Friday, January 10, 2020

Baby Yoda and Geralt of Rivia

The Child as the Child Surprise in the Bathtub:

Last week I thought it was time to be done with Baby Yoda napkins, but then I watched some of Netflix’s The Witcher, featuring the plot point of “The Law of Surprise” which becomes “The Child Surprise,” and suddenly “The Child” from the Mandalorian popped back into my mind. 

The Witcher show, the Witcher game and Witcher memes have all been in circulation at our house lately. I initially had some difficulty watching Henry Cavill grumbling in a dirty white hairpiece, but eventually succumbed to the sublime ridiculousness of it all. 

And there ‘s not one, but two! bathtub scenes in the course of one season! Strangely, bathing seems to be a thing in fantasy video games. I often find our older son’s avatars in some sort of undressed state in a bath while recuperating between bouts of dueling and pillaging.  Apparently Geralt the Witcher also sits in a bathtub in his game. But he does not have Superman’s body. 

While looking for source material for this image, I particularly enjoyed watching a video clip of a slightly less chiseled Mr. Cavill on a talk show couch, explaining how he severely dehydrated himself for days to make his muscles look better before these scenes.

So if I were going to draw Geralt, I felt I had to put him in a bath. The fact that he is shirtless, of course “makes it one hundred times worse!” according to our younger son. 

Mission accomplished, I think.

Our son did add that it was not as bad as the previous “Boob Yoda” napkin. (Wonder Woman armor with Baby Yoda breast plates) 
I have to point out that “Boob Yoda” has been marginally more liked than many of our other recent napkins.

And I think it definitely should be a hashtag:
But then there’s the “booby” oda problem.
Now I’ve really made my kids uncomfortable.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Decade Ago in Napkins

Napkins from 2010 or before:

I have to admit the  exact dates are a bit imprecise before 2011 when I started posting them at 

Before that, used napkins were collected in cardboard boxes and the kids spread them around the house when they waxed nostalgic and wanted to revisit their fixations of years, or months, past. 

I started drawing for the first kid in 2006, and there were maybe three or four years of just Sharpie, mostly black, with some special efforts in Sharpie colors. 

By the time the second child was added to the program in 2009, I had caved in to the pressure for more color.

Then there was the pressure to fill in the whole napkin and have multiple characters.

Napkins with too much white space were perceived as shirking. And god forbid if one kid’s napkin had less white space than the other- that was a blatant case of favoritism. 

While the napkins did return home most often, they were improved by selective crumpling and applications of yogurt and catsup.

Eventually I graduated to more expensive art markers that allowed a wider palette and faster coverage of the surface. 

And eventually the kids stopped using them as, well, napkins.

My younger son looked at the image of the sand person napkin tonight and told me my drawing has improved a lot. While this is true, these truly daily napkins back from the early days with a six year old and a two year old were only drawn at night after the kids were in bed in the midst of multiple other domestic chores including of course, the packing of a nutritious lunch (so nutritious!)

So, my time was rather limited, and the finessing of sand person fingers was not a priority.

But yes, I do draw better after 13 years of napkins, it is true. 

Baby Yoda Breastplate

Cringeworthy Pop Culture Combination:
(which seemed obvious to me... but my son promises we will lose even more followers than usual)

Now that I am more or less liberated from trying to make a small child happy at a school lunch by drawing on a napkin, I can focus on producing napkins that make adolescents cringe. 
Cringing is a term that is definitely compelling to the contemporary adolescent mind, compelling in a way that I can’t quite grasp. 

One of our sons eagerly follows “make me suffer” on reddit, which is definitely a cringe fest.

But nothing makes one suffer more than the embarrassing behavior of one’s parents during one’s adolescence. 

But, beyond tormenting my sons: let me be honest, when I saw the promotional materials for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, featuring this fetishized, neon, 80’s style, close-up of the breastplate of her “Eagle Armor,” the universe whispered “Baby Yoda” in my ear. 

My apologies. Unfollow at will.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Mandalorian Menorah

Happy 8th Night of Hanukkah 
(Somehow I forgot to post this on the actual night)
There were a couple Baby Yoda Christmas themed napkins, so I thought we ought to represent other holidays. 

