Notes from the Commonplace Book: Success

Note: If you don’t know about Commonplace Book or Journal, you can read about what goes into one, what mine looks like, 10 things you can put in yours if you want to start one, or the difference between a commonplace and visual journal.

Mine commonplace book is stuffed with notes and today, I thought I’d take the string of notes I have on success and put it here. Un-edited, just ideas I’ve jotted down on success. Some may resonate, some may sound completely wild or untrue to your experiences.

Comment, head off to your own journal to rant, or just think. It’s Friday and Halloween and I know you are busy.

Fear of success takes several forms
1. If I become successful, will it be enough? Don’t I have to become more successful then, and more after that? Too much work, don’t want all that.

2. Success breeds responsibility, like this:  If I become really successful, I’ll have to hire people—a bookkeeper, an admin—and what if I can’t support them? What if my income is reduced too much in the effort of supporting them? Gasp, choke.

3. Lack of definition of success. “Success” is a faraway goal. Here’s how my coaching clients tackle this thorny problem:  I can always run toward success and enjoy the chase. But if I catch it, like a dog chasing a car, what do I actually DO with it?  If I actually succeed, what if I don’t please my parents or get accepted by my friends? Most people want enough money to live on, but wealth isn’t what looks like success or happiness to them. And if they claim to be successful, their neighbors and friends will point out how ridiculous it is to call yourself “successful,” because you aren’t obviously wealthy. So it’s easier to avoid success.

I think of myself as successful because I’ve had a business for 12 years and have always managed to pay the bills, really love the variety of my work, meeting new people with different ideas, and being able to say No to those whose core values don’t line up with mine. But few people would agree that I’m “successful.” My success is based on my happiness and the ability to take some very strange talents I have and make a living from them, rather than celebrity or piles of cash.

4. Our consumer culture has a lot to do with “permission” in people’s lives. More of us look to the people around us–at work, mostly, where people are also in competition with us–for validation. No one who is in competition with you is going to help you be successful unless it also helps them.

5. Deserving success. This is very tied into #3 above, but it is for people pleasers who cannot define success for themselves. They don’t trust their gut, so they allow people to define success for them. So, of course, they are never successful. If you are, people may be jealous or hate you, and that’s not success. This is a really vicious cycle, but important.

—Quinn McDonald coaches people who fear success.

Pebeo Paint Artwork

Pebeo paints has two new (to me) paints–Fantasy Moon and Prisme. Today I took the afternoon off (seeing as how it is one of the three days I’m home this month) and spent time in the studio.

Blue, purple and turquoise was the palette for this project.

Blue, purple and turquoise was the palette for this project.

The paints are solvent-based, so if you are going to work with them, do it in a room with open windows or good ventilation. These paints are actually meant primarily for resin-based jewelry. But you can use the paints on wood or canvas, too. How could I resist?

The paints create their own honeycomb effects without any help from a brush. Best of all, achieving good-looking abstract paintings isn’t hard.

First, choose a frame with a 3millimeter lip around the edge, as the paints flow.

Art1Second, shake the paints well to fully mix the sparkly bits. When you have shaken them, stir them as well. Shaking creates bubbles and that effect can change the final look.

Art2Before the paints settle, open the bottle and pour one of the colors directly onto the cradled board. You can paint with a brush or drop with a dropper, but pouring freestyle is more my style.

Art3Pour the second color. I limited myself to three colors, but you can use as many as you want. (There are at least 18 colors in the Fantasy Moon line). If you overlap the colors, they blend with special effects. I didn’t get the strong honeycomb I’ve seen in other examples, but I loved the blending that did happen.

Art5Pour the third color. I poured it around the edges and directed a few thin strings across the other two colors. You aren’t supposed to tilt the board, but I did anyway. Once the color was spread over the frame, I used a small specialized stick Starbucks plastic lid stopper to drag the paint to the edge.

The next step is important: Get a level and put the piece on a level surface to dry. It will tack-dry in about 6 hours and dry completely in 72, depending on where you live. Four hours after I did it, both of mine were still thick-set, with a consistency of latex paint.


Piece one, at completion.

If you don’t use a level surface, the paint will drift over the edge. Prop up the slanting corner with small risers–coins, pieces of gum, folded index cards.

