family, goodness, life, manfolk, martial arts, school, work

The past two months

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted.  Unacceptable.  “Marjorie, pull yourself together!”

Things have been moving very quickly over the last few months.  I’ve started my last semester of grad school, which is bittersweet.  I’m ready to be done with school, but sad I won’t be able to tell people I’m a grad student, which I’v fantasized about doing since I was just a kid.  I’ll be done with classes in about six weeks, and I’ll walk at the graduation ceremony in early May.  My parents will be so proud, which makes me very happy.

give me a life in the country

I’ve applied to the JET program, which, if I’m accepted, will take me to Japan for a year to teach English.  I’ll essentially get paid to do accent reduction as a TA and live in the countryside, which sounds like a fucking dream.  I probably should’ve asked Boyfriend what he thought of that idea before I applied, but I didn’t because I want to go to Japan, and that’s that.  Turns out he’s totally into it, and will come visit/live with me for short stints if it works out.  Very exciting 🙂  I’m signed up for weekly, 2-hour Japanese classes; they start next Thursday.
UPDATE: 1/21/14
I just found out that I didn’t get into the JET program.  I’m totally crushed.  I can’t think of why they wouldn’t take me.  I didn’t even get an interview.  Ugh.  Ouch.
END OF UPDATE

taught my Master Tatsu. no, really.

I’ve taken up Shinkendo, which is very challenging but rewarding (and I passed my first test!  Woot!).  We’ve started learning bō, my favorite weapon, and I could not be more excited.  Bō speaks to me in a way the sword does not, it’s like having a dance partner; it does what it wants, all I can do is give suggestions.  We form an agreement (most of the time), and communicate well.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve found some amazing people who have become good friends at the dojo, and I’ve had the chance to reconnect with an old friend from elementary school, and can’t wait to help that friendship grow.  I also started another blog, which is what I’ve been spending my time on instead of tigerlilytoph.com:

http://www.dojostuff.wordpress.com

It’s all about life in a martial arts studio, and how hilarious and stressful it can be.

Office Job is still pretty dull, but better since Little Mole Boss was removed from her position as my boss.  She was a good boss (maybe the best I’ve had), but it’s nice to work with my co-workers more directly and speak frankly when we exchange ideas without fear of stepping on anyone’s toes.  I’m taking a more active role in the upcoming events our office is planning, which feels good.

I’ll upload a photo of our bees’ honey soon!

The bees are doing just swimmingly, and we might actually harvest some honey this season!  Soon!  We did a minor inspection and found a few bars dedicated to honey and nothing else.  I held up the comb in front of the setting sun, and it glowed amber and gold.  The comb broke open when I pulled it out (the bees built two bars of comb together, so it broke apart when I pulled one bar out), and the honey dripped out of the cells.  We tasted it right off the top of the hive.  It had a clean, light taste, ultra sweet and just beautiful to look at (surprisingly light in color).  I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we harvest a little bit.

Thanksgiving this year was good, but boozy for the cousins.  I love them, but omg they are annoying drunks, and they drink a lot, lol.  I’m such a lightweight, maybe I’m jealous? (hint: NOPE)  Next year we’ll have to divvy up the apartments by temulency rather than gender.  Diminutive Friend came up for Thanksgiving day to hang out and eat with the family.  She seemed grateful to have people to spend the holiday with since she couldn’t spend it with her family in New Orleans.  I love her so much.

Dad told me a while back that he’s unhappy at work, and since he’s unreceptive to changing jobs, I told him I expect him to find some way to change his attitude toward his job.  Instead of taking his job personally (and constantly checking his damn email), he’ll have to find a way to let it go.  We’ll see how that goes.  It strikes me that I’ve chosen a good path: teaching English as a foreign language is a job I will enjoy (assuming I can find one).  Frankly teaching just about anything at all would make me happy, and I’m lucky to have discovered this as early has I did.

My folks gave Boyfriend a subscription to Bon Apetit magazine for Xmas, which I’ve already reaped the benefits of with a delicious rosemary chicken and a butter-basted halibut.  He is an amazing person.  We’ve been together over 5.5 years, since April of 2008.  I find the idea of marrying him very, very intimidating, even though I would love to have him as a life partner, and he clearly feels the same.  Luckily, neither of us is in any rush to make it official, and I’ve never had a burning desire to wear diamonds.

