I am on holiday, and have nothing to post today.
My 2.5-week summer holiday has commenced, as of the close of the work-day yesterday.
Unlike other summers where I’ve taken a full four weeks away from the office, I’m departing for a shorter term this year, since I am music-directing two different shows and only have 1.5 weeks off between the end of The Sweet Smell of Success and the start of rehearsals for Out on Broadway: The Third Coming.
But summer holiday is filled, as usual. I’m off to NYC next week, for a short visit and some research. Then I have a dash over to Lee’s Summit and on to Des Moines to see Billy Budd at Des Moines Opera.
The next few weeks, until August 10 or so, are still three-days-in-office, and some long weekends. I still have reading to do, and music to compose, and local tourism to do!
But I wish I were abroad this summer . . . .
Most any trip to Chicago includes some time at the Art Institute of Chicago, called by some the greatest museum in the world. I never tire of the Impressionists, of the miniature rooms, of the great masters, of the architecture collection, of the paperweight collection.
This trip included the America After the Fall exhibition, the collection of modernist chairs, and some Napoleon stuff. And my old friends Messrs. Seurat and Monet.
From the 1930’s American exhibition, viewed during a private members-only morning:
Truth be told, I only had off eight working days over the past two fortnights. Such is the life of an administrator.
And over the holiday break between semesters, I’ve dealt with a dozen and a half church services, a few days away with family, a leak in the bathroom, a dead dishwasher, cabinets falling off the kitchen wall, and prep for the foundation repair that starts tomorrow.
Three Webster kids descended at 5.25 p.m. tonight to help. Twenty minutes later, they had moved everything in the basement that needed moving. I fed them homemade lasagna and panna cotta in thanks.
I also coached five students today on audition music for tomorrow’s theatre auditions at Webster.
Tonight? Downton Abbey, and putting my latest choral music in Finale.
Pics from the week:
And just like that, with snow blowing in a howling wind, I am on vacation.
Leaving the office at 1.15 today, I said goodbye to Jean, looked once more at my boxed-up office awaiting a move in two weeks, checked in with the Boss, and drove home.
A grilled cheese sandwich and some chips comprised my lunch – a perfect wintry day meal.
Hallelujah for vacations!
Beth has been hoping to visit Hannibal with her children, since the kids have never been and Beth has not been back to Hannibal since she was 18. So I drove up this morning to meet them and play tour guide.
We lived in Hannibal when I was in elementary school, moving away toward the end of my fourth grade year. Beth barely remembers living there, since she was just turned four when we left. So today, Beth had some very jumbled memories of the two houses I remember, of where Dorothy Watson lived, and the Gruber house, and of Fifth Street Baptist Church, and so on.
We had a fun day, taking in all the Mark Twain & Tom Sawyer stuff, climbing up Cardiff Hill to the lighthouse, going up to Lovers Leap, touring Mark Twain cave, and playing on the banks of the Mississippi from the Illinois side.
And, five minutes shy of 12 hours away, I was back home!
At 7.30 p.m., I am back in Saint Louis after making the return trip from Lee’s Summit today, non-stop, in three hours and 23 minutes. Samson slept the whole way, from the moment I got on I-70 in Independence to the moment I pulled up on Lawn Place.
While I took my D-XLR camera, I didn’t use it. In fact, this whole trip was spent in driving, sleeping, eating, or visiting. I suppose that’s what a whirlwind 23 hours in my hometown should be.
My father is having surgery on Thursday for cancer in his lymph nodes. The cancer is consistent with a merkel cell that was removed from his arm two years ago. He is a man of extraordinary religious faith, and will weather this latest ill health with dignity and aplomb, if also some soreness. Further biopsies will determine what further course of action is necessary.
Meanwhile, my sister Karen is recovering well from surgery on her wrist. I enjoyed laughing with her today! And Beth and Robert and kids are all fine. Anna will be 16 soon; both boys are in elementary school, one at either end of the age range.
Sadly, Aunt Esther has noticeably aged (she is 100, after all) in the last three months. The sparkle is gone from her eyes, and she had a certain look that I’d not seen in her before. I wonder if today’s brief visit will be my last. I asked her to hang on until Christmas, but she hung on until 100, and truth-be-told she deserves a rest.
Here are shots from the last two days: