Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  modern-day snowday

snow day, originally uploaded by t-squared.

this morning at 5 a.m., chris's alarm went off. it plays some a.m. news station... before he could hit snooze, he heard something about FAU being on lockdown, which he reported to me. i woke up long enough to listen to the report that someone had fired a gun on campus last night at a party (or something), injuring one. thus, the school was on lockdown and all classes were cancelled.

sweeeeeeeeet! so while i was supposed to have a 10:30-1 class, i instead slept until 10. it felt gooood, esp. since i had stayed up past 2 working on the final things for this class, which were due today.

the class meeting today was just a "publication party" - the teacher gave us the option of a final test or this party, at which we would read from our "best work of the term." yes, i was REALLY looking forward to it.

i still wanted to let the boca doggies out to go potty, so i packed maggie and sebastian in the car and we took a drive up to boca and played in patty's yard for a while. i got lots of pictures. :)

i also got macy's treat bucket out in the mail. instead of just sending suckers, i sent a pail *full* of goodies. suckers, animal crackers, a my little pony (knockoff), flavored chapstick, sidewalk chalk, a dora tin, etc. whenever she uses the big-girl potty, kamille will pull something out of the from-stacey pail... this saves me from getting these "collection" calls for a while, as cute as they are. i hope it helps kamille!

anyway, out to dinner now... !

  A cute picture of Sebastian I snapped last week.

The dogs can be pretty good photo subjects when you know how to manipulate them. For example, I snapped a few pictures of Sebastian, and then he laid his head down, so it was behind the blanket here. Knowing my Sebastian very well, I said, "Treats!" in the same tone I walk around here saying, "Breakfast? Breakfast?" every morning. Sure enough, the head popped back up, this time with the adorable head-cock "Baroo?" look. :)

  Patty's sweet yard

Patty's sweet yard, originally uploaded by estacey.

I love her yard, so much. In fact, now that I can't let Buddy out during the day three days a week, when I'm in Boca for classes, I'm going to go up there anyhow. Pack the dogs in the car, pretend we're going to the dog park. Take 'em swimming. They have a blast there.. There are no strange dogs to play with, but lots of blue jays to chase and enough room to play fetch until they collapse. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
  Letters from Billy
So this guy posed as a 10-year-old named Billy and sent letters to all these famous people, and they wrote back, including Charles Manson and Ted Kaczynski. Eeeenteresting. And, like, wow, Charles Manson really is nuts.

The letter that prompted me to post this was the one to/from Larry Flynt.

Billy writes that he wants a subscription to Hustler but that his parents said has to wait until he's 18. He writes to Mr. Flynt to ask if there is a Hustler for kids that won't make his parents angry. Larry Flynt writes back: "Your parents are right... you'll be 18 before you know it. Until then, you should read the Sears & Roebuck catalog." Ha!

Anyway, the very amusing story can be found here.

Found via Kottke
Monday, April 28, 2008
  oh yeah

Sebastian always lays like this., originally uploaded by estacey.

chris and i were talking about what we were going to do this past weekend. usually this means we have a list of things we have to get done, but this weekend it was more like, "well, i think i'm going to read." this was CHRIS saying this. (these weekend-plans conversations usually go more like, "well, i want to plant that one tree, and i'm going to pull the boat out of the water so i can clean the bottom, and peter may need help with the sailboat, and i have to clean the garage..." this boy is like the energizer bunny. but no, this weekend, he was thinking he was going to READ. yes, good for him!)

so he follows it up with: "what do YOU have to do?" i respond, "nothing, really." and then he suggests we take the boat out and just anchor out somewhere and read. "or you could study."

this was the happy moment of the weekend, and the reason for this post... i got to respond: I'M DONE STUDYING! :) no more until july!!! this is such a good feeling! and then when classes start again, they will be NEW classes, so i won't be sick of them (yet).

saturday we got some supplies for galapagos at the dive shop, namely a 7mm wetsuit for my wimpy ass and some earrings shaped like turtles. both very necessary. sunday the water was too rough for a dive, so instead we took patty's boat out up in boca - we saw baby ducks! and MANATEES! :) and we brought the dogs, who got to play in patty's ridiculously nice yard, so it was an all-around good day. see happy sebastian's collapsed ass above, exhausted from playing fetch and getting tackled by gretchen over and over.

  A crooked pic of Gretchey

"Where you going?" :(, originally uploaded by estacey.

Today I went to the Everglades. Well, first I went to Robert is Here and bought an assortment of fruit and Doritos and took pictures of the sunflowers, a bunch of which I stopped later on my way home to buy. They're pretty.

I walked for a very long time. I took some pictures. I had the D70 there, as well as the D300, and I just gotta say - great camera and all, but holy shit is it hard to use the D70 now. The tiny LCD is a killer. There are other things (such as the focus points), but the LCD was what makes it so hard... You take your pic and you really can't see the result! Also, the D300 seems to figure out lighting a lot better. I used to have to compensate -7 with my 70-300 lens with the D70. I don't typically find that I have to compensate at all with the D300. That's huge!

Anyway, I'm too tired to put any pictures up, or even get them off the camera for that matter. I doubt I got much, but I am happy I captured a picture of the little anole that was hanging out with me for a while on the Gumbo Limbo trail. I found a "solution pond" and had a seat on the ground so I could watch the absolutely-nothing. Soon after, I realized there were tadpoles in the pond. And then a little turtle head popped up!

But anyway, the mosquitos and flies (biting flies!) were INSANE on this trail. They were everywhere. I was glad Chris wasn't with because they would've just carried him off, never to be seen again. As for me, they bit and bit and bit. I killed a fly and it fell to the ground and an anole darted out of the bushes and ate it. The anole must've realized he had a few meals coming because he just stayed there with me, the whole time, just a couple of feet away. At one point, he jumped on me and ate a fly off me! I told him he was a good boy and offered to rub his belly, but he didn't seem interested in that, so instead I just started dropping him all the mosquitos I killed.

