Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Mantis, the Apatelodes, and the Parisian Cat

Well, David's play opened in NYC.

Meanwhile, here at home we've had a praying mantis lurking around our front door. I guess the kids have seen it a few times. I got to see it when O started to go outside and exclaimed, "Oh! He's back, and he's looking at me." I went to find out what he was talking about, and there was the bright green mantis, on the threshold between the wooden door and the screen door, with its head swiveled and tilted as though it were wondering if it might consume my child. I used a stick to pick it up and transport it outside, fearing to try to pick it up with my hands. I'm not squeamish about bugs in the least, but that creature demanded respect. And even when I offered it the stick the first time it leapt forward at me in a most alarming way. Then when I had gotten it onto the planter on the stoop, it stretched itself out bizarrely, extending its front legs along the rim of the planter until they were completely straight and then just staying like that, only slowly swiveling its head to observe me observing it.

What does it mean to have a mantis on your doorstep? The interwebz give little to go on. They repeat each other ad infinitum with very few references. "Good luck" seems a bit vague. I like knowing that the San people of southern Africa identify the mantis as both a trickster and the bringer of fire and language. (I found something like that in a couple of places, including this tour guide of Victoria Falls, so it must be true.) Maybe that's what it was bringing me.

It was only later that I realized I hadn't take a picture of it. I went back outside this afternoon hoping it would still be hanging around. I didn't find a mantis, but I did find a big, fat, furry yellow Spotted Apatelodes caterpillar climbing up the side of my house.

Like a dork, I still didn't have a camera with me, but luckily the good people
at Nova Scotia Butterfly, Moth, and Caterpillar have more foresight.

Which reminds me, I saw a crazy white and black caterpillar in Maine. The whitest white, and so finely furred it looked like it had a million hair-like legs skimming the ground, and little white tufts on its back and enormous black "horns" of hair and a long black horn on its back end. I did take a picture of that, but it is very blurry. Research tells me it must be some kind of tussock moth, but none of the pictures I find are quite the same as mine.

Reading: Meh. But the kids and I watched A Cat in Paris on Saturday night. I've had this queued on Netflix for ages. I told them we would watch and though they were slightly skeptical, they were game, and then they were so engrossed they could barely eat the pasta sitting in front of them. The story is kind of thin, but the animation and the telling of it are really special, and the fact that the mother is the superintendent of police was not lost on Z.

Here's a trailer. Enjoy:



Writing: 800 good new words on Saturday to bridge an important an under developed transition, plus editing and transcribing some other stuff. The end is in sight. I think I can. I think I can. Sunday was all crosswords and work work. These are good too. But the writing writing must continue.

Dinner: Saturday: carmelized multi-color cherry tomatoes with basil, lemon basil, and lemon zest over shells with parm. Sunday: a leftover half of an eggplant reuben and fries from Katz Club while I worked and the kids ran around town with friends.

Soundtrack: Pandora played for me: Joshua Bell radio, Little Boots radio, and Slim Gaillard radio. Now that's eclectic.

Random thing: I randomly came across this cool series, Keys to the Whole World, that NPR did/is doing on the institution of the American public library. Libraries make me happy. I randomly encourage you to check it ou.

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