Friday, August 31, 2007
  There are some really sad, gullible people out there..
I have used this site,, forever. You can track your exercise, what you're eating (you can even put in your own, custom foods), your weight.. You can set goals for yourself and it tells you what you have to do to get there. It's quite cool.

Anyway, today I log in and the three ads on the side say this:




The one that killed me was the 18 lbs in 4 days. C'mon now! Who's falling for this stuff? The sad thing is that SOMEONE IS, otherwise these ads would have no way to finance themselves.

What a very, very sad thing!
  i'll let you know if it works.

i'll let you know if it works., originally uploaded by estacey.

went to work today, intended to stay NO LATER THAN NOON.

stayed 'til two.

then went to grocery store.

it's past four and i'm not asleep yet.

bad, bad stacey.

okay, now i'm going to sleep.

please let me feel all better later. pleeeeease?

Thursday, August 30, 2007
  aww, man
guess who's sick! two days before she's set to go to the the bahamas!

ah well, at least it's not that bad. but there's no denying it, i'm definitely sick. definitely, miserably sick.

yesterday, my throat felt funny. i felt like i must have sounded funny when i talked. i chalked that up to the fact that i've had to talk at work so much, on account of being so busy. also, i was all sniffly. i blamed that on allergies. you know what they say about denial.

i was in such denial about getting sick that i went for a run last night! a true test of the topamax - my first outdoor run in ages. i was out for a good 1:10, but a half-hour of that was walking in the sand, chatting on the phone. the other 40 minutes, though, i did jog the whole time. two blocks from home, i slipped off the sidewalk and totally wiped out... thankfully, i seemed to have fallen just right and didn't do any major damage. i had sebastian with me and i was certain right after i fell that he would take the opportunity and try to get me to rub his belly as i was laying face-down on the concrete, but instead, he waited until i sat up, then sat on my lap. it was cute.

anyway, when i got home i went to walgreens to fill my imitrex prescription just in case. i was very skeptical about the whole headache thing.. i felt a little funny.. but after we ate dinner, i felt okay and was pretty sure i was safe.

this morning i did take an imitrex, but that's because i felt awful and was unable to distinguish the aching head from a migraine and was taking no chances.

i guess it'll take a few in-the-heat runs to see how effective the topamax is in this huge-for-me migraine trigger.

so anyway, yeah, i woke up this morning and blew my nose and there was that telltale bright yellow snot so i made the call to stay home and rest up (despite the fact i get no sick days at my job) and hope to god i feel better by saturday. i have to go into work tomorrow -- have to -- so today was definitely the better day to miss. and if i still feel like i do right now, i plan on getting everything done tomorrow as quickly as i can, then leaving early to come home and sleep.

i spent the day in bed and on the couch. law & order, like.. six episodes. thank god that i have that one season of criminal intent on dvd.

what did people do on sick days before they had tv? i mean, really?

i can't really remember the last time i got sick.. probably one other time this year, but nothing major. the timing royally sucks, but i guess i understand - i have put myself through some royal emotional stress the past week or two. i vacillate between getting too much sleep to getting not enough. there are days when i have no appetite.. i have this pit in my stomach, but i have no desire to eat the salad waiting for me in the fridge. i'm not retarded, so i will go eat something to make sure i have some fuel (usually that's a health shake mix i have), but it's nothing like the really healthy green lunches i usually like to make sure i'm eating...

plus, work has been a lot more stressful than usual, plus it's like 70 degrees in there. seriously, it was so cold the other day that after lunch, i went and sat outside for like 10 minutes in the sun. i was sitting on my hands to try to warm them up and i could feel how cold they were through my jeans. a security guard came up to ask me, "ma'am, are you ok?" yeah, i said, then explained that i was cold. touched his arm. he understood: "you're like ice!" it took the full 10+ minutes before i could get the chill out. when i went back inside, i checked the weather... it was 97 degrees out. in a long-sleeve black shirt, jeans, and boots, it took that long to get the chill out. i love my office.

add it all up, no wonder my immune system was worn down. just, like, could the timing suck a little more?

the emotional stress is pretty much all calmed down now, but i think i need to look into taking up tai chi in the future anyway just in case. getting sick because of things that are basically beyond your control really sucks.

anyway. say a little prayer that i feel better by saturday. we were doing sat-mon, so i guess we could do sun-tues., but there may be some tropical depression coming or something. so i just want to feel better!!!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
  Wow, what a nice guy!
From Yahoo news article, Indian Actor Salman Kahn to be jailed for poaching.

The highlights:

Actor Salman Khan lost an appeal on Friday against a conviction for shooting an endangered species of gazelle, and must now go to jail...

Khan went on a series of hunting trips in Rajasthan in 1998 with several celebrity friends while shooting a movie, and was convicted in 2006 for killing several endangered species of antelope protected under wildlife laws.

Kahn... is alleged to have slit the throat of the chinkara - a type of gazelle - he had shot before giving it to chefs at his luxury hotel to cook...

He was also convicted in 2006 for killing protected blackbuck antelopes during the Rajasthan hunting trips, and given a one-year jail sentence... (And just when you thought it couldn't get worse!)

He is also under trial for killing a person sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai while driving drunk in 2002. He has denied being at the wheel.

By the way, this is a chinkara:

Yes, yes, totally the type of animal that would work up a blood-boiling carnivorous rage that would make someone want to kill it by slitting its throat. Jesus, that'd be like killing Gretchey for dinner. :(

Goddamn sociopath. Hope he rots in jail and is the favorite girlfriend of many, many inmates.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
  This made Chris chuckle last night..
I had to recount it to him after washing my hands three times in, like, four minutes..

See, my winding-down routine first involves getting myself ready for bed. A shower, brushing my teeth, etc. But then I have to tend to all the critters. Gretchey & Buddy, get in the crate, scoot! I have to help them, so afterwards, I gotta wash my hands again. Then I go lay down. But then where's Oreo? Outside? Okay, go get Oreo, set her in the bed. Wash hands, go to bed again. Sebastian, you want to play tug? Okay. But afterwards, I have to wash my hands, get back in again. Et cetera. I don't do this all day or anything, but before I snuggle up to Chris, I'd rather make sure I don't have dog slobber all over my hands.

