Friday, January 30, 2009
apparently someone found my blog recently using the keywords:
french cat shit cheese

i really, really do not know what that's all about.
  thinking about obama
it occurred to me the other day in the shower (where most of my thinking is done) that it should be much less of a shock that we citizens of the united states elected a black man to be our president...

than the fact that we elected a man whose middle name is HUSSEIN to be our president.

seriously. do you think we'll live to see the day when an arab american is elected presidency? i'm not being ungrateful for obama, but i'm pretty impressed that middle america was able to see past the "hussein."
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
  Mama & baby

Mama & baby, originally uploaded by estacey.

Monday, January 26, 2009
  i've had to have blogged about this dude before

it's cold, originally uploaded by jwlphotography.

his pics are just amazing. i'm usually so partial to natural light photography, but this guy's work makes me want to go out and learn how to use studio lights right.

honestly, i'm loaning my flash to a friend for a few weeks, but when i get it back i think i'm going to start playing with it again. flash can be magic! (not that this was taken using a flash; his lighting is quite fancy. but you have to start somewhere!)


gretchy, funny face, originally uploaded by estacey.

this is the kind of pic i was coming up with when i first got my SLR a couple of years back.

i was going through my pics tonight for a reason and came across this and was like, MY LORD.

Sunday, January 25, 2009
So there's this change with Obama taking office. I saw him on TV the other day and I was like, wow, I actually like our new president. I disliked the ignoramus Bush from day 1. I didn't have much of an opinion on Clinton. But lord, I like Obama!

And I just can't get over his family. Michelle is beautiful, successful, and intelligent. And those kids! Malia taking pictures of everything on her little point & shoot. And then Sasha! Oh, the cuteness!

I can't really explain it, but I find it kind of amazing that we have these folks at the first family.
i just got my financial aid, which means everything i've been putting off paying just got paid. $1100 in outstanding bills i just paid in like three minutes on my bank website.


can i just say that money and lack thereof completely suck? i can't wait until this summer when i can feasibly get a full-time job. i'm trying to find something i won't hate, though, so we'll see...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
  All alone. And so sad.

All alone. And so sad., originally uploaded by estacey.

This little guy tried to saddle up to the mama lion behind him. She chased him off (I have pics of her basically nipping him to get him to go away). Then he just sat here for a while by himself, crying for his mom. Who was apparently gone because he cried and cried and no one came to him. I was heartsick. I walked down the dock and when I came back Chris told me that he was dead - killed by one of the moms.

It's messed up, but I was actually relieved. I think getting killed quickly is a much better death than starving, scared, and alone. I don't know how we could've left there if he was still alive and crying for his mom. You are not supposed to meddle with wildlife, but dude... How can you not help? :(

  Oh, you KNOW their nose wiggles when they sleep.

They like to act like they're big and scary, but then they go to sleep and look like this.

Friday, January 23, 2009
  my lord.

Poor Bjorn just wants to eat, originally uploaded by estacey.

the torts have been in the garage since before we went to san francisco since the weather has been so cold. they have a little enclosure, hiding place, and two heat lamps.

i put them in the sun yesterday outside the front door - it's not their enclosure, but since the area is gated it is still safe for them.

i fed them outside and a couple of hours later, late in the afternoon, i went to get them to put them back in the garage. i opened the door and saw this. too bad this doesn't have sound.

poor bjorn. she's always getting mounted like this by wailey. this time it was especially funny since she just kept eating while wailey worked away, making his funny piggy-sex noise.

ah well, i'm glad they have companionship and they obviously like each other well enough. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
  Happy cows come from California.

Happy cows come from California., originally uploaded by estacey.

  there IS a god

my first class tomorrow is cancelled! this gets me off the hook for reading like 100 pages of moby dick until tuesday! woohoo!

i went to boot camp tonight. this is only remarkable because the temperatures are in the 40s. there were like 20 people there monday night, but tonight there were only six or seven. i was lucky 'cause i ride bike to get there, so after that brisk 20-minute bike ride, i was quite warm. except my feet were frozen. anyway, it was a helluva workout tonight. i guess he wanted to keep us warm?

i hate this weather. i hate to complain about the cold, but c'mon... we're not supposed to get temps in the 40s here! i guess it could get down to freezing temps tonight. it makes me feel awful for that kitten at school. stray cats in general. and the iguanas! they'll be falling out of the trees tonight i bet. i'll check in the backyard tomorrow to make sure there are none passed out on our docks. you know, like last year, when i found the one and we thought it was dead and almost tossed it into the canal. then i realized maybe it was still alive and put it under a lamp and, sure enough, he got better.

ok. time to read.

  Letterman's Top 10 George Bush moments



she likes it!, originally uploaded by heather.


Dammit!, originally uploaded by estacey.