Piece one after two hours

Piece one after two hours

The piece will change over time. That’s part of the charm.

Leave the frames alone until they are completely dry. There is a clear resin you can coat the paintings with to protect the surface.

Piece 2 after two hours

Piece 2 after two hours

You can match linens, wallpaper, and towels to make interesting, abstract art for any room of your house. Just remember that real art never has to match the couch.

Disclosure: I purchased the paints and boards. I am not a designer for any company (at the moment.)

—Quinn McDonald enjoys every minute in the studio. These pieces don’t match the couch or anything else in the house, either. She likes that idea.

Blooming Late and Loving It

Kids want to grow up fast. Do what adults do. Feel powerful. Unfortunately, most adults don’t feel so powerful. They feel helpless, burdened with responsibility but not so much authority.

A true late bloomer: this organ pipe cactus blooms at night.

A true late bloomer: this organ pipe cactus blooms at night. © Quinn McDonald, 2014

I skipped grades when I was younger, got out of high school early and college really early. It didn’t make any difference, of course.

Every job made me “start over” and “prove myself.” For years, I thought this was a lack of ability on my part to show I was smart and capable. It took years to figure out that all the proof rested on thorny cultural facets–that women deserve less pay, that women need to prove themselves more than men, that women as seen as weak and hysterical.

Worse, I was a late bloomer. The youngest in my class, and slow to develop curves, I had to use wit, humor and smarts to negotiate my life. Unfortunately, I was also impatient, perfectionistic and, well, angry at all this nonsense.  Why couldn’t employers just use my skills? That attitude didn’t help.

As I got older, I began to see the advantage of being a late bloomer. You draw different battle lines in different places. You waste less energy. You spend more time solving the real problem–the underlying problem, rather than the superficial drama. In fact, you don’t care about the drama so much any more. You’ve seen so much drama, little of it fresh, and most of it is not about you.

As a late bloomer, you give up the need to prove who you are by words, and focus on doing. What you do becomes your proof statement, and people interested in results begin to pay attention. People interested in externals still shrill loudly, but it matters less, because there are those results. (My favorite was the woman who looked at my generous hips and hissed, “If you can’t control what you put in your mouth, how can you control the people who work for you?” to which I replied, ” Not a problem, as I wasn’t planning on eating them.”)

Now that I own my business, I am grateful to have been a late bloomer. I know how to pace a project, I know how to separate “urgent” from “important.” I stay calm when others amp the histrionics, as I’m not interested in the attention. I get work done. I work with a better quality of people. Yes, many years were spent fraught and living in disappointment. But I’m a late bloomer and life is good.

—Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. She travels the Americas, teaching.

Journal Ideas on the Run

The last year has seen a steep increase in my travel time. Which means I fly a lot and stay in a lot of hotels. Traveling can be lonely, and eating out every night is not the luxury it might seem. I don’t have a fat expense account, my diet is pretty rigid, and after a while, the idea of another Cesar salad makes me scowl. But this post is not about traveling, it’s about journal ideas when I’m traveling.

A muted wallpaper with several shades of blue and gray.

A muted wallpaper with several shades of blue and gray.

Hotels have a practical purpose to their carpets–they have to hide dirt and look trendy. Wallpaper has to be background to art and doorways and bedspreads are vanishing in favor of the bedroom equivalent of a table runner–a piece of fabric placed across the foot of the bed to remind you that there used to be bedspreads.

I photograph the patterns and then copy the idea into my journal. I may use different colors, sometimes I alter the scale, and sometimes I print out the photo and simply transfer it into my journal for color and shape use in a future project.

hotel2No matter how tired I am or how reluctant my brain is to write, the colors and patterns of walls, bedcovers, and floors provide endless design interest. Sometimes the design seems to emerge from the way-back machine (when, exactly, did that carpet above debut?).

hotel4On the other hand, from a design standpoint, the carpet above is interesting. I like the circles within circles, and the lines in the background gives depth to the whole thing. It was, in fact, the beginning of an idea for a Gelli Plate pattern I worked on. With different colors, it had an updated look.

hotel6Sometimes the wallpaper is simply interesting. This one was pleated, but irregularly. I loved the effect, which was limited to the elevator area. A whole hallways of orange and gold would have been too much–this wasn’t Vegas, it was Washington, D.C.