Yes, I am way too easily amused. This is why it is a good thing I take an alone day to go to the Everglades sometimes, because I don't know if a half hour at a solution pond watching tadpoles while being eaten alive by mosquitos and biting flies is anyone ELSE'S idea of a good time... :D

Sunday, April 27, 2008
  Ha, this place...

This place is GREAT!, originally uploaded by estacey.

So in Pompano, there's this Ritz Camera store which shares a building with a Boater's World. I guess the whole thing is that they have the same parent company, which is obvious if you visit either of their websites. But this store is just outrageous... You can walk into either storefront and, on the inside, just walk over to the other store. Is there a store more pefect for me & Chris??? It's died down now as we're both pretty well equipped, but for a while, we were each visiting our respective hobby stores on probably a weekly basis.

When I was commenting on how great this place is a while back to Chris, he laughed and joked, "Yeah, we can register here." Hee!

  bad day
i think this week is still getting to me... i'm just grumpy as hell.

and i feel disappointed. like, in everyone.

the icing on the cake is that tonight my sister said my niece is unsure about visiting this summer. i asked how come. she answered, "because she's 14." a month ago, she was looking forward to it.. and i was really looking forward to it... we were talking about taking her to key west and stuff. but whatever, what can you do? this isn't the kind of thing you want to twist someone's arm about, so i guess i just have to hope she changes her little teenage mind.

i am not disappointed in macy, however. she calls me every time she poops and tells me that i owe her a sucker. yes, this is my two-year-old niece. apparently that's the carrot my sister dangles in front of her to get her to use the big-girl potty. "if you go poop on the potty, aunty stacey will send you a sucker." she called twice yesterday, which i guess means she's getting plenty of fiber. i am thinking, however, that i really should find some suckers appropriate for a toddler and send them off before i become a disappointment. because, you know, at least she's making me laugh on a day like today.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
  The reason for today's headache.

I was cruelly forced out of my nap yesterday to go out to dinner. Chris's cousin was in from out of town for a conference.. Apparently they gave him the choice of North Carolina, KENTUCKY, or Florida for conference location. He said he was reeeeally leaning towards Kentucky, but then remembered his dear cousin Chris lived in Fort Lauderdale. Heh. So anyway, Chris has been entertaining him in the evenings the past few nights, and last night was the night he wanted to try Cuban.

Now, since I'm a vegetarian, people always think that I am a very difficult person to go out to eat with. Not true. I can eat almost anywhere. The exceptions are steakhouses (I probably could eat there, but just don't want to) and Cuban places. The first Cuban place I ever went in had a big dead pig, still with a face and everything, by the door. It is very indicative of what Cuban food is like. It is very pork-centered cuisine. You can get a sandwich with three kinds of pork on it. However, not really any options for vegetarians unless you want to be eating rice & beans, or unless you can consider pork a vegetable. And, you know, I really like rice and beans, but if I'm going out to eat, I hate not even having an option of what I'm ordering. But whatever, the cousin wanted Cuban, so I was going anyhow.

There's a Cuban place not far from home.. within walking distance, actually. I thought I was going to have another night of rice & plantains for dinner, but we discovered that they served Mexican food, too! So it was actually really good. And we got sangria! Afterwards, we went back to the little bar we always go to, but by then I was basically asleep on my feet.. I went to the bathroom and Chris actually sent his sister in to check on me. I was fine, but someone had left a newspaper in there, and I was just lazily browsing through it, too tired to care that I should be getting back to the bar. So we called it a night soon after. We ended up falling asleep with all the lights on, still wearing our daytime clothes, on top of the blankets.. I guess Chris was as tired as me.

Anyway. Lucky me, this semester is almost officially done. Just some minor stuff to wrap it up. I am SO relieved. This week was really, really stressful... All week, I was thinking, "I just have to make it through Friday." And now, finally, I did. Phew. :)

We were supposed to go on a sailboat ride today... Chris's friend has a sailboat in our backyard now. He wanted to get a boat and we had dock space available, so Chris said he could keep it here and save the money he'd spend to keep it at a marina. It's actually quite pretty. But I guess the water was going to be a little rough today, so it was postponed. I can't wait to go out, actually... Sailing is so nice, and it's been such a long time since I've done it. And we're actually going in the ocean on this thing, not just the Bay as I had been doing with the sailing group. I should get some nice pictures out there, when we do go. :)


  OMG, cutest video

I usually never watch the CuteOverload videos. Today, I did... And then I made Chris watch it. :) This was hilarious... I mean, who has time to teach their dog to dance? But the result is really cute and impressive. Gotta love those retrievers.

Friday, April 25, 2008
  10:50 a.m.: time for bed yet?
OK, the end of the week is here. and today is almost over. kinda.

i took my shakespeare final this morning. 7:45 - 10:15. this means the alarm went off at 6:45, after i had gone to sleep at 2:45 and then maggie proceeded to growl at some unknown something outside for the next 15 minutes. i was drifting in and out of sleep all night, and when i would wake up, it was with the realization that i was dreaming of camera settings and the years of queen elizabeth the first's reign (1558-1603).

and the girl sitting next to me sniffled the entire time. now, i have allergies... so i tried to be sympathetic. but jesus, woman, go blow your nose. seriously, every, oh, four seconds or so, she sniffled. one of those big, trying-to-get-the-snot-back-up things. sometimes she'd follow that with a wiggle-her-nostrils-with-her-fingers-while-sniffling move. it was really easy to concentrate, really. but anyway, that's done. phew. now just lit theory to go. then a final test online for one of my classes... and next week wednesday i meet for my writing class. tuesday will be spent preparing for that, but i'm not sweating it.

