Sunday, June 28, 2009
  Key West weekend
So as I've mentioned before, Chris has this total scam going on. His work has a Key West office, and when the doctor from there needs time off or vacation or whatever, they have to find some other doc to cover. He could either fly there for the day, them paying of course, or drive there and they pay for the whole weekend of hotel PLUS gas. Needless to say, we take them up on it whenever it fits in our schedule, e.g. this past weekend.

We drove down on Thursday night after Chris got home from work. We took the truck so we could bring our bikes and way too much stuff. We didn't get to our bed & breakfast - The Mermaid & The Alligator - until almost 1 a.m. so poor Chris didn't get a very good night of sleep before having to go to work on Friday.

took this last night
Taken on a previous trip to Key West.

I love this place. Pretty house, pretty grounds, and they have dogs too! They don't let US bring dogs, though, so we may be back at Ambrosia the next time we go to Key West...

E F A C (or something)
Taken on a previous visit to The Cafe

As for myself, I slept in (when don't I?) and then got some stuff done online. Then I hopped on the bike and tooled around town for a while. Ate at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Cafe, ordering my usual: seitan peppersteak with sweet potato fries and an Izze pomegranate soda.

Eating @ The Cafe in Key West

Drink of choice

I don't know if I've ever eaten in a restaurant alone before, so I was glad I had my camera to keep me company.

Went shopping in a few stores, shelled out way too much money for a pair of jeans, bought myself an iced coffee, took some pictures, and made my way back to the hotel soon after Chris got done with work. Which was at 3:30. I told you it was a scam. ;)

Dead leaves on the dirty ground
Someone's driveway.

Here's Chris sipping on his post-work beverage, the scene I walked into our room to:

It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Our room was really funny. It was called the Sun Room, I guess because it had a great little balcony. However, the bed was very creaky and VERY HIGH. Chris had a few too many (whee - videos to follow) and FELL OUT OF BED when he went to get up late that night.. It really would be hard NOT to. They had a step-stool to get into the bed on one side, but if you were trying to get in from the other, it was a real challenge! I really cannot see the point.

The bed in the Sun Room was, um, a bit high.

Unsurprisingly, the place has lots of mermaid stuff around the house.

Mermaids abound

They also have lots of birds - lovebirds, parakeets, and finches. The finches had a baby in one of their nests, but I couldn't get a good picture of it, sadly. It was RIDICULOUSLY cute, though.

Also, the grounds are gorgeous. Lush and green with surprises everywhere, like these plumerias:

Prettiest darn flowers.
It had just rained; those are not planted rain droplets...

The bed & breakfasts we stay in make me wish I lived in an old Key West house so badly.

If you were a chick anole, this would be super hot.
Right outside the M&A gate.

One thing Key West has a lot of is CATS. Lots of cats. Pet cats, stray cats, performing cats, everything. While trying to find the hotel, I saw this cat sleeping in a big patch of sunshine on someone's porch. I think it was a pet cat - she had a water bowl and a little hut-type thing to get out of the sun on the front porch. She was a mess, though - stinky and with tumors and stuff in her ears. Still seems to be living a happy kitty life, though, which mostly involves sleeping and the sun. :)

The oldest cat ever was snoozing in the sun when I so rudely woke her up.

The oldest cat ever was snoozing in the sun when I so rudely woke her up.

Oh yeah, Key West also has a lot of chickens. Everywhere. These guys were on Duval with their mama:

Oh yeah, Key West also has a lot of bikes.

That night we went out with Dean & Meredith, our friends from here who love Key West and were easily talked into going the same time us. Also, some young Russian doctor that was visiting Chris's office was there; Chris invited him last week to come visit the Key West office and spend the weekend. I was like UGH! People I don't know! But Chris has pretty good taste in folks (if I do say so myself) and the Russian (Alex) was super laid-back and lots of fun. I liked him even though he said he has three girlfriends in Russia and they're all 19. (He's 25, so at least the age is more forgivable.) I even invited him along with us the next day, to Bahia Honda.

