Thursday, February 28, 2008
  you know i cook now?

you know i cook now?, originally uploaded by estacey.

for real!

as proof...

last saturday, we got TWO KINDS of radishes from the CSA. apparently both came ready for harvest at the same time, so... yeah, in this little CSA box, two kinds. the regular red kind and daikon radishes. i'm really not a fan of the radishes but lots of our CSA stuff goes to waste when i don't figure out what to do with it, and i didn't want to see this stuff thrown out, so i decided that on my cooking night, tuesday, i would use it.

so for dinner tuesday night, we had radish top soup. yes, they're edible! they say the daikon tops are better, but i had both so i mixed them and the tortoises got what was left over. i sauteed onions, um.. what else? i dunno. in olive oil. added potatoes, the radish tops, white beans, umumum.. i think that's it. brought to a boil, let it simmer for a half-hour, then stuck it all in the food processor. it didn't look too good, but it actually tasted yummy, with a little bit of garlic pepper on it. we had it tonight, too.

i cut up the daikon radish, then steamed it, then glazed it with something i made out of half butter, half honey, and some cinnamon. can i tell you how much i love cinnamon? then in the oven for 40 minutes. it was actually really good.

so yep! a radish-based feast! i still dunno what to do with the red radishes, since they're really only good raw in salads, but i'm not really a fan of the taste, but hey, i used all the rest.

okee, off to do 10 million things before i go to bed. tomorrow i have a full day of classes, then i rush off to MIA for a flight to grand cayman!!! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
  heehee :)

patty & sebastian, smiling, originally uploaded by estacey.

poor sebastian, me making him do the toothy grin against his will. ah well, he got over it.

quick before i head to bed...

we've worked out a nice little doggy custody arrangment with patty so she doesn't have to miss them too much when she moves into her new house. she'll have buddy full-time, since that's her dog. as for the other two, she'll take them one by one on a bi-weekly basis. that is, she'll have gretchey one week, then none for a week, then sebastian for a week, then none, then gretchey again, and so on.

this saves her the issue of getting buddy a new friend (since the maggie thing fell through), and prevents him the heartache of never getting to see his best friend, gretchen. we always call him our little forrest gump*. i guess that would make her his jenn-nay. they're like two peas in a pod, sleeping together and licking each other's faces. so this way they get to hang out still. and patty gets her babies two weeks a month, too. and we still get both gretchey and sebastian together two weeks of the month, but get a little lighter load the other two weeks... with the way that this maggie thing is working out, just having one dog to concentrate on to work with maggie (once we meet with the behavioralist, i am hoping we have some starting ground to work with) will be a good thing... so i think it works out really well. plus, they'll get spoiled all-around.

ok, i gotta go to bed. tomorrow is school plus jane goodall and i'm really trying to get in bed before 2 a.m. these days because i really don't do well with less than 5 hours of sleep.

*i mean, it's not his fault. i think he's the product of a puppy mill, and patty got him when he was really sick. she has a soft spot for the sad cases, too. i think his little brain got cooked. so now... well, he has barked at a leaf, and at a feather, and anything else that has a little bit of movement, for a good 15 minutes at a time, at which point it stops being amusing and we decide it's time to confiscate the offending leaf/feather/thread/etc. he regularly gets scared of things that he has been laying next to for a good amount of time, randomly. he'll just be laying there, and all of a sudden he'll jump up and you realize he's scared of the blanket. the blanket!!! the other day he was walking in the bathroom and all of a sudden he jumped, scared of a barely visible smudge on the wall that's nowhere near new. we can't take him to the dog park because he barks non-stop at the other dogs. we were patient, thinking he needed to get used to the other dogs, but it got to the point where we realized that wasn't the case, and it got to be embarassing, so.. yeah, no doggie park for buddy. also, he now has to wear a denim diaper (we had bought for when gretchey used to get her period) in the house due to his insistence on marking the house (namely the bed and the couch and left out rolls of paper towel used to clean up aforementioned bed and couch accidents) every single day. the diaper is actually pretty cute, but maaaaaaan, the marking really wasn't. yeah, he smart. we love him, a lot, but.. like i said, he's our little forrest gump. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008
  what a shite day
first, i stayed up til uhhhh... 2:30 working on a paper for my shakespeare class. well, 1:45, but then i had to print it out, take a shower, etc. i HATE being up past 2, because that means i'll get less than 5 hours of sleep, and that is just not acceptable.

but at least i got to class on time, and turned that blasted paper in.

then i had a "midterm conference" with my advanced exposition professor.

this class has been KICKING MY ASS. so much work, and he doesn't give any of it back. we've done i can't tell you how many assignments, and i only have grades for three. my last graded assignment was turned in on 1/30, if that tells you anything.

i'm usually pretty good at writing stuff. it takes me a long time, i think, but that's because i've not mastered any pre-writing organization strategies. but it works the way i do it; i spend a lot of time thinking about my words, get them down, and the end result is always good. at least in the past, i've always earned As on everything. had my stuff read aloud in class, had comments written like, "best paper i've received in years!" and that sort. of course, this was at BCC, but still. some of the professors there were really good, so it's not like i just discount their opinions.

now this class... is so complicated. we get complicated reading #1, and write a paper based on that. then we get complicated reading #2, write a paper on that. then our assignment #3 is to show what the author of reading #2 would think of reading #1. complicated stuff.

so far, i have maybe not been giving it the time it has deserved... and my grades have reflected that. of the three grades we have received, i got an A (on a small assignment) and 2 Bs (on the big assignments).

this LAST assignment we did, however, i really took it seriously. it was about analyzing images, so it was up my alley, to some degree... i worked hard on it, and was satisfied with the finished product. much more satisfied than i was with my previous papers.

so i go to this conference today and the teacher tells me i'm capable of getting a B in the class, "maybe higher," but at this point i'm probably getting a C. (i can't help but wonder... how do 2 Bs and an A average out to a C?) he said he's happy with my participation in class, so it's not that. i have good things to say, insightful, etc. but to get a higher grade, i need to put more time in, do more revisions, etc.

then he tells me he hasn't graded that images paper. i am one of only three people whose papers he has yet to grade, so, "let me print it out and take a look." he started telling me where i could improve upon it as he started to read. they were good points; everyone has room to improve in their papers. he was pressed for time, as he started his appointment with me late, so he basically said, "this is probably a C paper..." as he was ushering me out. he was asking me what i wanted to earn in the class, so after he told me this paper was a C, i said then i didn't know. i thought it was good, so if what i think is good is actually C work, then i have no idea what i'm capable of.

