Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wednesday January 2, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

One year, a group of us young Lynn Lake moms decided we needed a fitness class. With encouragement from an athletic girl who offered to lead the pack, eight of us met once a week at the curling club and our workouts began. Thinking this would quickly deteriorate into a social club, I went with coffee and cake in mind – but this was not to be. Our instructor took the job seriously, and under her military rule, we worked our buns off!

Friday January 4, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The truth of it was that we were all in pretty good shape. We walked to wherever we needed to go. We cut and piled firewood, we added to and repaired our own homes, we gardened, and in general, we worked hard. In the strip, I was imagining what it would be like to live in the city where I might have had more time to join a gym than my husband had. (Not that I would have actually joined a gym!)

Sunday January 6, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This scenario comes from my childhood. We never had pop or beer in our fridge – it was just too expensive. When my friends and I were old enough to go to the corner store on our own, we’d spend our allowance on a coveted bottle of Coke or Orange Crush or my absolute fave; cream soda – and we’d savour every drop.

One day, my friend Marian and I decided to buy one bottle of cream soda and a bag of penny candy and split them both. We rode our bikes back to my place, poured half the pop into a small, clean plastic detergent bottle, and drank the rest. It was a warm day so we decided to ride up to Lynn Valley Canyon and have a picnic. It took awhile to get there and by the time we arrived, we were hot and dry, and keen to take out the pop and candy. We leaned our bikes against a post and retrieved the stuff from the basket on my bike. Despite the heat, the candy was un-melted, but the once flat-sided detergent bottle was absolutely round.

With all the caution and forethought that young kids are known for, I twisted the cap as I raised the bottle to my mouth. The cap blew off hitting me in the forehead as a paint-peeling blast of cream soda smacked hard between my eyes. It was in my hair and up my nose. I was covered with it. The foam seemed to come out of the bottle for ages, and when it died down, there was still a bit of liquid in the bottom, which I gave to Marian. After all, we were supposed to share. We left our bikes, opened the candy, and walked across the swinging bridge. My clothes were already gluing themselves to my chest. I could feel the stickiness pulling at the skin on my neck. Everything smelled of sickly sweet cream soda. My hair was full of it. … My mom would KILL me!

At the end of the path on the far side of the canyon, was a deep pool where the water fell from an outcrop above. We called the pool ,”Thirty Foot.” It was the openly secret swimmin’ hole for every kid on the North Shore, and by today’s standards, would have been considered too dangerous and cordoned off. I hadn’t
planned to go swimming, but by the time I’d hiked down to Thirty Foot, I was miserable. I didn’t think twice. I went to the edge of the pool and jumped in.

I think that’s the first time I ever went swimming with all my clothes on. I was wearing shoes, socks, shorts – everything – and it felt wonderful! Marian decided to jump in, too, but took her shoes off first. Smart move. With other kids arriving to cool off, we couldn’t strip to let our clothing dry so the wet walk back to the suspension bridge made us filthy, and soggy shoes made for an even more uncomfortable ride home.

I remember everything about that day – especially the bomb in the bottle. I never yearned for a cream soda after that, and any fully clothed plunge now has to be near a change room. In wanting to show pop at its most powerful, I decided to create a Sunday strip rather than tell my soda story. It would have taken far too long!

Monday January 7, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

These cartoons were done after we moved from Lynn Lake to North Bay, Ontario. After being part of a regularly scheduled exercise group in a space I could walk to, I was now 20 minutes away from a gym and had no friends to work out with. In an effort to guilt myself into exercising again, I drew these and published them knowing full well I was doing nothing at all!

Tuesday January 8, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Whenever I see those ads on TV about muscle pain, I immediately think about how I feel the day after I’ve exercised. Stiff, sore, aching. I know I deserve the way I feel – that’s it’s evidence of my sloth; it’s my body telling me it’s getting slack. Things are beginning to atrophy. This health alert worries me and I resolve to do more in the way of moving about. I promise to eat less, walk more, and to get to a gym at least once a year!

Wednesday January 9, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I guess aerobics was one of the first sort of “dancercise” workouts designed to coerce exercise-resistant pork-butts like me to get up and move. I did go to the YMCA here and sign on for one aerobics class, but, WHOA! …. It was such hard work! Still, in a group setting like this, you’re far more likely to put in some effort. The down side of doing aerobics at home… is being caught in the act by someone with a lethal sense of humour.

Friday January 11, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Looking back at these strips, I can see exactly when they were done by the kinds of things I slotted into the background. In this scene, John and Ted are having a chat over lunch, and rather than draw two talking heads, I put them in a bar. In an effort to be up to date, I showed them playing one of the latest table-top video games. Strange… I recently found one of these covered in dust in an “antique” shop!

Sunday January 13, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The path from our front door to the driveway on Tally-Ho Road was perhaps 25 feet long, but it seemed much longer when you shovelled it. When I did this strip, we were all living in Northern Ontario, but shovelling snow is the same wherever you are. No matter how often you create a clean space, within minutes something always manages to fill it in.

Monday January 14, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I have known a lot of medical folks through my job at McMaster University – just “the luck of the draw!” I once asked a psychiatrist friend from Hamilton, Ontario how many psychiatrists there were in the city and he replied, “Oh, 40 odd…. and two normal.” It was a funny line, but the more I got to know various docs, the more I wondered how hard it would be to counsel a patient when your own private life was completely out of hand!

Tuesday January 15, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

OK, I guess I have “gossiped” like this with friends about other friends. Still, I like to think it was with concern and even curiosity. When you are living in a small town, you have to be there for each other. Generally, we cared too much to trivialize any news we did have to share. In this panel, however, I’ve shown Annie to be uncaring and sensationalistic. I don’t know anybody who is this superficial — I did this story to give the strip some “bite!”

Wednesday January 16, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Having “been there and done that,” I no longer wonder why people in miserable relationships stay together. For every reason to break away, there is usually an equally compelling reason to stay together; be it children, financial dependency, or the hope that one more kick at the can will resolve things. No relationship is all bad — some are worth fighting for. Being alone after a rocky relationship might sound like “freedom,” but it’s just something else that’s difficult to adjust to. In Annie’s case, she prefers to stay with “the devil she knows”.

Thursday January 17, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

As a young working mom, I travelled for work more than I needed to. I kept a suitcase partially packed and I accepted everything from book signings to speaking engagements, thinking it was something I “had to do.” With great sitters nearby and in-laws down the road, I didn’t feel too guilty about leaving. In truth, the travelling was selfishly for me — I needed to get away. ..and, from time to time, my children pointed this out with great clarity.

Friday January 18, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to volunteer. My dad used to say, “You pay for an education, don’t you? Well, working for free is a great education!” It’s true. You learn new skills, meet new people, and gain respect for having done a job well — all for the personal rewards it brings AND for a good, credible, enthusiastic reference. Sounds corny, but every good job I have ever had was granted to me because I was recommended by someone for whom I had worked for free!

Saturday January 19, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This is how I felt when I got my job with McMaster University. It was a job that required all of the skills I was born with and more. As a medical artist, I could make use of every resource I had — from my days at the animation studio in Vancouver to my art school anatomy classes. I was fascinated by everything medical and was about to be given an open door into any area I wished to explore. I was beyond happy! This same feeling came again years later when I began my career in the comics.

Tuesday January 22, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I received a number of complaints from librarians who thought I was trivializing their jobs by suggesting that anyone could just walk into a library and get hired. This story was based on the Dundas Public Library, which was always looking for volunteers. These complaints gave me reason to look into the credentials required to become a librarian and I was impressed by the qualifications required to achieve this difficult degree! As someone who loved literature and had even considered a writing career, I thought a volunteer position at the local library was a perfect fit for Elly Patterson.

I have to tell you a story, here. I was on a book tour, travelling through the United States. I was checking into a hotel in Chicago when a group of people- mostly women, ran through the lobby, laughing uproariously and having a ball. “There’s a convention going on,” the clerk at the desk told me. “This is the noisiest, most party-loving group of people I have ever seen!” “Wow,” I replied. “Are they in sports? Theatre?” “No,” the young lady answered, “they’re librarians!”

