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What dreams are made of

The other night I had a dream that I was playing in a piano recital, but when I sat down in front of the audience I couldn't remember a single note.

I should mention that piano recitals have been on my mind recently because our daughter played in one last weekend and, I might add, did a very fine job. In my dream, however, I couldn't find Middle C.

Now, this is not to be confused with what happened to me in real life when I was 9 or so, and I was playing in a talent show. Right in the middle of the song, my piano book slipped -- landing first on the keyboard then on my lap and finally on the floor. Unrattled, I simply picked up the book, found my page and started where I left off -- betting that the loud gasp I heard from the audience surely came from my mother.

That was no dream, but this week's was. I consider it a sequel to that all-too-familiar dream many people have. You know the one: You have to take an exam for a class you skipped all semester. I've had that one many times, but the piano recital scenario at least offered some fresh material.

Perhaps, you may be thinking, I am feeling a little stressed about something. Could it be this hectic time of year? Nah. Could it be that at any moment my wonderful contractor is arriving to replace the door, windows and siding that were ruined in the October storm? The project is scheduled to take about two or three days because I am not just replacing but redesigning. I also have a tentative date to have my kitchen wallpapered on Wednesday. Oh, and next Saturday I am hosting a baby shower.

Great planning, right?

I am envisioning women in cashmere sweaters and men in Carhartt jackets sharing the tea sandwiches and chocolate-dipped strawberries I plan to serve. There will be some sort of punch, too, because I believe you need punch at a baby shower even though I never make it or drink it. I don't know what kind of punch I will serve, but I do know it will be nonalcoholic and -- since the guest of honor is expecting twin girls -- it will definitely be pink.

That reminds me, I need to borrow a punch bowl.

Besides figuring in a few guys in work boots, my guest list is expanding in other ways. My daughter informs me that she has been talking to several of her little 7-year-old pals at school and, yes, they would love to attend our shower. For all I know, she has invited her bus driver and school nurse as well.

Perhaps we can add even a little more excitement to the affair. Perhaps the power will go out for the 18th time this year right as guests are arriving. No problem. The glowing complexion of the mother-to-be will be all the illumination we need, and the bang-bang-banging of the hammers at the back of the house will be drowned out by the sounds of our neighbors' generators.

Me, stressed? Never. As I have gotten older I have learned that, sometimes, you just have to roll with things. What gets done gets done.

In fact, it has been years since I had my Mother of all Stress Dreams. In this one, I dream that I am sleeping -- follow me closely, here -- and in my dream I wake up and see, directly on the ceiling above me, a spider the size of a dinner plate. Slowly, the spider descends toward me.

What a nightmare!

No, I'll take my piano recital dream any day. As long as I don't look up and see an audience filled with spiders listening to my pathetic attempt to play "When the Saints Go Marching In."

If I could only remember the notes.


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