I Ain’t Wasting No More Time*

August 29, 2017

I finished tracing Wonder Under. This is very exciting. OK. It’s not. Well. Last night was hard, because my feet were tired from standing and walking, and here I was, standing some more. So it was exciting to be done with that.

I thought the piece had just over 800 pieces, but it was closer to 900…

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It’s lots of bigger pieces, so it took up a lot of Wonder Under, about 7 1/2 yards.

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And over 11 hours of tracing. But it’s done…and now on to cutting it out. Let’s assume another 10 hours or so…usually it’s less than the tracing time, but these are bigger pieces, so they’ll take longer to cut out. I wanted to be ironing to fabric this weekend, but that would mean doing a couple of hours of cutting every night. It’s certainly possible…I can’t guarantee it. Although I won’t have to stand to do it, so that’s a plus. The transition from a summer of sitting whenever I like to standing all the time is somewhat traumatic to my feet. Perhaps I need new shoes? My podiatrist would say so. But he doesn’t pay my bills.

The weather here is a little weird…we got a brief spurt of rain (and thunder) yesterday in the middle of a heat wave.

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It’s supposed to be really hot again today and tomorrow. At least it’s cooling down at night…although it takes my house a while to realize cooler weather.

Meanwhile, adjustments abound. On the left is Satchemo…on the right is Kitten. It’s an uneasy truce at the moment…

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I feel sorry for all of them, but hopefully there will be just a few more days of drama and then they’ll all calm down.

Meanwhile, best thoughts to Texas…may the rain end soon. It doesn’t matter what we think about climate change at the moment…real live people and animals are trying to survive. Let’s take care of them and then figure out the science.

*The Strokes, Someday

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Turn and Face the Strange*

August 28, 2017

Well that was an interesting weekend. Believe it or not, I don’t tell you everything I’m doing…and this weekend was the beginning of a significant change here, which has caused some stress and sleeplessness, but should be good in the long term. Once we get to the long term, that is. It has meant that I didn’t do any art for two whole days straight, which is like crazy for me, but I got back to Wonder Under meditation last night for a couple of hours. Yes, I wanted to be done tracing this weekend, but that didn’t happen. I probably will be tonight though, so that’s OK.

There’s 3 days done on here…although I’m not sure I can tell you what I did. I know I did a green straight stitch and then lazy daisy and fly stitch up on the top pieces of feather stitching. I think I did some fly stitching around the sheaf stitching and some French knots before that.

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But I can’t be sure. Sometimes I just have to play catch up on this. I actually did two nights’ worth on Saturday evening and then sat out on the deck for the other one last night…the thing I kept saying I would do all summer and didn’t do. I guess now is the time to start watching the sky and the hummingbirds and the breeze in the trees.

Well. Today? Supposed to be 105 degrees, so less breeze and more ugh. It’s better than torrential rains, though (be safe and take good care, Texas).

I really do miss not doing this stuff on those days when I can’t…I had hoped to do some tracing on Saturday, but it turned into trying to fix a bunch of water issues and clean crap up…stuff that needed to happen, but it took up too much time for me to get to this. Last night though, I took my time back…

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The thing is, I’m almost done. I got to somewhere in the 700s last night before I quit from exhaustion. Went to bed early again…which is good, because there was a lot of cat neediness at 1 AM and 4 AM.

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This drawing has a lot of bigger pieces, because I wanted to make sure I could finish it, and they’re harder to fit into the random spaces on the Wonder Under. So I’ve used a lot of yardage, but there’s big empty spaces in there too. I’ll use them for something. I always do.

But today, I go back to work. Back to getting stuff done and organizing the teacher part of my life. I will hopefully get the last 100+ pieces traced tonight and start cutting them out. We’ll see how that goes.

I think I forgot to mention that All Stacked Up in My Head got into Quilts=Art=Quilts

Art Quilts and Fiber Arts

The opening is October 28 at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. I won’t be there, but they will. Check it out. Report back.

Meanwhile, I’ll be here, making more. She’s got a lot of things on her mind…

*David Bowie, Changes


A Good Place to Be…

August 25, 2017

Well yesterday I managed to post my blog in the wrong place, but then fixed it. And then lost my keys. Or couldn’t find them. For long enough that I thought I might not make it to work. I “lost” my purse too, but since I knew I brought it out of the dentist with me, I assumed (correctly) that it was in the car. I did eventually find my keys and make it to work in 7 minutes flat (yikes…you can’t really be late when you’re a teacher), but it threw me for the rest of the day. Honestly, I don’t know where my keys are now either, but I usually drop them in the same two places every day, so they’re probably there. I hope. Unless the beginning-of-the-school-year brain did something crazy with them.

