I’ve talked about a lot of great literature on this blog but it occurred to me I have neglected one of my favorites- Calvin and Hobbes. I can picture you my reader smiling at my mention of the name Calvin and Hobbes.
It is perhaps easy to discount comic strips as real art or literature but that is unfair to the thought and brilliance of the medium. I love Peanuts and Dilbert but also Calvin and Hobbes.
Calvin and Hobbes is a strip written by Bill Watterson from 1985-1995. They focused on the protagonist Calvin who is a rebellious but thoughtful kid who wants to explore and have adventures and hates school.
Calvin is at one point like Lisa Simpson in his thoughtfulness and grown up sensibilities but also like Bart Simpson in his mischievousness and rebelliousness from the rules.
He is accompanied by his best friend Hobbes who is sometimes a stuffed tiger and sometimes anthropomorphized. Hobbes is both the sidekick and the teacher for Calvin.
A few years ago I went to a reading symposium and a woman spoke that was a high school teacher. She mentioned 10 or 11 books in her lecture and the main qualification seemed to be they were ‘short’ and despite being somewhat dimwitted ‘at least the kids are reading’. That really made me mad then and it still does today (I will add that I am in the minority opinion on that lecture but I don’t care!). https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/01/18/writing-and-reading-for-children-and-teens/
Calvin and Hobbes shows you can be entertaining to all age groups while being challenging and thought provoking. At least the kids are reading is a such a cop-out.
Calvin has a great imagination and the adventures he goes on are always full of laughs.
It’s good for kids to see that parents don’t always know what is the best way.
I love any art form that takes kids seriously. That doesn’t assume just because it is children it has to be stupid. Calvin and Hobbes shows great respect for a child’s intellect and does not shy away from long words or tough topics of religion, philosophy or the meaning of life.
I hate it when adults have a ‘good enough’ attitude about kids. This book is ‘good enough’. This movie is ‘good enough’. No way. We as adults have an obligation to encourage the best in our kids and to let them rise to a higher standard than their natural man might appeal too.
Calvin and Hobbes is proof that with a little effort we can find enlightening and enriching material that appeals to a childs demographic. I refuse to accept a ‘at least he’s reading’ attitude. We can do better than that. Calvin and Hobbes does better than that.
I sincerely wish all teachers when they have an unruly little boy would give said boy Calvin and Hobbes. Maybe it would help them know they are ok and that there is a purpose to their type of sensibilities. Maybe they would learn to channel that energy into art or nature or even philosophy.
This is one of my favorites. It’s funny and it really will make anyone, kid or not, think.
That is brilliant writing I tell you!
Calvin and Hobbes is also full of a sense of play and adventure. Even knowing the characters takes effort. There are no movies, saturday afternoon cartoons, plush toys or video games.
It’s like Watterson knew what was coming for kids entertainment and instead of embracing it he held off so that hopefully kids would have one thing in their lives they loved that wasn’t spoon fed for them. When you think of the amount of money he could have made merchandizing it is pretty remarkable; and yet the comics continue to be read by kids and adults alike despite little to no promotion. They are just that good.
These three are just brilliant.
This is the last comic strip Watterson did for Calvin and Hobbes. It’s a magical world…let’s go exploring!I have a file of my favorite comic strips on my computer and facebook and I turn to it quite frequently. Whether it’s Dilbert in his office, Charlie Brown questioning the world or Calvin and Hobbes on an adventure they always make me smile. (I need to do posts on Peanuts and Dilbert too)
Do you like Calvin and Hobbes? Why do you think they have remained so popular? What do you like about them? Any above that stand out for you?
I look at this blog as a form of ministry. As a chance to share my story with the world and hopefully help people going through their own struggles and appreciating our victories together. As such, I have tried very hard to talk about my life and let other people tell their own stories however they see fit. I very rarely speak of friends or family except in the most flattering way and even then it is unusual.
Today I want to depart slightly from that philosophy as my sister Anna is moving out of Utah tomorrow and then will end up in Japan for 1-2 years as a teacher. She’s been here studying for 5 years and I will really miss her.