now, we reviewed one of these papers in class the other day... it was anonymous, but i know who did the paper. and she did an awful job. we were supposed to analyze the images from a compositional viewpoint, say what the photographer was trying to say by taking the image from the vantage point he did, etc. and the second part of the assignment was to say why the images we chose from this batch of 400 contributed to the "myth of human unity." she didn't do that at all. on top of that, she had errors all over the place... sentence errors, the wrong "it's", and other stuff like that. it was bad. i saw his comments, and he gave HER a C.

so when he told me MINE was a C, i'm like... "but that other paper didn't even meet the requirements, even sort of, and it was sloppy to boot... and THAT got a C." mine has no errors that way.. maybe sentence-level concerns.. maybe i'm not a brilliant theorist... but i at least DEFINITELY did a better job than i did on my first two papers, on which i got Bs. yet this paper got a WORSE grade?

i was so upset when i left there. SO UPSET. i kept my shit together long enough to get out of his office and that was about it.

i mean, i'm retarded at math... that whole part of my brain appears to have been lobotomized... and my sense of direction can't help me find my way out of a paper bag... but at least i've always fallen back on, "well, that's not where my strengths are. my strengths are on the other side of the brain." and now this dude is telling me that i'm getting a C. a C!!!

so on one hand, i'm thinking this is really unfair... if that other girl can turn in sloppy work and get a C, then why bother trying hard? which i did do for this last assignment.
also, how the HELL do 2 Bs and an A get you a C in a class? did he not review my grades before i met with him, and he's operating on his assumptions? if so, why are his expectations so low?

on the other hand, i'm upset because.. jesus, i thought i did a decent job on that thing... a C? granted, he only read the first page, and he did so quickly. he said he would grade it this afternoon, which he didn't do, so i don't even know if that was the final verdict or not.

but this whole class is just killing my confidence. i've got one section of my brain that i am confident performs well, and he's telling me it isn't. i mean, he wasn't telling me i can't spell or anything, but... i just don't get it. the stuff he told me i needed to do BETTER, i did do SOME of. the other girl did NONE of that and still got a C. so what's with the shit grade for me? is a C just the pity grade, the you-turned-it-in grade? why can't i do better then???

the whole time i was writing my shakespeare paper, i was wondering if it would be given back to me for a rewrite. that's not something i ever would've worried about before.

all this on 4.5 hours of sleep.

at least i worked out anyhow; for that i am proud. back in the day, i would've used 4.5 hours of sleep as an excuse to take a nap in the truck instead.
and i got a nap when i got home.
and now feel sick off of mexican food and mexican booze.

this blog is good for venting, even if no one reads it. :)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
  tuesday was buddy's birthday

he's so little & cute, our own little forrest gump.. :)

  Not again...

So all that stuff I said before? I take it back.

Last night, Buddy, Sebastian, and Maggie were with me and we were all playing fetch. Then someone was out on the street and, as usual, the dogs went apeshit. They all ran to the window and started barking and howling. I sat on the couch and laughed at how cute their little legs looked as they stood up with their front paws on the windowsill. "Maggie's & Buddy's legs together, I have to get a picture of that."

Well, then Buddy went around to Maggie's other side... still barking, I guess he just wanted a better spot. She snapped. Went crazy. I jumped up and started screaming, yelling at her to quit attacking Buddy. It didn't work. Finally I pried Buddy away from her. Luckily, Chris heard all this and came out of the bedroom and was able to put Maggie outside, since she was still all riled up and, if history is any marker, she would've continued to try to get at Buddy while he was in my arms.

We inspected Buddy and found one deep puncture wound. For as long as she was attacking him.. many full seconds... this is pretty good. If she would've been going after Buddy the way she did Gretchen, he would've had many open gashes after that long. I consoled myself that MOST of what she was doing to him was mouthing at him, not really hurting him.... BUT. She still went crazy, and she still broke his skin.

After we cleaned Buddy's wound out, poor guy, I just stayed sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, for a long time. I was so disappointed. I thought she was doing better. And, obviously, we can't give Maggie to Patty when Maggie is acting like this. And how are we supposed to keep Maggie sequestered from the other dogs for the next, oh, decade?

Luckily, I have the best boy on earth. He very quickly set about thinking about how it could work out. "Someone will just have to be crated in the summertime" (since there is only doggy door with a crate in the bathroom, so they can be outside but also come in out of the heat into the air-conditioned bathroom).

And still he thought... and came up with a great plan. We're basically moving the fence on the side of the house to enclose more of the backyard, adding a fence, so now instead of one doggy-safe running areas in the back, we'll have two. And both will have a doggy door which will lead to an inside, air-conditioned crate.

I feel bad that Maggie will have to be alone, since 99.9% of the time, she loves the other dogs. It's like she's not even herself when she snaps. I gotta get a behaviorist here to help us understand this behavior, and help us figure out if it's something she can overcome, or if she'll just have to be an alone dog.

Thankfully, this house kinda separates into two areas, we just have to close a set of sliding doors and a baby gate, so the dogs can even be inside at the same time.

It's a far from ideal situation when you have three dogs, but for now it's what we can do to make it work.

This confusing little girl!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  the little things

handsome girl, after her part of buddy's cheeseburger, originally uploaded by estacey.

when we got maggie, she was not like the other dogs.

for example, she didn't play.
when the other dogs would try to tear each other apart, she would just watch - confused.
we'd throw balls, and she'd just watch them fly across the room. "whatever."

she wasn't real big on food. if you gave her a treat, she'd often just drop it to follow you as you walked away. (the other dogs LOVED this. maggie was their BEST FRIEND.) it was actually kinda frustrating to get her to eat her food before the other dogs got it. if you filled her dish and then walked away, she'd follow you while the other dogs thought, "jackpot!" and munched away. sometimes we'd just have to stand there so she'd actually get to eat. considering she was so thin, and probably didn't get her fair share in the shelter, i found that strange.

at least with the playing thing, i figured that would just be the way it was. talking to a dog trainer backed that up. she said she was never properly socialized, so she was kinda just a messed-up dog.

fast forward, what, three months?

maggie still does the thing with the food sometimes, but usually she just gobbles it up. however, she's so sweet that all buddy has to do is growl and she'll abandon her food.
anyway, one big moment was when she did like the other dogs do: after she ate, she ran around and licked everyone else's bowl. this is something that makes us laugh, because gretchey will sometimes do it a half-hour after everyone else has eaten. you know, just in case they forgot a morsel or two.

