Philosophical Thought for the Day

Filed under: @ 11:20 pm

You should not be able to call your housing development “Shangri-La” if it backs on an interstate highway.
Granted that interstate is an Hawaiian interstate (yes, I know, but apparently if you use federal money to build your highway you have to call it an interstate), but still……

Second Philosophical Thought for the Day:
OHMIGOD I am more itchy than I have been in the last two damn decades there is something that is biting on me and I itch like FURY!
So that’s not particularly philosophical, but I don’t give a rip, I’m itchy.

Today’s philosophy is brought to you by Off.


Missionaries and mosquitoes

Filed under: @ 11:37 pm

Yesterday we spent a lot of time looking around at things with which to restrain the plumbago.
See it started out like this:

(again, click to enlarge, the effect is enhanced)

And I spent a good deal of time the other day pruning it back. I still haven’t photographed it in its restrained state and now it’s dark again so I can’t go out and take it now. I’ll try again tomorrow.
But this being Hawaii, if it’s left to itself it’ll only be another week or so before that shrub starts sending feelers out along that sidewalk so I had plans to put up some sort of retaining restraining thingamabobber to keep the bloody thing beaten back.

Thought about building a little retaining wall with the concrete blocks as I have in my front garden. Only in Hawaii each block costs something like $5 and I wasn’t interested in paying $800 or so to build this thing. Then we thought about putting garden benches against the shrub, but they wouldn’t be sturdy enough to keep the shrub held back, and since the whole goal is to retain the use of the pool deck on that side of the pool, anything that’s wider than about 12″…..

Anyway we spent a good deal of time yesterday morning running around looking for things with which to restrain the plumbago, but then we decided to bag it.
Went into Honolulu to pick up a reading lamp for Joan then, after a markedly exciting time finding parking we went to check out the Mission House Museum. Basically we were interested because we’re both big fans of Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes
We drove around and around and around and around and finally scored a great place to park right behind the museum. Had a turn around the mission cemetery then went to get tickets for the museum only to find that they’re not open on Mondays. And we would have known that if we’d been able to find the hours on the museum’s website. But we couldn’t so we didn’t so we sat outside trying to find a place to eat. Had a lovely chat with a cabinet maker who is working at the museum, wandered around the grounds and spent time chatting with a quartet of psittacines of some sorts (I’m still not sure what they were because I’ve not had the chance to enlarge the pictures enough to see them clearly) who live on the grounds.
Went to lunch, Hank’s Haute Dogs which was seriously yum, then wandered back home.

For some reason that I have yet to be able to explain, even to myself, we got suckered into taking Caitlin (and Libby) to Ala Moana mall today so Caitlin could try on clothes. Still not sure how that happened, but both Caitlin and Libby enjoyed Caitlin trying on clothes. Andrew and I went to Shirokiya which has a great food court, but has contracted in it’s coolness since we first were there 20 years ago. Lunch, and then we were waiting for Caitlin again so Andrew and I went to the Lego Store.
It has been decades, eons since I last had a chance to play with Legos. And you walk into the Lego store and they have big bins of Legos set next to tables with big Lego tabletops! Andrew and I spent about 45 minutes standing at a bin with a pair of Japanese boys. Andrew was building a spaceship, I revisited my childhood and built a great little secret compartment car. The kid standing next to me was maybe nine-ish, muttering to himself in Japanese while he was building. Every so often he’d pop up with “AH! Okay!” grab another piece of Lego out of the bin and add it to his whatsis which turned out to be a pretty cool flying sort of thing with an axe attached to it. His little brother was maybe five and was fascinated with the Lego people but was very dismayed (in English no less) to find a Lego person with two faces. Andrew put a second head on the Lego person with two faces which seemed to amuse him.

So a placid sort of day, if accentuated by some of the most seriously nuclear mosquito bites that I’ve run across in the last 15 years. And one of the best phallic clothing displays at Sears that I’ve ever seen. Andrew will have to post the photo.
Tomorrow we’re likely be running around to the north shore and doing some grocery shopping.
I’m hoping it doesn’t pour, but the weather report isn’t favorable.


