Catching Up and Looking Ahead

In the months since I last posted, I made my move from Iowa to Maryland, or the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia). It was wonderful to spend my first Thanksgiving in years with my family. It was also nearly as wonderful to miss the 20 inches of snow that fell in Iowa and below zero temperatures they experienced in January of 2024. Here, we did get a couple of inches a few nights when the temps dropped to the upper teens.

I was fortunate to find a two-bedroom apartment in an independent living senior residence. The rent is outrageous, but folks keep telling me that it’s quite reasonable for the DMV. I try to tell myself that each month as I pay the rent, but it isn’t working. Anyway,…

As busy as I’ve been trying to organize things from the move–the office is still a mass of boxes, I have gotten some travel in. My eldest sister decided that I needed a serious birthday celebration (she said “you only turn 65 once”), so she treated me to a one-day trip to New York City. We joined a group of ladies on Saturday, December 2, 2023, and took Amtrak on a four-hour trip to the big city. She had a driver pick us up and take us on a mini-tour of the city all lit up for the Christmas holidays before we had a fabulous dinner at ViceVersa, a local Italian restaurant.

The main event was attending the final performance of 2023-24 season of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the Metropolitan Opera. It’s probably surprising, considering my field of academic study, but this was the first time that I had seen a live performance at the Met. What a wonderful experience!! At the time of the production, it was only the second one composed by an African American to be presented on the Met stage. If all of the performances were as well attended as that one was, it should lead to many more opportunities.

Unfortunately, the production ended late–they started late to allow as many attendees to get to their seats as possible (and there were still folks standing at the door awaiting the chance to enter at the first intermission), so I was unable to attempt to meet any of the cast. Thank goodness the driver was waiting for us at a nearby street to get us back to Penn Station in time to catch the Amtrak back to Maryland. I was admittedly exhausted, so I slept virtually the entire trip back.

The rest of the pictures from the trip are available at I really like that Piwigo allows the option to see maps of locations where pictures are taken, so when I had the opportunity to acquire a printed map of the United States that would allow me to create a physical manifestation of my journeys, I couldn’t resist. Below pictures of the map before I began pinning locations:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




The pins only note my travels that were chronicled on this site, so trips, tours, etc., prior to this aren’t included. The map, as pinned on the date of this post, is below:



I have seven color pins used to mark stops on different trips. Black pins are used for national parks I haven’t visited yet, red pins are for those I have visited, and purple pins mark civil rights historical sites. When I had to use the same color for different trips, I tried to select a color that was not close to a different journey using that same color. I’ll add other maps of specific trips over the years as time permits. As for the physical map, I’m looking forward to hanging it in my office where I can update it as new journeys occur.

Looking at where things stand presently on the map, I realized two things. First, several national parks I missed were near routes of various trips. Most of the time, I simply didn’t know they were there. Second, although I have toured in the northeastern states and drove through them on my way to and from Newfoundland, I feel like I should return and explore them more completely. So, they are now on my list of places to visit as soon as I can.

Speaking of places to visit, 2024 already has two other activities planned. First, my second book, Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals: 1916-2022, received a prestigious award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Their annual conference is scheduled for mid-May in St. Paul, Minnesota. I hope to go to the conference then FINALLY get to visit Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s a 17-hour drive with more than half of the trip on I-94. Crossing fingers on that one.

Also, towards the end of the year, I am scheduled to go on my first cruise. The destination is a 7-day excursion of the Hawaii Islands. If all goes well, that would be my 49th state.

More information as the dates draws closer.

Related Post