I spent this past weekend at GameHaus with friends, and, like every Sunday, doing Shinkendo and enjoying my dojo family’s company.

I am so lucky.

Advertisements
Standard
goodness

Educational comb

During our last inspection, Dad and I noticed a ton of capped (and uncapped) brood, but the caps were different colors.  I drew this little diagram (MS Paint, bitches!) but waited to post it until we could verify the info as correct.

this is from a few weeks ago.  it was a very educational inspection

this is from a few weeks ago. it was a very educational inspection

The past couple of days, Dad has seen groups of bees hovering around the entrance and flying around the hive, seemingly at random.  His guess is that they’re new foragers doing an orientation flight, and I think he’s right.  They haven’t swarmed, and have built a completely new strip of comb.  They were coming back with giant, white-ish pollen baskets, so they all seem to be foraging in the same area, and are clearly happy staying at the hive if they’re bringing back so much food.  All awesome!

Standard
family, goodness

Hive inspection: Success edition!

Dad and I have been attempting to keep some bees for months now, and every time we think they’ll stay, their numbers peter out.  The first batch just took off, the second and third hung out for a while, but didn’t make much progress and were too small.  The fourth built a bunch of comb and then started leaving.  The most recent colony, however, has taken to the hive beautifully.  We did an inspection yesterday and saw loads of brood (mostly capped), two generations deep, meaning: The queen starts laying in the center of the comb and works her way out toward the edge of the comb.  On a few of the strips we saw capped brood at the edge of the comb (unhatched first generation babies), then empty comb (where some first generation babies had already hatched and left), then, in the center of the comb, more capped brood (where the queen had already laid another batch of babies: a second generation).  That’s our working theory, anyway.

note the brood right in the center, almost ready to be capped

note the brood right in the center, almost ready to be capped (and the capped honey at the very top)

Once their numbers are shored up, they’ll keep building comb and dedicating more comb-space to food storage (honey, pollen, and a combo of the two adorably called “bee bread”).  We saw a high concentration of bees on the edges of the comb, which probably means they’re already building the comb out, and in fact there’s already been a noticeable difference in the size of the existing comb leftover from the last swarm.  Some of the strips were downright heavy with the weight of the comb, full cells and bees milling around.  There wasn’t much honey, but we’re assuming that once their numbers go up, they’ll shift their focus a bit.  I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

We took a bunch of photos of each strip so we could inspect them carefully without disturbing the bees.  I lifted each strip out of the hive while Dad took some quick hi-res photos, and carefully replaced each strip so we wouldn’t crush any of them.  There were only maybe a dozen bees that were noticeably agitated (flying at our faces and such), which is a sign that either smoking bees really does make them more docile, or we have some very well-behaved ladies in the hive.  They stayed on the comb when we pulled each strip out, even when a stiff breeze came by.  We even saw a few bees waggling their abdomens up and down.  It didn’t look like a waggle dance, so we’re not sure what they were doing, lil’ weirdos 🙂

Afterward, while examining the photos (very thoroughly), I spotted the queen!  We knew she must be there, but it’s good to see her.  We didn’t find any drones, though.  Perhaps they were on a mating flight?  We also saw some really pretty pollen, all different colors, on the comb and on some bees’ legs: dark orange, dusty yellow and vivid yellow.

They seem like a strong colony.  I can’t wait to see how they do.  Dad’s going out of town for the week, so I’ll check on them in his absence, checking for pollen on their legs when they return to the hive, and peeking in through the window to see if they’re building more comb.

various colors of pollen in bright new comb

various colors of pollen in bright new comb

Standard
family, goodness, life, manfolk, school

Hawai’i: Day eight

Finally, I’ve gotten around to writing about our last day in Hawai’i.  We were bummed to leave, but also kinda ready (the humidity makes you feel sticky all the time.  The copious amounts of sunscreen didn’t help either).

