Monday, April 30, 2007

Something in hot pink

Didn't exercise, didn't do my chores, but instead I napped for a couple of hours. That helped, but I'm most definitely sick. Managed to get a couple of hours in the studio and a couple of hours on Margaret's web site, and now I'm ready to go lie down again.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Coming down with somethin'

I'm pretty sure I'm sick. It's hard to tell in the spring sometimes, but it feels different from allergies. The throat is sore in a different way than normal, and I'm feeling pretty tired even though I haven't done that much today. Did scan Margaret's images for her web site, and went to the play tonight; and bought and put together a new chair. My chair broke a few weeks ago and I've just been sitting on it while it wobbled around. And today, I just didn't feel like working so hard to keep myself seated in the chair anymore, so when Mike offered to stop at the office supply store while on his errands, I took him up on it, and went along. And voila, I have a new chair. Yay! (And Mike even put the chair together, how's that for service!)

Now I'm ready to go lie down...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I think I'm done...

It probably doesn't look too different from the previous photo of it, and there isn't a huge difference. I glazed the middle part with a very pale turquoise, and I highlighted the edges of the moths a bit, I think that was it. Color wise, it's a bit closer to the truth than the previous photo, which I hadn't adjusted. I'm just taking the pictures with a snapshot camera and one light, so not the best conditions.

Didn't spend a whole lot of time in the studio today, just a couple of hours. Worked on this and the new painting too (but no picture). The morning was spent at the theater, attending the Met HD broadcast of Puccini's Il Trittico, 3 one-act operas. There was a technical problem for the first act and the audio was delayed from the video by about a second. I had to not look at the singers' faces to get through it. They fixed it during intermission; thank goodness.

Then we installed the raised vegetable bed! Part way. The ground has a bit of a slope, and we'll need to add extra boards on 2 sides; that will happen tomorrow, maybe. Then I can install the chicken wires on the bottom, put the compost back in there, and top it off with clean fresh top soil.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center

That's a mouthful! I'm having a hard time telling people that's where my May exhibit is; I get through the 'Glenn & Viola Walters' fine, but by the time I get to 'Cultural Arts...', my tongue is all twisted up. But anyhow, Theresa and I installed the exhibit this morning, and I forgot to take pictures. I also forgot to take a stash of cards and my little 'brochure' thingie. I'll try to remember next Tuesday. Oh, and oops, I just realized that my announcement did not include the reception date! Hmm. I guess I'll have to send out a ps. OK, I just did that. There was no traffic on 217 or 26, I was very surprised. I was able to go the speed limit the whole way.

Since I was out that a way anyhow, I met Mike for lunch and stopped by at Powells hoping to sell back some used books. They only took one, which was more or less what I expected. I've pretty much cleaned out of the 'good stuff' a while ago. So off to the library the rejects went. Got home, composed my announcement, put together another image for Laura, read the critique of Calypso by Lisa, then it was off to Friday Night Extreme Taichi again.

Another day without much studio time (I did stare at the piece for another few minutes though). I think it's actually pretty close to finished. I should be able to finish it this weekend. Then I'd take a break and install the raised vegetable bed, which Mike finished building last weekend. He's even offered to install it for me! I said it would be so romantic to do it together; he suggested matching heart shaped shovels...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Getting ready for 3 exhibits

That was the bulk of the day -- cleaning and packing the pieces that are going into the Hillsboro show, preparing images, statements, and bios for the June show at Rake, and also the Sense and Sensuality show in July at Laura's. I originally thought I'd get maybe a couple of hours in the studio tonight after dinner, but then we went out for ice cream and to return a shirt, and after our evening walk, I realized that I now have to get to bed pretty soon as I have to get up early to fight the morning traffic to get to Hillsboro by 9am.

So no studio time today, but I did snap a couple of pictures of the yard this afternoon after I came home from my errands.

The crabapple is really a little past its prime. The red pole is waiting for a sculpture to be fitted on top, eventually. The rhodie just opened today.

The tree with the blossoms in the background is the quince tree. Come fall, it will probably have enough quince to supply the entire city's demand for the fruit.

