Thank you for the well wishes.  I am hard at work on my final toons.  They WILL be posted this week!

In other news, I just now realized that today is May 3,  which was CBW’s first day in newspapers in 2004.  I totally missed synchronicity by a day.  A DAY.  …Story of my life, I tell you…  I think it would have been super cool to announce my retirement on the same day as CBW began it’s run.  If Osama bin Laden can be killed on the same day that Hitler killed himself, well, I just think this was a missed opportunity.  Of course, it would have been better to actually announce retirement  with finished cartoons to post so I could have wrapped the thing up in a nice little bow, but that is obviously expecting too much.

I will keep the blog open.  I do plan on blogging a bit.  I like it and it takes much less time than cartooning.

In other other news, my friends have been sending me kick-ass Obama stuff and it’s hilarious.  Hilarious!  I am going to see if I can post any of it here.

…Well, I can’t.  I must figure this out because they are too funny not to share.  I came up with none of them, but any enjoyment you might someday get out of them on this blog can, of course, be traced to me.

The thing I keep thinking about this election is this–the Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate AND we have the sitting President.  The Republicans/crazy tea baggers won big last night, but they didn’t win everything.  We still hold 2/3  of the cards, and we better start acting like it.  Last night was not a mandate.  Last night was the 1/3 of the country who are chicken heads running around with their heads cut off squawking.

Let’s say that 1/3 of the country are hardcore Democrats.  They might occasionally vote outside of their party, but they mostly hold core values and vote with others who hold similar values.  Lets say that hardcore Republicans make up about another 1/3 of the country.  That leaves 1/3 of the country who don’t know what the hell they believe.  These are the scary undecided voters, and THESE are the people who just voted the Republicans into Congress.  THESE are the SAME people who just two years ago voted Obama into office. They flit around from one candidate to another— OOH, SHINY!

These crazy people with no idea what they stand for, with no intellectual curiosity, who don’t pay attention to what a candidate stands for or what the repurcussions of voting them into office might be, these people who might not pick a candidate until they are actually IN the voting booth, these SHEEPLE are running the country right now.  I’m callin’ it now.

President Palin.

With the nuclear codes.  Shaping our economic policy.  Making Supreme Court nominations… If that doesn’t cause a shiver to run down your spine you are reading the wrong damn blog!

I am afraid for this country.  Some of those teabaggers were scary.  Talking about taking up arms and taking back our government.  Um… isn’t that treason?  Which is kind of illegal?  Punishable by death?  And the people who voted for them… who are these people?  The candidates are all rich.  They only care about the rich.  They will take away your social security.  They will cut your medicaid.  They will let you die without healthcare.  And it will not bother them in the least.  THEY are not suffering, who cares if they break the backs of a few poor people to line their own pockets a bit more.

I am sorry to keep beating a dead horse here, but I am afraid.  The Dems need to stand tough in the Senate and President Obama will have to be tougher still.  Don’t let these newly elected chicken heads bully you.  And don’t try to placate them.  Decide what you believe and stand firm no matter HOW TOUGH IT GETS.  Play chicken with them.  Make them back down first.  Otherwise all is lost.

I wanted to edit this and add that I dont’ really think Palin will be the next president.  I think Obama will be elected again in two years.  Right now, hope springs eternal and I cannot believe the country has gone that far off track.  It can’t be true.  It just can’t.

…Can it?

I have deliberately not been political lately because I am just so disgusted with the whole thing these days.  Democrats are too nice.  There, I said it.  When the Republicans had control of everything, we played nice and tried to help the country because it was the right thing to do.  When the Democrats have control, the Republicans are hideous.  I really think that no matter what Obama said or did, they would be against it just because he said it.  Even if it agreed with their principles.  Even if they knew it was right.

