As a child, I used to think When I grow up I'm going to do exactly what I want to do, all the time! I've been searching for that luxury ever since, to no avail. I'm sure it's the same for everyone else; whether you're self-employed or work for someone else, you spend most of your time doing what you have to do, not what you want to do. And it seems like within that context, one thing just leads to another.
This month, for instance, began with our 14-year-old Portuguese Water Dog D'roo managing to eat her way into some coffee, which is poisonous to dogs. That brought on sudden vestibular disease and terrible nystagmus (her eyes were bouncing all over the place). No stairs for this girl. Even walking was difficult, so while Pat was at work, I carried D'roo outside as necessary. Woke up one morning with excruciating shoulder pain and a right arm that was virtually useless. Which meant I couldn't keep up with all the planting I'd done and had to let my vegetables die, which toasted my food budget.
The shoulder got so bad that I needed an MRI, of course at the beginning of my insurance year, which meant meeting my Very High Deductible. The MRI showed a torn muscle, with severe tendinitis from my shoulder to my elbow. Which meant I had to cancel three sessions and a rehearsal, find an extra hour a day for physical therapy, and work in follow-ups with specialists. Which meant more cancellations, which meant I'm further behind, which meant I can't do most of the things I'd planned to do in the few off days I have between now and when I head to Europe in September.
Good gosh! Who knew being grownup, let alone getting old, was going to be so much fun?! I have to admit, I hate hitting the age where every doctor I see begins their discussions with "Well, at your age...". My age?! I still get shocked every time I look in the mirror, because I expect a 25-year-old to be staring back at me.
But there were bright spots. All our neighbors had deep carpets of 13-year cicadas covering their yards – our cicadas were blissfully sparse. I told Pat it was probably all the smelly flowers I'd planted to keep critters and insects away from my now-dead vegetable patch.
Then Foster (our other PWD) stopped eating. Literally. Given that she normally Hoovers her way through anything and everything even vaguely edible, we were concerned. Especially when she didn't lose weight.
Of course, she then came down with a terrific stomach-ache, which meant she had to be coddled as well. There I was, the one-armed chef, making soft rice with chicken stock for one dog, calling our neighbor Steve for help with the other, and just about out of my mind.
Frankly, taking time out to write this update is a relief.
The month wasn't all drama, though. Don Henry surprised me by showing up at a Pearl Foundation living room concert. Had a great time with Billy Bragg and Pete Seeger at the Clearwater Festival, then doubled the fun at Coffee Works in Voorhees NJ, a truly intimate two-show night. We held a fund-raiser for the Nashville Zoo, and hosted three clouded leopards for an evening – yes, that's no plush toy on me but the real deal!
And now, I get to announce a very fun thing - the Christmas In August sale! As always, prices will drop radically, and thanks to a few fans who've donated unopened out of print DVD's and CD's, we can offer four copies of the CD-Works set and, for the first time, a DVD-Works set – both with FREE worldwide shipping! *
There are two new exciting items as well:
Remember: Live 1977 Recorded at Japan's Osaka Festival Hall and Australia's Sydney Opera House, this two-CD set was only released in those territories, and went completely out of print in 1983. The masters were lost for years, but Janis came into possession of ¼" safety copies last year. Released earlier this year in Japan only to coincide with Janis' tour there, we have completely re-mastered and re-created the artwork for this website-only release!! The CD set is packaged in ecologically correct cardboard by Oasis CD, designed as closely to the Japanese original vinyl set as possible.
Greetings by Janis: In conjunction with Vocal Greetings, we are laying in 50 recordable cards which can be personalized with a 15-second greeting by me! I did one for Pat's birthday and it worked great, but I will warn you that the 15 seconds is just long enough to say "This is Janis Ian wishing happy birthday to Pat from me!" and then sing a couple of lines from "Happy Birthday to you." The card can be played over and over again; you can even replace the batteries. For more information, go here:
We'll be offering these during the sale, and then again closer to the real winter holiday season. And yes, you can store them until then.
Frankly, with the addition of the DMG material and these new items, I'm running out of storage space in my "merch room", my goal this year is to move the merchandise!
To avoid the usual "midnight which night?!" confusion, the sale will start at 9 pm Central Standard Time on July 29 and run until 9 pm CST August 13. Items will begin shipping August 1 and 2. Please join the mailing list, if you haven't already done so, to get a friendly reminder.
I think that's it – hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this great summer weather.
We are reading: Who has time to read?!
We are listening to: My friend Janey Street's CD, The Street Less Travelled. Her "Santa Ana Winds" is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
* To receive a reminder about the sale, please sign up for our email list.
Wonderful video by Paraskevi Gogorosi using Janis' song "From Me To You."
Paraskevi is a Greek designer and video maker. In his own words: " I have made a video inspired by your song, for the dire situation that the Syrian refugees are facing. I was looking at photos of them while listening to Janis' songs. It was just an intense moment, when I realised that the lyrics were telling a story about these souls."
Join Janis on HBO's "Getting On" series!
Janis guests with Rita Moreno and Laurie Metcalf in the final episode, along with stars Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, and Niecy Nash.
Janis & Jean Smart co-narrate a book!
The long awaited audio book Patience & Sarah is slated for release September 15. Listen to excerpts at Entertainment Weekly.