Chris overdid it a bit that night and did THE MOST ROUSING RENDITION of "Thriller" that you've ever seen. Moonwalking and everything. Meredith got some video... I'll hopefully get it from her soon. At the end, a few chicks got up and were doing the Thriller dance in front of the stage. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I only had a few since I wanted to ENJOY the next day at my favorite place.. BAHIA HONDA!

Chris in Bahia Honda
Taken on a previous visit to Bahia Honda

Only when we got there, we were told that the water was CONTAMINATED and we could swim at our own risk but, uh, it was fecal contamination so NO THANK YOU. There were a lot of wet people in the gift shop though. Hmm. More adventurous than me, it would seem.

So Chris called his friend Elizabeth, who has a weekend house 10 minutes or so from where we were. She and her husband took me, Chris, Alex and their two kids out on their boat to the reef so we could snorkel. It was a gorgeous day. The water was a little rough, so once we were done in the water it was time to head back in IMMEDIATELY since we were all turning a little green. It was really nice, though. Alex said he hadn't had such a nice weekend in as long as he could remember... Then we ate ice cream cake. :) It was so cute. I had told the little girl, about 7 years old, that we had brought her ice cream cake. I told her this while we were on the boat, and from then on it was ALL she could talk about. The second we pulled up to the dock at the house, she's like, "ICE CREAM CAKE!" Repeat, repeat, repeat. After we were done, she suddenly became very concerned about whether or not we would be taking the leftovers with us when we left. Hehe.

On our drive to Elizabeth's, we saw KEY DEER! For those of you who have driven down to Key West, you've seen the signs: SPEED KILLS KEY DEER! The daytime speed limit is 45, the nighttime one is 35. These are probably the ONLY speed limits on earth that I strictly abide by.. oh, and school zones. But I had NEVER seen a key deer and was like, um, is this just made-up so we'll go slower? Apparently not! [Cue the key deer!]

Endangered Key Deer!!!!


If you don't know what a key deer is, just picture a normal deer. Then shrink it.

I'm pretty sure people feed him since he was pretty much walking towards me. Too bad all I had was the point & shoot. No good camera and no apples. The crazies thing is that we saw TWO MORE on our drive back through... One almost got hit by an SUV, but that speed limit allowed the driver to stop and the deer ran back to where it came from. Poor things. I dunno how they cross the road with the crazy non-stop Keys traffic. :( Maybe they gotta wait until weekdays..

We went back and I took a nap and Chris went for a jog - yeah, he never stops. Energizer bunny. Then we went out again with Dean, Meredith, and Alex, and this time I knew I had nothing to wake up for the next day, so....

Unnecessary drinlk at Two Froiends

I actually drank! A bunch! It was fun, though. Lots of mojitos. And I sang "Goodbye Earl" in karaoke. :)

This place
has a webcam, so thankfully our friend Lally caught Chris's "Thriller" the night before. He was amazed. Or possibly disgusted.


Hehehehe. Bikes are a good thing, and so are bike baskets. I spilled half of this stuff riding back to our hotel, but hey.

Oh yeah, there's a clothing-optional bar we went to. Well, we went to the first two floors. It's the THIRD floor that's clothing optional. Not a pretty sight, from what I hear. It's all the people you DON'T want to see without clothes on... Like last time, everyone was wearing clothes except for a really old guy and a morbidly obese guy.. Anyway, this is the sign everywhere in the bar:

No Sex On Premises

There was a scheduling issue with our room, so we didn't get to keep the same room the third night. What a blessing! We said goodbye to our giant bed and said hello to a private little cottage-type thing!

Our little cottage, the third night we stayed at Mermaid & the Alligator

The Bamboo Room! They served us breakfast on the veranda. SO NICE, esp. when you consider the fact that I couldn't make it out of the room before the 10 a.m. breakfast's-over time. SO NICE!

The third night there, we got this little cottage.