There's a kitten at school. I guess there are a few. But anyway, I saw this one in December. A little black one. I took a trap to school and left it there for hours and nothing. I was there at dusk and saw a couple of adult cats running across the yard there. I realized that there must be some type of cat population there, so maybe the spot I had seen the cat wasn't his regular spot.

But today I saw him again. He kept coming out to lay in the sun, but if I came towards him he'd run back under the building. There were people everywhere, mind you, but I guess he's gotten as good at ignoring them as they do him.

I had a cat trap in the truck bed so went and bought some tuna and put it out. I stood closeby and read a book. A few minutes later I saw him poking around the trap. Snap! I was so happy - I ran over to grab the trap, by which time there was an entire mob of people watching the happenings.

As I was gathering everything together to go back to the truck, the cat started running back and forth in the trap. Then he tapped the door and IT MOVED. It's supposed to lock. And then, in an instant, he just slipped out. I was so upset. I re-loaded the trap and left for class. Three hours later, it still sat there, untouched.

I just feel awful because it's getting so cold. Bad cold spell - the low is 40 tonight. The poor little kitten is going to be so cold. I think it'll get down to like 38 tomorrow night. I guess I'll give it til next week and try again, by which time maybe he'll forget how evil the trap is.

In other news, our fridge broke. We have a little fridge in the bar thankfully so we put most everything in there and brought our freezer stuff to Patty's. We bought a little freezer tonight as a backup and I had some stuff that wouldn't fit in the little fridge, so I set it outside. I guess the cold spell is good for something.

We turned the heat on. I set it to 76. :)

All these classes are killing me. I have two books to read before Thursday. And am juggling like four others that I'm behind on. Whee!

Alright then!

Monday, January 19, 2009
  Monterey Bay Aquarium
We went here on Thursday. I loved it, and Chris actually liked it too. Usually when I'm wandering around somewhere taking pictures, he's bored, but at the aquarium he was in awe too.

Anchovies - check out the maw on the one dude

These are the anchovies. They swim around with their mouths wide-open to feed. I am very happy with this picture, despite the blurriness.

And there they are swimming.

I was looking forward to the jellyfish and they did not disappoint. Gorgeous, and soothing to watch.



My friend Bethy pointed out that this looks like a succession of the same jellyfish, which is exactly what I thought and is why I chose to post this one out of all the ones I got. I think the key to good jellyfish pics is to get them in some sort of order, but as I wasn't at the exhibit all that long. So I got lucky. :)


Sunfish are so weird

Very weird looking things, aren't they?

Cuttlefish are my faaavorite!

The cuttlefish are always my favorite. They always come up to the side of the tank and peer at you. And they're so damn cute! I guess they're pretty smart too.

There was a huge octopus that was stuck to the side of her tank because she was protecting a whole bunch of eggs. The aquarium people were all buzzing about it; were they fertile? They were looking forward to finding out. They may get some baby octopuses!

The aquarium has a section for birds. I asked, wondering if they change the birds out or something so they don't have to live in captivity for their whole lives. The volunteer explained that the birds are all there because they were hurt in some way and I guess they couldn't be released. They actually seem to have a pretty good life and weren't scared of people at all. The funny part is that these one birds kept dipping their grubs in the water. Chris wondered aloud why and I said I didn't know. Then I saw that the grubs were in some colored concoction.. I am guessing that it was a vitamin mix or something. So the birds were dipping the grubs in the water to get the powder off. Doh!

Cute little bird.

One of the sickly birds

This one looks real rough. He is probably a new arrival.

We LOVED the otters. I got some pics of the sea otters but it was through the scratched plastic, so I may have to fix them. These are river otters. They were all so playful... In one tank they were wrestling so fast that they were basically a blur. In the next, they were cuddling in a heap.

Sea otters are just like dogs.

It reminded us of the dogs, exactly.

They had a penguin exhibit. Who doesn't love penguins?


I loved the movement of this kelp tank. Whooosh!

I really have to start doing longer videos. I like these little clips so I can remember what stuff was like, but I think they're more effective when they're at least a minute or so long.

They had a few frogs and snakes and stuff:

Green snaaaaakes

Oh! They have weedy and leafy sea dragons. In a tank with big-bellied seahorses. Sadly I couldn't get any good pics of them.

Chris admiring one of the tanks

Chris at the open-water tank. Erh, that's kind of a contradiction, isn't it? :)

We didn't get there until about 3 p.m., so we were there until closing time at 6. The sun setting outside the aquarium was real pretty.

The Bay

A sea otter! I have some more of him on his back, eating a fish or something. Ridiculously cute.

Sea otter in the Monterey Bay!

I have a bunch more pics from the aquarium, mostly of the birds, but they'll have to wait.