The dogwood is always popular with the neighbors. Actually, I finally got inspired to go out and take some picture today because a neighbor was walking around the garden taking pictures, in my garden, that is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Something new and something old

I had a bit of trouble sleeping last night, I kept on thinking about where I was going with these new paintings. Trying to come up with titles for them is actually a good exercise, it forces one to look at where these were coming from, and where they might be going. Most of the time, the answers to these questions are not obvious when I start a new painting. Once in a while I figure it out while I'm working on a piece, but mostly, I don't figure it out until after I'm finished or almost finished.

So I started the new piece today and here's how it's starting.

But I couldn't help it and went back and worked on the old piece again (while the new piece was drying). I think the decision to remove much of the red down the middle was a good one. It's not so glaring anymore. I'm slowly glazing it with a very watery pale turquoise. For some reason, this is reminding me of those old Chinese embroidered robes.

OK, tomorrow, I've got to do some admin stuff -- clean all the pieces going into the Hillsboro show on Friday, get my stuff together for Laura for the Sense and Sensuality show (she wrote tonight to ask where everything was), and get my stuff together for the show at Rake in June. I may not get any studio time tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A day off

Went in to the John Wilson Special Collections for my volunteer duty this afternoon, and then stayed into the evening for the GBW tour of the collection. Got some feed back on the painting from Jim (the library, who's also an art historian). He suggested what I was also thinking -- leaving it for a while and start a new image for now, and get back to it after a few days off.

Spent the evening doing pre-web design consulting. I need to get back to Margaret's web site too. Very little studio time today, all I did was to stare at the piece for a few minutes.

Is it hopeless yet?

Hmm. I have a couple of other things I want to try, but it might be dangerously close to being past the point of no fixing. Not sure yet. I guess I'll sleep on it. I won't have much time to work on it tomorrow (and I didn't have much time today to work on it either), which maybe a good thing.

Saw Hot Fuzz tonight. It was pretty cute.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Second dandelion painting coming along

This was fairly early in the day, I'd just put in the stalks of the seeds:

And this was at the end of the day. The colors aren't quite right, the turquoise is more intense, and the top is not too much darker than the bottom, if at all. The seed heads actually show up a bit better in real life than they do here. I'll take a better picture when it's all finished, hopefully by Tuesday.

I need to bring out the moths more, put in some of the details in the wings, and also do something with the large washes of the turquoise which is very uneven right now.

I also think that the lighter blue that I used for the seed head background in the first dandelion painting is a more successful color than this one (more indigo shade, although not too dense). The darker background makes a more contrasty seed head and looks more jewel like than dandelion like, I think. The problem was also present in the first painting, with the seed heads that I added later, although I hadn't figured out the problem until just now. (In this painting, I also added tiny bright white highlights, which probably added to the jewel effect. I'm still trying to decide if I like it or not.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Promises, promises

We entertained tonight, a biennial event. This of course meant house cleaning. Even though I've been doing a little bit everyday for about a week now, it still took most of the afternoon to finish up. Then I had to start cooking. It was a potluck, so I didn't need to make 5 dishes. I made Chinese dumplings, but with lamb (a couple of guests didn't eat pork). I just made them the same way as I would with normal dumplings, just substituted the pork with lamb. It turned out ok, but I think I like the pork ones better.

As for the promises -- I picked up a 3 day old voice message on my phone (no, I'm not in the habit of checking yet) from Jeremy, asking if I'd be ready for a group show in June, with NEW pieces. So of course I said yes. That's only 5 weeks away, and I'll need to finish 3-4 pieces in those 5 weeks! So of course, I spent no time in the studio today.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Incubation period?

Met with Margaret to talk about her web site, and spent a little time in the studio. I started adding the moths and pulled back on the blue circles quite a bit. It looks better. But I'm now suffering from Friday Night Extreme Taichi again, so I'm going to skip taking the picture. (Btw, I remembered while I was in taichi class this afternoon that 'taichi' literally means 'supreme' (tai) and 'extreme' (chi). The correct pronounciation for taichi should be tai-ji, and NOT taichi; and the 'chi' here is not the same word as in qi-gong (or chi-gong).

After the pizza, olives, anyone?

Finished the painting (photos in previous entry) and started another. The circles shouldn't be so dark (I'll wipe them out tomorrow), but here is how it's starting.

