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How I spent my summer vacation by Pingo Some of you have noticed my absence from the forums since roughly the end of last June. I thought I should explain, since it wasn’t fair to leave you without a word. I have a regrettable habit of retreating into myself when sad, however much I love this place and the people on it. Last June I got sadder for political reasons, and felt a need to withdraw when my sorrows caused friction here. I am not entirely sure that was wise. We need each other, not just for the sharing of hobbies and art tips, but for the common human community. To remember that we are not alone. Though I missed this place the whole time, I spent a very busy summer. I traveled around some, marched in the company of tens of thousands with a handpainted protest sign more than once in gruesome heat – much gratitude to the volunteers who handed out water bottles – dealt with voter registration drives, gardened, caught influenza (possibly twice), traveled a few thousand miles, met many interesting people, a puppy and a kitten, started some oil portraits, and painted up a good chunk of game miniatures. We drove cross-country, only to have our faithful quarter-century-old station wagon finally die in the middle of nowhere a thousand miles from home – very beautiful, scenic nowhere, with eagles and swans, but still … Many thanks to the fine people at Enterprise Rent-A-Car who came to our rescue and eventually sold us a quite decent recent model gently used sedan with massive trunk space. As for me, I must apologize. It appears that politics is in my blood and cannot be separated from my life or actions, even the actions of painting tiny pewter sword fighters. I cannot help but have my heart break under certain circumstances, and I shall no doubt be made agitated and even angry by world events. I cannot pretend I am unaware, nor act as if all were well when it is not. I don’t intend harm or offense to anyone, but I can’t help being who I am. I did show up in the national media. Here’s me and my sign at the immigration march in Chicago last June. It’s a political image, so please don’t click if that would bother you: Click here to see Pingo and her sign in real life Chicago