hotel1This coverlet detail above reminds me of my favorite “I can’t cut straight lines” solution. The fact that it is not symmetrical makes it even more appealing.

hotel5Oranges and earthtones seem to be having their heyday. Again. Which is why I liked this neutral-with-red striped bed covering in Dallas. The rest of the room picked up colors from this palette and made it effective for a small room. Another palette I’m saving for later use. I would not have mixed the pale gray-green into this mix, and the bit of pale apricot really works.

hotel7Bold works, too. I wouldn’t want this carpet in my home, but it was the inspiration for a collage I did that wound up in Joan Bess’s book, Gelli Plate Printing. The pattern-within-a-pattern was appealing.

Pg124Bessbk(p. 124 of Joan Bess’s book with my poppy collage, above). Inspiration is just that–an idea that you like, reworked in some other way. Because the poppy-carpet photo-transfer was in my journal, I began to play with the idea of poppies in collage. You never know where it will lead you.

Who would have thought that wallpaper and carpeting would be such an interesting addition to a journal? These walls did talk, after all!

-Quinn McDonald is a training developer and trainer. She teaches writing all over the U.S. and Canada. She is a certified creativity coach.


When “Sorry” Isn’t Enough

The insult was sharp. It hurt. It had come from a friend and I mentioned my hurt. She looked at me, shrugged and said “Sorry!” in a voice that indicated it was a learned response, not something she felt. And sure enough, a week later she did the same thing.

“Before you say ‘Sorry,'” I said, “I need to hear what you are going to do so this doesn’t happen again.” She was puzzled. “I said ‘Sorry'” she said. “What else can I do?”

76dcbbb3cc36cc94e8671814fe17107bAn apology is not a self-absolution. It’s the first step, not the last.  If you don’t want to change your behavior, you can be sorry for hurting someone’s feelings, but unless your behavior changes, you may wind up friendless.

An apology doesn’t guarantee reconciliation, either. Don’t know what else to say? Ask the person what specifically you did to hurt them. Ask about their hurt—was it connected to something you’ve done before? Was it something from their past that was brought up? Asking questions is a great way to move an apology from words into action.

Ask what your friend would like to see you do or say to repair the damage you did. There may not be anything specific, but just asking shows your willingness to admit you inflicted pain and that you want to make a change.

If you can’t take the action, discuss what you can do. If your friend asks too much, talk about that.

Your behavior identifies you. You can choose and act in ways that identify you as a good friend, someone who is willing to admit a mistake and work your way past it. Or you can shrug and say, “Sorry” and assume the rest is up to the people you know you.

—Quinn McDonald knows the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. And knows how wide that distance can be.

Practice Safe Vex

This weekend, some people I follow on Facebook were involved in a kerfuffle. A lot of small things went wrong, and it made a big mess. No names are mentioned in this story, because who said it is not important. How it was handled is important because a lot went wrong that didn’t have to.

rottenecard_56115622_vsk543fkyzHere is the bare-bones story: Person X, well-known in X’s field, was on an airplane. X was seated next to an overweight person. X and the overweight person had a discussion (not a happy one) about who could use what part of the armrest and seat. X is slender and took, then posted photos on Facebook of the overweight person taking up more than her seat and added some unhappy comments.

A few early comments took X’s side, making harsh statements against overweight people. Then, the tide turned.  The comments fell into different areas:

  • criticizing someone’s weight and blaming them for it
  • putting a person’s photo on Facebook without permission
  • defending the privacy of a timeline on Facebook
  • the idea that “you can say what you want in your own space on Facebook”

Lessons to learn from this embarrassing story:

We live in a public world. It’s hard to avoid being photographed, quoted and posted on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and a hundred other social media sites. You have every right to stand up for yourself and not allow yourself to be photographed. I understand that if you are in a public space, you don’t have an expectation of privacy, but this is not a legal matter, it’s an ethical one.

Legal and ethical are not the same. There may be no law against doing 5580292534_1a744e1dd5something, but that doesn’t make it right or good. It’s just not illegal. It could be hurtful, cause embarrassment, or crush someone’s spirit. Now we are in ethics.

