An Invitation to Mom's Group Exhibition

Mom's exhibition is all go. It's a short one, only three days, but we are starting to get really excited about it.


Less than Eight Hours

It took me five and a half hours, but, phew, I swept the patio, weeded the pots and moved them to make it easier for Ben to water. Today was one of the hottest this summer, but I had to do it.
JB, A, Ben and I had a lovely Mexican dinner, although I ate too much. I was going to have one-third of the Quesadilla put in a doggy bag, but was too busy talking I was well into it when I remembered my plan.

And now I finished all the little stuff I wanted to do, so there's only a nice, long, cold shower left, and fingers crossed I can sleep for a few hours.

When you hear from me next, it'll be from Mom's "new" place. Bye!


Packaging, Packing, Partying

Mom rang twice yesterday; said she might ring me again before I leave. She had updates on "the group exhibition"; yay, she's beginning to own it, which is great. She's working on her blurb, too; said she had to because I'm so scary.
"Aha Aha" is going to Australia in this most humble fashion. I need to keep looking into available/affordable packaging, what I think my "brand" requires, and how far I'm willing to go without maiming my environmental commitments. I'm going to look around in Japan, the Land of Excess packaging, too, because there must be some companies doing beautiful and environmentally sane packaging, but for the most part, over-the-top naughty.

Worst case scenario, a piece of cake can: 1) be wrapped in individual plastic/paper bag, so it doesn't dry up; 2) be accompanied by its own small eating utensil in a plastic/paper envelope; 3) then sit in a plastic tray or between cardboard divider so they don't bump against each other; 4) these trays/dividers can go into an additional clear plastic bag; 5) which goes in a cardboard/wooden box or a decorative tin; 6) sometimes with bubble wraps in the top and bottom; 7) then there might be beautiful paper decorating the lid, or around the entire box; 8) some with bows, stickers or decorative strings; 9) and finally they go into a plastic shopping bag or the store paper bag with handles. You should see the look I get when I decline final bag! And sometimes the dividers don't work so all the content, (often with rice crackers) sink to the bottom anyway and get broken up. Idiotic.

And here's me handing presents unrapped.

I packed Ben's new suitcase because it has bigger wheels so even when a short person pulls the case, the front/bottom of the case won't drag. We've had this old, black, very simple case forever and I didn't realize how much I "knew" the space inside, so packing it was a cinch, but that one has only one setting for the handle and the wheels are worn. And now that it's packed, weighing in at around 17kg, sitting just inside the front door, I can't help thinking I packed too many changes of clothes and small gifts, so I know I'm going to open it up a couple of more times.

We're going to have light supper with JB and A 12 hours before I'm expected at the airport. Often during summer flights are timed so we don't have to overnight in Auckland, but it means early morning departure, and this time they want me an hour before departure, (it used to be shorter, I swear,) it's 5.40AM for me. That's usually when I'm trying desperately to grab a couple of night's sleep after a bad insomnia night!

That early we can get to the airport in a little over 5 minutes, so I could check in, come home and have breakfast, if not a shower, and head back out, but we'll most probably settle for those unconformable, restless coffee and a bite at the airport. If their cafe is even open.

I don't mind overnight if Ben's travelling also. Our regular hotel has a great restaurant, and interesting African artwork, the original owners were from South Africa, but last time Mom got locked inside the bathroom due to a faulty door knob, which had clearly been tampered by the previous person locked in there, so not sure if we'll ever go back there. The worst part was multiple staff were so nonchalant!

Jade's online party is wrapping up. I knew Jade, from our short encounters at the mixed media workshops in 2014 and our occasional "conversations" since, to be a calm, focused and intelligent person, but I was really impressed how much all of these she was.

Prior to the do, I thought I was well equipped to handle any New Age/Self Help talk. Boy, was I wrong! They spoke in tongue, flinging new -ologies, concepts, book titles and authors I had never heard of; I was never sure if a given acronym was standard text-talk or an inside code. Everybody seemed genuine, but repeatedly confessing to being "true scanners" their mantra, (people whose interest jump from one thing to another, apparently serially or simultaneously,) this one-track mind enjoyed being the outsider and people-watching.

