Stages of Sibling Life

Stages of Sibling Life

Several weeks ago I was asked to “come up with something about siblings” by my friends at Brain, Child Magazine for their siblings blog series. So I sent over a cartoon sketch I had done a while back (shown below), but then got to thinking more about the subject and suddenly all these images of sibling life I had observed between Ben and Grace over the years started to surface. I confess I had to make some of this up (unlike the cartoon that follows, which is verbatim). Ben never did make eye contact with Grace in the hospital — not because she couldn’t actually yet see that far, but rather because he spent his entire visit to the hospital figuring out how to work the door handle to the bathroom.

Here’s the rejected cartoon…”Messing with Reality.” Make sure to take note of the dog!

Mess w Reality_draft


Beyond Spanx

I bought my first pair of Spanx, the miracle undergarment for gracefully aging women, almost 10 years ago. At the time, I was completing the purchase of an exorbitantly priced party dress to wear to a friend’s posh wedding in the Bahamas. It could be argued that I didn’t quite need Spanx yet, but I was at risk of ending up in some magazine or tabloid photo, so I bought them. And I loved them. Since then I’ve expanded my Spanx wardrobe to include a variety of items, all fulfilling the promise of smoothing things out, no matter what I squeeze myself into. Spanx final 2

The problem is that the promise of sleek and smooth will never win out over the simple law of displacement of mass. What gets squeezed in one place gets squeezed out in another. And at some point, aging gracefully means that you understand there’s only so much you can do to fight time and gravity. So it’s with that in mind that I now find myself somehow hopelessly beyond Spanx.

I came up with these drawings to illustrate a friend’s wonderful blog post last year, shortly before realizing that I’d be better off just buying stock in REI and dressing myself in ambulatory tents. Given my familiarity with the Spanx product line, I couldn’t help but use myself as the model, and I’ve been cracking up at these drawings ever since.


Welcome to My Cluttered World

Recently a friend’s husband asked for the keys to my car so he could move it. Later, when I got into the car, the first thing I noticed were the two pairs of plastic Halloween fangs, one orange and one black, that had been in the center console tray for months along with a yellow feathered chick that had been there since last Easter. What on earth must he have thought?

WindowsillIt turns out that my car isn’t the only receptacle for vast accumulations of assorted bric-a-brac. This drawing, done in 2011, chronicles the various items that collect on our kitchen windowsill at any given time. Many items are still there today – the grappa, the Petoskey stone, the sterling silver needle. Other items have disappeared or been culled. For instance, the Chia pet couple went bald and was replaced by a Venus Fly Trap named Shelly and the Rescue Remedy spray was re-gifted to an anxious friend.

I will admit it, most of these items belong to me (except the clippers, those are not mine) and who knows what it says about me. I’ve recently considered eliminating such clutter from my life, mainly because we’re about to have the kitchen repainted, but I only entertain such thoughts when on my way out the door, when there’s no possibility of following through on the thought.

As they say, a clean stall is the sign of a dead horse.


No Feeling for the Feeling I’m Feeling

Feelings - Chart1It started like this: about 11 years ago, I got a phone call from my first grade son Ben’s school recommending that he join a special “social skills” group during lunch on Fridays.

“That sounds good Feelings - Chart2to me!” I said. And the rest is history.

What I’ve neglected to draw here is that my reaction to this proclamation was exactly the same as all other the six-year old boys in the class. Feelings - Chart3Six-year olds requiring extra help with social skills, that is.

Ben, of course, was just telling it like it is.

Anyway, ever since I started supporting Brain, Child Magazine and its excellent blog Brain, Mother with drawings, I’ve been spending more time thinking about how to get emotional expressions just right, which of course is challenging when one has developed a style completely devoid of lips, noses, chins and necks.

This chart below shows how many different expressions I can come up with for myself using just seven simple variations for eyes, and 10 different mouths.

Feeling Chart 2

The only problem is, there’s no feeling for the feeling I’m feeling! (And what feeling is that?)

Why, CALM, of course!








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.


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.







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!