Monday, November 30, 2009
  One of my Flickr contacts took in a cat...
Anyone got a few bucks to pitch in? Here's the cat:

Here's her photostream:

And here's her story:

The day before Thanksgiving I went to Home Depot with Evan's Mom to pick up a few things and left with a cat. Arg. Employees were trying to find someone who could take the sweet boy home as they were going to have to call Animal Control. He's a beautiful little man and he has done an amazing job adjusting to life in my laundry room :)I have no earthly idea what I'm going to do with him as we are really maxed out with the care and feeding of 4 cats and a dog on a very limited budget.. and there is no room for him at local rescues and his chances at Animal Control are slim. He'll be here and safe until we figure it out though.Something about the little man spoke to us and so Evan's Mom and I sent Evan home to get a carrier. He is not fixed and judging from the condition of his coat, skin and nerves he had been on his own for a while. He is terribly terribly sweet though. Even as nervous as he was you can tell he just desperately wants to give and receive good lovin'. I've spent the morning looking into low cost alternatives to get the man fixed and vetted, and will go get a voucher for him on Saturday. Even low cost is going to go well beyond what we can afford. So.... I'm reaching out for a little help. I'm estimating at this point with neutering, FeLV/FIV testing, and vaccines, along with food and litter costs it will cost me about $150 to keep the boy until I can find him the perfect home. This cat is going to make someone VERY happy. I just need a little help getting there.Thank you for reading this. If you can.. please donate. Seriously, even a dollar or two will make a HUGE difference. Anything I do not spend on Home Depot (if I can qualify for a free program) will be donated to First Coast/No More Homeless Pets. Read about them and what they do.. here

To donate
click here I will continue to post updates so you know how your donation has helped!I feel more than silly asking for help for this little man but... while this may be cheesy, the thing that makes me feel better is a quote that often runs through my head..."If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."For now this little guy is my one... thanks again for reading this far. Oh, and if you can't donate... just give your animals a kiss for me and that'll do fine :)
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maggie Mooooo!, originally uploaded by estacey.

oh, i've been so quiet!

we're in key west right now. one of those awesome paid-by-work weekends. we brought two dogs with us... our friends were teasing us that we should have not kids and if we did how we would not be able to do this kind of thing anymore, going to key west and stuff. i had to laugh tonight because this has been THE TAMEST TRIP ever. we usually go out and get tipseh at least one night, but not this trip... we have eaten, walked the dogs a lot, watched tv (no cable at home remember), and today we took a nap. i was like, um, yeah, i am pretty sure we can do this with a baby in tow.

my sister got in a bad car accident last week. she broke her pelvis in several places and her collarbone, and hit her head a good one. everything will be OK but it sounds like it will take a while for her to heal. i'm heading home wednesday for a couple of weeks and may go back again after christmas. i have to wait to get the details about her condition and plan of recovery before i go making any plans, though. it's so hard to be so far from home and useless and helpless.. i could have flown home right away, of course, but i wanted to time it to where i could be of most use instead of rushing home only to sit around and do nothing. so i guess i'll be helping with her and the kids. she really should be going to a rehab hospital for a while, but last i heard that was really up in the air.

practicing photography on the dogs, as you see here. this was in our friends' yard where we went for thanksgiving. it was reeeeally late in the day, so all the pics are at a slowish shutter speed, but overall i'm pretty happy with th e results.

ok, off to snooze.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
  Mmmmm, hi!
OK, so I have gotten absolutely terrible at updating this. Sorray! Let's do the convenient numbered list to get you up to speed!