So let me tell you a little bit about my family. My parents are still together after 36 years of marriage. They are kind of a ying-yang, balancing each other well. My Dad is energetic, passionate and full of ideas. My Mom is calming, nurturing and peaceful.
They were young and excited to start a family and my brother and I were born quickly. He is 35 and I’m 33. Then my sister Megan came 3 years later but she was a month early and my Mom had complications.
But the dream of a big family never went away and 8 years later they announced my sister Anna was coming. This was a challenge because my Mom had full bedrest and my Dad was working a lot in Japan at the time. We all worked together and a baby came.
My parents wanted to have more kids but then it took 5 years for another baby to come. I was 15 when this happened and Sammy was born the beginning of my sophomore year in high school. Once again my Mom had to go on bedrest and I internalized a lot of fear and worry about her situation. Whether it was bedrest, recovery or caring for an infant, a new baby kind of monopolized my homelife in high school.
Then we moved to California and the winter before I went away to college my Mom announced she was pregnant again. At the time I was young, selfish and very upset. I was acutely aware of how hard this was going to be and I worried it would pull me away from my dream of BYU. In a way I was right because I felt really guilty at abandoning my Mother at such a hard time.
In August we came home and my Mom had the baby and I went back to school. My sister Madeline and I have never lived together as siblings. The longest time was probably after I returned from my mission in 2005 and lived with my folks for about 3 weeks.
So that is the dynamic of my family. It was unique to have 3 teenagers and 3 babies. It taught me a lot. It forced me to be selfless when I really didn’t want to be and it hopefully gave me some real-life experience if I ever have to be a parent (or co-parent).
I love all of my siblings and as the younger one’s get older I am less the step-Mom and more the sister which is nice. Madeline and I have turned out to have the most in common as far as religion, energy and personalities. Sammy has proven to be a great listener and have a calming spirit about him. He is a great person to talk to when you have a problem because he is very empathetic and encouraging. As a little boy he would get so emotionally involved in your worries it was very touching and he still has that.
Anna and I have a lot of similar tastes in music, theater, movies etc, which has been fun. I’ve enjoyed having her close by and will miss my event buddy. Anna has a bright, cheerful countenance and I will miss that too. Sigh…
My sister Megan and I were the best of friends growing up. She is a great mother and very nurturing and kind. She also has been a great influence in reading and writing. Growing up I was not a great reader and she always had her nose in a book. She is currently trying to achieve her dream of writing a novel and has made strides with an agent.
My brother Ben and I are the most different. I guess it is a classic oldest and next kid dynamic. I thought left, he thought right. That has been an interesting tool to have in my life. To see that someone so fundamentally different can still make good choices and lead a good life has been helpful.
Life in any family can be both a joy and challenge. I know I still feel radically different than my siblings but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It forced me to be happy with my own life choices and to not lean on anyone else. We could support each other, and love one another but that didn’t mean we needed to be the same.
One time when I was in high school I yelled out to my family ‘I’m the normal one. You are the weird one’s and yet in my family I’m the weird one’. That was a ridiculous thing to say but it was kind of true. Megan, Ben and my Mom were more homebodies and happy with a few good friends. I was an active social butterfly.
Neither way is right or wrong but I think I learned to lean a lot on my friends who seemed to process things the way I did. Because of this, I have always been a very friend-reliant person to this day. I guess that’s why loyalty and friendship is the most important topic to me.
So that’s my family. They’ve all taught me something different and I’m glad they are all a part of my life. What about all of you? What have you learned from your siblings? What is the age dynamic in your family and how has that affected you?
I was going to wait and post about my party tomorrow but yesterday’s post was such a downer that I didn’t want to leave that as the heading on the blog for long. Friendship has always been a highly important part of my life. Next to faith there is nothing more valuable to me than a loyal friend. I was reminiscing with my roommate about groups of friends we’ve had, parties thrown etc, and I had a minor epiphany about friendships. Friendship is essential to at least my function but it manifests itself differently in different times of life. Hanging on to the old manifestation can lead you to miss out on the current phase.
