For Gary Larson, it was more than just a Cow.

“This was more than just a cow - this was an entire career I was looking at.” ~Gary Larson

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Gary Larson may be one of my favorite cartoonists. I think I see all my farm animals in his comics. I was a child who not only talked to animals, but had a heightened sense of them also communicating with me. (ok, I was completely delusional so I just gave them voices telling me what I wanted to hear, there I said it) ;)

Gary’s comics are not only brilliant but they remind me to be me. Reading them, I am reminded of so many childhood moments. If you have fed chickens on a daily basis, you’ll know they are creatures of habit. Mine for instance, would hear me call chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick-ennnnnnnnnns from the house and even though they were always fed at the same spot at the barn, they’d run up to the house and follow me down. It was the same every single solitary day! So, what many of us twisted people do is watch their personalities, give them voices and eventually full-drama scenarios. You see, chickens make you insane. It’s just how it is.

I really don’t know much about Gary or the background for the quote, but what I sense is that he absolutely loved what he did enough to do it for a living. Now, whether or not people just responded to his work or he catered to them, I don’t really know. I suspect he never catered to them because the kind of humor he throws out there can’t possibly come from someone wanting something specific from him. It comes from something more real, perhaps even diabolical! lol

Now, I don’t necessarily believe that everyone’s passion can sell millions of comic-strips, obviously hard work and talent has to fall in there, but Gary’s success is inspiring because he’s made a career from his twisted sense of humor. How cool is that? How could you not just enjoy every single stroke of the pen?

I believe each of us has our own ‘cow’ if you will follow me down the path to this funny farm for a bit. ;) Each of us can look at our life and remember a happy time, a hysterical time, a dark time, a twisted time, a loving time, a sad time, a cool memory, a bad memory. We each have moments where we feel the most connected to our inner child, the crazy one, the funny one, the creative one, the super silly one…and yet we remember still, but saturate ourselves in something else, something more time-consuming, perhaps it’s self-pity, perhaps it’s too much of the news on TV, perhaps gossip, perhaps hate. Why do we do this? Are we masochistically drowning out the hurt? Or are we afraid of embracing who we truly are because it won’t sell, because we will be made fun of or maybe it’s just as simple as we are too tired?

If we are genuinely too sad, too tired or too lazy to immerse ourselves in the things we love to do, where do we find the emotion, energy and time to fill our days with extensive grief and negativity?

Contrary to what you have experienced, or what the TV, radio and internet feeds you, the world is beautiful and perfect, humans, maybe not…but aside from the world, there is you. YOU get to be you today. YOU get to break down a 24 hour cycle hour and spend it how you want. YOU can choose to watch a gossipy news channel or go for a hike. YOU can put the radio on or crank the music you love. YOU can surf for more news on headlines that depress you or you can search out websites of inspiration. YOU can give love to a child, a pet or a spouse instead of abusing them. This gift of choice is the most beautiful part of our life!

Gary chose to draw cows and chickens. What could have seemed like a small insignificant part of his life has bled into millions of people’s homes and caused laughter world-wide.

What part of YOUR world can you embrace with all your heart and share with the intent of inspiring others, not just making money? I highly doubt Gary ever did what he did with the thought of making millions from it. But people appreciate the honest place it came from and had he ever done it for the masses in the first place, it may not have been as funny or true. :)

Enjoy YOUR day!
Karen :)

“On Career Day in high school, you don't walk around looking for the cartoon guy.” ~Gary Larson


The Butterfly and the Storm

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually gone away. Growing up, the farm keeps you close, work doesn’t allow too many days off or you are too far behind on your list so you don’t do it. I just decided to do it no matter how crazy things were because if you can’t make time, you just take it anyways. So far, I haven’t been able to manufacture more hours than 24, so away I went!

While I would love to fill everyone in on details and would love to answer every single last question many of you have had, I was with family. As open as I like to try and be, none of my family opted into my world and so I keep their lives private more than my own. Anytime something just concerns me, I’d be more than happy to share. This is no different for any of you out there who have told me something private, given me mailing information etc. It’s not my business to share those details with anyone else. Hope that makes sense!

But I will go on to say I personally had a lovely time and really didn’t understand how much I needed to get away from everything. I almost hesitate to even say that because I don’t feel the need to get away so much these days. I am reminded of some hellish moments in my life where getting away meant my survival! But when you leave your normal schedule and enter a world that involves socializing and family you realize how many tiny details you’ve missed that really are very big.

Something I do every day is ask the Creator where I am needed and try to be open to learning new things or at least a new perspective. I had two awesome moments where I felt like I saw this new angle. One was through a butterfly and one was through a storm.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times my Mother’s memory has become very fresh and real to me through butterflies and ladybugs. There have been all these cool moments where I have felt sad, lonely, desperate or depressed and a ladybug will land on me or a butterfly visits. I’ve always likened the butterfly to hope, change and metamorphosis and the ladybug is something my Mom used to use in analogies a lot. Ladybugs were always transferred to houseplants if we found them to eat the little aphids and I loved a song on Sesame Street called the Ladybug Picnic when I was a kid. ;)

Well I had a quiet walk along one of the Great Lake coasts where a butterfly followed me for almost the whole walk until I realized what a cool moment it was. I looked up and smiled at the Creator and Mom and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my walk. I just needed that tiny moment for rejuvenation.

But nothing replenishes a tired spirit like watching a lightning storm from 34,000 feet. I have seen many storms growing up in Ontario, but never one like this. I was flying back to Los Angeles and the pilot had to re-route in order to avoid the storm. He came on the PA and said, “If you look to your right, you’ll see why I had to go another way.”

