Back To School Night From Hell

Back-to-School night, in addition to reminding me that each year goes by faster and faster, brings back some incredible memories of those great years when our children were just learning to read and write.

BackToSchool

Now, while I do come from a long line of skinny dippers, at least on my mother’s side of the family, I would like to state for the record that my husband and I have never participated in any skinny dipping events or activities whatsoever with our children. Ever. Prior to this particular Back-to-School night, however, our children had indeed skinny dipped with their 7-year old first cousin long after the late summer sun had gone down and the experience had apparently made a big impression on our son Ben.

I vividly recall noticing that Ben’s 2nd grade teacher appeared especially eager to meet us that night. I also recall noticing the repeated guffaws that emanated from the corner of the room where we eventually found Ben’s work posted on the wall. I’m certain that after recovering from the initial horror, my husband and I laughed louder than anyone.  And it is my hope that Ben, too, will think it’s hilarous when he finds out at his wedding or some other suitable event that I have photographs taken that special night of skinny dipping with his sister and cousin by the light of the late August moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Landslide of Calories and Naughtiness

To borrow a phrased coined by my dear friend Michael, weekends (or weekdays) in Saratoga are best described as “a landslide of calories and naughtiness.”

Saratoga 2012 v 2

This cartoon captures 24 hours spent in Saratoga last summer in terms of total calories consumed. I am returning to the scene of the crime for the same schedule of events this week and have vowed to curtail things a bit. We’ll see about that as much discussion about bringing our own wine in a concealed bag has cropped up in the last day or two. The quest to avoid rot gut wine may surpass the quest to avoid junk food. Time will tell.

 

The Mom:Teen Matrix

(Or the Johari Window for Moms and Teens)

Recently published in Brain, Child Magazine‘s awesome special Teen issue, this cartoon explores how information is shared (and likewise withheld) between parents and teens.

Mom : Teen Matrix

I was introduced to the Johari window 20 years ago at a UCLA Leadership workshop in Ojai, CA by none other than Joe Luft who created the concept with a guy named Harry Ingham (get it?) in the 50s. Despite being a terrific cartoon device, this matrix was a challenge for me. I had to virtually make up everything in the lower two quadrants. (Why make sh*t up when so much going on around you falls into the category of “you can’t make this sh*t up?”)  As a parent of two teens, I have all sorts of things I could have used in the lower left quadrant, but I’m nowhere near ready to share that information, just yet.

 

Let Each Man Exercise the Art He Knows — Aristophanes, 450 BC

Grease Art

I don’t know what to say about this other than that I was inspired to post it after reading that Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Bacon Sandwich has fewer calories than its healthy turkey sausage rival. No turkey sausage grease in my artwork, that’s for sure!

Shout out to my husband Dave who pointed out that our grease jar was a work of art in the first place.

Why I Love My Mom

I had a hard time finding a good Mothers Day Card so came up with this for my Mom instead.

Love My Mom 80

My Mom is my favorite cartoon character (other than Snoopy.) She lives life to its fullest, speaks her mind and knows how to laugh at herself (which is a good thing because otherwise I would be in a lot of trouble).  She is the best!

Spring Break

This is a preliminary sketch of the route Ben and I will take this week to visit colleges. Everything is subject to change, of course, especially because the weather forecast for each of these cities calls for T-Storms.

Spring Break College Visits compressed

Whatever goes wrong, and something will go wrong, it will be better than spending one second in that Cancun airport.

 

Micromanaging Breakfast

This cartoon, published in the Winter 2012 issue of Brain, Child Magazine, is a good example of how seemingly forgettable exchanges between family members can suddenly become fodder for a cartoon. It goes like this: a member of my immediate family does something either memorably annoying or, now that I have children, memorably amusing and then I draw a cartoon.

French Toast Compressed 2

Fortunately for me, my mother not only makes a great cartoon character, but she’s a great sport about it, even when I exaggerate just a tiny bit.

(Just for the record, the only thing I exaggerated about was the egg shell. Couldn’t resist.)

What Goes Around Comes Around

With a Junior in High School, memories of my own experience applying to college way back when are flooding back to me, especially with the help of old cartoon books.

college app

I don’t know what is more astonishing — the things that are different or the things that are the same. For example, my mother still burns hamburger buns with alarming regularity and I think I still have that Fair Isle sweater. But what I love most about this drawing is the snapshot it takes in time. Not just the late 70s, but the point in time it captures in my family’s life: my sister Leslie away at college and calling to ask for money, my Mom in her pom-pom tennis socks, and Steve’s huge teen feet in a pair of Wallabees.

I have vowed to take a calmer, gentler approach towards helping my children with the college application process, which of course means that the whole thing will have to be outsourced. (Stay tuned for updates on college visits– those we will have to handle ourselves.)

But, the way I see it, as long as none of it gets in the way of my tennis game, everything will be just fine.

 

The Gift of the Anti-Magi

This is an annual discussion that our family engages in every fall. Sometimes by email, but this year it was around the Thanksgiving table.

Sometimes a little sarcasm works its way into the conversation in order to make a point. The point here being, of course, that quantity is better than quality. Wait no, that’s not what I meant. What I meant was that I would rather find everyone in my family a small gift — bacon flavored candy (spoiler alert Steve!), David Sedaris’s “Holidays on Ice”, a talking Mr. T. keychain to name a few ideas — than be assigned to purchase a single “large gift” for a sole recipient who will scrounge for the return gift receipt at the bottom of the box while thanking the Lord that I was two time zones away when they opened their “big” present. And when the conversation starting taking the Wal*Mart route, I had to say something fast.

I’m still a little fuzzy on where we ended up on the whole matter — we probably would have made more progress arguing about avoiding the fiscal cliff.