Let me explain…
When you are a child and especially a teen your friendships are chosen by you but fellow-shipped by others. For example, I may have chosen Meredith as my best friend in high school but it was our parents, teachers and other activities that facilitated that friendship and made it happen. At the very least people were driving us places, teaching us lessons and coaching us in choir/sports. We became friends through participating in these activities and even when we tested out our leadership skills it was under a controlled, monitored environment.
It is this structure in friendships that causes some teens to party and rebel- trying to make their own choices when really still relying on others to make those poor choices. Fortunately I had good friends who were supportive of my beliefs and I never steered too off course (I was also incredibly strong willed).
Your teen years are also the time when your friends center your life, which is why we worry about teens having or cultivating good friends. No other time in life will who your friends are (for most of us at least) be more influential.
Then your 20’s start and a new degree of independence is given to most people. You are free to go your own way, make decisions and make friends dictated less by others and more by common interests and personalities. Aside from classes and maybe an errant roommate nobody is really forced to be friends with someone in the 20’s the way they may be in your teens. However, you still have a lot of the structure of your teens facilitating activities and the meeting of new people (even dating).
Whether it be through a church group or college setting most people I know met their college friends through some type of organization, fraternity or class. The interesting thing is in college the friendships are often made in such activities but forged in something much more casual. This is partly due to lack of time a college student has but also a lack of funds. Most people I knew in those years didn’t have a ton of money to spend on friend experiences so you spent time together watching movies, TV, sports events and cooking/eating food together.
I have such warm memories of that time in my life. It really helped me become the person I am and was a very happy, simple time. Because things were so casual you do end up wasting a lot of time seeing bad movies, eating junk, and for lack of a better word hanging out but there’s a certain freedom in that. How do you know what movies you like if you don’t see a couple of turkeys? All part of the learning experience.
After my college experience I had my mission which was so separated from normal life I will skip over it for this entry. Then you get into my later 20s (I got home from my mission when I was 24 1/2). This was actually one of the most social times in my life but interestingly enough it mixed the casualness of my college life with a little bit more structure. At this point my friends and roommates had jobs which gave us a little bit more money but less free time. We would still see the occasional bad movie but most activities were researched and thought out.
There was also a lot of routine socialization that happened at that time. For a long time I had a daily dinner group (which I still think was brilliant) where a bunch of us singles were assigned a day of the week to make dinner for the group, so you got a social experience and only had to cook once every 12 days. So great. I also had groups that met regularly to watch a lot of tv shows like American Idol and The Office. For a while in my apartment in American Fork we had 3 or 4 nights a week that had some kind of TV viewing together. I watched Lost every night for 2 years with friends and then I moved and never watched it again. That certainly tells you the influence of friends!
This was actually a hard time in my life personally and it’s amazing I fit so much socializing in when I was working 60 hours, serving at the temple, had 2 other callings and going to grad school. I wouldn’t have done much of it if it wasn’t presented at my door with little to no effort. The house in American Fork was especially good for socializing because we were the only one’s with our own apartment in the ward. Everyone else lived at home so our place became something of an escape for our friends. It’s funny that time in my life is probably where I maintained the fewest of my friends. People got married, moved, and the friendships are mostly through facebook or gone and that’s ok, just interesting.
During my later 20’s is also the only time in my life where I through big parties with lots of people. Or I should say my roommate and I did. We had great Halloween and New Years parties, planned outings and group dates together, concerts (went to more concerts then than ever again), and seemed to find excuses to wear costumes on a number of occasions. Despite it being a challenging age, I have many warm memories. I often drive by the house in American Fork and feel a wave of nostalgia for the good times had just watching TV together with my friends.
Then my 30’s came and things started to change (really more at 28 but close enough). Seemingly overnight the big group TV sessions and parties stopped and everything became more one-on-one, highly planned, intimate interactions with friends. This may not seem like a big deal but I remember feeling so sad that I had no one to watch American Idol with any more or celebrate Halloween (our last ‘big’ party was 2009).
While still loving to entertain it takes a lot more effort now than it used to. No just casual ‘let’s go to the apartment and watch The Office every week’ kind of thing. It takes work but that work can be a joy. It took me a long time to realize that I really enjoyed gathering my friends together and coming up with fun activities. I did swimfests, book clubs, baby showers and dinner parties and loved every one of them. Occasionally I could still pull off the big party like last year for my open house (or tomorrow to celebrate 40 book club books!) but it’s just different.
