Mary Beth Writes

4/28/2022

This is a small announcement that could be a lot of fun for some of you.

For the past two years Len has been a volunteer Wisconsin stream monitor. Once per summer month Len and another guy (with whom he has become friends) check water quality and stream-bed life at a few local sites. Before they started, they received clear but uncomplicated training in order to understand what is being looked for and how the testing equipment works. And they received hip waders!

Len always comes home smelling wonderfully like a pond. They collect some containers of water on which they perform tests to measure various qualities of the water. They dig into the stream bed to bring up mud, drain it, and then admire and notate what critters they find. This includes crayfish and Mayfly larva and itty-bitty freshwater clams.

Also, they always find Hellgrammites which are exceedingly homely but then there is this:  It is possible that Hellgrammite mandibles have been selected as secondary sex characteristics used by females to evaluate males during courtship. Males cannot use these mandibles to bite because they are too long. Males of many Hellgrammite species will also produce "nuptial gifts" in the form of packages of nutrient-rich spermatophores that are eaten by the female partner after mating. This has been shown to be correlated to mandible size; in species where the males have large mandibles the "nuptial gift" is small or absent, while it is large in species where males lack the exaggerated mandibles. 

If you are not chuckling I have failed. As most people seeking the love of a male of their species already know, pretty often less “gifted” guys try harder.

Also; If you have not danced yet today, I suggest you put this on and dance for the 3 minutes it lasts. Some people dance with wolves, we can dance with Hellgrammites. https://youtu.be/jmkgcyLT7ng If

Last year volunteers attended a lecture on dragonflies and damselflies. This year there will be a talk on fresh water mussels in the Mukwonago River. Len says I can come with him as a special guest and I will do this. (I didn’t say nerd, you did.)

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a stream monitor, here is their very cool website. Throughout Wisconsin, there are hundreds of volunteers.

Water Action Volunteers Preserving and protecting Wisconsin’s streams - Water Action Volunteers

They are associated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and also with UW-Madison Extension.

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Comments

I did chuckle! Also noted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder” ha

That was quite interesting! I don’t plan to take it on, but it was interesting to see the life cycle of an insect that we rarely see. I loved the sexual attraction tips.
Mary Beth's picture

My kids, as young adults, planned a weekend getaway for themselves up north at a hunter's resort. About midnight one of them turned on the light in their bathroom and discovered a 7-8" Hellgrammite having a quiet moment in the middle of the floor. At which point the sisters called around until they found a chain motel room and everyone went there for the rest of the night.

That’s pretty funny. You have now educated them and I’m sure Lilly will read your column to Grace.

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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