So on my last walk from the bathroom to the bed last night, I brought this up to Chris:


Also, I was all sniffly when I woke up. I was thinking, "Man, my allergies suck today." Then I remembered: When I went to sleep, Oreo was sleeping about 8 inches from my face and Sebastian was spooning behind my legs, under the blanket. Not the best sleeping arrangements for a girl who suffers from allergies, right? Ahh well. :)
Monday, August 27, 2007
  this is a story about milkbones

Zen Mutt, originally uploaded by pixlfarmer.

we keep an industrial-sized, purchased-from-costco box of milkbones in the cupboard under the bar. the other night, chris went to get a couple for the dogs. when he pulled them out, he called out to me, "uhh... stace, take a look at this." they had been half eaten. inside the box.

"roaches?" omigod.

"are they okay to give to the dogs?" he asked. "sure," i said, but the important thing was -- what to do with the box of milkbones!!! i said i thought we should duct-tape it closed and throw it in the trash.

chris got the point that i wanted it out of the house, so grabbed it and threw it onto the front step, but without securing it closed. all i could think was that that thud down onto the ground was likely to anger the bugs. i yelled, "CHRIS!" and opened the door in time to see probably, uh.. i dunno? seven? roaches scurry out of the box. roaches of all different sizes. ahhhh! first thought: omigod, we're GROWING ROACHES!

panicking, i tried to get the box shut only, ya know, i didn't want to actually touch the box. chris came to my rescue and shut the box, then used the box to kill the ones that had gotten out. then he taped the box shut and threw it in the trash.

i checked out the cupboard and, thankfully, found no roaches. maybe a couple came out of the box but i think they were pretty comfortable in this all-you-can-eat-buffet-in-a-box.

thankfully, we discovered the fact they were in there before the milkbones ran out and they were forced to search elsewhere for food. *shudder*

i am also thankful that i never reached into that box and get a handful of shiny little beetles instead of doggy treats.

i am additionally thankful that i never got a good look at what, exactly, was in the box because i get the feeling that we were supporting a nice little population of vermin with all those dog treats. *double shudder*

we got replacement dog bones yesterday at costco. and they're going in an airtight container. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007
  Le Weekend!
it's over! AHH!! But I just have to get through this week and then i have a FOUR-DAY WEEKEND to look forward to! :) And goodness, i am going to need it!!! and, knock on wood, if the weather cooperates, we're taking this new boat to.... THE BAHAMAS!!!!

So yeah, we went to this charity thing last night. I had to go dress shopping for it. That sucked. My photography lesson got cancelled (rained out) so at least I had time to do that, and then I was able to get a dress I like. But then I saw the picture afterwards and was, like, "Omigod, I looked fat." Ah well, you can't win 'em all.


Anyway, it was an American Cancer Society benefit. They had an auction to raise money for this R.O.C.K. camp for kids that have cancer. You know, they get to go there and forget they have cancer for a couple weeks in the summer. One of the pre-auction speakers was a little girl named Pilar. She went up to speak and I was, like, "Oh, no, that's the cute little girl that was smiling at me in the foyer." Thank god, she was in remission.

My good boy Chris ended up buying a rock, which sponsors a kid going to camp.

chris's "you rock" rock

After the valet guy drove the Corolla up for us to go home, we ended up totally cracking up in the car, like, "Yep, we're the help." A 1996 Corolla. :D The rock-Corolla combination was just way too funny, but I guess I'll let you draw the reason why on your own.

Oh, this is cute: some dude from Chris's work pulled me aside to tell me, "Hey, just so you know, Chris is the nicest physician of all of us at work." "Yeah?" I said. "Yeah." "I'm not surprised," I answered. I'm really not. But, man, I'm proud. :)


today i got to sleep in a little. :) some dude chris works with dives and has been talking about coming over to dive with us for ages, so finally today he did. we met up at 11 at commercial pier. he brought his wife and kids, with a babysitter for the kids.

it was just a gorgeous day out. we made our little dive plan -- first reef, then second reef until 1500 psi, then back to shore... but after we got to the second reef, we weren't seeing much, and i couldn't tell if they were having a good time. i am used to patty & chris not being too impressed with the dives, so i figured we'd head back into the first reef and tool around until they were ready to go back in. but then nick made a motion to stay where we were, so i did, and we ended up having a lovely dive.

we saw this big brigade of squid at one point. probably a row of ten of them. this was early on. i love squid! so that was cool. then a while later, we see three. then, from that point on, those three squid were with us the whole time. seriously, chris brought me over to a yellow stingray at one point and, afterwards, i'm like, "but now where are the squid?" it took me about 5 seconds to spot 'em again. following us again. so strange. i could get within a foot of the little guy. and that's talking face-to-face close. when i'd get that close, i'd start to wonder why he was letting me get so close... and what was he going to do? touch me with those tentacles? but he'd back off. he would flash his body purple and white at me. sometimes they would make their tentacles go up in the air, like an elephant. sometimes they would hold them down below them, like they were holding it like a claw. sometimes i'd notice two were holding them up towards chris or another diver... was that some kind of body language? a threatening posture? were they just curious about us? being territorial? it was bizarre, but very cool. such neat little creatures.

we saw the usual stuff - baby & grown-up damselfish, baby & grown-up angelfish, hamlets, hogfish, pufferfish, a couple of big tarpon, parrotfish, some tiny stingray (given away only by their tails).. then we surprised a nurseshark asleep in the swisscheese of the first reef on the swim back in.

i knew that nick & carolyn had been diving for 20 years - and had been certified in thailand of all places - but they were a treat to dive with. it was really cute, actually. i saw carolyn point out a sea urchin to nick underwater, one that had tiny baby fish all around it, and of course, i thought, "bless her heart, she's pointing out a sea urchin!" nick paid attention when i pointed out a baby french angelfish. we were all enthralled by the squid. everyone loved the pufferfish, those darn little cartoons they were super, super slow - which is a great thing for me underwater! and they didn't seem to want to come up! we started in about three times before we actually were able to drag them back in. heh. we ended up staying down a good 1:45. it was when nick hit 1000 psi that we decided we'd really need to leave the 2nd reef line.
so yeah, it was a really nice dive. i hope they come back out. :) oh yeah, and I guess carolyn is a vegetarian, too, so is automatically on my good list.

then we came back here, chris rinsed the gear while I swam with the dogs (yeah, who lucked out there - I did give them baths so I would feel semi-useful, however), went to costco so we could get our yearly supply of toilet paper and the like, ordered Indian food, etc. etc.

oh yeah, chris worked on the boat! I got pictures!

the new boat, and the soon to be former boat - the guy finally showed some interest in picking it up!

