Bug Lady Ms. Johnstone Rules!
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Morpho Mama

January 27


I’m definitely not the rhinestone and stilettos kinda girl, and I’ll probably still be wearing Doc Martins when I’m pushing my walker. I don’t jump in the pit any more, but I’ll pogo my ass off! Anyway, I found a killer pair of blue velvet docs on the internet, which spawned the blue velvet evening dress, appropriately cut off into a micro-mini and the finishing touch, blue morpho butterfly wings! Interference paint rocks, by the way.

Check out the photos from Sea of Dreams, New Years Eve 2007. There’s nothing more visually pleasing.


Suddenly, Last Summer…

January 26

Not a psychological bobsled to hell, ala Tennessee Williams nor a romp through an eighties video by The Motels, and yet…another metamorphosis.

Sophie wanted me to do some kind of birthday party at her summer care. We talked about fairies, High School Musical, all the popular themes, and if I might digress for a moment, when the hell did Bratz become a cool thing? Aside from the connotation of the word, dressing like a 20 year and whining for a credit card is not something I want my six year old to emulate. Who buys this crapola? No Dennis Miller rant this time, though. Why? Because my little girl delighted me by saying, “I want the Bug Lady, I’ve never met her”. Ahh, the breakthough!

I dusted off the old lab coat, took the day off work and brought my buggy science show to Alameda Island Kids, complete with collections, a slideshow (I discovered kids love this ancient technology of shining pictures onto the wall) and live critters. You can get a lot of entertainment mileage out of a hissing cockroach, by the way. The teacher told the Alameda Recreation and Parks Dept. and I ended up doing some more shows for the local summer programs. Now at least once a week I get a curious kid with an insect question when I come to pick up Bug Gurl, as she is now known. What fun! I’m glad Bug Lady is back – I’ve missed her!

The earliest stage in the lifecycle of the Bug Lady has been traced to the Midwest in the early 1990s, where elementary students near the Illinois State University campus were presented with live insects from the ISU Entomology Lab by an inspired graduate student.

Wings unfurled, she expanded her range as Associate Director of Education for Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences in Peoria. Bug Lady appeared frequently in school outreach and after school enrichment programs, summer camps, senior homes, and occasionally on the local news. In 2001, she served as President of the Peoria Academy of Sciences, reviving the Entomology section and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science.

She then migrated to the west coast, not unlike the Monarch butterfly, to bask in the California sun and tend to her newly hatched larva (baby Sophie). “In my mind and my heart, I’ve always been the Bug Lady, not so much for the knowledge I’ve acquired regarding insects, but more for the feeling that I’m in a constant state of metamorphosis – ever changing.”

Now, after a long diapause, the imago of Bug Lady has recently been sited in Alameda summer programs along with her assistant, Bug Gurl. She is taking flight in cyberspace to share her love of insects, science and life in general with enthusiasts of all ages.