Some basic social media rules:

  • Don’t photograph private people in a public space and post those photos without the person’s permission.
  • Posting anything on Facebook makes it public. Even if you post it just to your friends and family, they can re-post it and make it public. That’s how “going viral” starts.
  • Everyone has biases. They are best kept to yourself. Once you air those biases, you have labeled yourself. People have amazingly long memories about gaffes and biases.

Person X apologized by saying she had not thought the incident through. And she said she should not have posted the photos.

Many people replied that she could post whatever she wanted on Facebook, since it was on her own timeline. They seemed to have missed that what you post on your timeline winds up on other people’s news feeds. And can be passed on.

And about that freedom of speech thing? Every privilege comes with a responsibility. Yes, you can say what you want. But every post, every spoken sentence carries a consequence. You can say what you want, but people will also say what they want. So don’t expect to get nothing but support just because you are expressing your opinion.

If you are angry, do not act in anger. Think through the story and how it will appear to others. In other words, practice Safe Vex.

—Quinn McDonald knows a lot about putting your foot in your mouth. She’s had a lot of practice. She also knows that fat people are the last group that can still be victimized as a group sport. That’s cruel.




Growing Without Pushing

The biggest surprise over the last dozen years of owning my business is—just like real  life—you can’t force things to happen. For most of my adult, corporate life, I thought that’s how you got things done. Pushed against resistance till the resistance collapsed and you “won.” Negotiate hard until the opposition caved and I “won.” I sure wasted a lot of time doing that.


Not every skirmish needs to be turned into a war that must be won.

An example: I’m a good writer. Experienced, nuanced, clear. After decades of writing, I should be. I deserve to be paid for that ability and expertise. When a client says, “We’re not paying you what you asked for, we’re paying you half. We pay our other writers less, you shouldn’t be asking for that much,” I no longer force back by piling up my experience and subject knowledge. Nope.

Instead, I nod and say, “I understand your budget can’t stretch to cover my fee. I wish you every success on the job with another, less expensive writer. Thank you for considering me,” and head toward the door. Notice it’s a statement of fact, not anger or threat. I rarely make it to the door before I’m called back. “Maybe we can arrange something.” Good, let’s talk.

Another example: Occasionally, I’m asked to speak to new coaches on choosing a niche. I’m supposed to explain how I chose my niche, and how others can choose theirs. There is no secret. I didn’t sit down and think over what niche I would develop. It worked the other way around. I looked at the people around me, the ones naturally present already, and built by offering what they needed from what I could do.

It’s an easier life if you don’t  have to put your shoulders down and bull your way through. It’s far more rewarding to work with your natural gifts, with people who are already around you. By heightening talents you have in situations that present themselves, there is less damage to your spirit and more building of your strengths. Less grinding, more polishing. Less spinning, more weaving. It’s a good life.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing. She’s also a life– and creativity coach who helps people when they are stuck. She can’t help everyone, and doesn’t fight it.

Driving Ahead

Driving across the Navajo Nation. It’s early evening, and I’ve crossed the orange cliffs and am on the mesa with scrub brush and easy hills. Not a house in sight. Not a store, gas station, or even a fence to create boundaries. Not in the last 4o miles.

I’ve spent the last two weeks in big cities, on airplanes, flying over sparkling cities late at night. And now, this. Silence. Space. A big sky.


Suddenly, on the right, a group of horses gallop across the landscape–running parallel with my car. Where did they come from? They are well kept and strong. Two paints, one gray, several browns and two gorgeous chestnuts with black tails and manes. They run parallel to my car, and I imagine that they are having fun, running because they can. It doesn’t matter where they wind up, it is all their space.

Night is coming on. It feels peaceful and easy to be here, heading to teach. I feel grounded when I teach writing. So personal, so connected to culture and history and your own spirit.  It’s like translating life into action.

Page_skyThe sun begins to set, and there is fire in the clouds. Part of this sun-struck cloud looks like the Phoenix–born from ashes to soar. Navajo Mountain appears on my right, and the sun sinks below the horizon. The echo of life stays with me as I roll deeper into the Navajo Nation.

–Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach who teaches writing for businesses and personal growth.

Controlling the Tricky Muse

Cesar Millan may be the Dog Whisperer, but his method works well for the

From Laura Maris' Pampered Pups website.