I wrote in my feedback: "I found I like my life where it is now, I didn't have a wish other than for this life to continue; sure, more money would make things easier, but we're not lacking in anything severely. I guess I'm patting myself on the back for getting here since I started this phase with The Artist's Way in 2002. And in retrospect, [the transition] wasn't a big deal, and it didn't take that long. That's what I got out of this week. And I like being one-track-minded."

I wanted to add, "I'm also grateful to and for my soul mate," but since bad relationships were some members' problems, I didn't want to rub it in.

I noticed there were many women in our 50's and 60's; of course it depends on the environment in which we grew up, but we came at the tail end of, "girls get married and have kids; if you must, you can be a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary;" may have fought for women's lib, and may have had to convince skeptical daughters of the same. But then we saw the demise of lifetime employment and the smudges on the glass ceiling, then to be hit by the latest hideous iteration of misogyny. While no doubt feminism and bad economy would have been just as unfathomable for men, gee, no wonder women need to get together and rant as well as learn and help and readjust.

Another observation was technology. These folks knew a lot of different platforms/portals/websites. Still others thought getting up a (static) website or a blog was the answer; I don't agree with website as prerequisite unless it's includes a blog, and I'm not sure what the future of blogs looks like. I helped one person create an FB page, (he already had a profile,) and we discussed the unpredictability of anything online, lifespan or security. Even as worked, he could not see some things on his page on his phone while I looked on my laptop.

I'm happy with my laptop, camera, and no-camera cell phone for now; my blog, Facebook profile, and Flickr, although Flickr may go and/or MegWeaves FB page be resurrect in conjunction with the Pop Up Shop. (A shell is there because I needed screen shots.) I'm happy to stay ignorant of the newest and shiniest and focus on weaving until, oh, half a dozen of you start singing praises of something in unison. But I think I have to recess pros/cons of technology in shorter intervals.

Now I'm going to mention one last thing potentially offensive to everybody. When we came to New Zealand, I couldn't believe how somber Kiwis were in the face of grave exhalation; with the possible exception of All Blacks victories, Kiwis are a subdued lot. Although if you listen carefully, there is much witty joviality happening. We had to learn to clap sitting down at concerts, or worse, rush to the door for what reason we weren't sure. 20 years on, at the Mixed Media workshop, I couldn't believe how Aussies got right into the spirit of American-style Rah Rah cheers. I cornered a Kiwi who's lived in Sydney for some years, and she confirmed Aussies can be the way I used to be.

I guestimate a little short of one-third of the most active participants at Jade's do lived in Australia, one-third in Europe, and over one-third in the USA. And much Kumbaya was had by all.


Censored, Controlled, and Still Inappropriate Blather

As I grow older, I've come to see many sides to many truths, and have become less extreme in my convictions, to my slight dismay. I'm also fine with not having an opinion, or to remain undecided indefinitely. I take it this is part of what it means to grow up, although I can't help feeling a tad less genuine compared to, say, when I was 13 and knew everything.

On the other hand, I've learned a few things. I know these to be my truths because they've been put through persuasion, dissuasion, counterarguments, rebuttals, examination, reexamination and regurgitation and still hold them adamantly. But I'm willing to change my mind if need be.

Belatedly I'm picking up on how/when to modify my delivery, to choose the right time/audience, and even feel less compelled to present my case at times.

Still, I'm long-winded. And repetitive. I think while I speak/type; at times I'm not presenting but thinking and refining in my head, but out very loudly. I misread situations. And I can be relentless.

This in my life may be blamed on my unyielding know-it-all bitchiness, but it's not a good look at work; "damaging the brand" sorta stuff. It's the same old maneuvering of  本音 (honne, inward truth, which is usually true,) vs 建前 (tatemae, outward truth, which can be not true,) when I have virtually no 建前 (tatemae). And how do we reconcile throwing away the shackles of societal expectation, and being nice, and still be our "authentic selves"??

