Putting a Troll in a Bowl

Our Christmas troll in its bowl

So, there’s this thing called an “Elf on the Shelf.” It is basically an elf doll that the elf doll manufacturers encourage you to purchase and place in your house. This elf doll is supposed to add to the elaborate mystery surrounding Santa Claus, as the elf comes with a back story involving it returning to the north pole on a nightly basis to report to Santa. You can make the elf do funny tricks or pose it in different spots in the house, and it can bring prizes and treats during the long wait for Christmas Eve.

My kids never paid any attention to the boxes of elves in the stores, luckily, but last year they noticed that some of their friends had this elf and that the elf brought those children treats. So, of course, my children wanted this elf as well. It could have been a grotesque “holiday spider,” and they would have whined for it if they suspected it might bring them candy in its bulging egg sac.

Anyway, I was not interested in purchasing this elf or any of its accessories, because I can barely bring myself to lie to my children about Santa let alone about an elf doll that comes alive at night and flies to the Arctic Circle and back in under 12 hours. So I dug around in our Christmas decorations bin and found the holiday troll. This troll doll I once bought from an after Christmas sale in the long ago before the children, because it was just so ridiculous. It’s a regular old troll doll with green hair and a festive green outfit.

Being the resourceful people that we are, we placed this troll in a plastic bowl and dubbed it “The Troll in the Bowl.” The Troll did nothing much other than sit in its bowl, but candies did occasionally appear in its bowl in the afternoon. My kids began asking “When will the troll poop again?” and “Do you think the troll poops just M&Ms and jellybeans or other candies too?” And this ridiculous tradition that we have here in our house of the candy-pooping-troll-in-a-bowl was the inspiration for the comic strip named “The Christmas Troll.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go help our troll pass two rather large chocolate truffles for my children to gleefully consume.

Waiting for Basketball

My son has various after school activities, one of which is basketball class. The class meets twice a week for an hour at a time, working on basketball skills and scrimmaging. During this time, I am a basketball spectator, but I am also the entertainment for a 4 year old girl. Yes, my daughter waits with me, hopefully entertained by the stickers or rubber animals we have brought with us, but sometimes those begin to lose their luster 45 minutes into the waiting. So then Mama takes out her little notebook that she takes with her everywhere, and we think of something to do together. This particular day, my daughter told me, “Draw a cute heart guy. Put two white dots in his eyes so that he looks really cute.” So I drew the cute heart guy, but I added a tutu even though she didn’t request a tutu, because I’m a rebel like that. Then she instructed me to draw candies for the heart guy. It was very specific, because this little lady is detail-oriented like that. “Draw him chocolates. He wants two white ones and two dark ones. Now he wants two lollipops, a red lollipop and a yellow lollipop.” She was aware that I only had a black pen, so I shaded one in a little less and said, “That’s the yellow one.” She agreed. Then she asked for three gummy bears for the heart guy. Each one a different shade of pen ink. And finally, I added a chocolate kiss myself. Just because I felt like it. And we didn’t even feel the time pass really. Basketball class was concluded, and my son bounded over to see what we had been up to. So today we post the result of the mother-daughter-passing-the-time-during-basketball collaborative art project: Cute Heart Guy with Candies.

Cute Heart Guy with Candies by Sarena Zee and daughter

The Whatever Banana

So what is the deal with the banana that is the star of my “Whatever.” Webcomic? In high school, my best friends and I used to write notes to each other with little drawings (during class? I plead the fifth…), and I often drew anthropomorphized produce (in addition to a spotted dog and lemmings, of course.) So going back to my roots, I sketched this little banana in my recipe book a while back. And then, the rest just happened. Well actually, I had to draw it all painstakingly. Except for the ones that the fairies drew for me at night. But those I can’t show anyone. Yet.

Well, here we go…

I never really intended to create a website. I was developing my book ideas, and then looking around at what I would need in order to submit my manuscript to an agent, I found that many agents requested the manuscript along with a link to a personal site. And there began my journey into the time-consuming world of website construction and maintenance. I thought this was supposed to be about writing and illustrating? Yes, that’s what I thought too. But first make sure to siphon off a lot of the limited time you have into a very, very large tank called the internet. I feel as though it’s an infinitely large tank, or at least an infinitely expanding tank. And here I am right now, adding to its immensity. But the best part is that it isn’t really tangible at all. Is that the best part? Is there even a best part? I’m pretty sure the best part of the internet is funny cat videos.