regarding playing, for the past week, she and sebastian have been having a no-holds-barred brawl every night. i actually separated them the first two times i saw them doing it, to check sebastian for small wounds to his head or mouth, just to be safe, because they were REALLY FIGHTING. i put maggie in the crate to do this, and they both started whining... WE WANNA FIGHT, DAMMIT. i opened the crate and, WHAM! they were on each other again. now i know they're just playing so let them enjoy it until they collapse, panting.
i think sebastian likes playing with her better than gretchey because, after watching for a while, i realize that i don't think she doesn't even play as hard as gretchey does. she's really being gentle... except when sebastian runs away, she'll go after him and grab his leg and pull him back. but he likes it, so i just laugh. they can go for a long time, get totally tired out, and literally pant for 15 minutes after.

we have been playing FETCH with them lately, and maggie rocks at it. she beats the other two to the ball every time, and then happily hops back with it. she & sebastian also get into tug wars over toys all the time, which none of the other dogs do with sebastian. he loves that. i think he'll miss her too.

so much for her being a lost cause! she's playing with toys AND play fighting with other dogs, mouthing at them and NOT HURTING THEM! :)

but last night.. last night was the best...

i've been making oatmeal every night for me & chris to eat in the morning. i put dried blueberries in it, and whatever dog is begging for some food from me as i'm fixin' it up will get a few berries thrown their way when i'm done.

i love that the dogs ALWAYS catch the berries in their mouth. gretchen & sebastian, anyhow. buddy is a little too slow to catch stuff like that. but it's really funny to watch. i've tried throwing them at maggie, but she just lets them hit their mouth and then fall to the floor. she looks confused. it makes me laugh, too, in a feeling-sorry-for-maggie way.

so last night sebastian and maggie, post fight, are begging berries off me. i am throwing sebastian his and handing maggie hers. i see her watch sebastian catch his, then look to the floor, like, "what the heck was that?" making the realization that he CAUGHT IT. so i throw her a berry. she tried to catch it. i throw sebastian a berry. he, of course, catches it. i throw another to maggie: SHE CATCHES IT. i am so delighted that i throw them each way too many berries each and am surprised i didn't wake chris up with my laughing and howling. maggie catches every one, with a funny little, WHOOMP! mouth noise.

"MAGGIE! you're a NORMAL DOG!!!"

i know, i know.. i get way too happy over these little things, but.... little by little, maggie is becoming JUST LIKE THE OTHER DOGS. happy and healthy and well adjusted. i'm guessing she'd be safe to hang out with gretchey again. we really can't test this hypothesis, but still. i really think she'd be okay.

lucky patty gets a good dog!

:) :) :)

maggie moo through the fence
  yay! jane goodall!

yay! jane goodall!, originally uploaded by estacey.

how fabulous!

last week, i went to get tickets at the box office for that shakespeare play. they said we could get them at the door, but just to be safe it was a good idea to get them beforehand. while i was standing there, i looked over to the little easel of pamphlets and, whatdya known, i spot jane goodall's sweet face. she's speaking here on the 27th!

it's a wednesday afternoon, starting at the same time my class starts. i'm like, well, i guess i'll have to skip ("but oh, what a shame, i'm skipping the night when my family gets here just a month later...") and THEN i realized that the 27th is the ONE DAY THIS SEMESTER that our professor is giving is off.

it's fate! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
  the sad part is...

205847, originally uploaded by estacey.

we're cold.

chris is complaining about how he can't wait until summer comes, because he's sick of this cold.

i'm wrapped up in a blanket, doing homework. my feet are FREEZING. then i noticed what the temperature is in here: 76.6 i remember that in wisconsin, we kept our heat turned up to 68. ha ha ha! and now i'm cold when it gets down to 76.6. wheeeee...

my defense is that we're both wearing shorts. :D

Monday, February 18, 2008
  cats are so weird

Kitten on laying on the bed on my just-bought paper, originally uploaded by estacey.

ive minutes after setting this paper on the guest bed, kitten had planted herself on it. she doesn't go in this room all that much, but i guess FRESH, UNWRINKLED PAPER was just too much to resist.

cats are so funny.

Kitten on paper

at least she stayed put, so i could get some pictures. :)
Sunday, February 17, 2008
  comedy of errors
last night, chris and i went up to my school to see a production of titus andronicus for my shakespeare class. this is the one where the chick has her hands cut off and her tongue cut out. why couldn't they have done a nice midsummer night's dream?

anyway, fau is so damn confusing. there's a theater by where most of my classes are. it's called the schmidt theater or something. then there's a theater on the other side of the campus, where i purchased the tickets to titus, called the barry & helen kaye auditorium. or something. of course, the postcard i got in class and my tickets for the play both said that it would be presented at "studio one" at fau. uh, okay, that helps. and you can't look up directions, because once you got onto the campus, it's its own little world. just like disney world.

so we go to where it makes most sense to me, where i bought the tickets. we pull up, the parking lot is hopping, and we both sigh with relief -- we made it, just on time. they tear our tickets, then a little old woman usher goes to help us to our seats. by this time, there is someone on stage. the presenter, i figure. i look around, and there are TONS of people. they're all old. my shakespeare teacher had said something about how lots of old people show up to the shakespeare plays. i think that it's nice of the retirees to support the university.

we get to our seats and they're taken. we tell the usher that we'll just sit somewhere else; i'm not going to make some old person hobble away for us when we can just as well sit somewhere else. some old grumpy jerk shushes us and the usher, who is completely taken aback by this. i think about how much i love old people.

chris and i find two open seats and i lean over and say, "dude, it's like we're at church" where we're always the youngest people there by at lease 25 years. chris goes, "look around -- it's worse." he was right. i think everyone there had about 40 years on us.

so then we start paying attention to the stage. there's an orchestra. that's strange.

then this dude comes out:

the legendary jack jones.

of course, we realized WE WERE IN THE WRONG PLACE. we immediately jumped up and RAN OUT, then explain this to the ushers, showing them our tickets (again). somebody was able to tell us that it was at the OTHER theater, across campus. we run to the car, i tell chris to toss me the keys, then drive as fast as i can to the OTHER theater. of course, it's not in there either.. i ask chris to call the box office number, and then his phone isn't working. agggh. we finally find the play. it's in ANOTHER smaller theater in a building adjacent to the big one. why they don't make these things more clear when they put it on the posters/postcards/tickets, i have no idea.

so we missed the first 15 minutes, but at least i don't have to GO BACK for another show. but poor chris was a little confused, having missed the beginning. "who are those chicks?" "those are the queen's sons." "oh." (i guess they had a shortage of able male actors.)