The Saga of The Russian Nesting Orchid

Filed under: @ 11:33 pm

So we’d planned to spend a lot of today wandering around Kaimuki with Caitlin, Lucy, and Libby. But the weather was not conducive to wandering this morning.
This morning it was wet.
Wet, wet, wet, wet, wet.
Spring mornings in Kailua aren’t known for monsoon type rains. The rain this morning would more accurately be classified as a persecuting drizzle. But, as I’ve said before, it may be wet but at least it’s warm so fuckit, I’ve got some gardening to do. Andrew is still occupied trying to resurrect a laptop for Libby’s school so he was immured in the computer room and I decided to tackle The Orchid.
The Orchid stands as high as my waist and was so pot bound that bits of it were growing over the edge of the pot. When we were out and about the other day I got a BIGASS planter for it, when we were at the orchid show yesterday I purchased some orchid growing medium for it. So now it’s time.
Just for the sake of it I tried to pull The Orchid out of the pot, but, of course, it wasn’t going to come out.
So I took a variety of sharp instruments to the plastic pot and peeled it away.
Underneath the plastic pot I found……

A blue ceramic pot. It was a very attractive pot so for the sake of trying to preserve the pot for future use I, of course, tried to pull The Orchid out of the blue ceramic pot with, of course, predictable results.

So I went to find the hammer and gave the blue ceramic pot a couple of good whacks. Peeled away the bits of the blue ceramic pot and underneath the blue ceramic pot I found…..
A cement pot!

Many *fragrant* words regarding pots and potbound orchids.

So I took the hammer and gave the cement pot six or eight good whacks and peeled away the bits of the cement pot to find…..
Oh frabdjous day! The orchid! All naked and on it’s own-i-o!

So I put it in the BIGASS planter and dumped the orchid growing medium in, only to find that eight quarts of orchid growing medium wasn’t enough and there’s a gap that still needs to be filled, but the orchid is, without a doubt, a lot happier.

And since I was finished, it was only 1030, and I was already dripping, I decided to attack the plumbago that’s trying to creep into the pool.
I’ll post photos of before, in the middle, and after once we’ve got enough daylight to take additional pictures, but take it for granted that there was a lot of the plumbago that ended up moving. I didn’t really have to prune much of it away. I did have to convince rather a lot of it to grow in a different direction.
Libby says that the pool man will be forever grateful since he’ll now be able to access all sides of the pool without being eaten by the shrubbery.
Andrew still doesn’t understand why I’m having fun.

Came in for lunch, absolutely, literally, dripping wet. Shower, lunch, Angry Birds. I’m playing a lot of Angry Birds.

Then we really did saddle up with Caitlin and Libby to go to Kaimuki. Our goal was Collector Maniacs and Gecko Comics while Libby was aimed straight at the Goodwill.
A wonderful geeky time was had by all on our end and I’m going to have to pack a separate box to contain all the Asterix books I found.

Tomorrow we’re going to be on a search for concrete blocks with which to build a retaining wall to hold the plumbago back. And if we don’t end up finding any, at least we’ll be in Kaneohe and we’ll be able to stop for plate lunch. MMMmmmmm! Island delicacies!

Orchids and ramen and herons oh my!

Filed under: @ 12:02 am

We packed up this morning and went off to the 33rd annual Windward Orchid Society show. I’ve rather got the black thumb of death with orchids, I can’t grow them at home at all….. if for no other reasons than the cats eat houseplants, but I find them fascinating. The mixture of the bright, strange color combinations and the absolutely alien shapes is so cool!

And I got a nice little Cliff Notes tutorial on orchid care which I needed since Joan has a great enormous pot bound orchid that needs to be re-potted and my concept for re-potting things would likely have killed it outright.

We had a lovely time then we dropped Libby, Joan, and half a dozen or more plants back at the house and then Andrew and I went out journeying. We were mainly in search of inexpensive, likely used, bicycles (fail), lunch (NOT fail!) at Rai Rai Ramen, and a few other peculiar errands. Rai Rai Ramen ROCKS! Yummy thick miso broth, nice al dente noodles, crunchy veggies, house made gyoza (they may not be as cohesive as the mass produced ones, but I’m willing to trade in having my gyoza hold together for the flavor). Andrew had a nice spicy multi-seafood ramen that was picante enough to make him sweat…. can you use the word picante to describe Asian food?

