The Stuff That Happens When the Kids Come Home From College

This idea was inspired by my daughter Grace after she produced a fantasic drawing of all the equipment she needs to take on an upcoming trip to Alaska with the Juneau Icefield Research Program. In addition to the 60 pieces of ceramics, the house is littered with mountaineering gear — telemarking skis and boots, ropes, harnesses, gigantic water bottles, stuff sacs, pads, tarps, crampons and carabiners. More than I could imagine fitting into this cartoon, and fortunately, no need to do so as she has so brilliantly captured it all!

It’s too bad I didn’t have the energy to try to work in some of the dialogue surrounding the discovery of the bat or the forgotten dog on the doorstep because it’s all very funny, but I feared that the cartoon might become more about the ways in which I’m turning into my mother than about the impact on the household our children make with their return home.

Why I Love Thanksgiving

This post really should be called “Why I Love Drawing.”


Click on drawing to see full size version.


What I like is that you can look horizontally at what a particular person (or dog) spent their time doing all day, or you can look vertically at what everyone in the house was doing at the same time. Thanksgiving was a perfect day to try out a cartoon-graph like this.

The only detail I exaggerated somewhat is Aunt Betsy’s red wool cap. She took it off for dinner.

View as PDF

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


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.


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!