after that, i have nothing to worry about until june 24. well, except for the driving school thing i have to attend on account of the speeding ticket. :) i plan on taking lots of pictures and trying to learn photoshop. :) oh, and then there's that trip to the galapagos...

phew, i'm happy this stress week is almost over. i think i've been living off a strictly-carbs-and-coffee diet. (i almost typo'd that to "crabs-and-coffee. i think that would be way worse.) yesterday i had a bagel for lunch. dinner was jamaican since chris's cousin is in town, and since i don't eat oxtail or goat(!!!), i ate a big plate of rice with a few slices of plantain. then i had a 9 p.m. sugary coffee. before i went to bed, after hours and hours of studying had famished me, me and the dogs (and the black cat, ellie) shared 2 slices of bread with smart balance butter. "mmm," i said. "a smart balance sandwich!" it made me laugh and reminded me of nights when i stayed at my dad's house when i was little. in his defense, he made me things like egg sandwiches, but since he was poor, sometimes the fare was meager. for example, i remember drinking something that was supposed to be like kool-aid but what ended up just being sugar water, which made us laugh. miss that guy! and his birthday would've been sunday.

anyway, after all this, the teacher brought dunkin donuts donuts to class today. everyone was eating the little munchkins, but even the thought of one made me nauseous. i am thinking this is probably how it feels when you're an actress and are required to gain, like, 40 lbs for a role. the eating-bad thing is fun for a little while, and then the thought of eating something sugary and bad for you just makes you want to barf. that's where i am now, which is probably how renee zellweger felt when she got all plumped up for bridget jones. i probably look about the same, too. :p so anyway, now that this self-indulgent, eating-bad-cos-i-got-no-time-to-do-otherwise thing is over, i'm cutting out the coffee again (again).

monday i am going to miami to take pictures. maybe the everglades or the zoo or both. should be fun. :)

okay, gotta go write an essay outline for my lit theory final. joy!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
SO TIRED. I went to bed at uhhh.. 3:45 or so. Then I got up for the next half-hour or so every few minutes when I heard funny sounds, acting as screen police. We now have exactly THREE SCREENS in the ENTIRE HOUSE that Elliot has not busted through, and I am trying very hard to keep them in pristine condition. The last time I got up, it was 4:30. Chris woke me up to get ready for school at 7:35. Yeah, I'm tired. And I still have to piece a dyslexia paper together by 4 p.m.!

Anyway, I walked into my Shakespeare class this morning and there was a camera crew, which was unusual. I remembered my teacher mentioning it the other day... I wondered what they were there for (whatever), and then this blonde chick walked in. I recognized her from Perez Hilton - it was Brooke Hogan. Does she have a reality show or something?

I am bummed 'cause I had almost brought my real camera today, but I was bringing so many books today that I couldn't even fit my computer in my bag and was carrying it separate, so adding a camera to the mix didn't seem too smart. Ah well. I probably would've been too chicken to get a decent picture anyhow. Not that I give a shit about Brooke Hogan, but I don't get to take pictures of non puggles much, so even a picture of the class buzz around her would've been interesting.

My Shakespeare class this morning had a camera crew.

Does Brooke Hogan have a reality show or something?

If she has a show, it's kinda neat because our class has been doing reports and performing scenes for the class. Our teacher had this one group that had done really well (I think a couple of them are drama majors) re-perform their scene, I am guessing for the benefit of the camera. They did a really awesome job, and it was really cute.

Oh, there she is again! I'm at a table at the Starbucks and she's walking around the courtyard with, like, a dozen people. Ahh, the weirdness of "celebrity". (She's famous for being Hulk Hogan's daughter, for chrissake!)

Anyway, back to dyslexia. Joy.
Monday, April 21, 2008

No couch., originally uploaded by estacey.

The couch has been moved into the garage.

We decided we'd just leave it there until after we get back from the Galapagos. That gives Oreo a good five weeks to forget that she likes to pee on that couch.

We've left her out for the past two nights that the couch has been away, and she has behaved herself. No peeing on anything. I'm so proud of her!

  Florida NEVER ceases to surprise...

Fischer's Lovebird, originally uploaded by mpgoodey.

So while I'm driving, I'm usually aware of what's going on by the side of the road. I'm always on the lookout for an injured bird (or turtle, or possum, as the case has been in the past).

Well, today on my way home from school, I noticed a bird fluttering around on the side of a very busy road. Glades in Boca, for you South Floridians. It was BRIGHTLY colored.. I was going pretty fast (duh), but from what I saw, I thought, "Oh my god, that was a conure!" Really not what you expect to see on the side of the road. I figured it had to be an escaped pet or something.

I immediately tried to find a place to pull over, but no luck... About a block down the road, I found a parking spot at a fire station and ran back to where I spotted the bird. It was still fluttering... As I approaching, it was jumping off the ground and falling back on its side. I was thinking that it REALLY didn't look good that it was that hurt. With the traffic whizzing by, I got closer and planned to nab the bird.

When I got about five feet away, I realized it was TWO BIRDS. Two. Brightly colored little birds. Doin' it. In the road. (Why they chose a busy road with cars zipping by at 40-50 mph, I have no idea. Thrill seekers, I guess.) They got spooked by me and jumped... It took a little bit for them to get regrouped, but when they did, they took flight and I watched them flap their little wings across Glades Road and into a tree somewhere on the other side.

I looked up on Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation website to figure out what they were, since up close I realized they were not sun conures, at least. There are no conures reported in Florida, but there are these Fischer's Lovebirds. They are reported as being present in the state but, "Not reported breeding." Well then. I guess I have news for the FWC. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

i may still be constantly disappointed by my own photographs, but i do have to admit - i've come a long way. :)

when i look at the pictures i took when i first got my D70 (like this one), i see that i have actually made quite a bit of progress! i just have a lot to learn.

and on the photoshop end, i have a great handbook that should be arriving sometime this week. i just can't crack it until after friday. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008
  Big news in Stacey's world!

