Monthly Archives: March 2016

Thursday March 3, 2016

Recently, while looking for a house, I visited an artist friend who had the perfect place. As I walked around, I coveted the space, the design and the location. She graciously made tea and told me her home had been designed by a friend and built by her son. No wonder it suited her so well. Unlike the conch and the cowrie, humans don’t always get to design the shell they fit into!

Sunday March 6, 2015

Here’s an example of how the first two panels of a Sunday page are set up to be eliminated if the features editor at the paper wants to save space. The situation here, Chris walking the baby, has nothing to do with "It’s snowing again." which is the next opening line. Often this "throw-away" gag is better than the rest of the strip! Cartoonists handle the dilemma of the removable opening panels in different ways. Johnny Hart, for example, always started the B.C. Sunday page with the ants—sometimes an entirely different subject matter from the rest of the strip. Some extend the beginning of the storyline, some play with the title or draw doodles, and some don’t bother with these panels at all. Ultimately, we all have to work with the newspaper editors, understand their space limitations, and help them to place our work as best they can in an ever-changing hard copy format.

Tuesday March 8, 2016

This reminds me of a story: We had a cabin once, which needed a window sill replaced. When we removed the window sill, we discovered there was rot in the wall, so we had to remove the wall. With the wall removed, it seemed foolish to not take the opportunity to add a small bathroom. (We had been using an outhouse, which, with two small kids, was never a "convenience.")

In the local Lynn Lake garbage dump, where many good items were "stored," we found a fancy, "clean-waste" toilet, which heated up so deposited materials could be removed from the bottom in powder form. This we installed—without first using it to see how it worked. It heated up so much that it was actually dangerous. Later, we were told that the previous owner, while indisposed, had managed to burn some valuable "private parts." Thus, the discovery, of what we called "The Wonderbiff," in the dump. Armed with this vital information, we were determined to make the contraption work. With the Wonderbiff installed, we were now an indoor toilet family. Everyone used the biff, and as the contents heated and were turned to powder (actually a disgusting kind of crust which had to be chipped off a sort of hot plate inside), we noticed an odour we had not perceived before. Our neighbour, who was familiar with lakeside living, advised us to install a "stink-stack" on the roof of the cabin, to disperse any disagreeable smell.

We returned to the dump where we found pipe and flashing. The dump was our "Home Depot"; a place where you could find everything from good furniture to fine used clothing. We called it the "exchange." On the roof of the cabin, we discovered more rot, loose shingles, and a large squirrel’s nest. A portion of the roof had to be replaced. We thought that real soffits might make a difference, and these we ordered from a catalogue. With the wall and window replaced, the roof repaired, the bathroom added and the Wonderbiff installed, we had spent an entire summer, and a huge amount of cash, all because a window sill needed replacing. This, I’m sure, is a saga cottagers and homeowners everywhere can relate to: the ripple effect of a simple repair. *Sigh*

Sunday March 13, 2016

When this strip ran, people all over the continent made paper hugs to send to loved ones all over the world. They sent me letters and photographs of the hugs they made and of the people who received them. This was a strip I didn’t think was anything special. I never knew when a simple drawing I did might be seriously taken to heart.

Sunday March 27, 2016

When I was a kid, my mother was the staunch churchgoer. Dad, my brother and I could hardly stay awake during the services. In order to keep us from fooling around in our seats, Dad would bring big, round, white peppermints, which came in a squeaky plastic wrapper. Try as he might, he could not keep the peppermints a secret; everyone from the folks in the rows around us to the minister himself could hear the telltale sound of the wrapper. Mom would be furious. Dad would be shrugging with feigned embarrassment, and we, with a bulge in our cheek, would simply smile. To this day, when I hear the squeak of a particular kind of plastic wrapper, I am rocketed back in time to the hard pews, the cedar smell, and the sleep-inducing drone of a sermon at St. John’s Anglican Church. Thanks, Dad, for the peppermints!

Monday March 28, 2016

When we moved to Lynn Lake, we took with us eight enormous reel-to-reel tapes of music especially chosen for the Dental clinic. The system we had was state of the art for the time, and we felt we had countless hours of enjoyable tunes, which would create a relaxing and pleasant ambience. After six months, we knew each piece by heart and could anticipate the song that would come next. Amazing what the human head can record, retain and regurgitate. Why is it that I can’t remember a phone number or a password?

Thursday March 31, 2016

My husband and I actually took a ballroom dancing class. He was not enthusiastic, but we attended so many functions where a dance came after the dinner that we felt left out if we didn’t join in. After a few lessons, we got pretty good at a few steps and it made a wonderful difference when opportunities to dance came along. What a graceful and elegant thing to be able to do! Nowadays, people just gyrate around to something like wailing and thumping. Whatever happened to the art of ballroom dancing?