a. Why I Took It To Begin With.
OK, so my last semester of school was really light. It's a blur at this point, but from what I remember... It wasn't a full-schedule kinda semester, so by the end of it I was gettin' a little jumpy for something to do. So I got a job. I applied for some ones that looked interesting, on which I got no calls back (degree or not, my professional background is in admin... I think it'd take a lucky break to get a chance doing something else.) So anyway, I found this job that was an admin job (I vowed that my last job was the last one I would take where I was responsible for answering THE phone (as opposed to my phone), but I was bored and money sounded appealing and this job seemed at least very diverse in its duties, and they were laid-back there, so I took it. Also, I probably have made it clear that once I pop out some baby Chens, I will not be workin' 9 to 5. So this was a good interim-'til-baby-Chens type of gig. I thought.
b. Why I Hated It.
1. (Am I doing this right?) Job duties.
Instead of doing all sorts of stuff, including marketing and things which require PhotoShop (it was on the job ad!), I instead basically did Accounts Receivable and a bunch of reports. That's about it. And answered the phone. Anyway, so yeah.. It's not their fault.. The company is seriously growing and when they hired me they probably didn't realize how time-consuming the A/R was becoming. But I was NOT interested in processing stacks and stacks of checks all day. Never-ending stacks of checks. Blah.
2. Environment.
And I had to put up with a batshit crazy officemate. Who is 72 and a slut. Seriously. I have some pics of her finally... I'll have to get some up. Also, IT SMELLED LIKE PEE IN THE OFFICE. Seriously. I never got a resolution to that mystery. But it was BAD, particularly when the A/C was on, so maybe someone was using the vent as a potty? It was insanely bad though, the smell. It would be on my hair when I left and in my clothes. Usually the smell would dissipate on the drive home and all that, but sometimes it stuck around. I'd give Chris a hi-welcome-home hug and he'd pull away and say, "The pee smell is really bad today." You know, as if the pee smell could ever be really good. And my clothes? Forget it. I took to re-wearing jeans for days because there was no point in getting a fresh pair out when they were going to smell like a urinal by the end of the day. Do you know how old that gets? When you're not happy with your job and ON TOP OF IT you smell like pee. You're at home and you get a whiff of your purse and IT SMELLS LIKE PEE and you cringe. Your car is starting to smell of pee. It was bad and by the end of it was I starting to get all panicky for an escape. They dragged out my leaving a bit and I just kept thinking, "One more day of piss smell!" And then it would get dragged out again. Torture. Mind you, this business was not one of urinal cakes or Depends manufacturing. It just made no sense.

But it's all done now! Yipee!!!

You knew that though. I got the marriage certificate today, so I can get a-workin' on changing my name now. Being married is mostly like shackin' up, as I may have stated on here already. But with better benefits. ;) Honestly, I filled my first prescription today under the hubby's plan and it was amazing. I had insurance until like two months ago, when my COBRA ran out, but it was pretty crappy insurance. Then I was bare, so Imitrex cost me like $10/pill. Yipee. I can get a whole pack of Imitrex for like $20 now. Woo-woo!

This is the first week, but I have to say... having a shit office job has really made me appreciate not having to go to it. Seriously.

I am glad to be home with the animals more... The dogs and I have made one trip to the doggy park and are going again tomorrow. We went to the Doggy Store and bought bones, which after they cleaned 'em off I filled with peanut butter and froze 'em for the next day and the dogs loooved them. I am home to put the bunnies outside in their new outdoor run in the afternoon. They LOVE it. I love not NOT getting home until after dark... And the cats love being able to shadow me all day instead of just from 6:30 on. :D

I have registered the name. I am having a logo designed. I have parked domains. Now I'm just waiting for the logo to get cracking on the website and blog. Ooh, and I am working on building my porfolio, which is a must. So far I have like 5 offers to take Boxer pics. Which is nice and all but um.... I have to have more breeds in my portfolio than just Boxers!!! Ah well.

I LOVE the idea of having my own business. I am actually really excited about it. I've been digging through books about logos and branding and marketing and stuff. It's all incredibly interesting to me.. I love graphic design. I don't think I'd never have a talent for it, but I appreciate the creativity and cleverness so many designs display. How something as simple as a font can project information to your client about your business. It's all awesome and I love trying to figure things out and being EXCITED about what I am going to do rather than doing it because I HAVE to or dreading it. You know? There are going to be lots of EH parts of it... e.g. accounting, dealing with shit customers... but it'll be worth it. It'll be mine!

