Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspiration can come at any time and on any subject and using any medium.  I have been longing to paint since I got home from teaching at the Hudson River Valley Art Retreat on Dec 10, but Christmas has kinda got in the way.  But after doing a little Internet Christmas shopping (So grateful for the Internet!) I finally found the time, before my son came home, to just play.

  Yes, this is painting. Not just painting, but painting on fabric.  I thought you would like to see the process over the next few days or weeks, as the case might be.
 I am supposed to be taking down the Christmas tree today, but color and paint are calling to me. 

  I started just randomly painting a simple design on white fabric.  The fabric is taped it to an extra cutting mate with duck tape. Love the duck tape. Keeps it taught while I paint.

What about trying a bamboo design?  I really like the way this is turning out. I think I need one more design? So back to the studio. 
Maybe the Christmas tree will come down tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And then the wind blew

 6 Reasons Why You Don’t Take Your Husband to a Quilt Show.

1.  I know, it’s obvious. They cramp your shopping style. Even though mine was very understanding, it just wasn’t the same.
2. They don’t speak the language. Quarter-inch, half-square triangle and fat quarter all get them confused.
3. They can’t keep up.  They want to linger too long in a both figuring out how that is done. They ask too many questions and most of the time it’s How much does that cost?
4. They have trouble with a crowd. 
5. They have to eat at a certain time.
6. They want to take a shower when you are trying to do your hair. 

6 Reasons to Take Your Husband to a Quilt Show

1.     He can bring more books and patterns in his suitcases when he arrives and you can fill his bags back up with goodies you bought when you go home.
2.     He can carry your heavy bags back and forth to classes without getting tired.
3.      The girls like to talk to him and they like him. He even got some delicious pound cake from my Teacher’s Pet. Yummy!
4.     He pays for everything.
5.     When you have forgotten some important supplies for your class he goes back to the hotel and gets them for you.
6.     Best of all, he can talk you down off the ledge when you have had a bad day.

Bad day, you say?  Yes, I did have a class from hell. I don’t very often get a class like this but once in a while Satan gives me his best shot and this was it.  Really, it was just one student that forgot that others where sitting around her.  I think she got this confused with a private class and that there weren’t 26 other people wanting to learn, too.  Of course, she sat in the front row where she could debate me on every point I made.  She didn’t like me or my technique.  She made it clear that she only does traditional quilts. Why she was there I still don’t know.   I had a waiting list 2 times over.  It’s sad to say she took a spot from someone that really did want to do my class.

 At lunch Joe came and got me and she drilled him also. He told me at lunch She is a husband stealer (whatever that means).  But the fun was just beginning when I returned back from lunch.  She had already packed up her bags and was sitting there with a disturbed look on her face.  I hadn't even put my purse down when she and her friend started in on me.  I think the question was What is the big deal with having to look at color when making your quilts?  Why can’t we do this? and Why can’t we do that? and When are you getting to this? Most of which I had already covered.   I told her it looks like you are getting ready to leave and I didn't want to stop her, but you have been drilling me since I got back from lunch and when I start the class we will be covering your question.  She got up and so did her friend.  They left then another friend left. One friend stayed for the whole class. 

This selfish person made 26 people, including myself, uncomfortable and she didn't even care.   I just kept thinking how horrible it would be to be married to her or be her child.  I said a prayer for them.

That night I read the class comments and, of course, only hers and her friend’s were not complementary. What do you mean you don’t like my stupid stories?   So, Joe helped ease my angry thoughts of buying a gun (again) by taking me out to dinner.

So the next morning I am ready to go, thinking that nothing can be as bad as that class. I start to look forward to the day’s Zinnia class.  I put on my cute little silk dress and beaded sandals.  I am having a great hair day. You know you’re doing well when your hair is looking hot!  I get through the café, getting my bran muffin and coffee.   The bellboy helps me with my rolling bags that weight a ton.  He tells me that he has placed them outside where the bus stop is. I give him a tip and notice that no one is waiting for the bus outside. I ask why and they say it’s too cold and windy. Great, I am wearing a light weight dress.  Oh well, I will be inside all day.  So I wait there inside the café with the other eager quilters.

