Hilltop Diary, Dec. 21, 2020

20201221_170550Welcome to my annual Christmas diary entry. We “finally” have a tree up (actually three this year, here are two of them). We normally do Advent and wait to put up the tree till just before Christmas. Then we leave it up for the twelve days of Christmas (starting on Christmas Day) to Epiphany (visit of the Magi) or even to the end of January. But they began selling out of trees here a week ago, so we thought we’d better go ahead now, while we could still find one! We needed new tree lights, too, but they were all sold out of them, at two stores! So, we gave up and ordered those from Amazon.

For the record (and of course for your enjoyment), I have had three articles published in the last week. Here are the links. One is on the “Festival of Lessons and Carols” that they do every Christmas Eve at Kings College, Cambridge:  CLICK HERE I was happy to see that this one also appeared in the print U.S. national edition of the paper (Dec. 16-21 edition).


And the second one is for Beethoven’s 250th: birthday (scroll halfway down for my contribution): CLICK HERE

And the third article is a response to someone else’s article on the problem with ugly atonal / Modernist/ avant-garde music, in which I explain why that genre keeps on going, even though so few people care for it. CLICK HERE.

The project to put up my model train around the ceiling of my home composing studio took longer than I imagined, but in a little over a week and $200 later for track and materials, it is finally done. I had to stand on a ladder and try to reach across the bookshelves to get to the wall, which got scary. Here is a short video of the train making its continuous journey. It is somehow soothing to me that it just goes around and around  with no destination, which is to say it lacks the drama of a narrative. Instead, without the stress of deadlines, the train just happily winds its way endlessly around, enjoying the ride and having no cares.

20201217_161924Just to follow up with a little report on my holiday diet that began the Monday after Thanksgiving, mentioned last time. I’m happy to report that I have lost ten pounds. That didn’t sound like much to me, but then I imagined that I had been carrying around this big, heavy ten-pound bag of sugar, and I realized it is a lot. I do feel more energy, being shed of that heavy bag of sugar. Onward! Flour bags, look out!

Finally, let me share our annual Christmas card poem. We have always chosen to not to send out long letters describing our year. We found that a short poem was more fun for the recipients. They have always been funny, but this year that did not seem best, so this is a more reflective one. We are happy to share it more widely here. You may have to zoom in to read it. I wrote this year’s poem, with tweaks by Crystal (it is usually the reverse), and she drew the charming illustrations.

2020 Christmas Card Poem

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