I got a new camera! The Nikon D300!

After months of contemplation, I nearly cleared out my savings account so I could buy this puppy. I ordered it on Thursday, thinking it would be here maybe the middle of next week. Instead, they shipped it THREE HOURS after I ordered it. It arrived on Friday. For future reference, Beach Camera has excellent, efficient service.

This would NORMALLY be a great thing, only this is my last week of school. I have uhh... three papers to write, two final tests... No, three final tests. I have too much to do, and what I really want to do is play with this camera.

I messed around with it a little today, read the manual in the car while we were doing errands, etc. But for the most part, I have had very little time to really play. It has some great features, though. The manual is huge.

Oh, and I got a new wide-angle lens, too: the Tokina 12-24mm. I've been thinking about it for a LONG time, and it really seemed appropriate now.

I feel very, um... I dunno. It's a great camera, but I don't know if I am even up to it as a photographer. I am probably over-thinking it, though. I doubt other people contemplate these things before they upgrade cameras. I knew I wanted to get a new camera, and I figured, since I AM going to do it, and that money is definitely coming out of that static-for-the-foreseeable-future savings account, I may as well do it before I go to Galapagos. Have the technology they've developed for the D300, as well as the 12 megapixels to work with when I'm cropping and ordering prints rather than 6.

Anyway, starting next weekend, I get to do nothing but take pictures and goof around. And swim laps in the pool to start practicing for Galapagos currents. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008
  old pics on flickr

gotta peeee, originally uploaded by estacey.

haha. this is SO OLD. really old. five years plus old!

and dawn is STILL wearing nascar shirts. :D


  it's alive!

the pond at school, that is. with tadpoles!

i usually walk along the bank of the little pond thing at school to get back to the car, and today i was like, "what's all this black stuff?" and then it dawned on me: TADPOLES!

being eternally 5 years old, this made me very happy. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008
  we give up

okay, so oreo sucks.

she pees EVERY NIGHT on this couch.

we had this problem before... hence the plastic cover. back then, the dogs AND the cats were all taking out their frustrations on this poor couch. and OH MY GOD that was horrible. it was SO MUCH WORK every time one of them peed on it. so we first covered the cushions in garbage bags. trashy yes (ha ha), but it did help quite a bit with the cleanup routine. and then this eBay cover made it 100x better.

we put nice blankets over the cover, and it looked like a nice couch again. the peeing stopped. the cover remained, as insurance.

then the peeing started again. we didn't know who it was until we caught oreo one more, squatting.

it's now been happening for the better part of a month i'd say. i think we went nearly a week without any instances, and i got my hopes up, but they were again dashed. every morning i wake up to cat pee on the couch. it's to the point that, despite the fact i dry it up, then wash it with wet wipes, and often again with wet paper towels, the cover is now even smelling bad. i had to take the whole thing off and wash it in the bathtub. THAT is fun, if you could imagine, and now it's due for that again...

oh, and one night, she peed on it when the blanket was still on the couch, and in the middle of the night, sebastian decided he wanted to sleep on that couch. so not only did i have pee blankets to contend with, but a cat-pee dog, too.

i've tried sprinkling catnip on the couch. no effect. i got the catnip spray (which they LOVE, by the way, it's hilarious) and sprayed it all over the couch... no effect, as far as the peeing goes. i tried to find solutions.. for example, i read that they don't like the feel of tinfoil on their feet. i figured if i put tinfoil on the couch for a while, oreo would learn to avoid it. to test the theory out, i brought her a square of it. she touched the foil, then took two steps onto the square, plopped down, and happily went to sleep on the tinfoil. um.

when my family was here, i decided that i would get a little litterbox and put it on the couch, with a new kind of litter in it. maybe she just wanted to relieve herself there, and maybe she'd go in a box. i told my plan to my sis and said, "and if she doesn't go there, then that's her last chance, then i'll have to---" at which point kelli interrupted me: "get rid of her, yah." i'm like, "um, no. i mean, banish her from that room, somehow, into the bedroom or something." when i recounted the story, incredulous, to chris, he was like, "well, you have to remember, your idea of forgiveness for animals is somewhat different than most people's." the thing is, she's a good cat except for this... um, and the fact that she's an asshole to the other cats. really, all cats suck in their own way. i can't really complain about kitten... but elliott rips holes in all our screens when he decides he wants inside like a little incredible hulk or something (rather than just cry, which is what the other cats do), which is fodder for a whole separate post. i really need to get pictures; it's ridiculous.

i'm so frustrated now, i've given up on the litterbox idea entirely. we can't live with a litterbox on the couch. and i ain't cleaning up cat piss every morning for the rest of my life, or until i kill oreo (as i threaten every morning as i'm cleaning up the piss, which makes me sneeze). and we can't even USE the couch anymore. even the dogs don't sit there. so what's the point of having it here? we are definitely not winning this battle, and it's pissing us both off in the interim, so...

here's my plan.

1. we're having the stanley steamer (steemer?) guys come anyhow to do the carpets. they can clean the couch to get the soaked-in urine smells out of it from when everyone was using the couch as the neighborhood fire hydrant. i know that often makes cats go somewhere... when they smell urine on something, it makes them go there again.