Babies Groot and Yoda Celebrate 2020

Happy New Year:
One last Baby Yoda, with his predecessor, Baby Groot.

Not my best effort, but look at those cool glasses! It’s a good year for New Year’s eyewear.

Here’s to better drawing in 2020.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Homemade Wrapping Paper 2019

Homemade Wrapping Paper:
Does it redeem mediocre gifts?

Perhaps not this year, but I remain optimistic about the future.

This year I drew the kids wrestling with their heads replaced by animals. 

Why? You may ask. 
Because last year I drew zombie Santa, sharks, and animals wearing reindeer menorah those topics were already done.

I usually try to not leave too much time to make wrapping paper because then I fuss over it too much, which does not improve it, and is perhaps inappropriate for something that is meant to be crumpled and removed.

But this year I did not have time to make enough and things were unwrapped...and the paper I did make was not exactly up to the already very low wrapping paper standards....

But.....there’s always next year, right?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Santa Yoda

Merry Christmas 2019

I promised Baby Yoda wearing a ugly Hanukkah sweater this week, but Christmas was today, and we still have a few more days of Hanukkah to work with.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Happy Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

The Season To Be Jolly ‘Tis 
And apparently nothing cannot be improved by Baby Yoda

Next week: ‘The Child” wearing unattractive Hanukkah sweaters? 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Faux Furries in December

Some Faux Fur is More Faux Than Others:

It’s Faux Fur Friday
(The first Friday in December, according to the National Day Calendar)

I was thinking that we should have a napkin about upcoming December movies...the latest and much anticipate Star Wars saga finale is looming.... And then there is “Cats.” On the way to school in the morning, we squint in the glow of giant screens in the Union Square subway station,  playing clips from the Cats trailer.

When I suggested a furry team up of a Star Wars character and a Cats character, our younger son warned me that we would surely lose a lot of followers on Instagram.

That sounded like a challenge to me.

I picked Ian McKellen’s character, Gus, “the theater cat,” because Mr. McKellen has appeared in other movies the kids have seen. And his cat personage was perhaps not quite as disturbing as some of the others.

I always though Chewbacca’s lips were troubling.

But in this context, maybe not so much. 

(And, National “Kiss a Wookiee Day” is June 15th)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ok Boomer Baby Heads

“Ok Boomer”

I have to admit that in my basic boomerishness, I did not initially understand the intense appeal of this phrase for my kids. 

They enjoyed using it on one another. And of course it can be gleefully applied to any older person (parent) who might be trying to tell you something useful or offering any implied criticism. 
It is a verbal eye offhand dismissal of age and authority.

Of course our kids have been dismissive since toddlerhood. Arguably, even since infancy. 
I am not sure how we managed to produce such bizarrely empowered  small people. 

(Though I do have my theories about the difficulties of parenting without fear or the threat of physical pain in the toolkit....and then there’s the genetics of it. My husband and I used to often joke about where on the chromosome was the default no setting?) 

When both kids were quite young, strangers and educators often remarked on each one’s abilities to say no to adults. 

One son told his nursery school teacher that he could not do what she asked because he was too “dehydrated.” On another occasion, he could not comply because he was “too depressed.” She was quite effectively derailed by these statements. 

And they have always been particularly good at saying no to their parents. I am not sure what the evolutionary advantage of constantly verbally antagonizing one’s parents might be while one is still totally dependent upon them even for basic toileting and nourishment, but there is it.

In one memorable incident, as my husband was haranguing our younger son, age three or less, for some terrible toddler crime, our son replied casually, “Oh, take a shower, old man.” “Ok boomer” is an improvement I guess.

(These are the kids’ infant heads on their teenager bodies, if that needs to be said. We don’t own the shirts, but there seem to be widely available online)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Baby Yoda Thanksgiving Parade Ballon

Baby Yoda Crushes it as Thanksgiving Balloon:

(There wasn’t one in the parade as far as I know...but certainly it is only a matter of time before the internet demands representation.)

To be completely honest, we did not even watch the broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV. Our kids have always been rather uninterested in this New York tradition. 