the old dirty bitch and the one one

it's messing up pictures like this that make me tempted to just shoot in auto all the time

i was in manual mode and messed up the picture, but like it anyhow. chris spent a long time scrubbing the boat guys' footprints off his new baby tonight.

working away on the boat..

see? scrub, scrub, scrub. this picture i didn't really screw up. i don't think. i mean, it was dusk-ish and all.

i like this picture both because chris is smiling and also because if you look closely in the upper left, you can see oreo. she's totally become a dock cat now, mainly because the other two cats kick her ass if she tries to go in the front yard. this is good - she literally has put on like three pounds since she discovered the backyard/dock area. :) my little butterball girls.

chris - also note oreo in upper left

Is that.. a smile? A real smile? Omg.

what a good sport, right? he said tonight that he gave up on making faces all the time. that's right, i finally broke his spirit!!! ;) but honestly, he even cleaned around me tonight so i could take pictures of him and of rope (none of those turned out) and of the boat.. what a good boy. :)

me & chris, originally uploaded by estacey.

Saturday, August 25, 2007
  finally got the new boat on the water!

chris on the new boat, originally uploaded by estacey.


chris thought he was going to go pick it up himself.. i was taking too long to get ready, see. (i had to brush my teeth, oh dear!)

well, lucky for him i went with. i had to help him big time - both guide him getting the truck into the water, then take over the wheel as he got into the boat and i backed the trailer slowly in. then also as moral support as he figured out how to drive this much-more-complicated boat. right out of the dock, we almost hit the side.. big, expensive engines... yeah, not good. "chris, chris, chris, chris, chris!"

but luckily, he's a quick learn and we were cruising along in no time. it's such a nice, smooth ride. it'll be the site of many good times, i think. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007
  i bumped up the color settings on my camera..

pretty sea grapes, originally uploaded by estacey.

since i was always using picasa to tweak the saturation anyway. seems i like bright colors. i think i like it. :)


crocs., originally uploaded by estacey.

I decided yesterday I wanted to be COMFORTABLE after the whole debacle south-campus-in-heels debacle on Wednesday. Jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes. However, gathering my things to leave the house before work, I realized I couldn’t even walk in the tennis shoes. That’s how bad my feet were torn up from the day before.

So I kicked the tennies off and put on my crocs.
Certainly not a first for wearing to work. But yeah, with socks? I was too lazy to take the socks off. Besides, it’s cold in my office.

Soon after I go to work, I was layered under a Polarfleece jacket. I looked like I was working on my yard somewhere up north in the fall. Ha ha ha.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
  Unable to form complete words....
a.k.a. Another Day, Another $300

So I literally have TWO OTHER CLASSES that I am not taking now that I can take EVER at BCC towards my major. British Literature and Teaching Diverse Populations. They only teach Brit Lit during the day (way to go, BCC) and a class I am taking now is a pre-requisite for Teaching Diverse Populations. I have to do 16 hours of field experience for one of the classes I am in now. Teaching Diverse Populations also requires 16 hours of field experience. Last night, the teacher was saying if you were in both of the classes, you had to do all 32 hours with the same coordinating instructor. I’m like, “But this is a pre-requisite for the other. How is that possible?” “Oh, we were trying to get it removed as a pre-requisite; we don’t agree with the policy. The department head will override it for you.”

(By the way, if last night’s class demographics says anything, our future teachers are mostly very big and very black.)

So of course today I go see the department head.

How long would you think it takes to get a little blue card signed, then handed over to registration? Two hours, apparently. No, I bought a book too. There were 22 people in line. I counted.

I was not dressed for this. I should have been wearing my crocs. Seriously. Instead, for some reason, today I decided to dress up. Longish-sleeve black polyester dress. High heels. By the end of my two hours on campus, 90-ish degrees (remember, everything is outside here!), I was carrying my shoes. Whimpering. Wondering why it takes two hours to do anything this simple.

But I am registered!

And thankfully, I found an online version of the class still open. With an instructor I took previously! So I got to meet her in person today. Saw her office. Apparently she’s a diver, so we chatted a little bit about that. I’m now obligated to send her some pictures in a few months. :)

The funny thing is that I had to go to the South Campus to get this done, where I have never taken classes. Man, that place is ghet-to. Lots of gold teeth and stuff. And the best part – there was actually a lone braid on the ground. Some poor chick’s weave was coming apart at the seams…

After this semester, I just have, um.. 21 classes to go! *forced smile* Just 21!

Ooh! I have a photography tutor! First session is Saturday afternoon! That should be fun! We’re going to Gumbo Limbo! I think! Or the beach! Or something! His pics are here. Hopefully he can give me a handle on the basics. I need the help!!!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
  this lady kills me!

Gwen Stefani, originally uploaded by jelee_unleashed.

#1 she's gorgeous.
#2 she's 37.
#3 she's HAD A KID and she looks like this. and that kid is only, like a year old!

inspiration, man.

the one sad bit is that she has been quoted as saying that she's basically "been on a diet for the past 20 years." but still. jeeeez!

Monday, August 20, 2007
  cool pic, right?

, originally uploaded by dawny.

dawn took it in south dakota. apparently it's a cornfield. it's fields like this that's keeping american in all its high fructose corn syrup. me gusta.

dawny turns 30 this week. 30! jesus.
this means *i* turn 30 soon, too. double jesus. a far more troubling fact...

whoa mama was i tired tonight. i stayed up 'til 1:30 last night, leaving me with six hours of sleep which is SO not enough anymore.. i *am* approaching 30, after all. by the end of the day, i looked and felt like hell. i came home, fell into bed with the phone while chatting with chris, then just went into a coma and slept right up until chris said dinner was ready at 8:30. a three-hour nap. ahh, that rocked.

class starts tomorrow night. i actually have an in-person class this semester! i actually am set to take two. one is a digital photography class, more for fun than anything else because i am more than set on electives (hi, i have like 65 credits now). now i am thinking that it really won't help me so just wrote to some dude (chick?) on craigslist that offers photography tutoring. that may be a better use of my time. i really feel like i still have loads to learn, so i was really really gunning for this photography class, but once i tracked a few syllibi down online, i realize it's far too basic for me. heck, i'd probably be the only one in class with an SLR! and it's all the advanced SLR stuff that i'm confused about! i found a pro guy i had heard about before online that offers classes.. one-on-one private deals.. they are quite a bit more expensive and his wildlife pics kinda suck, anyway, so i am hoping the craigslist thing works out better. i asked for pictures and a resume. we'll see!