I was so thankful to have had a window seat on the right side of the plane for the whole flight. We were above these magnificent white fluffy clouds that looked like Snow Mountains and above them was a layer of storm clouds that had lightning shooting out from every available angle. I was terribly humbled and reflected on how small I was. The perspective I gained wasn’t that of feeling emotionally small, but I came to a whole new level of understanding how my petty issues would never and could never change the massively brilliant and overwhelming power that was happening above us, not to mention underneath us and around us all.

I was struck with a lesson; the world doesn’t really change, I do. I’ll try and keep that a fairly broad stroke of the brush, because obviously the world is changing, it’s just staying the course of its path which is a more logical route of change. I have felt less of a need to even understand it all, I am just super excited to insert myself inside it all. I take great comfort in it because it means I can give up control a little more, I can be more tolerant and most of all, the things we tend to worry or argue about are completely useless because that lightning cloud will strike when it wants to. It’s really more about continuing to mold my own character and most importantly, it’s vital that I understand how the bigger picture functions so I can ride the wave instead of trying to swim against it. Fighting a current may seem like fun or even feel like we are making progress, but really, this world is perfect outside of what we have screwed up and it’s waiting for us to jump on its train. I feel more than ready to do that. Head-banging belongs at a concert, not against a wall. :)

Then, think about how many layers we are living under. We see the ceiling in our room, but not the house. We see the roof, but not the clouds…but above those clouds is a whole universe at work. I have had the tendency to only see to the top of the space inside my own head! The world is at work and doing amazing things if we just tip our heads upwards more often.

I am very happy to be back. I am working on some very creative projects that I enjoy and I’ve missed everyone this week! My internet was disgustingly slow and often unavailable but maybe sometimes we need that too.

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Waxing Philosophical and Puppy Love

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.” ~Walter Anderson

You know you are getting older when you hunger for knowledge the same way you did as a kid. I had a (dare I say) very large portion of my life where I didn’t want to learn anything. You know, somewhere between 13 and 25? Now, I have learned tons from people in that age bracket so I won’t say all people in that age group are know-it-alls, it’s just an age where you probably have the tendency to think you have it figured out IF that possibility should arise. ;)

(perhaps in 10 years from now I will learn that I was being condescending right there...lol)

I was always taught by my Mother to read for joy. Mom presented books to me as though they were a candy store selection. She would assist me through Shakespeare and would encourage me to not be so intimidated. She would point out phrases that she thought were silly, funny or pretentious and would always say, “What a ridiculously spectacular time these people lived in”. Mom was the ultimate people-watcher, non-judgmental and ecstatically marveled at human nature with an infectious laughter. Her nose was always in a book and I was envious of how she could read when a storm was going on around her. She viewed it like a fantasy or an escape from reality. She simply loved to read.

Teachers taught me to read so I could “get ahead” in life. It was imperative that I not be left behind with just the illiterate but also the uneducated and lazy. “You will never amount to anything in this life without reading everything!” My Mother would also laugh at them and shrug it off.

Well, thankfully I do like to read because without Mom’s enthusiasm, I would probably have been turned off the teachers’ presentation.

The quote I started with is a phrase that for some reason shows its face to me at every corner. Maybe it’s like if our favorite animal is a dog, we look for them everywhere in the city. (oh no, not speaking from experience…hahahah) Maybe the quotes, phrases and words that are directly corresponding to our situation pop a bit more because we look for them. Perhaps unlike the puppy love, we search for an answer to our misfortunes. (or IS getting a puppy the answer to my, er I mean OUR misfortunes?)

It’s like when you are going through something difficult, you want to hear a friend say what you already know to be true…just a stronger opinion that will guide you to doing what your gut already knows. The quote above comes to me so often, I wonder if I am supposed to just put it on my fridge. Maybe I should rearrange the words like those magnets and see if it’s telling me something else. Or quite simply, it may just be something I need to hear over and over and over…
Storm-proofing may sum up most of my life so far. Preparing my character may absorb more time than anything else. I am reaching a point though where I am rather enjoying it, much like how Mom would have presented it. I’m becoming like a scientist eager to see how it’s going to play out (or is that more like a child?) It’s good to know (like Mr. Anderson suggested) the reality is that bad things happen and how I react is the issue, not the incident itself.

‘Immobilized’ is a key word in his quote. Exactly how does a person move ahead without being mobile? That seems like a silly question, right? Something’s broken…it won’t run! If you peel back all the layers, you’d find out that is trickier for most people when the answer is apparently simple! Maybe because none of us are auto-mechanics. We don’t have the knowledge required to fix what’s under the hood.

I have known for a while now that it’s the reaction which is crucial, but this man was definitely right in one part of the quote for sure. We are able to CHOOSE. In my many, many readings of it, I just nicely recognized that the most significant part is “choose to rise”. We may not have the means right now to change a grave situation, but we are ALWAYS able to at the VERY LEAST choose how we deal with it and how we react to it. (which I do believe the VERY LEAST, becomes the VERY MOST) ;)

Isn’t still having the ability to choose one of life’s most amazing gifts? We aren’t robots! We are loved! We can still choose. I believe the fact that we are given this present is the ultimate reward.

Thank you Mom; for distracting me from the educators who could have turned me off of reading. I don’t know what I would do without my love for words.

Eagerly awaiting the next life lesson…who knew learning could be so fun?
Karen :)

I also love this one by him too;
“Our lives improve only when we take chances - and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” ~Walter Anderson

OOOOOH check this afterthought ….Ok, back to the puppy thing, how about this, Puppies do not bring happiness, I will bring THE PUPPY happiness. Someday…everything I have learned will culminate into making some unfortunate little puppy-pauper the KING of my castle. :)

How is that for the meaning of life? ;)