The movie tonight was After the Wedding, a lovely Danish movie about a man trying to make sure his family is taken care of.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The magic flying pizza or...?

OK, blogger is cooperating now.

I'm definitely not going with the horizontal, it looks too much like an Alien Magic Flying Pizza Raining Dandelion Seed Heads Down on Earthlings:

Vertically, it feels more like I'm lying down on the grass and watching all the stuff going on. But of course, that could be a pizza still, but it's not flying.

I just realized why it makes me think of a pizza -- not only is it tomato sauce red, the lighter spots in the red makes it look like salami. Maybe it's been too long since I've indulged in some salami.

Outside of that, I'm still not sure what it means, but I'm calling it done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So what does the dandelion stand for?

When I was out weeding the dandelions, I was struck by how they were the easiest to spot, and therefore pull out, when they were in full bloom. I was inspired to paint them, and to incorporate them into my collection of symbols that I construct. The moth being the first one, symbolizing vanity. So then what is the dandelion? Folly? Being overtly showy and fertile, and yet not quite useful in a suburban yard?

I can't really eat them, there being high critter traffic, I never know who's been doing what where in my yard. The blooms last but a day, and the seed heads, beautiful as well, last only until the first gust of wind. So they're showy but not useful enough, and their showiness proves their downfall.

I think I'm finished with this painting. I can't seem to upload the images right now, or rather, blogger tells me it's uploaded the images, but they don't show up. I'll try again later.

Another good day

A good day in the studio. I did have to run a few errands, as it turned out, important things like dropping off that state tax returns. And since I had to go out, I did a bunch of other things as well. I managed to get a little over 5 hours in the studio though, and that was very satisfying.

So here's where I am:

And here it is again after adding another moth. I found myself looking at the spot above the first moth and wondering what the heck that empty space is. I'm still undecided as to the orientation, although I'm leaning towards vertical -- I'm liking playing around with the perspective, with the 'grass' on the left, rather than the bottom.

I'll stare at it some more...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Progress on dandelion painting

I started out thinking of this as a vertical painting (but most of my paintings are), but now I'm wondering if it makes more sense the other way?

I guess I'll stare at it for a while. Worked on Margaret's web site for a bit more today; still need to update her on the changes. Tomorrow is a whole day with no interruptions, appts, weight room commitments (although I still have to exercise), hopefully it will be a productive day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alex's studio

Went over to visit Alex's studio today, to help her get ready for studio visits by a couple of gallery directors this coming week. It was good to see how others live and work in their space. For a starter, her space is about 4 times the size of mine, quite the envy-inducing space with great light, wood floors. And there's her work. There was so much work, good work, finished work, up on the walls. With me, half the stuff goes into the recycling drawers, waiting for me to 'do something else' with them. She's also pretty organized with her materials. We talked a little about her mental process, the transitions from body of work to body of work. It was a great learning experience for me.

Spent the rest of the afternoon putting together a CD of images for Rake's web site. Although I don't have a contract, they've decided to put me up on their web site as a gallery artist, so I guess I'm a gallery artist. From what I hear from other artists, there are almost never contracts, only inventory sheets for each of the work that you deliver to the gallery. I guess I best get working. Still haven't had a chance to get back to the dandelion painting at this point, although I've been mentally working on it. Tomorrow will be a day of doctor's appts. Between that and the weight room, the day's already half gone.

The Ark

This is the tale our trips to The Ark, coming to an end, perhaps. In the 80's and 90's, The Ark by Willapa Bay in Washington was a destination restaurant, famed for their regional and seasonal cooking, always wonderful and delicious. The drive from Portland was equally beautiful, going through towns with names like Jewel and Mist, and passing through an Elk refuge. This photo of the refuge was taken on a trip to The Ark back in 2001. The elks were there today, but we didn't stop.

We went there for birthdays and anniversaries, or just for the drive. We took visiting relatives and one of Mike's French interns. One time, we took my parents, and they were impressed with the bridge over the mouth of the Columbia River. We measured it at about 4 miles long, although I don't have the official length.

And right after you cross over to the Washington side, there's the road side church. Because we're always passing by it at dusk when the light is just right, it always has a magical quality to it. This was also taken at 2001.

