Tag Archives: travel

#TBT: Capitals

I got to thinking over the weekend about all of the capitals I’ve visited around the world.

Rome and Vienna, Madrid and Paris, London and Dublin and Cardiff and Edinburgh, Copenhagen and Stockholm and Oslo, Moscow and Berlin, Prague and Bratislava and Budapest, Athens.

Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.

Buenos Aires.

If one counts passing through, then Taipei and Tokyo and Rabat.

One hopes, of course, that more travel will ensue one day, but that day must wait.

That food photo in the mix? One of the single best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life! In Budapest.

No travel

I’m supposed to be in Oklahoma today, but I’m not in Oklahoma.

I’m supposed to be attending the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music this weekend and early next week, in Scottsdale, Arizona, but that meeting is canceled.

I should go see my sisters for Christmas, but I’m not going to travel at all.

Heeding the advice of medical professionals, and of my conscience and my gut, I’m staying put. Minimizing contact with others. Using Instacart. Getting things done at home. Loving on my doggy.

And over the four-week holiday break at Webster, I intend to watch a bunch of Hitchcock movies, and a bunch of Merchant-Ivory flicks.

And maybe finish the “Tangier Sorties” art song that I committed to well more than a year ago.

Here’s a photo from my hotel in Scottsdale several years ago when the NASM conference was last there.

Random ramblings

I have a new mask for use when I’m at school and in the same room as others, teaching a class or teaching a lesson.

I shan’t be on campus all the time, but this mask will allow me to breathe more easily at least.

My HelloFresh adventure continues. This meal was a huge taste-bomb of happiness and spice and zestiness: panko- and Parmesan-crusted chicken cutlet (with sour cream to add a bit of bite, and hot paprika to add kick; plus roasted carrots tossed in lemon zest, and couscous with garlic and the whites of green onions.

Nelson spent two hours at the office on Saturday, since Queen Jean (my once and always best-ever assistant) and I were measuring rooms and putting down social-distance markers. He had a fun time running the very empty lobby of the Loretto-Hilton Center.

Those markers:

On Saturday, before heading to the office, I watched a live-stream of a concert by the choral group Ensemble Pro Victoria. The concert took place at St. Mary’s Bourne Street in London, the last church I attended in the UK two years ago on my most recent visit there.

The concert was wonderful, with music that I find deeply attractive.

The leader of the group is Toby Ward, who I met on a visit to Gloucester Cathedral in 2012 (I think that’s the right year). I was on a Howells research trip. Toby was singing tenor in the choir on a gap year before starting college. He complimented me on my glasses. And then the choir sang an all-Herbert Howells Evensong.

The squirrels know.  They know that winter is coming.  Damn squirrels!  Rooting in my window boxes….

This belated birthday present came from the Gregg family. I’m sporting it proudly on Mariele the Volvo:

Thanks to a very handy handy-man, I am now wired at home for two ethernet ports, one by my desk in my home office, and one by the piano.  I shall henceforth be hard-wired into meetings at home, rather than relying on wi-fi!

25 years ago

Twenty-five years ago today I flew home from my first-ever trip to England.  I’d been there with the Mixed Choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City.  We were on tour singing from Edinburgh to London’s Westminster Abbey.

Reminiscences and from my journal:

Here’s some of that music that still sends me into tears:

And the entirety of that Vaughan Williams anthem, sung at the Abbey by their choir:

Watching this, I burst into tears at that climactic A5 from the boys, and that last chord, and the memory of such wonders as the gift of singing this feet from the grave of the composer, in the company of dear people from my home parish.

A photo from that last day at the Abbey, in the Abbey garden:

#TBT: travel

I went down a rabbit hole on AirBnB the other day, looking longingly and lovingly at places I’ve stayed on travels around the US and Europe.

And some photos from these places:

Taking away the breath

Tunnel Hill, Illinois.

7.25 a.m.  I step off the back porch to give Nelson a moment after his breakfast.  We walk to the fence line.  He is interested in the cows in the distance.  I look up.

And gasp.

The little valley is shrouded in morning fog.  But it’s sun-kissed just enough that I can see the distant tree line, then the hills, and then a receding curtain of translucent white.

There’s a lyric in a song I teach: “This is the closest I’ve been to being part of a painting.”  And I sing that truth aloud.

Had the Impressionists ventured to this little vale in southern Illinois, they would painted this.

Sadly, the fleeting moment disappeared as I stood transfixed, giving way to the inexorable sunrise.  Such visions are gone too soon, never to be captured again except in memory.

But another day will dawn, equally as vivid and alive.  Oh that I could be here to see it too.

This is the vista.  Imagine this as a lake of thin morning fog.  I don’t recall the last time I was so effected by a landscape.

Looking west.

Farm life, part 2

Looking south, from the bedroom.

Tuesday dawned wet with rain, and the rains fell off and on all morning.

By noon, the sky was clear, and my meetings were finished, so Nelson and I took a ramble.

The cows were up by the fence today, just a few yards from my back porch:

Nelson thinks cows are something at which to bark.


I didn’t try the swing, but I can imagine how fun it is for a kid, or an overgrown kid.

After lunch (ham salad sandwich, pineapple, grapes), I went the front porch to read.  Here’s the report:

I was sitting on his leash and reading a book.  And he jerked so hard that the leash went flying, he went flying to chase cattle, and I went flying to chase him, and we ended up panting (both of us) and sweating (me) only after a kind driver stopped a full 1/4 mile away, stepped on his leash, and he (the dog, not the driver) walked with me in shame back to the homestead.  He’s an adventurous and brave little shit, and also supremely unaware of danger.

And Tuesday’s dinner: