Long-term Marriage

The Man I Married and I met 29 years ago on a street corner: a random occurrence that shaped the rest of my life. I was waiting for the Walk light, and he crossed on the Don’t walk. Nothing much has changed. We got married 51 weeks later. We’ve been together for over half my life.

Swans, like those raised on The Brady Bunch, live and mate in family groups and keep the same mate for a lifetime.

At first, long-term marriage looks like this:

swans (24)
Hubba hubba

Then sometimes it looks like this:

Not speaking
“You put my delicates in the dryer on high AGAIN?”

Often it looks like this:

Heading mostly in the same direction
Heading mostly in the same direction

I used to want this:

Checking out guys at the bar
Checking out guys at the bar

Now I just want this:

Alone for some peace and quiet
Alone for some peace and quiet

What I have is this:

Happy Valentine's Day from our family of three
Juvelines are grey, in swans and in human males who’ve been given charge of their own laundry

I’ll take it and count myself lucky.

* * * * *

Image Credits:

All photos by Jennifer D. Munro.

Getting Smart (Finally!) for the Annual Science Fair

IMG_2107
Scientist at work. “Don’t get my dorky shoes in the photo, Mom.”

It’s that time of year again, when the makers of trifold boards once again rack up enough dollars to fund their annual cruises to the Bahamas. What a scam. Our underfunded schools must be in cahoots with the manufacturers and receive a kickback for every board sold. Try as I might, I couldn’t get last year’s trifold exhibit returned in order to reuse it for this year’s project. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Little Man never remembered to bring it home despite my nagging. (You think?)Read More »

Store-bought versus Homemade

Store-bought suet cake and female Northern Flickers
Female Northern Flickers and the last store-bought suet cake

When the Little Man moved in with us at just barely six years old, he’d eaten only at Denny’s and McDonald’s for the previous month. I assumed Denny’s for breakfast and McDonald’s for dinner, but it turns out it was the other way around: orange juice and a large cookie at McD’s for breakfast, fries and a burger at Denny’s for dinner. He had full access to soda, candy, and cable TV throughout the night.

The month before he moved in, I ate my daily favorite: brown rice, cooked greens, and tofu.

Now that’s a recipe for disaster.Read More »

Trumpeting Our Success

Happy Valentine's Day from our family of three
Happy Valentine’s Day from our family of three

I had no idea that our state has native swans, until a year ago when the Little Man and I drove north for the Snow Goose Festival. Silly me, I thought the day would be about geese, but hopefully not about snow. LM thought the day would be about eating out for lunch.

I thought swans were for castle moats, fairy tales, and ballet.

I might not have known about the swans because for a long while there weren’t very many. Less than 100 breeding Trumpeter Swans remained by the early 1900s, due to overhunting. Factor in DDT and lead ammunition, and things looked more grim for our native swans than for a ballerina who’d eaten Big Macs all winter.Read More »

Speculating on Speculums

wooduck_speculum“That duck is nicely showing its speculum,” my birding teacher pointed out as we stood in the pouring rain at a garbage dump reclaimed as a Natural Area: what better way to spend a Saturday morning?

She didn’t say duck. She said the waterfowl’s specific name: Gadwall or Mallard or Wigeon.

But I couldn’t tell you which one she identified, because all I heard was SPECULUM.

“You can’t always see it when it’s at rest,” she added.

I should hope not.Read More »

Land: A Toy!

2013:

A gated community!
Gated community!

Ah! My first writing retreat since becoming a mother five years prior. Alone in a cabin in the woods for four days with nothing but my notebook and pens, laptop, and books. Creaking trees outside. No television, no internet, no cell phone service, no mail delivery. No neighbors in sight. I would use this quiet time to cogitate, meditate, create—no interruptions, no chaos, no needs other than those of my own stomach and an occasional wash under my arms. Just my own unfettered thoughts and ideas to run amok without time restrictions or crises.

I wasn’t going to blow it this time, as I had the year before when a friend had lent me her house for two nights near an out-of-town teaching gig, and I’d been so guilt-wracked that I gave myself the shingles. I’d learned my lesson. Why did I not think I deserved this and that the boys wouldn’t burn the house down without me around? Scratch that. If the house burned down, it wouldn’t help if I were there, although they’d probably forget about the safety ladders.Read More »