Then the bus arrives and the door opens with a bang and the wind is howling like a hurricane!  As I walk out and reach for my rolling bags, trying to hold onto my muffin and coffee, I feel a gust of wind swirl between my legs and grab the back of my dress and whip it over my head like a burka.  Just for good measure, it blows my slip up, too. I drop my muffin and push my coffee at some girl I don’t even know.  My arms go flailing like a helicopter as I try to get control over my flying skirt.  In the back of me, the people begin to make noises like Oh, noooooo.  As they try to walk past me to get on the bus, I again grab the back of my dress as the wind then flips the front of my dress up over my head (again). I am trying to wrap the skirt around my legs to get some control over the situation but there is clearly no hope in sight.  I am standing there with my dress over my head and my new Spanx in full view for all to see.   I finally get my dress under control and look around quickly to see that everyone is on the bus except me and there is nobody around to laugh but one man leaning against the wall with a puzzled look on his face.  That could have been MUCH worse, I think, as I climb the steps of the bus, trying to compose myself.  Then I reach the bus platform and notice the bus is full of quilters going to the show and they all saw my dress mishap and are roaring with laughter.  In the second row is a very lovely lady trying to hide her giggles with her hands as I walk past.  All I could say, standing there with my hair frizzed out, holding my dress with my name tag and faculty ribbon on is Now, just stop that as I plopped down in my seat.  

So, as I set up my classroom before the students arrived, I remembered the day before and that difficult girl and gave a little thanks that she is not in my class today!  

At lunch I share the story with Joe who keeps asking me, with glee in his eyes, You mean like Marylyn Monroe?   It was nothing like Marylyn Monroe.  It was definitely Melinda Bula.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ice Dying

Have you ever had a day where you were supposed to be doing something important, like work, and you just couldn't seem to get to it?  Welcome to my world.  Being self-employed is a hard discipline and I have worked my butt off this last year.  I guess being responsible and on task finally took its toll on me.  So I had a  ditch day yesterday. I did something just for fun.

I made some beautiful fabrics and thought you might like to see how I did it.  This is called Ice Dying! If you live in the north or east you call it Snow Dying.  But here in California it’s done the good old fashioned way, using your ice maker.  Thank you, Kenmore!

I had read about snow dying and loved the effects but in California snow is a little hard to come by for most of us.  Plus, it is a seasonal craft, at best. But where there is a will, there is a way.  First, I  Googled Ice Dying and there it was. I found the instructions on this cool web site.  I soaked my fabrics in a soda ash bath for 20 minutes.  She suggests 30.  OK, I don't have patience, either.
I folded and twisted the fabric, than laid it on a wire rack in a plastic tub.  It's a good idea to elevate the rack a couple of inches.  I used little bowls under the rack for that.  Then, I layered ice cubes on top of the fabrics. The key is not to reach into the ice maker with hands full of dye on your fingers. This could be a toxic problem for the family later.  I then sprinkled the ice with 3 colors of dye.  About a teaspoon or 2 of each color.  I think I overdid the first yard.

Then I covered the tub and let the ice melt in the sun for about 12 hours, not the 24 suggested.  This is California and it was 89 today in October. I rinsed it in the sink and washed it the washer and here it is.  A work or art on a yard of fabric. I did 4 different color combinations and now my mind is spinning with what to do with these luscious fabrics. What would you do with these?  Joe calls the one below Tequila Sunrise.

Now the fun is over. I have to go back to work.  Houston is in 2 weeks!

Thursday, October 6, 2011



That's the word for today.   I Googled the word to find out what it really means. All kinds of meanings came up like:

Antares or Alpha Scorpii is a red supergiant star of spectral type M1.5 Iab. It is about 65,000 times more luminous than our sun.   This is not actually what I was looking for.
Then I found,

What is the opposite of luminosity?  

Dullness-the state of being dull.

OK, I am getting closer.  Then good old Webster’s pulled it out for me.

 Definition of LUMINOSITY:

1 a : the quality or state of being luminous   b : something luminous
2 a : the relative quantity of light   b : relative brightness of something  Getting closer.
3 : the relative quantity of radiation emitted by a celestial source (as a star) . Oh great, back to space again!

So I will show you what luminosity is in art /quilting.

