Sunday, March 25, 2012


Do things seem a little whacky? The warmest March in years is nearly over already. Our first two asparagus spears arrived this morning. More slugs live in our garden than ever; they're decimating the brassicas. We hunted morels this afternoon; it's comforting that they seemed to know it's not time yet. Up the mountain, behind our cabin, we found a tree that looked as if a weird beaver, or maybe a bear, had chewed on it, probably a bear. Maybe a human did the job, but why, it would have taken lots of time, crazy? The neighbor of one of my best friends reportedly shot at two step-sons and missed and burned his house down (maybe?). Anyway, the house is a shell. Tonight clouds are blocking what could have been a spectacular view of the moon, Jupiter and Venus. I read somewhere this same sort of conjunction occurred the night the Titanic sank. I used all my letters three times in Scrabble tonight.

I met a timber framer last weekend. Since then, without my mentioning him first, at least four people brought up his name. (Actually I met two; his wife was a timber framer before he was and now teaches piano instead.)

"It's normal," says Virginia.

I didn't say it isn't.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sprung Spring

My green friends greeted this year's Spring with mixed emotions. They liked the head start, but they weren't sure they could trust me to protect them if the mercury sank precipitously. Of course, I didn't put them at severe risk. Even now, only hardy guys and gals grace my garden. Strawberries, of course:
Onions, a gift from Kirsten:
Brassicas (cabbages, broccolis, cauliflowers, and Brussels sprouts):
"Nice spider web," says Virginia.

"I had to look at this picture to learn that my pomegranates are budding. I thought they might be taking too long." (You may have to double-click on the photo to see the buds.)
And look, the grapes are showing signs of life:
Is it Spring, or is it Summer? Believe it or not, this harlequin beetle joined a hundred others in the first squish session of the year. Its last meal was Chinese cabbage.

I've imprisoned some of my peas. If you look closely at the back two-thirds of this bed, you may be able to see rows of the legumes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today I was accused of not knowing what procrastination is. I guess that's a compliment, although undeserved. Among other examples, I procrastinated until tonight to follow the score for "L'Histoire du Soldat" (Stravinsky) while listening carefully and making notes. Tonight was my last chance before "music camp," which begins tomorrow evening.

Actually, I'd given up because my only recording was hidden away on my Mac PowerBook, which "white-screened" a week ago Monday. As I worked on an important project, my screen suddenly went blue, then white, and from then on, if I could get my computer to turn on, I could work no more than a few seconds before it blanked out again. Fortunately, I had saved my files in off-site virtual storage ("cloud computing," I guess), so I was able to continue working on my old non-Mac.

I procrastinated, wondering who to call. Fortunately, we found a very quick repair service, Lynchburg Computers. We took it on Friday, they called to say it was ready yesterday, and I retrieved it this morning. So I no longer had any excuse. Stravinsky was waiting.

"What's this about music camp?" asks Virginia.

Garth Newel Music Center, near Warm Springs, Virginia, hosts an adult chamber music weekend every Spring. Chamber ensembles get a few days of careful coaching by members of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet (pianist, violinist, violist, cellist). When the Arrowhead Trio went a few years ago I enjoyed getting very personal attention from the pianist because other than him I was the only piano player in town. This year I won't be so lucky.

We end the weekend with a concert on late Sunday morning, followed by a gourmet brunch. You're welcome to attend, although it's a long haul for most of you -- and you might find L'Histoire du Soldat, well, shall we say, an earful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Total Frustration

When I arrived at work on Monday morning, early, before any of my staff, I discovered the department had been reorganized and rebuilt. Walls had been moved and everything reconstructed. The place looked like a giant Library of Congress reading room, only with modern desks instead of old-fashioned wooden study tables. If a throne could be a desk, my desk was a throne. I knew it was my desk because my name-plate rested on its surface. I thought, "I've been promoted."

Having checked on things, I decided to return to my apartment, which was somewhere in the same building. I couldn't find it, too many corners and turns. I spotted a fellow who looked like a security guard and asked if he could show me the way. I apologized, saying so much had changed over the weekend, I couldn't remember where to go.

I had a feeling he knew who I was, but he asked for my apartment number anyway. I said 2012. He led me to the neighboring apartments, 2011, 2010. I said, "Yes, I know how to get here, but for some reason my number isn't in order like the rest. It's here somewhere." Feeling that he might not know me after all, I wanted him to reassure him that I wasn't a trespasser, so I said, "I saw my new desk; I guess I've been promoted." He remained silent, searching with me.

A gap in time passed, with some wandering, and then I saw Karen and waved. She seemed so pleased I recognized her, that I tilted my head and said, "What's going on here? Of course I know you." She said, "You're getting better." I said, "Have I been forgetting things?" She said, "Yes, you've had amnesia. You were in a coma for two months."

Frustration set in. I tried to remember and I couldn't. "Do we have kids?" "Yes," she said, "four of them, all grown."

I said, "I guess I'd better get to work, but what do I do?" She said, "Don't worry about that. They're not going to fire you." I was really fretting. I mean, I couldn't find our apartment, I didn't know my kids, I didn't know what my job was.

"Don't worry," she said. "You founded this place, and other companies. No one's about to fire you."

I didn't know whether to believe her or not. She insisted, "You're the owner. In fact, we're billionaires."

I said something like, "A billionaire and I can't remember a thing." She said, "Really, don't worry, your memory is coming back."

How could she tell? I suddenly realized, "Do you mean I've asked you these things before?" She laughed, "Yes, many times, but now you're getting better." So every day, with any passage of bits of time, I asked her the same questions. I must be driving her nuts. Today, finally, I had recognized her, and I had known enough to look for our apartment, which was in the same building.

But how did she know I would keep getting better? This was about the time I opened my eyes and saw daylight in the window.

"What if you came to and recognized Keri, Lex, Rosie, and all the other animals, but not Karen or the rest of your human family?" says Virginia.

Karen might not be too happy about that, but I bet she'd find it funny.