And for some unknown reason, Republicans are known as the religious ones!  How is it moral to act like this?  How is it moral to think it’s ok to let the poor go down the drain?  The Bible goes on and on about being kind to the poor and the Republicans just gloss over that part (be nice to the who?  The rich?  OK, God…)  And they are so horrible to gay people.  They treat them like second class citizens.  It blows my mind that the religious party has so little concern for those less fortunate.

Not to mention, that President Obama is not afforded the same courtesy, the same politeness, the same… dignity that other Presidents have been.  The attacks on him are both vicious and racist.  It’s come to the point n my life where if I hear someone badmouthing Obama, I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are racist.  And this makes me sad.

I am also weirded out that the Republicans and the Tea Partiers are so… not intellectual.  Where’s the curiosity about the world?  Where’s the ability to answer questions outside of the tiny little box of questions you studied?  Where’s the ability to think for themselves?

I’ve become so jaded.  This is not who I want to be, but I cannot help it.  I cannot STAND most conservatives (my church family notwithstanding).  A little kindness, a little less herd mentality  from a Republican would be so… inspirational.  Too bad I’ll probably never see it in my lifetime.

My sister and my dad are both going to the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rallies in Washington DC on the thirtieth.  Oh, how I wish I could go!  My sister has agreed to be CBW’s roving reporter and give us the scoop–from a local’s POV.  I am so excited!

In other news, sorry about the delay in toons lately.  I have been having some health problems myself.  I am 90% certain it’s nothing to worry about (except for being totally annoying), but the 10% of me that is a worrier, wishes I’d get diagnosed and fixed, already, and be done with it!  My son is almost completely healed from his surgery, which was a resounding success.

We’ll keep on keepin’ on…

 

 

 

I’ve been having some trouble sleeping lately, and I am quite tired and cranky. Lately I have both a short fuse and a lot on my mind. I am in the middle of a bunch of projects right now, and I keep flitting from one to the next, which means nothing’s really getting  finished, though everything is being worked on diligently.  I am feeling so out of sorts…  I am also in one of my fat cycles. Usually, I am either in the midst of losing weight or gaining it (I suck at maintenance) and right now I’m deep in the fun-at-the-moment but ultimately remorse inducing pig-out part of the cycle. Also, PMS is added to the mix this week.

So last night I sensed that obviously, the time was ripe for a relationship/ status/ do you think I’m fat and why do you love me? and can we cuddle? discussion with my husband.

I’ve never been one to leave a ripe fight unplucked to die on the vine!

…It did NOT go well.

I asked him if we could talk and he immediately looked around for an escape pod. Luckily, I’d already jettisoned the last one. He sighed heavily and muted the TV. He was spread out on the couch in full lounge mode, so I lovingly inserted myself underneath his arm and lay my head upon his chest. I closed my eyes.

“What did you want to talk about?” he said. “The commercial’s almost over with.”

“Ive been having trouble sleeping lately,” I started.

He began rubbing my back. “What’s bothering you, Babe?”

I looked up at him, almost ready to cry and said, “I just feel so …udderless lately.”

“I mean–” I started to say.

“Udderless?” he said quickly.

Irritated, I rolled my eyes. “I MEANT rudderless. Anyway–”

“Because I wasn’t aware that you WERE a bovine, dear,” he said.

…Title question answered.  Game, set, match.

Sorry I missed Monday–we’ve been sick around here.  But I just uploaded both Monday and Wednesday’s toons today, so I am still on schedule.  …Sort of!

Feel like a good cry?  I’m going to post three youtube things that always make me sob.  These are happy/sad videos, not plane crashes or anything, and if you’ve seen them before, why not take another look?  Now, if these don’t make you cry and in fact, you laugh or something?  It probably means you’re a sociopath, and you might want to get that checked out.

This has been your mental health, half minute.  …You’re welcome.

Anyway, here’s the videos.  I will finish it off with one that always makes me smile so we don’t end up blubbering in our soup.  This first one is about Christian the lion and friendship.