Working on this the past couple of weeks, it keeps coming back to me how damn lucky I am. I do recognize that. I am so lucky that Chris takes care of things. I am lucky that he is the kind of guy to encourage me to do what I want. Not having a job... it's not as if I have Chris's credit cards and am told to go wild. No, no.. not having a job will mean really not splurging, because we keep a budget. But doing this is at least a possibility for me. A really awesome possibility to get to do what I want each day instead of dragging myself into a job and sitting out my eight hours just so I can get the paycheck. And I will have freedom!!! I am already planning a light schedule for the weeks when I have my period so I can get extra sleep. Ha!

Did I mention that I have never actually fully applied myself to a job? Never. I mean, I always get things done. I always excel, actually. But about half the time I'm goofing around or trying to. I did awesome at my first job.. awesome, really! Meanwhile I had figured out how to use telnet on the work computers so I could chat all day. I billed 120 hours a month at the law firm (where we were required to do, um, 50) while spending hours online each day. Seriously! The bitch big-ass billing girl even wrote a letter to the partners about my Internet usage... nevermind how I saw that... but the partners basically wrote back to her that I got my job done and my billing kicked ass, so stop meddling. I mean, I did work hard.. I would even stay late sometimes, and I was on salary so it didn't matter! But for the most part I spent a lot of time doing NON work stuff (see all the blog posts from that time period). I mean, a LOT. Because work has just never been that interesting. You know, I know I've got to get it done, but I for sure am not going to spend any more time on it than I HAVE to. (Training my replacement at the last job, he kept saying how incredibly efficient I was, and I'm like.. what you don't realize is that I made this really involved spreadsheet to avoid two hours of non-interesting work a week, preferably so I could use the time to research whatever animal or hobby I am interested in at the time). I wonder what I could do at a job where I loved what I do and want to do my best. The idea is exciting!

Yep yep yep, excited over here.

Um, OK, I gotta go get ready for bed. I actually have PLANS for tomorrow so I should wake up at a reasonable hour. :)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
  Chris holding the little brown one.

These baby buns are the offspring of a mama bunny who was rescued from a hoarding situation. See the website for information. I'll just say that these adorable babies (and their mom) were so so so lucky that they were taken out of their former home. We visited last Saturday and OH MY do I wish I had room for more bunnies! The babies were absolutely irresistible. I would've stayed all day snuggling on them if they would've let me! Or, if Chris would've let me that is. ;)

This is the place where we got our Piper.

Saturday, November 07, 2009
  Happy, Byron???

Happy, Byron???, originally uploaded by estacey.

Also, I reprocessed this pic. Why? Because I love it.. or the idea of it.. whatever.. and it was an amazing time, alone on the beach, no one at all there. And WHY exactly did I reprocess? Let me explain:

Byron came over tonight and said something along the lines of, oh, your wedding photographer in Fiji must've sucked because I saw that pic he took. Which pic? I asked. He meant this one. I'm like, um, that was a self portrait with the timer...

I cropped it more strategically and changed the processing.

Hopefully this sucks less. :P

  My rings

My rings, originally uploaded by estacey.

I'll get to doing a wedding post at some point... I think I'm done processing pics for the time being. This weekend Chris's sister is having her bridal shower. (In 7 hrs! Meep!) Obviously, I still have not recovered from Fiji time.

I'm training my replacement at work, so just a few days to go... Yipee!

And I'm deep in planning this whole BUSINESS thing. The part that makes me really nervous is the pictures part. Gotta practice on strange dogs.. and cats and horses and stuff. Byron's boss is apparently like me on steroids - she has 7 dogs and 3 cats and 2 bunnies and some amount of tortoises and some horses....!!! I figure I could make a whole portfolio by just visiting her for the day!!!

