Thursday, July 31, 2008
  The dermatologist's is a confusing place
They don't weigh you there, which makes you think it's going to be a happy place. Mistakenly. Because then they make you strip down to your skivvies and inspect you from your sunburned (whoops!) shoulders to the bottoms of your unpedicured feet, with intolerable pauses along the way to make you feel bad about your fat ass and jiggly thighs.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dogs available at the shelter, originally uploaded by estacey.

I was at the shelter for like five hours today. After I finshed helping the dogs all go potty, I took a few pictures. This is the only pic I had help taking... The rest, omg.. Let's just say that taking pictures of animals you're not used to is NOT easy. Especially when they're full of energy since they're always stuck in a crate. Especially with a damn 50mm lens; they have to stay on a (short) leash, so trying to get them far enough away from me to get in the picture is a challenge!

Also, going back to the D70 is so hard after the D300. However, I did not want to risk the D300 getting covered in slobber or poop, or both. I think to get the rest photographed, I'll stop by on days I am not there to "work" and that way I can probably handle bringing the D300. Then if the pics all turn out dark and wonky, I can't blame the camera!

This dog in the picture is ridiculous. So small, so sweet... All he wants to do when you take him outside is crawl up into your lap and snuggle. I hope he finds a home soon!

Also, there is a boxer there with a broken arm in a cast. I was down on the ground with her, petting her... Face to face. I realized she could probably bite mine off if she felt like it, and since I don't know her, I decided to stand back up. After a while, I felt like I could trust her and I sat down with her in the grass again. She started to lean into my petting-her-head. Soon, she put her little cast-covered arm up in my lap. How cute is that?

I took the pics since lots of the dogs don't have any, which makes them difficult to adopt out online. Hopefully these will help. The shelter lady said that they go in a snap when they have pictures. Let's hope!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
  no words
Monday, July 28, 2008
  doggy duty
i went to the shelter for the first time today to help with the dogs.

they said it takes a couple of hours.

well, i've learned something. people always underestimate how long something will take you when it's for charity. like the time i was asked to give blood at the gym. i said, "i would, but i gotta meet someone at the whole foods in a half-hour." "that's all it'll take!" they said. 45 minutes later, i finally got to leave. then the other day, they tried to nab me and chris coming out of lowe's. we said we had somewhere to be (chris had some work-related life-savin' to do) and the lady yelled out, "but it'll only take 15 minutes!" 15 minutes?! on what planet? they make you STAY THERE for 30 minutes after giving blood to make sure you're okay. whatever, miss working-on-commission.

so back to the dog thing. i should've left at around 11, but instead left at 1:30. the reason? there are SO many dogs. and they're in their crates all day - they get to come out twice to go potty and stretch their legs - it's a little hard to not be generous with your time. only then the last ones have been sitting in their cages for a LONG time. there's no way to win.

the dogs are just.. well, maybe three times while rolling around on the ground with a dog, i got tears in my eyes. it's just really not fair. this one dog.. looks like a schnauzer.. puppy. she's a mess. dirty. SO smelly. but just the absolutely sweetest thing ever. reminds me of maggie, actually. if i could take just one home, she'd be it.

other dogs.. as soon as you got outside, they'd collapse on you if you let them. the one sat in my arms with his paws up for as long as i could let him. i rubbed his belly and he stared at me and licked his lips.

they asked me to come back wednesday. i said ok. they asked if i could do two days a week every week in the future. i had to turn that down... i said i could do one, but i really don't want to jump into something and then go overboard. when i'm in classes full-time, giving up two half-days of the week just doesn't seem feasible. but i'm happy to do one day per week.

it's very sad, though, these dogs. so many of them were just the sweetest little things, SO deserving of a home. all of them were just as sweet as my dogs, who really don't know how good they have it. :(

Gretchen outside in her dress, originally uploaded by estacey.

agh, i just wrote this post and went to copy it so i could paste it into this window and it disappeared! that's the worst, i swear.

anyway. so chris was in texas this weekend to visit his friend in the hospital. this friend is the reason i took the pics of gretchey in a dress. the friend, see, really loves gretchey (who doesn't?) and i thought it would cheer her up some to get some new pictures. she apparently did like the pictures, but thought that putting gretchey in a dress was "sick!" i have to agree, but i also have to point out that it's awfully cute. :)

i teased chris a lot before he left about leaving me. you know, how could he? for two whole days? we've actually spent very little time apart since we met. he went to orlando overnight once, and to philly for a conference for a couple of days, and that's about it. but in reality, i didn't think it was such a big deal. the dogs and i were fine... we ordered pizza hut, which chris hates... and the dogs love. i let them have a piece each, which is something i wouldn't do with chris here since he would probably kick me out if i did. but anyway, it wasn't a huge deal. also, i got room in the bed for once.. see, the dogs know i'm the sucker so they sleep on my side. i have to kinda position myself around them. last night, though, i got chris's whole side! :D

then tonight chris got home, pretty late. i went out to the driveway to meet him and gave him a hug and realized, damn, it was nice to have him back. then i gave him about a dozen more hugs. and to think, he was only gone since yesterday morning!