okay, i have some law & order dvds to fall asleep to now. i don't want a repeat of last night. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007
  /end weekend
ooh! friday night, dear kimmie suggested that we all go to dry tortugas. she went this february with her girlfriend via ferry, and had a really good time even though it was freezing. so tomorrow i have some dates to run by her in october. if all goes as planned, the boat will already be in key west from the weekend before, we'll drive down on friday night, leave early saturday morning, and then get to spend a good 24+ hours here:

yet another place i've wanted to go for years.. seriously, since, like, i've heard of the place. i was so jealous when kimmie told me about her trip, even though it sounded fairly miserable. so anyway, that should be a nice trip, assuming everything works out! :)

hmmm! so yesterday, we ran uh.. errands? i don't really remember. went to ihop. chris, ever the romantic, ran over to west marine bought me a caribiner. went to the camera shop. dropped off my rent check. i dropped chris off at mass late and only had 40 minutes so decided i'd just hang out. i called kamille and chatted, then just enjoyed the fact that it was a totally perfect day. not too hot. just sunny, breezy and gorgeous.

oh, and chris asked me if i would like to move in.

i said i would have to think about it.

ha ha ha! so that's nice news. i'll call my "landlord" tomorrow. he'll be losing his best roommate ever. i have never spent a night there! but this means moving my stuff again, which stinks... ah well. it is certainly better than the status quo.

chris kept laughing at me because i was all grumpy before he asked me, seeing as how i couldn't find my dive log at my apartment. then, after he asked me, i was in a really good mood. "you're happy, aren't you?" he kept asking. "nooooooooo," i'd answer. then, every once in a while, i'd sing him the line from miss congeniality: "you love me, you wanna kiss me, you think i'm gorgeous." he would then, of course, threaten to take the offer back. he also said i had to stop listening to such shitty music. :D

last night, we took the little boat to bahia cabana. (the big boat should be ready by mid-week?) we were supposed to meet dean & meredith there, but dean backed out when the bar he was at was surprised by a bachelorette party of, like, 20 chicks. i can't blame him, i suppose. so chris and i had a really nice boat ride and little dinner. it was another boat lesson, with me taking the reins from start to finish -- except chris had to dock at the restaurant; too much current for me! it was really just a gorgeous night. summer nighttime boating is just awesome.



today chris, patty & i drove to stuart. first, we stopped off at the town (towne?) center (centre?) mall (malle?) in boca to buy some stupid cord for the stupid camera i got chris for his stupid birthday and of course had no luck. anyway, i was wearing a swimsuit and shorts and one of those men's shirts that guys wear fishing that have, like, air vents. my hair was in a ponytail and i wasn't wearing any makeup. flip-flops. i was pretty sure some teenage girls were snickering at me. a teeny part of me was bothered, but the chris's-girlfriend side of me said screw-'em, stupid superficial boca people (what, am i supposed to dress up to run into the mall?).

we drove on 95 until we got past west palm beach, then got on a1a to drive along the beach. it was nice to see the different little towns. we stopped at a few parks and beaches along the way.

on the beach

the ocean was pretty rough.

these are some flowers on the beach.

pretty beach flowers

i felt horrible for the turtles who had to nest on this beach

chris wanted to check out some of the beachfront houses up there. he wasn't impressed, and i guess i agree. it sure would be nice to live on the beach, but everything was pretty.. rickety. very nice on the inside, but everything is, like, 20 years old & made of wood and since they're on the beach.. all that salty air plus wind, i think it wears down pretty quickly. far from the sturdy new structures we're used to down here in broward with the hurricane windows and all that. plus, as you see above, there are turtle nests. turtle nests in the backyard? awesome, right? only look at where they are. all i could think was that the poor turtles have to build their nests as far up in the sand as they can. and at high tide, the water almost reaches up that far. i hope they stay on top of the beach erosion there. beyond having to feel bad for the sea turtles all the time, there are no yards and the houses are built so close to one another. you need a yard!

tonight after we got home, we had to go talk to chris's tenants who are moving out on tuesday and they kept us there for a goddamn HOUR and it was SO HOT IN THERE it was like TORTURE and we are SO BAD at getting out of situations like that.. oy vey. but anyway, we're home and chris is probably asleep by now and i have uploaded all my pictures and am heading to bed myself soon and all is well in the world. :)

as you can tell, i am going to up the photo taking a lot. i feel like all my pictures are a disaster, seriously. i cannot go to california or costa rica or anywhere else and come home and feel like all my pictures are a disaster. i want to feel like i know what i'm doing. jeeeez. and the only way i can do that is to practice! so expect a lot more pictures! i already warned chris! :)

that's it!

also, no headache! i think 125 mg topamax is what i needed! :) seriously, i have been so uncareful about hydration.. i really really should have a headache right now. and i don't. also, we were outside today. i really should have a headache. and i don't! i am simultaneously weirded out and thrilled. :)
friday night, we went up to boca raton to the gumbo limbo nature center to witness a turtle hatchling release. it was a work thing - my work has done a bunch of fundraising for them, so as a payback, they dedicated one of their release nights to us.

it was me, my friend from work kimmie, and chris. kimmie came over after work and hung out and we all drove up together.

first we watched a movie about the sea turtle plight. it was really depressing. duh.

then, since we would not be able to use any lights on the beach as it would confuse the hatchlings, they brought out some little turtles that were not due to be released that night in order for us to get pictures.

so cute! and grumpy looking!

they said we could use flash, but i didn't want to, so i ended up with some shitty pictures. i think my ISO was still all high since i had pre-set it expecting dark beach conditions. dammit.

sea turtle belly button

sea turtles have belly buttons. this wasn't a huge surprise, since i remember when bjorn had a belly button. :) these guys also still had their egg teeth. very cute. they were also very squirmy. they reminded me of the dogs when we walk towards the pool with them; they start paddling even before we get in the water. these turties were paddling even though they weren't in water! :)

then we caravaned up to red reef park for the release. it was SO dark. we just had a sliver of a moon, so getting pictures was basically impossible. maybe had i brought my tripod and remote, but i still wouldn't have been able to get the turtles, since the gumbo limbo folks basically set the turtles on the ground and the turtles clambered towards the ocean. it was pretty quick.