This quilt is called Grass Widows by Mary Kay Price form Portland, OR.  Mary took a 5 day retreat with me last year at Empty Spools Seminars, where she began this beautiful quilt. I am pleased to announce that she just won first place(!) with this quilt at the AQS Knoxville Show.  I am so proud.  This is a very talented woman that has won other awards for her wonderful quilts. She probably could have done this without taking a class with me. But I am thrilled that she started it in my class and I could watch her develop this and add my two cents here and there.
Mary Kay working on her quilt.

The key to this wonderful piece is in the luminosity that she captured with just the right fabrics. In her inspiration photo the sun was shining thought the thin skin of the petals.  She captured it perfectly.

Quilts can look brilliant when they are created using luminous colors. They can even be made to look as though they possess an inner light. For centuries artists have developed particular techniques for creating luminosity in their art. We can do the same thing in a quilt. When these techniques are applied, colors appear to be pure. They will reflect sunlight or other light in such a way that it seems as though the light is emanating from the artwork.

How do you show luminosity in your quilts?   You need to find fabrics colors in their purest form possible. Also, you should avoid using fabrics that have a black in them and minimize your use of earth tones and focus on fabric colors that have a primary color base with white. 

By using the right colors and values in your fabric selection you can create that glow.  If you look at the middle flower below,  can see how she has broken down each section of that one petal into veins of changing values?  She got her color-values as close as she could to what she was seeing in her picture.  She also brought a lot of fabric to class to choose from.  Those fabrics were her paint pallet.   

She also had study her pictures for days, even months, before she came to class. That’s what artists do. They spend time studying their subject matter, which is a fancy way of saying they look at their pictures.   Mary had done that and the information was subconsciously in her brain before she even got to class.  It was so exciting to watch her work through the problem solving.  Art is problem solving.  It just doesn't always flow magically from the fingerer tips but is purposely stored in the right place, waiting to be accessed.  The project is analyzed, worked and reworked until you have it just right. Sometimes the analyzing takes just a split second and sometimes it takes days of thinking.  But if it is taking too many days you may have to decide if it's fear that is stopping you or a creative block.  In my experience, 9 times out of 10 fear is the culprit.  That is when it’s good to have someone else's creative feedback.   That is why retreats are great when working out our problems or pushing yourself in a new direction. The safe, creative environment is like a different world compared to being alone at home. Plus, more can be accomplished because no one is there asking What's for Dinner? or  Are you going to stay in there all night? or my new favorite, Hey, I'm out of underwear. You get the picture.  

That is why I love to be invited to teach at retreats all over the country and now, the world. I am going to Australia in 2012.
 Student's work that, unfortunately, I can't remember her name...I am looking for it.
This is another student’s work and she is also capturing that luminosity in her California Poppies. Photography is her hobby and she is quite good at it. She shot this on the ground under the flower so the sun reflects brightly through the petals.  So cool.

My early work of clematis with that glow.
My friend, Christine Barnes, has written two great books on using color and luminosity in your quilts.  They are Quilter’s Color Club and Color: the Quilter's Guide.  You may want to check them out.

If you would like to join me for a 4 or 5 day retreat I have added a calendar box on the side of this blog. There are many great venues coming up in the next year all over the country, even a 2013 Alaskan Cruise.

My next creative art retreat is in upstate New York at the Hudson River Valley Art Retreat  coming this December. I can’t wait.

Hope to see you there and work with you on your next great masterpiece.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Being True to Your Art

Monet in Pasadena
Growth as an artist has never come with gentle ease. It has always come with an in-your-face wave of frustration that make me change direction. I am facing that right now. It’s time. I have felt it coming on, but was so busy with traveling and teaching that it was easy to overlook the obvious.

I just got back from a week in the Hill Country of Texas or, for you non-Texans, San Antonio. It's a beautiful part of the state looks like El Dorado Hills in places, except for the humidity and cowboys.  I received an email when I got there from a friend asking me if I got a call from Houston IQA? Surely, she wrote, those 2 quilts got an award.  No I haven’t, I wrote back, is this the week? Then one of the girls in the guild I was lecturing at said she had seen my quilts on my blog and that I must have gotten a call.  No, I didn’t. I went to the next guild and was asked the same thing again. Your quilts are amazing and you didn’t get a call? No, I didn’t get a call! The call. The call?