This next one is a commercial.  Yes, a frickin’ commercial and I cry every time I see it.  And it doesn’t even come on around here, I think it’s British or something, so when I’ve watched it online only.  It’s about wearing your seat belt.  If you can go out without a seat belt after watching this, then you should rethink that decision.  Everyone’s got people in their lives who love them and want them around.

This last sad video means a lot to me because I am a Christian.  It’s a Lifehouse song and skit.  The first time I saw it I cried, and now every time I see it I cry. It’s very well done.  This is for someone who really needs to see this today.

And now for something funny and stupid to finish it off.  Weebl and Bob.  Enjoy!

I had a very strange childhood.  In some ways it was very happy, and in others, quite dysfunctional.  I’m sure most everyone has a similar story, only the details are different, so I won’t bore you with  many specifics.  I will say that my time in middle school was one of the worst times in my entire life.

First of all, I was weird looking.  I was short and super skinny with braces AND glasses AND big, kinky hair that I unsuccessfully straightened into a large bush, daily, for reasons that I cannot now remember.  Yes, I was a sight.  Middle school is not kind to the weird looking kids.  Second, we were pretty poor, so I had very few clothes and I wore my entire wardrobe weekly (much to the delight of the popular girls who, once they noticed it, kept commenting on it–“There are the pink pants again!  Must be Wednesday!”

…Mean girls suck.

Third, I had a HUGE chip on my shoulder and I was unafraid of confrontations (I got in a lot of fights), Fourth, I was a smart but lazy student who only paid attention if I was interested in the class or the subject or if I liked the teacher.  I didn’t care what grades I got as long as I passed.  An overachiever, I am not.  Fourth, I was shy in my classes.  I might fight after school or in the halls, but I never spoke in class.  Never made trouble for the teachers.  This means that I was largely ignored by my teachers.  And last, I had a very…scary home life at this time in my life and there wasn’t a lot that was good going on there.

Luckily, I did have my own band of close, dorky girlfriends.

…Dorky girlfriends rock!

There was something called the Lion of the week at our school.  Every week, the teachers would nominate a student from sixth, seventh and eighth grade to be the Lion of the week.  It was a huge honor–mostly because you got to leave school and go to the local Roy Rogers for lunch.  I think you got some sort of award with it too.  I don’t know for sure because I never got picked as Lion of the week.  However, ALL of my friends were chosen multiple times over our three years in middle school.  Everyone I knew made it at least once.  And I am talking EVERYONE else.  The mean girls.  The brains.  Even the trouble makers (if they had a good–for them–week, they were chosen to validate their behavior).  But me, being the shy, quiet, troubled kid who was forgotten and ignored by her teachers and never made trouble– I never got to be it.  And I wanted it.  BADLY.  Every week when they called the names of the winners on the announcements I would pray to be chosen.  And every week I was not.  I had to pretend to be happy for my friends as they were chosen and re-chosen, week after week.  They kindly never mentioned the fact that I was never chosen.

Looking back, it’s not that big a deal.  So I missed out on a Roy Rogers lunch with the principal.  So what?  But at the time, it really hurt.

Middle school was a time when  I often felt like I meant nothing to nobody.  That I really had no worth at all.  Boyfriends?  Please.  I was weird looking and …volatile.  Other girls were wearing bras and going through puberty and I went through these changes late.  I still looked like a fifth grader among teenagers.

In eighth grade English, everyday my teacher Mrs. Farrow would make us write in our journals for 10 minutes at the start of class.  So I just wrote and wrote about my family and my life and my friends and my feelings.  Honestly, I totally forgot anyone was going to be reading or grading our journals.  And then came the end of the first grading period, and our teacher collected them to grade.  I never gave it a second thought, just handed it in.

When I got it back it had a big “A ” on it (which were rare enough in my house.  I never did homework, never studied, hardly worked at all).  Inside, the teacher had written, “I love reading about your days.  Keep it up.  You’re the best writer in the class!”

I could not believe it.  The best writer in the class?  Nobody had ever told me I was the best at anything before.  I had never given writing a second thought up until that point.  I knew that both reading and writing came easily to me in a way that math did not, but it had never occurred to me that this might be something to be glad about.