afterwards, we were going to go out for our belated valentine's dinner, but of course it was 10:30 and everything was closed, so we went to the 'hood for some waffle house grub. dressed up. we're so high class. :)

another weekend, down the tubes... but hey, i'm a week closer to getting to dive in the caymans, so that's a good thing.
Friday, February 15, 2008
  oh my GOD, my baby is SO FUNNY
tonight i was organizing some things when i got home.. in the office, i came across a yearbook on the bookshelf. jackpot!

i was flipping through the book to get to the back (to find the index) when, on one of the pages, a familiar smile popped out at me. i went back. sure enough, there's chris's goofy-ass smile. the one like little kids make. "the latin club?" i thought to myself.

chris was not in the latin club

two pages later, i spot him again. "chris was in the fencing club? chris... fenced?"

chris was not in the fencing club

o-kay. so anyway, i eventually worked my way back to the index so i could find him and giggle at his pictures and guess which groups he'd be in one page 221 or whatever (i guessed right: national honor society, etc.).

he got him a little while later. i hurried and put the book back so he didn't see i was snapping pics of his pictures. then i told him about finding the yearbook. "i hadn't even found the index yet; i just was flipping through the book when i found the latin club picture jumped out at me because of that shit-eating grin of yours..."

then i saw chris's face light with recognition, and he laughed -- hard. "that's because i wasn't in the latin club."

"wha?" i asked.

he explained that he just wanted to be in a bunch of pictures. prankster, you know. and he got out of class to be in them.

a few seconds later, it all clicked. "i guess that means you weren't in the fencing club either?" chris laughed. "no, i wasn't in fencing either." go back up and look at that picture and it makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE NOW.

this has made me laugh all night. chris sneaking in on these pictures. i wonder if the other people in the pictures laugh when they look at their yearbooks: "that dude wasn't in our latin club. he just wanted to be in the picture for some reason." my baby is such a cutie!!
  my poor sister
thank god my sister isn't bringing her husband when she visits in march, because i am pretty sure i wouldn't be able to talk to him.

some background:

his name is chris. she met him after i moved from wisconsin, so i don't really know him at all. when she told me about him, she said he loved animals, so i had high hopes... and, true, he had animals at his house (dogs, and they had a horse and donkey, but they have since sold those)... but he's also huge into hunting. there are deer heads and rabbit skins all over their house. oh, and he caught a hammerhead on their vacation in mexico, which is "mounted" over their bed. nice thing to wake up to. (we all know that killing fish for trophies is pointless, right? unlike deer, they don't actually STUFF the fish. if you want a trophy of that prize mahi, you can just take a picture of it and release it back into the ocean, since the trophy folks are really just making a sculpture of the fish you caught. hence, killing the hammerhead was completely unnecessary. hence, goddammit.) oh, he also now has a taxidermy business. and i don't exactly get favorable reports of him these days.

shitty story #1

their furnace is crap. this winter, it has regularly been getting down to -40. they'll wake up in the morning and it will be 50 degrees in their house. this was the situation on saturday. my sister's husband went to work.

my sister got up, went to make breakfast for her and her son, but their pipes were frozen. she got in touch with chris, who said to use a hairdryer on the pipes to unfreeze them. well, apparently he should have also told her to turn off the main water pipe, which he didn't, so when the water thawed, the pipe exploded.

she had water spraying all over her kitchen, and she was home alone with a three-year-old and had no idea what to do. she was calling my mom, who wasn't home, and leaving crying, screaming messages on her machine for help.. she couldn't get in touch with her husband at work (neither of them have cell phones!).. she couldn't get in touch with anyone. she finally was able to reach a neighbor who came over and helped her. eventually, chris got the message and came home.

by the time the neighbor was able to get there, the whole kitchen was flooded and the water had flowed into the dining room. apparently their wood floor in the dining room is now ruined.

okay, so here's the bad part. chris gets home and kelli is upset and crying, just having gone through this horrible ordeal.

he sees the wood floor is ruined.

he is mad.

he blames my sister for it.


he says she should've gotten towels out to soak up the mess. nevermind she was too busy trying to GET THE WATER FROM EXPLODING ALL OVER HER KITCHEN and REACH PEOPLE ON THE PHONE TO HELP HER. nevermind the fact that he NEVER TOLD HER WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING. if you have to tell your wife how to thaw the pipes, you probably should realize that you need to tell her to turn off the main pipe as well.

shitty story #2

yesterday was valentine's, right?

you'd think that, after he acted a fool this weekend, he'd do something nice to make up for it? do you want to know what my sister got for valentine's? wanna guess? roses and dinner? a hand-written card and home-made meal? no.

they work together. while at work, he came up to her and handed her a piece of paper that had "happy valentine's day" written on it and a pack of M&Ms from the vending machine. "he didn't give her anything else after they got home? or take her out to dinner?" i asked. "nope," my sister said.

the best part, my other sister reported, was that he gave another lady at work the exact same thing. ?! i guess two packs of candy fell after he put his quarters in, and he didn't want to give kelli TWO packs of M&Ms. that would be overkill. but, if he would've been thinking ahead, he could've saved them for next year...

man, she sure snagged her a ladykiller, eh?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
  if this isn't love...

oreo licking chris's head, originally uploaded by estacey.

(this is oreo licking chris's head. she does this a lot. we're guessing she's grooming him. she never does this to ME. i guess this means she likes chris better!)

happy valentine's day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
  where i'm typing this

"dining" room table, originally uploaded by estacey.

i had to snap this picture over the weekend when, taking a breath from my work, i looked at the table objectively for a second and was flabberghasted at what a mess it was. the dining room table has become where i do my work. it's kinda where we all congregate... to eat and do whatever else, and then out come the laptops. you will count three in this photograph.

i guess it's good we're getting use out of it.

when i first met chris, this is what the dining room looked like:

Chris's cluttered house.

i love this picture. why? because the stool was there so you wouldn't hit your head on the light. :D chris is a total boy, isn't he? very utilitarian. the stool thing totally cracked me up. :) the far room is still empty, which is actually really nice. SPACE. oh, except for at christmastime, we put the tree in there.

not only are we using the dining room table to eat off of, but kitten enjoys the table too.

see, the poor girl got her ass kicked this weekend. there are always little cat fights here and there outside (there are a few cats in the neighborhood, including a bizarro oreo), to the point i don't usually go out when i hear them anymore, except maybe to shoo the not-our-cats away. this weekend, however, the fight was so bad at 2 a.m. that it woke chris up, got him out of bed, worried. there was fur all over the front porch, and poop too. i guess she was really scared - she pooped her pants. kitten seems to have something about her that screams to other cats: KICK MY ASS! i don't know why, but everywhere i've lived, she's had problems.

