And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Asparagus, Strawberrys, And The Stillness

The end of June is a fantastic time here in Gutenberg Land.

There is a feeling of ripeness, and heaviness

As if summer is truly here

With all its magical powers.

The trees are full of fruit right now.

The symbol of one of the neighboring villages

is a woman, in tied up voluminous skirts,

with a huge scarf full of apricots on her head.

Dragging in the harvest.

Down the river, the cherry trees are full.

This is the original Bingen of bing cherries.

Called just sweet cherries here.

And the fields are full of strawberries,

waiting to be turned into jams,

and proseco for the numerous strawberry festivals yet to come.

And not to be sold to eat,

due to a set of quixotic medieval, and now EU, farming regulations,

after the twenty-seventh of June.

Like the white asparagus.

Mounded high

and lying in the fields,

waiting to be mechanically peeled,

then frozen in huge amounts,

to be given,

not sold,

later in the year,

by the farm families

as presents,

in one pound lots,

to their friends.

It is as if the fields know a sort of closure.

And then the second season starts.

The heat.

With no one here eating anything but salads.

The Thai Express here sells cold rice paper rolls and salad.

The German restaurants serve salad only after five o’clock since they can’t keep up with the turn-over.

It is so hot, most Gutenberger live by drinking only by day.

Or eat a butter bread,

Or cherries from the market,

and wait for the cool.

Or take them to the overfilled swimming pools.

Which often can’t keep up with the water purification,

but have very large grassy areas for drying off, playing badminton, and topless sunbathing.

July, then, is the start of the silence.

The time when almost the entire population of the city,

urged on by the release of school children into six week school holidays,

packs all their belongings, and

like thieves in the night,

simply disappears.

One day here,

the next gone.

Before sunrise.

“Got to get an early start.”

The only hope for the rest of us being

that the departure date is decided by state lottery,

publicly posted in January,

since the start of the holidays are by state,

each state leaving a week later than the previously called up,

so the highways to the north to the sea, and the south to the mountains

don’t turn overnight into a solid sea of jammed traffic.

Or collide with the entire population of the Netherlands,

coming south to the mountains

with their huge airline trailers.

fully autonomic, fully self-contained.

The locals believe the NL plates,

for netherlands,

stands for Nur (only) Limonade.

Netherlands orange is a not gladly seen color in July in Gutenberg Land.

When the factories close down.

(we have branches of General Foods, Proctor and Gamble, Nestle, and one of the biggest glass companies in the world, just for a start.)

And the land of Gutenberg becomes silent.

And suddenly:

There are parking spots to be found in the city,

you can buy things at the market without having to shove and be shoved in all directions.

There are far fewer Russian accordian artists playing the Bach Toccata  and Fugue in D

and even the large families in Columbian national dress with pan flutes,

Or the African families of drummers in front of the equivalent of Wall Mart

are fewer.

And sometimes even gone.

On vacation, I assume.

And that is when Harald and I go and sit under a tree,

on the edge of the town fountain,

dangling our feet into the now small child and dogless reflecting pools

and listen to the sound of the water.

The one moment in the year,

when the town is ours,

and ours alone.

Until the second German television suddenly decides we are the only people around,

and they want an interview on beating the summer heat.

But at least, we had our moment. 2016



And Gutenberg Lived Here: 365 And Ticking

Twice per year,

on New Years afternoon and today,

I sit down,

with my wonderful, very very patient, hubby,

make a pot of Typhoo tea,

and we start remembering.

What we have done since January.

The good, the bad, the finished, the undone.

It gives us strength.

The New Years’ is almost always a joyful look at our lives together,

the main events,

what we will change.

Quo vadis.

And he is patient.

Even though I know, in the back of his math head, the wheels about wasting time and “women’s junk” are spinning,

and in the math survival section of the brain,

just under the surface,

the tiny seed of a theorem is starting to shove it’s new growth into the consciousness.

But he is patient.

And not even in the “artists are the enemy” mode.

I have  half an hour.

Today, though, is pure remembrance.

Nine Junes ago my mother was alive.

Ten, my Dad.

Five Junes ago I hadn’t had to put my life on suspense for a while and heal.

We were walking through Hyde park in London.