I’ve been misplacing a lot of things lately…too much chaos. That’s one of my goals for today at school: control the chaos. I have too many piles and pieces of paper. I need to get those organized and handled. What’s on the counter reflects into the brain. I’ve never been a particularly neat person, but generally I know where shit is. Organization doesn’t have to be neat by the way. I get nervous in houses and rooms that are totally and completely neat and minimalist and put away. Which is funny, because people generally clean up before you show up…but that’s not always who they really are. I can never get really truly clean and put away. I try. That’s all I can say. And no, I never volunteer my house for meetings. That would be crazy.

So I draw in class. We do cover pages for each unit and mine are generally a little crazy because I’m trying to get kids to think about what we’ll be studying and go outside the box. Plus I guess it’s another intro to their teacher. So this is Unit 1…

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It’s basically the nature of science, how we explore and figure stuff out etc. The kids told me to put a student under the desk with stuff dripping on them…and then I added the wing mutation.

I always try to toss female scientists into the mix, so the girls get into their head that they can be a scientist. I tell them about my Physics teacher too, the one who basically thought girls couldn’t science and turned me off it.

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Plus we’ve already done some days about safety in the lab, so it’s good to reiterate those things. I think it turned out pretty well.

I have to admit to not having a ton of energy when I get home right now. Girlchild reminds me that it will get better…that the first full week or two is really hard. Yup. It is. But if you think I’m always go go go…nah. I stop on the couch and barely move sometimes for like an hour or more before I find the energy to get up and do stuff. And then I get up, because just sitting on the couch is boring honestly.

So I forgot to do this the night before, so there are two night’s worth on here…

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Stems and leaves on the roses…

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And the sheaf stitch…totally forgot about that one.

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That’s why I have so many stitch books…to remind me that stitches exist…brain extension.

So I started tracing around 9 or so and worked for almost 3 hours…

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It’s really boring to just post pictures of what I traced. I think. Maybe you’re inordinately interested. I have I think 5 yards I’m working on right now…

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I quit right before having to cut yard number 6…because there was a long piece that wouldn’t fit on the Wonder Under I already had cut. So I’m on piece 555 with about 7 hours into the tracing. More than halfway done…but no way am I gonna finish tonight. Maybe tomorrow? It depends. I’m already really tired and I have a show to go to tonight…so the odds of my being up early tomorrow are pretty low unfortunately. And I’m still trying to get on a good gym schedule, to make it routine again. It’s hard to do when you’re tired, but it’s important. So that’s tomorrow as well.

Anyway. I have plans for getting organized at school, maybe walking the dog this afternoon, since he’ll be on his own tonight, and finishing the tracing sometime this weekend (ha ha ha…because this weekend is kind of a mess for that). Hopefully I can get it all cut out next week and then start ironing over the 3-day weekend? That would be cool…sounds like a nice way to spend a long weekend. A breakfast out, maybe a walk somewhere with the dogs, and then some ironing. OK, I know that sounds weird to most people, but I really love the part where I’m picking out fabrics. It’s very relaxing and meditative. A good place to be…


I’m a Challenge to Your Balance*

August 24, 2017

I’m starting to get caught up with some stuff. That’s good. Nothing to check off the to-do list really. I admitted to the girlchild last night that I had just shoved some stuff in her room because it was more than I could handle…this as she’s showing me her dorm room…where she’s shoved everything into the corner. Yeah. So there we are. I’ll have to deal with it before she comes home in December, but I don’t need to be looking at it every day and stressing out about it. Maybe pick a day when I don’t come home after 6 PM because the dentist couldn’t make the filling fit. Sigh. My poor mouth.

I did clean some stuff yesterday, and then I tried to box up some of the older books and I couldn’t. My family is made up of bookaholics. I figure if I’m getting that much resistance to what I’m trying to do that there’s a reason for it. And maybe it’s not worth fighting it. I mean, cleaning the garage? Lots of resistance for that. Still needed to be done. But old Kipling and Stevenson books? They are not the problem. I don’t buy a lot of new books these days…mostly check them out from the library. So I’m trying not to add to the problem. I did actually get rid of some books. Like what do you do with the books that you tore apart for an art project? They’re missing pages? (I recycled them…but it took me a year to figure that out.)

