Beth and I are in Freeport Maine for Music Clinic. We got here yesterday, and we’ll leave Sunday morning. Va will come up for the performance tomorrow evening. There are over 450 participants in Music Clinic this year. That’s a lot of people to manage, and I am in awe of the effort that goes into organizing this. Besides the two choirs, the band, the strings, bell choirs, and school choirs, there are about three dozen pianists, and some of them are also in the choir/bnad/school choir/etc. Each pianist is assigned half a dozen practice sessions in one of the four practice rooms, and that’s in addition to their practice as a group (there are four two-hour sessions of that). Trying to get everyone scheduled for that is a tremendous task (the piano schedule is three pages).

Beth at group practice

Beth at group practice

Meanwhile all I have to do is hang out and make sure Beth is where she is supposed to be when she’s supposed to be there. And also help clean up after the meals.

Last year my assignment was more nebulous. I showed up for duty at the appointed place at the appointed time, but I was the only one there. That is something I don’t like at all. Then when the coordinator did show up he didn’t really have anything for me to do. I like to do things. I do not like to have non-assignments. So this year I signed up for things that sounded more like work. And that’s what I got, which is a huge improvement, even when things don’t go very well.

Yesterday I had a mitigated disaster. My assignment was to mop the kitchen (which is great! that’s doing something!) I got right to work and mopped the whole place. It was filthy when I started and spic-and-span when I finished. And then I rolled the mop bucket out into the hallway and towards the janitor’s closet to empty it. That’s when things went awry. The floor of the janitor’s closet is about a quarter inch higher than the hallway (do you see where this is going?) When the bucket wheels hit the threshold, the bucket tipped. It sloshed water back towards me (and soaked my pants) and then it sloshed forwards where it ended up tipping the bucket into the closet. Yeah – about six gallons of mop water by my estimate. It took half an hour to mop the kitchen and about the same amount of time to mop the janitor’s closet. That included moving vacuum cleaners and floor buffers out into the hall, mopping up six gallons of water, and then putting all the stuff back again. We aren’t going to talk about the gallon or two that soaked into the hallway carpet.

But this is still better than a non-assignment.

Tonight mopping went much smoother. I was wise to the threshold, and it took about 60 seconds to empty the mop bucket.

While Beth is in practice, I have been amusing myself by attempting to id some lichens. I got a new book on the topic and brought it with me. I’ve identified half a dozen types (though not down to the species level – that often requires biochemistry).

Bristly Beard Lichen (Usnea... hirta?)

Bristly Beard Lichen (Usnea... hirta?)


The book is called “Lichens of the North Woods” by Joe Walewski, and I like it very much except for one minor thing. Apparently, “The North Woods” are the woods surrounding Lake Superior. I’m assuming that a lot of the lichens there are in New England as well, but it’s entirely possible that we have species here that aren’t there. And I won’t know what they are when I find them. Oh well. The book is pretty good anyhow, and I’d still buy it even knowing that it doesn’t cover New England.

Tomorrow Beth has a performance during the church service, and after that we will go hang out at the beach. In Maine. In March. I don’t expect we’ll do any swimming, but I might take some pictures.

We do have a pool here at the hotel though, so maybe we will do a little swimming.

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