the water was pretty rough that night. a night i wouldn't want to go night diving, for example. but the turtles could swim through the waves! the gumbo limbo guy said that was nothing; they could swim through a hurricane. they were tough little swimmers, and they had technique. they knew to swim low through waves, and to dart up and down when they needed a breath.

it was pitched dark.  i didn't even know what i was setting the shutter speed for!

some of the turtles just sat there. any of the turtles that didn't make it to the water were kept behind and put into a bucket. of all the hatchlings - they said 88 or so, but i didn't see that many - only 5 or 6 didn't go. they would be taken out to the seaweed later in the week, which is where they spend many months, eating anything that floats by so they can get bigger and stronger.

the dude from gumbo limbo shined his red light into the bucket so i could see the turtles. i sat crouched over the bucket for a while, staring down at the cute little buggers for a while. such perfect little things. :)

sea turtles under red flashlight

so these guys were the smart ones; their nest mates had a looooong night ahead of them. these guys got to go home and chill, and had a boat ride out to the seaweed instead of a 1-mph super-long swim! :)

very neat experience! i wonder if they need volunteers! :)
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Galapagos Sea Lion, originally uploaded by echeng.

let's see.

galapagos deposit went in today.

i found this guy's website today when researching the boat we're going on. he has done three trips to the galapagos and has taken some amazing pics, both underwater and above. check out pics - of galapagos and other places - at anyway, he's on flickr too so how nice, i have another contact!
chris saw he uses a canon and said, 'i know you should've gone for a canon!' i looked up the canon. 'yes, chris, but it's an $8,000 canon. i'm sure you would've happily got me a canon instead of a nikon for christmas, but would you have bought me an *$8,000 canon* over my d70?!' uh huh. :D and, yeah, when i was looking through the one set of pics, i just KNEW it was a professional camera. the pics were so clear and sharp and amazing. (someday, i tell myself. but you really have to have a reason to get a camera like that. like you're making money off the pics you take with them or something!)

so yeah, the deposit is down. yay! and chris was able to cancel with the fishy folks and find a local agency that gave us the original price we were quoted by the fishy folks. so that's no longer a sock in the gut of a price (because, you know, galapagos is pretty much a sock in the gut financially to start out).

i am thinking of getting nitrox certified for the trip. more money!

also, i got a backpack that is made to hold my camera, as seen on just a few days ago. only i didn't get the $190 crumplebag; i got the $50 lowepro. me gusta mucho. and it will serve me well in costa rica too. quite happy with that. trying to lug around a camera bag is really not at all doable, and so this is great - you can fit everything you want PLUS your camera.

but omg, all this money! the spending will soon quit, i think!


my boss's last day is tomorrow. that's news! i'll be sans boss for a couple of weeks, but we interviewed for her replacement and i think that person will be starting soon. hopefully! my head is spinning already thinking of working without anyone to help me directly. oy.


class starts again on monday. i'm taking two; one in person, one online. for the one class, i actually have to additionally go into a local school for 16 hours over the semester, 3 hrs per week. that should be interesting!


the turtle hatchling release is tomorrow night! yay! baby sea turtles!!!


no hurricane dean. this is a good thing.


oreo is finally using the litterbox i set out in the bedroom for her, as an insurance policy (she sleeps with us at night). i am so proud! really!


blogger is broken right now.


i gotta go to bed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

tomorrow i get to sit in interviews all day
see, my boss quit
tomorrow we have interviews for her replacement
we interview panel-style so her poor would-be replacement gets to get interviewed by, like, 20 of us. can you imagine?

caymans is off. i'm too tired n grumpy to talk about it. but it's off. maybe next year.
something about the already expensive room on the boat in the galapagos now not being available, so now we have to pay even more, so now the travel budget for the year is beginning to exceed what sane people should spend, so... the whole thing sounds fishy about the boat, so hopefully chris can get that taken care of anyhow. i guess we'll see.

hey, at least a hurricane is coming maybe
i think chris may be excited; how he has so much to do
he filled up like 25 gas cans tonight
he's rubbing his hands together thinking of the boat prep he has to do
but what happens when the hurricane hits? i asked.
he'll sleep, he said. but what about when you wake up, i asked. i'll lift weights, he said. fair enough, i guess.
i'm thinking i need to make a list (fill out address change for voter registration; repair farmer jane wetsuit tear, etc.) to keep me busy. you can only read for so long.. thankfully, we will have the generator going and i can probably keep my little dvd player going. but, you can probably only watch movies for so long, too. note to self: get a whole season of law & order from blockbuster!

ok, time to get some shut-eye.
Monday, August 13, 2007
my mandarinfish disappeared!
so until i can get a replacement picture, you get my eyes! i was going to use a sloth pic or a picture of a sea turtle or something, but really didn't want to steal an image, so i had to use something i took.

speaking of sea turtles, i get to watch a release on friday night. i'm excited about that! chris and i are going and a chick from work, kimmie, is coming too. i hear it's really neat to see. gotta practice getting some non-flash pictures some night this week to practice.

i had to take gretchey poo poo to the vet today. THAT was fun. but the poor thing was squinting like mr. freaking magoo.

i thought she could be trusted outside of a crate, like i do with sebastian. uh, mistake. she was all over the car. real cute, jumping all over. tipped my purse over, jumping on my lap. yes, it was safe, too! i did have a leash, which i tied to the handle thing above the passenger seat, but.. yeah, as with most things, preventative measures are but a suggestion for gretchey.

we don't know what caused the ocular irritation, but now we get to do drops for 10 days, so that adds to the fun of canine companionship. this is on top of the toothbrushing we're supposed to be doing!

i asked the doc to increase my topamax dosage, just by 25 mg. per day. i had a headache most of last week, and that sucked... i didn't have a headache this weekend, despite not being as careful as i should have been with my hydration and going diving to boot, though, so maybe it is getting better. i forgot my nalgene at home today though (on the boat!) so i'm really dehydrated today. so retarded.

please let hurricane dean not come - it would be here just in time to ruin our rescheduled trip to the caymans!!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
  Nature versus nurture
I come from a place where we don't eat so well. I weighed a lot more when I lived there, and it took quite a while to change my eating habits and lifestyle after I moved away.

Nonetheless, when I go back, all of a sudden I am craving Mt Dew and cheesy foods. Now, I do drink a soda every now and then here, but it is seriously every month or two. During my visit in June to Wisconsin, I was drinking them daily. Oh, and on the Sunday before I left, I think I had, um, three desserts. This is why I have stopped weighing myself after a vacation until I have been home for a week or so. Same with when Kamille & the girls visited. No weighing myself.