When you finally arrive at The Ark, you're greeted by the mountain of oyster shells at the parking lot, so you know you're some place where oysters are a big deal.

There's a garden by the parking lot, where they used to grow their own herbs and such. They might still do, I don't know. This photo was also taken in 2001. The view from the dining room is very similar to this, you look out into the bay, and as always, around dinner time the light is magical.

Well, somewhere along the line, after 2000, the food started to become not so interesting. We were disappointed on our last trip (2004, for Mike's birthday) and it took us a few years to make it back there. And again, we were disappointed tonight. For example, they could be serving all kinds of interesting seasonal vegetables, but what did we get? Yellow squash and zukes. I had my first taste of sauteed spring fiddleheads at The Ark years ago, and this is the right time for them, and they were nowhere to be seen. The entrees were passable but nothing to write home about. The desserts were served without frills.

The drive is still beautiful though. It's long enough a trip that by the time we got home from dinner, and I went for a short little walk to stretch my legs, it was time for me to eat again!

So that was almost the whole day. Did some cleaning before we left, but no studio time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

OK, I'm impressed

After years of working with the flowering plum, trying to prune it to a better shape (following pruning manual instructions) and never succeeding with it, I finally just hacked it all back to about 6 feet tall last November. I left the branches in a big pile by the tree through the winter, and just recently started to clean that up.

Well, I was out there cutting up the last of the branches this afternoon, when I saw that some of the branches had blossoms on them! These are branches that had been severed from the tree 5 months ago. The flowers weren't so good looking, but still, it is mighty impressive. I also noticed that there were leaf buds.

After taichi class, we went to Wong's King for dinner, and then Papa Haydn's for dessert (celebrating our 16th). But of course, we're officially celebrating tomorrow by going to The Ark. We'll probably use that excuse for a few more things.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

dandelion painting

Finally got started with the dandelion painting that has been floating around in my head for a couple of weeks. Here's how it's starting.

And here's after I've scrubbed it. I'm using a new pad of watercolor paper, Arches Aquarelle hot press, which I haven't used before, and it's a little different than what I'm used to. It's also the first time I'm using one of those watercolor blocks. We'll see how it works. The paint seems to sit on this paper surface a lot more, so I can't scrub it too much before it all mixes too much, or comes off all together.

I've worked on it some more after I took the pictures, so maybe more pictures tomorrow. Met with the critique group tonight at Anne's. We worked on some burlap dresses while talking about various grant possibilities. Came home with a burlap dress to finish.

The big excitement today was that a battery that we were charging went POOF, and a lot of smoke came out. I had just, I mean JUST, walked into the house, coming home from getting a haircut, when I heard this puff of smoke. Then I saw the battery smoking. It looked so much like water steam that I was confused for a bit, then I smelled it. I quickly unplugged the thing and took it outside, and that was when I noticed that it was dripping too. And this was a brand new battery; we just bought this cordless drill/screwdriver last night, for putting together the raised vegetable bed. So much for that!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When a tree falls on a house..., part II

The tree removers showed up this afternoon and provided some entertainment. It took them about an hour to remove some of the lower limbs and bring the tree down. After that, I stopped watching, but I noticed that they were just finishing up a couple of hours later.

Here it is, with the lower limbs removed; he's cutting a notch on the side of the tree. You can't see, but there's a chain tied around the tree and is hooked to the back of a pickup truck. They're going to pull it down, to the right, in theory.

I snapped this just as the tree first snapped (haha, that wasn't intended); you can see that the top is now falling to the right. At this point, I decided that I really didn't trust these guys enough to stand out there and keep taking pictures, so I retreated back under the eaves of the house and did not get THE picture of the tree in mid air. They sounded really disappointed that I didn't get THE shot, and that it wasn't video.

But they did alright. The tree fell squarely in the middle of the road. No plants were hurt (well, except for the poor tree). Here he's giving his partner the thumbs up.

So that was a perfectly good time waster.

I checked on my dandelion leaves this afternoon, and they're nice and flat. They'll make good models for the painting that I'm now anxious to start.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my part of the critique group collaborations. Last time we met, I came home with Alex's 'golden handcuffs kit'. I liked the painting part that I did with it, but the gold-leaf, I'm not so crazy about. But, I'm not going to fuss with it, it's time to pass it on to the next person and see what they do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When a tree falls on a house...