So yeah, last night we went out to eat, walked around, visited a bunch of fine establishments, then rode bikes back to the B&B, making a pit stop at Walgreens so I could desperately try to find something to help soak up all the rum in my tummy (Chex mix & chocolate chunk cookies).

Today we had our breakfast and then drove home. Bless Chris's heart, he drove and I got to nap.

From the window series...

Overseas Highway is the PRETTIEST drive.

We stopped by our friends' house, Brian & Marcie. We brought them key lime pie and hung out to play with their kids for a while. Then we finally made it back to a houseful of SUPER happy-to-see-us pets. :)
Friday, June 26, 2009
  where we are tonight.

Gardens, originally uploaded by cord1964.

we're in key west - yay! yeah, chris is covering the office here, which means a free (almost) long weekend here (LONG weekend for me; chris still has to work on friday here).

i applied for a job! and interviewed for it today! i've been on the fence about a job for a while, but truth be told i only have one online class and one night class (twice a week) and i'm getting kinda bored. also, some extra money would be nice. so i found one that sounded like it fit me and i am going for it. the best part is that it's just M-Th. wish me luck! i almost panicked when they called for an interview... being unemployed gets old, yes, but the thought of giving up all this free time is a little unnerving. but then i realized, yes, i really DO want to do this... so, let's hope they don't make all my interview-outfit-shopping be for naught. because that SUCKED.

i have a few things i'm going to write about in the coming weeks, but right now i'm tired and i gotta get up by 10 to have breakfast here. as byron pointed out, yeah, tough life - she has to get up by 10 a.m. in key west. :D

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cesar Millan and Daddy, originally uploaded by puck90.

apparently i do have a thing for pit bulls - first there was maggie (albeit unwittingly), then this fascination with cesar millan's dog. i actually have only watched that show like three times, but the one time daddy was featured and OMG. he's this super bad-ass pit bull, ALL MUSCLE, but has this super calm demeanor. the one show i saw with him, he was there to tame a chow/pit mix (i think) who would go apeshit on anyone who came in their yard. he went crazy on daddy, threatening, but daddy just stared him down. within 10 minutes, they were walking happily together...

look at this guy, seriously! what a little badass, yet a total sweetie! :D

  M-F'ing cane toads
So the house across the street is abandoned and has a nice green pool out back chock-full of tadpoles. Since I am eternally five years old when it comes to animals, I normally would relish this fact. ONLY, they are most likely CANE TOAD tadpoles.

Stacey vs. the tadpoles
Looks like a little puffer fish to me!

Cane toads are invasive here, Hawaii, and are a huge problem in Australia too. Probably other places as well. When I was researching this, I found lots of stuff going on in Australia about the cane toads. There are entire organizations devoted to going out and finding these toads... and killing them! Geniuses introduced them on purpose back in the 1950s to control sugar cane pests (unsuccessfully) and now we have these buggers everywhere. They're WAY bigger'n our native toads, compete with the native toads and their tadpoles, and on top of that they are TOXIC. From what I understand, the tadpoles can be toxic to the fish, and the adult toads are toxic to anything that may think of the toad as a meal. Big dogs apparently get high if they come in contact with the nasty stuff they secrete, but smaller animals can die. We had our own cane toad scare with Gretchen a year or so ago, when Patty was walking her outside her house in Boca Raton. Gretchen found a toad, grabbed it, then was frothing at the mouth. Very scary. Thankfully she acted quickly, hosing her mouth out, and followed up by taking her to the ER vet.

We have never had a problem with them here in the eastern part of Broward. When I lived out west I saw them all the time, but NEVER did I see them here until a few months ago. Then I found one on the tort enclosure, then another one... And now these tadpoles.. and toadlings!

Not only are there tadpoles, but there are froglings. Erh, toadlings.

