Ten recordings recently made available online as part of the Library of Congress's National Jukebox:
- Dan W. Quinn - I want to go to Morrow
- Haydn Quartet feat. Harry Macdonough - When the roll is called up yonder I'll be there
- Collins and Harlan - Eagle Rock
- Venetian Trio - La muerte del bardo
- Victor Concert Orchestra - Love song
- George P. Watson - Life in the Alps
- Alan Turner - There is a green hill far away
- Corinne Morgan and Harry Macdonough - Home to our mountains
- Cal Stewart - Uncle Josh in society
- Peerless Quartet - He's a rag picker
Wow, five whole days without a post. What the hell is wrong with me? I have no reasonable excuse for Wednesday and Thursday of last week, nor yesterday. Just lazy or unmotivated, I guess. The weekend, though, I've got that covered. I spent the weekend in Virginia with my brother and his kids, and in the interest of traveling light, I decided not to take my laptop. I suppose I could have scheduled some posts to go up in my absence, but I didn't feel like it.
The trip was very successful. I ended up with some pretty long layovers in Chicago (on the way there) and Cleveland (on the way back), and I arrived in Virginia a couple of hours before my brother was able to pick me up, but I made the most of the extra time. My dad and stepmom met me at the O'Hare Hilton, where we had a nice (albeit pricey) breakfast together. My friend Bonnie, with whom I sang in the choir at Unitarian Unversalists of Sterling, picked me up at Dulles; we had lunch together and met the UUS choir director at Wegmans -- a clever choice on Bonnie's part, since I had fairly recently remarked on Facebook that my friends notwithstanding, Wegmans was the thing I missed most about Virginia. In Cleveland, I planned to meet lapacifidora, who lives reasonably close by, but she ended up having to cancel due to family obligations. Luckily, I had brought plenty of reading material (Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal and Welcome to Utopia (Notes from a Small Town) by Karen Valby, if you must know) so I was not without something to do.
In between these brief visits and not-visits, I was at Shrine Mont, a conference and retreat center owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. When my brother lived in northern Virginia, he was a member of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, which holds a retreat at Shrine Mont each year. He lives up in Pennsylvania now, but they're willing to let him continue coming to the retreats anyway. I'd gone with him once or twice before, so when he suggested I come out for this year's retreat, I figured, why not? (Later, the ulterior motive presented itself: his wife was staying at home with the infant, leaving him to watch over five kids. The two oldest, 16 and 15 respectively, are old enough to look after themselves, , as to a lesser degree is the 10-year-old, but the 2- and 4-year olds demanded a bit more attention. Indeed, I spent most of Saturday afternoon looking after one or both of them. Which was fun, but tiring.
For me, the most fun part of the retreat was the variety shore. I had decided I would do an old Smothers Brothers song, Church Bells. I decided I wanted to jazz it up a little, so I borrowed some hand chimes from my church and recruited my older nieces to play them. I improvised a monologue about having recently moved to Wisconsin and how I'd gone about looking for a new church home, and when I came to the parts where Tom and Dick would have sung and strummed the notes of the church bells, I had my nieces play them on the chimes. It would have worked just as well if I'd sung it, but it was nice to have the girls up there with me. It got a good laugh at the end, so mission accomplished.