so she came in. she smelled really bad; a melange of kitty pee and poo. poor thing. the best part was when she then proceeded to jump up on the kitchen counter to eat. but what can you do when your poor cat has just had her ass kicked? i set up the second litterbox we had just bought up in the big, empty room you see here in the picture and made oreo sleep in the other room so she would have some peace.

as evidence of how emotionally messed up she was... even though she's been using the litterbox like a good girl and NO ONE has peed on that couch in ages... she peed on the big-room couch that night. i had a feeling it would happen, strangely enough. thankfully, we upgraded from the garbage bags to a genuine plastic couch cover, which is then covered by really soft target blankets that we all love, so cleanup was a simple matter of laundry. yay!

anyway, she's slept inside EVERY NIGHT since then. she asks to be let out, but when i comply, she'll walk outside, look around, then turn right around and run back in. she's taken to sleeping up on the dining room table, despite the ample comfortable spaces around here to choose from. i'm thinking it's because it feels very safe, since it's up high.

kitten sleeping on the dining room table

there she is, sleeping on a placemat. :)
thankfully, no one in this house is real squeamish about this sort of thing. chris's mom walked in the kitchen at one point when oreo was on the kitchen counter, eating her food. it's the only place we can put it where the dogs won't eat it! anyway, she walked in, looked at the cat on the counter, and turned around and walked back out. ha!
  awwww :)

dooce is so great.. her blog never fails to make me smile.

her kid just turned four, which means i've been keeping up with her blog for, uh, like four years and three weeks now or so. crazy.

i think hers is the only blog i keep up on of people i don't know (or kinda know). oh, i do like mightygirl too. even these, i'll get busy and lose track of them for a couple of weeks at a time, but then i have to go back and read everything i missed.

anyway, this was a link on one of her daily style posts, and it made me laugh. so i thought i'd share, and also say that if y'all aren't looking at the daily style entries (i wasn't), go do. i started looking at them yesterday and got back through december before i realized i needed to get something PRODUCTIVE done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Today I decided that I would take Maggie to the beach, since she's never seen sand or the ocean or anything like that. Good opportunity to test out the new running shoes, too - yay gift certificates!

It was drizzling as I figured out my iPod armband thingamajig, but I've been such a slacker with the exercise lately, I decided that I was going anyway. After having a meltdown on Sunday night because I couldn't find anything to wear out to dinner... A closet full of clothes that all look bad on me. Yeah, I'm trying to do something about it. Again. ;) Hey, all you can do is try. (Small victories so far: no leftover birthday cake last night, no sugar-laden coffee today, hour-long run today.)

I mean, honestly, this is just a stupid way to live my life. I don't buy new clothes because I'm not happy with this body. But I don't fit into my old ones. This has been going on for... a long time. And it's just no way to live my life. It's no way to go to the Caymans (3 weeks) or the Galapagos (3 months) or live day to day. I have way too much I look forward to doing, and don't want to be hating the way I look the whole time because I didn't have the willpower to lose 15 pounds. That's just plain ol' stupid.

So anyway, me & Miss Maggie Moo went to the beach. That girl is a good little runner if we have the whole road to ourselves, but if we have to share the sidewalk? It's like she's out to get me. I try to get her to stay on one side of me, by shortening the leash and reprimand her if she tries to weave from side to side, because then when she stops, I basically almost break my neck. But for Maggie, when you reprimand, even if you're reprimanding ANOTHER DOG IN THE ROOM, she does the tail-in-between-the-legs thing that just breaks your heart, and then what can you do?

Obviously, I tried to stay on the quiet beach streets where I could let her have a long leash. And then we got to the beach entrance. OOOOH, the ocean is angry today. I realized today probably wasn't the best day to introduce her. No surprise, in retrospect; the reason I wanted to see the ocean is because the Sun-Sentinel ran a warning story about the rip tides. Although Saturday was a day for shore diving, perfect and calm, today the only folks in the water were the surfers.

I was thinking while doing this run that it's really funny... I live, um, two blocks from the ocean? Yet I only usually see it once a week, on average, when we take the scenic route to church. Sometimes when I miss the light on the way to school and I take the way around to not have to wait, which gives me a quick glimpse too. I guess you take things for granted. Not in the summer so much, though, at least.

For those of you who haven't visited.. Ahem, I'm talking to YOU. (You know who you are.)

I live in one of those houses off to the left. You can even see the boat!

So anyway, Maggie was all "what the heck?" about the sand. She bit it at one point, and had it all over her muzzle, which she then licked off. Didn't seem to like that at all. Every time I suggested playfully, "Let's go!" she'd get all excited and run back towards the entrance (now the exit). I'm like, nooooo, that's not what I meant. So I just started running and she followed and, after a while, she started trotting along happily, dashing off to chase a bird or run through the seagrass. It was really sweet. :)

Last night, Chris & I were trying to figure out if Patty's bunny is a boy or a girl (it's a boy!), so we had him out of the cage. Maggie was sniffing inside the cage, taking some hay out and chewing on it. Then we heard a big commotion. We turned around and there Maggie was, sitting in the rabbit cage, looking at us, like, "What?" If I hadn't been holding George's wee feet apart at the time, I would've run for the camera, because it was the CUTEST THING EVER. I never would've guessed Maggie would fit in the cage... and why she'd want to go in, I have no idea. But it's just.. Maggie. Silly Maggie.

I'm really going to miss her. Patty will be taking her and Buddy in about a month, I think. Agggh. At least Patty's new place is by my school so I can stop by and say hi.

So I think today was a good day for Maggie. :) And me, even though we got rained on the whole way back and I didn't get to take the other doggies to the dog park. And now I have to do homework!
Monday, February 11, 2008
The funny part about getting to know someone really well is that you figure out what bothers them. By now, Chris knows exactly what to do to push my buttons, and vice versa. Chris has a lot less buttons than me, of course, but still. We tend to tease each other quite a bit.

Last night, we went out to eat at a fancy Italian place for Patty's birthday. As the waiter told us the night's specials, Chris kept saying, "That sounds delicious!" after every veal-based plate, which would cause me to kick him under the table. Then we'd both have to stifle a giggle as the waiter continued.

But Chris isn't a semi-militant vegetarian animal lover, so he isn't as easy to tease. Often, my attempts to bug him fall absolutely flat. The only things I usually can do to bug him is threaten to buy something completely unncessary (which typically doesn't work, since it's my money after all) or drop food from my plate to the dogs. At least that one usually works. Ha ha.

