It's always a treat to go there, no matter how often. We're getting to know all the plants. The cafe is tucked behind the main building's tropical greenhouse. The orchids were looking especially luscious.
That's me, all tarted up, in front of some out-of-control lantana in our garden. Later, we had a wonderful birthday brunch at the Athens Botannical Gardens - me, Will, Jen and two of our most favorite people in the world. Very merry, very happy birthday.
Alert to fans, friends and random surfers....! Today you see me but starting tomorrow you won't. At least not until September rolls around.
Thinking about it over this past weekend, it occurred to me that summer's flying by in a blur. I've caught myself humming some of the words to an old Joni Mitchell song:
I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive.
There was nobody calling me up for favors, no one's future to decide.
You know I'd go back there tomorrow but for the work I've taken on....
OK, I'm in Athens, Georgia, not Paris, France - but summers here have had a certain lazy je ne sais quoi. Lots of slow days and relaxing weekends, time for Sunday brunches with friends, BBQS with family, an occasional trip or two (to NY and elsewhere), and - since moving here - a whole lot of spontaneous get-togethers and entertaining at Castle Bramenstein. Not this year. We tentatively planned then ditched the idea of a spring fling at our house and haven't looked back. Memorial Day and July 4th barely registered, we haven't done any entertaining in months, I'm usually tapping away at the laptop until bed-time instead of watching fireflies or gazing at stars with Will and Jen, and our upcoming birthdays (Will and I are both August babies) will probably be very dull compared to the memorable event we threw last year.
Now...I love being busy. I love being overworked. The more I have to do, the more my adrenalin pumps. I thrive on deadlines, and can go on very little sleep for long periods just fine. I'd always rather have too much to do than not enough. It provides the illusion of leading a useful life, which is my favorite illusion of all. But.....
While vacation is out of the question, I realized that what would feel as good (or maybe better) would be the luxury of being able to focus serious energy on the two most important parts of my work life now: therapy and writing a new book. Not having to worry about anything else, work-wise, would be such a relief.
It's easy to focus on therapy, actually - knowing people are counting on me is all the motivation I need. But it's much less draining, emotionally and intellectually, when I don't have other things pulling at me.
The book, though, has been hard to focus on. Writing time is about more than the actual writing - it's about having time to think and read and think some more. It's like a kind of inner Zen blankness about everything but the work itself. I used to call it "time for beautiful thoughts" - time when your mind is free to go places you could not even put into words even though, later on, that's exactly what you try to do, to distill thoughts into sentences that communicate their meaning to other people.
Everything - from the blog and message boards, to socializing and shopping - pulls my thoughts away from it. So this weekend I made a decision: for August, I'm cutting back on everything and anything that takes me away from therapy or writing. I told my family last night and was so happy when they said they thought it was a wonderful idea and were totally behind it (even though they know what a space cadet I can be when I'm ass-deep in writing - ah, they are such lambs, I love them for that).
So unless there's some major news I feel I have to share, this blog won't be updated in August. Hope to return all revved up - and with something to show for it, book-wise.
A hen in southern Sweden that has grown a rooster comb, tail and wattle and begun to crow is wreaking havoc in its henhouse....
[The owner] Hammar-Malmgren woke up one morning in July to the sound of two roosters crowing, instead of just one. To her surprise, she discovered that one of the black hens....had undergone a transformation.
"She had lost most of her hen feathers and had begun growing a comb and tail," she said.
The transsexual hen joined the henhouse last year and was different from the start. She was uninterested in the usual hen chores and laid bad eggs....