(This post does not actually deal with anything like content; I saved that for tomorrow. This is just about getting there.)
Yes, I have decided that it's time I actually learn something about this activity I've been blogging about (off and on) for four years now: I am taking a Master Gardener class. So far, two weeks into the course, just getting there, prepared, has turned out to be a major challenge.
The first problem was figuring out when and where (and if) the dang thing was being offered. In my innocence, I went to the University Extension website on Master Gardening, expecting to see dates. Ah, would that life were so simple! No, that site had a link to the County site, where I found information for 2010 and a link back to the same University site.
Further Googling left me well-informed about Master Gardening in a number of other counties, at other levels, and in several past years, but never did I manage to locate the center of this Venn Diagram, where all three circles intersect: my county, my level, this year. After half an hour of being bounced back and forth between the same two or three sites, (the sort of thing that leaves me feeling indiscriminately homicidal), I saw a familiar name.
A touchstone! A lodestone! Hope returned to my breast. Back on the original MSU site, both the instructor and an assistant were listed, and that assistant was a long-time acquaintance who, bless her, answers e-mail promptly. The class was began one week later. Yoiks.
Well, apparently one week was simply not enough for me to absorb this information, because the next Tuesday evening, I completely forgot about the class. Tuesday evening? I don't have anything Tuesday evenings. (I've been meaning to have that hole in my head looked at, but who has the time?)
Actually I did remember at 7:45. The class was scheduled to run from 6:00 until 8:30. Should I leap in the car? I could get there by 8:00. But our dinner was just ready (we eat on a Mediterranean schedule), I was hungry, I hate rushing, and just who were they to be dictating how I spent my time, anyway? The heck with them.
It turned out that they'd had a short first session and were long gone by eight. Boy, am I glad I stayed home.
During the following week I adopted a new mantra: Remember master gardening class Tuesday night. It worked. I got there, on time. Only to discover that I'd already blown it in two other ways.
Having discussed classes and levels with Toby Day, Extension Horticulturalist here at Montana State University (over a year ago, but hey!) I had intentionally skipped level one, only to discover, when I got to my Level 2 class, that they're now asking everyone to take the first level. Oops.
Fortunately Toby, who has actually commented on this very blog (last summer, when I was trying to figure out why my friend Catherine's tomatoes looked so strange) has been good enough to take my money and head for the hills—no, but he's let me stay in the class.
Well, I may have missed the first class, but at least I was prepared for this one. The person I'd called during the week to ask about fees had helpfully informed me that the week's topic was botany. So I read the (long) chapter on botany, only to find myself listening to a lecture on soils. Fortunately, I know a lot more about soil than I do about botany; had these been reversed, I'd have been in trouble.
It was a bit embarrassing, though, to discover the next day that not only could I download a syllabus for the course, but that I had already done so. There'd been no need to take anyone's word about what to read; all I had to do was—read the document on my computer.
The next class is tomorrow. I wonder whether I'll turn up in some other state for it, or bring a knitting book instead of the text, or whether I'll be thinking it's Wednesday or whether, just possibly, I will get to the right place, at the right time, with the right book, having read the right assignment. As a bonus, I'd love to be carrying a pen that works, and maybe even a piece of paper.
Is that really so much to ask?