Sweet summer slacking…

Is there a term for a lazy blogger (lager??)? Well, that’s me. Guilty as charged. Part of it is because I’m writing about a strip which is about a woman who keeps a journal. Therefore, I’m blogging about a blogger. That wears me out psychologically.

The other excuse (at least, this month’s) is that I’ve got summer fever. In fact, I’m watching my kids play on our neighbor’s giant inflatable waterparkamathingamadoozy (an intricate series of water chutes and slides that costs more than all our furniture combined). They’re enjoying themselves, shouting, “Watch this, Mom!!” every 3.2 seconds as they hurl their lithe bodies on top of a dozen other lithe bodies (there are 15 kids total just within our four adjacent homes).

The shouting, fighting and pure glee makes me realize how as adults, we really do live vicariously through our kids. I have absolutely no urge to throw my half-naked self down a bouncy chute (although the image of all those bodies does weirdly make me think of ancient Grecian orgies)…yet, watching them experience this summer joy gives me such a “boring-adult” thrill.

Brings to mind a strip I did about 3 years ago. Our old neighbors had an inflatable bouncy castle they set up in their front yard. My kids would spy it as we pulled in our drive after a long day of preschool. This was the witching hour – that time of day the girls were tired and hungry…and so was I. I had to get home and start cooking. But all the kids wanted to do was raid the jumpy castle. My mistake was muttering, “Well, just for a few minutes.” Yeah, right. Enough said. Check out the product of that inspiration:

 

SUN_JumpCastle

These days I’m thankful my girls are old enough to go on bouncy castles and watermathingies without constant supervision. I’m also thankful for portable laptops. And, of course, I’m thankful for the ability to relax and live vicariously through the young.

Peace out from one happy lager.

Little side notes…

Instead of focusing on a single strip in this blog entry, I thought it’d be fun to share brief commentary on an entire bunch.

HugCableGuy

This one is close to my heart. I’ve come to realize that – despite its obvious advantages — working from home is extremely isolating. Before kids, I never thought I could do it. Thankfully, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. But I do remember the first year of not having coworkers to share banter with…very hard to get used to. The service people that rang my doorbell knew to stay clear.

 

PoliceWitness_c

I threw this one in here because I was surprised by the enormous reaction to it. I love this strip…it’s one of those that hit home with so many women. I guess we all need to know that we’re not the only ones who lose it sometimes…or even more than sometimes.

 

Glos_Ratio

Okay, this one I’m just plain embarrassed about. Turns out I made a huge grammatical error – and it took a couple of retired English teachers to point it out via email (separately, mind you). So…can you non-English/journalism majors spot the mistake?

The error is the word “amount.” Amount pertains to measurement. “Number” would’ve been the correct word since it pertains to numerical value. Did anyone else know this?? I claim pure ignorance and stupidity.

SUN_MommyWars

I’m always fascinated by the so-called mommy wars. I know there are judgmental types who stigmatize working moms or stay-at-home moms. But I wonder if this sort of battle is as prevalent as it may have once been.

My question is: is there anyone out there who regularly experiences this type of “discrimination”? I did (but not overtly) when my kids were much younger. Nowadays, I’m in my little cartoonist shell and don’t get out much, so I’m not really subjected to it anymore. Also, I think as women mature as mothers, we become a little more relaxed and open to different styles of parenting. We also become members of the “been there, done that” club, which mellows our outlook.  At least, that’s what I’ve observed with myself and friends. So…what do you think?

*Update: I have a fun (well, for me, anyway) story line coming out in July. Make sure your local paper doesn’t shut down before then!

Hard Times…

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog entry. I was caught up in presentation preparations during the past few months. So let’s see, where were we? Oh yeah. Poor Rob got canned.

Sun Draw

Yes, harsh economic times have caught up with the Kaplans. As I said, I wanted the strip to reflect a certain reality to the current climate. Originally, I thought of making one of the side characters lose their job, but I realized the story line would be more poignant if it affected the main family.

Now here’s the strange life-imitating-art-imitating-life thing that’s come out of this: so many people have asked me if my husband (my real hubby, not the inked & scanned version) was laid off. I wasn’t too surprised at this questioning. However, I was surprised by the sheer volume of it. Actually, I’m pretty touched by the concern.

To answer this question…no, luckily my husband is still employed — although he’s taken quite a lot of ribbing at work because of the strip. I did suggest to him a “Stranger Than Fiction” scenario, where I can control his life just by writing it (new furniture, anyone?). He wasn’t amused.

Occasionally, I’m asked the question, “Do you have these story lines all mapped out, like, say, a year in advance?” My answer: usually no. In this case, I’d like to explore the job loss situation as it progresses in real time. So I guess we’ll all wait and see how this pans out.

(Note: new sample strips will be posted soon, including the reader favorite “Libido-meter”…so don’t forget to check back)

An Alternative to Talking…

 

Sun Draw

I have a special affinity to this strip. It’s completely based on life. Not because this particular incident happened, but because it could have.