On a business trip, but with time to visit the Peter Pan.

It was joyful.

And it is today.

Last June I was writing for a consortium,

and feeling out of place there.

Now I am writing a book and a blog at the same time,

and feel free.

July, August, the entire rest of the year we spent cleaning his parents ancestral house each weekend.

Seven huge bags of litter each weekend to be gathered and pulled from the house.

We are tough.

The constant driving back and forth,

constant discussion with cousins,

who don’t want the house themselves,

but can’t believe we are selling.

We are tough.

And in the nights, in the hotel, sitting up in bed, too tired to sleep.

Holding hands as he listens to a book.

We will survive.

This was the year the overwork got to both of us.

Constant letters from family in trouble.

The incredibly joyful news

and our prayers of thanks

when they made it.

We are all tough.

We have proven it.

Then came the first Christmas without the pushy old matriarch.

And everyone wants us to visit.

To keep up the old ways.

The lights go out in the hotel.

I have to walk down eighteen flights.

Alone in the dark.

I am tough.

In February we celebrate the day we met.

We had coffee machiato in a beautiful little coffee roaster in the downtown.

Time to talk, and time to be together and touch bases.

Before picking up mouthwash and socks

and heading home through the beautiful little half-timbered town where we live.

In the snow.

And the streetlights made everything crystaline.

And the lights twinkled in the snow.

And it was magical.

Before we got home and got hit by the next phone call- family in trouble.

But it WAS magical.

In March I was hit by a car.

And slept for a week.

We traveled to and from the grocery store two miles away with a ruck sack on my husband’s back.

Trying to decide how much toilet paper we could carry at one time,

and if we can manage a can of peas for tomorrow’s supper.

But it was silly.

And it was fun.

And it reminded us of student days.

And got me the exercise I needed to heal.

And since I couldn’t sing on Mondays,

we started watching The Big Bang Theory.

Which was marvelous fun.

In April I went back to a murder mystery I had had in progress when all of his happened.

And started feeling good about myself again,

after I was left standing in the rain, in shock, with broken ribs and torn muscles, by the police friends of the policeman who hit me.

And Easter we carried chocolate eggs and colored dye for the real eggs in our backpack.

And laughed as we cleaned the house in the old ritual of my belief.

And Easter was good.

And by May, glorious May,

we had our car.

A technical marvel we got a huge percent off on,

due to a technicality,

that has flashing yellow lights for cross traffic,

and beeping and squealing when you get too close to something.

I am glad it keeps us safe.

Even if the beeps and wipers and error messages aren’t in A-440.

But it hums quietly as it runs,

and reminds me of the fact that I am driving again.

And of how incredibly strong my husband and I are.

And now it is  June.

And a time of firsts.

The first chinese food in four months yesterday.

The first trip to a town not in bus range.

The first trip into the city where we don’t have to start two hours early to allow for bus plan changes.

Our first trip to the botanical garden this year- no bus.

Our first outdoor luncheon with math friends we haven’t seen in a really long time.

And singing again.

Von Flowtow’s Martha.

We have been so incredibly blessed this year.

Life is good

If you let it.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Sunday Sunday: The Worm In The Computer

This morning I woke up with the full expectation of writing the epos of a life-time.

Well, at least having a little fun at the computer before breakfast

when I opened the lid of my slider,

switched it on,

and discovered a fat white more than slightly disgusting worm

disappearing into the crack in the casing of  my computer.

I decided to call him horribilix.

Just seemed like the thing to do, somehow.

So, for several hours, horribilix and I played tag.


since the computer was so hot,

time running out for the hope of non-fried buddy.

And then there was my real problem.

If he stayed in there too long, he might morph,

or whatever it is they do when they change into beautiful flying creatures,

which I somehow doubted,

since this was a computer worm.

horribilix horribilix.


the common computer moth.

Which led to fear two.

What if she decided she liked it in there,


and then laid eggs and started a family.

Visions of typing along to legions of squished horriblix juniors

and juniorettes.

And since desperation is the mother of invention,

I hit on the idea of getting a carpet needle and going after him.

or her.

Just to lift it out of the crack, of course.

Then out onto the balcony.

And sure and enough, horribilix appeared.

And belly dove so deep I wasn’t sure I could find him again.