However, it was really, really windy this morning, so I did spend a good bit of time reading online about the various giant character balloon accidents that have happened over the many decades of the parade’s history.  While there was only one incident serious enough to put someone into a coma- the Cat In The Hat was the offender- there have been many more mishaps that resulted in damage to streetlights, lost bystander teeth, damaged character dignity, and general panic and distress. 

The parade proceeded today despite the winds, but I heard that they held the balloons very close to the ground, practically on top of their armies of handlers. 

Certainly Baby Yoda would never hurt the rope holders or specatators, would he?

Late and very hurried napkin, (had to spend much of the day making the whole kitchen sticky with sweet potatoes) but Happy Thanksgiving  nonetheless!

And, last but certainly not least, our younger son deserves the concept credit- I was just going to draw baby Yoda riding a wild turkey....much less appropriate!

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Since an article in the New York Times last week quoted a 12 year old girl saying that “VSCO is basically over,” I thought maybe I’d better hurry up and post this one. 

So you are either saying to yourself, “what is VSCO?” Or,  ugh, why is the napkin woman so late to this party? 

In case my mom missed the Times article, I will  briefly summarize that the term VSCO derived from a photo editing app, and is mostly favored by “VSCO girls” as a ostensibly easy-going, “beachy” aesthetic defined by several very specific consumer items: oversized t-shirts, shoes that are ugly/comfortable but specifically branded: checkerboard Vans, Crocks with charms or Birkenstock’s, pukka shell necklaces, Pura Vida bracelets, scrunchies, Fjallraven Kanken backpacks, and hydroflask drink bottles with metal straws. 

And mixed in with the brand consciousness is vague environmentalism expressed as a “save the turtles” slogan...mostly achieved by using metal straws. 

There’s some odd imported slang involved also, but I might refrain from mentioning that here to prevent my sons from writhing on the floor in torment. It seems that parental use of trendy slang is right up there in pain intensity with being doused in gasoline and set on fire.

At any rate, the VSCO trend seems to be to mostly just teenage girls being teenaged girls with the added commercial reach and reinforcement of social media. 

When I was twelve, horrifyingly enough, it was all about disco and Sasoon Jeans. Who among us remembers Sasoon Jeans? Anyone?

Moving on: 
It seemed to me that Deadpool and John Wick would appreciate a laid back surf aesthetic. Wade’s already halfway there with the Croc’s...though he does need some shoe charms.

But what do the sea turtles think about all this?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 31

Don’t Turn Into A Pumpkin

Inktober 2019 Day 31
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe.

The main problem with my sleep is of course my not going to bed early enough.

I was a major offender in the poor sleep hygiene category for most of my adult life. Let us be honest: for all of my life with the possible exception of the last three years. 

Unfortunately, I now find myself in the role of bedtime enforcer for teenagers who are just beginning to discover the delights of staying up too late. And unfortunately, they are my biological children also, so the words, ‘I’m tired, I think I am going to bed’ have never been spoken by either one. They are always pushing for later, no matter what, and are always ready to put up a spirited resistance. 

So, for Halloween, and the last day of Inktober 2019: here is a pumpkin portrait of my partners in sleep deprivation crime.

(I try to have a pumpkin related drawing for the last day of Inktober

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 30

Temperature Regulation of Various Parts

Inktober 2019 Day 30
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe.

It seems pretty clear that dropping the body temperature overnight is important for a successful night of restorative sleep.  But it helps to warm up first and then cool down to send the signal- Thus the efficacy of the pre-bedtime hot bath.  

And one final wrinkle: Counterintuitively, warming the feet, helps to cool the rest of the body.  Vasodilation in the feet allows more heat to escape. At least that’s what I hear.

I’ve discovered through quite unscientific experimentation over the last year, that cooking myself before bed and then sleeping in a 62 degree room does help quite a bit. 

I haven’t ever tried selectively warming my feet. 
But my head does like to be extra cold.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 29

Don’t Eat Too Much Too Close To Bedtime

Inktober 2019 Day 29
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe.

I have trouble executing this simple piece of sleep advice. There is much evidence that sleep is improved by not eating for several hours before retiring. I have found embracing a “healthy” diet (beets! purple broccoli!) relatively easy, and I have proved I can engage in all sorts of repressive behaviors when it comes to food and the not eating thereof.