Excellent place; I highly recommend you visit if you have the chance! Check out the pool on Flickr too.
my former fosters are featured on a blog...

very cute blog. :)
Sunday, January 11, 2009
  i so boring!
i just read and sleep and go to school and not much exciting happens. sorry.

i have read some really good books lately though. one about modern slavery, a crime so monstrous. you know there are more slaves alive today than during any time in history? and the stories are so sad. slave children in haiti. sex slaves all over the world. indentured servants. we're really, really incredibly lucky to live in the first world, you know.

right after i finished the book, i just felt like.. i wanted to help, but what could i do? so i decided to do something small that i had wanted to do for a while - i sponsored a child. through save the children, which i found was good for two reasons: it was not a religious-based group and over .90 of each dollar donated went to the programs. so i'm the sponsor of a little six-year-old girl in haiti. my welcome packet came today and apparently i can write to her if i want. i sat and thought for a while about what i could say that wouldn't be alienating to someone living in the countryside in haiti with no running water and no electricity. i enjoy photography? my boyfriend is a doctor? we like to go boating? again, we're so lucky to be living the way we do in the united states. i settled on the facts that i like to read and we have a lot of animals.


what's good about this week is that we go to san francisco. there are a few things i want to do - ano nuevo park, where you can see elephant seals. apparently it's mating and whelping season (i dunno what else to call it - babying time?) so it's a perfect time to visit. and we're going to the monterey bay aquarium, which i have wanted to do forever. and then chris highly recommends a drive down PCH. i ingeniously suggested that we stay over one night in monterey and combine everything and i think it's gonna work out brilliantly. i'm really excited. :)

i went to beach boot camp yesterday. i had to be there by 8 a.m. on a saturday. dedication, right? a little nauseated.. the sun does so not agree with me working out.. but i made it through.

oh, one more thing! wynne is pregnant again! you know, my step-niece who has a 4-month-old? who just got married? at the justice of the peace? and then had her reception in the basement of a bar? she's pregnant with her second child. she'll have a newborn and a one-year-old. by age 20. and she is apparently happy about it? very weird.
Friday, January 09, 2009
  Oh. My. God.
so i went to beach boot camp the other night for the first time in, oh, 2 years? two words: holy shit.

i found it bordering on easy before, towards the end.. we did a LOT of stretching, and i had been going for months so had built up the stamina to run and do strength band exercises for 90 minutes. both of those things have changed. very little stretching and i am whoa-mama out of shape. i mean, i still jog here and there, and can keep up a slow jog for the 40 minutes or so i usually run, but i was not ready for sand jogging or jumping jacks or all these pushups and whatnot.

to make matters worse, i rode bike there - so a brisk 25-minute bike ride already had me a little winded, yet when i hopped off my bike i immediately had to start with the jumping jacks.

about halfway through the workout, as winded as i felt, i decided that i needed to really turn it up. so once we get back from san francisco, i'll be going to boot camp three times a week - monday nights, wednesday nights, and saturdays at 8 a.m. whee! in three months i'll figure out where i need to go from there. i'm also making sure i get the dogs out for jogs at least a couple of times a week.

in the meantime, lordy am i sore. sore. so sore. it hurts to stretch and to sit up and to stand up and to do basically anything. tomorrow should be a blast.

we got the guide to adult education classes in the mail the other day. and as much as i want to take a spanish course to brush up.. and they offer intermediate and advanced now! well, i don't have the time. i decided getting in shape was much more important right now than that. my job for the next three months (length of the boot camp membership) is to get my schoolwork done and to exercise - that's it. well, substitute and do the census, too, if i get called for that.

on the eating-better front, i've done quite well. but i discovered one cannot go cold turkey on caffeine and sugar without bad side effects. tuesday night i started getting a headache.. yes, day ONE of the cutback. it lasted through the night and was still there in the morning. which is when i decided i didn't need to suffer and went and got myself some baby coke cans. you know, the 100-calorie ones? one of those and 2 aleves and i felt better. i figure one small coke is better than one coffee, sometimes two, and one big coke and sometimes a hot chocolate late at night while i was still awake reading and whatnot, etc. yes, i've been bad.

ok, off to do some schoolwork.
Monday, January 05, 2009
  Goals, bucket list, etc.

"Dr. & Mrs. Chen", originally uploaded by estacey.

I started making my "bucket list" the other night.. But erm, now it seems it's gone. Thankfully I didn't get too far.

But one thing I did write down was that I want to look good at my wedding. That's something I have always thought about... If I have to look back at my wedding pictures and cringe, there's going to be hell to pay. It was always something I would worry about later, though.

And now, well, nothing's official or anything like that, but I definitely think it's something I should be thinking about at this point.