Then we went off on a safari looking for ginger-mint body spray. See, I bought a bottle of this stuff when we were here in December 2011 and I found that Flitter goes absolutely batshit for it. I don’t know what it is about the combination of scents, but Flitter will chase me around the house to jump on my shoulder, smear my head, and chew on my hair when I wear it. The first bottle is almost gone, I can’t find the correct scent at home, so I wanted to go back to the store where I got it to see if I could get some more.
We pulled into the parking lot at Down To Earth just as it started to rain. I’m constantly amazed by people’s reaction to the rain here. I mean, it’s drenching and all, but it’s warm!
Anyway, we pulled into the parking lot and found this dude lurking on the enclosure around the dumpster.

See the parking lot backs on the Hamakua wetlands and as I walked around the edge of the dumpster enclosure to get this photo we ran across this dude…

And then this dude…..

It’s really fun to pull into a parking lot at a little strip mall and have interesting birds just hanging out.
I also amazed one of the checkers in the store by getting close enough, although not fast enough, to catch a small dove that had wandered into the store and was enjoying himself cleaning up in front of the bulk bins.

We’re going to adventure around with Libby, Caitlin, and Lucy tomorrow with the plan being to hit at least one collectable and anime store.
I’ve got nothing more left for today, so here’s a couple more cool orchids.


Need one breeze pleeze!

Filed under: @ 12:16 am

I had to take a break from the garden today mostly because Tony and I filled most of the yard waste container yesterday but also partly because there’s absolutely NO breeze today and the air is so soggy today that you end up drenched in sweat just sitting at the dinner table.
Case in point. GAK!

It’s not that it’s particularly over warm today, maybe high 70’s to early 80’s, it’s just moist. Moist, moist, moist!

So we spent much of the day sitting under fans and drinking lots of ice water. Then we went into town on safari for some fish.
And for reasons as yet unclear to me, even though we’ve eaten the fish, we came home with sausage, soda, tuna, anti-fatigue mats, a big planter for a pot bound orchid that Tony and I unearthed that is, I swear I’m not making this up, as tall as my waist, kimchee ramen, spready cheese, and lots and lots of forks.

Tomorrow Andrew and I are taking Joan into Kaneohe for an orchid show and then Tony and I are likely to go out looking for wall blocks so I can build little retaining walls for a couple of shrubs that are threatening to take over one: the front walkway and two: part of the pool deck in the back garden.
I told the pool maintenance dude about the plan for the shrub over the pool deck and he was very happy. That shrub, apparently a plumbago, is lovely but damn close to carnivorous. It’s creeping over the pool deck, trailing into the pool, and I think if something isn’t done to discourage it it’ll be knocking on the back door before long.

There have been several birds picking at a chunk of rope from which a swing used to hang in the mango tree. It’s nesting season and we’ve been getting flocks of little tweedlebeeps in the morning. Apparently the tweedlebeeps like the rope. Libby says that the cardinals that have been resident at their house for generations like to pick the fuzz of of the back of the vinyl tablecloth that’s on the table on her lanai.

OH! And the gecko! We’re sleeping on the lanai like I said. Three walls of screens and at least one gecko. When I went out to go to bed the other night there was a mamma gecko on the outside of the screen right by our bed. I know she was a mamma gecko because, this is so cool, her skin is translucent and you can see her eggs through her skin.
But she was hanging out upside down on the screen (gecko toes have skin filaments that are so small that the gecko uses Van der Walls forces to defy gravity, did you know that?) and she was totally un-concerned about our presence. So I was able to get close enough to her to reach out and tickle her tummy through the screen. Geckos apparently like to be tickled.

Anyway, it’s bedtime now. As soon as I can be convinced that the elephantine cockroach that Libby just saw scuttle across the floor is nowhere in my vicinity I’ll be getting brave enough to actually put my feet on the floor and go to bed. Fucking hell! You want a good adrenaline rush just before bed? I’m halfway across the house from the damn thing and it was still too close for my comfort. I’d need to be about in the next county before I’d be comfortable in the vicinity of that thing. Yick!