2. [the order of these may change.] we're packing up the couch and putting it in the garage for a month or so. oreo will hopefully, in that time, forget her bad pissing-on-the-couch behaviors. she'll forget the couch altogether. and when it comes back in the house, it won't smell like pee, so she won't pick that behavior up again, either. new vinyl cover, new colored blankets so it will LOOK like a new couch... and i'll just PRAY she won't do it anymore. if she does, we'll have to get rid of the couch, but chris has had it forever.

think this will work? i don't think chris was really happy with the suggestion at first, but it is really the only thing i can think of that has the prospect of working long-term.

i just cleaned up pee again, so i had to write this all out, out of frustration. at least it's all almost over, hopefully.. when chris discovered the pee this morning, he said, "oreo, enjoy it while you can. you can pee two more times!" 'cause we're taking the couch out this weekend. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
  saturday boat ride
we went up to patty's house on saturday to take the little whaler out for a boat ride. chris gave it to her for christmas last year (yes, he's a nice brother) and, now that she has a house with a dock, it's taken up residence at her place. chris took it out there a couple of weeks ago and told me, omg, stace, you would love it there - it's not, like, intracoastal, like where we live. instead, it's quiet, quiet, quiet, peaceful canal. lots of birds. mallards, ibises...

unfortunately, we got going too late as we didn't decide on this boat ride until, like, 4 p.m. when there we had a church-or-boat-ride discussion. and then we went to costco first. so it was basically dark by the time we got out on the water. we saw a lot of pretty birds... even a whole little bunch of baby ducks with their mama! but it was too dark to really bother with pictures.

the dirty b in her new home, the dock at patty's house
here's the boat at its new dock...

we had a bit of a run-in with, um, some bushes
during the ride, we had a bit of an altercation with some bushes... there's this area of the canal with a strong current that just wiped us over into the bank. we pushed ourselves out, and then afterwards had to laugh at the sticks and stuff stuck to the boat. poor dirty b.

the baby engine on the little whaler

here's the dirty b's engine. the reason i took this picture is to show the cute new baby engine chris bought. it's really for his dinghy...

the dinghy is actually pretty fun. you know, a little inflatable boat. we took it around the canals in our neighborhood one day... you can take it in the intracoastal, but you'll get wet. i was thinking that when mandy visits this summer, we can take that around. we could also take it diving, if we wanted... take it over to the ocean, drop it in, motor out to one of the reefs... after i went out on the dinghy that day, i was like, "MAN, when kyle is about 10, he's going to BEG to come visit us."

but anyway, it also will propel the little boat, too. amusing, considering it only has FOUR horsepower. (for you non boaters, to give you an idea, chris's big boat has 2 150-hp engines... 300 horsepower total. and i think the other engine in the pic is 150 hp, too.) we used it almost the whole time... it's clean-running and fuel-efficient, like chris's big boat engines... no stinky smell or oil left behind in the water. plus, look at it - it's adorable! i tease chris a lot for all his toys, but i gotta admit that i like 'em too.

anyway, then the sun went down and we went back in. gotta try this boat ride again, only with light this time!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  an old picture that made me laugh

cats are SO WEIRD.

they always gotta lay on SOMETHING. in this case, a picture frame had tipped over. it immediately became the best seat in the house, at least for the felines.

  Gretch on the boat on Sunday

Gretch on the boat on Sunday, originally uploaded by estacey.

So I FINALLY started playing with Photoshop, thanks to this teacher I hate. I tried to write "teacher I have" just now, but it came out as you see it here and, well, I don't feel the need to correct myself as both ways I could say it are right. So anyway, I started goofing around with PS in one of my classes (what a nerdy way to rebel, right?) and am now thinking it's really damn cool.

Anyway, I do like this picture now. Nothing really special about it... Just Gretchey on her first boat ride in the ocean. I'd have captured some better pictures, but as I am Gretchey's mama, I was responsible for holding onto her during this first boat ride in the ocean.

Okay, I'm ready to pass out now. It's 2 a.m. and I'm running on something like 3.5 hours of sleep. I'm a genius.


Sunday, April 13, 2008
  sniffle, sniffle
i been quiet 'cause i been sick. that thang that been goin' around done got me!

i felt pretty bad thursday, like death on friday, but it's eased into just annoying since then, more or less. i even got to go out on the boat this weekend - twice! i have some pictures and stuff, which i'm fixin' to get up tomorrow night.

i also managed to rescue a little ribbon snake from the neighbor's abandoned swimming pool today, after following oreo into their yard (she's like lassie! for snakes!). it was swimming around but, um... i've seen those things around and i'm pretty sure they are not water snakes and certainly not swimming pool snakes... and there was no way for it to get out. so that made me happy. :)

also, the bonus of this little adventure into the empty house's yard was discovering the little rock-pond thing they have is full of standing water. so, of course, we basically have a MOSQUITO NURSERY 10 feet from our bedroom window. little swimming larvae everywhere. and to think, just today we were cursing the insane amount of mosquitos we have... MOSQUITOS LOVE CHRIS to a degree most people would not believe (if i told you, you'd think i was exaggerating, it's seriously unreal), so to know that they're over there, GROWING, GETTING STRONGER... it's not good. i'm buying a fatal-to-mosquito-larvae-only stuff tomorrow at the home depot.

ok, back to my stupid paper revision.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
  i'm learning lessons here, honest
next time, when we have a week to do a paper, i take that WHOLE WEEK. i start the first day. honest.

it's just.. this one took so much pre-prep. i had to find images to analyze. i took a long time to pick those five images. too long. so i was up until nearly 4 a.m. finishing the paper. and actually had to finish-finish it after shakespeare this morning. needless to say, i'm tired. but at least i'm done. and at least i'm all badass, all functioning and stuff today. i'm actually in a good mood. not bad for an old lady working on 3.5 hours of sleep.

i feel bad, though. i not only told chris i couldn't scratch his back before bed last night (that puts him to sleep, but knocks me out too) but didn't make his morning oatmeal before i grumpily hit the sack this morning. neglecting my girlfriendly duties, i am.

i like to work out on my long break between classes, but i pardon myself from the arc trainer when i've had this little sleep. so instead, i did the opposite of working out: i went and read a trashy magazine (in touch, left behind by my dear sister) at patty's place while eating doritos with buddy & sebastian. i like going to see the dogs (and the bunny). buddy is so great in small doses. i could do without the happy-to-see-me hardon, though. EVERY TIME, i swear.