Sooo... I retroactively asked for a membership to Beach Boot Camp from Chris tonight. He said sure, so I'll start going once we get back from California. That alone is three hours per week, and I want to start incorporating other stuff too - going with Chris on doggy jogs, etc.

This past semester just killed me. I was always eating on the run, always taking in sugary stuff to keep me going. No more soda from now on, and I am starting to make my own coffee at home rather than making a Dunkin Donuts stop every morning. The temptation to grab a quick breakfast there with my coffee is just too much, plus about half the time they manage to my coffee so sugary/creamy that I can hardly drink it.

So anyway.. I've said it before, but the only way to get into shape is to keep trying if you eff up. Now I really have something in mind though... Do I really want to be a fat American getting married in a foreign country? No, no, no, NO.

I'll post a picture, you know, at the end of 2009 or something. ;)

Sunday, January 04, 2009
  Sebastian and his balls.

Sebastian and his balls., originally uploaded by estacey.

Sebastian is totally obsessive about balls. It's actually really funny.. If you want to mess with him, you just drop way more balls than he can hold. He goes nuts trying to figure out which ones to go after and how to get them all in his mouth.

OR you throw a ball when his mouth is already full. He drops what's in his mouth to run for the ball. Then he realizes what he did and turns around. Then he remembers about that other new ball and turns around again. Totally indecisive. Poor Sebastian. :)

Then when he wants attention, he nudges the balls until they're under the couch or the treadmill or something. Then he whines and forces you to abandon whatever you're doing to help him retrieve the balls. Which he promptly nudges under something again.

Crazy dog.

Friday, January 02, 2009
  Power tripping

Power tripping
Originally uploaded by estacey

  New job
Today I went to apply for a census job. I saw an ad on Craigslist and then there was another in our church flyer, so I really got the point that they really did have a great need for census takers. Apparently the assignments last from 5-10 weeks and pay "competitively" which is probably somewhere around $15/hr, maybe more in South Florida although I don't know. But anyway, it's good for me since 1) I need money. Seriously. I have credit card bills to pay off again and would rather not use my student loans to do it. And 2) I need to save up for next semester's two classes as I won't be getting financial aid for those. And 3) it's short-term, so I'm not getting roped into anything I can't handle during school, and pays well for a short-time job.

Anyway, you have to take a test during the application process.

I wasn't expecting anything major, and the test pretty much met that expectation. The best part? Getting 10 right out of the 28 questions was considered a passing score. The sad part? There was a lady there re-testing as she had been "unsuccessful" at her first test (oh no, she didn't FAIL it - she was UNSUCCESSFUL at it - gotta love political correctness). I finished a little early and then was watching her and noticed that she was actually shaking, working in such a hurry and nervous. I seriously mean it was sad...

Sample questions?

A. to transport
B. to copy
C. to repeat
D. to exchange

.41 + 21.4 + 6.3 + 280 =
A. 48.49
B. 59.8
C. 308.11
D. 450

So yeah. It was just a little easy. If you're looking for a flexible, decent-paying part-time job, check out the website: Also cross your fingers for me since a paycheck for even a few weeks would be a blessing. I'm still going to be substituting for that school but I don't know how much they'll be calling me for that.
  One of those bucket list things
Maggie Mason of did this list of things she wanted to do before she "went." I thought it was a nice idea... I haven't gotten around to doing my own but now am thinking about it.

The funny thing is that a bunch of stuff that pops into my head are things I want to do again. Like swim with manatees, skydive, and go to the Galapagos. I guess I liked that stuff. :)

I'm excited that a bunch of stuff that I've come up with on my mental list is tangible, some even for this year... I think 2009 will be a big year. San Francisco is in a couple weeks, where I'll get to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium which I've always wanted to do. Costa Rica is in a couple of months. CR in general isn't on my "again" list although I'm really excited to go back.. (It's hard to explain that.. It would be on my to-do list, but I feel like it's such a given that I'll go back again - and again - that it doesn't really need to go on the list.) However, a night tour of the forest is, and I plan to cross that off on this visit. I really want to see the sloth orphanage, too, but that probably will not happen this trip as it is on the opposite side of the country (Caribbean side) as most of the other good stuff.

One thing that is in my head for when I have an income again is that I want to pay for a surgery through Operation Smile. You know, those poor kids in poor countries that were born with cleft palates and it completely affects their lives and for a mere $250 you can pay for a surgery to have it fixed. But that's definitely for the when-I'm-employed list.

Oh, also, I want to take Amanda somewhere cool. I asked Kamille if she would prefer someplace naturey like I would or someplace like London or Paris. She said the latter, definitely. So that's something else I'd like to save up for.. I have a couple of years to give it to give her a trip for her high school graduation or something. :)

There are a couple of other big things that may happen this year, but I won't go into that.. Yet. :)
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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