Anyway, so Chris and I will get on these conversations about whether being overweight should be blamed upon genetics or not. We had one of these yesterday, when I realized I had just come across some old photos a few days ago. I said, "Chris, hold that thought," and went to get the stack out of the closet.

I handed this one over:

old pic of me n anna - wheee

"This is me back when I ate like shit. I was, like, 22."

As you can imagine, Chris had a good laugh. I took the picture back and did too. Jesus!

Then I handed him this picture. "Case in point."

78 066

"Please note me. And the pizza box. And the bottle of Mt. Dew. And hey, I'm sitting in front of the TV." I drank soda all the time, and ate pizza -- and other cheesy, bad-for-me foods -- all the time.

So anyway, we talked about it some more, and I understood his point of view. It turns out he knows a lot of very thin people that eat lots of fast food and should basically be overweight.

I guess my viewpoint is that if you are overweight and do eat unhealthily, there's a pretty easily identified cause-and-effect relationship there that can easily be remedied and that does not involve genetics. The fact that other people can get away with eating like that and stay thin does not pardon that style of eating. Especially because it's not all about being thin; even the thin folks that are eating horribly are unhealthy, even if it doesn't show on the outside.

I was a little proud, because a while after we talked about this, Chris brought it back up, laughing. "I can't believe you ate like that -- pizza and soda all the time." "How come?" I asked. "Because you're so into nutrition now." It's funny he thinks about it like that, because I still see all of my shortcomings - I mean, I am definitely someone who likes to indulge and enjoy my food. During the week, I eat very well, but during the weekend.. yeah, I let it go a little. Sometimes a lot. It's nice to have someone who is with me so often think of me as someone who is into nutrition, even as I think of myself as someone who indulges a lot. I guess there are many things you could do worse to yourself than banana pancakes on the weekend. :)

FOOD: As for the eating, I haven't been writing it down, but I have been doing the same good stuff! Breakfast smoothie, every day. Salad for lunch, every day, although I try to mix the kind up. Always with some fruit. Last week, we had cake at work one day, and I did have a minuscule slice - the first I had strayed from my all-salad-and-fruit eating in a month! Also, they gave me a piece of bread with my salad at Einstein's on Friday and I ate half. Every other day, though, I even brought my OWN salad. I'm not even having to run out to buy anything. It's great! A small, healthy snack when I get home. Dinner as usual.

Okay, time for bed!
  boat update
when i got home tonight, chris took me out on the boat for a boat-driving lesson. he made me do everything, start to finish. undo the lines, start the boat, drive it the whole time, PARK THE BOAT (this was a very stressful idea, but in actuality wasn't so bad), redo the lines, etc. he literally did nothing the whole time! i did it all!

it was a gorgeous night out, my god. anyway, so he sold this boat on ebay but the guy still hasn't come to get it - ha ha. who knows what will happen with that. it's a good little boat, too bad it has to go, but chris won't have time for two...

and we found out his other one will be ready by next weekend!

of course, we have discovered that boat guy time is something like cuban time, so that really means it will be ready in three weeks or so, but still! the fact they can fix this one over chris needing to buy a new one is great news!
  about damn time
ooh, it's been a while, huh?

it's late, so let's see if i can make this quick.

the weekend! so fast, and now it's gone already again!
what'd we do? um, let me think.

friday night, i made grilled cheese and tomato soup. that's right, i made dinner. (it's only fair, poor chris didn't get home from work until, like, 8 p.m.) we stayed up late. we watched star wars.

saturday, we slept in. me more than chris, as usual. i made pancakes (yes, two meals in a row!). we ran errands. i probably spent two hours in the pool, off and on. chris bought scuba tanks! bright yellow ones! WE NOW HAVE SCUBA TANKS! YAY!!! for the record, i bought the boots. :) then we went out to dinner with a bunch of folks at buca de beppo for susan's 30th birthday. that was nice.. but omg, so much food. seriously, it had been so long since i had eaten that much. it really was not a pleasant feeling, either. but yum! that food wasn't all that, but the dessert was pretty darn good - hi, tiramisu in a huge bowl! and cannoli! and some apple stuff with ice cream. very good. we stayed up late again, but me more than chris. i was looking up semi-dry wetsuits and other goodies online until, like, 4 a.m. whoops....

today, was laaazy, in a good way. watched part of some movie on lifetime where this chick was sleeping with her best friend's husband. played with the dogs. swam. gave the dogs baths. chris & i went for a nice little one-hour dive, which was really, really nice. just beautiful, really. :) i ran out to do errands afterwards, my hair still in the seawater braid.. camera shop, whole foods, target, publix...

now it's almost time for bed, then it's monday again already :(
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
  Like real grownups do
Okay, with these impending trips, even with Chris footing the bill (these are my Christmas & Birthday gifts, mind you), I have some stuff to buy! Namely, a really expensive lens and a 7mm wetsuit! Therefore, it’s time to buckle down and save.

I have a jar going in my room for my $750 lens. I want to have it in time for Costa Rica in December. I should have the thick wetsuit by then, too, since the water there is something like 75 degrees. That means all this saving has to be done by then. I owe school some money here in a couple of weeks, plus again in January, mind you. And books, don’t forget the books! And Christmas falls right after we go to Costa Rica! I had to make a plan!

So I did. And instead of starting a second jar, which was the original plan (“Do I use the old pesto jar, or what?”), I threw $200 into a brand spankin’ new ING account and am having $120 from each paycheck deposited. By Christmas, I will have money to buy presents plus a surplus. And I’m going to keep the deposits going.

After the saving for the traveling stops, I want to start a second savings account, too, just like real grownups have. I actually do have a little money in my savings account right now, but I haven’t been adding to it, so I really want to start. But at the same time, I am thinking long and hard about how I want to get school done with quickly, and that may involve cutting back work hours, which will involve a slowdown of incoming money. Which means, if I want to buy anything, I had better get it done now. Hence the $60 bigmouth food processor Saturday. And the $750 lens and $200 7mm wetsuit on the to-buy list… And Christmas gifts next year may be of the “Here’s a jarful of sand and a wish of peace for you” variety.

