11 Jan

Oh Poop!

There’s some weird shit around here. First I saw what I assumed was an old cocoon on our little mandarin orange tree.

Fine — I’ll take a few munched leaves if it gets me a butterfly. Then, a few days later, I saw a new cocoon, PLUS a caterpillar.

My first reaction was, “Wow, that’s sure an audacious guy, not even trying to hide, but I guess he can because he sure looks just like bird poop.”

The next day, there was another poopy caterpillar and the cocoon had hatched. The butterfly was nowhere to be seen, but I had to figure out what they were so I Googled the less than colorful words: “caterpillar, hawaii.” Waddya know, after a little searching, I actually found listings referencing poop, turd, and “bird shit caterpillar“.

From our research, we learned that the poop-like caterpillar changes to a prettier green version. Guess what? The next day, the larger of our two turds turned into this:

So, ours are specifically Chinese Yellow Swallowtails. The bad news is the exterminator was due to come and spray (something I’m very conflicted about, but the homeowner pays for it, and as the newbie here, I’m reluctant to mess with his house too much). The good news is that our orange tree is in a container — so I brought it (and the worm bin) indoors for the afternoon. The neighbor kids came over to play so we showed off our new “pets.” Girl neighbor was curious and touched the green caterpillar — Yellow things popped out of it’s head!! Back to the computer and we learned that these are not antennae, but osmeterium which are scent glands that supposedly give off a smell birds don’t like.

We also learned that the cocoon is called a chrysalis, or pupa, and should “hatch” a butterfly in about ten days. I was hoping to post the whole cycle here, but we’re just too excited. Green guy #1 has about tripled in size and #2 is catching up. Hopefully we’ll have chrysalis to show soon!

01 Jan

Happy Year of the Cow

I can’t say that I have seen people take to fireworks like they do in Hawaii. I was impressed by the half-hour amateur show in Germany, but this takes the cake. It started at about noon on New Year’s Eve and just built in momentum until midnight. Spinning things, popping things, Chinese firecrackers in long strings, screaming things shooting into the air, booming things, sparkly things on the ground and in the sky. You name it, someone set it off. You couldn’t see two houses away from the smoke. Apparently this love affair with fireworks is the Asian influence in Hawaii. It was loud and boisterous, but at 12:30 everyone swept up the debris and it was over.

01 Jan

100

On a lighter note than the last post, here’s a goals list I’ve been seeing around the internet lately. Personally, I have no plans for where I want to be in another five years and I’ve never made one of these lists of things I’d like to do before I die. I admit it’s hard to make a list of things one wants to do and places one wants to go when one has already bungee jumped from a hot air balloon, seen prehistoric cave paintings in France, felt heart pounding fireworks on the Washington Mall, been to the Karnack Temple in Egypt, and learned to speak German. I could die a happy woman right now in terms of worldly experiences.

In bold are the things I’ve done — all without a list reminding me to do them. In italic are things I have maybe done, depending on one’s definition of the thing. At first glance I thought I had done most of the things on the list, but now I see it’s 57 of the 100. That’s still pretty impressive though, especially when I think about the other things I’ve done that are not on this list.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (define “more than you can afford.” If I have money in the bank, I have more than someone with nothing, so I guess the answer is no, although I do give regularly)
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (do the Sierra Nevadas count?)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (mental health days are so totally valid)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (a safari is on my wish list)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (if selling a few quilts and patterns counts)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (once)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (haven’t toured per se, but floated down a river on a raft there with cousins)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (I haven’t been inside, but I’ve seen it from the gate outside)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury!
91. Met someone famous (define famous…)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

I’d like to add visiting Istanbul and anywhere in Morocco are on my vague list of places I’d like to see if given a chance, as well as anywhere in Russia. Joining the Peace Corps is something I vaguely consider whenever I think that I’m not doing anything honorable with my life. That could probably go on a list like this.