah, it must be nice to have a boat at your disposal like that.
We tried to dive the Ancient Mariner, a wreck at about 70 feet. I'd done it before and was excited to see it at night without a boatload of students threatening to kick me in the face. Sadly, I jumped off the back of the boat into a very
strong current and had to fight my way just staying where I was; getting to the front of the boat to the anchor line was out of the question. KICK-KICK-KICK - nothing. Aggh. This is the first time I'd experienced something like that, so I'm glad I did; now I know it's possible! I'm also glad Paul was still on the boat, saw me struggling, and came in to help me, throwing the line to me, pulling me in, and coming to make sure I safely got back on the boat. I was relieved when he said we should just try a different location, something less challenging on a night with current; I offered to sit out while they did a dive at the Mariner, but was happy to actually get to go under. So we went to the ledges. This time, we planned our entrance into the water to be within a few seconds of each other and in close proximity. It went off without a hitch. Phew.
It as an awesome dive. About 110 minutes long, deepest we went was.. oh, darn, I forget. Water was 79 degrees. I surfaced with over 1,000 PSI. I'm pretty normal on air now; it's a relief.
I found my first octopus, unless you count the one I spotted tucked into a rock of which I could only see its vent. (I had seen octopuses before - Alex found me a couple little guys. This was the first I found on my own, I mean.) This was a little guy- his body was about fist-sized or a bit smaller. He was sprawled out on a rock, so I was able to get a good, close look. Then he flashed purple and glided into a crevice. Awesome.
This is pretty much what my guy looked like.
I also saw a bit of an eel tail sticking out from under a little ledge. When I got into the sand to check him out, I realized he.. she? was sitting in there with a bunch of four or so white egg cases containing five or small white eggs. They hung down from the top of the ledge, like I've seen octopus eggs before (in pictures). I'm not sure how eels reproduce, so don't know if they were her eggs or not, but it was very cool.
I also spotted a bright orange, um, sea hare? A small one. I motioned for Balu to come over and see it. By the time he got there, it had tucked itself in a rock. I reached out to see if I could get him to come back out a bit. Mistake. My fingers, where I touched its jello-like body, felt funny and itchy for the next half hour or so. Another lesson learned. Saw a nice sting ray. Fishies. I shooed away a hogfish as Paul was carrying a net for the dive. He saw me but didn't yell at me afterwards, so we can continue to dive together. :) I'll let him be himself, but I gotta be myself too, which means helping the little guy out when I can.
We got in late,
even with Balu & I being too cold to do a second dive. Despite the late hour, and since we were chilled to the bone, we took Paul up on his offer to thaw out in the hot tub. (Yes, this guy has quite
the bachelor pad.) This means we got home at, oh, 2:30 a.m.? In bed at 3:30. OY!
Ed just did this race.
Tampabay: Scary, but race went on
: "A stiff wind kicked up 4-foot swells Sunday, when more than 50 swimmers had to be plucked from Tampa Bay."
I'm so impressed!
Mmm! I'd heard about this stuff before, then saw one in the store the other week so bought it. I now have a strong aversion to throwing away food, like the tofu I had to toss after it went bad as I procrastinated learned how to make it well. So anyway, last night I hit the Internet to figure out how that big heavy squash would ever turn out like spaghetti.
After reading five recipes (one said cook stovetop, one said bake whole, one said halve it first), I decided on a cut-in-half, scoop-out-seeds, bake-hollow-sides-up for 40 minutes-at-360-degrees method. It came out awesome! They best way to tell it's done is by piercing the outer skin with a fork; if you need a knife to do it, it's not done. I started forking it out and thought, "This is never going to feed two people," and started contemplating what I had that could accompany it. But it just kept coming, kept coming.. So it was two full plates full of spaghetti-looking stuff. I simply covered it with spaghetti sauce (chunky vegetable style) and - yum! Dinner! :) Now, it doesn't taste just
like spaghetti. It's one of those soymilk things - use it as milk, but it's not just
like milk. This is a bit crunchy, more crisp than spaghetti, but very good.Spaghetti Squash
So it's yummy and
it's really good for you.
Here's a recipe: http://www.fabulousfoods.com/features/featuring/spagsquash.html