I could of course shish kebob it through and lift it out.

Yeah, sure.

And that was when inspiration hit.

And I did what I surely should have done from the beginning.

Took my slider to the kitchen sink

Turned it over

and banged.

And why do we,

some of us at least,

never discover the surely absolutely most normal and reasonable thing

until we have tried everything else.

And the problem is still driving us mad.

But we are an animal that likes to play

and MacGyver.

And if you don’t believe me, look at kitchen gadgets.

Like over a thousand machines and inventions to peel a clove of garlic.

(just cook it as is,

smash it once with something heavy, like a wax paper covered copy of your husband’s Dunford-Schwartz,

and smear it on the food.

Less work,

tastes better.

I think old Dunford gives it some additional taste.

Just make sure you replace Dunford,

or the German Law Code,

or whatever yours has in the house,

before hubbly wakes.

And if he asks why Dunford smells of garlic,

  1. you haven’t got a clue.
  2. it is fair revenge for having it, or something similar, along on every vacation. So say I, so say we all.

PS I never really saw horribilix fall out.

Or go down the drain.

At least he hasn’t appeared while typing this.

Will keep you posted.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: It’s A Beautiful Day In The Big Wood

Waking early,

looking out the window over the green fields with just that small tinge of pale blue-green caused by the still wet dew,

it reminded me of my first early days in Germany.

I met my husband in Seattle, visiting scholar in math meets lecturer in literature.

And we were engaged by Christmas.

Then he had to go back to finish up his degree.

And I went along.

One week after landing, in Cologne, we moved into the front half of an appartment-

normal in those days-

with a hallway that went through our appartment to the front door.

Thank heavens the landlady and back half owner was such a wonderful, fair, and feisty old bird.

Within four days, I had moved in, registered at the U,

presented my letter of introduction from my doctoral advisor at the U in Seattle,

and found a job.

four thirty am to ten-thirty am

(long train travel time)

as a language teacher at the dynamite factory in Troisdorf-

English for engineers.

This is a carborator.

But they were nice people.

An hour by train each way, a mile walk and back.

I ate rice pudding for breakfast for strength,

and by the time I was back in Cologne,

so starved I stopped for take-away lasagne. Not a healthy time for me.

Two weeks later, I had two courses at  the night school.

Seven to Nine.

An hour away in the other direction.

In between, I kept house, shopped, did laundry at the laundramat (with the help of my other half)

and was a full-time grad student.

With an advisor to satisfy, full course list, and a whole lot of music to be made.

And Sunday morning, we went to church.

At eleven thirty.

Which gave us more than enough time for our passion at the moment: Uncle Bill.

Uncle Bill was an original.

And a local celebrity.

He rode the city’s streetcar dressed in full bishops robes and a mitre

as preparation for his job as the reverend Theophilious S Frog, OMDD

on the wonderful children’s series broadcast for  military dependents in Europe by The British Forces Broadcast Service, or BFBS.

And every Sunday morning, it was our joy to hear “It was a beautiful day in the big wood. Auowl, and those evil doers, WaaterrRrrrat, and his band of stouts, ferrits, and weeeeasils…”

It was pure joy.

And pure childish voluntary dispension of reality.

And the day we rode the tram with a debating owl,

in a hat with owl feathers,

and ratty,

a cap with rat’s head on his lap,

bishop’s staff in hand,

partially hidden under a large rain poncho,

we felt we were truly blessed.

A sort of symbol for our young marriage,

and what would be our lives together.

You take the tough, and then you laugh.

Thank You, Uncle Bill.

copyright 2016

No, It Isn’t Beethoven

This is my last blog for the Friday Loose Bloggers.

There are several reasons for this.