Ahhhhh.... [expletive]!!


Still Hot

It's been so hot, the last coupe of months feel like one long haze. We had interminable hot/dry days, several not-as-hot-but-humid ones, then one slightly-overcast-but-not-so-hot day, and we're back to scorching 29C. It's funny how temperature is relative. I couldn't tell which was worse, 28/29C and dry with itchy skin, or 26C and humid with vertigo and headache.

Usually in Nelson evenings are cooler, so much so we rarely keep our windows open overnight and some nights you do need your trusty electric blankets or extra covers, but this year the bedroom windows were shut once at around 4am this side of.... oh.... late Nov/early Dec. It's noisier but cannot be helped.

Although a few days later than planned, I finished fringing/hemming/washing/pressing/labeling all woven pieces, so I have a clean slate to start weaving when I get back; if/when I want to do another Pop Up, I need to do only the photos and write up, so slightly more prep done than the last time. It's really felt like Lent, weaving in the basement would have been lovely, though even the basement hasn't been as nice as usual. My plan was to then garden because there are gazillion things I sincerely want to do before I go, but if I can't do them, so be it; I am not risking heatstroke like last year.

Yesterday may have been the only day to venture outside, it was overcast and cooler, but I baked a loaf of bread, a cake, a batch of biscotti, made a second batch of pasta sauce, and made two lasagna, (lesagne?) sans pasta, with slices of egg plant, some of which I did to ease Ben's cooking load while I'm away, though he keeps telling me not to worry, him being the better and faster cook, but I kind of wanted to put my stamp as the female/wife of the pair. Can you tell I had saved up all the oven stuff for a cooler day?

At least Kiwis are loving the hot. They call 30C "warm". Some are doing that delirious eye/bending one knee thing when they say, "long, hot summer," so as an immigrant, I shall not complain. Too loudly. In front of them.

Mom finally got started on blurb-writing, and we talked discussed it during our weekly Skype. I feel I've been saying the same thing for months; it seems she finally understands it every time I explain and then forgets; and sometimes I get a headache-y kind of déjà vu because I don't want to repeat if she remembers, but I'm counting on her forgetting again and I repeat the same stuff. But we narrowed down the focus of artist statement to two good points so I think she's good to go, and get help from my sister or her friends in polishing them. It's crucial she gets this done because attractive blurbs in Japanese is something I can't help her with.

Then she wants to distribute invites Monday morning after I arrive Thursday night, allowing me two days to take pics, buy ink and cards, set up the printer not in use since I was last in Japan, and make up the invites. That's assuming Mom's got details of the gallery including a map. I'm pretty confident I can count on her with this, although... I've asked for these some months ago, and she told me she just threw out a mailer from the gallery. Mother, if you're reading this, please get and save the info!

[EDIT: I'm used to needing two days to get home, but this time I get home on the day I depart, late on Wednesday. I have four days to make the invites, so, yeah, doable! Even if I arrived late Thursday, that still would have been three days. Ah, heck.]

Goodness, I'm a good daughter. And if you thought I'm being grumpy about Mom's exhibition, not so; I'm getting totally excited to the point I decided not to worry if I'm bullying her. (Ben, not so much; I hate it when he misses me while I'm still here.)

I've got three days left, and I need to pack, give Ben a haircut/beard trimming, see if we can meet up with JB and A for supper in town, think seriously if I need more Yen in cash and get some if so, and clean the house with Ben tomorrow morning.
I planted these, Ben took this. The package showed redder ones like we had four years ago, but these are taller and more brown and yellow than red. But what better in the scorching heat, right?

EDIT: Mom rang Sunday. She went to the gallery again, got the details and map, and did another check on the venue, which turned out not to be as tiny as she thought and has few fixture which could hold dowels or coat hangers. And she's been working on her blurbs. Well done, Mom!!