...and Our Flag was Still There
I didn’t get a call. Yes, it was a little disappointing. It has made me stop and think about my art. But then I realized, with a big exclamation point, that I am doing art, not quilting. There is a big difference. And I am teaching art, not quilting and I am showing my art in my lecture, not my quilting. That my art has even been in these shows is a fluke. The quilting world is one of the first venues that recognized my art work. When I had my first gallery show it was me and a watercolorist together as equals, 2 artists creating flowers. 

Maybe I have outgrown my viewing field. It has been a wonderful and safe place, but maybe it doesn’t fit any more. The quilting world is changing and so am I. That is the way it’s supposed to be as a growing artist. Change hurts and is uncomfortable. Do you remember, as a child, having growing pains in your legs? I had those really bad as a tall girl. I am having them again and I am feeling the pain and that pain is making me reassess my path.

Folsom City Gallery
As an artist you are competing with yourself all the time. I am always trying to create something better with each piece I make. I have never let competition with other quilters interfere with my art. I found that doing that robs me of my creativety. Are you just running for the prize, or the next best work of art?  In the quilting world you are competing not only with other wonderful quilters, but also with the next best sewing machine, the greatest wonder thread, the next fabulous technique that comes with 6 new products we all have to have and so on. It really isn’t conducive to pure creativity.  I have tried to protect myself from that. I might have slipped a little.
First gallery show at  Shelburne Museum in Vermont
So let's grow and go for it. I discover wonderful things about myself with every quilt I make. I am stretched, tested and pushed by these works. I am attached to them because of what I discovered about myself while creating them. I don’t need an award to know they are good and meaningful.

My art on the same grounds as Mary Cassatt. Wow!
I fell into the trap we all need to avoid.  Did I want to value my art and self by what awards I received (or didn't) or by what a judge said?  Absolutely not.  Remember that the critics did not like Van Gogh's brush strokes.  He turned out OK.

These 2 quilts where made because they had to come out as they where monumental points in my life, not for others to judge my stitching. That's the difference between art and quilting. It is disappointing to not have won anything but I will get over it.  And I have.  I teach this all the time and now I have to remember my own advice: You lose part of your creativity when you make a piece of art for a show or competition. Be true to the art and make it because you have to, for you!  I am proud to say I did that with these 2 art quilts.

I read an artist blog called The Painter Keys by Robert Glenn;  Today he had quotes from artist Harley Brown that reminded me of what is important in my art.

3 of my favorite qoutes from Harley Brown:
Look for and make your opportunities happen; they are not going to come rushing up to your doorstep. But sometimes they'll be looking you right in the face.

If art takes up much of the artist's time, then it makes sense that she/he be 'lost' in the euphoria of creating. Isn't that one of our ultimate purposes in life?

Without underestimating the value of talent, it's not the most important attribute you need to become a successful artist. It's not even second. More important than talent is desire. 

I couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's Garden

Today's garden was soft and quiet. The light was just perfect to snap these wonderful shots. Its going to be 100 degrees today and looks like it could rain but right now there is a cool breeze blowing. We have the doors open and the air feels so fresh.
My 8 little pumpkins are almost ready to pick. You can tell that fall is around the corner. Makes me feel like Martha Stewart.  It's fun to hear the neighbors say with suprise, as they walk by,  Look - she has pumpkins!  I have promised a pumpkin to each of the 4 little kids that live next door.  They are so cute. I hope the Great Pumpkin comes this year - I will be here waiting in my patch.
My garden has always been an inspiring retreat. It's not perfect by any means but the beauty of things growing seems to keep me grounded.  I can't help but see God's hand in every corner.  I am so grateful for this little yellow house.
This is the time of year I start to think about my next creation.  I wander throught the garden almost every day before I go to the studio.  I study my photos and look for something that moves me.  Today, the reflection in the bird bath caught my eye and those big creamy roses.
The moring glories are overtaking the climbing rose bushes. You can hardy walk throught the garden gate without them wrapping around you, too.  Soon this hardy vine will die back to nothing come winter. 
Then, next summer, they will return to overtake the yard again. I did a quilt in 2005 of this vine dominating the fence. Its called Afternoon Glory because the flowers turn a different color in the afternoon - they are light blue in the moring and lavender in the afternoon.

We have 2 bird feeders. These little finches let me walk right up to them and snap there picture. Joe has all the birds and turkeys in our yard named and trained.

