Dear July, do us a solid and please be kinder to the world than June, will you?
As if 2020 couldn’t get worse, June happened. But hey, like all months, there’s a mix of good right in there with the bad.
Being stuck at home (i.e. not traveling for this year as planned) has been a blessing in many ways, like getting to spend time with my baby nephew. Baby Mac, as we call him, or the tiny rapper known as “BMac” as he’s known to Charlotte, is a little snuggle bug who loves to sleep and also likes to cry equally. My sister just went back to work this week after a five-week maternity leave, something she didn’t get with her first-born who arrived in the final month of tax season.
And spending time with Baby Mac means even more quality time with my BFF Charlotte, two years and four months of pure sass, including a lot of time at a deserted swimming pool (i.e. a chance to model her very extensive collection of toddler swimwear).
We attended our first Black Lives Matter march. I’ll say it a million times until it sinks in with the general populace but Black lives matter today, yesterday, last year, a decade from now. I can’t believe it’s 2020, and any of this is up for debate. I was proud to march with my town for an issue as important as this one and happy that there were no counter-protesters, just one community in solidarity with our Black friends, family and neighbors.
I went on two news shows, all from my sweat pants in my living room. I did a segment with Today in Nashville on safe summer travel and also one with Good Morning Martin on public art and Walls for Women.
I wrote a guest column for my hometown paper on government transparency. It is more important than ever that civic governments maintain full transparency. Most cities stream their public meetings online so that all citizens have access to the information. My hometown of Tullahoma never has, so I was thankful that the pandemic helped change that, and I hope this is something that sticks around. As someone who has worked in the business of reporting and disseminating information for more than two decades, I think it unacceptable that any government in the Information Age would not provide access to public meetings to its citizens, particularly when we’re all advised not to go out in public.
We had carpet installed. After SVV laid parquet in the floor-less wing where our offices and master suite is back in March, we ripped out all the old, urine-soaked carpet in May and had a local company lay commercial carpet in both offices and a plush carpet in the bedroom. I’m in love!
We finished pressure-washing our house! The project that I thought would never end finally did, after three months. Due to the mistreatment of the Cedar House, this took us around 10 separate days spread out over three months, a 4000 PSI pressure washer rental and a whole lot of eco-friendly cedar wash. But how satisfying is this?
We’re also about two-thirds of the way through rebuilding our rotted deck, so things have been moving right along at our house.
We worked on a couple projects in our home state with local tourism boards. If you are in Tennessee and looking for some great day trip options, check out our guide to Nolensville (Williamson County) and Centerville (Hickman County). We also published a post to safely visiting the Peaceful Side of the Smokies this summer.
We solidified (almost) all of our final locations for Walls for Women, as well as the artists. Meet our heroes who will be painting for us in July and August. They come from Tennessee, Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma; some have been painting murals for a decade or longer, others it will be their first large-scale wall project. More info about each of them individually on our nonprofit Facebook page.
There will be a lot more coming about Walls for Women once we kick off on July 18! Right now, we’re hovering around eight murals, but we have a couple cities who have been last-minute additions that we’re trying to work into our already full schedule. We’ve each been channeling all of our energy and a good 50 hours a week, if not more, into this all-female festival, so much of our other work—other than a campaign or two and a couple freelance pieces—has been put on hold until it concludes on Aug. 18, the 19th Amendment centennial.
I got hit by a tractor-trailer yesterday. I’m fine! No injuries, and my Jeep could have escaped much worse. But it was in the middle of the interstate, so he didn’t even pull over and went on his merry way to Kentucky, meaning the police wouldn’t let me file a report. Currently weighing our options on how to proceed, but dang, this year is just one insult after the next, am I right?
We’ve had a few setbacks when it comes to public art. One day soon, I’ll write a memoir about what it truly takes to incite change, but for now here’s a glimpse of what we’re dealing with in one community, and here’s a glimpse at the other (if you want a real look at small-town politics, watch this video with several SVV cameos). This just adds fuel to our fire to push for more progress, more art. I knew running a nonprofit would never be easy, but it’s just bizarre to me how 80 percent of the towns we work with are amazing, and then there are the Martins of the universe who believe themselves above the Constitution.