on a happy note, that lit theory test i thought i bombed? bad? i got a 101. !!! i seriously had a big ol' pit in my stomach when she was passing the tests back.. i mean, i figured i passed, but i really didn't think i did well. but i got everything right but one, and i got extra credit right to make up for that. when she went over the answers... for example, one really easy, no-brainer question was about derrida's "of grammatology" - she asked what grammatology meant (it's the science of writing). i guess people answered things like that it was the science of language and stuff. i'm just like, well, okay, i guess i memorize these things alright because it would never occur to me that that was a difficult question. as for why i thought i did badly.. i thought i rambled on some of the answers and didn't get my point across, but i got them right, so i guess she understood. i even got a little "good!" on some of them. extra credit on one where no extra credit was offered! so, well, phew! :) needless to say, it was a HUGE (good) surprise.

ooh, gonna be late to class.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
  i'm such a hardass
at 8 p.m., i holed myself up in the guest room to work on this paper.
i said - no animals! i have to concentrate!

the dogs, see, like to walk on my papers when i'm trying to read.
the cats like to walk on my computer. and sit on my lap.
all need tending to, which i just cannot do in times of concentration.

chris went to bed at 10. when he opened the door to say goodnight, maggie jumped in here. i said she could stay. i explained to her clearly that it was only under the condition that she either lay down or chew quietly on a treat. (she did the latter, and is now doing the former.)

since then, both indoor-friendly cats have joined me. (ellie is getting better; i bring him in a few days a week and he eats and then runs under the bed and spends the entire day there, then stretches and asks to be let outside.) i saw kitten run in, and a few minutes later oreo sneaked through the door, and i just had to laugh.

so much for being alone to concentrate. at least they're all being good and respectful of my work.

back to it!
  cats & dogs (and dogs & dogs)

today i had to take the car in for a battery issue. since about my least favorite thing EVER is to sit in the auto shop waiting room, i walked to the nearby target. we have been meaning to buy a blanket for the loveseat anyhow.

see, chris got these nice couches a while back. a loveseat and a couch. soft microfiber. we like them.

they have since fallen victim to buddy peeing on them... well, not THAT many times. but, uhh.. yeah. enough times. he's gone now. but they still get the dogs laying on them. the cats laying on them.

and now our girl dogs have a new issue. leaky.. um.. well. yeah. they're girls. you figure it out. it happens more to maggie than gretchey... it happens to maggie often enough that i encourage her to always sit on a towel when she's on the furniture.. but when it happens to gretchey, it is far more icky. as far as we can tell, through internet searches and consultation with our thankfully in-family ob/gyn, it is probably a hormonal imbalance caused by them being spayed. they'll need to have a weekly hormonal pill. until then, we have leaky vaginas on the couch every now and then. it's as appealing as it sounds. my sis said it happens to one of her girl dogs every now and then, too.

so we really like to keep things covered. so, i got a blanket today. and a ton of dog treats were on clearance, so i got, like, four bags. i started talking to the checkout and realized that EVERYTHING I WAS HOLDING was for the dogs. i felt guilty. i went back to get something for the cats, on principle.

they already have treats. wet food, greenies, etc. they have a laser toy. feather toys. balls. mice. cube things that they don't go in. they have a window seat in the garage they use from time to time. they have cat beds they don't sleep in. they have windowsills all over the house, which they love. so, well.. what can you get them? the dogs can ALWAYS use new treats. cats? they're a bit harder to buy for.

i stood in the cat aisle for, like, 10 minutes. they had felt necklaces for cats. i pictured the cats doing backwards somersaults trying to get them off. they had more of the same of everything i had that they already ignored. finally, i grabbed a bag of pounce treats and headed out. cats..

as i write this, by the way, i have oreo laying on the couch arm next to me and kitten giving herself a bath at my feet. they may be aloof, but they sure do like me.

as for the dogs... thank god for the muzzle.

last night i was on the couch, reading. gretch was next to me, with a chewy in front of her. she is always SUPER protective about her chewies. even when a cat walks by, she barks at them and growls, as if they're going to come after a goddamn pig ear or whatever... well, last night, maggie came over. after the chewy or after my attention, i'm not sure. she just walked over. gretch did her usual "it's mine" bark/growl, complete with teeth bared... i think she even lunged at maggie this time. this is what she always does. it's really very scary.

well. she's used to whatever creature she does it to, whether it be canine or feline, just running off. instead, maggie attacked. next thing i knew, they were all over me. i'm guessing gretch jumped on me for protection. i was screaming, trying to separate them. screaming for chris, who was getting ready for bed in the bathroom.

chris came in and grabbed maggie off gretch and threw her on the floor. he yelled, "no!" and she jumped onto the loveseat. we inspected gretchey carefully, who was shaking and terrified by this time... miraculously, and thanks to the muzzle, there was nothing wrong with her. not one mark. the muzzle is doing its job.

on one hand, i'm really sad - it's been a month since she started wearing the muzzle, and we haven't seen one bit of bad behavior from her. on the other, at least this time the behavior was actually provoked. not that gretchey was seriously trying to fight her, but at least maggie didn't just fly off the handle over nothing. at least we got to teach her a lesson that fighting is bad without having a bleeding dog at the end of it.

by bedtime, they were licking each other again. gretch had been coming around to maggie... this will set them back again, but hopefully not too far.

Monday, April 07, 2008
  Why I should probably cancel my "sea turtle" google alert
Today this story came up:

Gazans Torture, Slaughter Sea Turtle With Makeshift Blade That Had - Jerusalem,Israel - Palestinians tortured and killed a giant leatherback sea turtle that had come ashore the beach in Gaza. After tying the turtle up, they attached it to a car ...

The link has a video.