now i am realizing that my quickly approaching trip to wisconsin may be a little difficult. i'll be gone 10 days! 2 weekends! 10 days without ANY of my sweeties! i figure when i get home, maggie will be so happy to see me that she'll lick my face clean off. and how many hugs will i have to give chris to make me feel better after not seeing him for that long? :(

Sunday, July 27, 2008
  need a baby name?
how about atari? or.. uhh.. CAMRY?

people are really doin' it.

(thanks, nate!)
Friday, July 25, 2008
I went on Craigslist today. Always a mistake. I feel so bad for all the animals people are trying to get rid of... I wish I could take more, but I can't. Three dogs and three cats is our limit. So I feel kinda helpless about all of these poor homeless animals.

I saw an ad (again) for a volunteer who likes dogs, and this time decided to call. I'll be going in Monday morning for a couple of hours to feed, walk, and clean up after the dogs at the shelter.

I didn't know which shelter I was calling, so when the woman I was talking to mentioned the name Tamara, I said, "Wait, which shelter is this?" She said "Animal Aid" and I started laughing. That's the same organization I used to volunteer for when I would go to the PetsMart to clean up after the cats every Thursday night. I had to quit since I moved, making the one-way trip from about 15 minutes to over an hour, but I've missed doing it.

To find their new address, I looked up the website. Then, to see if any of the cats I used to care for were still up for adoption, I clicked their PetFinder link.

And hey, whatdya know, Oreo is still "up for adoption" through them. Her grumpy little picture mad me laugh out loud.

I think I'll have to tell them to take her ad down, as that little miserable little cat is all ours now. :)
  This really cracks me up

Last night, Ellie made a rare appearance... Rare considering we had company. The whole week that Beth & Chris were here, he was nowhere to be found. Except at maybe 5 a.m., when he would beg for a just-woken Chris for attention. The rest of the time, we never spotted him.

So I find him under the guest bed last night and take him out to show him to Bethy. She says, "What happened to his ears?" He's grown into them now, see. Not his teeth, but his ears.

I looked the old pictures up just now so I could remind myself of what he USED to look like. A bat, apparently. Now I remember.

So cute. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  My god is my back sore
I installed Photoshop tonight (thanks again, By!) and then went through a whole bunch of pictures, deleting some, moving others, and uploading a few.

So, now on Flickr, see...


Chris making the best of the rain.

More bird pics.

More Bahamas pictures.

Chick iguana hiding from me

A few pictures I took with my old camera at the campus.

Mariposa bella

A few pictures taken in the Everglades.

Pretty, tiny flowers

A daddy showing his baby girl some flowers

Some snaps from Butterfly World. That's the place I went to shoot all day only I forgot my zoom lens. To take pictures of birds and butterflies. Obviously, I didn't last long there with my 50mm.

We were at Patty's and she was looking forward to getting out of the car.

Gretchen, cute as always.

This is what I look like after too many drinks.

It's what they do.

And, of course, the dogs. :)

Oh yeah, and one of yours truly:

Me & my signature face

Now I must go take my aching self to bed. Who knew photography was a hobby that could make you sore?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
  Proud moment

Hello, little crab!, originally uploaded by estacey.

I like crabs. I tend to like animals that are grumpy-looking, which is why I like cats too. (Not all cats are grumpy, but I am currently baring the scratches of not one but TWO cats on my arms. Oreo, from the day I took her to the vet last week, and a strange cat I pet on the street in Miami the other day. That cat was loving the attention and then outta nowhere, she swiped me a good one. Chris was amused, in disbelief I still love cats after all they abuse me. I just laugh it all off, though.)

Anyway, so I like crabs. I spent an hour on the beach in Costa Rica watching them fight over some bread crusts. Chris woke up from his nap and was, like, "You're STILL watching the crabs?!" He remembers that day as the day I that, and I am quoting here, was all "tee-hee-hee" over the crabs. Or "crabbies" as I call them.

So the other day, we were talking on the phone while he was docking the boat. And then all of a sudden he exclaimed, "There's a crabby on the dock!" Genuinely happy. To see a crab. And he called it a crabby. :D

The nerdiness, it's catchy.

Monday, July 21, 2008
  Testing email settings
  Sad times around here lately.
One of Chris's really good friends had a stroke last week. This was especially scary news considering the father of another of Chris's good friends just died of a stroke a month or so ago.

We've had a few updates but, as we're only a few days out, I don't really know if anyone can figure out how well they'll recover.