That comment meant SO much to me.  It really made my day.  Mrs. Farrow’s hastily scribbled comment validated me at a time when I really needed it.  At a time when few others were teachers (or anybody, really) were taking the time to get to know such a troubled girl.

I think about Mrs. Farrow every now and again,  and I’d love to be able to tell her how much that comment meant to me.

…I still have the journal.

My baby girl, who is currently 17 and a senior in  high school, is filling out college applications.  Yesterday, I helped her write an essay for one of the applications.  We are looking into grants and scholarships and filing away application deadlines and information about financial aid.  While I am actively helping her leave the nest, inside I am very sad.  My first born is going to fly away very soon to make a new nest of her own.  I’ve known this was coming, of course, but it’s fairly easy to pooh pooh when your child is a freshman or sophomore.  But a senior?  Man, it’s comin’ and it’s a comin’ quick.

I haven’t had nearly enough time with her.  I’m not done mothering her even if she is so OVER being mothered.  Add an “s” to the word mothering and you’ve got smothering, which is what I am trying not to do to her.

…I am finding it hard to hold back.

I am so happy that she’s going to get to leave home and experience new things.  College was a blast for me.  I loved it, and I needed that time away on my own to grow up.  She needs it too.  It’s not that I want to deny her that, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting her childhood to pass so very quickly.  I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  I remember her first day of kindergarten, her first lost tooth… I’m fixin’ to cry!   And WHY can’t I get the words to “Sunrise, Sunset” out of my frickin’ head?!

A few weeks back school started.  Every first day of school I take tons of pics of my kids in their new clothes, looking so shiny and smart!  Yesterday, I dug out Clem’s first day of Kindergarten pix.  She cut her own bangs 2 days before school started and in order to fix them, I had to give her bangs so short they practically stood straight out on her head.  She was so adorable!  I compared those photos to the very grown-up young lady with the short short hair in Clem’s 12th grade first day of school pix.  You can tell they are the same girl.  She has the same face, but it’s so strange to see it so grown up.  When did that happen?

When Clem was 9 days old, I took her to the place I worked at the time, so all of my co-workers could tell me how beautiful she was.  A woman there told me something that I have often thought of since then.  She told me to enjoy her while she’s young because time passes SO quickly, and before you know it they are gone.  Not really profound, but I have found it to be so true.  When I was a child, time stood still.  A school year could literally last three lifetimes.  But with my own children, I’ve noticed that time seems to have sped up.  She was just born and now she’s 17? How is that possible?

And when did I get so OLD?

One year my sister had a newborn and I was pregnant with my twins at the same time.  Everyone knows that time slows down to a crawl when you are pregnant (it’s my own personal theory on time travel) and it never goes faster than in your infants first year of life.  So we would have surreal conversations where I would be lamenting how LONG I’d been pregnant.  How I’d probably be pregnant FOREVER, and she kept commenting that no, time was racing.  Why, just yesterday her daughter was born and now she was already crawling!

Anyway, I know this is a normal stage of life, and I hardly have an empty nest.  Clem’s the oldest of FIVE after all, and one of our five won’t be leaving the nest, so that’s not what’s bothering me.  It’s just… I’ve really enjoyed watching my baby grown up.  She’s a really wonderful girl and I love her a lot.

…I will miss her when she flies away…

A few years ago a local kids theater troupe put on the Sound of Music.  I really wanted to go see it but for some reason that I cannot remember, it never quite worked out.  Then, one day at a community band concert, the seven Von Trapp children showed up to sing a little song for us.  As it happens, it was the goodbye song.

I was so excited I was practically hyperventilating.

Honestly, I could not love the Sound of Music more if I tried.  I LOVE musicals.  Let me say it again.  I LOVE love love lovey love musicals.  Heck, I wish my LIFE was a musical.  Who wouldn’t love to just break out in a perfectly chosen song and dance number at the first sign of trouble or of new love or … a haircut or a hangnail.  You really don’t need a reason for a big production number in a musical.  That’s why I love them so.