In 2009 I wrote a post on this very blog about a book club I threw where nobody came and how discouraged I was. https://smilingldsgirl.com/2009/06/10/thoroughly-uncool/ I remember feeling so sad that nobody had come to my party: “I am merely puzzled by my recent inability to attract new friends. It isn’t just with Enrichment but the few times I have had parties the turnout is low. I used to be able to always attract a crowd. Weird, hah?”
The problem I was truly dealing with was looking at a new era of friend-shipping through old eyes. Like I said, sometimes I still feel nostalgic and a little sad for those times. It can feel like I make so much effort and in a selfish mood it can seem underappreciated when it really isn’t. People love it and it means a lot to them but it just takes a lot of work to make friendships in this era of my life function.
Truth is those friendships are better because I’ve had to work hard for them. Unlike the fun time in my late 20s where most of the people have come in and out of my life I have a feeling the friends I have made in the last 5 years will always be a part of my life. That’s what work tends to do. Plus, in a way it is kind of a circle of friendship. When I was a teen others allowed me to make friends, now I am facilitating that experience for others. That is a great gift not a burden.
Anyway, I don’t know if this will mean much to any of you out there but even my friends online (twitter, facebook, this blog) take work but I’ve learned so much from that process. I’ve learned to cook, decorate and entertain. Plus, I’ve learned to actually appreciate and discuss the arts, movies, theater, etc. It’s not casual like those days in my 20s but it’s very rewarding and great.
In the end, enjoy the season you have now. Look fondly on the past, remember the smiles and moments and then try to learn and serve as much as you can in the present.
It’s a good life and I’m grateful for my friends! To a fun day tomorrow!
Hey guys! Hope you are all doing well. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Being sick for 6 weeks was not only unpleasant but it messed up my sleep patterns and I’m not sure how to get things back on track. I’ve been unable to go to sleep until 3am plus. To make matters worse I end up working in the early hours because I have to use the time for something and make up for some lost morning time. The whole thing is a huge problem.
Anyway, I’ve also been reading a lot lately. Last month for book club we read the children classic Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This is a book I remember reading as a child and finding totally engrossing. It tells the story of a Danish family who, along with others, helps Jewish families out of Denmark to Sweden during WWII. It is a very good piece to introduce children to the idea of WWII and the Holocaust without beating them over the head with it.
That said…I found this read through to be tough going. Even though it is a very short book it felt very long (and this from the girl who reads North and South twice a year!). Everything was so predictable and I wasn’t engaged at all in what was happening. I could still recognize why I might have enjoyed it as a child, but as an adult I did not enjoy reading it.
I’ve had this happen several times in the last few years where something I loved in childhood does not hold the same charm to me as an adult. Have you ever had this happen? Of course, some things I liked then I like now such as Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. Some things I didn’t like then but like now such as Wrinkle in Time.
As I’ve wondered about these differing reactions it made me realize I am not very good at looking through ‘kid goggles’. What I mean by that is I cannot imagine what a child would think about a book and then somehow get more out of it because a child would get more out of it. Some people can do that, like my sister Megan, but I cannot.
All that I can do is like something for who I am now and the personal filters and needs I have now. Even if I did try to guess what a child might think or react I would probably get such guesses wrong. I mean with my younger siblings I rarely was able to gauge what they would like or feel comfortable with.
Even if I did guess what a child would like does that mean that I have liked it any more or less? I don’t think so. If I like it, I like it. It’s that simple. I can respect it and realize it just isn’t for me but I can’t look through kid goggles and pretend to enjoy something that I’m not enjoying. Other people seem to be able to do this but I can’t.
Now if someone asks me ‘do you think Madeline will like this book?’ then I can go back and think of that particular teen/child and decide if they would like it but making a judgement of ‘well I thought it was boring but I think the kid-me would have liked it’. That’s probably not going to happen.
It might just me but it seems like the older I get the more picky I am but then again I like my share of indefensible fluff so who knows. I guess I like what I like and sometimes what I like changes. Is that convoluted enough for you?
What about you guys- do you find there are things from your youth that are hard for you to get into as an adult? What is it?
