Monthly Archives: March 2013

Saturday March 2, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This last comment was meant as an apology to my husband. I had been spending a lot of time on the road. As well as producing the strip, which took a lot of time, I was working on an animation project, doing book tours and speaking engagements, and was trying to be a partner as well. I loved my job and I enjoyed all the activity, but I felt very guilty about being away from home so often.

Sunday March 3, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Loretta and Gail are the names of two Lynn Lake friends. I used their names here just to have some fun. The trouble was that the real Loretta looked so much like Connie Poirier (Elly Patterson’s neighbour and good friend) that I literally drew two Connies! The artist who was helping me with the colouring knew Loretta. She became confused and gave “Connie,” who was seated, dark hair and made the arriving “Loretta” blonde — which, in real life she is. In order to keep continuity and separate two characters, which had been drawn so alike, we had to make the character Connie blonde and my friend Loretta dark.

Still with me? My friend Loretta was now unrecognizable in the strip. A better artist might have been able to draw the two sufficiently well to have avoided this conundrum altogether. I am often asked to do caricatures, and this is why I turn folks down!

Monday March 4, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

At this time in the evolution of the strip, I decided to have Mike’s friend, Gordon, be a bit of a negative force. In my mind, all of the auxiliary characters were becoming clear and defined, and it seemed right for Gordon Mayes to have some baggage. Something in his life made him cynical and tougher than the other kids, but I hadn’t yet figured out what it was. It sounds unbelievable, but these characters evolved on their own. In a way, they told me who they were and how they lived.

Sunday March 10, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Canadian Gulf Delta Sierra Tango were the identification letters on the side of our last aircraft: CGDST. This was shortened to “Delta Sierra Tango” when we identified ourselves to the tower for take-offs, landings, and just checking in. DST was a beautiful Navajo, which seated six people and could carry two more if we took out the small portable toilet and the storage cabinet. We had owned various aircraft over the years, but this was a commercial plane, which had been built as a medevac: a rescue craft with an extra door to accommodate stretchers and medical equipment. This was our magic carpet. It could go anywhere! It was equipped with oxygen, which meant we could cross the country at higher altitudes — going over the Rockies safely and easily, avoiding the passes and the turbulence around the peaks.

From the windows of DST, we saw most of Canada and the United States. Rod was an excellent pilot who took no chances; he knew all too well that pilot error was responsible for most airplane accidents. Despite our love of flying, a few years after we moved to northern Ontario, we decided to sell the plane. It became too costly to maintain, and we really didn’t need it as much as we did up north. At the time, I was doing a lot of travel for business, and North Bay has an excellent airport. It was much easier to jump on a commercial flight, which made it hard to justify owning such a fast and fancy machine.

I worked hard to get my pilot’s licence with the intention of eventually buying another aircraft, but we never did. I’m sad to see this chapter in my life over — we had some great adventures. In my next life, I’m gonna fly again!

Monday March 11, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Monique was a sweet young woman who won a trip to Lynn Lake to meet me, on a show called Thrill of a Lifetime. I was the “thrill!” Part of the arrangement was that she would see herself in the comic strip and receive an original drawing. Because our encounter had been so short and I had done just one drawing for the show (a Sunday page), I decided to include her as one of the library staff. I never heard from her, but I hoped she enjoyed her brief appearances.

Tuesday March 12, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This scenario wasn’t part of our family history. I took this idea from another mom whose household was constantly augmented by other people’s pets – as well as the occasional school mascot needing a temporary roost. Sallie and Frank had two dogs, a cat , and a parakeet, so folks needing kennel space often asked these kind folks to take in another jowl to feed.

Wednesday March 13, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

As kids, we were allowed to have a pet if it was very small, didn’t require too much upkeep, and had a short lifespan. At first, my brother and I were host to chameleons – tiny little lizards which came from the pet shop with chains attached around their necks and a pin so you could attach them to your shirt! I don’t remember them changing colour at all, but they did eat live mealworms, which was a cool thing to watch. Perhaps we overfed them or maybe we played with them too much, because they never lived very long. Fortunately, this rather barbaric way of packaging creatures is no longer permitted.

Thursday March 14, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Naming a pet or a person in a comic strip requires about the same amount of thought as naming something or someone for real. I tried to imagine what I would call a hamster – and a name beginning with “H” seemed like a good idea. “Humphrey” appealed to me both because it’s not a name commonly heard, and because I liked the “Humph” sound at the beginning…. it’s sort of a British “snort,” an expression of contempt or dissatisfaction. You never actually hear a “humph,” it is most commonly seen in print. I think in the US one might say, “harrumph!” – but this has a slightly different connotation. Ahhhh… the semantics of sound.

Friday March 15, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

After the chameleons, we were allowed turtles and frogs, and when our charges could survive our “care and feeding,” Mom let us have a budgie. This came about when I found a blue budgie on our back lawn. Mom borrowed a cage and tried to find the owner. She put an ad in the newspaper and called the radio station, but no luck. By this time, we had bought seed and a mirror and the bird was ours. We called him Robbie and he was great fun. He made a lot of noise during the day, but unlike the hamster in the strip, he was very quiet at night.

