Sunday, May 23, 2010


All my balcony flowers and tomatoes survived my ten day absence. The tomatoes on Ed’s farmette? Chomped down by the woodchuck. All but two: the two that I gave him. Obviously with cooties, from a woodchuck’s point of view.

The irises (also at the farmette) that were threatening to bloom in our absence did indeed unfurl their bulging heads. But they reserved the tail end of their best days for our return.


It’s all a bit chaotic at the farmette, but somehow, plants continue to grow and thrive. Alongside others – weeds, flowers, berries, tomatoes – they all somehow coexist.


(Note two tomato plants near the bottom; they're in the woodchip driveway; no place is off limits for planting.)

Here’s another interesting update – this one is for the Ocean readers who remember that on April 5th, my purse fell out of my backpack during an Air France flight. I submitted a lost in flight report in ten different places and waited. All I got were form emails telling me that if I didn’t hear back with news of recovery within eight days, I should assume that all was lost forever.

I waited. I did not replace credit cards and licenses and IDs believing that surely at least these would be returned.

After two weeks, I gave up. I notified my credit card companies, got a new license, new this, new that, swallowed the cost of it all ($200 and counting), swallowed my pride as well and moved on.

Of course, you’ve probably guessed the next stage of the saga. For lo, this week I got an email from Air France telling me (only six weeks later!) that my purse has been found! Do I want it back? I can go to their lost and found hangar somewhere outside Paris and claim it, or I can have it shipped for a “tiny” fee of 65 Euros (close to $100).

Now, here’s the dilemma: I think I replaced all but two of my various cards and IDs. And it was an old (though still usable) purse. And there was a change purse with about 125 Euros inside. Nothing else. I never carry much in a purse. So, have it mailed, right?

Ed says no. People are likely to give over property to the lost and found, but not cash, he tells me. If I do not need anything in that bag (except for the cash), let it go.

Is he right? Or, should I trust that all was left as I left it on the plane? Should I pay the 65 Euro merely because I’m so curious to see whether my faith in the honesty of others will be validated?

Sue, an Ocean reader who lives on Isla Mujeres in Mexico (we rented a lovely little apartment from her in January) wrote recently how honest people are (on Isla Mujeres), but I note how even she claimed that people are likely to steal the trivial, useful things. Cash is useful.

I’m truly of two minds on how to proceed.

And yet another update:

One class graded, two to go. On schedule. (Let’s for the moment not pay attention to the fact that I chose to start grading with the easiest of the three.)

And finally, no update, but just a note on today: for me, a day like this gets very close to some form of perfection: hot, summer weather, without the summer bugs. When else can you work outside in Wisconsin all day long and not swat at mosquitoes? I alternate between grading and planting replacement tomatoes at the farmette.

As the day shifts into the pre-dusk hours, Ed and I take a break and lean back on a pair of canvas sling chairs (my childhood was spent in these) on the front porch. I’m thinking how lovely it is to listen to any number of birds around us. Not pigeon birds either.


(Did I mention that my last New York moment was on the West 4th subway stop, waiting at 5 am for the train and watching a rat scamper from one side of track to another in search of a decomposing piece of fast food? )

In the evening, we ride the motorcycle back to town, with a rosebush in a freshly planted pot for my balcony.