Why? WHY WHY WHY WHY? (Oh, they think it's "as good as Viagra" - well, go get some Viagra, you impotent ASSHOLES.)

This poor thing... It comes out of the calm ocean... I think of what its life must be like in the ocean, drawing upon my experiences diving and when I've seen sea turtles underwater. It's so calm and quiet down there. So this big old thing lumbered ashore, for whatever reason, and a crowd of people attack it. Tie it up. Tie it to a car. Drag it with a car. Slit its throat.

It's beat so many odds in life to make it into being that huge, gorgeous creature... and it meets its end there, in such a sad, stupid way. And no one in that crowd stood up and said, "Let's leave this beautiful creature alone. Let it go back to the ocean."

That makes me so, so sad.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
  oh god

thankfully, i don't like too many of these things. but enough to make me uncomfortable.

dogs - "It should be understood that in white culture, dogs are considered training for having children. That is to say that any white couple must get a dog before they have kids."

bottles of water - "Water seems like a fairly simple concept. You turn on the tap, put glass underneath, and drink. Sadly, it is not this simple for white people."
(i even have a sigg bottle, like in the picture.)

and vegetarianism, whole foods, living by the water, coffee, tea, organic food, etc.

cute website, though. i like this one especially: being the only white person around.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
  Dating in your 30s
It's funny, because I guess lots of (some) people just assume you're married at this point.

Case in point: Last night, we went to dinner with some of Chris's out-of-town friends. These included:

So obviously, Chris's friends know our marital status, but the husband's brother and wife did not. While the sweet wife and I were talking, she asked me if I had kids. I'm like, "Um, we're not married." That seemed like the most appropriate response.

A while later, the husband's brother asks, in front of everyone, "So, how long have you two been married?" Chris and I looked at each other. "We're not married." Ahem. I'm like, we're not wearing rings! Then Chris, after a few seconds, said, smiling, "Someday." :) And toward that end, I pointed out to Chris how absolutely gorgeous his friend's ring is.

The kids were really cute. I didn't talk to the little-little one since he was pretty much an appendage of his parents the whole time, but the other two... I had meaningful conversations with each. The eight-year-old girl discussed manatees and sharks and jellyfish on the beach. She had me sign her Hello Kitty friendship book. The four-year-old and I talked about his school. I asked him what the favorite things he did there were. Snacktime and playground, he told me. It's good to know what you like, I said. Heh. :)

Before we left, they each gave me a hug. I wasn't expecting it, but the little girl had just woken up and looked all confused, but very much like she wanted a hug. It was super, super cute. So then I got down on my knees and little boy gave me a big hug. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008
  This kid really doesn't like food.

Except junk food. Kelli warned me of this, and she really wasn't kidding. He would absolutely REFUSE to eat EVERYTHING except for, like, Pringles and fruit snacks.

We went out to eat at Buca de Beppo last Friday night. It's this place where they serve HUGE portions of everything... The deal is that you share. We ordered gnocchi, eggplant parm, lasagna, and spaghetti and meatballs the size of softballs. Enough for eight, and we were but four (plus Kyle). As a sidenote, being the lone vegetarian, I was happy that I got to share my yummy eggplant parmesan with my family. Neither Amanda (at 14 years of age) nor Kelli (34) had had it yet. (!!!). So sheltered! I thought they would go, "Why yes, Stacey, a meatless dish can be tasty!" Instead, they agreed that it tasted "like it's made of sand." Hmpf.

Of course, Kyle refused to touch his food, even when I pretended the gnocchi was mac & cheese. We knew he had a weakness for cake, so Chris got the bright idea to order our dessert early.

The waitress was a bit confused when we ordered the $30 dessert sampler right after our entrees arrived, but quickly got the idea that it was to be bait for the kid. Just TELLING him he was going to get cake didn't seem to work, so we were hoping that having the cake THERE would make the concept concrete for him.

Soon, the waitress comes out with a, like, two-foot-long platter with cannolis, cheesecake, tiramisu, and a wedge of chocolate cake the size of Kyle's head. We nudged the rest of our plates to the side to make room for this gargantuan plate, and when it came to rest on the table, I looked at Kyle.

When Kyle's eyes fixed on the dessert platter, he honest-to-God FROZE. Completely froze, just staring at the desserts. Like he had never seen anything like this in his entire life. Which I guess makes sense, since he probably hadn't. When you're three, lots and lots of things are first-time experiences. (In Florida, he got to go to the ocean for the first time, got to swim (read: cry) in a backyard pool for the first time, saw alligators and all the rest of the Everglades wildlife in the wild for the first time, etc.)

Kelli realized what a magnificent bargaining tool she now had under her belt, and very self-confidently (almost... cockily) told Kyle that he had to eat his lasagna and could then have some cake. Smiling the whole time, knowing she was going to get her way. Knowing Kyle was powerless. Like that cake was a gun.

And sure enough, suddenly, Kyle was cooperative.

He ate his lasagna. As much as Mama said he had to. Then he got cake. And then wanted more cake, which he got. After all, this was vacation. And then, all of a sudden, he cried out: "My tummy!" Being mean ol' Aunt Stacey, I couldn't help but tease him a little: "Kyle, you want more cake?" "NO MORE CAKE!"

We had leftovers of EVERYTHING, including all the desserts... So the next day, when Kyle wouldn't eat his breakfast waffle, I went to the fridge and shaved off a little piece of chocolate cake. I placed this behind his waffle and said, "After you're done with your waffle, you can have cake." All of a sudden, Kyle loved his waffle. He was optimistic and cooperative. "I'm eating my waffle! I'm almost done with my waffle! I only have three bites of my waffle left! I am eating my breakfast!" THEN HE GOT CAKE.

