Merry Christmas from the Dragonfly Woman

I know I’ve been terrible about blogging recently and it’s because I have a whole lot of family and personal stuff going on right now that is sucking up all of my free time, but it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas if I didn’t at least post a Christmas insect for you all!  This year, the hat went on one of my favorite beetles, the delta flower scarab:

Santa scarab-2

Santa scarab

I even got to use a Christmas toy to make this year’s Santa insect: my husband got me a Wacom tablet! Woo!

Hope all of you out there who celebrate Christmas are having a wonderful, spectacular day!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful, spectacular, everyday sort of day instead.

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

Friday 5 Coming Tomorrow

Well, here it is, the end of Friday, and I still haven’t gotten my Friday 5 post up for the week yet.  Instead, it’s coming tomorrow!  In the meantime, here’s a photo of the back-end of a dragonfly that I rather like.  It’s not perfect by any means, but I draw your attention to the wingbuds:

Dragonfly nymph

Dragonfly nymph

Look how you can see the tiny little wings developing in there!  And you can even tell this is going to be a skimmer because you can see the tell-tale “boot” shape in the hindwing.  So cool that you can see those things developing right before your eyes!

Until tomorrow!

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

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Have some turkey:

Turkeys

Wild turkeys, Cataloochee Valley,. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I know it’s not a great photo – those turkeys will really far away from where I was and I didn’t have a tripod – but you get the idea.  :)

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

I promise I’m coming back!

Hello everyone!

Just in case you were worried, I have NOT in fact dropped off the face of the Earth!  I’ve been gone for two reasons:

1) My hard drive on my computer died.

I haven’t ever actually HAD this experience before, so it took me three weeks to realize why my computer wasn’t working properly.  If it had been a spectacular failure, with my hard drive going out in a blaze of heroic glory, I might have figured it out sooner.  But no, it sort of creaked along for a couple of months, getting slower and more decrepit each day.  I ran through several different attempts to fix the problem based on previous experiences with slow computers before I finally realized that my hard drive was on its way out.

All that was fine and good – I found the problem.  Yay!  However, getting a new hard drive is like getting a whole new computer.  I absolutely HATE getting new computers.  I find installing software and transferring over all my files to be tedious beyond belief.  It is such an unbelievable waste of life for me.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I could no longer view any of my RAW format photos and that was driving me absolutely crazy, I would probably still be finding excuses to avoid installing my software.

So, I installed my software (most of it at least…), but then…

2) I Immediately went on vacation.

I made plans back in February to go to New York and visit my aunt during the good fall leaf time.  We spent a few nights in New York City where we ate some really excellent (but expensive) food and saw some really excellent (but expensive) museums, including the marvelous American Museum of Natural History.  Then we took a train to my aunt’s town in upstate New York.  There I ate in my cousin’s restaurant, visited with his family, went to more museums with my aunt, and generally had a wonderful time.  However, I didn’t have access to a computer most of that time and wanted to make the most of my time with my family, thus the blog silence continued.

I didn’t see too many insects on my trip (though I did find a deer tick crawling on my hand after spending 5 minutes outside looking at leaves one day – seriously, New York?), but I did see some in an art exhibit at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art:

art installation by Johnny Carrera

Icicahiya by Johnny Carrera

That’s a piece by Johnny Carrera called Icicahiya, a lovely screenprinted installation that was set up to look like sails on a sailboat.  I’ll be perfectly honest: I have no idea what this piece is meant to represent, but my eye was IMMEDIATELY drawn to the print of the giant water bug.  You can see it along the bottom row, between the beetle and the internal combustion engine.  I absolutely loved this piece!  It combines screenprints of black images on white and has an old natural history book/informatic look to it.  Wish I could have something like this in my living room…

Now I’m back home, but I’m leaving again tomorrow afternoon for a work trip to the Smoky Mountains: I’m attending one of my Museum’s educator treks for teachers and informal educators.  These trips are fantastic!  This particular trip is focused on elks and bringing field work into K-12 classrooms and informal education settings and it should be great fun.  We’ll also be learning about the awesome citizen science program at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is why I want to go.  I am really looking forward to the trip!

And all this is to say I haven’t forgotten about the blog, but there have been extenuating circumstances that have prevented my writing for the past 3 weeks. But, I fully intend to jump right back in next week, just as soon as I get back from my trip to the mountains.  I’ll try to make the post worth the wait!

Hope you’re all doing well and, if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, enjoying the fall!

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

Friday 5, coming soon!

I hate to do it, but I have to postpone Friday 5 until tomorrow.  Sleep…  It’s a good thing!  Especially when you’re looking at a 13 hour work day on Saturday.  So, I’m headed off to sleep for now and will resume working on my post tomorrow.  I leave you with this photo, a taste of what’s to come:

Crane Fly on Holly

Crane fly on holly

Until tomorrow then!

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

Massive Internet Issues

Hello everyone!

My home internet connection has been having massive problems for over a week.  I haven’t been able to stay connected long enough to get photos uploaded or anything posted (took SEVERAL tries to get the Wednesday photo through last week…).  I’m going to try to get this up just so you know the deal-ee-o, so you know why I’ve seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth.   Meanwhile, I am working on getting our internet working here again ASAP!

Hope to have some pretty bugs to share with you soon!

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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