Growing up, I was very shy. My main form of communication was doodling. Kids always asked me to draw something for them and I was always happy to oblige. I felt like I was able to somehow share a part of myself without having to say a word.

And this still holds true. I’m no longer so reserved, nor do I have time to give away drawings on the spot, but I do try to extend myself through the strip –in my shyer moments it helps to convey my thoughts on paper. Who knew humor could play such a connecting role?

Finance strips…

There’s no doubt about it…times are tough. The Kaplans have had some ups and downs lately on the financial front. Jill lost some freelance gigs. Rob has to pick up the slack. And they’re just cartoon characters. Things MUST be bad.

Josh_takeout

Just as America is feeling the pinch of the recession, I’d like PD-land to reflect the current climate. After all – bad take-out habits aside — these are characters based on some semblance of real life. They age, they go through changes, and they freak out about the changes. Financial burdens are a part of their reality. Like mine. Now excuse me while I go hurl over my IRA statement.

New Year, New Facelift…

JillMonitor

Happy belated new year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but there’s a good reason for it…my wonderful sister-in-law and I have been busy updating this site. I should say, Ricki’s been busy updating it and I’ve been busy micromanaging her. Yes, folks, there’s a reason I normally work alone. 

Although the site has been in full upheaval, the changes look relatively minor to the average layperson. We just wanted to make it more user friendly for all the major browsers. This means shrinking some imagery and adjusting the layout. Every page has been changed except for the blog, which will hopefully catch up soon.

Most notably, we added a widget to each page. It’s hard not to notice as it’s the only animated image on the site. The widget is a link to The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel’s COMICS KINGDOM page. This is a new way to see PD online every day for FREE!

Comics Kingdom lets you read Pajama Diaries and all other King cartoons for free with a 30-day archive. Daily Ink is still a great way to go: you pay a measly $15 subscription, and you have access to all King comics plus other features like puzzles, games, editorial cartoons, and customized e-services.

S’all good. Oh yeah, and we cartoonists profit from both Comics Kingdom and Daily Ink, so please click away — we can always use more ink in our wells!

The 12/29 strip that wasn’t…

Very occasionally, I’ll finish a strip that crosses the line and can’t be published. So…what to do with it? Throw it on the blog, of course!

Moderation

Risqué or not, I think many wives would appreciate this one. As for the husbands, that’s probably a different story…

Mommy Dearest…

My mom has a great sense of humor. She has to. Otherwise she wouldn’t put up with Judy, her alter ego on the comics page. Judy is the intrusive, chatty, kvetchy mother from Florida who likes to drop in on Jill Kaplan with half her belongings (to give away, mind you) and countless newspaper clippings about Jill’s highly successful acquaintances and various rampant diseases.

In reality, my own mother is a tamer version of Judy. She’s a chronic worrywart and a kvetcher. But she’s highly creative, appreciates what I do, and gets a big kick out of her alter ego (what are mothers for). I remember when I introduced the character in my first Thanksgiving series three years ago; I sent my mom the rough cartoons beforehand because I was so worried about her reaction. When I got her on the phone for the verdict, she was laughing hysterically. I guess it was apropos she got a kick out of “herself”…it’s a lesson that we shouldn’t take our own selves so seriously.

Thanksgiv_mellow

Sights Unscene…

This has nothing to do with the strip — As a proud sis, I’d like to give my brother a plug for his wonderful new photography book featuring his home state of NH (yes, he beat me to the publishing punch). Brad has been capturing nature imagery all his adult life; before that he enjoyed torturing his siblings. For more detailed info and a comprehensive look at his work, check out Brad’s website .

Now Available to order: “SIGHTS UNSCENE: NEW HAMPSHIRE” !!!136 pages, 123 images, 9 1/2 X 9 1/2 inches.Interspersed with quotes from Philosophers, Artists, and Scientists.Divided into Rural, Scenic, and Urban sections.Soon to be available through Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.Com, etc

To order, send $39.95 for each book plus $8 shipping to:

Sights Unscene

PO Box 5445

Weirs Beach, NH 03246

OR call for more information or credit card transactions at: 603-366-7700 (Mondays and Thursdays)

OR for even more information, send email to: brad@sightsunscene.com or call 603-491-3297

“New England is a special place, ripe with treasures for an artist in any medium. Brad’s work provides us the pleasure of experiencing these places through his distinct perspective and, whether traveling with him 1000 feet above the landscape or following him along a seldom traveled back road, we are allowed to see moments that are all too often missed.

Brad journeys through the bounty of New Hampshire’s four seasons and graciously allows us to walk or even fly beside him then stop and consider that unique moment: a page pulled from his visual journals. It is a harvest of personal insight and an adventure well worth taking.”

by David Mendelsohn (“Among his many awards and honors, [David] has recently been declared a Nikon Legend.” Foto Magazine)