He's flying to go see his friend this weekend. He kicked himself all day Sunday for not having gone this past weekend, but as of Friday we didn't know if it would be a good idea. You know, if guests would be allowed and all that.

The situation has made Chris get on my case a little bit about the exercise. See, I have high blood pressure. I have to take medication for it. The smallest dose they make of the medicine, but medicine nonetheless. As we all know, high blood pressure can cause lots of problems, including strokes.

The doctor assured me that it was not due to anything I was or was not doing; some people just have high blood pressure and have to go on medicine, he said. When I asked if I could possibly go off the medicine if I exercised more or ate better, he said no, probably not.

But this won't stop my closest doctor from enthusiastically recommending I exercise more. Even if the high blood pressure is genetic, Chris reminds me, exercise will do nothing but help it. Maybe make it go lower, but at the least help it to not go higher as I age. As it is, I usually only get a good cardio workout, like, once each week. I have good weeks, like when I am trying to start exercising as I should, but that's the norm. And that's not enough.

And I know he's right. He may be a pain in the ass, but he's right. And the fact he's so concerned makes me feel both loved and worried. "You don't want me raising kids by myself, do you?" he asks. No. Way to play both guilt and face-your-own-mortality in one hand, Chris.

So again, yet again, I make a deal with myself. Start exercising at least a few days a week. Keep it up for a few months, as I know very well that habits take anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months to really stick. Let's see how I do.

Yesterday Sebastian and I went on a brisk, one-hour walk. This was in lieu of a run, which I did not want to do in the 94-degree heat. Tomorrow, however, I run. I have promised.
  Stingray encounters
Stingrays in Honeymoon Harbor are accustomed to people bringing them little fish and shrimp. So often while you're snorkeling there, they will approach you and investigate to see if you are harboring seafood to share. I was nudged more than a few times while snorkeling there.

Every time I look at this series of pictures, I think of Aladdin.

"Come close-ah."
Hey you, come closer.


"A little too close."
[Bam!]  OK, that's a little too close.

Funny little muppets.

And here is a video of them feeding:

  This had me giggling into my snorkel.

This had me giggling into my snorkel.
Originally uploaded by estacey
This conch had both its eyes out, watching me. I, of course, like encounters with all animals, from turtles to crabs, so I hunkered down in the sand to stare at this guy close up.

I realized after a few seconds that he was trying to get away from the big, scary, swimming blob (me). Please watch his get-away attempt, as it would most certainly make you laugh too.

Don't worry - I swam off soon after, so this little guy could think that he was successful. You know he bragged to all his little conch friends later.
  Uploaded some pictures.

Chris walking into the sunset., originally uploaded by estacey.

Now that the computer is FINALLY up and running, I emptied off the PowerShot and uploaded the pictures.

These are all from our two trips to Bimini so far this summer:

Really nice trips, actually. I am currently uploading a couple of videos too. We saw so many stingrays on those trips. That place is crawling with 'em. Well, swimming.

Next on the list is to reinstall Photoshop and get the D300 pictures off that camera. More Bimini pictures!

Sunday, July 20, 2008
  What American accent do you have?

This thing is pretty funny. My results?

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

Dead-on, eh? The best is that I had Chris sit here and every one of our answers were different, except for one. Apparently he doesn't think that bag rhymes with vague. Weird.

Also, I did call soda "pop" until I moved here and got sick of people making fun of me. Stupid know-it-all quiz.
Friday, July 18, 2008
  Patty's outta town

They understand each other, originally uploaded by estacey.

So George is here. George is a girl bunny.

I really miss her; she used to live here.

Tonight, she and Maggie and Ellie, the black cat, were all hanging out with me in this room. All the black animals. Strangely, they do actually get along. Only Maggie wants to lick George and George doesn't seem to like that idea much.

I want to get George a friend, but I don't think Patty wants another rabbit. I feel so bad for George, though. Alone in her cage all day. Maybe I can get her to leave Georgie here. And I'll get her a (fixed) boyfriend.

Cute, aren't they?

  Such a cute movie
I really do love Bridget Jones.

And the funny thing is... I am sitting here the whole time thinking how utterly adorable Renee Zellweger is. I am like, "How did I never notice this before?! Is it just because she's younger?" Seriously, just admiring how pretty she is THE WHOLE TIME. Then I realized, "Wait, didn't she gain 20 lbs for this role?" Yes, she did.

She looked a bit, um, thick during the second one. But she is just absolutely perfect in this one, yet she is supposed to be "fat." Whatevs.
  Is this necessary?
I am checking out BlackBerry software to see what's out there.

Menstrual Calendar for BlackBerry
"Use your BlackBerry® to keep track of your period." Only $9.99!


On another sad subject, today I was talking on the phone with Chris and we were trying to figure something out about next weekend. I'm like, "Wait, what day is it today? Monday?" Apparently it's Friday.