Once in a while something comes up that I know I can use, though. Like February 4, our "One-and-a-Half-Year Anniversary." Doesn't exist, you say? I know that, but I didn't tell him that.
I started in a couple of weeks before, dropping hints. "Our 1.5 year anniversary is coming up! February 4!" "No such thing!" he'd say. "It's a big milestone!" I'd respond, oblivious.
When I'd recount all the holidays in the short time period, we had Christmas, my birthday, our 1.5 year anniversary, then Valentine's Day. He was like, "Aggh! It's not a real annivesary!"

The week before, I started laying it on thick. He was at the computer one day. I said, "Monday is our anniversary... What are we going to do? Go out to eat or stay in?" I said, all serious. As soon as I said it, I let my face break, since he wasn't facing me. Like, hehe, this is gonna piss him off.

"Stacey! It's NOT A REAL ANNIVERSARY!!! There is NO SUCH THING as a 1.5 year anniversary!"

I forced myself to go sober again. "So..." I asked, confused. "Does that mean you'd rather stay in?" His poor man-brain was ready to jump out of its skull by the time that conversation was done. Whee!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
  unlike the other dogs, maggie stays still for pictures

maggie moo, posing, originally uploaded by estacey.

  Gretchey eating her birthday cheeseburger

She's 2 today. :) The cheeseburger is a doggy birthday tradition; Buddy will get his in a week. Later, she'll get some doggy ice cream and hopefully get to go to the dog park with Sebastian, if daddy Chris has time. (I'm laid up doing a project for my writing-intensive class. I do three times more work for that class than any of my others!)

I lacked foresight and only bought one cheeseburger, so felt guilty when I got back home about the other dogs. The solution was to cut it in half. Gretchey got one half and the other dogs shared the other. (It's probably for the best; a 28-lb dog probably shouldn't eat a double cheeseburger by herself anyhow.) I realized I made the right call when she ate the half cheeseburger in one bite. ONE FREAKING BITE.

I snapped exactly three pictures while she ate her half, and was just thankful that she was actually looking at me in one of them, even if it's blurry. :)

  Gretchen is a very smart dog.

She's so darn cute. I had a treat to lure her outside the other night, and we walked through the big room, which had a crate in it. Like it was nothing at all, she runs over to it and opens the door and hops inside and waited for her treat. I'm like, "Good job, but that's not where we're going."

She's smart. Only the other day, Maggie was in a crate (they can't be loose in the house together, remember) and Gretchey started pawing at the crate to let her out. A friend 'til the end... :D

Friday, February 08, 2008
  The every-once-in-a-while I-hate-people post
I was looking at the Yahoo news photos today, and noticed this thumbnail. I wasn't sure what it was, so clicked on it.

Picture here.

"A mother whale and her calf are dragged on board a Japanese whaling ship after being harpooned in Antarctic waters. The pictures, plastered over front pages and shown on television were taken from an Australian customs vessel tracking the whalers to gather evidence for possible legal action to stop the annual slaughter."

Story here.

I usually avoid this stuff, totally avoid. Avoid, avoid, avoid. I avoid the news about the seal hunt. When I was younger, PETA would send me emails and I would look at the pictures and watch the videos and get all pissed off and upset, but I've since learned my lesson since I can't do anything about it, really. I just get upset about it, so I just AVOID. I avoid stories about stupid guys in Alabama who set kittens on fire because, "We was bored." I'll still sign the petitions and all that, but leave it to the introductory, not-so-graphic pictures they put up to get you to sign the pictures to tell the story about why I need to add my name.

So anyway, I wasn't sure what this picture was about. I actually thought it was something going on in an aquarium. "Is that a beluga?" I like belugas! I clicked the picture and got this, and now I'm sitting outside at a picnic table at school, crying my damn eyes out. It takes, like, 15 minutes for a whale to die after it's been harpooned. 15 minutes. Think about that. A slow, painful death... It's just not fair.

Who the hell do they think they're kidding? Research? Everyone knows that's a joke. You can do research on whales without harpooning them and cutting them up. The people truly interested in learning about whales are doing non-invasive research right now. But the Japanese are just using it as an excuse, as a way to kill whales.

These mama whales try to protect their babies, and now here they are - both harpooned, both dead. These big, gentle beautiful creatures. Intelligent, inquistive, and all with their own distinct personalities. I've read of a place in Baja, where they are safe, that they will actually introduce their babies to people on boats. Trusting! And all that aside, there's NO POINT in doing this; it's 2008, we don't need their oil anymore! We don't need their skin! Fucking Japanese people. Why would anyone be so greedy and cruel? Why hasn't this been outlawed??? The whole world is mad at them for this, and yet they keep on at it.

Anyway. If you want to take some action, IFAW has an automated, already-written email you can send, you just have to personalize it:
Go here. I did that and made a donation, so I can feel like I did something, even if I'm sitting at a picnic table where the sun is shining, rather than in a raft in the Arctic.

More quick anti-whaling actions at Greenpeace.

Also, anti-seal hunt email. 'Cause, you know, Jesus. On what planet is this stuff necessary? I'd find it just as easy to club Gretchey to death as she was looking up at me with her big puppy dog eyes. How do these people sleep? How do their wives kiss them? I don't understand. Can they n ot find a line of work that doesn't involve killing playful, happy little creatures? This stuff is just NOT necessary in this day and age. Aggggh.

Props to the people working on these campaigns, on the front lines. I once saw some people outside my apartment in Hollywood, before one of the hurricanes, shoot at a dove with a BB gun. I was watching them with the gun and it didn't click what they were doing until I saw the bird, and it was too late... I think the bird got away, but it may have been hurt. Anyway, I was SO PISSED OFF. I could hardly speak. Of course, I did anyway. I yelled at them, said they were really awesome and really tough for trying to hurt a helpless little bird. The whole time, my voice was shaking so much. I was so upset... I just couldn't believe someone would do that, laughing after... What's funny about hurting a little dove? I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to witness this stuff on a daily basis, and not really be able to do anything about it (except, of course, take pictures and get the word out). I'm sure they're tempted to harpoon some Japanese whalers themselves...

**Original version of this post had many more instances of the f-word, but I tried to tone it down. Some of them were necessary, however. :)
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
logged onto the internet from school and it's LIGHTNING FAST! it's not the computer, or vista... phew. it must be something to do with our home wireless setup. that could explain why chris's nice new thinkpad runs really slow, too. (yet the old laptop runs much faster than either of these nice, newer laptops.)

maybe it's time to call the geek squad?
  2 new toys in 2 days

2 new toys in 2 days, originally uploaded by estacey.