Anyway, back to the community band concert.  So I love the Goodbye song.  For those of you who are not familiar with this musical, in this number the kids are at a party their dad is throwing.  It is late.  It is time for them to go to bed (the 17 year old and the 6 year old retire at the same time.  THIS I don’t get, but whatever).  Maria, their nun governess (soon to be their non-nun mom!) has put together a little song and dance for the kids to perform for the party goers.  Why?  Because it’s a musical, that’s why!  The partiers are ecstatic to watch this quaint little ditty (hey, if you can’t suspend belief in a musical, where can you suspend it?)  The kids sing and dance their way up the stairs and into the hearts and souls of all the partiers in Austria, including the Nazis.  As they leave, they sing, in perfect harmony, Goodbye!  Goodbye!  Goooooddddd bbbyyyyyeee!    And then all of the partiers, again, in perfect harmony, sing Goooooddd byyyyyyyyeeee!  And they wave goodbye to the children.

So here we are at the band concert and the kids begin to perform this song.  Unfortunately, none of these kids could really sing, but I was determined to enjoy it anyway.  After all, they were only kids and they were performing for free, for our enjoyment.  I can get behind that.  So they sing the end.  Goodbye!  Goodbye!  Goooooooddddbyyyee!  And being Sound of Music maniac, I KNOW MY PART.  I am one of the audience members.  One of the partiers.  I am supposed to sing the last Goodbye in perfect harmony back at the children as I wave to them.

So I did this.  Heartily.  I expected that everyone else would do this too.  After all, it was our part.

…No one else joined in.  I was the ONLY one, in a crowd of about 150, maybe 175 people who sang our part.  I mean, I HIT our mark and I HIT IT HARD.

Everyone in the audience (and all of the Von Trapp family singers as well) turned quickly in my direction to get a gander at the loon singing along.  So I did what anybody would do in this situation.

I swung around and looked for the loon myself.

What is wrong with some people?

Honestly.

New toon up.  For people asking about the archives, I will try to get all of the missing comics up in the archives sometime in the next few days.

WHY does it seem  that almost all the disabled kids and adults that I run across in my daily life are dressed badly and carelessly?  They often have unbrushed hair and teeth and bowl haircuts.  They sometimes have bad teeth and body odors.  Their clothes are stained and ill-fitting.  They just look like no one cares about them.  This has always bothered me (and I’ve noticed it for a long time).   If someone is mentally handicapped or disabled, or old, they must rely on their family members for help in doing a lot of different things.  And this includes making sure that they leave the house clean and presentable, even if you have to pick out their clothes and bathe and dress them yourselves.  In this society, the mentally handicapped and people with disabilities and the elderly and the mentally ill are already at a tremendous disadvantage.  They are already behind the 8 ball, so to speak.  Dressing them like you rummaged through a dumpster behind the Good Will and just took whatever you could find, in whatever sizes you could find, seems abusive to me.  And this is prevalent.  You must have noticed it too, but I’ve never seen it discussed before.  Why does this happen?

Sawyer is always dressed nice.  He always has on clean clothes.  His teeth are brushed twice a day.  He always has a flattering hair cut and we make sure that his clothes are in style (and this includes his shoes).  His clothes are neither too big or too small for him.  He gets new clothes whenever the other kids do.  We put deodorant on him.  He showers daily.  In other words, Sawyer is loved, and you can tell this by the way that he is dressed.  Now, nothing he owns is super expensive, because he is so destructive.  In fact, he mostly wears white T-shirts because they are the cheapest and he rips his shirts daily, sometimes multiple times a day. And yet, he always looks nice.  I cannot tell you how many times people have commented on how nice he looks.  They always seem surprised and I know why.  It’s unusual.  And this is something I will never understand.