I guess I should use the BlackBerry's built-in calendar more often.
  She'll still ride with her head out the window...

But she looks a bit nervous; note the tail.

  Lessons learned
OK, so let's see if I can get through this. My wrists are so sore from typing and using the mouse...

See, the computer is back up and running but, like I said, it's a clean slate. I got nada on this thing.

I was thankfully able to save my old files with the help of an enclosure kit... You basically take your hard drive out of your computer and put it in the enclosure device, which basically turns it into an external hard drive you can access from another computer.

So beyond the software I have to install, I also decided I should organize my files as I move them over. OH MY GOD: Big job! #1. I have something like 30G of pictures. !!! I've been really working at paring it down. I've deleted at least 8,000 pictures. #2. 11G of music, but that's AFTER I deleted lots and lots of stuff. I was ruthless.

But I really learned my lesson about backing files up. I don't want a repeat of this.

And I found this great, great tool called Allway Sync. See, I figured if I had this thing BACK UP my files, it would take FOREVER to do so each week or whatever. A little googling and I found Allway Sync instead. Instead of backing EVERYTHING up, you can have it sync your folders. For example, I have it syncing my Pictures folder onto a Pictures Backup folder on my exernal hard drive. Every time I plug my external hard drive in, Allway Sync will do a search on the pictures folder to figure out what I've added or deleted, then sync up the files. So I don't have to wait for it to back up everything; I only have to wait for it to sync whatever I've changed since the last sync. Cool, eh? I am having it sync my pictures, music, favorites, documents, Photoshop actions, etc.

With this thing, I can have two copies of all my files (one on the laptop and one on the external hard drive) without having to back up my entire C: drive, which would take a lot more space.

If anyone has any other tips for me, please share. I have spent all the past two days on my computer, but that is to hopefully prevent me from having to spend ANY time doing unpleasant stuff in the future. :)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The computer is FIXED!

It's a clean slate, which isn't so great, but better than blue-screen only. :)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
i'm alive. still a bit sick, but much better.

bethy and chris are here. and they're so cute. :) i catch myself thinking about words in an english accent here and there, too, which is funny.

we've gone out to our place a couple of times now. we went last night for drinks and i got carded, which was a bit odd. when i get carded these days, i am never quite sure if i should take them seriously or not. like, is this some cruel joke? so i kinda roll my eyes and get out the old i.d.

i got a fabulous new phone... i nixed the nokia idea once i saw i could get a blackberry for NEGATIVE $25 on amazon. so now i have a curve. still waiting on my internet to activate, mostly so i can download the Law & Order theme song as my ringtone, but even without internet i love it.

old phone:

new phone:

also, it's tiny and adorable.

not much going on. life is so quiet when i'm just in the one class.

oh, but dude.. i got to thinking again tonight how very much i would love to have, in each class, like one or two kick-other-student-out-of-class-free cards. like, during the first week of class, if they annoy me too much, i could just set the card on their desk and they would have to withdraw. why am i so mean? because it always seems that there is at least one person in EVERY one of my classes that drives me nuts.

in french class way back when, it was the canadian girl (with a grating accent) who sat in front of me, diagonally, in the direction of the teacher. she always had her legs crossed and her foot up in the air, always wearing flip-flops... and she had THE grossest feet, EVER. really long toenmails. every time i looked at them, i thought, "rat claws!" and i couldn't help but look at them due to where she sat. i ran into her a while later.. she was working at a bar on the beach. i said hi and tried to place her, and when it dawned on me who it was, I RAN.

last term, i remember distinctly a little shit that was in TWO of my classes. big guy that wore fish shirts a lot. actually seemed very smart, but was in the young/arrogant stage of his life. it was annoying. he was always quick to jump on people for mistakes, even when they weren't making one. you'd think it would only take one of those mistakes to make you think before you speak, but apparently not.

now this class, i have two cardable folks. the one girl isn't that bad. she seems nice and all. but she sits next to me... again, in the direction of the teacher, so i can't help but see her. she is on her iphone THE ENTIRE TIME. playing. writing stuff. texting. she was even listening to voicemails today during class (the teacher was reading us poetry) that i could hear from my seat. i'm like, PUT EET DOWN. step away from the iphone! or at least sit in the back, so the teacher can't see you ignoring him the whole time! she sits in the FRONT ROW.

but she's not half as bad as the old lady. this lady is like 58. i ain't no ageist; i got nothing against her for that. but OH MY GOD, she is annoying. i think i scowl at her every time she says something now. why?

ok. this is what i know about her: she is from detroit; she is 58; she grew up in a very poor household; she was a greaser; she liked to hang out with guys fixing up their cars; she has an alcohol problem; she actually is an alcoholic, she just had to admit; admitting you need help is hard; she owes the library $60 so can't check anything out (i have heard this multiple times); and if she had $60 to her name, she surely wouldn't be spending it on a library fine. and it's not as if any of this really came up by chance... she was really PULLING this stuff out.. especially the alcohol thing. i mean, it was the night the DUI guy came to talk to us, but still. why do you feel the need to tell your class that? we're not in group here!

