Shout Out

Hey, I grew up in a small town! yes!

So, this weeks illustration for the newspaper
was "draw something for an article about small towns."
I thought that an image for a "Manitoban small town" should convey something about how if you exit the transcanada anywhere outside of Winnipeg you are almost sure to hit some nice little small town.

I don't know small town life as intimately in this province as I do in my own (except I have gotten pretty familiar with the White Shell area)
So I hope the sketch is iconic enough for everyones reference point of "some turn-off" on "some Canadian highway" to "some small town"...maybe even yours?


My buddy

This is an old one- maybe I even posted it a long time ago? Whatever. I am re-posting it today.
Today I am thinking of my old Buddy, a husband of one of the residents I looked after. He was my good buddy and his nickname was also "Bud" or "Buddy" which made things pretty easy for me (considering it is hard to keep a names for a bunch of ever-changing residents and all of their extended family members straight in my head.)
I see my Buddy and say "Hi Buddy" and there you go.

So, I was not your typical "nursing home worker." For one thing I wore converse sneakers and wierd glasses which really seemed to bother my coworkers.
For another thing, I got too attached.
I think I am too sensitive generally. I play it tough and I don't think people realize how much I carry things with me. I have a hard time letting go of sad things too. (So, yeah, great job choice Devon! go and work in a long-term care home! geesh.)
My manager literally warned me to not get close to anyone, especially family members.

Which seems to me like asking someone who works in this field to go swimming and not get wet.

Bud was one of those people who I seriously clicked with and I adored his wife. When she got really sick and went to the hospital, I went to say goodbye. I spoon fed her because she wouldn't eat for anyone else. I held her oxygen mask for 40 minutes because she couldn't tolerate the elastic.
Leaving the hospital that day I told myself that going to visit residents outside the nursing home was probably too much for my little heart to handle.

Can you believe that she made a recovery and was back with us after a few weeks?

Then I lost Bud the next week after that.

So here you go Buddy, I was thinking of you today. We had some good times and great conversations. I am glad that I got to know you and that we were close.
Being close to people, really listening, and yes, getting attached is important to me.

I would argue that in a nursing home it is the most important thing.


crow funeral

i witnessed a very haunting (and magical) thing the other day.

so, i was walking home along morley and heard this very loud commotion. when i looked up there was a large group of crows making a closely gathered ring in the trees above. there was a deafening combination of sad mournful sounds and piercing cries while the birds fidgeted in the branches of the trees above the street.
then i looked directly down below the circle i saw a dead crow that had very recently been hit by a car.

i literally froze in my tracks and took in the moment. it was beautiful in a strange way.

then the other day around remembrance day, curtis, rowan and i walked the same route and we noticed the crow had been moved to the side of the street.

someone had placed a little poppy beside it.



Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE how this one worked out.
I can't say much more about it...but I hope it makes somebody smile.


Reality Check

I sure hope I don't offend anyone out there- but i made a promise to myself that I would draw/tell the WHOLE story of my experiences working in a nursing home.
Let me say that it is not all sentimental and charming stories of knitting grannies and reminiscing grandpas!
As I prepare to post this comic I got thinking about how our preconceptions of the elderly limit how we really see them.
I recognized this in myself one day when i patiently listened to a gentleman preach to me about his religion...I would typically have been offended by this forward evangelical approach in a peer or a younger person and yet I was SO respectful of his years that I quietly nodded and smiled the whole time.
Isn't that strange?
I mean, it goes the other way too, how many people have you witnessed not being willing or respectful enough to REALLY listen to an older persons point of view. And I gotta say- not many people seem very comfortable acknowledging the sex drive + libido topic.
Hey if you got it- celebrate it! And if you got Alzheimer's you may happily lose some inhibitions and say how you REALLY feel. Like our pal "Deedee" here.



My latest assignment: Draw an addicted looking person on their knees beside a man in a suit holding cigarettes in one hand and money in the other.
Pretty specific eh?
It's for an article for the Manitoban this week that talks about tobacco companies making profits despite economic conditions.

it's an illustration, but i think it still looks like my style...well i hope so anyways.


Bingo Hour

I re-drew this comic I had done over a year ago and finessed it a bit to submit to the Manitoban for next week.
I was totally smiling the whole time.
Man, I had forgotten the feeling of being "the caller" during the Bingo hour twice a week!!

You might know this already but people get really crazy during a game of bingo. There is a whole culture of superstitious behaviour: tiny trolls, certain coloured bingo boards, lucky tiddly-wink styled chips of a certain colour. I love the whole scene, the ceremony of it all.
There was this one lady, Mary, who had a rhyme for EVERY number I called. For example, B8: Set them straight, B5: I feel alive! I got so distracted listening to all her amazing rhymes one game that I got complaints for calling too slow. That is the other thing: people get temperamental about the pace of the game. They like a few quick "one line any way" games to warm up and then they want to get down to business with the classic "X" or "Black-Out"...But oh my goodness, if you call TOO FAST you get a whole lot of complaining too.

It takes a lot of practice to call a game of Bingo in a nursing home: There are a lot of things to be aware of outside of the regular game...make sure you seat people very strategically, learn how to patiently repeat the same stuff many times in a non-irritated voice and keep that bucket of chocolate eggs visible: the folks like to keep an eye on the prize!

Also, you will have to get up and redirect Mildred (very large lady in her wheelchair) several times during the hour because she comes in yelling it's NOT her birthday and all hell breaks loose.


Wear a Face

Things are underway for a very exciting collaboration between tijit (the devon half) and designer extraordinaire: "Tony Chestnut" (the fabulous and talented Jill)

She is a one-woman show from start to finish, check out her website and her latest creations here:


So, when Jill approached me about silkscreening my hand-inked drawings on to Tony Chestnut scarves I very promptly said yes! Our plan is to print these very large faces on to beautifully dyed and sewn raw silk scarves. I am pretty sure they are going to be AWESOME.

Jill will be selling them at a craft show in Winnipeg near the end of November...but for you hip folks with cold necks that don't live in Winnipeg, I will give you more details on how you can get one of your own in a few weeks.

In other news, I am busy drawing a new story for tomorrow. (Wow, a blog entry, some printed things AND a comic in one day?!)

Always thankful for the days that my one-year old has epic naps.