I don’t want to get all holier than thou, but this is a subject that really bugs me.  Even if all of these people love their kids and family members with all of their hearts, by dressing them like homeless people, it comes off as uncaring.  Today, I had an epiphany.  I have shared before that many MANY doctors think that we are pretty much saints.  Many of them will tell us this to our faces.  They tell us all the time that Sawyer is so LUCKY to have us as parents.  This has always made me super uncomfortable because we are anything but perfect parents and Sawyer has driven me to despairing tears, almost daily, for over a decade.  I KNOW I’m not a saint and I couldn’t ever really figure out why we kept hearing this.  I suspected that it was because Sawyer is extremely disabled and we refuse to institutionalize him.  But today, I realized that there is probably more to the story.  I think the reason doctors are so impressed with us just might be because of the way that Sawyer is dressed.  If he is acting “normal” (which is a crap shoot at best), you couldn’t tell that he’s disabled.  He doesn’t stand out in any way, and this is our entire focus.  To not draw unwanted attention by the way he looks (he draws enough by his behavior).

This is the reason for our imminent sainthood.  It has to be.  We are doing something right by Sawyer!  This feeling doesn’t happen often and I want to savor it.  For the most part, I think I’ve failed him miserably, so this realization has been a lovely gift.

I am a little late to the discussion, but I wanted to say that I was saddened to hear that the Cathy comic strip is ending soon.  This strip began when I was just a little girl.  I honestly can’t remember a time when it wasn’t in our paper and I’ve always had a soft spot for it.  I read it and enjoyed it as a child, then when I was a young, single college student, I became a huge fan.  There were a few  years when this strip seemed to speak to me and I listened and laughed.  My favorite years of this strip were when Andrea got married and had Zenith and Cathy adopted her dog Elektra.  I cut a few of these strips out of the newspaper and they used to hang on my fridge.  Now those strips are in a box somewhere, but I didn’t throw them out.

That’s the mark of a damn fine comic strip, cutting strips out of a paper, then saving the strips in a box and carrying them from house to house when you move rather than throwing them out.

…Then, I guess I moved on.  I got married and had kids and while I still enjoyed the strip, it didn’t have the same connection to me as it did before.  Cathy was single and dating and I was dealing with lots of kids and one with a disability.  The strip was still written well (and I do think it was a well-written strip.  It was chatty, but I LIKE chatty, and it always had a punch line.  This is something I enjoy in a cartoon), but it was still being written about the same subjects and I had moved on to a bigger world, with different subjects.  I mostly stopped reading it for a while.

I have to admit that the only strips of hers that I didn’t like were the lists ones.  When she would list 200 different types of shoes or panty hose or cookies to make a point, I skipped right over it to cut to the punchline.  I have her 15th anniversary collection and it’s a REALLY good collection.  It’s probably my second favorite cartoon book that I own (and between me and my cartoon loving son, we own a library full).  My absolute favorite cartoon collection of all time is the very first Overboard book.  Now THAT book is funny!

I started reading the strip faithfully again when Cathy got engaged to Irving.  I loved her wedding and I loved that she married this man she had so much rich (and not even most of it good!) history with.  I have read it sporadically in the last few  years and mostly enjoyed it.  It’s stayed remarkably consistent over all of it’s years in the papers, and I think the quality has only gone up.  I did a daily strip for only 4.5 years and it burnt me out, so I can hardly comprehend the grind of doing it for over 30 years!  That is quite an accomplishment!

I will miss Cathy and I wish her well.  I read that her daughter is a senior and she wants to spend more time with her.  I have my own senior daughter and I know exactly how she feels!  I haven’t had anywhere near enough time with Clem, and next year she’ll be gone?  SOB!  Say it ain’t so!  (Seriously, I really can hardly bear to think about her being gone).

Anyway, I hope that lots of women cartoonists slip into the newspaper spots that Ms. Guisewite vacates.  Go Between Friends, and Stone Soup, and Rhymes with Orange!  Get on with your bad selves!

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