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Posts Tagged ‘Cartoon’

Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s

Sitting at the picnic table as a kid during summer vacations as my mom taught me to draw, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my art be published along with many renowned cartoonists and artists. Nor would I have imagined that my mother end up with Parkinson’s disease.

When a friend of mine sent me a link to a call for entries for cartoonists across the country to submit art to raise awareness for Parkinson’s research, I thought to myself “how cool.” Cartoonists and artists were asked to donate original artwork that included characters from the “Cul de Sac” cartoon. You see, Richard Thompson (creator of the cartoon) has Parkinson’s and his friend Chris Sparks came up with the idea to raise funds as tribute. Boy, what an idea it turned out to be.

So, I sat down to create a cartoon, but was blocked. Totally. What did I really know about the disease? How to incorporate the concept and other characters into my cartoon? Not until I saw Mort Walker’s “Beetle Bailey” submission did it finally click. I was inspired. And I got to work.

When drawing my cartoon, I kept my mother in mind all the while. Parkinson’s. It starts out with hardly a notice. With something like the gradual loss of smell. Slowing down of motor skills. Noticing that things aren’t quite right. As time went on, and after spending much time in the doctor’s offices, it turns out that my mom did indeed have Parkinson’s.

Since she doesn’t drive anymore (neither does my father who suffers from Alzheimer’s) my sister and I are trying to do the best we can to keep them comfy in their own home. You know. Take them to doctor’s appointments, hair cuts, the grocery, or get their terrier out from under the sofa. Always needing to help make decisions and be re-assuring. And most importantly, fix that remote just one more time.

Sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge, but it works out nicely that I get to live behind the house I grew up in where my parents still live. The biggest benefit is the comfort of just being there for them and being able to help out with day to day activities and household chores. It also gives my mom a sense of peace having me near by “just in case.” Besides, borrowing a cup of sugar is always convenient.

After turning in my “Just Bea” Cartoon submission I had no idea that I would be included in a publication with so many of the “who’s who” in the cartooning world. Inside you’ll find amazing illustrations and cartoons from the likes of Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury), Bill Amend (Fox Trot), R. Skoryak (comic book artist), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Sergio Aragones (cartoonist/writer), Jim Borgman (Puliter prize winning cartoonist), and Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)! And then there’s me. I’m absolutely humbled and honored.

You can purchase “Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012. edited by Chris Sparks) at local booksellers or online.

A portion of the proceeds of the book go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

And, from now until June 10

you can bid on original art by your favorite cartoonists!

100% of those proceeds go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

And here’s a link to the auction


…or you can bid on mine


Or if you’d just like to donate


See more “Just Bea” cartoons at www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon and www.justbeacartoon.com

For The Birds

Wow! I said to myself when I saw these fabulous birdhouses. They’re made up of all kinds of stuff like sugar canisters, percolators, compasses, vintage garden faucet handles, fan blades, and license plates. So cool.

For The Birds

Brian Carlisle’s first birdhouse “aha” moment was when he saw the copper coal bin at an antique store. “For some reason,” he says “I saw the hole for the bird and the handle as a perch. From there it made sense to me to form the roof with some sheet metal and make it swoop with the form of the opening.” He brought it home and as they say, the rest is history.

Already a fan of birds (his yard is certified with the National Wildlife Federation) and photographing them, that along with being a graphic designer – presto! It all came together.

Garage sales, thrift shops and dumpsters is where Brian finds the materials. He considers his upcycled birdhouses “helping not just birds, but all of nature which then reflects and affects us completely. I try to keep the focus on using materials that eventually would have ended up in the landfills and giving them a new life that hopefully will last far longer than their original intent.”

Even though the birdhouses are primarily decorative, Brian says they are habitable  – complete with drainage holes, ventilation and protection from the weather. He just reminds us to keep them out of direct sunlight or cold winds.

Pretty cool stuff. Ordinary items left for junk turned into a work of art. And a habitable one to boot.

