Monthly Archives: July 2011

Friday July 1, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

It was fun to connect a pet, which was not allowed to go free, to my husband at the time, who complained about the same thing! I was called a “keeper” and my lack of understanding for “pub night” (which was pretty well every night) made me both judge and jailer . Husband and dog even looked alike! Not long after the man left (for a larger bosom and fewer responsibilities) the dog went too!

Saturday July 2, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

A friend of ours played the bagpipes, and I asked if he’d show me how they worked. After dinner one evening, he and I went to the church yard to practice. After about half an hour of my trying to get the bag inflated and the chanter to play, we gave up. Next day, I was stopped by a neighbour who asked if I’d heard the “squalling in the church yard last night”! She was sure some animal had been caught and strangled and had almost called the cops.

Sunday July 3, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Even now I lose my temper like this, but I recognize the feeling. I holler, fume, storm about the house and …then I need to talk to someone! I remember being in such a state when I was about 10, that I stabbed the desk in my room repeatedly with a pair of scissors. Sounds drastic, but that’s what I did.

We all know how it feels to be beyond angry, to have no control and to do something that is spontaneous, outrageous and really out of character. In remembering how I felt when I destroyed my desk, I tried to love my kids just a bit more, hug them just a little tighter when they were at their (and my) wits’ end. This calmed us both down enough to be able to talk about what was wrong. Sometimes the most unlikely response to bad behaviour is the one that works.

Monday July 4, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Alan was always trying to quit. This and a serious lack of funds kept him without a reliable supply of smokes. He might say I’m making this up…but I do remember him sifting through the household refuse looking for salvageable butts. This is clear in my memory because despite my objection to smoking, I truly felt sorry for him!

Tuesday July 5, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Al and I tried smoking as kids. Our parents rolled their own, using a long rubber contraption that made five smokes at a time. I became pretty adept at the art. You had to pack just the right amount of tobacco into the trough, wet the paper slightly and roll the mix so that the long uncut cigarette was even and perfectly smooth. The cigs were then cut with a razor blade. It was easy to pinch an entire roll of five. All our chums were becoming smokers, but even though it was the ultimate in cool, I just didn’t like the taste, the smell or the awful feeling afterwards.

Wednesday July 6, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I moved Connie and Phil together and apart. Having been a single parent and knowing my brother so well, I imagined what their thoughts, conversations and mannerisms would be like. I was writing and drawing this from Northern Manitoba, and Alan lived in Southern Ontario. He would read the story six weeks after I’d submitted it – and, to his great credit, he never seriously objected to my taking such liberties with a character that everyone knew was “him”!

Thursday July 7, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

As a newly single mom, I dated men long before I was ready to enter into another relationship. Still reeling from deceit and divorce, I’d tell my suitor details of the past – things I should have kept to myself. I figure it takes about three years for the dust to settle after a marriage break up – but when you’re young, insecure and lonely you just don’t have time!

Saturday July 9, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I think this was one of my favourite lines. We all “game-play”. At least that’s what we call the back and forth tug of war that eventually establishes who we are in a relationship and where each of us stands. Although I consider myself a straight shooter, I’ve indulged in these wars of wit and worry, too. At 64, I’m happy now to be at an age where I can smell the manure and decide whether it’s worth digging into or should be left to mellow in the grass!!

Sunday July 10, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

In 1974, after my first divorce, I dated a psychiatrist. One of his standby pieces of advice was to NOT think about serious things after midnight. This, he said, was a twilight zone where emotional fatigue and the onset of dreaming make sensible, rational thought all but impossible. He said it was best not go to bed angry, but at the same time, the chances of problem solving when you’re tired are slim.

The “twilight zone” thing has stayed with me since then and I have given others this same advice. The problem is…your problems all seem to surface when you’re relaxed, have the day’s chores behind you and the kids are asleep. Sometimes you HAVE to talk things over when you and your partner are in bed, because in today’s busy household there are few other opportunities! So, despite the warning from my sweet psychiatrist, I would open up after dark and talk about whatever it was that was bothering me. Fortunately the broaching of sensitive topics never resulted in late night fisticuffs. My husband, sedated by the sound of my voice, happily slept right through it!

Tuesday July 12, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Alan and I would sleep outside in the back yard every summer. We’d look forward to the adventure of being outdoors – forgetting the mosquitoes, which instantly filled the floorless space as soon as the thing was rigged. With blankets, food, transistor radio, toys and bedrolls, we more than filled the enclosure. We were lucky, as the bugs bit and we bickered, if we could last two nights.

Thursday July 14, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Our tent was pitched just a few feet from the basement door, but still, we cringed if we heard anything suspicious or creepy or wild. I remember Mr. Arbuckle, our neighbor, coming home with a snootfull, creeping along his garden path, bumping into fences, trying not to alert his wife – who could yell like a banshee. We’d crawl far enough out of the door flap to watch him, and seeing us, he’d wave – knowing we could keep a secret. We liked him and figured he was doing stuff he had to do.