Saturday March 16, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Back to my friend, Sallie. She kept the school hamster in her kitchen – the best place, she said, because she was always there, so it was safer for something so small and edible! (Her cat was always hoping for a chance to pounce on him.) I remember thinking how cute he was, but he sure could make a mess. I wouldn’t have wanted the little guy in MY kitchen!

Sunday March 17, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

This is another strip that brought in the mail. “Never get sick on a weekend” could have been the title of a book as stories of interrupted sleep, well-meaning remedies, and all the things a mom still has to attend to despite fever and chills, came rolling in. No matter what I was going through, the letters I received told me I was far from alone!

Monday March 18, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Going back to my friend with the big heart and too many animals: The hamster had one of those transparent exercise balls, which the kids found fascinating – as did the family cat. When the hamster was not inclined to run for his pleasure, the kids encouraged him by rolling the ball themselves. I remember them saying that they wished they could ride in a ball like that, and putting myself in place of the dizzy, disoriented hamster, I thought… yeah… maybe not!

Thursday March 21, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

My friend Beth’s daughter, Ellie, keeps several tarantulas in her room. These eerie creatures inhabit a large glass terrarium, and every so often, Ellie will carefully take them out and handle them. Beth said they didn’t bother her at all because they’re quiet – but the crickets they eat chirp all night long! Ellie apparently can sleep through the racket.

Friday March 22, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Now that I have a granddaughter to chase about, I have all the paraphernalia; including crib and highchair. Laura is just learning how to feed herself, so the above illustration says it all. Allowing for leaks, spills, and the occasional avalanche, I sometimes wish we still had our dog…. to help wash the floor beneath her.

Sunday March 24, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I have always been grateful that I learned how to drive standard. If you can use a gear shift, you can drive anything with ease and confidence. Driving standard has allowed me to drive trucks and tractors, a swather, and a combine, and also helped me learn how to fly a plane. Using both feet while driving a standard gives you a sort of rhythm, which you need when operating a craft that moves forward, sideways, up, and down — sometimes all at once!

The last standard I owned was a Subaru WRX — a racing-style hatchback with one of those fancy air intakes on the hood that gives your engine extra guts when you need ’em. The first time I drove it, I hit a straight stretch on the highway and just let ‘er rip. I had no idea how fast I was going, I just passed everyone in my way…watching their stunned reactions as I whizzed by. In no time there were flashing lights in my rear-view mirror and I was pulled to the side of the road by a serious looking officer. I was admonished for my stupidity and given a hefty fine. But the worst part was watching the people I had passed now passing me…with satisfied smirks on their faces! I now drive an automatic, use the cruise control, and smile at the guys in their sports cars as they scream past — hoping I’ll see them getting a ticket around the next bend!

Monday March 25, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I would occasionally use the floor of my studio if I had larger illustrations to sort through – or to dry. Art supplies are a magnet for kids, and mine were often in the room looking for scrap paper and other things they were allowed to have. One time I did have posters drying on the floor and Katie did accidentally walk on them. Fortunately they were dry, but she was so upset, she cried. Today she is an artist, too – so even then, she had respect for original art!

Wednesday March 27, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

In order to inject a bit of jealousy between my two main characters, I showed John firing off a definite ogle in the direction of Elly’s shapely co-worker, Sue. I planned to take this farther and have something of a relationship evolve between John and Sue resulting in a serious exchange amongst all three. As in other attempts to show some “straying from the fold,” I lost my nerve and never continued with the storyline.

Thursday March 28, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The punch line here came from my experience with McMaster University. When I was first hired as a medical artist, everyone was working in temporary facilities as we waited for the new medical centre to be finished. We all had direct contact with the doctors, for whom we were working, and information was easily transferred from the physician to us to the drawing board. Later, when we moved into the new building and the department expanded, supervisors were hired to supervise supervisors, and direct access to the doctors became impossible. Suddenly the artists were trying to get information through a chain of command, which naturally resulted in misunderstandings and mistakes. Going directly to a surgeon to find out exactly how to interpret a procedure was discouraged. What was once a straightforward process became… well,… like trying to take seeds out of a watermelon with rubber gloves on! In frustration, I became the class clown again; a jokester – it was the only way I could survive the assistants who were assistants to assistants!

Friday March 29, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron was at least eight before we would leave him at home on his own. We never left him for long – just an hour, perhaps. He always knew where we were, and it was a way to show him that he had our trust. We were able to do this because we had grandparents nearby and neighbours who knew everything that Aaron was up to…and would tell!

Sunday March 31, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Eldon Park was just down the lane from our house in Lynn Lake. It was a small space; room enough for a roundabout, a slide, and a three-seater swing set. The Kinsmen took care of the grounds and the equipment, and thanks to them, we had an Easter egg hunt each year. It was always a skirmish when the big kids got to the goodies first. Some parents helped the little kids, much to the annoyance of others, but we always managed to escape an altercation. I remember Katie standing by the fence upset because she couldn’t find anything. To me, the eggs were visible everywhere, but when I squatted down to her level, I could see what the problem was. Everything was either too high or buried in the grass, which was too tall for her to see over. Sometimes, you really DO have to look at things from your child’s point of view!