Yes, I said turkeys!  Do you think it's time for me to get Joe another dog?  This is Tom.  He actually calls to Joe for his food.  Yes, Tom has trained Joe.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11 and I wanted to remember it in my garden, next to nature. Our world changed that day forever. Even living on the west coast our family was very much affected.  My only son is now a Marine. He was 14 that day. We all seemed to change our priorities. We need to remember how precious our country is and how what we value can be taken away in an instant.

This moring in the peace of the garden, I prayed for the famlies in my neighborhood, in our country and the world.  And I prayed for young men and women whose lives and futures where forever changed that day .
Like most people, I get caught up in this busy world of hustle and bustle, too, but let's us never forget 9/11 and remember to give thanks in the peace of our gardens.  And if you don't have your own garden, please come and use mine.

Monday, August 29, 2011

They’re Off!

...and Our Flag Was Still There

 The quilts that I have been working on for the last 2 years are off to Houston.  Thank God. There were times I didn’t think I would every get them done.   Not that I didn’t want them done, just the opposite.  It was finding the time to quilt them which has been my problem.
Monet In Pasadena
You see, I am finally making somewhat of a living doing my art. This is a dream come true.  Most artists have to die before there is any market for their art.  Not me, I thought.  I will teach and lecture and that will offset my fabric habit.  But I forgot one important thing – with teaching and lecturing comes the loss of time to do my art. 
 I have so over booked myself this year with traveling the circuit that I have not had that precious time to just be creative and I can’t live without being creative.  I get very depressed if I go too long without studio time.  And maybe money is overrated, anyway.   Joey may not like this but next year will be different and balance will be my theme.
 The green clamps are holding the weight of the quilt off the table.
But the most exciting news is while I was rushing to get my quilts stitched I invented a pulley system to hold the weight of my big quilts while I am quilting them.   I have had this idea ever since I saw a contraption that Carol Bayer Fallert uses.  I think she said it was for lifting patients out of bed so you could do God knows what to them in the hospital or at home.  I’m not sure where to get one of those devices so I had to improvise.  This was also project weekend for Joe.   Someone in our family, while flushing the toilet, dropped her glasses that were on her head down the potty as the water was swirling. Oops!  So off to Home Depot with Joe I went.  I told him about my pulley ideas and he still wanted to help me but only after he snaked out the potty first.  That was only fair.
On our list was:  2 pulleys, 2 eye hooks, yards of rope cording, the type used for making clotheslines, and 2 hand spring clamps. Oh yeah, we also needed a snaky thingamajig for the toilet.
Once home, Plumber Joe, not to be confused with Electrician Joe, Gardner Joe, Pool Boy Joe, Car Detailer Joe, Accountant Joe, Web Master Joe or Tree Trimmer Joe, went into action. First he asked me if I wanted the glasses back. I said I don’t think so.  He then extended the snaky line and jammed it down the hole.  Then he tried to pull it back out and it wouldn’t budge.  It was stuck.  I offered some helpful advice and was told to get out of the room.  What? A loving wife can’t offer guidance?  I mean, without me we wouldn’t even be enjoying this time together.

Then I heard more of what sounded like a tug of war with the snake and the commode.  And then this cracking sound and those wonderful words   I think I got it, followed by the most magical flushing sound.   Joe then announced that he had just saved us $200 and all the aerobic exercise that goes along with a 2 story home with no working toilet on the ground floor. As he was winding up his trusty snake, he wondered if he could return the snake and get his $50 back as it was hardly used and the blockage it freed was made of glass and plastic, not that other stuff.  I said I didn’t think that was a good idea.

Now to the studio we went.  Joe was feeling quite manly and ready to tackle my project.  
The Pulley
Here are some pictures of the pulley system.  It really is pretty simple and it works. My quilts are very heavy because of all the fabrics and thread.  
Hooks in the beam on the ceiling.
In my Monet in Pasadena quilt I used 6300. yards of thread @ $4 per spool.  That works out to $125.  just in thread, not including all the half used spools still left. 

