Last leg

I’m on my last leg.  Flying home today.  Weary, but satisfied that we’ve done good work this week.

On Thursday evening I watched the Al Smith Dinner festivities from NYC, and noted again how angry Trump looks, and how unhappy his wife looks. Meanwhile, L’Hilary is gladhanding and yukking it up as The Donald and Wife talk only amongst themselves.

Come soon, blessed Election Day.  This weary citizen is on his last leg with The Donald as well.

Here’s a Thursday evening photo after I dropped of the rental car.  Oh wait — car?  Chevy Tahoe.  2017.  6500 miles on it when I started.  Mother of all big vehicles.  ‘Twas a glorious ride through four states.



Road warrior

Road warrior selfie.  Wednesday morning.
Road warrior selfie. Wednesday morning.

I am a road warrior this week.  While the travel distances are far greater than 30 years ago when I was in my college admission days, traveling around a portion of Missouri, the rest of this is the same.

Hotel breakfasts. Where to park? Which door to enter? Will I be on time? (Yes.  I’m congenitally early.) Which rental car am I in today?  Hmmm . . . where to eat dinner tonight?  Gotta charge the computer.  Damn . . . not enough business cards this trip.

So I am doing the good work of Webster University as we strive to build enrollments at Vienna from our Webster International Networks of Schools (WINS).  I’m visiting four of our affiliates with exceptional WINS music programs: Millikin, CCM, Baldwin-Wallace, Kent State.

And of course I’m discovering just how small this world is.  My first visit Wednesday at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was with a man who taught at Webster-Vienna some years ago.  And my third visit was with a man who has co-authored with my dissertation chair.  I’ve run into more connections over the past two days — a department chair who went to Ball State . . . at a school that graduated one of my own faculty members . . . and so on.

As of Wednesday evening, the travel route has included

  • I-64
  • I-55
  • IL-48
  • I-72
  • I-57
  • I-74
  • I-465 in Indianapolis
  • I-65
  • I-75
  • I-670 at Dayton
  • I-70
  • I-270 at Columbus.

I’m well over 500 miles into the trip now, traveling that distance over the last 36 hours.

These are satisfying and fulfilling sessions as we talk about building music possibilities in Vienna.

I pulled off the freeway on Wednesday morning, heading southeast on I-74 in Indiana, and took a couple of early-morning farmland photos.

Farm Scene, Indiana.
Farm Scene, Indiana.
Corn drying on the stalk.
Cornstalks. Indiana.

Topping out

Somewhere on that beam, one of the pieces of the new Webster University Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, is my signature.

We topped out the new building on Friday.  Many faculty, staff, and students signed the structural beam before it was hoisted into place.

I was surprisingly moved to affix my name to the beam.  This building will be standing long after I am gone . . . .


And I’m the first guy in this video:

This week’s travel

Tuesday = to Millikin, then spend the night in Indy
Wednesday = to CCM, then dinner with Darin in Dayton, then spend the night in Columbus
Thursday = to Baldwin-Wallace and Kent State, then spend the night in an airport hotel in Cleveland
Friday = fly home

12.5 hours of driving.  750+ miles in the rental car.

And then 505 flight miles on Southwest.

Let the Fall Break enrollment-building trip begin!


We have a hawk living on campus — a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) the students have named a GORHAWK after our mascot, the mythical Gorlok.

I heard the hawk earlier Friday as I was walking from my car, since its cry is fairly notable.

But imagine my surprise when I looked up from the piano during a lesson — my piano faces the south windows, about 15 feet away — and saw the guy sitting on a branch in the huge tree outside my office.

He didn’t want his photo taken, so the close-up is blurry.


This majestic creature made my day.

Did you know?  The red-tailed hawk is one of the three species colloquially known in the USA as the ‘chickenhawk.’

Ah . . . .

Fall Break.

Just the sound of it delights.

It won’t be much of a ‘break,’ as my next week’s entries will attest, but I have a day off anyhow.

And leaving school, stopping at the grocer’s, I ran into one of my students (I was getting pizza; he, a lot of beer), and then into Scott Andrews, principal clarinet of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.  We had a lovely chat at the till.

Earlier today, just outside my window, a hawk of some sort.  Pictures to follow.

And I taught two successful voice lessons today, which is always lovely.  And I met with the  directing and production staff for the Rep; they liked the music I’d written for A Christmas Carol.

So yes . . . . ah!  Let Fall Break commence.