If any of y’all are woken from sometime early tomorrow morning by a banshee shriek you’ll know that I found that roach.



Filed under: @ 11:52 pm

I’ve been listening to Sarah Vowell’s book The Wordy Shipmates at night. I’ve really fallen into the habit of listening to audio books at night because I find it soothing and it’s a good way to get my brain to shut off before I go to sleep.
Granted I end up with some rather peculiar dreams at times, and I’m certain that the subliminal conditioning that I get is going to manifest itself in a really bizarre way at some point (for instance, after listening to Assassination Vacation for however many nights it took me to finish it I’ve got a trove of really useless, at least for me, information about the Garfield, McKinley, and Lincoln assassinations).
That having been said, listening to audio books is also a nice way to “read” at night without either turning on a light or having to rustle up my glasses both of which I find annoying.

So all this goes back to the fact that I was asleep at some dark hour this morning, got up to pee then stumbled, quite literally, back to bed. Popped in my ear piece so that my brain would shut off before I fell asleep again. Sarah Vowell muttering at me regarding Puritans, muttering, muttering, muttering……..
Huhwhat! Whatsis?
I was aware enough to wonder why on earth there was white noise or water effects on my audio book.
Then I smelled the breeze, we’re sleeping on the lanai which is a remarkably comfortable place to sleep this time of year, pulled out my ear piece and realized that what I was hearing was RAIN!

Sleeping outdoors during a blazing rainstorm is really a very pleasant thing.

And I actually managed to sleep until a (somewhat) decent hour this morning. Okay granted it was 0645, but my brain was still telling me that it was almost 10 a.m. I swear I’m going to be right on the correct time just in time for us to have to pack up and go home.

Got up, went for my walk out to Lanikai, I think there’s a Golden Plover nest somewhere close to the walking path through Kailua Beach Park since two mornings in a row now I’ve seen a female Plover in the same spot. She hasn’t done the “I’ve got a broken wing, follow me so I can lead you away from my nest”, but I haven’t gotten close enough to disturb her into that.
And honestly, if I’m going to continue to walk my regular route through Lanikai it might be better if I did continue to get up at dark a.m. because by 0730 or so it’s too bloody warm to be walking that hard.

Then I came back home, ate breakfast and went out to play in the garden. Andrew has been doing his computer thing, not only polishing up his Dad’s machine, but refurbishing a donated laptop for Libby’s school. Being able to play in the garden keeps me from going absolutely stir crazy while Andrew does his computer thing. I can’t imagine why it took us this long to work that out.

Boo-YAH! Planted, pruned, swept, got run over by a brown anole and actually ran across a pair of green anoles which are getting rare these days since the brown anoles breed so much more prolifically.
Gardening in Hawaii is a far sweatier prospect than gardening in Washington. I wasn’t even doing anything particularly strenuous, but DAMN!

Break for lunch.
Actually break for shower first then break for lunch. I was absolutely not fit for human company when I got out of the garden this morning.

Andrew and I spent the afternoon running around running errands. and it would have been very straightforward except that anything involving purchasing groceries for this lunatic asylum is less than straightforward (fr’ instance, you CAN’T find jicama at the Safeway in Kailua) and secondly we were, of course, accompanied by nieces. And Caitlin’s new squeeze, a very worthwhile young man named Mason. Mix Andrew with two doting nieces and then mix the three of them with a besotted boyfriend….. Especially a besotted boyfriend whose sense of humor is similar to Andrew’s. The afternoon could have been weirder, but it would have taken considerable effort.
First and foremost on the list was filling a desperate need for manapua from Island Manapua. One cannot come to Oahu and not get manapua and other okazu from Island Manapua. Such as pork hash. Pork hash is a lovely steamed concoction of pork meatball all wrapped up in a wonton skin. And when we were discussing what to do about dinner this afternoon Libby’s husband Vinnie suggested that we could make deep fried pork hash.
Huhwhat! Whatsis?
Oh lordy, lordy, lordy……
Deep fried pork hash.

Vinnie is a pretty inspired chef, there were some remarkable meatloaf panninis for lunch this afternoon, but I gotta say…. Deep fried pork hash.