  1. first and formost, my agreement to write for them was based on the words “a group of eight of us, all countries, all religions, all political standpoints,  submit titles, then write on the topic from all angles. IN TOLERANCE AND MUTUAL RESPECT.    The reality, was that there were never really consistently more than the three of us, Ramana and Shackman, talking about death, the past, problems and aging, with me putting in the only positive topics, occasionally supported by a few of the others, many of whom truly were decent, tolerant, and having their own opinions, and therefore kept their distance.
  2. inclusion. A taoist parable was used to avoid taking a position against the hate and violence toward consortium members, in my opinion, either cowardice or misguided principle. Turning your back on evil leads to genocide, incest, child abuse… And, in the case of the LBC,  several who no longer want to write. By allowing a,  in my personal opinion, extremely aggressive unstable individual, who has chased eight stable and wonderful bloggers, and now me, off the page with her system of studying their page, finding the weak link, and attacking that person, until the person who has blocked her writes on her page. And lets her write on theirs. In my case, the taunts were of how she would teach me to stop living like a child if I just let her teach me how to use hate as a weapon, write my page “correctly,” since she knows better,  and stop doing anything joyful, since to her, success is vanity. No, thank you.
  3. no respect, no money. The consortium earned money. The only person they didn’t bother to tell was me.

oh, and as to the topic for today:

there are two sentences that, even though musicians admire and are thankful for those that are looking for a common ground with them, that mean they will never be allowed to be off duty: don’t you love Brahms, and is that Beethoven.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

p.s. Shackman, I considered you a friend. And offered to write with you, due to your great talent. Just not on the internet.

copyright 2016 All rights reserved.



And Gutenberg Lived Here: Summer Solstice: Like The Man Said

Yesterday I got involved in a sort of friendly word war.

Actually, there was no war,

since when someone has a great Michael Caine accent and writes about his

“luvverly garden”

you always finish last.

Which is fine with me.

The oldgit at wordpress is just too funny.

And while we were tossing words about,

I wished him a happy solstice.

The result of which is another absolutely gorgeous piece about how he, as a Brit,

will celebrate the solstice-

plastic ponchos over naked maidens who refuse to dance by the wet ashes of a

fire doesn’t begin to cover it.


This morning I wake up,

Look out the window,


It’s been raining for several days here in Gutenberg Land.

Slow, steady, nasty, drizzly.

Interspersed with just a soupcon of hail, deluge, pest,

flying cows…

And, what with the television showing ads every couple of minutes during the nightly news

for the great plastic cups, dishes, spoons, dancing maidens in dirndles with




not the girls

or are they the ones on page 23?

by a popular Swedish online store,

whose furniture is known

and feared,

throughout the world.

“hook screw type a (12)  to bolt b (10)

to build your new dream kitchen ‘Korvan.'”

The revenge of the Vikings.

Many years ago,

in a fit of hubris,

I actually spent eight hours building a bed,

bolt by bolt,

manual by manual,

breathing in the unfinished wood,

not stopping to eat or drink,

till I realized I was late for rehearsal,

tried to escape,

then collapsed outside the door,

and promptly locked myself out.

The locksmith “Arnie” was more expensive than the bed.

Which brings us back to expectations.

I personally expect sunlight on midsummer night.

A broad meadow where you can see forever.

Mead in a horn.

(well, ice tea for some of us)

And frolicking bucolics.


other midsomer.

Bring on Joyce, Tom and the Vicar.

So back to reality…

One of our favorite midsummer trips is to the Volkspark,

a place of great mystical views of the Rhine river.

From the top of the mountain.

Through the magical ceremonial smoke

of the camper hibachis,

on which are grilled three cloves per dog garlic-laced beef hot dogs (Turkish)

Or gigantic two-pound pork steaks (the Germans)

Or soy hot dogs

(for those who are vegetarian, but don’t want to miss out on anything)

Then, as the children and dogs run free,

it begins.

The six-foot by six foot grill masters,

who haul boxes around all day in a certain Swedish furniture store

suddenly rise,

take out racquets the size of a large cooking spoon,

and start whapping small birdies into submission-

for the honor of the shire,

the Eu,

the day Vercingetorix won the battle of Gergovina-

yes, I’m an Asterix fan,

or whatever else is important at the moment.

Followed closely by oohs and ahs of the crowd.

Which is usually the moment our group of sixteen Hunsruck mathematicians, various international wives,

all math teachers,

with the exception of me,

the reasonable one of the group,

who gets to drive one of  the buses,

the other one studied languages,

take off.

I mean how much excitement

and smashed birdies

can the non-German heart survive.

And spend the rest of the evening singing off-key,

and discussing Riemann-Roch,

or the ballad of poor ypsilon.

