Hilltop Diary, April 18, 2020

The last two weeks have not brought forth any big news to share here, but as an update I have used the time at home to compose and orchestrate the first two minutes of my symphony’s fourth (last movement) and wrote the first thousand-plus words of my novel’s chapter 22 (of 28 chapters).

This Monday, April 20, was to be the last day of classes at Vanderbilt, and still will be, but online. Then I’m done! I could have kept teaching several more years at Vanderbilt but have made the choice myself, and am looking forward, to finally being a full-time composer and author! Crystal’s K-8 school will, of course, continue for more weeks, but online; they are not going back in person this year. My little cough is gone completely now, and Crystal only has some occasional chest pains and is on the mend. I credit sitting out in the warm sunshine together every afternoon. Our romantic date out this week will be to pick strawberries together, which are now in season, and Crystal will make her famous jam, some with the gooseberries she’s been saving in the freezer.

Crystal was rehearsing for an audition, but that show and the auditions have been postponed indefinitely, too bad. A lot of our friends must be in the same boat. She has finally gone back to writing a really charming book she started a few years ago, a whimsical biography of our cats, for children of all ages, as they say. We may have two published authors in the family before long!

This week, using only the phone and computer, we applied for and got a refinance on our house, lowering our interest rate a whole point from 4.125% to 3.125%.  It saves us about seven thousand dollars over the present loan! If you are paying over 4%, it’s a good time to check on refinancing. No home appraisal was required, and they bring the closing papers to our house for us to sign!

I have read and heard various news stories about how hard the isolation is on some people, and pray for them. However, I must confess I feel a lot less stress lately, compared to life before quarantine, rushing around to so many places in my car, especially on the highways. It has been a much-needed slow-down and a retreat for both of us, and we have grown closer from it, too. I know the quarantine must end for the whole country, and many people will need to get back to work to earn a living. But maybe we’ll all find a few more times to make ourselves slow down after this.

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