I wasn’t referring to my tardiness with this ‘toon, but I guess that applies too. What with all the excitement about Frank and Mikey’s family trip, I bet you thought I forgot that BeBe Maurice was coming to visit the DC pandas, and also that Mei Xiang’s sister Lun Lun foisted off the twins, Six & Sebben, on her.
Is that the doorbell I hear?
Whoever could it be? Fun art note, in my rough draft, I just had the doorbell ringing once, but then I thought, how would Mei know that it was Six & Sebben? I think the solution was obvious.
It’s been a year, hasn’t it? And that doesn’t even include the previous 4 years as we descended into madness of the former guy’s reign of terror.
Fezbook likes to sideswipe you with memories from years past, and so my post about the passing of the real life Mehitabel popped up, from January of 2017. She put in her time and then some, living almost to her 21st birthday. She managed to avoid coyotes, owls, and raccoons that call my woodland their home.
I will miss you forever, my beautiful kitty girl.
During that month, as we anticipated the incoming former guy, with a lot of trepidation, we also experienced a day of solidarity and joy as all over the world we marched to say, we are watching you. Even my little town of Langley had a massive turnout, despite many people (4 bus loads if I remember correctly) headed into Seattle for an even bigger march.
In the final year of the former guy’s assault on democracy (is it the final year? Seems like he is still assaulting us;) we lost over 600,000 to a worldwide pandemic, which, among TFG’s many crimes, the crime of letting the pandemic run almost unopposed was one of his worst. So many families were torn apart as their loved ones died in hospitals, unable to be together or mourn their losses with family members.
The panda community lost one of our own, not to Covid, but to a bad heart, which is kind of ironic, since Jayelle had one of the biggest hearts I’ve come into contact with on these interwebs.
I made this series of ‘toons in her memory:
2020 did have one bright spot…well, at least two that I can think of. The first was our own little miracle cubby born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC, who just made his public debut about a month ago, and is already wowing the crowds.
And the real life Bao Bao (Princess Pinky to her Panda Chronicle fans)had a cubby in her new home in China. alas, as an inexperienced mom, they decided her cubby would do better with an adopted family with an experienced mom and a brother. Fortunately for us, they have their own panda cam, so we can watch her antics.
It left me with a dilemma, since I have chosen to keep Pinky a perpetual teenager, living at home with her family. Hey. It’s fiction. I can do anything I want. I mean Charlie Brown was six for like 75 years, okay?
But there is more than one way to..um… well, you know.
It’s been a very hard year for so many, and a hard lifetime for so many more. I’m not sure where we go from here when so many people are so insistent on denying the reality of the former guy’s loss. The events of January 6, 2021 weigh heavily on my brain. The centuries of racism and the continuing assaults on Black, Latin, and Asian people in this country hurt my very core. The GOP led states who are even now passing voter suppression bills to amplify the harms done, make me wonder if there is any hope for humanity.
Could we learn to be better people? It sure doesn’t seem like that’s the direction we’re headed in. I’m waiting for those who have the power to make laws, to practice justice, to do their jobs and use their power to help people and not just find ways to hold onto that power.
Sorry to be kind of down tonight.
Call your Congress folks, Get your vaccine, Work for social justice.
Meanwhile, back at the real SNZ, Bikkie seems to be taking the throngs of real life visitors in stride, or at least in cubby trot! So just remember, when real life gets too surreal, there is always the panda cam!
Who would have guessed my creative journey would have taken me into the realm of needle felted pandas, or even Panda Satire? Certainly not me! When I was in art school, back in the days when you could get a college education for less than the price of a house, if you were a painting student, you PAINTED! Nothing else was acceptable! You did not “waste” your talents on such frivolous pursuits as Panda Satire, for crying out loud!
For some number of years, I held to those principles. Eventually the realities of a more regular cash flow lead me down the path of printmaking (etching to start). Eventually I embraced other forms of printmaking, such as lithography, monoprint, and monotype. One of the universal truths I discovered was that all forms of making art have something to offer, and each technique you add to your tool box, circles back around and makes the other forms you practice stronger.
Working on black and white etchings made my paintings much stronger, with greater attention to composition and light an dark values.
This all has a point
The recession of 2008 hit me hard, and I needed something to cheer me up. Pandas were the answer. I don’t know what the question is. What I do know, is that one thing leads to another: panda satire lead to starting to write children’s book (another pursuit which has a long way to reach its conclusion) and it also led to making needle felted pandas.
Every bear has a story
Some of the stories are mine, but the felty panda troop inspires stories in the people who welcome them into their homes. I am honored to be entrusted with some of these stories, and rather than my usual dive into the archives today, I am going to share some of the photos sent to me by a lover of the felty bears. They have added their own touch to the settings, and as one who has always loved dollhouse miniatures, the exquisite details they have added to the scenes thrill me no end!
Enjoy these Felty Dioramas!
I hope you enjoyed these felty dioramas! It’s never too late to have a panda party at your house!
What does this mean for the Panda Chronicles! Has PPJ (Princess Pinky Junior) arrived out of an alternative future to live with all the pandas at the Panda House? And now Beary Poppins has gone off on vacation? Is Mei doomed to a never emptying nest?
Thank you to my talented web guru, I once again have the Classic Editor to set upon my posts. He put in a different plugin to allow me to have my luddite tendencies a bit longer. It does seem to be doing this strange thing once again. where I lose the connection temporarily, but it does seem to allow me to keep typing.
I don’t know. It’s all a mystery to me.
But Meanwhile, here is Pinky, once again, with all the answers!
Will Mei ever learn that it doesn’t pay to ask Pinky anything?
I seem to be having some technical difficulties, but hopefully, they will sort themselves out (and by themselves, I mean my very capable and accessible web guru, Nate Hoffelder who writes The Digital Reader and has a web guru business)
I wonder if some of my problems are due to my reluctance to give up the old editing interface that I’ve been using for the past 10 years, and move on to the new WordPress way of doing things….sigh…
Anyway….Pinky still has more questions to answer!
I am trying the newfangled editing thingie, and I guess I don’t totally hate it. Maybe I will even get used to it in a few weeks!
Yes, it’s the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, here in most of the USA, and you know what THAT means!
Yes, it’s time for THIS ‘toon!
Sunday Funday KNOWS that this is one of your favorites!
I crack me up!
There are more ‘toons to come, but first…Last week the world of children’s literature lost one of it’s greatest practitioners, Norton Juster.
If you don’t recognize the name, run, don’t walk to your favorite bookstore, and buy your very own copy of The Phantom Tollbooth. TPT is one of those books. Published in 1961, I read it for the first time a few years after that. For years afterward, I could remember little snippets, but could never quite remember the title, or when I had read it, but the magic of this book never quite let go. When I found it again, it was as if I had been shown the entrance to a magical place, not unlike tasing through the tollbooth itself.
There are so many great books being written for children and teens right now. But I re-read The Phantom Tollbooth every year or so, because it never fails to reveal something new, that I really need to know. I hope you already love this book, but if you don’t know it, what are you waiting for?
And now, more pandas! (Expect the Panda Kindergarten!)
Well *bleep* and take your *bleep* and stick it *bleep*!!!!
Twinkies 2.0 put on a show!
I have extra frosting!
Today, you are a bear.
…if I were a panda, yadda dah dah da- da- da- AAARGH! I can’t stop!!!!!