The doings at Hilltop since I last wrote have been too slow! We still await the arrival of two new garage doors, with one of the old ones permanently stuck in the open position! A major plumbing job remains undone! No time to deal with it. And we seem to remain beset every few days with storms and high winds toppling over our outdoor furniture and plants, not to mention the occasional Tornado watch. On a positive note, I ordered and assembled a new garden trellis (will grow clematis on it) and got our sagging “fairy lights” that surround the back patio into good shape and working order. There are a lot more flowers to plant, and the lawn is already growing, but we have been too busy. Maybe you have, too. It’s that feeling of being always behind and always playing catch up.
At least I have now completed ten new episodes (to make 31 in all) of my “Adventures in Great Music” syndicated classical music appreciation radio show that I host for Catholic radio, who asked me to create the series. Most of each show is just music, and most of the commentary is musical and not of a religious nature, so I think a much broader audience would enjoy it. All the shows can be heard as streaming podcasts for free by clicking on the “Adventures” link at the top of this page. Honestly, many of the great composers had no faith, or said they worshiped nature (like Claude Debussy, shown in a modernized photo, here). Some were downright scoundrels. In those cases, I only say I believe that God used them (perhaps in spite of themselves) to write gorgeous music as a gift to the world, anyway. It’s really a show intended to introduce people to classical music who have not heard much of it but would like to, so I always choose the most tuneful pieces to play.
Crystal’s tour de force performance as the lead heroine in Angel Street, the play that inspired the movie Gaslight, ended this past weekend, and she also gave two performances of two classic musical theater songs at two cabaret performances (at another theater) on Sunday, as well. One of those was the title song from The Sound of Music, with her shown here as Maria. Celebrating her birthday on Monday, she took the day off from teaching for some well-earned rest and relaxation. She didn’t want to go out, so by request I made her some Italian cheese tortellini with red sauce and mushrooms, just the way she likes it.
Well, I’m happy to report that my book, The Sound of Beauty, has finally accrued enough sales that I actually just got my first paycheck – the previous sales went entirely to pay back the advance I had received. That’s how it works, and some books never sell enough to pay back their advance. From now on, I will finally get paid my percentage of every book sold (not a fortune, mind you).
As I write this, it is Holy Week, the week coming up to Easter. Tomorrow is “Maundy Thursday,” and I have always wanted to know what the word “maundy” means, so I finally looked it up just now. It is thought to be a Middle English version of the Latin word “Mandatum” (commandment) from one of the traditional Latin hymns sung on that day. It is the day we remember the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples’ feet. Whatever your religious tradition or lack thereof, I propose that the image of humbling oneself to wash the feet of another (or nowadays to serve another in any small way, maybe just washing the dishes or taking out the trash so they don’t have to) can be a profound and much appreciated gesture of humility. Humbly yours! Michael