Not really. However, graduate school classes begin on Monday (huzzah!), a mere day away, and I think I can reasonably expect to spend the next three months with my nose buried in a textbook. My summer reading assignment alone was large chunks of three ungodly large textbooks, just one of which would have taken a year to get through in college. I printed out the readings and lecture notes for the first week of classes the other day and ended up with a pile of paper two inches thick. You see, in the first semester, all new students take something harmlessly called “The Core Course”, and it is, in a word, rigorous. It’s essentially a whirlwind review of all molecular biological science to bring us all up to speed, particularly people that weren’t biology majors in college or, say, someone that hasn’t been to school in a hundred years and has spent that time blissfully NOT brushing up on basic science principles (ahem, that would be me). The stories, oh the stories, I heard all last week during Orientation of the grueling study hours, the six-hour long exams every couple of weeks, the mental breakdowns. These older students sounded like war survivors recalling their first year with a mixture of horror and fatigue. The mere memory of the class traumatized them!
And so, it doesn’t sound as though I’ll have much spare time left for blogging about randomness. So, I thought I’d lament this loss by dedicating a post to a bit of randomness as I say an ephemeral farewell to my various hobbies, farewell to writing about them, farewell to reading for pleasure, and farewell to learning for fun…at least until Christmas.
I was lounging on the deck the other day (ah downtime, how I’ll miss you!), and I saw what looked like a tiny hummingbird (relatively speaking) feeding on my petunias. It was the strangest thing. It was moving too quickly for me to really get a good look at it, but I could have sworn it was a little miniature hummingbird I never knew existed. It’s at times like these that I’ve started turning to my iPhone, a devious device I’ve had for only a month and yet have, in that short period of time, become hopelessly dependent on. Seriously, it has created a dangerous combo: a vehement necessity for immediate information without the requirement that I store the information in my own brain (i.e. learn). Anyways, a single search of “tiny hummingbirds” later, it was revealed that I’m not the only one to make that mistake. According to the Connecticut Audubon Society, they receive all kinds of letters and emails around this time of year with the same question about the mysterious creatures. It turns out they aren’t birds at all but moths:
“The Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) is one of three species of clearwing moth found in Connecticut. All three have a hummingbird-like flight and all three favor the red, pink and purple flowers that are often frequented by our local Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Hummingbird Clearwings are members of the Sphinx Moth family (Sphingidae) – a large group of fast-flying moths. The clearwings are somewhat unusual in this group in that they fly during the day, while most moths are nocturnal. Different species of clearwings imitate hummingbirds or bees in their appearance and behavior, briefly hovering in front of flowers and slurping up some nectar from each through a long proboscis that acts as a straw.”
These are the pictures I took on my patio:
And this is the photo from the CAS’s website:
Pretty cool, huh? Ha, I’m such a dork. This post is likely to amuse only me and perhaps my friend Jess, who studied moths for her undergraduate thesis. Of course, she now lives and loves in Italy and writes about her life there, more than making up for her painfully dorky collegiate pursuits by having an enviously romantic life now. Whereas I, on the other hand, am clearly still a giant dork.
Look…a chicken! Randomness!
And now, to conclude this post, photos of my boys demonstrating what I will not be able to do until December…