Thursday, March 04, 2004

Today's wildlife: First, numerous male red-winged blackbirds on the wooded median strip along Interstate 69 between Marshall and Lansing. Rick and I call them all "Bubba" because of their noisy good-ol'-boy attitude. (We also call all the spiders that roam our house in the winter "Fido", but that's another story.) Second, saw a queen ant crawling very slowly on the sidewalk behind Giltner Hall at MSU. I think she was a Tetramorium caespitum, but that's just a guess. Third: For the first time in my life, I successfully identified a bug from mangled parts sent to the department by a civilian. Okay, it was Camponotus pennsylvanicus, the common black carpenter ant, which isn't tough to ID from body fragments. But, it was one of those all-too-common cases where someone sprayed a bunch of bugs in her house, let the little corpses desiccate for a few weeks, shoveled them into a Baggie, and then apparently hit them with a hammer four or five hundred times just to make sure they were really, truly dead before asking an insect taxonomist to figure out their identity from the tiny shards of chitin left over. Cathy and I got to play at being real forensic entomologists, as in the folks who figure out exactly what happened to the victim.

"Hmmmm, this was no accident -- this ant was murdered!"
"Looks like a clear case of insecticide to me!"

Also on the agenda today: I got to make the traditional "hysterversary" post to HysterSisters on the occasion of one year having passed since my own body repairs were done on March 4, 2003. I can't say enough for that group, which is an incredibly wonderful circle of support for women going through hysterectomies and similar surgeries. (It has its own equally wonderful and positive language. For example: A member wasn't a patient having surgery in a hospital -- she was a princess being crowned in the castle!) If someone you love is facing hysterectomy, send her in that group's direction. If she doesn't have a computer, buy her one. Get her some chocolate, too, and a cuddly stuffed teddy tick to hug when she's feeling low. Worked great for me.


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