WHY DO I KNOW THIS MUCH ABOUT MY CLASSMATE, from CLASS discussions?! she keeps HIJACKING our class discussions to drone on and on. the teacher, the nicest old guy EVER, actually even cut her off the once. maybe even twice. everyone just kinda shakes their heads as she is talking. like, WHY should we know that you are an alcoholic? HMM?

she also feels the need to acknowledge everything the teacher says that she knows anything about. today he mentioned dante, and she basically cuts him off to say, "ah yes, dante's 'inferno.'" you know, so we all KNEW that she knew who dante was. as if the rest of us didn't. he mentions billie holiday and she has to say, "ahh, yes, bill-ieeeeeeee!" SHUT UP ALREADY.

she also is CONSTANTLY talking in class, as if the teacher is giving his lecture just to her and they are actually just having a conversation. "mm, hmm, yep..." today the teacher read us poems. she listened to EVERY ONE with this expression of glee on her face, her mouth open, and giggling audibly, presumably so the teacher could hear how much she was enjoying them. she sat there MOVING HER LIPS the whole time, i think planning what she would say next. the professor read a poem about his grandfather and at the end, she says, "you must have had a very special relationship with your grandfather" as everyone was clapping. like, i would totally appreciate these outbursts if they were every once in a while, and if they were genuine... but as it is, she literally just talks the ENTIRE TIME, and none of it feels genuine.

so, needless to say, she annoys me just a little bit. :)
in this mean spirit, i also think... she's going to school to be a teacher at age 58? ??? i know you're never too old for school and all, but jeeeeeez... she's only a few years away from retirement!

ok, thank you for "listening" to my rant. i go calm down now. ;)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
  "sloth scratching an itch"
seen on yahoo front page:

really effing cute.
Thursday, July 10, 2008

So Buddy came to stay on Tuesday night. I said I would take him back to Patty's on Wednesday. Since all the dogs like car rides, I took them all with.

Sebastian and Maggie rode in the passenger seat, and stuck their heads out the whole time. I was very proud of Maggie for finally feel confident enough to put her head out the window, although I suspect having Sebastian there was the key.

I roll the window up on 95 because I am going too fast to feel comfortable with their heads popping out the window. I rolled it back down once we got off the Interstate. Somewhere between 5-10 minutes later, we pulled into Patty's driveway and I announced, "We're here!" to the dogs. I looked over and it was only Sebastian in the seat. !!!

I immediately called Chris, since it's his number on the tag (I would've put mine, only considering I hardly even know where my phone IS, I didn't figure that would be too bright). I left him a message explaining what happened and starting re-tracing my route on Palmetto Park Road. I was crying and every time I got a stop light, I lost it. STOPPING did not feel like an option when Maggie was out there. I kept saying, "Please don't get hit by a car, please don't get hit by a car." I turned around and started to head back towards Patty's house when my phone rang. Chris immediately said: "Don't worry, someone found her!"

He gave me the address and I went to pick her up. She apparently jumped out a mile or so from Patty's, probably while I was making my very-slow-'cause-the-dogs-are-in-the-car turn onto the quieter road.

A guy met me in the driveway and took me to his porch. Maggie was inside his house. She ran towards the door and then cowered in the doorway at me. She knew she had been bad. I was just so happy to see her. He explained that he saw her while he was riding bike and noticed her collar, so figured she was safe enough. He started talking to her and she ran alongside him, following him home.

I kissed her the whole way to the car, SO relieved.

On the way home, she said next to me - with the window up. I guess I'll dig out the harness so she can safely ride with the window down sometime in the future.

SCARY experience.

  random notes
1. i'm sick. again. that may mean our planned trip for naples this weekend will have to be canceled. this would suck.

2. bethy & chris are here! they're over at the beach right now. :) sebastian loves chris and started following him around right away. it's pretty cute - maybe he likes all chrises.

3. i've been using metropcs for a few years now. i really want a better cameraphone (that's really all i care about; that and battery life) but i don't have money to spend on one, so i started thinking... hey, maybe if i sign up for a contract somewhere, i can help finance a new phone. so for $50, i'm getting a new phone with a 2-MP camera. :) the shitty part is that i happened to see AFTERWARDS that had i ordered through amazon instead of t-mobile directly, it would've cost me NEGATIVE $50. the phone is free plus you still get the rebate. damn! so if any of you are looking to get into a contract, check out amazon first.