From Laura Maris’ Pampered Pups website.

unruly, leash-tugging creative urge we call a Muse, as well. You know that creative Muse–the one you desperately want in your life, but that disappears around the corner and won’t come when called. When it does show up, it runs you ragged. You are off to buy materials and supplies, while your Muse stays at home, piling choices on your studio table, and running you ragged with ideas, projects and commitments that you can’t manage.

You are in charge of your own creative output.

The Dog Whisperer has a formula. If you’ve watched the show, you already know what it is. It’s on his website: “Through my fulfillment formula exercise, then discipline, and finally, affection.  As the human pack leader, you must set rules, boundaries, and limitations and always project a calm-assertive energy.”

0The “calm-assertive energy” comes first. It’s not about being a control freak, it’s knowing that you are the calm leader of your creative energy and your studio. If you are in control, the studio is not running you and you aren’t searching for pieces of a project. You aren’t forever using the excuse that you have a coupon and heading out to the craft store. You are centered and know your project.

You set the rules, boundaries and limitations for your studio. Here are some good ones to start with:

  • Know what your project is.
  • Know what your project is not. If you are going to create a journal page, don’t worry about creating the whole journal.
  • Leave the studio set up so you can begin. Nothing saps energy faster than having to spend an hour cleaning the studio and another finding what you want to work on.
  • Put extra materials away. It’s distracting to see unfinished project lying around.
  • Set a time to start and be there to start the project.
  • If you have an appointment, set a timer to remind you when to stop. You can’t work deeply if you keep having to check on the clock.
  • Keep a paper and pencil around to take notes as you work. Once you get to the studio, you will immediately think of “work” that needs to get done before you start. Stay in the studio, make a to-do list. The laundry will still be there when you leave.

The rest of Millan’s ideas work just as well: exercise, discipline, affection.

Exercise is a way to burn off tension in your body. It makes room for creative ideas. While you are exercising, a part of your brain is problem solving. That’s good for your brain and your body. Allow that to happen often, and you will approach a project with eagerness, without a lot of the adrenaline energy that’s exhausting.

Discipline is not punishment. Discipline allows space and time for deep, meaningful work. Discipline allows you to turn off the phone, shut the computer off and head for the studio. Discipline is a set time to work without guilt or fear. Discipline is consistency–knowing what is going to happen. It’s not a wild streak of cleaning the studio one day and spending three hours looking for just the right piece of paper. Discipline is an approach to creative time that includes knowing what will happen–you will work meaningfully, for a set amount of time, on a regular basis.

Affection is allowing yourself to feel good about yourself and your work. Affection is allowing yourself to try and fail, to try something different, to follow a thought or idea until it works or until you know why it doesn’t. Affection for yourself is allowing your growth at your own rate, not at your best friend’s rate. It’s taking the “just” out of your vocabulary, as in, “I just painted this scene.”

Just as Cesar Millan projects a calm, assertive pack-leader image to his dogs, you can project a calm, assertive creative leader image to your muse and your studio. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who works with visual and performing  artists to help them find, manage and develop their creativity.



Book Page Wreaths

Book lovers, avert your eyes. I’m about to rip up books (again) and turn them into something else. But first, a note to all of us for whom books are sacred and for whom the thought of damaging one is tantamount to a violent act: the books used in these wreaths are books that are headed for the shredder. Having them serve in an act of beauty is much better, at least in my studio.

So, book page wreaths. Three styles built on three different backgrounds. You’ll need to gather some materials:

  • Wreath base, straw or styrofoam
  • Scissors
  • One or two inexpensive, small paperbacks. I like to use romance novels because the paper is porous and ages quickly.
  • White glue
  • Stapler
  • Ink stain in a dauber bottle. Tim Holz Distress Stain is a common brand.
  • Spray ink with shine or glitter. Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist is a common brand.
  • Straight pins, plain or with colored heads.
  • Selection of colored papers
  • Spray bottle (plain water)
  • paper clip or clothes pin (optional)
  • gold stamp pad (optional)

Choose the size of wreath you want. The bigger the wreath form, the more pages you need. The size depends if you want to use the wreath to hang on a door, lie on a table, or from a mantel.

wreath21. Ruffled page wreath on straw base. A straw base is wonderful because you do not have to cover it or paint it to hide the “raw” look. Most of these wreaths come wrapped in plastic, which you can leave on. It stops shedding.