OK, the tree hasn't fallen yet, but it's not looking good. It's a huge cottonwood across the street in the neighbor's lot. When I got home from my walk this morning, I noticed that it was leaning quite a bit into the street (towards our house). Then I saw that it was slowly uprooting itself. It's been pretty wet, so I guess that's what happened. If it comes down, that will be the end of my quince tree, grapevine, peach tree, Japanese maple, probably the white pine, and a smattering of bushes, roses, and perennials. Left a message on the neighbor's phone, and they called someone when they got home. Now we'll see if this someone will beat nature in bringing the tree down.

And something else is coming to an end -- we've been doing these monthly dimsum lunches for maybe about 20 years now, and lately, the attendance has been dwindling. We're thinking we'll switch to an irregular schedule (flash mob dimsum, anyone?).

Dropped of my entry for the Road Show Oregon/Minnesota exchange exhibit this afternoon. Swung by at Terrie's to help her pick out the pieces for the May show, and worked on Margaret's web site some more. It will be finished pretty quickly, she had it so well organized. I did have to fuss with the images some, and if this job takes more than 12-15 hours it will most likely be because the images needed some work. Some of the images were off quite a bit in color, and some of the background felt needed some 'digital ironing.'

Monday, April 09, 2007

Margaret's web site

Started to work on Margaret's web site this afternoon. Here's the mockup of the home page. She knows pretty much exactly what she wants, so it's pretty easy going. Caught up on some reading in the evening.

I meant to take a peek at the dandelion leaves that I pressed the other day, but forgot. Probably won't get to it until Wed, as tomorrow is the monthly dimsum lunch, and then I'll be at Terrie's, helping her pick out the paintings for the May show.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

From rags to rags

I'm picky about my rags. They can't be too big, too small, too thick, or too fuzzy, especially the ones I use in the studio. Who wants a fuzzy rag in the studio? And for cleaning, who wants to trail a too-large-a-rag while wiping down a table or counter? So after finally tossing out my last two favorite studio rags this last week, it was time to make more.

Old t-shirts are preferred, and Mike always has holey t-shirts to donate. In fact, he donated two a few months back, so I had those waiting in the wings. And this time, I put little loops in them so they can be hung up. What innovation! I guess that's my studio accomplishment for today.

Oooh, and we bought the wood for the raised vegetable bed this afternoon. Some 4x4's for posts, and some 2x6's for sides. Untreated cedar. And that'd be our garden accomplishment today. Actually, today was full of chores like that -- post office, Home Depot, sewing, etc, plus all the regular Sunday chores.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

All wrapped up, almost

Filled out the forms for a couple of exhibits and packed the books; dropped off 1 set at Laura's gallery for the Sense and Sensuality exhibit and will drop off the other on Tuesday. Visited with Laura, who broke her elbow while renovating the gallery (23 Sandy). Ouch! I originally misunderstood her and thought she broke her elbow OFF! I pictured this loose piece of elbow sliding around on the slippery floor (the reason why she fell) and had to be retrieved and re-attached! Sounds like opening party was great fun (we were at our Friday Night Extreme Taichi class).

Finally, but finally put all copies of Calypso in their containers. I still have to make the 'glamorous evening bags', but at least they're all in their Stonehenge containers at this point. Cleaned up the studio again. It's hard to believe how dusty things get in there, but everything was covered in a layer of grit.

Right, and the strawberry bed got weeded and cleaned up today! A most important chore, if we want a good crop. I still need to fertilize...

Friday night extreme taichi?

I think our first tai-chi lesson really took it out of us. We got home pretty tired (and pretty hungry), and had a late dinner. After that, we were both so sleepy that we barely did anything at all before going to bed. I did go for a half hour walk though. At least the weather was still good then; after a string of sunny days, it started to rain again in the middle of the night.

Met with Giao for lunch, and to give her her copy of Calypso. Came home to meet with Margaret for her web site. After that, there was time for a bit of misc chores before I had to leave to pick up Mike for the class. And the rest, you already know.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


One of the deals about the exchange is that you have to cough up critiques for the books you do get. And I like critiques to be real critiques, and not just a description of the work at hand, which always makes it a little hard and awkward, especially if you don't know the people and don't know how tender their feelings might be. I myself have pretty thick skin, and I'd just rather people give it to me straight, but I know not everyone's like that.