Anyway. I try. That’s all I can say.

That’s what I said last night when I finally cooked my dinner at 8 PM or so. I forgot to do my daily stitching until almost midnight, and then I decided peeing the dogs and going to bed was more important. So it didn’t happen.

But I did trace stuff…not for a super long time, but you know, it just takes a little time every day to make art. I like it better if it’s at least an hour, but 30 minutes is good too. Just do it though.

All I’m doing at the moment is tracing Wonder Under…it pretty much looks the same to you guys every day…but I can tell the difference between tracing huge base pieces to tiny background stuff. I was wrong yesterday about being almost to tracing the head. I had to do the other arm and the three octopus tentacles coming off of it first…and that was a lot more pieces than you would think.

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So I’m still on the female figure…I made it to her neck, finished that (also had more pieces than you would think). So tonight I can start with the chin.

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Because I tried to keep this thing simple, it’s meant drawing fairly large pieces on Wonder Under. I have four yards out, because I keep needing a big section for a large piece, so I cut a new one and then try to fill in the old one with all the tiny pieces. At some point, I remind myself that this stuff only costs $3 a yard and I always buy it on sale. It’s not the end of the world if I throw some of it away. Although then the environmentally responsible part of me gets irritated with me. That part also doesn’t like disposable floss things (although it’s the only way I can floss parts of my mouth…gag reflex) or my new diabetes pokey thing (it’s really wasteful, with a new set of pieces each time I poke).

Then again, making art is almost always going to be somewhat environmentally troublesome. Unless you’re just using the stuff you found outside and you don’t disturb a living organism’s environment by making it. So. I try to reduce my impact, but I am not great at it.

I forgot these two art-related things. Catherine Segura of CAS Photography took this awesome picture of Sonya Sparks, owner of Sparks Gallery, and my quilt is on the wall. It even looks good in black and white…Segura specializes in tintype photography…so this is over a 10-second time period…Sparks sits still but my quilt is apparently moving. OK, not really. But a great photo…

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And this was my staff meeting drawing earlier this week…

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It’s got some environmental stuff going on right there…

*Natalie Merchant, Wonder


You’ve Got Everything Behind You but Yourself*

August 23, 2017

I don’t like this morning so far. (Think positive) No cats have thrown up yet. I don’t have to deal with homeroom for two hours today. My lunch is already made. Tea is a wonderful thing.

(Ignoring the increasingly overwhelmed feeling that emanates from school and my house. Also not quite ignoring that the girlchild is currently being evacuated due to a bomb threat. This world we live in. These people. I hate thinking the only solution is to lock them up and throw away the keys.)

I managed the second-to-last trip to dump stuff at the thrift shop yesterday. There’s just two or three more bags. This is good. The driveway almost looks normal, instead of like hoarder central, as it has all summer. I didn’t manage much else in the cleaning phase though. And as I walk around, there’s still a lot to be done. I miss the boychild…he made me do it. But coming home from school at the moment…I’m just so exhausted. And I still have to deal with food. Dealing with grades on top of that is going to make it ever so much more complicated.

I did some pale yellow straight stitches and French knots in the feather stitches at the top.

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I should find a green and deal with those roses. Didn’t think about that last night. Wasn’t thinking about much of anything.

I did trace for a couple of hours…maybe not even that long. I made it to the 200s. The main female figure is done, torso anyway. Her neck and head are next…

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I stopped there because I was tired. Puppy kept me up the night before. Last night, he was better…he is a sweet asshole. Sweet at times, asshole most of the time. Definitely a character.

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That tail. So annoying. He gets stuff stuck in it and will snap at you if you try to comb it. But he’s adorable when he sleeps and plays. Until he bites.

Calli is not so adorable, just due to her size. But we still love her.

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In light of my trip around the house…it seems that I should be cleaning things tonight. Although there’s that dental appointment too. And dinner. I have to cook dinner. Ugh. I honestly don’t know how to stop feeling so overwhelmed at the moment. Yesterday I totally missed some part of an email sent out, so I forgot the stuff the kids needed (I went back for it…it wasn’t the end of the world). And I wonder when that happens if it’s just me…I didn’t read that one line. So then I question my brain. A lot. I did go back and read a bunch of emails looking for one piece of information. It wasn’t there. So it’s not just me sometimes. Give myself a break. Then I had to rush to do textbook assignments for books that are totally irrelevant (sometimes laws and governments make us do really stupid stuff…and I get why, but surely there can be adjustments when there need to be, without waiting four years to figure it out). There’s too many things. I need fewer things being hurled at me. Eight AM meetings. Sigh. How am I supposed to eat at the right time? This year. Deep breaths. It will all mellow out in a little while.