The laptop came, early! Yay! It's great!
I was checking the door all day for the DHL guy. He laughed at me when he finally showed up at NEARLY FIVE PM and I met him at the door. Well, outside the door. Outside the gate. Um... at the door of his van. Opening his door for him. (The sad part is, I only made up that last sentence.)

One big gripe is that the Internet runs really slow on it. I've done some searching and it seems that there are some bugs... I've done the fixes that I've found and they haven't helped. I want to see how it runs on the school's network tomorrow. If no change, then I'll have to call Dell and see what they say. It runs so slow that sometimes the pages just go blank and it says Page Cannot Be Displayed. Quite frustrating.

But other than that, I really like it. I like this OS, too, although it'll take a little getting used to. And I know I will work out the Internet thing, because otherwise it will make me tear my hair out. Chris's computer actually runs slow too - we have two ancient computers and they both run fast (one desktop and one laptop on the wireless) and then both of these nice, new laptops run horrendously. Maybe we have to do something to our wireless router?

It's heavy, but in turn it has a HUGE screen. Huge. That makes me so happy. And I have two batteries. Oh, yeah, and it has a built-in webcam. That's GREAT. It's what I used to take this pic, duh, but it has all these features. When we're not here, we can leave it here and check on the dogs via the Internet, or set it on Motion Detection and see what on earth the cats are doing while we're gone.

Yesterday, my new MP3 player came. See, last week while driving to school in a mad rush, I was doing the stupid driving-multi-tasking thing and ended up plugging my MP3 player into my phone charger. Yes, it fit! But, uh, it ruined the MP3 player. So I shopped around and decided on this tiny, adorable third-generation Nano. I shouldn't have spent the money, but I had a gift certificate to Amazon by cashing in my coins at the Albertson's, so I had a rationalization. Ha.

I'm not thrilled about this whole iTunes thing, but I guess I'll cope. Because of it, I have yet to load any music onto the player - I need more time! - but hopefully can maybe do that tomorrow night. It does seem like the iTunes environment is more conducive to actually downloading informative podcasts, and now videocasts that I have the capability. So while I have a few minutes here and there, I can watch videos about orphaned organutans and stuff! I mean, I could do that with another video player, but since I'm FORCED to use iTunes, I'm actually checking this stuff out (whereas otherwise I may not).

Uh, okay, it's time for bed. I really don't think I'm ever going to get to bed before 2 on a school night. Now last night I was asleep by 12, when I could sleep as late as I wanted to today. But tonight, when I gotta be up at 7, I'm up until now. Busy! And, well, stupid.

Monday, February 04, 2008
Malingering rocks. Not only are her pics on Flickr hilarious (she's had to tone it down, damn Flickr censorship, or something), but she has a funny blog and now writes columns for

I saw this tonight and it cracked up. I particularly like the children/dogs thing.

Top 10 Things I Hope To Not See in 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
  Dating is Hell
I tend to not talk about TOO personal stuff on this blog. I used to. But, uh, yeah, then people read it. People I knew. So I stepped back with exactly what I would write here, which probably makes it a little boring, but hey, what you gonna do…

I have this friend who is going through the whole dating thing.

As everyone knows, dating is hell. She just had another bad experience. She talked to a guy for a few weeks, as friends. Then the flirting started. They went out. He smitted her. (???) They made out. Went out again. Made out again. Then he emailed her and said that it “wasn’t there” for him as it seemed to be for her, and wished her well. She really liked him, and didn’t see this coming. On top of the fact that this was her first try at dating in over a year, she’s very hurt by this whole thing.

When I talked to her the other night, it’s like, well, yeah, dating sucks. Everyone knows dating sucks. Even had they gone on some more dates and started officially “dating” – it probably still would’ve sucked. Wondering if he’s going to call. Doing that thing like in the Sprint commercial where you spend a half-hour leaving a 1-minute message because you keep deleting and re-recording your message. Going to work with your mascara streaming down your face because your day started with yet another fight. But then hopefully, someday, you find someone that you get along with really well and then, yay! All that crap paid off! And, you know, you paid your dues. So even though you feel really lucky, you also feel like you deserve to feel happy.

So I gave my friend this whole thing. You know, get back on that horse. Try again, because, yeah, it sucks, but it’s what you have to go through. And then I pointed out to her that she only knew this guy through two dates. She had no idea what he was really like!

This is where I got to thinking about me, and how what I am saying to my friend isn’t just bullshit pep talk.

I dated a guy a few years back. He was an officer in the navy... I thought he looked real handsome in his uniform. We laughed a lot when we went out. I remember in particular it coming up that we thought it would be really funny to have a wedding (not ours, this was a hypothetical) and tell just one of the invitees that it was a theme wedding: Come dressed as your favorite food. So, you know, 48 people come dressed in formal clothes and 2 people show up as an apple and a banana. Ha!

Anyway, he traveled a lot for work. He was always out of town. I thought that’s why we didn’t see each other much. But I liked him a lot. So whatever, I saw him when he could. I thought that the feeling of liking a lot was mutual.

At some point, I started to wonder about the fact that I didn’t hear from him much, even if he was out of town. Hello, a phone call is nice. (I think I could’ve used a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You back then.) And I also knew that, just before we met, he had been dating some Colombian chick for a few years. Whose friends all hated him because he never paid for anything. And she showed up at his house the first time I visited him there, knocking on his window. ("I'm sorry," he said, as he went outside to make her go away. "This must look so bad!")

Anyway, so after I got to wondering, I asked him about it. It’s been a while now, so I don’t know the exact details, but I remember that he was frank with me, thankfully. He wasn’t really looking for anything serious. He hoped he didn’t give me that impression, etc.

He had left a coat at my house, which he got wet after we went swimming in the ocean when it was, uh, 65 degrees outside. I, the kind girl I am, offered to wash and dry it and give it to him the next time I saw him. Suede with faux sheepskin stuff on the inside. After we had that conversation, I remember that I was thinking how I should cut it up into little squares and, when I gave him his coat, it would be in 100 pieces in a plastic shopping bag. Sadly, I didn’t.

The strangest thing was that, when he showed up to get his coat, he was just like had been before. Still friendly, flirty. I remember being thoroughly confused as I stood with him by the elevator: he’s still acting like he likes me, but he doesn’t like me? I guess there are those people, who want to date, but don’t want to date anyone in particular. Whatever.