the part that really makes it worth it is that it's even cheaper per month than i was paying with metropcs. i have very limited minutes, but free calling to 5 people... and since i hardly talk on the phone except to chris, that's perfect for me. :)

ok, i'm off to die now. i feel so icky. :(
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
  read, read, read, read...
i gotta read 3 books per week for my current class. i have a whole bunch of choices so am balancing out the books i really want to read (typically at the older-young-adult end of the spectrum) with short ones (meant for middle schoolers), some of which i'm looking forward to, such as sold and hoot.

so far...

forever by judy blume (doesn't this book bring back memories?)
bright lights, big city by jay mcirney (this dude has a cool style of writing. me gusto.)
i know why the caged bird sings by maya angelou (surprised with the fact i liked it since i had to trudge through the first buncha chapters)
jacob have i loved by katherine paterson (cried at the end, but i cry all the time so that's not saying much)
girl with a pearl earring by tracy chevalier (wanted to read this bc. i like the painting, but the back of the book never enticed me into actually reading it. so glad i did; reinforced the fact that i like historical fiction. such a nerd.)

on deck...

snow falling on cedars by david guterson
maus by art spiegelman (really looking forward to this)
hoot by carl hiaasen (yay, burrowing owls!)
fahrenheit 451 by ray bradbury (i wanted to re-read this or re-read 1984 and this one won since it's half the other's length)
wrinkle in time by ...? (only reading this because it cost .25. maybe it'll surprise me.)
esperanza rising by pam munoz ryan
house on mango street by laura cisneros
out of the dust by karen hesse
sold by patricia mccormick (read this a while back. it's about a girl sold into sexual slavery. don't remember much now except that it was extremely moving.)

anyone read any books appropriate for an 11- to 21-year-old that knocked your socks off? honestly, some of the books are just normal, adult books (snow falling on cedars is 450 pages, for chrissakes!) that somehow made it onto the booklist for the class. so mostly anything is OK as long as it's not fluff. i need a few more, particularly for the poetry/drama unit, sooooo... help would be appreciated.

i've hit a few thrift shops to get books and ideas lately, which is cool because they sell books for like .25. so now after i finish all this school reading, i have the second installment of bridget jones to read. (i have a hunch that i should feel silly admitting it, but i really enjoyed the first one v. much, so i don't even care. :)

now off to crack open snow falling on cedars!
Monday, July 07, 2008
  so sad
we had a visitor at our class the other night. he is an FAU staff member and apparently was involved in a dui incident 2 years ago. part of his sentence is to speak in public once per month about the dangers of alcohol & driving. he also has to write a column in the school paper.

i think we all thought we knew what to expect, but when he came in, he was so uncomfortable. he didn't really talk to us about what happened to him. at first he said that he was pulled over for dui, and i was like, "oh, so it wasn't an accident then." then a few minutes later, he said that there was an accident. he said it could have been much worse. then i realized he was talking about his punishment; he got off on a misdemeanour instead of a felony.

when someone came out and asked him what happened, he said he couldn't talk about it since there was a civil suit.

it was all just very weird. like... he kept saying things like it wasn't really his fault. other people were involved. etc. it just doesn't seem like the attitude you should have when coming out to talk to college students about drinking and driving. no wonder he said his previous speaking engagements went badly sometimes... kids would eat this guy up if he came in like he did to our class, dancing around the details and trying to avoid the blame.

i never caught his name, but did know his dept., so i found him on the school website and then googled him. through some columns he had written, i found out the truth. apparently he had a few drinks, then went out and had a few more, then was driving home and heard a "large noise under his car" so got out to check it out and discovered that he had hit a 24-year-old pedestrian, and killed him. i have no idea how he was trying to escape blame for this... no matter what other people did.

then tonight i came across a story in yahoo news about drinking games. this girl, who was born and lived in la crosse, died in her sleep from alcohol poisoning after spending the day drinking after her semester ended. she looked like a normal, sweet girl. the other stories in the article are just as sad. such as the guy who had 24 drinks in 2 hours on his 21st birthday and died from it. they just have no idea how lethal alcohol can be.

all of it is just so sad.
  chris = too funny
chris likes to tease me, anytime the subject of rings come up, about "blood diamonds." how could i be so selfish as to want a ring that caused so much injustice and suffering?

imagine my glee when i was reading a magazine one day and it said that tiffany's has been selling conflict-free diamonds for years and years (as well as no coral-based jewelry). i showed him the article as soon as he came home and he whipped the magazine across the room. in jest, of course.

so ever since, tiffany's has been a bit of a joke. and since he got me a bracelet from there last year, they send catalogs from time to time. they are appropriately filed.

today i went to get yesterday's mail out of the box and noticed there was a tiffany blue envelope, which is what they send their catalogs in. i separated his mail from patty's then put the tiffany catalog on top and walked it into him, quite self-satisifed as i held it out to him.

he didn't make any indication that he realized what i had done or that it was even a tiffany's catalog. but within a half second of me handing him the stack, he tossed the tiffany catalog over his shoulder. as in: "garbage!"

jerk. :)
Sunday, July 06, 2008
We headed off to Bimini again this weekend. I had had, like, no sleep for Wednesday and Thursday nights, so I was feeling rough when I had to get up at 5:45. I napped on the way out to the ocean, but then it started to get a little too rocky to stay in the cabin.