Make lists. Cross things off. Prioritize. Ignore the stupid shit. Don’t worry so much. Go make some art.

Now you know why the house is never under control. That last one. Because when the others are said and done, the last one is what keeps me sane. Or some version of that.

*Max Frost, Suspended Animation


Crazy Thoughts Have Quick Wings*

August 22, 2017

Eclipses are cool y’all. That’s all I have to say about that.

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NASA has way better pictures than I do…not surprisingly.

I’m realizing that I’m still adjusting to new eating times…blood sugar was wacky yesterday, but then I figured out that we have a different schedule on Mondays. Hence my body’s complete confusion by the end of the day. Working on it. Still. Forever.

I’m a little tired this morning. Sure, I went to bed late, but I do that a lot. Puppy wanted to bark at everything last night though, so I remember 1:53 AM and 3:21 AM and 5:38 AM. I think those were all coyote responses, but I’m not sure. Ugh. Still can’t keep my eyes open all the way. Blargh.

Tired the dogs out after school yesterday…apparently not enough for Simba. We did over three miles…

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I love how the old seed pods are mixed with the new…castor bean plant. Freaky beast.

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I did…um…oh yeah! the three roses on the bottom right. It’s a stitch called rambling rose, which consists of French knots and stem stitches. Very simple.

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I was mostly horizontal with Simba. He liked me then.

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Eventually I made it upright and cooked some dinner. On Mondays, that usually means reheating leftovers…because if I’m not getting back to the house until after 7 PM, it better be easy.

So I had enlarged this one just because I thought it should be a quilt. And I taped it just to get it done. It’s not huge.

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Who knows when she’ll get made…I have a waiting list at this point.

Then I started tracing the newest piece. The pieces are bigger than what I usually do.

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I was really trying to keep it simpler than some of my recent pieces. We’ll see how that goes. I only traced about 87 pieces in an hour. Not bad. Not spectacular. But because I don’t have a lot of grading when I get home at the moment, it means all I have to think about is art stuff. So as long as I can fight the tiredness, I can get some stuff done. That gets harder as the year goes on. That part always stresses me out. I’m trying to keep my head in a positive place about school…I wonder if admin realizes every crazy-ass thing they do, messing with the master schedule, assigning yet another thing to teachers to keep track of, making us do a 2-hour homeroom with lunch 45 minutes late. We absorb all of it, try to cope, adjust the peeing/eating schedules, take lots of deep breaths, and come home and walk three miles out in nature to clear our heads. Yeah. Well.

*Jem, Save Me


There She Goes Again*

July 14, 2017

Solo show opens tomorrow. Nida Powers. Feeling like I need some Nida Powers today (and this weekend). Looking forward to seeing the show again. And maybe some of you too. Visions Art Museum, 5-7 pm. Then we can talk about introverts and how we have to prepare for openings where you have to be ON all the time (hey, just like school, but with adults! It’s so much easier with 12-year-olds.).

In other news, I got some art shit done yesterday finally, mostly because I blew off the garage stuff. We’re back on garage duty today, trying to get rid of some of the extra stuff and organize the art stuff. Not as easy as it sounds. We gots some e-waste, some haz waste, some furniture, a lot of thriftable stuff, and a ton of nobody wants this shit. Oh, and recyclables. But not enough bins for the last two, so we’ve been cycling it through the trash the last two weeks and will keep doing so until it’s gone. We will NOT be dumping it at the bottom of some street or next to a locked dumpster, because we try to be responsible members of society. Sometimes we suck at it. But not for this.

I forgot! I sold two quilts, even though one is traveling at least through the end of 2018 and the other might be in some shows as well…but Absolutely Nothing (yes, standing on a pile of men)…

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and Holding It All In will be hanging (out) in Palo Alto sometime in 2018 or 2019. I’m looking forward to the photos…and incredibly thankful for the support.