Saturday July 16, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The thing that brought us indoors long before morning wasn’t the wildlife but the bugs. Even now, the sound of mosquitoes whining around my head at night makes me crazy. When Mom finally allowed us to camp in the living room (the basement had spiders), camping became much more enjoyable. I don’t think my mother could say the same!

Sunday July 17, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Cartoonists are discouraged from using comic strips as a platform for preaching reform – but every now and then, something really gets under your skin and you simply have to write about it. For me, littering is a red flag. If I ruled the world all convicted litterists would receive a stiff fine, a broom and a dustpan. They would be sentenced to cleaning the community streets, parks and beaches for as long as it took to reform them – and even then, they would be on parole.

When Katie cut her foot on a broken beer bottle at the beach one weekend, I penned this Sunday page – and the response was immediate. I received a lot of mail from folks who feel the same way I do – and it occurred to me: with so many people angry, frustrated and disgusted by littering, why do we still have so darned much of it??!!

Monday July 18, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When Alan came to visit us in Lynn Lake, he brought his trumpet. He travels with it everywhere and it was great for my kids to be able to hear him practice and to talk about his career.

He and I grew up in a house full of music; something I have missed for a long time. I played 6 and 12 string guitar. Dad also taught me the button accordion! Alan played mandolin and trumpet and, to some extent, Dad played them all. To hear a melody come from an instrument played by someone you know is both healing and inspiring. Healing because no matter what we did to upset each other, the music we played put us into a space where we forgot our differences and became one. Inspiring because the competition between us to play better and to try new things kept both Alan and I close to our instruments and to our dad as well.

Thursday July 21, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Having Uncle Phil stay in the house while the Pattersons left for Vancouver meant that I didn’t have to find a kennel for Farley (even cartoon dogs have to be taken care of) and I could place Phil and Connie in a much more compromising space. My readers smelled a rat. They were onto me; there was methane in the madness.

Friday July 22, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

In reality, we left our house in the care of neighbours and family and took off for what we hoped would be an easy and enjoyable two weeks away from home. Planning and packing should have been the most difficult part of the exodus; add the excitement of children and you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. Like a canoe in the rapids with nowhere to go but the flow, our trip had begun .

Saturday July 23, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I never did leave my brother alone in the house with Farley, but if I had, he would likely have talked to him like this. As kids, we’d never had a dog. We had budgie birds, turtles and a chameleon, but nothing big and fun and responsive. It took us awhile before either of us was comfortable with a dog. Where do they like to be scratched? How do you handle one? We tended to talk to them as if they were other adults – and come to think of it, other dog owners talk to their dogs like this, too!

Sunday July 24, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

It amazes me how resilient and stoic some dogs are with young children. They put up with being sat on, pulled at and strangled. Their patience and good humour is remarkable. They seem to instinctively know that babies don’t know any better and just have to learn. On the other hand, some dogs can’t tolerate young children at all. Some bark and snarl, some just ignore kids and walk away. Amazing, isn’t it… to see how often dogs behave like people!

Monday July 25, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Twenty minutes is forever when you’re a kid. We sat in the train station trying to keep Aaron occupied until we could board and get settled in our rooms. Katie was an easy traveller. If she was restless, you could settle her down with a book or a puzzle and she’d often fall asleep. Aaron on the other hand was a ball of pent up energy and required all of our attention, patience and creativity.

Tuesday July 26, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I thought I had booked two bedrooms, but in error I’d booked “roomettes”. These tiny spaces had a bench seat, which converted to a single bed for sleeping, under which – inconveniently stored – was…the loo. I had planned for the “boys” to share one compartment; Katie and I would share the other. The roomettes were so confining, however, that in order for us all to fit, the kids were exchanged. Kate stayed with her dad and Aaron stayed with me.

Wednesday July 27, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Despite watering both kids before bedtime, they both had to use the facilities during the night. This meant we had to leave the privacy of the compartment, lift the bed up, expose the lavatory, close the door and “go.” The process was reversed when everyone got back into bed. I was not the most popular “travel agent” and heard a lot about what I “should have done” before booking something so irritatingly small!

Friday July 29, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The bar car was also the observation car and even though kids weren’t supposed to be in an area where liquor was served, there seemed to be a double standard on the train. Kids sat with their parents and when it got too dark to enjoy the scenery, youngsters watched the grown ups lose their cool and happily act like children!

Saturday July 30, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Sharing a tiny compartment with my son was a challenge. The only time he really fell asleep was when the train was in motion. The rocking and the click of the rails nicely put him under – but as soon as we stopped on a siding, he was ready for action, wanting to know where we were. I remember lying pressed against the wall of the compartment with Aaron crouched at the window talking a mile a minute as I tried to doze. I thought “Some day, he’ll grow out of this and have regular sleep patterns like other people!” At the age, now, of 39… my son is still a night owl!

Sunday July 31, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron used to be up and running at 4 or 5 in the morning. Food and dressing took an hour, but there were usually 2 hours left before I took him to daycare. Exhausted, I’d lie on the couch as he ran from room to room, jumped on the furniture and on me. Sometimes, I’d actually fall asleep and this was when he’d go into the kitchen cupboards and find the stuff he shouldn’t have. This scenario really happened… and both of us survived to tell the tale!