Food yesterday: Breakfast shake with greens, protein powder, half a carrot, and a banana. Lunch: yummy salad with spinach greens, sunflower greens, avocado, and Glaser dressing. Kiwifruit. Snack: A handful of that blasted chocolate granola, which I decided I cannot buy because it is WAY TOO GOOD and I will eat WAY too much of it; a few prunes. Dinner: 1.5 quorn culets; some green beans; mac n cheese. I ate too much, even though objectively it really wasn’t all that bad. Then I shared the rest of the Dulce de Leche ice cream with Chris (half a pint between the two of us). I got sick afterwards, basically. Instant belly karma, I guess.

No run still. I woke up yesterday with a migraine, which basically persisted from last Thursday through the weekend, albeit slight. I think it’s finally gone-gone today, though. Yay!
Monday, August 06, 2007
  my bracelet

my bracelet, originally uploaded by estacey.

i want to get another picture of it, but overexpose it - as i did yesterday, by accident. i loved the result.

what a nice day! we didn't do much - had some french toast, ran errands (dive shop, bookstore, grocery store), chris bought me some pretty flowers (see flickr), he went to church, i went off to get his gift, he took a boat ride, i got ready.. then we went out to dinner at thai spice, where we met (awww). sake, salad, chris got some appetizer with crab in it, vegetable pad thai, shrimp panang. it was delicious! :)

after we were sitting there a few minutes, i decided to scoot on over to chris's side of the booth. then i looked over at him and said, "guess what." "what?" "we're one of those couples." "what couples?" "the couples that sit on the same side of the booth." :) i had my arm around him and we were snuggling and kissing here and there and it was altogether way too cute and ahh how nice.

the question is: WHY DIDN'T WE GET A PICTURE? we were dressed up! happy! snuggling! it was our 1st year goddamn anniversary! i had a camera along! why no picture!? i always forget! from now on, i'm always getting a picture! dammit! :(

after dinner, we went in search of ice cream, unsuccessfully (we eventually picked up dulce de leche haagen daaz at walgreens which they put on ice for us at the bar), and then stopped off at our place for a drink with dean & meredith - which is what we did after our very FIRST date (although a different venue). caymans be damned, we had a great weekend at home!

but anyway, you see here chris did a good job. very pretty bracelet!

and pardon me for using the tiffany box as a backdrop! i really wanted to put the bow back on.. but it really is a pretty box. it's either that or the bracelet on plain white!

tonight i get to figure out what those splotches are on the pictures...

Saturday, August 04, 2007
  the tix to guayaquil are bought..

and chris is making the arrangments for the boat.

mid-may 2008.

i am SO excited!!! :)

  Chris's tenants' cable bill

Chris's tenants' cable bill, originally uploaded by estacey.

Chris has this condo, which he rents out to this Canadian couple we fondly refer to as "The Frenchies." They're quite strange. They were going to break the lease, apparently as a tactic to re-negotiate the monthly rent terms.. they tried to say, "How about we knock $200 off each month's rent?" I mean, who does that? They had a signed LEASE. Chris said shaa and arranged for an agent to start showing the place the next month. It's when they got a call that the agent would be there the next Monday with a prospective tenant in tow that they changed their mind about leaving. Then the next thing you know, they paid for the next six month in advance...... IN CASH. Uh, okay.

Anyway, this month he realized the cable bill was kinda high, so took a look at it before bringing it over to them. I guess the PPV selections explain it...

Craving Big Meat 14 had to have been a highlight of the month.

I hope they're embarassed when Chris hand-delivers the bill. :) The best part is that he's dropping it off on his way home from church.

Friday, August 03, 2007
  Who knew?
Things went downhill quickly at work yesterday. I suffered horribly, then came home and quickly took care of the necessary stuff (put on some scrubs, fed the torts, etc), then planted my ass on the couch with a book and an icepack. By the time Chris got home, I was asleep.. I woke up feeling horrendously nauseous. I hoped I would feel better after dinner, but I didn't. It was so bad, I was gagging. Ooooh, it was fun.

So finally, I decided to take an Imitrex. I figured that it wouldn't hurt. A half-hour later, the headache was gone. Was it a migraine? Even though it didn't feel like my typical kind? Chris thinks it could have been a variant.

Then I start jogging my memory as to what could've caused it.. I had been thinking it was just because I was sleep deprived, but that was shot once I got a nap. Then I realized what it was: it was the peppermint water. Freaking peppermint-flavored water. Naturally flavored. Now, mind you, I don't buy any of this crap. It's a money thing and it's a PLASTIC BOTTLE THING, but we get tons and tons of these free samples at work, and the environmental impact is already there, so I definitely take advantage of the free samples (god, you should see my cabinets!). Anyway, it tasted really good at first - like a thin mint! Only water! I immediately started thinking, "How can I make this myself???" But by the end of the bottle, I wondered what the "other natural flavorings" were. It was too sweet. Within a half-hour or so, I was feeling headachey. Again, I chalked it up to being tired. In retrospect, I'm almost sure it was the water. Note to self: when something doesn't taste too good, and makes you feel funny, STOP DRINKING IT. This same thing happened a month ago with lemon yerba mate, also a free sample. I drank the same brand pomegranate and blueberry just fine, but the lemon? Headache. So yeah, every day I learn something new. New day, new migraine trigger.

In other news, I got an A in lit. :)

I have been very tired. Got home from work and just.. ah.. sleepy. Fed the torts. Got to couch. Eventually went outside to talk to Chris who was sleeping. Took an impromptu swim when his teasing became too much because he thought he was safe in the pool (I showed him). Tonight I plan to sleep very, very well.

This weekend I have my math final and we would like to dive and tomorrow night we're going to out to eat on account of our anniversary and I have a lot of errands to run and and and and.. yeah. :)

Food, yesterday - Breakfast: Gross shake since I was out of greens that involved a banana and greens & whey powder, also a free sample. I love their bars but I will not be buying the powder. Lunch: Spinach salad with mandarin oranges, grapes, red onions, pears, and avocado. Peppermint water (aggggh). Snack: Apple w/ almond butter. Dinner: Two veggie hot dogs, with cheese. I couldn't eat the bok choy, which usually I love. Stupid headache. Dessert: Chris & I split another sample, which was really good: a 200-calorie "bananas foster" cake by Guiltless Gourmet. We both gave it a thumbs-up, and Chris is very hard to impress. And it only takes 30 secs in the microwave!