I have made peace with the latest tortoise enclosure inhabitant (the dogs can't get her as long as she stays in front), but I euthanized the one I found in our back yard last night. The same way I euthanized the toad I found a few months ago that had no legs - with benzocaine. Just rub some on their backs and it knocks 'em out and kills them. When I found him dead, I felt completely awful. I'm used to helping, not killing, you know? They are bad for everything in Florida, bad for our pets... blech... So anyway, all these tadpoles and toadlings I caught are now living in a man-made pond at the corporate park where I used to work. No wildlife to compete with there, the place already HAS bufos, and there are no houses nearby so no pets can be harmed. There are THOUSANDS of other tadpoles in the pool still, however, and I am very troubled about this. I am getting the tadpoles ID'd so I can be certain, but if they are bufo marinus, I may have to take some drastic action. Sigh. As for the adults, I'll relocate them too, but that really just makes it another area's problem. Why oh why can't I just be heartless?

They're awfully cute for being so awful, right?

Little toad, you are too precious to hate!

Leetle tiny toad.

Also, I know that it's really sad that this is the only drama I have in my life. Or possibly that makes me very lucky? :)
Friday, June 19, 2009
  y'all have watched the onion videos, right?
they're great!

check this one out:

it's like.. obama drastically scales back goals for america after visiting denny's.

i like the part about the tweetie bird tattoos. :D
  mega sweet story
you all see that movie 'up'? if not, go see it. we went opening weekend and i actually loved it. they got the dogs down, man. oh, also, make sure you're going to a 3-d screening of it. we went to see 'coraline' before and i didn't realize only certain theaters and showings were 3-d, so i was kinda bummed afterwards. (yeah, i like 3-d kids movies apparently.) the 3-d is really subtle, not like imax or anything... but anyway, yeah, good.

check this out. thank god they came through for her, right?

Pixar grants girl's dying wish to see 'Up'

Company sent DVD so Huntington Beach girl, 10, could watch it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
  Yep, definitely Fiji. OFFICIALLY.

Flight: Los Angeles to Nadi

Traveler names: Christopher C***, Stacey (me!)

Los Angeles (LAX) to Nadi (NAN) 10/22/09 11:30 pm - 5:10 am Air New Zealand 4011 Operated By: AIR PACIFIC

Nadi (NAN) to Los Angeles (LAX) 10/31/09 10:00 pm - 1:20 pm Air New Zealand 4010 Operated By: AIR PACIFIC

I opted out of Sydney, since flying there first was going to put a bit of a dent in our enjoying-ourselves time. You know, the Sydney-Fiji flight is 4 hrs, back and forth, plus airport and travel time... Since we only have about 10 days (Chris's work), I decided to not spend an extra full day travelling, even if it meant seeing Australia for a couple of days. Australia has just been added to the list of things we can do later. :)

So yep, we have about 8.5 days in Fiji. Wooo!

Fiji is a group of islands. You get between them via boat or plane. We want to go to three places:

Viti Levu

Namely, Beqa:

The Mamanucas:

Apparently that's where Castaway was filmed?

And Taveuni, the Garden Island:

That will be us! :D

I got my Fiji guide and now have to figure out where we're going when, where we're staying, etc. It's a great place to dive and snorkel, and the reason we picked Fiji over somewhere flatter is that there are places to hike and explore. I can't wait!

An aside: I actually did do research to make sure that the animal situation in Fiji wasn't one that would depress me. They have strays there, but they look happy and well-fed.
  It's been a while, eh?
Since May 23 apparently. Oops.

Honestly.. My life is so damn boring. Not much news. And, you know, lugging my laptop ALL THE WAY OUT into whatever room I'm in and, since the battery sucks, GOING TO THE TROUBLE OF PLUGGING IT IN is, you know, a lot of effort. Considering NO ONE IS READING THIS, why bother.. But hey, I was never writing it for anyone else anyway. But it is nice to know that one reader (see previous comment) misses me. ;)

Here's to some more posting, since I really do enjoy looking back on the last few years of my life on here, even if I have felt like I have had to censor it more and more. aka it's not as good as it could be.
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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