Two weeks to go of Traditional Gainful Employment, three weeks until my departure for England. I’m running four parallel tracks of activity, with varying degrees of success:
PROFESSIONAL: I’m unable to hide that I’m counting the days - in fact, I’m not even trying. There will be volunteer committee meetings, reports, and budgets to deal with right up to the end - as well as special meetings off campus to introduce colleagues to long-time vendors, debrief lunches, and drinks. And cleaning out my office! I’ve already started taking things home - mostly framed photographs. I’ll be there for awhile on Sunday to wrap up some materials for a Monday meeting; this is not a complaint, especially as I spent Friday at home.
DOMESTIC: My home is starting to take shape again. Friday the nice furniture man came to repair my grandmother’s bed. We discovered that there was some old damage - older than that inflicted by the movers - but the additionl of a couple L brackets where no one will see them should stabilize it. So for the first time in two months, I can move back into my room.
The white hydrangea planted as a parting gift by the original third floor neighbors eight years ago doubled in size this spring. I harvested some of the blooms today, and they fill rooms with a faint, sweet scent.
VACATION: My August vacation comes in four parts: a) two days in London, b) a week in Kenilworth with friends (the same ones who hosted me in Hull in 2013), c) crossing from Southampton to New York aboard the Queen Mary II, and d) three days in New York to see museums and friends. I am far behind in my usual pre-trip research! Only last week started to reread the marvelous John Malcolm Brinnin history The Sway of the Grand Saloon, and today managed to find at ye Bryttle Books The Quest for Queen Mary, which is all about James Pope-Hennessy’s research and interviews for her biography. Already it’s proving to be quite entertaining. And I still need to dig out Promenade Deck, a 1920s novel about a world cruise that I got in P’town a few years ago because I liked the dust jacket.
i really ought to review my crossing documents (so much more practical) and consider how/when/if to dine in one of the specialty restaurants, book a treatment in the spa, or (saints preserve us) sign up for a dance class. Some friends have become very interested in the ship and my trip, and discovered this photo album of the Veuve Clicquot lounge on board. Another dug up this article from 2013 in the NYT.
There must also be viewings of Doris Day’s Romance on the High Seas, of course!
CREATIVE: You’d think I’d pay more attention to my creative life, since I’m giving up my day job to devote myself to it. I’m plotting and planning, not writing as much as I’d like. I’ve begun research for my September 17 talk at the Gibson House. More conversations need to happen!