The water wasn't great on the crossing, but it was do-able, much moreso once we found a boat to follow. Staying in its wake, it was damn-near calm. It took us 2.5 hours or so. We went into the marina where I got to sit still for a while and eat some breakfast. Chris took care of immigration.

Oh, an example of how great Chris is:

Me: Did you happen to bring my wetsuit?
Him: Yep.
Me: Oh, I didn't look up the dive sites. (Like he has asked me to during the week before.)
Chris: I did.
Me: You rock.

:) In my defense, I didn't know until I got up (quite late) on Thursday and had a text message from Chris saying that the water was going to be calm so we were going to try to make the run. Before that, I thought Bimini was out of the question.

So anyway, then we went to a dive site that I don't remember the name of. I'll have to ask Chris. It was a great dive!

Then we went to the Hesperus, a wreck fairly far away. Once we got there, there was no mooring. Chris started to worry that he had the wrong coordinates. Then the GPS kept telling him to turn right. Turn right, turn right, turn right. Then I spotted a rope floating in the water - lucky us, we had found it!

(Not my picture.) We could see the wreck from the boat, but the viz was so not like this that day, alas.

And the water was GREEN there, which was weird. And the visibility was bad, strange for the Bahamas. But it was cool anyhow. It was very shallow - around 15 feet. The whole thing that was striking was just the sheer number of fish. They were EVERYWHERE. Walls of grunts.

(Not my picture.)

Around the wreck floated more barracuda than I've ever seen. And they were huge. They're pretty benign, but I did cover my ears (and my sparkly silver earrings) when one began to approach me. We saw grunts, hogfish, and anemones with their resident shrimp. The place was like Stingray City, too... They glided by all the time. More than once, I counted four in front of me, flying by like a flock of birds. Once in a while, one would hunker down in the sand, wiggling to allow the sand to settle on their "wings." Chris asked later: Do they really think we can't see them if they do that? Hehe, I dunno. Oh, yes, we saw three sea turtles (or one sea turtle, three times) on this dive. So cool. :)

This is the Hesperus, only the water was green:

(Not my picture.)

That night, we went back to the marina and watched fireworks from the dock, then walked over to Big Game for dinner at the bar.

We woke up bright & early on Saturday, and by the time we got everything packed up - it was raining! So then we sat for a while. I read. Chris relaxed (for once). After the rain trailed off, we headed out for gas and then to the Sapona, but it was starting to rain again once we got there which stirred the water up. It was too rough to enjoy, so we went to Honeymoon Harbor instead. There, I snorkeled around and was molested by various stingrays. I actually was brushed up by them this time; they must have been hungry. People feed them there at the shore, so when I saw some people heading over with fish, I followed and was able to get some pictures and video of the feeding. I will upload that soon.

It started to rain pretty hard, so I headed back to the boat. Took a shower with the fabulous sunshower. Hunkered down and watched the rain. Some other boats there didn't have cover like we did, so the people were stuck in the rain... It was raining too hard to head back (one boat tried, and came back a few minutes later) so they were stuck just sitting there. Thankfully, I am pretty sure they were drunk - they hopped into the water and kept drinking. They were having a blast! The rain was cold and the water feels cold eventually, so I was pretty much in awe of these people.

(Not my picture - of Honeymoon Harbor.)

After it cleared, we pondered our options. It seemed we would stay the night again, since storms were everywhere and that's dangerous to head back in. But the seas were supposed to pick up on Sunday, so when Chris saw a path through the storms on the Doppler (boat GPS units are cool), we decided to make a run for it.

The first few minutes were nice and calm, but then the waters started to pick up. I had to put my book down and concentrate on our wake. The water actually got rough enough that I got scared - a first on the boat. The Whaler can't sink, but she can capsize, a fact which came to mind when a wave would tip us over on our side. The only things that reassured me was the fact that Chris hadn't told me to put on a life jacket and the helicopter I saw overhead a couple of times. If we went over, at least they would see!

To keep my mind off things, I thought about what the dogs would do when we got back - how happy they would be. Thought about Julia Roberts movies (?!). Watched for birds and flying fish.

A small craft advisory was in effect today, so we're really lucky we came back yesterday. We would have been stranded! Chris would have had to fly back here for work, if that's even possible from Bimini.

After we got to Bimini and were in the marina, Chris said that he thought he was over Bimini. This would be the last trip. I usually feel pretty sour towards the trip right after a crossing, so this wasn't surprising. But, like the other times, when the trip was coming to a close, we were both in love with the place again and were talking about next time. Next time I have to remember oatmeal to feed to the fishes and shrimps for the stingrays at Honeymoon Harbor. Next time we are going to be more choosy about the water/weather forecasts. Next time we're going to dive the Sapona again.