Thursday January 24, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This strip said it loud and clear. Ted and Connie were sharing the same abode – and without the legal permits. I received a number of reader complaints and I was surprised. Their arrangement had never been made secret. I guess in a forum like this, it’s better to suggest something than to come right out and admit it!

Saturday January 26, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

One of the things I resented about working from home was the inability to get away from housekeeping. I was jealous of friends who would dress well, leave for work, and enter an environment devoid of kids, dish detergent, and the omnipresent whiff of laundry. I thought it would be wonderful to have a separate space to call my own, and to have adult conversation when I needed a break from it all. Interestingly, the friends whose work-space I envied, thought I was the one who had it made.

Sunday January 27, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

When it did snow, the stuff that fell on North Vancouver was perfect for forts and fighting. It was sticky and heavy and packed well. As soon as there was enough of it, forts would go up in minutes. My dad loved to make snow forts. He taught us to make the base wider than the next layer, and he was strong enough to lift the heaviest blocks into place for us. After the fort was built, of course, we needed ammo and after the ammo was piled, we needed an “enemy!” This is where my brother came in…Dad would build two forts and was the perfect mercenary — he fought for both sides.

There were four boys in the neighbourhood who were regular chums of Alan’s. I had, perhaps, three friends willing to go head-to-head with the opposition and the fight would begin. Ducking, hiding, running, and throwing, we’d batter each other and Dad with hard, icy, wet snow, which stung as it splattered against our jackets, hats, and faces. We got soaked! I remember being so cold that my fingers felt like bones rattling against skin and my feet ceased to feel anything. We quit only when we were too cold and exhausted and a winner was declared.

Our house was heated by a wood and coal furnace. Mom would hang our wet clothes over the vents and make us all hot chocolate. We’d huddle under warm blankets and dry socks were handed out all ’round. Having been enemies a few minutes beforehand, the two sides recuperated in comfort, happily sharing the same space.

Monday January 28, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

When this strip was first published in 1984 the second panel read, “I can’t – all my stuff is in THAT one!!” The other day I received a call from Sue, my long-suffering editor, who asked me if it was better grammatically to say, “All my stuff is in THIS one” – considering that John was referring to the bathroom directly in front of him and not the one downstairs. I agreed, and we changed the dialogue. I guess this proves that it’s never too late to be caught by an editor!

Tuesday January 29, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Working at home meant that I could wear anything. I was usually in jeans and a sweater when my day began. After a few years of this kind of garb, I began to envy the ladies who actually dressed up for work: whose wardrobe was current and whose appearance was groomed. When I told them I wished I had an excuse like they did to get gussied up and look professional, they did say they envied me the freedom I had. I still got them to admit, however, that it does lift one’s mood to be dressed up and looking GOOD once in awhile!

Wednesday January 30, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Before I left Lynn Lake, I had discovered the joy of finding a reliable artist to help me with some of my work. I taught a friend how to colour the Sunday pages and I also had someone help me answer the mail. The move south allowed me to create a studio workspace in the downstairs of our house – large enough to give two of us a comfortable workspace.

I had desks and tables installed, and hired a woman to help with the business, do the colouring, and help with mail – a full-time job. As time went by and the business expanded to include books, calendars, greeting cards, and a few animated specials, I found it necessary to hire a full-time graphic artist to work on backgrounds and do the lettering. Having someone to take over some of the inking, cut my drawing time in half – but it meant another body in the studio. We began to use electronic means to do colouring and design – meaning that more creative work came our way.

When my husband hired a studio manager, three of us were crowded into the basement, so I decided to build a separate studio; a small bungalow on an adjoining piece of property. It was near enough to walk to, but separate from the house. This meant, for the first time in years that not only did I have to dress in a slightly more business like manner, I had to be on time for work!

Thursday January 31, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The changes in my studio space and the hiring of new staff made work-related gags easier to do. Now, I was dealing with a group of people, my job had become a real business, and we had an established routine. In the strip it would not have made sense to have Elly suddenly confronting a situation like this herself, so I gave her a part-time, more believable job. The only thing about this strip that was true was – we really were all mothers!