 That is a lot of money but it’s worth it.  On both of these quilts I used a dark solid backing fabric to show my thread work on the back.  It shows all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s like a painting in thread and I love it. I also use at least 33 different colors of Sulky Rayon 30 weight thread.  My new favorite sewing needle is Superior's Titanium Top Stitch needle, size 80/12.
 Look for them at IQA in Houston and ask a Quilting Angel to turn the quilt over so you can see the thread painting on the back.
Gotta run.   Joe is now talking about trimming trees in the front yard.  OMG!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I feel yucky...

It’s a sick day today.  I just got home from 2 weeks of nonstop teaching and lecturing.  I have completely overbooked myself to the point that there is no time to even change my sweaty teaching clothes or do my hair before the evening lecture.  And I was in Houston, Texas and they are having an out of control heat wave, of course.   So I caught a cold and felt miserable the whole time.  But the show must go on.   Thank God I love what I do even when I am so sick.  At one point, when I had lost my voice and found out there was no microphone(!) I did think about running from the room screaming.  But then I would have had to stand outside in the heat and humidity and that was not an option.

One of my 3 hostesses, Linda, took me to the drug store where I bought cold meds, boxes of tissues and a hair clip because my hair was starting to puff out as my nose got redder and the humidity was reaching 89%.  And this was only day #1.
At one point, as I was going back to my room after breakfast,  I couldn’t remember my room number. I was in different hotels every day.  Was it room 220 or 507 or now where am I???  The thought of asking the front desk what my room number was was very humbling.

But I made it, barely. Then, on the last night something special happened that made it all worth the runny nose, the sweaty clothes, the bad hair and losing my voice.  I think I touched someone special. Artists can touch people with their art. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it shakes up your mind and head.  But that is not what I am talking about.  My lecture meant something to an 11 year old boy who was there with his grandmother that night at the guild meeting.
Again, we had mic problems and my throat was so sore. Thank God Ginger drove me through a Sonic to get a giant cherry lime aid before the meeting. It was like mother’s medicine. I found out that I was to go on after the break which is when most people leave. I don’t understand why a quilt guild that is paying big bucks to bring me there has me lecture at the end after the Show & Tell and when everyone is tired. At one guild recently they had 25 Show & Tells before the break and me. That meant that I also was not going to get out of there until 10:30.  But this night the Show & Tells went fast and it was my time. I was worried still about the mic and had an idea right before I was introduced.

My idea fixed the mic problem. Now, could they handle my raspy voice from this darn cold?   God, give me the strength to go on is what I prayed in the ladies bathroom.    It was a warm and receptive group, I could see. There were about 250 at the meeting that night. I talked about how I got from there to here and the struggles I had gone through as a child and adult. This is my art.  I talk about overcoming my dyslexia and the labels people put on you as a kid but that I was always thinking like an artist from the very beginning. It just didn’t fit in a school system.  But it’s what makes me creative and how when you accept how you are this helps our creative process and helps us define our art.  Then I end with my 3 minute movie that I have made showing my artwork and my path. It’s set to music and always gets a great response.  Then the trip is over.  I can now go home and fall in the arms of my loving man.

But,, as I am talking to the ladies at the end of the nigh,t I see this young man of 11 walk up to me. Behind him is his grandmother. She says he has something to say to me.  He tells me that he also has dyslexia. My heart jumps as I run around the table that is separating us.  He was so cute and brave. I gave him a big hug and I saw the smile on his face and then looked in his eyes and I told him You have been given a great gift. You are going to do great things in the world - you will just do them in a different way.  That is what is going to make you successful. You can do anything you want to do - you will just figure out a different way to get there. Don’t let anyone stop you. I hugged him again and he nodded his head like he already knew it. I saw his grandmother turn and walk away.  Later, in the car, Ginger told me she was crying. This is why I do what I do. Not to win awards, although the awards get me the jobs.  I have a life I want to share with others - a life that has been hard and rewarding.  A life I could have easily given up and tossed away if I had believed for one moment what people labeled me. I always knew that God had his hand in this. Artists are right-brained thinkers, which is where all creativity comes from.  Schools are mostly left-  brained and humans are ignorant.

There was a book I bought that is called The Gift of Dyslexia. I never read past the title and preface but the title said it all to me. I still have that book and to anyone who wants to listen to a very creative woman who has been given a gift, a runny nose and a voice that today sounds like Suzanne Pleshette on the Bob Newhart Show,  I’m here and have a story to tell.