Tag Archives: humor

Grandma Lee’s Funeral

Dress covered in wrinkles and iron juice, I try to seem as put-together as my cousin.

Dress covered in wrinkles and iron juice, I try to seem as put-together as my cousin.

My weekend might have been worse than yours. We flew to Athens, Georgia, for my grandmother’s funeral. Reed calls me the velcro member of “The Family” (the core family: my two sisters and our parents). I am the detachable/re-attachable obligation.

24 hours until the funeral:
Reed, Luc, and I arrive at Bob Hope International Airport relaxed, ready for caffeine, and determined to make the best of a funeral weekend. Michael, our Southwest ticketing agent, cringes as he breaks the news that we are at the wrong airport. Our flight will leave from LAX as scheduled, and we would need teleportation to board on time.

22 hours until the funeral:
The Great Wrong Airport Debacle of 2015 resolved (thank you, Southwest!!), we scuttle through security where I nervously present an expired driver’s license and my antique passport. A text from my sister pings that we should not stop by our parents’ house (both of my sisters are staying there) when we get to town because Mom is stressed. I figure she must only want family around her at a time like this. Oh wait. I am family.

11 hours until the funeral:
We hobble into the Holiday Inn of Athens, Georgia, at 1am. Luc is asleep. I am 18% alive. The empty bottle of saline surprises Reed anew, and he makes his monthly dash to a 24 hour drugstore.

4 hours until the funeral:
A text from my sister pings that we should not go to our parents’ house today before the funeral because Mom is overwhelmed. I figure she must want family around her at a time like this. Oh wait…

3 hours until the funeral:
A text from my sister pings that we should absolutely be on time for the funeral. The Family will arrive promptly at noon, and I’d better be there waiting. Or else. I silently question 5 hours of flying, 4 hours of laying over, and 3 hours of driving for this.

1 hour until the funeral:
The hotel iron is a union member who already worked 40 hours this week. My dress, covered in wrinkles and large ovals of iron juice, has reached a new level of suitcase chic.

11:15 AM:
We arrive at the church and debate parking in the spaces marked “Funeral.” My husband insists we can’t park there because “those spaces are for family only.” Really? Really?? Velcro Girl growls.

The Family arrives. Mom moves and speaks with a quiet fluidity. I think she is medicated. We file into a gargantuan sanctuary. Ambitious choice for a 99 year old’s funeral. Surprise baptism! My sister scheduled an adult baptism for herself. Today. An hour before our grandmother’s funeral. The Family is pleased and does not offer an explanation.

12:15 PM:
Miraculously, energetic, excited-to-see-each-other-after-a-whole-year 5 and 7 year-old cousins remain quietly pretend-somber. Sort of. Mom invites everyone to view a short, silent slide show of Grandma Lee through the years. It loops. And loops. For 45 minutes.

Grammy promises her fading grandchildren tiny, mysterious presents if they behave. Desperate parents hiss time-outs, shoot stink-eyes, and issue death threats to bring the impossible to fruition: happy, hungry, bored, quiet, calm children.

Post Funeral:
The service lasted in the neighborhood of 136 child-years. We file into a room with finger sandwiches and cookie platters. Luc takes a finger sandwich for show, and then shovels 80% of the cookies onto his plate. I pretend not to notice because, frankly, he deserves them.

Eventually we are dismissed and return to the hotel for food and swimming. A stressful, mandatory, The Family style dinner closes the day.

24 Hours Post Funeral:
Reed packed with an air of time abundance. We arrive at our gate hungry and just in time to board. Hopefully trail mix will satiate us for the next 5 hours. “Attention please: we have a passenger on board with a peanut allergy. No peanuts or peanut products will be permitted today. Thank you!” We survive on millions of pretzelito packs and thimbles of orange juice.

Was my weekend worse than yours?

Everything Bagel Life

Raisins ruin Everything bagels.

Raisins ruin Everything bagels.

I want an Everything bagel life. When onions, sesame seeds, salt, poppy seeds, and garlic each add their unique contributions, the result is an extraordinary bagel. The world is a richer place because of that collaboration.

But sometimes I feel like the raisins. Raisins aren’t invited to the Everything bagel party. Everybody knows that raisins would ruin the Everything bagel.

I found an interesting group created for inclusiveness in literature. It was thrilling to read their mission statement. “We recognize all diverse experiences…” They understood that having more books with a rainbow of characters would benefit everyone! This was the Everything bagel I’d been hoping for! But as I read about various grants and contests, I kept bumping into a familiar exclusion:

“Please note: … Being … a parent of … a diverse person will not qualify an otherwise ineligible applicant.”

It made me feel like a foolish raisin for once again trying to find acceptance in an Everything bagel.

My situation is tricky. I’m white, and so I have all the privilege that goes with being white. Is it because of white privilege that people judge me negatively for adopting a black child? We are routinely stared at, yelled at, scolded, mocked, threatened, harassed, bullied, dismissed, and excluded (see above).

What do I want? I’m not sure. My bio says: “An adoptive mom and former comic strip creator, I want to add to the diversity on the bookshelves by telling silly stories through a family that looks like mine: transracial and full of love.” I want to be a part of desensitizing people from the curiosity of uniqueness, and sensitizing them to a life of collaboration.

But, I keep getting scolded and told to go back to my Raisin bagel. On top of that, the Raisin bagel isn’t too sure about me anymore either. The raisin bagel thinks I wish I’d been born a poppy seed.

It always leaves me wondering, “Am I doing this right?”

Life Questioned: Did You Buy Luc?

When a conversation seems headed toward "orphanage," Luc shuts it down. Firmly.

When a conversation seems headed toward “orphanage,” Luc shuts it down. Firmly.