Currently about half the household is curled up in a glorious porky coma. The rest of us are looking for the Tums, but it was SO worth it.

Tomorrow morning is going to be a repeat of today, although hopefully with less of me exploding eggs in the microwave (it’s a long story). We’re leaving open what to do with tomorrow afternoon, but I don’t doubt it will be a little strange.

It took me four tries to count to nine properly when setting the table for dinner this evening. I kept coming up with eight napkins and ten chairs, and god only knows how many plates were involved.
My brain has completely left the building and it’s lovely, thanks.

Here we are again……

Filed under: @ 12:09 am

Boy, if I hated the keyboard on Andrew’s laptop, I can guarantee that I’m going to hate trying to write a post on my I-pad.

Yeah, that statement was prophetic. I’ve had to give up on my pad and move to Andrew’s laptop which, while it has an annoying keyboard, at least has a keyboard on which I can type with nine fingers instead of two.

So here we are again. Double time change, standard to daylight, then a switch from Pacific daylight to Hawaiian which is three hours behind the west coast or two depending on what time of year it is. By the clock it’s only 8:15, but my brain is telling me that it’s coming up on midnight and I should be in bed.

I can’t remember where I heard it, but jetlag is the condition that happens when your body moves faster than your soul does and you can’t function normally until your soul catches up with your body. If experience is any guide my soul won’t hit the islands for at least another week.

On the other hand, walking through Kailua beach park and Lanikai at 6 a.m. is quite charming. Seeing the sun come up over the ocean and the sunlight hitting the Pali mountain range…

We’ve been apprehensive for this vacation almost since the day we purchased the tickets. Andrew’s mom had a pretty severe health scare in early December which culminated in (undiagnosed, but likely) a series of small strokes which accelerated the progression of the mild dementia that we already knew was in progress. So we had these tickets and we had these plans and all of a sudden there’s a question of which Joan is going to be around in March when we fly across half an ocean to visit.
I’m happy to announce that Joan version 2.1 is a little frail and a little vague, but overall not markedly different than Joan version 1.2 has been over the last five years or so.

And Andrew and I are spending, and planning on spending, a lot of time around the house doing little things that just haven’t been getting done because Tony, Libby, an’ dem have been too busy to get done. Fr’ instance, tomorrow I’ve been given permission to go whackitywhack and do some pruning, some planting, some raking and whooping……. I haven’t been able to get much gardening done at home over the last few weeks because my hand has been in healing mode and because the weather has been stinky. Well, my hand is, to a certain extent, still in healing mode, but overcast and rainy (it hasn’t been) or no the weather here is pretty much always conducive to gardening. It’s March, right? When we went to Koolau Farmers’ this afternoon they had tomato plants with actual tomatoes on them.
I couldn’t live here, I’m flat out terrified of cockroaches and always will be and the palm spiders are enough to send me into epileptic seizures. Also the weather is WAY not to Andrew’s liking……..
But I could get used to year round vegetable gardening.

And I’m having time to think. Time to think when I don’t have phone calls to return, when I don’t have patients to worry about, when I don’t have medical puzzles to try and solve. I’ve been wondering about my career path lately, wondering if clinical medicine is where want to spend the rest of my working life. [Note to my boss if you’re reading this: Be cool! I’m thinking about thinking about working towards a change in my career path. If I actually start having any real serious consideration of changing my work life you’ll absolutely be kept up to date. Besides, read the following.]
But this morning I realized that whatever I eventually do end up doing with my degree to keep food on my table…. clinical medicine is going to have to be part of it. Walking through Kailua Beach Park this morning I diagnosed two separate and manageable medical conditions in dogs that were walking past me on the walking path. You can take the degree out of the veterinarian, but you can’t take the veterinarian out of the degree.

Which is not to say that we won’t be having mad, crazy island adventures. We’ll be doing that, especially since Caitlin and Lucy are on spring break and are wild to spend time with Uncle Andrew. It’s just going to take us a while to come up with crazy island adventures that we can do with a 14 and 17 year old.

In the mean time I’ll try to post more often. I’ll at least try to post a photo a day.

Here’s Joan’s 83rd birthday present from Andrew and I.

(click on the image, it’s prettier that way)

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