Food, today: Breakfast: Chris was home so and I was running late (as usual) so he made me a protein shake with banana. Very yummy. No greens. Must go shopping. Lunch: The second half of the salad from yesterday. Snack: A few prunes (dried plums, as they say) and a handful of this
awesome, awesome granola from Bear Naked. Also a sample. I've had my eye on it for weeks and it finally came up for grabs and, miraculously, no one else wanted it. I am so proud of myself for having just a handful and then putting it back in the cupboard because, like, yuuuuum. :) Dinner: A Boca burger with cheese. Side was a leftover from a meeting at work today: mashed potatoes mixed with corn. Yum! I think I ate too much, 'cause I'm fuuuull.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
  Holy Scheitze, I need a nap!
Who went to sleep at 2 a.m.?

Why? I got a note at, oh, 12:05 a.m. that I did indeed need to cite all my quotes from Frederick Douglass, although the whole paper was based on his Narrative. Agh. So I have until tonight to do that. But I stayed up last night working on it anyhow. Stupid. And now, so.. tired. I'm getting a headache, too. Frontal forehead, though, not right side of the forehead, so that's alright by me.

All these veggies are starting to pay off. The jeans I've been living in for months and months and months are too loose. Yay! So this is the wear-a-belt phase of losing weight. A while from now, it will be the buy-new-pants phase. That will be good. No, actually, I can just do the get-the-old-jeans-out thing. That will be better. Right now, everything still looks pretty bad, plus my formerly favorite jeans are annoying and I have to keep pulling them up, so.. uh, there really is no bright side to right now. But that's okay. I'll be muy paciente for a couple of months.

Alright, time to go home and take a nap!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
so last night i emailed my paper thus (thence? th.. whatever) far to my work address.

today i worked on it some.

i was getting my stuff ready at 5 to leave for my final. then my co-worker mentions she needs a ride to go get her car. eek. okay. i normally would have NO PROBLEM doing that - and i have before, but today i had to get to davie for that final by 6:30, and i also had to stop off for a snack so i didn't die during the final of starvation. she saw my hesitation and said, "let's just leave now." i couldn't very well NOT help her, so i say ok and try to get my things together.

i email my now-current paper back to my home email address and close up my computer.

i get to my car and realize i left my notes for my in-class essay at my desk. so much for brushing up on that during the hour drive. this really sucks.

left the office at 5, by the time i drop her off it's 5:20.. stop at the store, grab a fruit pie, eat it on the way, get to the campus at 6:20 (by now i realize there's no way i can take classes at the FAU campus in davie while working 9-5 - no way), have enough time to fill my water bottle and pee, get to class. take the final. come home. call chris, request he brings dinner home from the restaurant, take a shower, sit down to start on my paper, which is due in about 3 hours at that point with a LOT OF WORK LEFT TO BE DONE ON IT.

but i have no email.


you've got to be kidding me.

so i throw some flip-flops on and hop in the car and go to my office, which at night i note takes about 5 minutes to get to (woo!). my security card doesn't work to get in the office, so the security guard has to call the OFFICE MANAGER at HOME and i have to explain the situation. luckily, she my bud (she came over and fed the kittens before) so it wasn't the end of the world. but still. and i lost 30-40 minutes.

and, of course, there the email was -- sitting in the outbox. i waited for it to send and made sure it was in my yahoo before i left.

all i have to say is that i was lucky.

and yes, now my research paper is submitted. all done for the semester.... aside for that pesky math final, of course. :)

food: breakfast: shake with banana, two handfuls of baby greens (which i am now out of, whoops), carrots, scoop of protein powder. lunch: the rest of those baby greens with half an avocado and a mango chopped up and mixed in - yummmmm, with banana vinegar as dressing. half a yerba mate (40 cals). pre-final snack: raw fruit pie (in mango). dinner: shrimp quesadillas, hold the queso. to drink: green tea.

i hope to work out tomorrow night. this week has sucked in that regard. but hey, whatcha gonna do...
  Why Chris is funny

Parking Lot Cats, originally uploaded by cbboss.

Last night, Kitten was in the house, begging quietly at the dinner table for shrimp.

Chris was telling her, “Kitten, you’re alright. You’re definitely my number two cat. You’ve always been my number two cat.”

I said, “Number two, huh?” I thought about this.

See, Oreo has both taken a dump on the couch and taken a swipe at his face in the past week. She’s fallen out of his favor recently.

“So Elliot is number one now?” I asked. Elliot is so sweet and so good, it's just a feat to get to touch him.

“Yep,” he answered.

“And poor Oreo is in third place?”

“Nope,” he answered. “The cat that lives in the parking lot at [one of the places where he works] is number three."

  Fwd: FW: "In praise of tap water" [time for the soap box]
This is my new cause. No more animal stuff, I promise! Ha ha, just kidding! But honestly, can we just stop with all these ridiculous water bottles? Get a freaking Nalgene (or insert your brand/generic choice here) bottle and be done with it! Plastic bottles are tomorrow's plastic bags, and we all know how I feel about those!

(And if you don't know how I feel about plastic bags, please - go out and get yourself both a Nalgene bottle and, like, five canvas bags. Better yet, dig a bunch out of your closet. Use them to shop. Everywhere. Feel better knowing your Publix/Target/Walgreens/Old Navy/Petco bags aren't going in a landfill or eventually be the cause of some beautiful old sea turtle's demise. Or if this is too much of a commitment, at least re-use your plastic bags you have now. Thank you -- kindly)

On the streets of New York or Denver or San Mateo this summer, it seems the telltale cap of a water bottle is sticking out of every other satchel. Americans are increasingly thirsty for what is billed as the healthiest, and often most expensive, water on the grocery shelf. But this country has some of the best public water supplies in the world. Instead of consuming four billion gallons of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet's health.
Here are the hard, dry facts: Yes, drinking water is a good thing, far better than buying soft drinks, or liquid candy, as nutritionists like to call it. And almost all municipal water in America is so good that nobody needs to import a single bottle from Italy or France or the Fiji Islands. Meanwhile, if you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.
Next, there's the environment. Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing.
Tap water may now be the equal of bottled water, but that could change. The more the wealthy opt out of drinking tap water, the less political support there will be for investing in maintaining America's public water supply. That would be a serious loss. Access to cheap, clean water is basic to the nation's health.
Some local governments have begun to fight back. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited his city's departments and agencies from buying bottled water, noting that San Francisco water is "some of the most pristine on the planet." Salt Lake City has issued a similar decree, and New York City recently began an advertising campaign that touted its water as "clean," "zero sugar" and even "stain free."
The real change, though, will come when millions of ordinary consumers realize that they can save money, and save the planet, by turning in their water bottles and turning on the tap.
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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