It always feels weird to talk about selling my own art, but I am thankful to those who have supported me over the years. It’s really impossible to be an artist without that support sometimes, especially as I’m weathering the college years. We just went through all the money stuff for the upcoming school year, and for once I won’t be stretching the June paycheck over the whole two months of summer with a giant rock deep in my belly as I get to August and all the college stuff is due. The kids’ college funds did fairly well and their scholarships were incredibly helpful. Plus they both worked hard (and will keep working hard, because they’re not done). It has been (and still is) scary every year when I do the math, but I think we might just survive all this. A miracle maybe.

Last night was mostly about the panel discussion for Don’t Shut Up, though (yes, I stitched through it). And one woman (older than me) said we shouldn’t be bitches (in response to some of the other comments that we SHOULD be) and we shouldn’t alienate those whose minds we were trying to change. It was late, so I didn’t respond there, but I am here. Two problems there: first of all, if I don’t just shut up, smile, and make a sandwich, I get called a bitch. So being a bitch just means taking back my power and being who I really am (I can BE a bitch, but I’m NOT a bitch in general. If I’m being a bitch to you, then step back and figure out where your behavior is at. Because you’re probably being a dickhead.). Second of all, I don’t really care if I alienate the people whose minds we’re changing. Because I don’t actually believe I can change most of their minds unless they’re listening, and odds are they aren’t. So I have this view of me smiling and nodding my head as they spew misogyny and I say nothing. (wow. 17 drawings. Right there. Popped into my head. You wanna know how I get ideas? That’s how.) And there’s no commentary on how they’ve already alienated me with their assumption that I have no rights and don’t know what to do with my own body. Or that I hate men. Or that I don’t want equality…apparently being a feminist means I am all Women First (well, you know, it might be nice for a while). Sigh. I’m all about teamwork and fixing shit together…just go look at the statement for Work in Progress.

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So yeah. I guess that makes me a bitch. I’m OK with that. I know not all males are like that. Most of the ones I know aren’t. I guess my bitchiness kind of self-selects those around me. Whatever.

Well, this bitch got a bunch of stuff done around the panel discussion. I had my quilt meeting (no longer a class…just a hangout really)…and I started cutting out the Wonder Under for the newest quilt. I do have another one that I started cutting back in June, when I just needed something to work on. I have to try to keep them labeled and separate so I don’t get them mixed up. That would not be funny. OK. It might be a little funny, but mostly frustrating.

I’m impressed by Kitten’s attitude.

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Although she looks somewhat psychotic.

Girlchild saved a lizard yesterday, although she screamed when his little feet touched her. He was floating in the pool on the chlorine container. Poor guy. I really need a water solution so living creatures can drink water without my getting more mosquitoes. Seriously.

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So I went to the panel discussion and did two nights’ worth on here, all chain stitch on the right, which is almost done.

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Then I worked on this guy, finishing the hippo and almost finishing the crocodile. I’ll try to finish the croc today maybe. If I feel like it.

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Then I finished the tracing on Long Skinny…without Kitten’s help. She refused to move, even when I draped Wonder Under over her. The tail just thumps instead.

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I needed another couple of hours to finish, apparently. So 1320 pieces traced in just under 12 hours. Not bad. It’s only three yards or so of Wonder Under, because most of the pieces are small. Sigh. My fault. Always my fault.

Kitten is adorable.

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I had started tracing at my quilt meeting, putting in about two hours…and then I kept cutting last night.

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I got about halfway in 2 1/2 hours yesterday.

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Not bad. I don’t remember what I originally said about being done, but I’m hoping sometime tonight. Then sort them. Tomorrow is kind of busy. Pretty sure I can’t start ironing to fabric before I go to the mountains. Damn. So that foils my plan of cutting out pieces while I’m gone. In fact, I’m not sure what I can take with me. I have two drawings that are at the Draw Full Size on a Giant Piece of Paper stage. Hard to do at the cabin. There’s a big table, but not as big as my light table. Sigh. I’ll have to think that through. I can cut out the other climate piece, but it won’t take long. I could just relax and read a book. Yeah, I know. That’s crazy. I could draw other stuff. I seriously don’t know how to just sit there and do nothing. It’s not in my makeup.

OK. Well today is full of clean up and garage and maybe I dunno other stuff besides finishing the cutting. I’ll figure it out. Kids. They’ll be here too. So hangout time. First I need to enter an art show or two. If I can get my head around that.

*The La’s, There She Goes