I was the grillmaster at the Department of Music picnic on Monday!
School year commences
New scholars matriculate
My year thirty-one
I find no better way to relax after two days of faculty meetings, totaling nine hours of time with colleagues, than to listen to choral music of Herbert Howells.
Tonight, it’s the Requiem, perhaps my favorite work by HH. I have this newish recording by Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson, and it’s delightful indeed.
Our faculty meetings were fruitful. Tiring. Enlivening. Productive. Nine hours of meetings over two will never be fun, but enough humor allowed us to break and laugh, and we spent time charting the next few years of the Webster University Department of Music.
Meanwhile, I fell on Sunday. In my yard. On my tush.
And while nothing is broken, I’m sore, and all this sitting today has left me feeling poorly tonight.
Alas. The joys of getting older.
I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.
Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.
At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:
- Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
- Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
- Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
- Air-conditioning everywhere.
- Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
- A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
- Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
- Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.
And DO I did.
The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.
Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.
What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.
What DID I do?
Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.
And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.
Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.
And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.
Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.
Well, after three weeks abroad, my energy is flagging and my stamina is waning.
Sunday was another big walking day, with more than 13K steps.
And the temperature Monday is just bloody hot. (The next two days are going to be worse.)
After skipping my Salzburg trip on Monday, and doing only two museum visits of shorter duration, I gave up. By 5 p.m. I was napping!
The morning on Monday was spent catching up on emails and writing four pages of a preliminary draft about the results of the curriculum work here in Vienna. I should have museumed in the morning, then written in the afternoon!
But, truth be told, I am ready to go home. My mind is starting to disengage, and my spirit is focused on wrapping up.
It’s the last day of the semester, and the end of my 10th year of teaching and administering at Webster University.
I’ve now been a university professor (full-time) for 19 years.
How will I mark the day? A bit of office cleaning in the morning. A council of chairs luncheon. A faculty meeting, then sessions with all of our sophomore candidates to announce the results of their barrier exams. Then the honors convocation for fine arts students. And the commencement banquet to receive my Messing Award.
I’m a suit all day!
Here’s a photo from my first week on the job:
My full day of activities in Vienna on Monday ended with dinner. Ten students and Prof. Martha Hart. And me.
Grundl Bauer is a lovely local restaurant on the west side of the First District, and they had a table for twelve waiting. We dined on traditional Austrian specialities, and I of course had veal Wiener schnitzel. And an Ottakringer beer. And a table full of Kaiserschmarrn for dessert.
My meals earlier today consisted of a delightful hotel buffet breakfast, and a snack of Esterhazy torte and black coffee.
And from the street today and this evening:
My health tracker tells me I hit more than 14K steps today. Walking in the city will do that! No public transport today or tomorrow.