So 2013 has come and gone and I’ve still stuffed up and coughing but hopefully in 2014 I’ll eventually feel better. Sigh…
Now my 33rd birthday is coming up in just a few days and I’m not sure why but recently I’ve heard on the radio, tv, podcasts etc people talking about the transition from your 20’s to your 30’s. Some have referred to it as a ‘quarter life crisis’, other’s just a quest for stability, you get the idea.
I think it happens for different people at different ages and I don’t know if it is always a crisis but for 99% of people they transition from a dreamer at 20 to a realist at 30.
I’ve talked about my own such struggle many times on this blog, the search for a ‘dream job’ and how I settled for an accounting job that gave me a living.
Yes, I totally settled but that hasn’t been a completely bad thing. I get to work from home, can afford a house, and face the daily challenge of trying to master something that I maybe am not the most naturally suited for.
All in all, I’m content with my work life and I try my best to work hard and be worthy of the trust my employer has set in me. Does that mean there aren’t any wishful daydreams or longing sighs through scrapbooks? Of course not but I think that is part of being 33…
I’m sure at 43 I will have a similar feeling looking back at my 30s- mostly nostalgia with a little bit of a regret. I like what Thoreau said “to regret deeply is to live afresh”
I’ll never forget talking with someone a few years ago when I was struggling with a personal loss. I had never met this woman and she told me about an incident involving her son that had devastated her years before. She said every once in a while she will be overwhelmed with the feeling of that moment long ago and that she believes it is Heavenly Father’s way of reminding her ‘wow that was hard and I got through it”
I didn’t intend this to be a sad post but I’ve thought about her statement many times. That the hard moments in life and aren’t softened by the years merely given a happy ending of triumph. It’s like in my open water swims- the memory of the waves and salt are still biting but the knowledge that I finished reassures and exhilarates.
Anyway, I guess if I have a quarter life crisis it is perhaps the worry that with the purchase of my home the most exciting event of my life is behind me. I say that not to engender pity but as a real genuine emotion I had to work through. What if I don’t marry and spend the rest of my life as a single accounting clerk in Draper, writing her blog and swimming? What if?
I suppose that question is the true transition from your 20’s to your 30’s. The window for drastic life changes is closing for most of us at least professionally and we all have to say “what if this is as good as it gets?”
Well, than that’s ok and there certainly could be drastic change. My patriarchal blessing sure promises some but it could all be the same too. We will see!
The other thing is that my desires are changing. I was thinking about that this December and even before I got sick I was soooo grateful I was not traveling for the holidays. Even visiting my family I am not as happy as when I am in my own home- even sick.
I used to think that traveling was the greatest and now it doesn’t appeal much for me. The trip to Disney in 2013 made me realize that unless I can go to a beach, pool or lake travel really doesn’t have much draw anymore. It’s so exhausting, my feet and muscles hurt so badly and unless there is a beach it just doesn’t sound fun.
I’ll do my best and be open to whatever is in store for 2014. We’ll see!
Like this quote:
“I see it all perfectly; there are 2 possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both”
Can anyone relate to these thoughts about the transition between 20’s and 30s?
Today I’m not feeling great. Congestion, cough, sore throat. I suppose the best thing about my job is I work from home and can schlep around in my PJs if I want but it is also hard to really take a day off when I’m sick; however, I don’t mind because it keeps my mind occupied. I swear like 4 people I know have this cold. Sigh…
Anyway, I went to get some soup from Zuppa’s. I love the Yucatan Chicken Tortilla soup. Its flavorful and comforting.
I also decided to get one of my favorite foods when I’m sick- a pudding cup. Pudding cup you ask? Well when I was little I always wanted cute little lunches with things like pudding cups but my family couldn’t afford them (plus, they aren’t exactly good for you). I usually ended up getting hot lunch which was much cheaper. I think at the time my hot lunch cost 1.50. I am sure it is much more now. I could also get breakfast at school for a similar cost (or I ate breakfast at my seminary teacher’s house. He made the most delicious sour dough biscuits and bread with a starter that went back generations).