Or at least that was the way it was

until today.


When we decided to run a few errands on our way to the Volkspark

we discovered:

The entire city is filled with cars from up to several hundred miles away,

there is an open air showing of a football game.

Probably something European-cup-ish.

Ireland, I think.

I’m not really sure.

And a huge state fair thing on the Rhine-

with loop-the-loops, and test how strong you are, and pulling out small stuffed footballs and player figures with a giant claw thing.

Which meant that, since we could find nowhere to park, we decided to move on the Volkspark.

Only to discover-

no room at the inn.

So, moving right along, we decided we would go home,

and warn everyone and invite them to us.


there is an open air event in the stadium,

which means no parking at our place.

Or anywhere within blocks.

We had to park in the garage.

And since we only have one slot…

We’ll celebrate tomorrow.

And pretend it has to do with the date line, or something.

Oh, and as for next year:

Stonehenge, get ready.

Which, along with the fact that the Brits can’t play the Eurocup again, seem to

be the two best reasons I can think of for Brexit.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Singing And Technology: The Pling And I

Monday night was rehearsal for one of the great comic roles for a dramatic Mezzo:


half of Friedrich von Flotow’s  pair of royals turned bucolic Annie Get Your Guns.

Who end up being sold as maids

to two bucolics

who turn out to be royals,

and if this sounds like a cross between Shakespeare and Monty Python,


And that in 1844.

And add to that that the group I’m working with are fun,

and even the rehearsal hall is good…

Unfortunately, there was just one small problem.


no piano.

No, actually, there is a piano.

The kind of four octave childrens’ learner thing you buy in a supermarket,



has a tendency to go ka-plink.

And ka-thunk,

(the sound of the mechanical keys)

And  cayooga

(if you accidentally hit the buttons for other strange instruments)

Or the beat box,

at which point the singer suddenly sounds like some idiot singing along to the BeeGees’ Stayin’ Alive.

And since a piano like that is never built to be tuned…

Anyway, we got through the piece,

and had a lot of fun,

and got old friends together.

Which was the idea.

At which point I went home to find:

a note on my door

telling me the condo committee,

who get themselves elected each couple of years

to tell all us condo owners how to live,

and how high our flagpole on the balcony can be,

and that our flower boxes have to be inside the balcony railing,

and that we can grill bacon, but not fish…

you get the picture,

have decided our water meter has to be replaced with one that is correctly standardized and sealed by the Gutenberg land bureau of national measuring and sealing.

Oh yes, there is such a thing.

And that they would arrive on Wednesday.

At 8 am.

Which meant that Tuesday night found me,

at 7 pm

after a full day of work,

swearing (politely)

and trying to figure out how to empty the basket on our new vacuum cleaner,

an English brand I got on sale,

which is brilliantly designed,

but unfortunatley has an instruction manuel apparently translated by the seven dwarfs.

Who, as far as I can tell,

speak many many European Union languages,

like Finnish,


at least from the Gutenberger translation,

don’t really understand technical English.

Which was probably why I gave up in disgust several months ago,

having discovered that the original English manual wasn’t delivered,

and decided to wing it.

After which the vacuum still worked,

but a bit oddly.

And finally,

at the last minute,

like Tuesday at 7:53,

just before the 8 pm house noise curfew,

decided to sing La Marseillaise

in the key of F

instead of doing the floors.

At which point,

I called hubby,

who asked where the manual was,

and, realizing we weren’t going there,

then listened to a few bars by the machine,

which he agreed did sound a bit like La Marseillaise,

when it probably should have been Rule Britania,

mentioned he thought it didn’t really sound right,

and added the theorem for the day:

Maybe there was a manual online.

Bless his logical little math-loving heart.

At which point I went online,

and found a glorious you-tube page,

with an adorable six year old,

obviously someone’s grandson,

in a company jacket

with logo bigger than he was,

who explained to me,


how to push the silver eject button,

and if the machine is too full,

how to push the silver emergency button,

then line up the red emergency stripe

with the yellow emergency pad…

And since he was right.

And it worked…

Maybe I could write him and get him to explain

how to load the pop-gun rifle I have to use as  Nancy?

copyright 2016

Peace Of Mind, Minding For Peace

This is a blog for the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium,

Topic suggested by Ramana, of Ramana’s

Who surely has something pieceful in mind.