So the upshot is that these critiques take a while. Took me about 3 hours to do 2 this afternoon and evening. I have a 3rd one that I'll need to do, once the book arrives.

I finally finished making the 2nd set of boxes for Calypso, hopefully these won't fade! I'll be glad to get them all wrapped up, I'm starting to get confused on which ones were the 'good ones' to go into each of the 2 editions.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Warm weather

Dandelions...weight room...library...ME printmaker exhibit preview party (and the food was great) That was the day. Sold a copy of Calypso to the John Wilson Special Collection.

It's starting to get pretty warm out there, I worked up a sweat walking from the library to the gallery, maybe about 10-12 blocks.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Layers of meaning

Got a note first thing in the morning from Alice saying, "Did you see you got mentioned in the layersofmeaning blog? Now you're going to get a ton of hits!" Of course, I've been updating my web site since last night, and kind of doing a slow job at it. So I sped up. Didn't do what I had originally intended to do (to change the format a bit), I just used the same format and added the page for Calypso.

Here's the layersofmeaning blog, about the gocco. And the thing that got her started was the choc sauce on crepes thing by Gretchin!

And here's the Calypso page.

Stopped over at Linda's to pick up the book Shu-mei wanted, and spent the afternoon noodling on the web site. The movie tonight was Blades of Glory, my first Will Farrell movie. The sillier moments were the highlights.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A little bit of spring

Pulled another bucket of blooming dandelions today, although I already see that I missed a whole area. The 3 pieris (andromeda) are blooming nicely. The coral bark maple is starting to leaf out, and in another week or two it will have bright chartreuse leaves on bright red branches. I'm slowly edging the grass with discarded concrete chunks that I find, and also with some thick granite pieces that my neighbor Doug brings over.

My little 'homemade' Japanese lantern, next to the viburnum that's about to bloom. I can't remember the variety of the viburnum right now, but it's extremely fragrant. I'll remember it once I start working in the yard again. For some reason, when I'm not working in the yard much, I just can't remember the names of the plants; but they all come back once I get out regularly again.

The flowering quince, beautiful in the spring but a curse the rest of the year.

My 'Audrey II'. Traded two drawings for it with a sculptor friend. There are actually lots of little tiny 'hairs' on the piece that you can't see in the photo. It's a great little garden sculpture.

Shipped off Calypso to Marilyn for the Focus on Book Arts conference exhibits. Shipped off the new boxes to Shane and Lisa. Worked on updating the web site.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Quartly report

I've been keeping track of how I spend my time since mid September last year, so as of March 31, I have the records for a whole quarter. Mainly I wanted to see how I was spending my time, and how I could make more time (ie, waste less time), but just the act of keeping track of time has reduced a lot of my normal time wasters, like stopping at garage sales or going to the thrift shop. Although I still occasionally google for things that I really shouldn't be wasting time on.

So drum roll please...

From Jan 1 to March 31 of 2007, I spent 355 hours on 'Art/Work', that's the category that includes studio time, research for projects, admin time, and things like installing shows, de-installing shows. For example, I logged 4.5 hours bringing down the book arts show at Print Arts today, and another hour and quarter preparing exhibition materials.

I'm going to estimate 12 weeks per quarter -- I'm usually gone a couple of days a month and no work gets done on those days. That means I'm spending just under 30 hours a week on 'Art/Work'.

I logged 160.75 hours for the 'Exercise/Yard/Library/Violin' category; this includes exercise, obviously, library volunteer time, yard work, and violin practice. Unfortunately, I practiced for maybe all of 3 hours these last 3 months. I also hardly did any yard work, this being the soggy and cold season here. The library is usually about 6 hours a month, but I've missed a few visits this year, so I probably only put in 10 hours this quarter. So I'm estimating that I'm exercising over an hour and half each day, on average.

I'm not unhappy with those hours, although I think they can be better. I really need to practice on a regular basis, and I want to start up on Arabic lessons again. I know I should just check my email a couple of times a day and figure out a way of doing correspondences more efficiently, but I haven't managed to do that, yet.