My Mom has never been a big breakfast person, and usually had toast until she became gluten intolerant (now she can have gluten free bread but I don’t think she has toast as often as she used to). However, her food allergies didn’t happen until I was nearly graduated from college so we had a lot of pasta, salads and sandwiches. One friend I had said we had spaghetti every time she came to my house and she was my friend for about 7 years. Perhaps this is why I’m so fond of the stuff today? I love a good plate of spaghetti.
Interesting enough we almost never had the food my Mom grew up on- roasts, jello, canned goods and casseroles. My Mom did make one yummy mexican tortilla style casserole but it was rare. I don’t ever remember her using canned soups in anything. When I went on my mission to Indiana all of these foods were very common and I had to get used to their high salt content. I also don’t remember ever having wonder bread, plain yellow mustard, grape jelly, tv dinners or bologna. Margarine was rarely used.
It was also a special treat to have cereal. It was too expensive for a large family. My siblings and I could go through a box of cereal in one morning sometimes and so you can imagine my feeling when I went to BYU and they had an entire wall of cereal! It was very exciting! My Mom also loves deli meat over the packaged slimy variety. She would buy that on occasion and I still love it!
I don’t want you to get the impression that we were poor. Far from it, but when you have a big family there are things that are harder to buy than others.
I also have a softspot for lunchables because they really are ridiculous. Paying $4 for cute little crackers, ham and cheese, but then they are cute little crackers with ham and cheese. Every once in a while I’ll buy one just to feel some sense of power in this world of chaos. 🙂
But the ultimate coup de gras of treats I envied in my friends lunchboxes was pudding cups. Tapioca, vanilla and especially chocolate. I loved them and I still think they are tasty. They are just so cute in their little cups. So, if there is anything great about being an adult it is that I can buy pudding cups whenever I want without getting permission from anyone. It’s the good life!
Can you relate to this? Are there any foods you couldn’t have or afford as a kid that you love as an adult? Any guilty pleasures? Please share in the comments section.
So I hated being a kid. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be more grown up, more mature. While I could never go back to being told what to do and how to do it all the time (wasn’t good at that when I was a kid), there are some perks that I wouldn’t mind having. (It’d be like the movie Big but in reverse, go back to being a kid. Script in there!)
I was thinking about this today when I was trying to decide what to eat and nothing looked good. I seem to shop all the time but never have much to eat or that I feel like eating. (I know, a first world problem but there you go). As I was staring into the fridge I couldn’t help but think ‘I wish my Mother was here to make me dinner…’. My Mom is an excellent cook and I definitely didn’t appreciate the gift of having a delicious meal placed before me every night growing up. What a treat that was!
This memory of my Mom’s cooking started me on the thought track listed below:
Reasons Kids Have it Made:
1. Food of Some Kind Provided to them (in most situations) 3 meals a day
2. They don’t have to do meal planning, shopping list making, or have spices for whatever is made (I am always short something when I cook)
3. They could read all day and it be considered a good thing
4. They have activities like piano lessons and art classes paid for and encouraged.
5. They have time to take piano lessons and art classes
6. They can act like fools and it is seen as charming, not idiotic
7. They don’t have to worry about dating, relationships or your biological clock running out!
8. They have someone who plans birthday parties for them and Santa still brings them presents.
9. They get driven everywhere and are completely oblivious of road rage, distracted driving and trying to navigate through town
10. When they do chores around the house they get an allowance. Those end when you become an adult! 😉
11. Their only job is to learn and get along with people. (That I am most envious of!)
12. They should be able to eat without freaking out over carbs, fat grams, sodium, sugar and dieting
13. They have more to look forward to than to look back on
14. They have someone to make them soup and go to the pharmacy when they are sick
15. They have someone to help them on projects or doing most anything.
16. They can have imaginary friends and talk to themselves and everyone thinks it’s charming not psychotic
17. They have leaders, teachers, parents and others who are all thinking of how they can challenge/entertain them
18. They don’t have to work and worry about money
19. They don’t have to worry about politics, current events or anything they can’t control
20. They still have energy at the end of the day!
So there you go. Enjoy it kids while you can! Goodness knows I should have! (I guess when it comes down to it kids are lucky because they still, or should, have a Mother at home)