...but consistently making and eating dinner early, and then not eating anything else until bed, has this far truly been a bridge too far for me. 

This drawing is a reprise from Inktober 2016 when I drew a picture about the paleo vs vegan diet problem. I think I like that one better. But I’ve been reconsidered the questions of what is the appropriate diet several times since then...and haven’t come to any definite conclusions on what I should or should not be eating.  A couple of year ago, an allergy doctor told me I was reacting to malvin, the reddish blue pigment in foods everyone thinks are super healthy like blueberries...and beets and purple broccoli.

But there is strong evidence that one can eat garbage and pretty much get away with it, as long as it isn’t anywhere near bedtime. 

Oh well.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 28

This Is A Drawing About My Relationship With White Noise,
Can You Tell?

Inktober 2019 Day 28
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe

I’ve been sleeping next to a white noise machine for many of the last 30 years. An otherwise ungratifying college boyfriend introduced me to what is now the old fashioned beige domed fan device. I believe it is caller the Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine.  Still very popular on Amazon and at therapists’ offices.

Before we had a baby and I felt that I might need to be able to hear screaming and alarms, I often slept with the sound machine literally next to my head. The vibration was not good, but that was the only way I could achieve the necessary intensity.

But I’ve always had a very ambivalent relationship to white noise during sleep. I really hate it. It is an absolute delight to turn the thing off, akin to the end of a session of banging ones head against the wall. But nothing else blocks all the other sounds that keep me awake. 

And the soul crushing nature of the noise makes me go to sleep faster, perhaps as a defense mechanism.

I gave a lot of thought about what to draw for Inktober white noise day: TV snow screens, fans, waterfalls....  I had already drawn a waterfall poorly this month....and the other options seemed boring and inexpressive.

But the crushing aspect of shutting down ones senses seemed most evocative to me.....At least until I finished the drawing 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 27

The Talkative Jerks  Inside My Head Drawn Outside My Head....Including The One In The Center.

Inktober 2019 Day 27
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe.

I used to listen to podcasts to help me fall asleep because it was definitely better than listening to myself blather on. (Also good for blocking snoring, but not that anyone here snores)

Who I am talking to anyway? I have already heard it all before many times. 

This is a bit less of a problem lately, but meditation still presents a problem.  If I am not really equivalent to the voices in my head, why do they have to be so annoying? and why can’t I stop judging them?

Got to go to bed. This is clearly not a fruitful train of thought. And drawing myself making silly expressive talking faces proved not to be as fun as I had hoped. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 26

Let Grass Grow Beneath Your Sleeping Feet:

Inktober 2019 Day 26
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Maybe.

The benefits of grounding or earthing are a matter of some debate. It sounds plausible that using conductive contact with the ground to diminish an accumulated positive charge and associated free radicals and inflammation could improve health...and sleep. 

But the science is murky. There’s just not a lot  of financial incentives to do a double blind placebo controlled trial about whether something like walking on the beach barefoot improves ones health.  Obviously that would be a rather difficult study to create a placebo for anyway. 

But for those of us without opportunities to hang out seaside shoeless, there are things like grounding bedsheets. These conductive surfaces that plug into the ground in an electric outlet supposedly create the effect of being in contact with the earth. 

In my ongoing project to try everything that might help me sleep...and make me a less inflamed and cranky person, I have tried such a sleeping surface. 

Despite really giving the placebo effect a good go, I did not see an improvement during the month I spent sleeping with my feet on a slightly unpleasant rubbery conductive surface. (yes, I know I was supposed to put the sheet over it, for you grounding experts out there. I won’t go into the oddity of my sleeping arrangement right now)

In fact, my sleep got markedly worse. This may be due to other causes. It’s damn hard to run a controlled, one variable test on oneself even if you are not a person who is constantly tinkering with supplements and other interventions. 

However, I really like my rubber-sole-less (supposedly grounded) shoes. Though I do live in the New York metropolitan area which means I have to avoid stepping on manhole covers and the like when not protected by rubber soles. But maybe I just like the shoes for other reasons besides conductivity.

I will probably try the conductive sleep surface again. For the moment, I will imagine my sleeping feet are in a beautiful  landscape in south east Asia.