I was very hurt by this. Very hurt. I had had relationships end before, but not… Jeez, not because the guy wasn’t interested, or wasn't interested all that much, or whatever his story was. More like because I came home from a vacation in Mexico and found out my boyfriend had been doing coke the whole time I was gone... And it was my fault, since I left him for two whole weeks. (This is when I was 20, when I learned the lesson to never date a guy who spends more on his car stereo than he did on his car.) So it was, yeah… crushing. I literally snarled at every silver BMW I saw for months (obviously, what he drove), often telling them, out loud, to fuck off. Like it's the car's fault. Thankfully that phase passed. There are a lot of silver beemers down here.

Okay, so this is where this whole story becomes a revelation.

I have seen this guy twice since the night when he came to retrieve his luckily-in-one-piece coat.

Once, he came with me to a concert put on by my friend’s brother’s band. I was dating someone at the time, so whether or not he still liked me or I liked him was a moot point… I don’t know what he was expecting, but I’m a good girl, so we were just meeting up as friends. But I had thought that I would at least still think he was cute or charming or whatever I had at once thought he was.

However, I met up with him.. I forget where… and as I sat in the car waiting for him to finish some asinine conversation outside on his phone, and I remembered how he would always talk on his phone whenever we were in the car going somewhere, instead of talking to me, and how I had always really thought that was rude, considering how rarely we saw one another. I’m thinking, “Wait, THIS is the guy I was heartbroken about?” And then he about had a heart attack when the bartender didn’t give him the change from his $10 bill for the $8 tab. Apparently he only wanted to leave a $1 tip, not $2. Jesus. Let’s make a scene over $1! And that reminded me how he hardly ever paid for anything, since it was against his principles – remember, the Colombian girlfriend hated that. And how I would end up paying for stuff because, when the bill arrived, he would just sit there, and I felt weird about it, and felt weirder too about offering to go Dutch, so I would just pay for the whole thing and he’d go, “Cool, thanks,” and always let me. And I just think if you were decent, you'd offer to pay HALF the time, since you're eating HALF the food (the more expensive half at that; I didn't even eat shrimp back then!).

Not that a relationship is made or built on rude car manners or who pays for dinner, but it just goes to show that once the rose-colored glasses are taken off...

Second time, he was in my neighborhood, which at the time was Hollywood. He was there to see his accountant; did I want to get together after? We went out for Mexican food, as I took all visitors to my fine city. He was still a funny guy, but it in no way made him appealing in the way it had before. It just made him, well, a funny guy. I didn’t even find him cute anymore, and I had the suspicion that it really didn't have to do with the 20 pounds he had gained, although that was the feather in his cap. At this time, I wasn’t dating anyone. And he still... sparked nothing of interest. I waved goodbye to him, after saying goodbye with no plans for the future, not even the polite, we-don’t-mean-it ones and thought, “Wow, I harbor absolutely no hope that he is going to call me. Awesome.”

So this reminds me of my friend’s dilemma. Here I was so certain that I liked this guy, that I was crazy about him. And I guess I was at the time. But I was only crazy about what I knew of him. I even was overlooking things I knew I didn’t like… Because he was cute and funny and this was new and I wanted it to be love.

I think that I just assumed that everything else about him would be as good as the little I did know about him that I liked. But, after the veil of.. I dunno.. new infatuation or something.. then I got the real picture. And it wasn’t as peachy as I had wanted it to be. I mean, man... I just plain ol' didn't like him anymore, and didn't really get why I did so much to begin with. What does that say about the future of any potential relationship he very thankfully put to a halt?

This got really long and I want to close it up and go to bed, so I guess all I’m saying is that… Yeah, dating sucks. Sucks bad. But you gotta take consolation in the relationships that end because, well, they end for a reason. You don’t want to be dating some cheap, rude guy who might still be dating his ex-girlfriend, do you? Right.

Honestly... Two dates in, or one month in... You don't KNOW someone well enough to know that they were someone worth crying over. Really.

Okay, I'm just going to be rehashing from here on out, because I'm tired and words are beginning to fail me, but you get my point. Maybe I'll edit this tomorrow. :)
Friday, February 01, 2008
  Todaaaaaaaay was looooooooovely :)
My god, I love actually being home more than just on the weekend. Love it, love it, love it. The thought hit home again today while I was standing in the kitchen at 11 a.m., leisurely cutting up apples for the tortoises' salad, dropping pieces here and there to the dogs.

Side note: Maggie likes apples now! She's indiscriminating about food, just as a dog should be! And she turns over as we walk towards her, to expose her belly, in a hint-hint-could-ya-rub-it sort of way. She's JUST like the other dogs! Yay!

I actually met my mailman today. He surprised while I was outside in my pajamas, repotting a catnip plant. He laughed and told me about the other day when the fact a rock we had in our front yard moved, but then he realized it was a tortoise. "Yep, we have two!"

At around 3, Gretchey and Sebastian and I rolled outta here and went to the doggy park. We spent, uh, about two hours there. It was nice, actually. I talked to a few really nice folks. Good dog people. However, I made the mistake of wearing one of Chris's shirts from back home, though, so I had all these people coming up to me, asking me if I was from Pittsburgh. Strange thing: EVERYONE is from Pittsburgh. The entire time I've lived down here, I've met, oh, like THREE people from Wisconsin. And about 3,000 from Pittsburgh. Strange.

The funny thing is that some old guy commented on my shirt. I'm like, "Oh, this. Everyone has been asking me if I'm from Pittsburgh." He goes, "Oh, no, with your coloring, I'd imagine you are from Minnesota or Wisconsin." Good, right? He must work for the FBI.

I tried to take pics of the dogs, but there is WAY too much going on there for that. I did get, uh, one pic of each dog or so. Because I made them sit and held treats up in the air. They usually do better than one treat's worth, but that was it today. Last time, I made them sit for me and put the treats on the ground while I took this pic with my cameraphone for Chris:

SMILE! Stacey has a 4-day weekend! :)

Then I just repeated, "Stay.... Stay... Stay..." Until I got the picture. It was probably a minute or so. I made 'em sweat. Then I yelled, "OK!" and they charged for their treats. They were so disciplined that time that I actually had someone come over and ask if I was a dog trainer, because she was looking for one. Impressive, eh? Today, though, I got about 10 seconds of STAY-ing. Maybe because they were 1-inch gingerbread men treats instead of 5-inch gingerbread men treats. :)

So, anyway, the dogs had a good time. They're basically in comas right now. And I'm about to go join them. I really gotta get my act together, sleep-wise. I get, like, 9 hours of sleep on nights I don't have school and, oh, 4 or 5 the nights I do. Dummy! Well, at least I know I can do it... And here I thought I was too old to go around functioning on 4 hours of sleep... :D
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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