The other day, Luc and I were hanging out with a 7 year old family friend. Kind of out of the blue, she asked a blunt question. For the rest of the conversation, my only thought was, “Am I doing this right?”

Julie: “Did you have Luc in your tummy, or did you buy him?”

Me: “God brought our family together through adoption. Luc was not in my tummy.”

Luc: “I don’t want to talk about this.”

Me: “Fair enough, Luc. Is it okay if Julie asks me questions with her Mom when you are not around?”

Luc: “Not if she’s gonna come to me afterward with even more questions.”

Me: “OK. Julie, can we promise that I’ll answer your questions, and that you won’t try to talk to Luc about this unless he says it’s okay?”


Luc: “She’s not promising.”

Me: “Julie, have you ever been through something in your life that was really hard, and you don’t want to talk about it?”

Julie: “Yes.”

Me: “That’s how Luc feels about this subject. Does that make sense?”

Julie: “Yes.”

Me: “So, can you two agree that you won’t ask each other about the hard stuff you’ve been through that you don’t want to talk about?”

Both: “Yes.”

Me: “Thanks, y’all. And by the way, Julie, I want to be clear about one thing that is absolutely true. I love Luc exactly as much as your Mom loves you.”

Julie: “I don’t know about that. My Mom loves me the biggest number.”

Me: “I know! And that’s how much I love Luc, too!”

Then Julie and Luc argued over which amount of love was bigger: infinity or googleplex. But how many zeroes does googleplex have? We would need to google it. “We need to Google googleplex.” Giggles. And we closed the conversation giggling about Googling googleplex.

Gimme a G-E-N-E-R-I-C!!!

Depression Adventures: Generic Medication!

Gimme a G-E-N-E-R-I-C!!!

Gimme a G-E-N-E-R-I-C!!!

Celexa costs $200 per month, with insurance. Citalopram (the generic version of Celexa) costs $7 per month, without insurance. What a bargain! AND! Citalopram not only costs less, it also comes with the hilarious puzzlement of figuring out which laboratory produces a version of Citalopram that will result in the fewest negative side effects for each particular human! But wait, there’s more!

Each month, pharmacies (Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc.) decide how much they are willing to pay to stock Citalopram. And, each month the various laboratories decide how much they need to charge for their versions of Citalopram. Sometimes Target Pharmacy and Aurobindo Labs are a good match. Sometimes not. If they don’t agree on a price, then Target Pharmacy might decide to stock Mylan Labs or Sandoz Labs instead. Maybe even Teva Labs. Who knows?! That’s what keeps it exciting! But wait, there’s more!!

Each time people who take Citalopram (we’ll call them The Wet Blanket Puss Crowd) get to switch to a new Citalopram version, they adventure back into their unmedicated state of depression! The descent can last around 1 to 2 fun-filled weeks. Near the end of week 2, The Wet Blanket Puss Crowd might notice a steady lifting of the depression! Unless, of course, they don’t. Because sometimes they won’t. I’m sorry to say that bang ups and hang ups CAN happen to… Ahem. Maybe the new version will work, and maybe it won’t! And, if it works, maybe it will work as well as the previous version, or maybe it won’t! And maybe it will cause unstoppable weight gain and fatigue, or maybe not so much! Wheee!

But one thing is guaranteed: ADVENTURE!!

Side effects may include: social stigma, stranger stink-eye, increased insurance rates, loss of patience by loved ones, declined life insurance coverage, expectations to cheer up, assumptions of insanity, receipt of recipes for health food, and death by zombie shark attack.

Daily Dictionary – “abandon”

“vb 1 to leave and never return to : give up completely 2 to stop having or doing” (Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary)

I decided to abandon my self-sabotage demon on a desert island, and I haven’t seen it since.

Demons can't swim. No swimming lessons in hell.

Demons can’t swim. No swimming lessons in hell.

I have started timing these sketches b/c they are meant to be a daily warm-up, not a time-suck. Evidently, this will cause a quality dip … hopefully only temporarily. I prefer the line art for this sketch to the color.

When I was adding color, I accidentally added it to the line art layer. I still like the line art better than the color. But I like the little color that is accidentally in there.

When I was adding color, I accidentally added it to the line art layer. I still like the line art better than the color. But I like the little color that is accidentally in there.

Dear Universe: A promise from me

Dear Entire Universe:

I draw funny pictures with a surprising amount of angst.

I draw funny pictures with a surprising amount of angst.

No matter how large or small the Voyager ends up showing you to be, I am making a promise to you. If I manage to become a successful children’s graphic novel creator, I will never NEVER EVER say: “It just kind of, ya know, happened.” That is a fat lie. And it’s certainly not helpful to anyone when pompous, egotistical writers say stupid trash like that.

This may be the new and less effective generic anti-depressants talking, but I think all the successful writers who claim that their success fell into their laps, insinuating that they are super humans who were always going to rocket to the stratosphere… um… I got a little grammatically lost in that sentence. So, I’ll start a new one! I think all those jerks should be taken out back to the shed and shot.

In case we can’t find a way to write shed executions into law, other ideas might include the following: we all let our dogs poop on their lawn, sell them only dying batteries for their smoke alarms, and/or nobody turn your ringer off when you go to one of their readings.

Thank you for your time, Universe.

Most Sincerely,
Allison Garwood

Daily Dictionary – “abalone”

“a shellfish that is a mollusk which has a flattened shell with a pearly lining” (Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary)

When I told my Grandma that I’d watched an abalone wrestle a tiger shark and win, she replied, “Aaaaa baloney!”

These guys are not strong wrestlers.

These guys are not strong wrestlers.

Daily Dictionary – “abacus”

“an instrument for doing arithmetic by sliding counters along rods or in grooves” (Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary)

How should I know the answer to that math question? Get your abacus!