See for yourself at gadgetsponge.com.

Recycled Love

I can’t even imagine, I was thinking to myself as I sat in the veterinary emergency room in the wee hours of the morning, how I would feel if I had to surrender Angus to a shelter or the alternative (gasp – I won’t even say it) because I couldn’t pay for his procedures. So sad having to make a decision like that.

With the average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat being $700 to $875 annually, handing over furry friends to shelters is at an all time high. That gets me to thinking about the ones that end up there and how do we make their transition an easier one?

Recycle This

“For the past 18 years, the Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter have been ultimate recyclers— of hope, lives, and love”* Since their inception, they have “rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed” more than 35,000 animals.  “Yes, the biggest need is to remember that animals need homes” says Andrea Kuentz of the shelter, “but also small acts and donations add up in a big way too.”

While our furry friends are waiting to be part of a new family, there are a lot of things you may already have around the house that could be of use to them at a shelter. Peanut butter for the pups, white pages of the newspaper for litter, old towels, or e-collars. And, instead of putting that old armchair out to the curb, donate it to make Fluffy more comfy at a Cat Community. Any old plastic toys your pet isn’t interested in anymore – wouldn’t those make the stay more fun? From adhesive tape to rubber gloves to hot dogs – check alternate ways to give at www.dearbornanimals.org or with your local animal shelter and see how we all can help make life a bit easier.

Recycle things you find in your home. Or upcycle and fill up the water bowl for a new addition. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about ultimate recycling for unconditional love.


The Procedure

When those commercials come on with the animals sitting in cages waiting to get adopted (you know the ones I’m talking about), I get all weepy and want to rescue them all on my own. That got me to thinking, what is it that animal shelters and rescues really, really want us to know? How can we really help?

So, I gave the Michigan Humane Society a call to find out. In speaking with Kevin Hatman the Public Relations Coordinator, I told him we all understand the importance of donating for care, taking time to walk the sheltered dogs, and adopting. But what else is important for us to be aware of? OK, guys. This is where you cross your legs and wince.

Keep our streets litter free.

He said most importantly it was spaying and neutering the animals. That too many end up as strays, being feral, sick or injured. And worst – can’t find loving homes.

The MHS has “fixed” 270,000 dogs and cats in the last 20 years which has kept exponentially millions of animals off the streets. Was there a number that could make an impression on us, something more relatable, I asked? Well, here’s a biggie. One pair of cats left unchecked could lead to over 300,000 offspring over the course of 7 years. That’s a lot of litter, so to speak.

Who knows what you’re “kids” are doing out there when you’re not watching, so send them out with some protection and help keep our streets safe and litter free.

Best In Show

“What do I know about judging a dog show” I thought to myself when I got the call from the Canton Public Library.  But, hey. I know that I love dogs and have, after all, seen “Best In Show.” So there I was, agreeing to be a judge. But then I began wondering, who were the other judges? What did I need to bone up on? What criteria would I need to know? Would I find it hard to vote on only one and not the others. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Here’s something to chew on.

Funny thing is, when the dogs got up in the “ring” for the most part they all got stage fright. Kinda like me, not exactly sure what to do, but eventually got it.

Buddy, a leader dog pup in training was there and he’s just like the rest of us. Learning step by step. And, Poncho the 11 year old police dog getting ready to retire had to start somewhere, too. These guys weren’t there to win anything – just to show us how to help and be of service in some sort of way.

So, I guess don’t be afraid to try something new or to reach out and help. We don’t always need to win. We don’t have to change the world. It’s the little things that make a big difference. Take one step in doing something you’ve been thinking about. Give a call to someone who would love to hear your voice. Drop some change into the Humane Society bucket. Give an old blanket or towels to a local shelter to help keep the animals warm. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.

I didn’t know what to expect going in as a judge, but it turns out it wasn’t about what I knew, but rather what I learned.