Straw wreath with plastic removed. You can leave it on to avoid shedding.

Take a paperback and hold it closed. Rub the ink dauber along the closed pages, on all three sides of the book. (The spine side is where the cover is attached, do not remove the cover).

Be generous with the ink. Cheaper paperbacks work well for this, the ink will soak into the paper nicely. The pages also look aged quickly. Allow the book edge to dry completely. Don’t use paint–use ink. Paint will glue the pages together.

Pages have been partially painted with ink to show method.

Pages have been partially painted with ink to show method.

Open the book and fold back the cover to the first page completely covered with type. Rip out pages, one at a time. Keep them intact–if a small corner rips off, fine, but if a big chunk rips off, discard it.

Crumple the page as if you were going to throw it away. Squeeze it hard enough to leave wrinkles that stay.

Find the center point of the crumple, pinch it between your fingers to form a “stem” and insert a pin through the open center (not the piece you are pinching).

Push the pin into the straw wreath. Repeat until the wreath is generously covered.  Add enough to have it look fluffy and full.

Cut thin pieces of colored paper to match the season. I’ve used orange for Autumn. Spray the paper with plain water and clip it with a clothes pin or paper clip. Allow to dry. It will be curly when you release it. You can also use ribbon for this step. Pin the ribbon ends to the wreath and wind the long end into a pleasing shape.

2. Tailored wreath on styrofoam base. This wreath works well flat as well as hanging on a door or window.  The wreath base is white, 8-inch styrofoam:


Dye the edges of the book as in the wreath above. If you want a gold edge, use a stamp pad and rub it against the edges of the book.

Wreath1Tear out pages and fold the page so the two short ends meet. Do not crease. Fold the colored edges back on both sides so the page looks like a Z.

fold2Staple the bottom. For the first row around the back of the wreath, press the folds closer together. Do not crease sharply. Place the pieces of paper so no spaces show between them.


Wreath, back view. On this model, a blue and white hanging string is already attached.

Turn the wreath over. Press it flat. Repeat the folding and pinning on the front of the wreath. Allow the fold to be a bit uneven, and this time allow them to be open and fuller.

wreath3When the wreath is covered all the way, make sure the pins are secure. Take about six more pages and roll them into a cone. Staple the bottom and pin it around the inside of the wreath. Glue the top to the existing page beneath it.

Spray lightly with Glimmer Mist. You can also spray lightly with a spray glue and sprinkle glitter on the wreath.

In the photo above, look at the 3-o’clock position and you will see a page added after the wreath was completed. If you decide to add pages, make sure you tuck them under both the existing pages and the row of cones.

3. Leaf wreath on green  3-D styrofoam ring. The advantage of the ring over the circle is that you have more space and depth. If you use long pins, they will poke through the circle.

Wreath back was photographed when the front was complete.

Wreath back was photographed when the front was complete.

If you don’t want the color of the ring to show through, paint it first. You can also cover it with burlap strips or foil.

You do not need to edge the pages for this project. Tear the pages out of the book carefully. Cut ovals the length of the page using scissors. You really don’t need to make a leaf template. Make sure at least one end comes to a point.

The leaves will look better if they are not all the same size.

WreathleafTake an oval, pinch the bottom together to help the leaf form a cupped shape. Staple. Take a pin and starting at the top, with the leaf facing down, pin the leaf to the frame. Repeat from the 12 o’clock position to the 6 o’clock position on the right side. Then repeat on the left.

Once the big leaves are in, tear more pages out of the paperback. Fold the page in half, short end to short end. Cut out two smaller leaves, making sure they are not connected. Fold, staple, tuck and pin the shorter leaves in with the large ones. This gives the wreath fullness and visual interest.  You can also cover the sides and back for a really full wreath to hang in a window.

Use construction paper or scrapbook paper, or just about any kind of colored paper to make the wreath look holiday-appropriate. You can also make the wreath entirely of construction paper, but use 2/3 in one color and 1/3 in another. If you use even numbers of leaves, the wreath will look unbalanced.

Common-sense warning: Keep candles, incense, lighters, and anything else that burns away from these wreathes. They are paper and will burn.

—Quinn McDonald is a recycler of books. And just about anything else she gets her hands on.