Hopefully peaceful.

Shackman of Shackman Speaks at blogspot I just read.

And found it very straight-up Shackman:


And insightful.

Good luck with the kids, S.

And as for me,

the problem is that,

as S-man often says,

I’m one of those types who sees things from many angles at the same time.

Perhaps too many years on the uneven parallel bars.

So when it comes to peace of mind:

I see a Yin-Yan expanded to Hegelian tri-leveled,

modified with just a smidge of Freudian id, ego, superego


Ok. For the real take,

here it is.

We have God, family, and things.

A spiritual side, human side, earthy side.

To have peace,

mind them.

Take care of family.

Known, where I’m from, as minding them.

And make sure, when you mind them, you mind them.

Ie listen when they talk.

It makes living a whole lot easier.

Then there are things:

If you have them,

but hopefully not too many,

mind them.

Wash cars, clean houses, do the drudge work. It keeps you healthy and in the long run, you, or your family profit by living with it, or selling it later.

And also mind what they mean.

I just had a great talk with Grannymar and a couple of great needle ladies on her page, about remembrance of family.

And what the tiny little bits and pieces packed in “keeping paper” and handed on mother to daughter, or even gggm to ggm to gm, to daughter, really signify.

Everyone has one of those bits.

In my case, a quilt, made by grandmother, and with bits of summer dresses from gggm, ggm, gm, for the wedding of my parents.

Our grandparents knew the comfort there is in knowing and remembering that family is always with us.

No matter what.

The call of the blood.

And the call of the spirit,

given us at conception,


for me,

in Lamb’s blood in the book of Life.

It’s a guide.

Mind it whenever you can.

And always let others follow their own guide.

But, most important,

mind that you stay away from those

who lie cheat steal and manipulate.

And if you can’t do it any other way,

and even turning the other cheek doesn’t work,

give them a piece of your mind.

It’s good for your peace of mind.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Crocodile On The Bank

There is a strange high-pitched hoop-hoop-hoop sound

(An exercise to get vocal beginners to find the area where they project best.)

Then a quartett bursts through the door

And sings a very funny,

and often slightly raucus,

version of some very serious song.

In this case, with lyrics to do with the US political campaign.

They are from Wisconsin.

Then the next group-


One of the first in yells “hide your women, booze, and money, men. Musicians are in the town.”

They are from Holland.

And wear tight striped diplomats’ pants, a huge bow tie, and have their hair gelled into the old “Grease” ducktail and forehead cascade.

And if you haven’t guessed by now, this is a convention for choir directors.

Who spend one weekend each year drinking with the best,

at least the ones who are not tee-totalers,

(who often are the better singers. Probably because they sing sober more often)

And singing from morning till night,

exchanging ideas,

and tones,


life-saving vital info.

Like who is on the job carousel now-

(everyone who is a freelance conductor  rides the carousel at least once per year:

your choir had to work too hard for a concert, but it was brilliant?

Word is put out they are looking for someone new,

and you have six job offers before you even know they are thinking of dumping you.

And your choir council has six new conductors in view-

from the choirs that are now looking at you.

and voila-

the medieval slave market known as:

the carousel.

And then, of course, the real reason we are all there:

technical info.

Newest music and arrangements,

what to do as an a capella choir, since only groups with bands can fill a house.

Answer: do occasional modern pieces with mouth percussion,

seminars available,

or put together concerts with at least five choirs.

At at least two tickets per singer…

Then there is the “hi, where you from?” hidden info exchange:

Like how to handle someone who really really really wants to sing solo,

and sings loud

and shrill,

and agressively,

or just on the high edge of every tone,

till you and the choir haven’t got a clue where you are singing,

in the hope of blackmailing you into giving up and working with them-

Or the one who picks a totally trivial minor point-

like that the scarves aren’t as nice as the ones they could make,

since they once studied design,

for six months before they got pregnant,

to tie up all musical work that needs to be done until you let them sew their little hearts out.

The answer, of course, like the answer to any of these kinds of situations:

if it is a church choir, you have a pastor and a council.

Consult them.

If it is a private choir,

you have a council,

with president,

and they probably know the person well.