Obviously, you can't do this type of thing on an ongoing basis, but I'm his absent aunt and this is Florida and vacation, dammit... It's hard to not just want to make it a happy time, for all of us. This decision also came into play when it came to TV. He wanted to watch TV all the time. He's scared of the pool, and instead just wanted to watch hours and hours of Noggin. After having him cry and cry and cry in the pool trying to get him to play, we just gave up and let him do what he wanted -- lay on the couch and watch TV. Alright then!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008
  Whoa, what a day
I am so behind in school. I had good intentions to do stuff for school while the family was here, but besides the absolutely essential stuff, I really didn't. So, um, I'm suffering. I found out Sunday that I had a test in my Lit Theory class (hard) that I thought was next week. Ugh. Let's take a look at what my day was like today:

7:30 a.m. Wake up after approximately 4 hours of sleep and hitting snooze for a half-hour

7:35 a.m. Clean up cat pee off the couch; for the first time in a long time, don't blame Oreo this time as she got her ass kicked last night by Elliott, unprovoked. I actually felt bad for her. I think she was taking it out on the couch. I'll let this one slide, Oreo, but this is the last time!

8:15 a.m. Leave for class; it's raining and I can't find an umbrella. Get wet.

9:07 a.m. Arrive to class 7 minutes late. Dammit. Do find out I got an 87 on my presentation from last Monday, which is good news, as I had to do it last-minute as the book it was based on was impossible to get (from the library, from online, etc.).

9:50 a.m. Get out of Shakespeare; retire to Starbucks to get a coffee and start on assignment for my next class

10:00 a.m. Next class starts

12:20 p.m. Class ends; retire to pickup truck in order to cram more studying in for Lit Theory test, for which I am completely unprepared as I really, really cannot understand Jacques Derrida. I hate Jacques Derrida. Study right up until 1:55 when I have to leave for class...

2:00 p.m. Test starts. Do badly. Definitely get a number of things wrong. Thankfully, my two previous test grades are 96 and 104, so I can afford a not-so-great grade. I just hope this one isn't too bad.

2:50 p.m. Go to convenience store for a "lunch" comprised of soda, an Odwalla bar, and dry cereal, which I eat while walking back to the truck. Make resolution to make provisions to eat better than this, even when I'm busy.

3:10 p.m. Retire to pickup truck to finish up PowerPoint presentation which I am GIVING in less than an hour. Cannot find the last piece of information anywhere, to complete the presentation. Am simultaneously frustrated and so beaten down by the pace of the past two days that I can't seem to make myself hurry.

4:10 p.m. Give up and go inside, prepared to meet my fate, whatever it may be. Thankfully, I find out another group is presenting, so they go first. I finish our presentation during theirs. I wing the unfinished portion and apparently the teacher is fooled as she said our presentation is excellent and commends me on my good suggestions (which I could not find, and had to elaborate on the spot from very broad suggestions given by our textbook). This was our last "test" for this class... Just one research paper to go for that class and I'm done... Such relief.

5:50 p.m. Get to come home. Promptly fall asleep on the couch.

I knew this day was going to kill me...
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
  Kelli's belly is pretty big.

Pregnant belly. Cute. :), originally uploaded by estacey.

She's due at the end of June. The belly is.. well, big. The belly button is sticking out already. Very cute.

Surprisingly, she wouldn't wear a swimsuit at the beach. If I had a big baby belly, I'd be wearin' a bikini and loving it. :)

  Ha ha ha!

The baby fence has multiple uses., originally uploaded by estacey.

I'm such a hick!

Turns out the baby fence has multiple uses. And this is BETTER than the clotheline we had to take down when we put up the Maggie fence. :)

  Ahh, to be 14
14-year-old angst

My niece Amanda is at that age. An awkward age. She seems very opinionated sometimes (like about her English teacher) and other times not at all (most everything else). This can get frustrating. Drawing information out from her about what she wants to do or what she wants to eat is nearly impossible. A typical conversation from her visit:

Me: So what singers do you like?
Amanda: I dunno.
Me: You dunno? How is that possible?
Amanda: [silence]
Me: Do you like the Jonas Brothers? [knowing that all kids her age like the Jonas Brothers]
Amanda: Yeah.
Me: Okay, good. Now, who else?
Amanda: I dunno.
Me: Aggggh!

But this lack of opinionatedness aside, she's a real sweetie. And very used to being a helper. She's a big sister to a 2-year-old, after all. I'm sensitive to this and made sure I didn't ask her to do too much for me. After all, it's her vacation. But she's apparently conditioned to help.

Last night when I got home from class, I asked her, "Hey, Manda, do you want to go across the street and see if the place is open so we can get some pedicures?"

She made an unintelligible noise that was clearly meant to mean no. I looked at my sister and was like, "What did she say? Did she just say that she doesn't want to go get pedicures?"

"Amanda," I repeated. "Do you want to go across the street to see if the place is open to go get pedicures?" Again, she grumbled. Then she disappeared.

I asked my sister where she was. My sister didn't know. We assumed she went back into her room. I'm like, man, what's her problem? I thought she would've been happy at the prospect of getting her piggies painted. Teenagers! What-evah.

Fast forward 10 minutes or so, Amanda reappears and announces, all annoyed, "They're closed."

Then it dawns on me: she thought I was telling her to go across the street for me, to see if the place was open. Rather than what I was really saying, which was, DO YOU WANT TO GO TOGETHER TO SEE IF THE PLACE IS OPEN? I just started laughing and said, "Amanda! No, that's not what I meant!" And explained myself.

Then we went down the street (together) to the other place, which turned out to be a lot better anyhow.

They're on their way back to Wisconsin today. I called Manda's mom and told her today that she'd better be very appreciative of how helpful she is, and told her the story. She guessed partway through the story that, "She just didn't want to pay." "No, no, listen," I said. When we got to the end -- "Apparently she thought I wanted her to go across the street and look at the place's door for me" -- her mom started laughing so hard she almost cried. Poor kid. :)
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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