besides work, i had to deal with the premature death of my caterpillar. if i can't even take care of a caterpillar, which according to bruce "even 8 year old boys can take care of," what kind of bad father would i be? this summer has been a season where i've brought death to many things i've tried to take care of, from caterpillars, to my aborted backyard gardens, to finally killing off my 1 year old sequoia seedling. i have inadequate nurturing skills, maybe there's a class at the cambridge adult learning center that will teach me how to properly care for living things.
after the code delivery, i had some leftover dumplings for lunch while watching monsoon wedding, before getting in touch with bruce for some light hearted naturing on this very hot day (he had wanted to go out earlier when it was cooler, but i had work to do for a change, that's why we didn't). i ate 2 of my krispy kreme donuts, leaving one for bruce when he arrived. we decided to try the habitat wildlife sanctuary in belmont instead of fresh pond, bruce having never been there before. the drive through my hometown was nostalgic, and catching a glimpse of the belmont high school cheerleaders practicing out by the track field made an otherwise dull thursday a little bit more interesting. bruce seemed to be amused upon seeing actual cheerleaders, having just recently watched bring it on on dvd.
i've been to habitat before, and although it's a nice little place, i haven't had great success in seeing interesting wildlife here. in the turtle pond we of course saw turtles. in the water however there were these obscenely huge tadpoles, their heads the size of a hard-boiled egg. i spent the whole time suggesting we should kill them because they're gross, the death of my caterpillar earlier in the day making me slightly morbid and violent. i was able to impress bruce when i got a red meadowhawk butterfly to land on my finger, like i was the bug whisperer. he was unsuccessful in his attempts to get them to do the same thing, going around the edge of the pond, chasing meadowhawks with his index finger outstretched for them to perch on. meadowhawks are easy dragonflies because they don't seem to be too afraid of people, landing on us without any regards to their own safety. because there were so many dragonflies around the pond, that area was remarkably free of mosquitoes, which can't be said later on when we entered deeper into the forest.
there wasn't much in terms of insects. despite what i said earlier, habitat was the first place i ever saw blister beetles, and the first place i saw goldenrod spiders, neither ones i encountered today. i did see a black variant of a leafhopper, as well as a planthopper (i always like those, they look just like little leaves, down to the vein patterns), and a stink bug. so a lot of bugs, but no classic insects. there was a lot of milkweed, and bruce and i made a cursory search, but we didn't find any monarch caterpillars. maybe because habitat is used as a day camp for kids, probably any caterpillars that hatched end up going home with the kids as pets. i have a feeling that raising monarch butterflies is the next hip thing to do. when i first heard that bruce has been raising them for the past 30 odd years, i couldn't stop thinking about it, i became obsessed with raising butterflies, specifically monarchs.
we got as far as where i thought the vernal pool was supposed to be before the mosquitoes started attacking, and bruce suggested that we think about heading back when he saw the swarm of mosquitoes just buzzing around me while i squatted helplessly on the forest floor, motionless, taking photos.
i took a shower when we got back to cambridge, then headed right back out (realizing that i lost one of my riding gloves), to my parents' cafe, where they were trying to rent out one of my great uncle's apartment on concord avenue. a living room, a kitchen, bathroom (jacuzzi tub no less), in-unit washer/dryer, one bedroom, use of a garden (share with lucky garden restaurant), central air, heat, water, electricity, everything included, wooden floors, 15-20 minute walk from harvard square, for $1300. the place could use a fresh coat of paint, and my parents have been trying to get either my sister or i to do it, but i think it needs more than that, years worth of rental has left it in a state of greasy dirtiness, and they really need some professionals to go in and sanitize that place. with the proper interior decorations though, it can be a really cool place.
i rode the motorcycle back out to belmont to get some gas (a creature of habit, i always go to the same mobile self-serve to fuel up the bike). unfortunately the cheerleaders were already gone by then. i came back home, then later my parents dropped by for dinner. my father and i took a quick trip to microcenter to look for a special IDE extension cable for the internal cd burner, which we discovered didn't quite exist. he ended up just buying a kensington usb orbit trackball for his new G4. when we came back, my parents and i ate in the living room with the air conditioning turned on, watching breaking news coverage of the blackout in new york city.