Monthly Archives: October 2017


Aaron is one of my high school senior voice students, and is arguably one of the most talented kids I’ve taught in my nearly 30 years go voice-teaching.

He and his mother joined me in DeKalb, Illinois this past weekend for the regional competition hosted by the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  Aaron went on to the semi-final round.  Here’s a photo after he sang on Sunday morning:


Several deaths this past week, touching me tangentially.  Wife of a colleague.  Parent of a student.  Friend from long ago.

Here’s John Donne (1633):

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

DeKalb, Illinois

At 6.45 a.m., I’m up and packed and ready for a 7.15 a.m. departure from the Hampton Inn on the south edge of DeKalb, just north of the Illinois tollway.
The Illinois tollways are, by the way, expensive . . . and in a perpetual state of (re)construction.
I leave here at mid-afternoon to drive my rental Kia to Midway, and from there take a Southwest flight back to Saint Louis and home.
Only to depart again less than 60 hours later.
My high school senior Aaron has made his way to this morning’s semi-final round, where he will sing one song to determine whether he moves on to finals this afternoon.  It’s sudden elimination day.

On Friday, as part of a Fall Break treat to myself, I drove down to Frankfort, Illinois to visit with my dear friend Ramelle Sarna.

She posted this photo, along with the tag line “Two Jayhawks walk into a Mexican cantina . . .”:
Seeing her, and meeting Rich, and having some tacos . . . life is filled with simple and happy pleasures that revive the soul.

Neighborhood changes

Busy week on Lawn Place.

21 has apparently sold for an extraordinary amount of money, which helps all of us on home value as the comps rise.  This is good news indeed!

The house south of me has some foundation repairs in the offing.  (How I tremble when I remember my own foundation issues five years ago.)

The house to the north of me is getting all new windows, with ensuing banging of hammers &c.

And my own new windows arrive next week.

Renewal is a good thing.


Cancer has reared its disgusting head again, this time with a family member diagnosed with a Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

While a bone marrow test next week will tell more about the specific type of syndrome, and thus the treatment, the doctor informs that the prognosis appears good.

The Great Physician heals.  Doctors are the vessels.  Faith goes a long way too.