October!

Mon 11/2/2020

October felt like a month where a lot of things that had been in the works for a long time finally came to fruition.


On the art front, my friend Aron Nels Steinke's new book Mr. Wolf's Class: Field Trip was released. I had the pleasure of coloring this book (with some help from my wife Claire), plus my daughter Suzanne loves the series, so it was great to see the fourth book in print. I will begin coloring book five soon!

On the teaching front, The Center for Cartoon Studies announced that it will be offering Winter Workshops for the first time ever! This is something we've wanted to do for many years, but it was never feasible because of how hard it is to travel to/from Vermont during winter break. After the success of our online summer workshops however, we decided to offer three workshops 100% online, including my Introduction to Hand-Drawn Animation workshop. They all run January 11-15 from 11am-5pm ET. Check them out!

In conjunction with the new Winter Workshops, CCS also launched a new merit-based scholarship to support professional development for BIPOC cartoonists. Submissions are due December 1st and one scholarship will be awarded per workshop, which covers the full tuition. CCS alumni and current students also receive 50% off tuition for any of the workshops!

After a long, hot, dry summer which seemed to be dragging into autumn, it finally began to get cold at night in October, which made the leaves begin to fall. Suzanne and Wendy really got a kick out of making leaf piles and jumping in them this year, which was fun to watch. Then, a week ago we had a big ice storm that dropped something like eight inches of snow over two nights, which was very exciting. We made lots of short expeditions out into the snow, and then rushed back inside to cuddle up by the fire.

For a few days this month we had access to a car, so we drove out to Claire's dad's land, to pay him a socially-distanced visit with masks on. The girls have been cooped up at our house since March, so it was nice for them to get a brief change of scenery. Even just walking around his property and playing with Grandpa's dog Nina was very exciting for them.

Suzanne wanted to be a bat for Halloween, so Claire dutifully made her a costume, which she wore once (luckily I snapped a photo!). We were never able to get her to put it back on, not even on Halloween. I can't blame her because we didn't go trick or treating. Wendy did not request a specific costume, but she also wears a dress-up dress seven days a week, so I guess every day is Halloween for her.

Claire's mom dropped off some pumpkins, and my Mom and Liz sent care packages, so we did our best to make it a special day with pumpkin carving, cookie decorating and some candy too. Suzanne has been obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, which has been on repeat for the past few weeks. She's watched a bit of the movie, but most of it is too scary.

For about a year now Claire and her father have been working on a new front gate for our house, to replace the '70s Sears chain link fence that was on there when we moved in. Four months ago she submitted scale drawings, photo mock-ups, and plans to the city, and finally this month our permit was approved. We've been chipping away at it on weekends (literally - chiseling out old concrete to remove the Sears posts) and then finally this past weekend we got the gate in place, which Claire's dad had built months ago. There are still a few small steps that need to be completed, including the fabrication and installation of the decorative steel plates which Claire designed. Hopefully we can have it all done by the end of the year.

Other than that? We all got our flu immunizations (shown here are the post-shot donut rewards), and are planning on hunkering down as much as possible through November and December, so that we do not contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter.

Claire and I voted by mail the day our ballots arrived. I'm writing this on the eve of Election Day, to try and separate all of these October events from whatever is going to happen tomorrow (and in the following weeks). Obviously, if you haven't already, please get out and vote tomorrow! Thank you to all the poll workers and postal workers who have been working so hard to make early voting possible. I'm nervous and anxious about the whole situation, but still hopeful we can climb out of this mess and restore some sanity to our country. Hang in there and stay safe, everyone!

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