Anyway, off to lay in bed and wish I were sleeping!

  "Dr. & Mrs. Chen"

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


this is from '06.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Yes, we did make it official!, originally uploaded by estacey.

So far just a screen grab from a video we had the hairdresser do with the Powershot. I look very serious -- too serious -- but Chris looks cute. :)

Being married feels remarkably similar to shackin' up or being engaged. Except you say you're the "wife" and you have a new name and you can tease your husband (!) that he's stuck with you forever any time you're being a pain in the ass because SOMEONE doesn't believe in divorce. :D

Wednesday, November 04, 2009
  False killer whales and Hawaiian spinner dolphins

We saw false killer whales off the boat in Taveuni. One was really close to the boat, right under the water.. Pretty awesome. :)

  I'm back!

Fiji, originally uploaded by estacey.

We actually got back reeeeeally early on Sunday, but I basically went into a coma until Monday night.

Oh, get this... So we get to the Miami airport at like 6 a.m., we get our bags, run to Whole Foods in time for them to open so I could get breakfast, then go home. I snuggle the animals and promptly collapse in bed. Chris cleans the kitchen, goes to mass, goes to the hospital to visit a patient, goes to Costco, goes to Patty's to pick up the dogs, comes home, unpacks, mows the yard... You get the picture. I waved at him periodically from my spot on the bed.

I have NO idea why I was so tired. I slept well in Fiji. Slept on the plane. Slept in the hotel in LA where we camped out for our layover. Slept on the second plane. Not only am I tired when I would've been sleeping in Fiji, but I'm tired the rest of the time too! Except I seem to be sleep saturated and now I'm just tired during the day... I had to take a sleeping pill at 4 a.m. so I could get SOME sleep before I came to work.

Anyway, enough of that. Fiji was awesome. The first place we stayed was a 10-minute boat ride from the island where they filmed Castaway, to give you an idea of what it looked like there. Our island was tiny and had just a couple of other couples on it at any given time, so it was really quiet and private-feeling and lovely. There was nothing to do but relax, except eat and snorkel and do honeymoon-type activities. :) There were baby black-tip reef sharks all over in the water, which I loved. We'd have breakfast, play in the water, read, nap in the hammock ("where did those two hours go?!")... When dusk approached, we watched the sunset and I harassed the hermit crabs. It was just so quiet and pretty, perfectly what you would expect Fiji to be.

The second place we stayed was more real Fiji rather than a resort. You know that on the whole island there was not one place to buy a postcard? That's how not-touristy it is. The corals there were amazing... We went diving and snorkeling. Both were amazing, but I could not get over how beautiful and healthy the coral were just yards from the road. Unfortunately we didn't bring the underwater camera EITHER time when we snorkeled, which kills me because the pics would've been way better than the diving pics we took 50 feet underwater.

The only negatives were: 1) I didn't get many pics with the SLR at all. There were all these cute kids on the coastal walk we did, for example, but we were hiking to a waterfall, so I didn't really want to lug the big, expensive camrea along. Sigh. 2) It is their spring there, and it was a bit chilly for us! Not chilly, really, except for when it comes to swimming. It was, I dunno, upper 70s? 3) Turns out Fiji has sad stray dogs. All of whom limp. I decided that if I found a puppy I would bring it home and give it to my mom as a souvenir or something, but the only little ones I saw were a little older and snuggling happily with their mom (and their fleas), so it was a no-go. The folks who run the resort there have taken in four dogs (their limit), one of which was so small they thought it was a rat or something. It's grown into a super beagle. :D

So yeah, I'm Mrs. Chen now. Doesn't feel quiet real.

Will be uploading pics in the next couple of days.. So far this is the only one I've posted. Goes to show how quiet the island was. No photoshopping any people out! :)

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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