:) :) :)

Oh, and as I thought, the dogs were ecstatic to see us home. Gretchey cried from the backyard at us as we docked. The other dogs barked. Maggie jumped as high as my head when I went to the side to say hi. They're so cute.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
  it's that time again!
we're off to bimini tomorrow for the weekend, assuming the water is flat when we wake up. :)
  i'm guessing that was a mistake then
i haven't had any sugar or caffeine to speak of (aside from my little mojito splurge at benihana last weekend) since 6/22.

well, last night i decided i was going to treat myself to an iced coffee, which i picked up on the way to doggy obedience class. i sipped it throughout. yum!

back in the day, having an evening coffee wouldn't have been a big deal. in fact, it was a fairly common occurence. not that common, however, since that meant seeing the one dude at dunkin donuts. he's a bit strange. too talkative. he is the one that i heard hitting on some chicks once by telling them he was a musician and had a cd, hip hop presumably. i'm like, "uh, yeah, and it's doing so well that you're workin' the counter at DD." but i digress. point is, nighttime caffeine really didn't seem to do much to me. it certainly didn't stop me from sleeping at a "decent" hour (although, admittedly, my idea of decent is vastly different from most).

anyway, so about last night. 2 a.m. came and went, and i was like, "whoa!" since i usually don't make it that late anymore. i try, like an 8-year-old fighting sleep every night, but i always conk out while watching t.v. or reading.

then i got into this book i chose for my class, girl with a pearl earring. next thing i know, it was 5 a.m. i knew chris's alarm would be going off soon, so i scooted off to bed. then laid there for an HOUR with my thoughts racing.

note to self: next time you want to indulge in a caffeinated beverage, make sure it's EARLY in the day. sheesh. i had to set my alarm for 11 today (!!!!) so i wouldn't slepe too late, but then woke up at 10-something and now get to do the day on like 4 hours of sleep. and we're (probably) going to bimini tomorrow, i just found out!
  1st night of obedience classes

it was interesting!

these one people had this great dane there. 7 mos old - not full-grown - and already 110 lbs. should get to be about 160. and this dog had no idea he was big... he was like gretchen, totally unruly, only 4x her size. craziness. he kept pawing at his people, with a paw as big as their hand. he lunged over and over at the other dogs, barking, causing an uproar. i talked to the people after and they said he's totally sweet, he just wants to smell and play with the other dogs. but the other dogs can't help but feel like lunch when dealing with something of that size. crazy. at least they're in obedience classes, tho.

gretch was good. she's way too smart tho. like they say hold one treat out for the dog in a closed fist and hide another behind your back. the command "leave it!" should be instilled by getting them to ignore what's in your hand and surprise them with the behind-the-back treat. it worked on gretchey, like, twice. after that, she would just stare at my other arm, waiting for the "hidden" treat to appear. even when chris did the command at home to see, she just stared at his other arm. too smart!!

i have to practice with her a lot. see, at some point, i would like to be able to sit down on a couch and not have three dogs immediately fight over who gets to sit on my lap, or just decide to share it. and not listen when i tell them to get down. they're such loves, but there are too many of them and they're too big to CONSTANTLY be all over me. and two of them are lickers... and trust me, sometimes there is such a thing as too much love.

so, here's hoping that the obedience class works. :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  Me in 10 years
I'm in a class right now, Literature of Adolescence. Or Literature for Adolescents. Not sure. Anyway, the teacher is this nice old guy. Something like 65 years old. A "Wilford Brimley" lookalike, which he pointed out that someone said about him on his ratings page.

Anyway, he was talking about this article that appeared recently in the local paper that talked about Palm Beach County teachers having "questionable material" on social networking sites. He stumbled when it came to giving an example of these sites: "Face... erh.. space.. um, you know, MyFace." Of course, the class erupted into laughter and people began shouting, "MySpace!" and "Facebook!"

In reaction to this outcry, he immediately corrected himself: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I meant Spacebook." And he wasn't kidding.
  Interesting site
You can check your risk for developing certain diseases here. There are little quizzes for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and all type of cancers. You go through and say your height and weight and it asks you questions about your history and lifestyle and tells you if your risk for getting that certain disease is average, above average, below average, etc.

Interesting, and it also shows you what you should be doing differently to avoid the disease, and it tells you what you're doing well too. Apparently I'm on the high side of average of developing colon cancer, probably because my dad had it, but I can help decrease the risk by taking a multivitamin and aspirin 4-6 days per week. Of course, aspirin can also increase your risk of stroke, bleeding, and ulcers, soo... Maybe I'll wait 'til I'm 40 to start doing that.
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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