Our last day there was the day of my presentation at the conference!  I was a bit nervous, but mostly excited about meeting people, presenting my ideas, fielding questions, and hearing the other presentations in my session.  My presentation went really well; there were several questions afterward, and one of the women (who was also presenting) had also played World of Warcraft, so we had loads to talk about afterward.  Her presentation was on gender roles in TV and movies, particularly the way they are portrayed in ancient dramas (Rome, 300, Game of Thrones, etc.).  It was really interesting.  She lives in Sweden, and invited me to come speak at her university so we’re staying in touch.

SO GOOD

SO GOOD

Afterward I felt free as a bird and really excited to get some pork laulau, which I’d been craving all week.  We went to Ono Hawai’ian Foods on Kapahulu near Waikiki on uncle Bobby’s recommendation, and it turned out to be the same place I went with my cousin Leah the last time I was in town for the same conference.  Boyfriend tried poi for the first time and actually liked it (shock).  I was still riding high on being finished with my presentation (even though it was the last day of our trip), so we drove to Dave’s Ice Cream for another helping of azuki bean ice cream.  They had a dark/bright purple ice cream that was imo flavored (Japanese [Okinawan] purple sweet potato) which was bonkers.

how does this sign help?  all it does is freak people out.

found this sign at the Pali Lookout. how does this help? all it does is freak people out.

We headed back to Lanikai side to have one last ocean experience before we left the next day.  On our way, I realized that we’d been driving past the Pali Lookout but hadn’t yet gone up.  So we took a quick detour to enjoy the view and almost got blown right off the mountain.  There were loads of tourists from all over, but my favorite was a German woman feeding wild chickens that had come out of the forest right next to the parking lot while her husband smiled and told her to get in the car.

We brought Boyfriend’s nice camera to the beach, and I brought my ukulele.  He took a few photos, and we swam around a bit enjoying the water and watching people kayak around.  When we went back in, a guy had a bucket with a couple fish, and encouraged us to take a photo of them in rapid pidgin.  He said one of them was a barracuda, cool!

it stared at us with its dead, beady eye

it stared at us with its dead, beady eye

We were sad to leave Bob and Nancy (and Bella, *sniffle*), but it was so nice to spend so much time with them that it was hard to be too broken up.  Boyfriend and I woke up at 330am to drive across the island and arrive at the airport by 5 so I could be on a plane by 620am.  On the drive back, boyfriend apparently stopped and took a bunch of photos of the sunrise over the ocean near Lanikai.  I’m jealous I couldn’t see it with him, the photos are incredible.  I ended up taking a later flight anyway, and got a $400 voucher in exchange, woot!  Continental owes me that for that time they botched my trip to the east coast to visit Boyfriend a few years back (I’m still a little broken up about that, lol).

I’m so glad Boyfriend and I had this trip together.  After more than five years we’re still excited to see each other and spend time together.  I’m looking forward to spending that voucher on another fun trip with him 🙂

playing some Jamaica Farewell to the mokes on my ukulele

playing some Jamaica Farewell to the mokes on my ukulele

Standard
family, goodness

Beautiful comb

Dad and I checked out the hive yesterday to see if the queen was still there since half the colony seems to have absconded.  We found her!  He pulled out three bars with comb on them before we found her.  The comb looked gorgeous.  The honey glowed, and there were a few spots where you could see actual larvae.  Very exciting.

Technically it’s illegal to keep bees in Los Angeles, but who’s going to stop us?  Seriously:

“You can’t keep bees here, that’s illegal.”
“Oh ok, go ahead and move them then.”
“…”
“Right.  We done here?”

clean empty comb around the border, baby bees at the bottom, honey at the top.  so pretty.

clean empty comb around the border, pollen storage at the bottom, honey at the top (some of which is capped at the very top). so pretty.

We also biked up and down Venice for the CicLAvia event which was way too crowded, but otherwise fun.  My butt is sore and the back of my left leg hurts.  Blerg.

UPDATE: April 23, 2013
There’s the queen at the top left!  She’s long and brown with no stripes.

ALL HAIL HER MAJESTY

ALL HAIL HER MAJESTY

Standard