Let them talk them into quiet.

Or it is your choir.

And your job.

At which point the answer is,

keep distance no matter what.

Or they will try to pick up little details by stalking you, till they can spread gossip and lies to kill your image,

Or let everyone know they are your personal friend,

and you will lose half your choir.

Or, worst of all, decide to come calling,  knocking on your door at three a.m., daisies in hand. (It really happened)

And thus, one weekend per year, you absorb new music,

and technic,

and job gossip,

until suddenly, it is the last day, last hours, last social meeting.

And the stories come out.

Having to find white theatre paint at the last minute and sing in bed sheets from the hotel since the costumes were lost,

Pinning a six-foot six substitute into a costume, carefully slit up the back seam and with darts and extra pleated material, originally meant for a five foot four ill tenor,

(remember to put the substitue in the last row)

singing a requiem with a suddenly very ill star soloist,

who hangs on the railing trying not to throw up,

and marks his lines since his voice is gone,

and still, darn it,  is more brilliant than anyone you have ever worked with.

And then,

the, for me, most magical moment of all:

the prize for the wackiest, goofiest, most bizarre choir- related thorn in the side of a conductor,

a tin for throat discs,

now containing a small golden tuning fork left behind many years ago,


this year,

to moi.

The one who once directed a police choir who all left,

on a nearly weekly basis,

for training in some bizarre,

but necessary to know how to handle,


Like the week an official at the customs inspection harbor here in the city opened  a crate that was making funny noises,

And was attacked by a monstrous sized crocodile.

And since my choir had to turn out for the emergency…

At least they were honest about it.

Part of my agreement with them was that I get paid no matter how many natural or man-made catastrophes disrupt the proceedings.

Like I said, it took the tin.

Copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Welcome To The Thorsday Conundrum


Come on in.

No, it’s not really a typo.

And yes, I really am going to write about that old chestnut Thorsday.

Named for Thor.

The hammer-wielding,

thunder and lightening throwing,

cart drawn by two goats riding,

husband of Sif and lover of a whole lot of other -hm-well, let’s just call them female beings.

And protector of health, fertility, hallowing (making things holy)

and puny little humans.

And why, you ask?

(Am I  writing this, not the protection bit)


the last thing I remember it was Saturday

and I thought I was going to get a day off, and then:

thunder, lightening, literally, and a whole lot of “It’s three AM, husband mine- Have we got another six hours of  jobs, errands, and paperwork, or can I go to bed yet?”

Which went on until….



it not being Thursday,

I was,

it being Wednesday,

at a book store, where:

I bought a British newspaper,

the Guardian, actually,

and was going to have a coffee and read it while waiting for a doctor to outprocess me, and a whole lot of others,

when I discovered the esoteric jewelry section-

complete with Thor’s hammer,

jeweled, and un-jeweled,

and in any metal you wished,

with and without runes.

And was told that:

they just couldn’t keep them in stock,

since the belief in Thor is not only on the rise here,

it is rapidly reaching endemic proportions.

?? ? ?

And since I always have said I reserve everyone’s right to their own beliefs,

I think I’ll end the discussion right there.

Except for two brief comments:

Firstly, I discovered that if you have to have something checked by spin tomography-

(I was in a major-sized car wreck, but am now fine.

It’s just a precaution of my nervous house doctor-)

the best thing you can do is mentally sing Mozart’s Laudate Dominum.

It calms the nerves and covers the noise of the train running over you.

And secondly,

for some reason the Thor thing brought back a poem  I can’t get out of my head-

maybe that was the little T-shaped thing on the x-ray.

Just joking.

Actually, I  learned it as  a child,

and, as far as I can remember,

it was in a Boys’ Life I swiped to read when my brother was at baseball practice.

Since I checked everywhere and can’t find it to give the author credit, I’m going to go ahead and share it with you anyway.

In the hope it is out of print because the copyright has run out.

Yes, that’s how many years ago it was.

So anyway,

in wake of the new rise of  interest in Thor:

The king of gods went out to ride

upon his favorite filly.

“I’m Thor,” he cried.

the horse replied

“You forgot your thaddle, thilly.”

In this thense.

uh, sense…

copyright 2016