Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Something in My Shirt

Ever find yourself sitting at your desk, chipping away at e mail responses after everyone else has left for the day, only to feel something moving on your back?  It happened to me a few weeks ago.  I sort of swatted at my back with my hand and the movement stopped, so I assumed I’d squashed whatever it was.  A few minutes later, however, there it was again, a little movement of something up my back.  I swatted again, it stopped again, I once again hoped I’d gotten whatever it was.  Nope!  Soon enough, whatever it was was crawling up my spine, which I have to say is a deeply disturbing feeling.  So, I pulled the whole shirt off.  Inside, I found this:

inchworm

Inchworm!

An inch-long inchworm!  I was a little shocked it was so large, but apparently you can get large caterpillars down your shirt when you crawl into bushy trees at work.  After putting the shirt back on, I took the inchworm outside and snapped a few photos with my iPhone before going back to blissfully inchworm-free work.

On a completely unrelated note, I think I will be able to get back to my regular blogging schedule soon!  Woo!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth
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Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: I Don’t Do Cold

Though it has been beautiful out in Raleigh recently, it got quite cold several times this winter.  Coming as I did from several years of living in Arizona, I’m not used to cold, particularly cold with any sort of moisture in it.  This is what happens when you put a desert girl in cold, humid weather:

DW is cold

DW is cold

Brrr…  And if I think it’s cold, so do the insects.  I’m ready for them to come back.  Come on spring!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Edible Ladybugs

One of my coworkers, an archivist for the museum where I work, is super crafty and a wonderful cook.  She works at the field station one day a week most weeks and brings delicious food to share.  Sometimes it’s something she’s made herself and sometimes it’s something she bought, but she rarely comes empty-handed.  A few weeks ago, she came with these:

Ladybug candy

Ladybug candy

Those are Valentine’s M&M’s that she HAND DECORATED one by one with an edible food marker.  Crazy cute!  I almost hated to eat them, but then it occurred to me: if I snapped a photo of them, I could remember what they looked like AND eat them.  You can imagine what happened next…

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Why I’ve Been Gone

Hi everyone.  Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for over a week, but I had a reason for that.  I got a call late last week that my dad was very sick and in the hospital, so I rushed out to California along with most of the rest of my dad’s tiny family to see him.  I’m glad I did because I had a chance to spend a few days with him before he passed away on Tuesday night.  As you might imagine, it wasn’t a very fun experience and blogging most definitely took a backseat to making sure my dad’s last few days were comfortable and then dealing with the immediate aftermath of his death.  It might take me a little while to get back to a more regular blogging schedule as there are still a lot of things to deal with that will take a lot of time, but I’ll post when I can.  But first, let me tell you about my dad and his role in making me the person I am today.

Dad and me at Broadmoor

My dad and me at the Broadmoor, the fancy 5 star hotel in Colorado Springs

My dad was one of the biggest supporters of my interest in insects from the very beginning.  I decided I wanted to be an entomologist before I was old enough to drive, so my dad took me out collecting all the time.  Most summer weekends that my family didn’t spend in the mountains of Colorado collecting minerals or fishing, my dad’s two favorite hobbies, I spent with my dad collecting insects.  He’d drive up to two hours to take me somewhere really cool to collect.  I am 100% sure that my dad was scared of most insects, but still he took me collecting. He was awesome like that.  Plus, if I saw something really cool and told him about it, he would get all excited about it.  He had very little interest in insects in general, but he would get excited about them just for me.

Dad at Yellowstone

My dad, looking on as my sister did her Park Ranger walk in Yellowstone

My passion for dragonflies is a direct result of my dad’s willingness to nurture the entomological tendencies of his elder daughter.  He would drive me three towns over to a big lake with a lot of dragonflies so I could collect.  It was the best place to collect dragonflies because you could hide in the cattails, using them as a little odonatological duck blind.  If you watched the dragonflies for a while, you could learn their flight patterns and choose the exact perfect moment to strike out with the net from your hiding place in the cattails.  I had a very high success rate there, and I loved that I had FAR more dragonflies in my collection than anyone else who did collections for the 4-H entomology project.  Collecting dragonflies with my dad was what made me love them.  If he hadn’t done that, I’m sure I would not be the Dragonfly Woman.  Heck, I might not even be an entomologist.

Dad at Pali

My dad at the Pali Overlook on Oahu. My dad always had a thing for nice views, and that was a particularly nice one!

I decided that I wanted to do a Ph.D. shortly after deciding I wanted to be an entomologist.  My dad was the reason why I thought that Ph.D. was so important.  He got his master’s degree and began his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.  He didn’t finish it, however, and told me many times that that was one of the greatest regrets of his life.  I wanted to get a Ph.D. in part because I knew it would be important for what I wanted to do, but also because I wanted to finish my doctorate for my dad.  I am currently close to finishing, and I would have liked to have been able to tell my dad that I was done.  However, I am now more determined than ever to finish.  My dad was so proud of everything I did and even if he’s not here to cheer me on, I am confident that he would have been ecstatic to see me finish my degree.

Dad's favorite photo

The spider photo my dad loved – you’ll read about this shortly

And finally, I owe my interest in cameras to my dad.  He bought an awesome camera in the late 70’s so he could learn how to take photos of minerals.  He never got all that great at it because he never really understood how it worked, but we had a great camera with a macro lens my entire life.  I might never have even known it was possible to take close up photos of things without that camera and my very first macro photos were taken with it.  I splurged and bought my first macro capable camera, a Nikon Coolpix 995, soon after I started grad school.  That camera opened up a whole new world to me, a world that I shared with my dad by sending him shots via e mail.  His enthusiasm for my photos encouraged me to improve.  My dad went over a decade without using a camera much at all, but then I showed him how to use my little Nikon by taking a photo of a jumping spider on our house in Colorado when I was home for a visit.  It was just a poorly focused snapshot (that’s it up at the start of the paragraph), but he reminded me of it all the time.  He would say, “Remember that time you took that photo of that spider on the house?  You could see EVERY HAIR on its legs.  Wow!”  I gave him that camera when I bought a second one and it renewed his interest in photography.  I gave him the second one when I upgraded to my Canon G11.  And when my second Coolpix finally died on him, my dad got a Canon G12 because he knew I loved my G11.  He adored that camera.  It was something that my dad and I talked about a lot, something that we enjoyed together even though he had moved to California and I didn’t get to see him as often anymore.  That camera is sitting on my desk next to me at home as I write this.  I intend to put it to work come spring, and I’ll think about my dad every time I do.

Dad at Shoshone Lake

My dad taking a photo of me photographing Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone

I miss my dad terribly.  He was a really important part of my life and a person I truly enjoyed spending time with.  He shaped so much of who I am.  Still, I am grateful to have had such a wonderful father and even though I will miss him always, I carry a lifetime of memories.  I will cherish them always.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth